| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 802, 18 February 2019
Welcome to this year's 7th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Source-based distributions are renowned for being flexible and, with the proper optimizations, potentially faster than their pre-compiled binary counterparts. This week we take a look at a source-focused Linux distribution on our waiting list: Slontoo. The Slontoo project has its roots in Funtoo, and in turn, Gentoo, perhaps the most famous source-based Linux project. Our Feature story reports on what it is like to run Slontoo and use its source-based package management tools. In our News section we talk about the NetBSD team testing a newer compiler and share a reminder from the Void team about which Void-related web domains they control. Plus we talk about members of the Fedora community packaging the Deepin desktop for Fedora 30, improvements coming to Ubuntu Studio and Debian updating its installation media. In our Tips and Tricks column we discuss ambiguous terms that are often used in the open source community and what they mean in different contexts. One of these hard-to-pin-down terms is stability and our Opinion Poll asks what kind of stability our readers are looking for in their operating system. Plus we are happy to share the releases of the past week and list the torrents we are seeding. Finally, we are pleased to welcome the EasyOS distribution to our database. We wish you all a terrific week and happy reading!
- Review: Slontoo 18.07.1 "LXDE"
- News: NetBSD testing newer compiler, Void reminds users of its official domain, Fedora porting the Deepin desktop, Debian updates media, changes in Ubuntu Studio
- Tips and tricks: What being free, stable and light-weight mean
- Released last week: Ubuntu 18.04.2
- Torrent corner: Archman, ArcoLinux, AUSTRUMI, Clonezilla, Debian, FuguIta, MakuluLinux, KDE neon, Omarine, RancherOS, SmartOS, Tails, Ubuntu, Voyager
- Upcoming releases: SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 SP1 RC1
- Opinion poll: What kind of stability do you want from your distro?
- New additions: EasyOS
- Reader comments
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (20MB) and MP3 (15MB) formats.
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Slontoo 18.07.1 "LXDE"
It is not often that I experiment with projects from the Gentoo family of distributions. This week I decided to enjoy a change of pace and experiment with a desktop oriented distribution from the Gentoo family called Slontoo. According to the project's website,
Slontoo is an operating system based on Funtoo Linux. It uses the Linux Mint live installer to simplify the installation procedure. Slontoo tries to provide most appropriate tools for home and office use.
Funtoo is, in turn, based on Gentoo and strives to improve the technologies presented in the Gentoo meta-distribution.
Slontoo is available in three editions: LXDE, MATE and Xfce. New users can download one unified ISO (1.7GB) that contains all three desktop environments, or select from one of three smaller ISO files that each include just one desktop. I decided to download the distribution's LXDE edition which is 1GB in size. Slontoo is available for 64-bit systems only.
Booting from the live media brings up a menu asking us to pick our preferred language. Then the system boots into a graphical mode and presents us with the LXDE desktop. A panel sits at the bottom of the screen, with the application menu in the bottom-left corner. Icons on the desktop open the file manager and launch the system installer. The live desktop was responsive and the distribution appeared to be working smoothly so I jumped immediately into the installer.
As its website states, Slontoo borrows its graphical system installer from Mint, specifically the one used in Linux Mint's Debian Edition. The installer walks us through selecting our preferred language, picking our time zone from a map, and confirming our keyboard's layout. We then make up a username and password for ourselves. Partitioning the hard drive comes next and Slontoo offers to automatically set up an ext4 root file system and swap space for us. Alternatively we can manually arrange the partitions as we like, using a pleasantly simple partitioning tool. The last page of the installer asks if we would like to install the GRUB boot loader and, if so, where. Then the installer copies its packages to our hard drive. The installer took longer than usual in my test environments, but the installer did finally finish successfully.
The freshly installed Slontoo boots to a graphical login screen. A menu at the bottom of the display gives us a choice of desktop sessions, including: GNOME, KDE, LXDE and Openbox. The GNOME and KDE options do not work as they are not installed and selecting them simply returns us to the login screen. Signing into LXDE (which uses Openbox as its window manager) presents us with a blue and grey theme. The desktop is pleasantly light and responsive and generally stays out of the way. The application menu is arranged in a tree-style layout with a handful of applications in each category, making for a fully functional, but not crowded menu.
Slontoo 18.07.1 -- The LXDE desktop and application menu
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When I first began using Slontoo it was in a VirtualBox environment. Slontoo was responsive and ran smoothly in its virtual machine. However, the distribution's screen resolution was severely limited at 800x600 pixels. I tried to fix this by installing the VirtualBox guest modules, which are available in the project's software repository, but the modules failed to install. (I will talk about managing software on Slontoo more, later in this review.) I then found I could adjust the display resolution in one of Openbox's settings modules. This allowed me to set the virtual machine's display resolution, I was only limited in that I could not dynamically resize the environment's window.
When I tried to run Slontoo on a workstation, the first hurdle I ran into is the distribution will not boot in UEFI mode. It did boot in legacy BIOS mode though. The distribution ran smoothly on the workstation, using my screen's full resolution, playing audio and otherwise behaving well. Slontoo was not able to detect the workstation's wireless card, but otherwise functioned well.
Slontoo 18.07.1 -- Customizing desktop settings
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The distribution was light on memory, using just 130MB of RAM when logged into LXDE. The system used around 6GB of hard drive space, which is fairly typical in my experience these days, at least for mainstream distributions.
What do we get for 6GB of disk space? Looking through the application menu we find Aurora (a nightly development build of Firefox), the Deluge torrent client, the Sylpheed e-mail client and the Gajim chat client. LibreOffice is provided along with the Atril document viewer and the GNU Image Manipulation Program. Leafpad and Geany are provided to edit text documents and PCManFM is the default file manager.
The gxine and LXMusic media players are included along with a range of media codecs, allowing us to play most audio and video files out of the box. There is also an account manager, several settings modules for customizing the desktop and the Xfburn disc burning software. In the background we find SysV init is paired with OpenRC to provide service management. The install media provides version 4.14 of the Linux kernel, with new versions made available on a regular basis.
Slontoo 18.07.1 -- Running Firefox and browsing installed applications
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I think it is worth noting that the included software is, at the time of writing, about six months out of date. The Firefox browser warns us on its start page that it is out of date and provides a link to download a newer build. Which brings me to the topic of software management.
Slontoo, unlike most distributions, deals with packages it builds from source code. This means that if we want to install a new web browser or update the kernel or LibreOffice, our system will download the necessary source code and rebuild the package. This is a slower process than dealing with binary packages, which is the more common approach. Working with source code bundles gives us the ability to customize software, but does put more stress on our local system as compiling software requires a lot of disk reads and CPU resources.
Software management on Slontoo can be handled through a graphical package manager called Porthole. The Porthole application is divided into three panes. The pane on the left shows us software categories and recent search queries. The right pane shows us packages in a selected category (or search). A third pane at the bottom of the window displays information on the currently highlighted package.
When I first launched Porthole the application warned me that it should be run with root access. For some reason, this is not done through the application menu entry. We can either launch Porthole from a command line using sudo or put up with a warning displayed in the program's upper-right corner letting us know it is not being run as root. Not having root access does not seem to have a practical effect though as Porthole always prompts us for our sudo password whenever it needs to perform actions that affect the system.
Whenever we sync our package database, or install or upgrade software, a terminal window opens, prompts us for our password, and then shows detailed status information while the underlying package manager (emerge) works. When I first ran a sync on the software database a message appeared letting me know the portage package should be updated before doing anything else. I performed a search for portage and updated it, with the action completing successfully.
After that I consistently ran into problems using Porthole. Trying to perform a full package upgrade failed while checking dependencies, trying to install specific packages also usually failed. The fact a failure had occurred was not always obvious though. The status window always shows that an action completes, but not whether it was successful. We need to scroll back, sometimes through several pages of output, to find out if there were any errors.
Slontoo 18.07.1 -- Updating software with Porthole
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I switched to using the emerge command line package manager directly and this yielded more positive results. Using emerge I was able to install some packages and trying to perform a large software update kicked off without dependency issues. I did run into other problems though. Some packages still failed to install. When trying to bring the system up to date, I found there were over 450 packages queued to be upgraded. After the first handful of small items installed I did some rough calculations on the remaining time left and realized it would take over 40 hours to complete all of the software updates. Compiling software from source code has its drawbacks, not only in time spent, but in system resources. Slontoo was quite a bit slower and disk access lagged noticeably while updates were being built.
After a few days I stopped experimenting with Slontoo, cutting my trial short. Which is unfortunate, as I think Slontoo does a number of things well. I like that the project offers a number of desktop environments and gives us the choice of a unified disc with all three desktop. I like that LXDE is so light and responsive (most of the time), and the default theme looks quite nice.
I do think the project suffers a bit from not having its own documentation. Slontoo has a very inactive forum and none of its own documentation, meaning we need to look elsewhere, such as the Gentoo project, to locate information on the distribution. Likewise, we need to find support through other means.
However, my biggest issue by far was with software management. Actually, software presented me with two challenges. The first was the default software on the LXDE edition was not great. Much of it was less mainstream, not always up to the challenge, or just less familiar to me. So I wanted to replace most of it and upgrade all of it. The second (and bigger) challenge is it takes hours to install many of the software packages I wanted. Included updates, I wanted to install over 500 packages, which would take about two days in total.
On a binary distribution I can usually install all the software I need in under 30 minutes, but with Slontoo it would take 40-50 hours, during which time my disk access and desktop performance would be greatly restricted. It made for an impractical working environment.
Sadly, this is an issue which prevents me from using any primarily source-based system. I do sometimes use source packages, but it is always a rare exception in order to customize a package, not a regular occurrence. Waiting hours for a package upgrade or for a new utility to install that I plan to use right away is just not practical.
Even if building packages from source code had been practical, or if I had been willing to run it as a series of late-night jobs while the computer wasn't in use, the Porthole front-end did not function well. The application does not provide clear status messages and often fails where the command line tools succeed, making it unreliable.
In short, Slontoo has some nice features, a good installer and a pleasantly lightweight desktop. But I don't think its source-focused approach is practical for most people to use as a daily-driver. If the project adds a binary repository like Calculate Linux does, or perhaps even publishes monthly ISOs to keep the install media fresh, I will happily revisit it.
* * * * *
Hardware used in this review
My physical test equipment for this review was a desktop HP Pavilon p6 Series with the following specifications:
- Processor: Dual-core 2.8GHz AMD A4-3420 APU
- Storage: 500GB Hitachi hard drive
- Memory: 6GB of RAM
- Networking: Realtek RTL8111 wired network card, Ralink RT5390R PCIe Wireless card
- Display: AMD Radeon HD 6410D video card
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
NetBSD testing newer compiler, Void reminds users of its official domain, Fedora porting the Deepin desktop, Debian updates media, changes in Ubuntu Studio
The NetBSD operating system is famous for running on a wide variety of CPU architectures. While this portability is very useful, it means upgrading the compiler and related code development tools can be a tricky process requiring lots of review. Matthew Green has announced that he is working on upgrading the NetBSD ports compiler to version 7 of the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) and is inviting people to test the transition: "I plan to switch amd64 and arm64 to GCC 7 soon. i386, sparc, mips, ppc, and alpha are probably ready and tested enough for anyone else to try out. 32-bit arm is only just now working so not well tested yet. hppa, m68k, vax, and sh3 all build but have not been tested yet. ia64 and ppc64 are currently not building, and I haven't looked at the hopefully revived riscv port yet, or the or1k. If you'd like to test now from -current, build a clean tree with 'build.sh -V HAVE_GCC=7'. It should just work." A list of the optimizations and other improvements in GCC 7 can be found on the compiler's Changes page.
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The Void project is proactively publishing a statement on their website, letting people know that the domain voidlinux.eu is not under the control of the Void team. The official Void website can be found at voidlinux.org. "We would like to warn people of a domain name that is no longer under Void Linux control. voidlinux.eu lapsed in its original registration, and was purchased by an unknown third party before Void Linux could regain ownership. At this time, please assume that anything involving voidlinux.eu is not related to Void Linux, and should be considered potentially malicious. Of course, if the person who owns the domain now would like to transfer it to our control, we'd be grateful, and will update voidlinux.org to indicate if this happens."
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Zamir SUN and Bowen Li are working to bring the Deepin desktop environment to Fedora. The duo is working to get Deepin packages included in Fedora's repositories in time for the launch of Fedora 30 (scheduled for the end of April 2019). An overview of the effort and instructions for trying out Deepin on Fedora using packages or a live disc can be found on the team's proposal page.
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The Debian project has published updated installation media for Debian 9 "Stretch". The new media includes bug fixes for packages, but does not represent a new version of the distribution. "Please note that the point release does not constitute a new version of Debian 9 but only updates some of the packages included. There is no need to throw away old stretch media. After installation, packages can be upgraded to the current versions using an up-to-date Debian mirror. Those who frequently install updates from security.debian.org won't have to update many packages, and most such updates are included in the point release."
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The Ubuntu Studio team has announced a number of new changes coming to their multimedia-focused distribution. The Ubuntu Studio developers have set up a backports PPA to deliver new features to people running version 18.04 of their distribution. The team is also swapping out the discontinued JACK routing tool Patchage in favour of Carla. The Meta Installer has been updated too to tweak existing Ubuntu community editions to make them use Ubuntu Studio technology. "In the past, Ubuntu Studio Meta Installer had been a tool used to install meta-packages of various creative application categories. Now, Ubuntu Studio Installer can be used to install not only those meta-packages, but also the under-the-hood tweaks used to enable real-time audio processing and reduce the default swappiness, which dictates when the system starts moving unused portions of RAM to the hard drive swap file. This increases overall performance for most applications, but is not recommended for systems with less than 4GB of RAM. Also included is the low-latency Linux kernel, as well as the option to move the low-latency kernel to the top of your GRUB bootloader menu, making it the default which is especially useful for audio production."
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Tips and Tricks (by Jesse Smith)
What being free, stable and light-weight mean
There are a number of commonly used terms which get thrown around in the open source community which, because they are often used without further context, can be confusing. The confusion is often compounded because the meaning of the terms can be ambiguous, with different definitions in different situations. Let's look at a few of these terms and try to clear up their meanings in different contexts.
I want to start with the term free. When used in open source circles, the word free can mean one of two different things. Free can mean that something has no monetary cost, as in "I can download this software for free." However, free can also refer to software which is distributed under a special subset of open source licenses that make it "free software". Free software, in this context, refers to software the user can audit, modify and redistribute. The GNU project describes free software as follows:
"Free software" means software that respects users' freedom and community. Roughly, it means that the users have the freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. Thus, "free software" is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of "free" as in "free speech," not as in "free beer". We sometimes call it "libre software," borrowing the French or Spanish word for "free" as in freedom, to show we do not mean the software is gratis."
Often times (but not always) software which is offered under a libre license is also available at no cost, which can further confuse the matter. This can lead to people assuming all libre software should be available at no charge, but this is not the case. The price of software is independent of its license. The GNU project also weighs in on the subject of charging money for distributing software:
Since free software is not a matter of price, a low price doesn't make the software free, or even closer to free. So if you are redistributing copies of free software, you might as well charge a substantial fee and make some money. Redistributing free software is a good and legitimate activity; if you do it, you might as well make a profit from it.
Unfortunately people often use the term "free software" without context, not letting people know whether they mean free of charge, or freely licensed.
* * * * *
Stable is another term which has multiple meanings in regards to software. Stable can refer to software which rarely changes. Distributions with fixed releases that only publish security updates are typically referred to as being stable in the sense they do not introduce changes.
The term stable can also refer to software that runs without crashing or causing problems. In other words, stable can refer to how well a program or distribution operates rather than how frequently it changes.
The difference in meaning can cause problems when discussing the approaches different distributions take and how users perceive them. For instance, the Arch Linux distribution is a rolling release which is constantly changing. It is definitely not stable in the sense of being static or unchanging. However, many users of Arch find that the distribution is stable in that it continues to run without causing them problems.
In the reverse situation, a dormant Linux distribution which has many bugs, but no longer receives updates, is very stable in that it never changes. However, it is not stable in the sense of being reliable.
Some distributions, such as Slackware and Debian, tend to publish releases which are viewed as being stable in both senses of the term - unchanging and reliable.
* * * * *
The term light-weight gets tossed around a lot when referring to Linux distributions. While there is no set definition of what qualifies an operating system as light-weight, the term generally refers to one of two characteristics: the amount of RAM the operating system uses and the amount of CPU resources a system consumes. Specifically, "light-weight" distributions typically run window managers or desktop environments which use fewer resources than mainstream distributions do.
Some people try to extend the term to also refer to the size of the distribution's installation image or its size on the hard drive. However, while those characteristics do have an impact on the initial download and setup time of the operating system, they do not affect day-to-day usage. As a result, the size of the operating system's ISO and its space on the hard drive are typically ignored in favour of looking at the amount of CPU and RAM required to login and perform basic tasks.
Light-weight distributions typically ship with either only a command line, the LXDE desktop, or a minimal window manager like Fluxbox, Openbox, or JWM. Distributions which ship with Xfce are often thought of as "mid-weight" systems while projects running GNOME or KDE Plasma tend to be thought of as "heavy" or, more politely, "feature-rich".
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Additional tips can be found in our Tips and Tricks archive.
|Released Last Week
Adam Conrad has announced the release of Ubuntu 18.04.2, a set of updated builds of the project's flagship Linux distribution with long-term support. Most of the official Ubuntu sub-projects, notably Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Kylin and Xubuntu, have also been updated to version 18.04.2: "The Ubuntu team is pleased to announce the release of Ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS (Long-Term Support) for its Desktop, Server and Cloud products, as well as other flavours of Ubuntu with long-term support. Like previous LTS series, 18.04.2 includes hardware enablement stacks for use on newer hardware. This support is offered on all architectures and is installed by default when using one of the desktop images." Read the rest of the release announcement for more 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: 1,257
- Total data uploaded: 23.8TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
What kind of stability do you want from your distro?
In our Tips and Tricks column we discussed two types of stability - reliability versus an unchanging system. We would like to know which of these two types of stability do you look for in your distribution? Do you want your system to be up to date with the latest package while remaining reliable, or do you prefer a system that sticks with tried and true software in order to be consistently reliable?
You can see the results of our previous poll on process monitors in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
What kind of stability do you want from your distro?
|I want reliability and static packages: ||274 (12%)|
| I want reliability and updated packages: ||1807 (81%)|
| I prefer new packages over reliability: ||119 (5%)|
| I do not require stability: ||12 (1%)|
| Other: ||27 (1%)|
New projects added to database
EasyOS is an experimental Linux distribution which uses many of the technologies and package formats pioneered by Puppy Linux. The distribution features custom container technology called Easy Containers which can run applications or the entire desktop environment in a container. Packages, desktop settings, networking and sharing resources over the network can all be controlled through graphical utilities.
EasyOS 1.0 -- The welcome screen
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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, 25 February 2019. 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 • Free, Stable and Lightweight (by Ben Myers on 2019-02-18 01:11:41 GMT from Canada) |
Good commentary about free and stable. Lightweight, too. But I would prefer that the distros that use the term lightweight would quantify the memory and CPU resources that their distros use based on some easily understood matrics and operating conditions. Well, same with the other distros, too! Then we could all look at some facts, rather than adjectives pasted onto a distro.
2 • repositories (by ted mead on 2019-02-18 02:14:29 GMT from United States)
I would prefer distros to adequately maintain valid repositories or at least publish the list of new or defunct repositories
3 • Stability - other (by Trihexagonal on 2019-02-18 03:21:29 GMT from United States)
I prefer the rock-solid stability of my FreeBSD machines.
4 • Slontoo compiling (by RJA on 2019-02-18 03:33:46 GMT from United States)
Jesse, yikes at your report of over 40 hours! IIRC, that's a ton longer than when I compiled KDE on Gentoo from the command prompt on a stock-frequency Pentium E2180 in summer, 2010! And that was with compiling KDE 4x, IIRC!
KDE by far, had the longest compile times of any software I compiled with Gentoo back in summer, 2010.
IIRC, that makes downloading Ubuntu on 56K in 2005, seem like child's play, LOL!
That 40+ hours, makes me imagine what it would be like to update Windows 10 on 56K...
---Randy J. Anderson
5 • compile it yourself (by greenpossum on 2019-02-18 04:46:36 GMT from Thailand)
That pursuit of a bit more optimisation comes at the cost of power consumption, and wear and tear. ☹️ And it's a sisyphean task. Those are points against it in my book.
6 • Gentoo-based distros (by Hoos on 2019-02-18 04:58:41 GMT from Singapore)
So far I've found Sabayon (real metal install) and Calculate (virtualbox install) with their binary packages the most convenient, quick, and reliable.
I can't say I'm familiar with the Gentoo compilation way of installing packages, nor do I have the time to get into it.
7 • Distrowatch readers VERSUS Linux corporate users. (by Greg Zeng on 2019-02-18 05:58:15 GMT from Australia)
In my opinion, this week's poll is about the serious business use of Linux, versus the rest of operating system users, who use Linux for "fun".
Innovation starts usually with "fun" seeking persons who explore risky unknowns. Both "white hat" (goodies) & black hat" (baddies) push thse limits. Failures in Linux quickly or slowly die: Canonical's Unity & Mir. Battles are waged: appimage vs. "snap" vs. "Flatpak" application installers. Or "Red Hat" vs. Debian application containers.
Distrowatch readers are active on the innovation battles. From these "fun" battles are the long term winners and long term losers. Meantime the old hand survivors continue the major work loads: Linux users who are not Distrowatch enthusiasts.
Linux is the computer winner in IoT, servers, and mobiles (usually smartphones). In the real world of the early 21st century, Microsoft has been the winner, dominating the computer desktop.
When Linux "lives" on the desktop, it is "Red Hat" users needing solid corporate support. Canonical's Ubuntu-based systems are still challenging this Red Hat dominance on the corporate desktop systems.
Distrowatch readers become okay with the insider jargon. But most of these "fun" readers seem to not see the big picture that shows the loser-realities of Linux operating systems, imho. "Fun" is instability-loving, whereas business need stability & predictability.
8 • Compiling from source (by Arnvidr on 2019-02-18 06:21:49 GMT from Norway)
There are two great little tweaks to do on a gentoo-based system to make compiling packages much more palatable:
* Set PORTAGE_NICENESS="19" in your /etc/portage/make.conf to make the system more responsive during compiling, by making the compile process play nice :)
* If you have enough RAM, put /var/tmp/portage on a tmpfs to save your storage drives. There are some packages like libreoffice and firefox that needs quite a few GB here, but if you're short on RAM, many of these bigger packages have binary package equivalents (at least in gentoo proper, I have no experience with any of the derivatives).
9 • stable (by Nick Nickerson on 2019-02-18 08:22:41 GMT from Belgium)
The term stable with Operating Systems always meant : feature complete, long term support with security updates.
The above is needed for compatibility reasons (mostly 3rd party software), security and standardization. Almost no 3rd party vendor can invest time in creating software that might no longer be binary compatible with yet another version of libraries in a rolling release. So stable also means to be sure that version 10.0 is version 10.0, which contains the x version of libraries and the y version of software. That's why close to 100 percent of all companies will never distribute a rolling release on their desktops.
Most people don't like change, especially if they don't have the choice. Regular users, like me, are better off with stable release (with the above definition). Rolling releases are never stable, and are only suited for those who need the latest software for testing purposes or for the fun of it.
The reason why there is a big shift to rolling releases (look at win10) is to give the public the idea that nothing is there to stay, and they always must move on. keep them uncertain, which means they never can be loyal to anything. This situation is great to push all kinds of crap through updates/new software and force change that does not serve them. Acceptance level will be higher, due to the lack of loyalty to existing software. More change is more money.
10 • Stable or Static? (by Guido on 2019-02-18 08:49:32 GMT from Philippines)
Maybe you should describe distributions like Debian or Slackware not as simply stable, but better as static, because they do not change over a long time and therefore are more static?
11 • "easy" gentoo (by gentoo fan on 2019-02-18 09:20:09 GMT from Portugal)
Gentoo is not meant to be quick nor easy, and distros which try to fool a user into thinking so are a waste of time. Never seen the point to the idea, or used one which was any good.
12 • What kind of stability do you want from your distro? (by Kazlu on 2019-02-18 10:04:38 GMT from France)
Well, I voted "I want reliability and updated packages" as this is the closest to what I want, but this is not exactly true. A more accurate answer would be "I want reliability and I don't care about the age of the packages".
I don't require my packages to be static, I don't require my packages to be updated often either. It's nice that packages don't move too much since it allows you to not have to update configurations every other day, but it's also nice to have new features coming in sometimes. Want really matters to me is reliability and security patches.
13 • Stability, always stability (by SuperOscar on 2019-02-18 10:31:18 GMT from Finland)
I don’t think stability is just for corporate users (@7). My computers are mostly for my work even if I also use them for fun, and I seriously hate it when every work day is broken by updates.
I used to use Arch. A truly great system but every morning when I turned my computer on I first had to update. Most of the time this included a kernel update, which meant a mandatory reboot—maybe because proprietary Nvidia drivers had to be updated at the same time and KDE Plasma becomes unstable when the display drivers are updated in a running system.
Now I use openSUSE Leap. I still detest having to update every day but at least the kernel updates occur only once in a while. Debian stable might be better but I think even Debian’s support period is too short. Maybe I should switch to *buntu LTS.
14 • Stability? Not worried at all... (by Ostro on 2019-02-18 11:01:20 GMT from Poland)
A stable Linux distro loses its "fun" and become just like a click-and-shoot camera. You don't learn anything, just use like your TV or radio. Its nice to use Linux for the excitement and fun it gives. It is fun to mix repos, pull in packages from different places, if a package is not available the distro's repo, find it in the net, unarchive it, place it in relevant places and try. Testing the distro to its breaking point is fun. Otherwise, go buy a smartphone.
15 • stability - poll (by excollier on 2019-02-18 11:19:03 GMT from Ireland)
I use Linux as a base to run Windows in Virtual box for work access, so rock solid stability is what I need with security updates, hence I run Debian Stretch for work, it just works reliably.
My computer has Debian multi booting with Mint 18.2 (for my wife to use) and MX 18 for me when not working.
I like long term stability and leave the risky stuff to others - my computer is mainly a work tool
16 • @14 stability is not fun (by Kazlu on 2019-02-18 11:26:55 GMT from France)
Yes, I used to do that too, try new things, tinker with my system to customize it even more. But I don't have time to do that any longer. My computer is mostly a working tool, sometimes an entertainment tool. I can't afford to spend hours in a week trying to find a better way... or troubleshooting a broken update. I'd like to, but I can't. I need my computer to get things done quickly, which a smartphone cannot do either. So I use stable Linux distros with a long lifespan (MX Linux, Mint/*buntu LTS for people I help).
17 • @ 16 stability is not fun (by Ostro on 2019-02-18 12:34:30 GMT from Poland)
The excitement and "fun" running your system at its best. You learn by doing that, and your system is surely stable, because you tinker with it, in a correct way, the Linux way. The fun is gone with all these new click-and-shoot attitude of some so-called mainstream distros.
Lately, there aren't many new ppas, new distros, even those one-man shows, the older Linux related web sites are gone or practically stopped publishing new articles. Suddenly there'd be no distros to watch for.
18 • Me, for concerns of stability I've just one lonely request ... (by Gerhard Goetzhaber on 2019-02-18 13:10:50 GMT from Austria)
'T MUST BE POSSIBLE TO BRING A BOOTABLE OS TO THE STORAGE MEDIA!
As rather an experienced Linux user - meantime working on these systems exclusively (not any more Windows there) -, I'd successfully run Fedora Rawhide (besides OpenSUSE Tumbleweed and alphas of Debian and Xubuntu) even for daily production. Only few months ago, I'd to change my Fedora box by replacing it with the (currently "stable") version 29. Because of having been continously seeing all live editions as well as that terrible installer apparently causing some kind of a simple input buffer outrun same-same in earliest times of Linux: After few minutes of operation only, there's no more response to a mouse click nor to any keystroke. The mouse pointer alone can be moved leaving no other deal with this phenomenon than a hard reboot. All other problems, I can anyhow handle!
(My hardware's a common one: Ryzen Ist generation on B350, with Radeon R7 and RX.)
WHY THE HELL can the folks of Fedora quite perfectly update almost everything but their installer? May be compiling an overall new one from C instead of running that stone age-like Anaconda (Fred Flintstone says hello!) from the most recent version of Python? : )
19 • Stablity or updated packages (by Jim on 2019-02-18 13:11:39 GMT from United States)
That is why I dual boot. One OS for stability, one for updated packages for things like watching online videos. It is one think I like about Linux, you can have it both ways.
20 • Stability vs Fun (by wramby on 2019-02-18 13:49:50 GMT from United States)
I think the Stability vs Fun argument can be boiled down to two groups (maybe three if you count in corporate users); Those that like instability and late nights and long weekends fixing things and those that "just want the darn computer to work". And the reason that so many in the latter category revert back to Windows or Mac is because of the former category's response when they ask a question regarding a problem they are having and hoping for a quick fix. I don't much include corporate desktop users here because they tend to have their own IT staff to answer questions (Corporate server users are IT).
So, the future of Linux boils down to one question; does Linux become an easy to use point and click desktop anyone can use (i.e. Windows or Mac "like") and dominate the desktop market or does it stay "Fun" requiring long hours figuring things out?
IMO; Linux slowly grows to dominate the desktop market as Microsoft and Apple realize the cost savings of having others (volunteers) do their work for them (witness MS's recent announcement of moving to the Chromium web engine) and Linux "Fun" users gravitate to another OS that then becomes the Fun OS. And the cycle repeats.
21 • Stable (by Christian on 2019-02-18 14:21:27 GMT from Brazil)
Stable is a very personal subject. What's stable for some isn't for others.
For me, stable is = my system will continue to work exactly how it was before the update, with the latest security patches, not necessarily the latest software.
22 • Stable vs. updated packages (by lupus on 2019-02-18 14:47:24 GMT from Germany)
I want updated packages because I want a stable System, if that means I have to tinker from time to time that's perfectly fine by me.
The guys who just want their System to always stay the same with security updates of course should shy away from desktop software an use reliable true and tested server stuff.
only 2 cents
23 • Interesting false dichotomy: "Stability vs Fun"? (by Jurgen G on 2019-02-18 15:55:31 GMT from United States)
Does anyone have "fun" trying distros that aren't stable enough for everyday? Yes? Then how about ones that never install? Still fun? No.
But I guess too some people like to work on cars that never go anywhere.
24 • Stable and at middle weight (by Mike W on 2019-02-18 16:10:41 GMT from United States)
Probably why I like MX Linux. Its still "pointy and clicky" enough without the interface getting in the way. Its also pretty responsive on my older hardware.
25 • FUN (by Ron on 2019-02-18 17:34:21 GMT from United States)
Huh! My idea of fun is not to wonder if the computer will crash.
My car, I like when it starts. Would I have a car that sometimes would not start, or worse yet stall out on the road? Of course not. Get real people, surely there is a better way to have fun.
I spent several days getting my Raspberry PI working as a server on my LAN. I can't say it was fun, actually it was more like anguish only to be redeemed by success in the end. The journey caused me to learn more about Linux and networking, but looking back I can't call it fun.
A while back I installed a rolling Linux distro thinking it would be my ultimate OS, only to have it crash after days of use on some update. All that time and effort wasted on an OS that actually promised it would be trouble on it's blog.
26 • What kind of stability do you want from your distro? (by lincoln on 2019-02-18 18:36:47 GMT from Brazil)
I prefer reliability over new packages of my Debian Stretch machine.
@7, Greg Zeng: "loser-realities of Linux operating systems" , "business need stability & predictability" and "In the real world of the early 21st century, Microsoft has been the winner, dominating the computer desktop".
It must be irony. To see update history in Windows 10 and its stability & predictability issues.
27 • Reliable? Updated? (by Ezekiel on 2019-02-18 18:53:48 GMT from Netherlands)
I totally agree with Kazlu. "I want reliability and I don't care about the age of the packages"
I'm usually happy about getting updates, because if the creator/maintainer thinks it'll improve my experience with the software 9 times out of 10 he's right. Newer is normally better, but it is not top priority.
28 • stability (by Friar Tux on 2019-02-18 18:57:05 GMT from Canada)
For me the definition of stability is simple (and I like to keep things simple):- it has to do what it's suppose to do until EOL. I don't care about getting the latest version of anything so long as what I got works and I can get my stuff done. Re: rolling releases... nope. I tried a few but they all failed in that, after a week or so, they went belly up because of some update. In fact, most of the ten dozen or so distros I tried failed. The only one that CONSISTENTLY worked and kept working was/is Mint/Cinnamon. So that's the one that gets my vote. They're doing something right. (Great work Clem!!)
29 • The Devil You Know (by M.Z. on 2019-02-18 19:17:00 GMT from United States)
There have been issues with Windows going back before the Vista problems. The big thing about MS on the desktop has generally been 'Devil You Know' issues for both individual and institutional users, and for developers as well. After a big enough lead in market share was built, all users were expected to know MS Windows & most developers see MS as the single best desktop platform because it's were most users are.
Of course there have always been some other options like Mac & Linux, but the proliferation of non MS mobile devices & the expansion of ChromeOS devices into former Windows territory shows that things can change. I don't know how well the desktop Linux community is doing to capitalize on this room, but it seems to be there more now than in the past.
30 • Fun, Stability... (by Vukota on 2019-02-18 21:32:36 GMT from Serbia)
I don't know what "Fun" do you have in wasting your time in fixing broken systems, but my time is worth money, and I would rather spend it making money, being with family and friends, creating something useful, resting, or doing some other really FUN stuff.
Maybe someone else has time to test other people's mess, but I usually don't, and when I use things that are "tools" (for fun or for money), I expect them to work.
Back on the subject of stability, I do like to have "tools" that just work as expected (are stable) and that are feature rich (are updated to latest stable version). I know this is not always possible, but I like to have "latest stable", not "static stable" or "static stable with just security updates" or latest and greatest but unstable.
31 • LinUX distros and stability (by Galo on 2019-02-18 22:20:50 GMT from Peru)
You could get "cinetics" (the contrary to Static) and stability, with rolling releases.
The probe: Enso O.S. LinUX
32 • @31 (by pip on 2019-02-18 22:51:54 GMT from United Kingdom)
"I don't know what "Fun" do you have in wasting your time in fixing broken systems, but my time is worth money, and I would rather spend it making money, being with family and friends, creating something useful, resting, or doing some other really FUN stuff.
Maybe someone else has time to test other people's mess, but I usually don't, and when I use things that are "tools" (for fun or for money), I expect them to work."
Go buy a Mac...
33 • Free, Stable and Lightweight (by Andy Figueroa on 2019-02-19 05:11:19 GMT from United States)
That reasonably confused things. Why not just un-confound things and use proper language.
Free relates to money.
Open Source relates to licensing.
Stable means doesn't crash.
Static means doesn't change.
Lightweight means both small to install, small memory footprint, and not CPU intensive, all at the same time.
I use Gentoo. Except for a few kernel blobs, it's free and open source; stable, but certainly not static. My installation is heavyweight, my memory footprint is small when not running applications, and very CPU intensive when compiling. Easy peasy.
Apparently the author was not prepared to really evaluate a source distro. I don't think Sloontoo needed to be reviewed.
Y'all realize that you don't need to stare at the computer when running source-based updates. Let it run in the background or overnight while sleeping.
34 • Slontoo (by Andy Figueroa on 2019-02-19 05:23:39 GMT from United States)
If I was running Funtoo, I suppose I could wrap up my current desktop operating system with an installer and call it a distribution, but I shouldn't, and won't.
35 • time management (by Trihexagonal on 2019-02-19 05:58:08 GMT from United States)
@33 "Y'all realize that you don't need to stare at the computer when running source-based updates."
You are correct, Sir.
There is a Thinkpad T61I built FreeBSD 12.0-RELEASE on last night sitting within reach to my left that has been compiling 3rd party programs from ports since and currently working on Firefox-ESR.
I started it before going to bed, it was still running when I got up and will be done when it's done. Firefox is usually the last program installed before booting to the Fluxbox desktop and should be finished any time now.
I consider it a lightweight system in that I only install the 3rd party programs I deem necessary for general desktop activities.
The whole process from building the base system till boot to desktop will probably have taken 26 hours or so on an Intel Core 2 Duo@2.0GHz with 4GB RAM and 200GB Scorpio Black HDD.
36 • @33 Free (by Alburgheiro on 2019-02-19 06:08:35 GMT from Russia)
Open Source has nothing to with licensing. You can release the source under any licence or no licence. You can even release the source of patented software (in jurisdictions where software can actually be patented).
In English free has two meanings: free of charge or free of spirit (and body, well, it is all the same). Therefore, it may relate to money or to licensing. You need to specify each time what kind of "freedom" you refer to. Freedom like "it didn't cost me a nickel" or freedom as per the Free Software Foundation or other definitions (and this is closely related to licensing).
37 • Clarity in English (U.S. version, at least) (by Kragle von Schnitzelbank on 2019-02-19 08:04:04 GMT from United States)
Back in the day, I suggest advocates of Liberated, or Freed, software licensing didn't want so much to be clear as to get attention. Marketing.
These days, Keep It Short & Simple, and call it Freed Software, to avoid confusing it with common forms of FreebieWare, like DemoWare, CrippleWare, or TrialWare.
The term Light isn't nearly as to-the-point as Quick, as in Responsive, but that's a bit more work to measure than mere storage.
Of course, some prefer to say KISS, Minimal, or Light when they don't want to admit they're avoiding nuisances like easily-found version-accurate documentation, or proper abstraction (usually via GUI, even if text-based a'la curses).
I agree that "fun" and "stable" can and should coexist without conflict, that Open-Source is not a kind of license, and that nearly all software is source-based.
I prefer a system be reliable and predictable; who doesn't?
Few are amused by forced churn in apps, and especially in lower layers (platforms?), despite the "security" and "fixes" mantras. (If it had been done right the first time, ...)
38 • Stability versus novelty (by Simon on 2019-02-19 08:51:25 GMT from New Zealand)
It's a straightforward trade-off. If you want the latest software you will have bugs, simple as that. If you don't mind the occasional crash or inability to do the stuff you want to do, cool. Personally I would much rather know that my systems will work when I need them to, so always go for well tested, stable distributions. In the very rare cases when I really do need a feature that's only available in a newer version of a specific package, it's easy enough to build that one package from source (and accept the fact that this one package may let you down someday when you need it to work). In the vast majority of cases though, I'd rather have a program that works all the time, than a program with a few more features that works most of the time (because Murphy's Law says that the one time it doesn't work will be the one time when you need it urgently, for an important presentation or something like that). After 20 years on Linux and having tried dozens of distros, it's down to Ubuntu LTS, Debian stable, or CentOS...I don't think I'd consider anything else for daily use.
Sadly, even the most trustworthy distributions can have serious bugs in their less popular packages: they aren't as well tested so often sneak through with major problems. The popular packages, however (office suites, browsers, mail clients and so on) are rock solid. I used to test the "in between" packages (image, audio and video editors were great for this) to get a sense of how trustworthy a distro was: it was amazing how quickly you could find bugs, sometimes serious ones like crashes, just by editing a few multimedia files without different GUI tools. I can't be bothered any more: I just pick the most trustworthy distros and this stuff usually works without issues now.
39 • correction (by Simon on 2019-02-19 08:54:03 GMT from New Zealand)
without different GUI tools = with different GUI tools. The shell tools tended to be less buggy.
40 • stable (by Tim on 2019-02-19 10:47:59 GMT from United States)
For me, the 6 month interim update cycle that the Ubuntu family follows is the right balance. With separate /home partition a fresh install of the next release just isn’t much work.
In some ways I could stay on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS forever (in fact I do have a copy in a VM I plan on keeping forever.) But fresh packages do matter on productivity software. LibreOffice, for example, has become amazing in the past 5 years while competitors (including MS office) have stagnated. Running v 4 when you could be running v6 isn’t really a good idea.
I almost stayed with 18.04 LTS but I found it buggy. 18.10 has been a joy. Maybe I’ll stop with 20.04
41 • @40 Ubuntu cycle (by Kazlu on 2019-02-19 11:44:53 GMT from France)
I did that for years but with package upgrades and was happy with it. Much more sustainable long term than Windows. The main problem was the old kernels eventually taking a lot of disk space, but since ou do fresh installs you won't have that problem.
42 • @32 "go buy a Mac" (by Kazlu on 2019-02-19 11:45:22 GMT from France)
Sooooo in your opinion, an open source OS is necessarily broken and needs fixing? The only solution is to go for a commercial, closed source OS?
Have you met Debian?
43 • reliability, stability etc (by nanome on 2019-02-19 11:53:33 GMT from United Kingdom)
I voted "reliability and updated packages", but it's more complicated than that. I use Void [rolling distro] and Devuan [point releases [?], with updates]. I have to believe that the various packages will only be copied from upstream to the "current" repositories after careful consideration. In particular, new versions of some packages [eg libraries] don't break others because they introduce incompatibilities. Ultimately, confidence with a distro takes time and will depend which parts of the repositories that get used.
44 • Unpopular opinion (by Teresa e Junior on 2019-02-19 12:45:18 GMT from Brazil)
I have used Debian Unstable, then Testing and later Debian Stable for many years. Later, I used rolling Manjaro for some time. But what really got me the perfect balance between stability and latest packages was Xubuntu's 6 months release schedule: packages are decently recent, I don't have to deal with a major upgrade very often, but neither have to wait 2 years for them.
45 • @44 (by Teresa e Junior on 2019-02-19 12:51:40 GMT from Brazil)
And BTW, I've seen people above who do a fresh reinstall every 6 months. That's really unneeded, at least with Xubuntu. My current 18.10 system has been upgraded every 6 months since 16.10 without any problems.
46 • Fun versus stability in LinUX disttributions (by Galo on 2019-02-19 15:05:11 GMT from Peru)
The fact is : LinUX is on a stage of development not only for "geeks" but for end-user (be a person or corporation), for day to day work and recreation as well; so any distro release should be stable as Giblartar's rock.
47 • Stable/vs unstable (by Von on 2019-02-19 17:56:27 GMT from United States)
I was a long time user of Arch - however it was a big let down, every time I updated the distro something broke whether it the nvidia graphics, a "minor" part of a program, or it would go completely fubar.
I said I had enough and went to Gentoo - where the downside is compiling, it is still a rolling distro and it specifically built for my system, I get full control over it, and it is built to be stable over "new bells and whistles"
The pros outweigh the cons - aside from an occasional slot conflict from time to time when updating, I have made my "home" gentoo.
48 • Trolling & Updates (by M.Z. on 2019-02-19 18:27:36 GMT from United States)
I think some people just love ignorant trolling. Personally I think LMDE may just be the most stable & easy system available & when you run it with BTRFS + Timeshift it becomes incredibly resilient as well. Not that one needs the resilience & recoverability on a Debian based system mind you, but taken together is there a good argument beyond hearsay for a Mac over LMDE on BTRFS? I seriously doubt it. I wouldn't mind some minor changes like defaulting to Calamares on the installer so snapshots would work by default, but on the whole LMDE 2 was as near bullet proof as any system I can think of & version 3 is looking even better thanks to the recovery options.
I get very fresh software I with flatpak & can get a fresh desktop via automatic updates in LMDE or from manual updates in the Mint Main edition. Nearly everything I care about is a fresh as I could want it & I get either an extra stable Debian base, or manual update options like 'maybe at 6 months' or 'I can keep this the same for the next year, unless I change my mind'. It's far more convenient as far as I'm concerned than either 'must upgrade within 9 months' or 'stick with stale LTS' choices in Ubuntu, though as I understand it those are extremely popular options.
49 • Stable + Secure (by Justin on 2019-02-19 20:35:37 GMT from United States)
I want stable/static + quick security updates. Basically keep the interface/API the same (bug fixes are fine) and give me security updates as well. I agree with the many "I want it to work" comments, as I too have grown older and no longer have time to debug stuff like I used to (though I did enjoy it from time to time).
As far as I can tell, I'm basically stuck with Debian and maybe Ubuntu. Smaller distros just don't publish a security policy and I don't know if they keep up with it or not (sorry Devuan, I like everything else about you; Mint, you aren't nice, too, abandoning your LTS users to older Cinnamon versions when you up-rev your versions).
50 • @48 (by Teresa e Junior on 2019-02-19 22:49:06 GMT from Brazil)
With Flatpaks, you are limited to GUI applications, though. Most of the tools I use are CLI only.
51 • reinstall (by Tim on 2019-02-19 23:06:10 GMT from United States)
I basically do the same thing as you but with Ubuntu MATE. But I honestly find the reinstall easier. The last not great upgrade I had was 15.04 to 15.10, so that’s a while ago. But reinstalling is very quick if /home is a separate partition
52 • Check Your Facts (by M.Z. on 2019-02-19 23:12:53 GMT from United States)
"...abandoning your LTS users..."
Check your facts before you make such claims. According to Mint:
" things are working fine and you're happy with your current system, then you don't need to upgrade.
A new version of Linux Mint is released every 6 months. It usually comes with new features and improvements but there's nothing wrong with sticking with the release you already have. In fact, you could skip many releases and stick with the version that works for you.
Each release receives bug fixes and security updates for about 18 months..."
It's admittedly old, but still relevant & the attitude has always been 'upgrade if you really want too, if not you're still well covered'. It's also worth mentioning that all the sub version updates since 17.X have been considered 'trivial' & have offered more bug fixes + a DE upgrade with minimal hassle, or left you with security & bug fixes if your system was fine & you wanted to leave it.
What's the complaint? Is it that they make the same kind of major version releases as all other non-rolling OSes & Distros? That can't be it. Is it that you have to make a trivial upgrade to get the most bug fixes? Not only are trivial upgrades like 19.x trivial in my experience, but LMDE eliminates those if you so prefer. I don't see any real issue in your complaint & the wording seems fairly misleading, but maybe you just don't get what's actually going on.
53 • @52 (by Friar Tux on 2019-02-20 00:22:50 GMT from Canada)
I heartily agree. Especially with the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" (upgrade, in this case). Actually, I believe that holds true for most of the distros represented here, on Distrowatch. Though I think the 'fun' part mentioned about can still be had. I have two computers, one with a stable rock solid distro to get stuff done, the other is for playing. And I keep a log of what went wrong with the fails. By the way, I'm 67 and retired and my 'stable rock solid distro laptop in my do everything machine - newspaper, books, calendar/appointments, email, comics, movies, photos, writing, music, and much, much more. About the only thing I haven't figured out yet is how to get it to do the laundry, and dishes.
54 • updates (by Jesseica on 2019-02-20 01:40:48 GMT from United States)
I like having a stable base and freshly updated packages. There are only 4 distros that do that. The others have all gone Debain old or Arch unstable. I like Solus as it is the ultimate distro for this. You have a stable system with up to date packages. Sure the repos are small, but they are doing the right way..UNLIKE UBUNTU. The main issue is that it does not install in a VM or on real hardware. You also have the issue that it is 64bit only and does not run on my PowerMac's. It uses Gnome 3 with Bundgi and has a custom menu for Mate too that can not be customised like the Whisker or Zorin Light menus can. It also has the right aproach to packages. None of that multiple versions of crap. YOu get one verson and that is it. NO fish, or sch, just bash and like it. NO multiple chrome codects just download the one with closed source parts and your done. The only issue is it does not use debs.
Then you have FreeBSD. YOu get a stable system and decent package updates. Supports 32bit and has good ports. Can't code like me and want software ported all you have to do is ask. The only thing is that you have to reset up every 5 years and you have to do that from the termeinal each time. Lot of work and more to maintian. Also the GUI distros now all suck.
Suse Tumbleweed is another good rolling distro. You get fresh packages and it does not blow up on you every weekend like Mangaroo. I have not used it my self. Don't like that YAFT all in one tool that distros in suse studio used. Package management should be done by package managment. I also still hate Main KDE after that whole version 4 thing.
PCLlinux-Yah it is also rolling and it also has decent package updates. It is not old as debain and it does not cause to many updates to fail.
55 • Horses for courses (by CS on 2019-02-20 19:22:48 GMT from United States)
"Sooooo in your opinion, an open source OS is necessarily broken and needs fixing? The only solution is to go for a commercial, closed source OS?
Have you met Debian?"
Not broken by definition. In my experience though running Linux on a laptop is not worth the trouble. Great server OS. Somehow despite years of trying, even simple things like power management and wireless device management are in a sorry state when you use Linux on your laptop. It's just not a priority for the server-minded folks who do the real investment in Linux. Debian? I run Mint (mostly on Mac hardware but some Dells as well) and all of the above is first-hand experience.
Have you tried Mac? Careful, you might like it! Try iterm2, if you're like me you'll wonder how you lived without it and it will be another thing you curse when you're stuck with a Linux laptop for a while.
56 • worth the trouble (by Tim on 2019-02-20 20:13:40 GMT from United States)
I’ve been running Linux on a laptop for nearly ten years, and never had any power management problems. Occasionally some WiFi cards don’t play nice, but a ten dollar wifi dongle takes care of that problem.
Why is it worth it? Mostly because there’s a ton of Windows hardware out there for really cheap (like the HP 15 series) that chokes under Windows. Running UbuntuMATE, the hardware performs really well.
Obviously, OSX and Windows work well on high end systems. But Linux works well on all systems, It’s enabled me to live well on a budget, and to keep old hardware in service. I can get better performance out of my bottom-of -the line stuff running Linux than my friends and family get on equipment they paid a lot more for and will replace sooner.
57 • Reliable vs Static (by Jerdle on 2019-02-21 01:29:30 GMT from United Kingdom)
I chose reliable with up-to-date packages, but seriously, who wouldn't pick that option?
58 • @55, MacOS vs Linux laptops (by Angel on 2019-02-21 02:23:49 GMT from Philippines)
I've run Linux on laptops since 2006. I've also installed many on on other people's laptops. Early days, WiFi was a problem. Can't remember the last time it didn't work OOB, or could easily install a driver. Get no complaints from those I've installed for others. I've also run Macs, first an iMac desktop back when, then a MacBook that was a money pit, the hardware, not the software. No more Apple for me. I could have bought 3 Linux-capable laptops for the money spent on that POS. Not "stuck" with Linux.
59 • Argument for its own sake, and PCLOS (by Angel on 2019-02-21 02:55:07 GMT from Philippines)
Sometimes I think people argue for the hell of it. As the old Burger King ad said: Have it your way. Sometimes I go for long periods without changing much. Debian, Ubuntu LTS, Mint, et al., do quite well. Sometimes I spend time tinkering. Arch and derivatives, Tumbleweed. . . Choices. . .
Reinstall or upgrade forever? Months ago I upgraded from Kubuntu 18.04 to 18.10. Painless and quick. Just today I installed PCLinuxOS KDE right over Kubuntu. Also painless and quick. Leaving home partition intact, it boots up to the same configurations. In the case of a fresh install, time and effort depends on how many Apps that were not on the install ISO need to be installed afterward. Even then, they retain the previous configurations after installing. A fairly fast internet connection makes the difference smaller.
Saw the new PCLOS release on DW and got nostalgic. PCLOS was one of the first distros I used. Hadn't used in in more than a decade. The eight-month old KDE ISO installed and updated flawlessly. Still a very nice distro. Now on kernel 4.20.10 and KDE 5.15. from 4.18 and KDE 5.13 on Kubuntu. Time will tell if its stable and new.
60 • @55 : Linux on laptops, Mac (by Kazlu on 2019-02-21 12:13:13 GMT from France)
I am truly amazed by how your experience differs from mine. I use MX Linux myself and have installed Mint or Xubuntu on laptops for me in the past or for other people, probably over a dozen times on different hardware in the past decade, and I never ever had a single problem with power or wireless. I had problems with audio for myself in 2007, that's it. That got sorted out with an upgrade a few months after. From what I've seen and heard, problems can be expected on brand new hardware but on hardware that's over 1 or 2 years old, problems are way less fequent, if any.
I tried Mac and hated it, but to be honest I wasn't really trying fair. I was taking care of Macs of relatives who had trouble. The Macs were several years old, crippled with malware and unable tu update to a more recent version of MacOS, even if they were supposed to since more recent versions of MacOS came out for those. I was a bit lost because the logic is different, but that's also the case when you switch from Windows to Linux. It's not necessarily badly made, just different. But the main thing is that I am satisfied with Linux, why the hell would I try a closed ecosystem which does not play nice with hardware which does not have an Apple printed on it? Why would I switch to a closed source OS?
61 • why I left Apple (by Tim on 2019-02-21 14:28:51 GMT from United States)
What sealed the deal with me for Apple computers was the zero support you get (got, I guess, as this was 2009) once your device's AppleCare warranty expired. I had an early version of a particular iPod that had buggy firmware that wouldn't play nice with newer system updates. There was no channel to even talk to them about it. Plus I bought a G4 Mac Mini about a week before they announced the switch to Intel and I didn't appreciate buying hardware they already knew would be obsolete.
There's nothing like that in the Linux world. Sometimes you get told "we can't help you" but there's always a reason given. Old hardware works until not enough people use it to justify continuing supporting it. That's been nice.
All that said, I've gone back to Apple for mobile devices because they support their mobile devices for far longer than anyone else. They were the worst for desktop, but no one else keeps devices getting security updates for 5+ years. I really wished Ubuntu Phone had panned out.
62 • @52 Facts Checked (by Justin on 2019-02-21 21:02:48 GMT from United States)
"Linux Mint 17 is a long term support release which will be supported until 2019."
Qiana (17) Cinnamon: 2.2.16 (2014-Aug-19)
Rebecca (17.1) Cinnamon: 2.4.8+rebecca (2015-May-27)
Rafaela (17.2) Cinnamon: 2.6.13+rafaela (2015-Jul-09)
Rosa (17.3) Cinnamon: 2.8.8+rosa (2016-Apr-03)
(Dates from src_dir)
All those releases are LTS supported until 2019, yet they aren't providing bug fixes, etc., for their own desktop. My complaint is that they say they will provide bug fixes and support and then they do not. Mint doesn't take security as seriously as other distributions (go find the LMDE blog post where Clem flat out says if you want security, LMDE is not for you). If Ubuntu doesn't give it to them, they don't take it.
Those versions still have bugs in them (had a segfault the night before last), and the solution is always "update to a more recent verison" implying that they no longer support this version. I don't have a problem if you're some other distro, but Cinnamon is your featured desktop that you develop. If you don't want to provide bug fixes or support after you move past your 6-month window, then just say so. If they did that, then no complaint. I then know they are going to orphan the version after a short period of time, and I can act accordingly. Instead, they say they will do it and then they do not. We can agree to disagree after that since it's a personal value call, but that is what bothers me.
63 • Let it run? (by Jeff on 2019-02-22 00:01:46 GMT from United States)
@33 and @35
Y'all realize that you don't need to stare at the computer when running source-based updates. Let it run in the background or overnight while sleeping.
Yeah, that sounds good, until you get back to it in the morning and find it has been waiting on you to okay something since about 15 minutes after you left it.
Been there, done that, wore the Tee shirt out.
64 • Clothes don't make the man (by Trihexagonal on 2019-02-22 01:55:02 GMT from United States)
@63 "Yeah, that sounds good, until you get back to it in the morning and find it has been waiting on you to okay something since about 15 minutes after you left it.
Been there, done that, wore the Tee shirt out."
If you were as knowledgeable of compiling ports on a FreeBSD machine as your T-shirt led you to believe, you'd know that Firefox-ESR starts compiling src at the end of the build process after any and all dependencies have been compiled and will run till it is finished with no intervention needed.
65 • Support Cycle (by M.Z. on 2019-02-24 22:24:03 GMT from United States)
The bit about LMDE is flat out wrong, as LMDE has been based on Debian stable for some time now & doesn't have any old packages held in snapshot as LMDE 1 did. I know what you may have been hinting at, but totally false since LMDE 2 & now 3 have been out & reciving the same updates as Debian Stable.
On the Mint 17 front, I see nothing about release dates in your links, just packages version numbers. What's more there is no indication of what bugs are confirmed to exist in Mint 17, or their severity.
It's also well worth noting that Mint 17.x reaches End Of Life very soon, & would be in the 'just barely supported' phase of it's release. The Distros with the longest term support are the Red Hat Enterprise Linux family & there are clearly decreasing phases of support in those Distros if the Wikipedia page is too be believed. Why you think Mint should go against industry norms and dump big effort from their relatively modest community project into something nearing EOL is beyond me, but Red Hat seems to cut their support for old platforms as they age, so it looks like your mad at standard operating procedure.
Number of Comments: 65
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