| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 803, 25 February 2019
Welcome to this year's 8th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Whenever we connect our computers to the Internet they transmit data which gives away information about ourselves such as what operating system we are running, what our interests are, who we associate with, and what software we use to communicate. In recent years more people have been turning to operating systems which attempt to limit the amount of data we leak to the Internet with Septor being one of the available options. This week we begin by sharing Joshua Allen Holm's review of the Septor distribution. In our News section we talk about Nitrux and NetBSD exploring new virtual machine options that should offer better performance and we talk about Project Trident's feature for syncing local packages with software repositories. Plus we share plans to upgrade pfSense to use version 12 of FreeBSD as its base. In our Opinion Poll we talk about how to reduce distractions on the desktop by preventing window focus stealing and, in our Opinion Poll, we ask you what the best method is for making sure focus doesn't shift to a new window. Plus we are thrilled to share the releases of the past week and list to the torrents we are seeding. We wish you a wonderful week and happy reading!
- Review: Septor 2019
- News: NetBSD and Nitrux explore new virtual machine options, Project Trident enables syncing packages with repositories, future pfSense versions to be based on FreeBSD 12
- Questions and answers: Preventing applications from stealing window focus
- Released last week: Kali Linux 2019.1
- Torrent corner: BackBox, EasyOS, Elastix, Kali, KDE neon, Manjaro, PBXware, PCLinuxOS, Slax
- Opinion poll: Preventing a window from stealing focus
- Reader comments
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (11MB) and MP3 (8MB) formats.
|Feature Story (by Joshua Allen Holm)
Septor is a security-focused distribution based on Debian Testing (Debian "Buster" at the time of writing). Its focus is to provide programs connecting to the Internet with the ability to use the Tor network, along with a few other privacy/security focused applications. Unlike Debian, Septor's ISO does not provide a choice of desktop environments; it comes with the KDE Plasma 5.14 desktop environment with some layout and theme customization. The ISO also comes with non-free firmware, unlike the standard Debian ISOs, so various wireless adapters and other devices work automatically. Septor's 1.9GB ISO functions as both a live image and as installation media, so for this review I tried out both ways of using the ISO.
Septor 2019 -- KDE Plasma desktop
(full image size: 680kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
Running Septor as a live image
I started by trying the live desktop. I had to disable Secure Boot first, but other than that I had no issues booting the flash drive and starting up the live desktop. The time to get to a working desktop was not particularly quick, nor was it extremely slow, but the length it did take makes Septor a less than ideal candidate for a quick, emergency "I need a secure Linux desktop NOW" flash drive.
The problems with the live image are not limited to boot speed. The version of LibreOffice included on the ISO will not start. I tried LibreOffice Calc, Impress, and Writer and they all produced a Signal 11 error. The problem persisted after installing Septor to my hard drive, but went away after updating the packages.
Perhaps the most frustrating thing with the live image is the fact that it includes Tor Browser Launcher, which is used to install the Tor Browser, but there is no alternative browser installed. Until Tor Browser Launcher installs Tor Browser, there is no way to browse the web. And because the live image lacks any sort of permanency, Tor Browser needs to be reinstalled every time the live image is run. Because of that issue I tried using the live image on several local public wi-fi networks to see how long it would take to get Tor Browser installed and running. Times ranged from approximately 5 minutes using the wi-fi at my local public library to almost 15 minutes using the wi-fi at a small local restaurant. Suffice it to say that Septor's live image is not an optimal choice for using on an emergency, secure OS flash drive.
Once I was done trying out the live image, I rebooted my computer and selected the install option from the boot menu. This started a Septor-themed variant of the standard Debian graphical installer. Just like with standard Debian's graphical installer, my trackpad was not detected/did not work, so I had to just use the tab key to navigate through the install process. I also could have rebooted and selected the text install option instead, but using Tab and Enter was easy enough.
Septor 2019 -- Installer language selection
(full image size: 52kB, resolution: 800x600 pixels)
I ran into a few additional problems when trying to install Septor. I had to be connected to the Internet in order to complete the installation. I was able to skip over the network configuration step by canceling, going to the overview of install steps, and selecting the next step, but problems arose again when it came time to configure the timezone/date & time options. I was also able to cancel, go to the overview of install steps, and skip that step, but that was tedious. The biggest problem came when the installer tried to install GRUB, which failed completely. I ended up needing to switch my computer from EFI to Legacy Boot mode, before Septor would successfully install.
Septor's default settings and software selection
Once I got Septor successfully installed on my computer I started looking at the default software selection. Most of it is fairly typical: various KDE applications and utilities, GIMP, LibreOffice, and VLC media player, but the Internet applications are somewhat atypical. Instead of Firefox, Septor uses Tor Browser (which, like I noted about is not actually installed until the Tor Browser Launcher application is run the first time), Thunderbird, HexChat, OnionShare, QuiteRSS, and Ricochet IM. All the default Internet applications either use the Tor network by design or are configured to use Tor. For example, Thunderbird comes with the TorBirdy extension pre-installed.
Septor 2019 -- Application menu showing Internet applications
(full image size: 625kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
Septor also comes with a few utilities designed to assist the user with security. The Metadata Anonymisation Toolkit provides a way to strip metadata, that could potentially be used to identify a user, from various file types. The tool is straightforward and easy to use, simply select a file and if it is a supported file type it can be stripped of problematic metadata by clicking the Clean button. Septor also includes VeraCrypt, but like a few other applications included in Septor, it is almost unusable because of theme and color issues. In the screenshot below you can see how VeraCrypt has GUI elements that are impossible to read or can only be read when the mouse is hovering over them.
Septor 2019 -- VeraCrypt with theming problems
(full image size: 496kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
The graphical issues present in VeraCrypt and other programs seem limited to GTK-based programs and can be fixed by changing the settings for what themes are used for GTK applications from Adwaita to Breeze. However, given how broken VeraCrypt and other applications are using the default settings, this issue should have been fixed by the developers, not by end-users needing to change settings. In the process of trying to find a fix for the display issues with GTK applications, I tried various other look & feel options and also discovered that selecting the Septor Look And Feel with the option "Use Desktop Layout from theme" checked does not correctly restore the default Septor panel layout and desktop background. I could easily change the background back to the Septor one manually, but I ended up copying various files from /etc/skel to my home directory to get the default Septor panel layout back.
Septor 2019 -- Metadata Anonymisation Toolkit
(full image size: 562kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
Personally, I had no issue with the default software selection. Septor comes with a well-rounded collection of software. The only thing I ended up adding was a second web browser, Firefox ESR, so I had a browser that was not tied into the Tor network. There are various settings and theme issues that I noted above, but no issues with the default software selection itself.
Installing and updating software
When it comes to installing and updating software, Septor is exactly like Debian. On the command-line packages can be installed using apt or dpkg, and the Synaptic package manager and gdebi are the pre-installed GUI tools for graphical installation of packages. Septor uses Debian's repositories for most of its packages, but there is also a Septor repository with Septor specific packages. The Debian packages come from Debian mirrors and the Septor repository is hosted on SourceForge. Septor comes with the apt-transport-https package installed, but the repositories listed in /etc/apt are all still configured to use plain HTTP connections.
Septor 2019 -- The Synaptic package manager
(full image size: 95kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
While the default selection of software is well-rounded, there is plenty of software in the Debian repositories, so replacing one of Septor's default applications with something different should not be a problem. However, the Septor specific repository only contains a small list of packages, with over half installed by default, so there are not a lot of extra Septor exclusive applications for Septor that are not in standard Debian.
When I first installed Septor about three weeks after the ISO was released, I ended up needing to install a sizable number of packages with my first "apt upgrade." These packages fixed many of the problems I had when using the live image, but there were a lot of updates, and there continued to be updates almost every day. It looks like /etc/apt/sources.list is tracking Debian "Buster," not "Testing," so hopefully things will calm down once Debian 10 "Buster" is released.
Septor's concept is good, but the implementation needs some work. Like I noted above, the live image has numerous issues that make it a poor choice to use as an emergency flash drive. A refreshed ISO would fix some of the problems, but not all. Once installed and updated Septor is better, but there are still the issues with some applications being almost unusable because of issues with the themes and colours. Those are fixable by tweaking a few settings, but the user should not need to make those fixes themselves.
Overall, I did not dislike Septor, but I have a hard time recommending it over Tails or any distribution with Tor Browser installed. However, once a few more of the issues I experienced get fixed, Septor might make a good choice to put on a spare laptop for privacy-focused web browsing. Septor is interesting, it just needs more polish.
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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
Septor has a visitor supplied average rating of: 7.8/10 from 25 review(s).
Have you used Septor? You can leave your own review of the project on our ratings page.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
NetBSD and Nitrux explore new virtual machine options, Project Trident enables syncing packages with repositories, future pfSense versions to be based on FreeBSD 12
Hardware accelerated virtual machines are coming to the NetBSD operating system. The NetBSD Virtual Machine Monitor (NVMM), which can support up to 128 virtual machines, is available for testing. "The NVMM driver provides hardware-accelerated virtualization support on NetBSD. It is made of an ~MI front-end, to which MD back-ends can be plugged. A virtualization API is provided in libnvmm, that allows to easily create and manage virtual machines via NVMM. Two additional components are shipped as demonstrators, toyvirt and smallkern: the former is a toy virtualizer, that executes in a VM the 64-bit ELF binary given as argument, the latter is an example of such binary." Technical details, build instructions and screenshots can be found on the project's website.
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Another project which is working to provide high performance virtual machines is Nitrux. The Nitrux developers are using technology called VMetal to run copies of Microsoft Windows in order to provide more games and applications to Nitrux users, ideally with very little performance impact. "Over the past weeks, we have published videos about a new feature that we want to add to Nitrux 2.0 called VMetal. With VMetal we hope to bring our users the ability to run Windows software to their Nitrux systems. Although we mainly want to add VMetal to Nitrux for the gaming aspect of it, it is without a doubt the best way to make use of Windows software without the need for dual booting Microsoft’s operating system. What is VMetal? VMetal allows users to run Windows in parallel to Nitrux with the aim to provide users of access to Windows software meanwhile they can still use their Linux desktop at the same time." Additional information on VMetal and other Nitrux projects can be found in this blog post.
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Project Trident is rolling out a series of new features in the operating system's latest round of updates. One of the features enables the administrator to synchronize installed packages with those in the Project Trident repositories. This allows packages to be either upgraded or rolled back as needed to keep the system in sync. "When starting updates, there will now be a prompt about whether to perform a 'full' update (forcibly resync your system with the versions of packages in the repository). This option takes a bit longer to download/perform the updates, but is very useful if your system has gotten out of sync with the repo from manually testing packages or you are moving backwards to an older version of the package repository." More details about new features coming to Trident can be found in the project's blog post.
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Netgate, the company behind pfSense, has reported via their newsletter that their operating system for firewalls and routers is about to get a version bump and future releases will be based on FreeBSD 12. "pfSense 2.4.5 snapshots have been shut down so that we can prepare for the master branch to be switched over to pfSense 2.5.0 running on FreeBSD 12.x. The version bump to 2.5.0 was warranted due to the operating system moving to a new major version. This post on the Netgate forum will cover the major details on the next release of pfSense that you need to know."
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Preventing applications from stealing window focus
Trying-to-stay-focused asks: Is there a desktop environment in Linux which prevents, through an option, applications in the opening state/phase from stealing the focus from the running/current one? I want a newly launched application to start "behind" or "under" the current window. Even if an input is required, for example a password, this should still open "behind" or "under" the current window. Such a required activity should only be displayed in the panel (for example, by flashing). Stealing focus is very annoying!
DistroWatch answers: There are desktop environments with built-in options that help prevent an application from stealing focus from the currently active window. Typically the desktop's window manager can be set to discourage focus stealing, at least from applications which are already open. (New application windows almost always grab focus when the window first opens, on any desktop.)
When using KDE Plasma, for example, you can go into the System Settings panel, open the Window Management module and select the Window Behaviour page. There you should find a tab called Focus with an option called Focus Stealing Prevention. By default this is typically set to "Low", but you can raise the value to "High" or "Extreme" to block windows from stealing focus.
If you are running the Xfce desktop, the focus stealing feature is a little harder to deal with because elements of it are located in two different places. First open the Window Manager settings tool. Click the Focus tab and remove the check from the box labelled "Automatically give focus to newly created windows". Then open the Window Manager Tweaks tool, again click the Focus tab. Make sure "Activate focus stealing prevention" is checked/enabled. Then disable the "Honor standard ICCCM focus hint". Finally, under the title "When a window raises itself", set the value to "Do nothing".
The Cinnamon desktop has a settings module called Windows. In the Windows module, click the Behaviour tab. Then enable the option "Prevent focus stealing".
I suspect other desktop environments have similar options - GNOME does, though I think it is only accessible through a command line tool - but these are the ones I can think of at the moment. Unfortunately, none of them are perfect. Newly opened windows and highly stubborn windows can still steal focus away from the window you are currently using. There is another approach you can use, if you plan to keep using the same window for long periods of time. If you right-click in the title bar of a window, in nearly every Linux window manager and desktop environment, you should see an option called "Always on top" or "Keep above others". Enabling this option will keep the current window above all the others, in almost every situation. The only down side is you need to either minimize the window or right-click the title bar again and disable the "Always on top" option to allow other windows to move to the top of the window stack.
I tend to find this last option the most useful (and the most portable across desktop environments) when I am working in the same window for long stretches and do not wish to be distracted.
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Additional answers can be found in our Questions and Answers archive.
|Released Last Week
Kali Linux 2019.1
Kali Linux is a Debian-based distribution with a collection of security and forensics tools. The project's first release of 2019 offers wider support for ARM devices and an updated version of Metasploit: "Welcome to our first release of 2019, Kali Linux 2019.1, which is available for immediate download. This release brings our kernel up to version 4.19.13, fixes numerous bugs, and includes many updated packages. The big marquee update of this release is the update of Metasploit to version 5.0, which is their first major release since version 4.0 came out in 2011. Metasploit 5.0 is a massive update that includes database and automation APIs, new evasion capabilities, and usability improvements throughout. Check out their in-progress release notes to learn about all the new goodness. Kali Linux 2019.1 also includes updated packages for theHarvester, DBeaver, and more. For the complete list of updates, fixes, and additions, please refer to the Kali bug tracker changelog." Additional information can be found in the project's release announcement.
Kali Linux 2019.1 "Lite" -- Running the Xfce desktop
(full image size: 845kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
Barry Kauler has announced the release of EasyOS 1.0.8. EasyOS is an experimental Linux distribution which uses custom containers along with many of the technologies and package formats pioneered by Puppy Linux. The new version offers up new network utilities, French and German editions along with the default English edition, and some bug fixes. "It has arrived, a new release of EasyOS! The previous x86_64 release was version 1.0, and it is essential to read that announcement. Most important, as explained in above link, do not download the ISO file, unless your PC is unable to boot from USB. Preferred option is to download easy-1.0.8-amd64.img.gz and write it to a USB stick. If you don't know how, simple instructions here. Lots of little improvements since then, and some not-so-little, such as adoption of Alex Suykov's minibase network utilities, which is now the default network manager, given the name 'UltraSNS'. There are two non-English builds, French and German, with considerable input provided by L18L and esmourguit (names on the Puppy Forum). There were some other languages built for 1.0." Further details and information on known issues can be found in the project's 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: 1,266
- Total data uploaded: 23.9TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Preventing a window from stealing focus
In our Questions and Answers column we discussed how to prevent application windows from activating and taking focus away from the window we are currently using. We would like to know what method our readers use to prevent focus stealing. Please leave us a comment with your solutions.
You can see the results of our previous poll on types of stability in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Preventing a window from stealing focus
|I set my window to keep above others: ||115 (11%)|
| I use the Prevent Focus Stealing feature of my desktop: ||136 (13%)|
| I only use one application at a time: ||82 (8%)|
| I use another method to block focus stealing: ||43 (4%)|
| I do not block focus stealing: ||692 (65%)|
DistroWatch database summary
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This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 4 March 2019. 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 • Focus Stealing (by Friar Tux on 2019-02-25 00:46:33 GMT from Canada) |
I voted 'use one app at a time' though I should say that with the amount of time it takes for a programme to open, I just wait for it to open and minimize it. That way I also get a wee break from what I'm doing. Also, if I know I'm going to use 5 or 6 different programmes, I just open them all up to the taskbar at the start. Jesse, I've never personally used it but is there not a 'command option' that one can add to the Property/Command of each menu icon link to open them minimized? (Used this in Windows XP a lot way back when.)
2 • Minimized applications (by Jesse on 2019-02-25 00:52:26 GMT from Canada)
@1: Some desktop applications can be started minimized or displayed in the system tray. Transmission, for example, and some chat clients will do this. However, I am not aware of any universal flag that will force any/all applications to start minimized on Linux.
3 • Focus stealing (by Vukota on 2019-02-25 01:06:11 GMT from Serbia)
I don't see a problem with applications which I or OS installed, as they are "trusted" applications and can be uninstalled if that is a problem. If they are taking focus or opening behind, that is in 99.99% of cases a Feature.
If there is a virus, none of the mentioned measures will work. In case of browsers (which are loading dynamic and untrusted things) I do use pop-up/ad blockers to deal with those.
4 • Focus stealing (by Angel on 2019-02-25 02:31:24 GMT from Philippines)
I prefer the opposite of what the questioner does. If I open a window, I want it up front. One of my pet annoyances is when I open a window and can't input anything because there's some little popup requiring attention while hiding behind, sometimes a password, sometimes just "OK" or "Apply."
5 • Alternative to Blocking Focus Stealing (by Bruce Fowler on 2019-02-25 03:19:15 GMT from United States)
I seldom run more than four applications at a time, so I just keep four workspaces around and let each application have all the screen space it wants. It's easy to switch workspaces, and in the meanwhile, the different applications stay out of each other's way.
6 • Focus stealing (by pin on 2019-02-25 05:05:04 GMT from Sweden)
I didn't vote on the poll, because I just use a tiling window manager, awesome wm. This is basically a non-issue, unless, you add transparency shades to focus/unfocus clients.
7 • Focus problems (by Bobbie Sellers on 2019-02-25 05:24:43 GMT from United States)
I switch between mailer-newsreader, 2 browsers, one or two text editors,
and multiple documents when busy constantly.
Focus stealing prevention would just slow me down and I am too slow already.
Tried out Windows Lister widget and it was good until the number of the
Virtual Top vanished.
8 • Sloppy Focus (by RoboNuggie on 2019-02-25 12:00:20 GMT from United Kingdom)
I use Motif Window Manager....but any lightweight DM should work the same way, in that if I set to sloppy focus, I can type in a window underneath the top one easily if need be....
Sometimes the old ways are better..... :-)
9 • Focus (by dragonmouth on 2019-02-25 12:48:36 GMT from United States)
I'm with Angel. When I open an application, it is because I want to use it NOW, not at some undetermined time in the future. I think it is counterproductive to load any and all applications that one MAY use during the day first thing in the morning. The unused applications not only clutter up the desktop and task bar but they also use up resources.
10 • Focus stealing (by SuperOscar on 2019-02-25 13:20:04 GMT from Finland)
I chose “I use the Prevent Focus Stealing feature of my desktop” although I haven’t really tuned the KDE Plasma’s focus stealing prevention’s defaults. I use the so-called X mouse, already did during my OS/2 and Win9x/XP days, where the mouse pointer always points the focussed window. Unfortunately, there are always SOME apps that either are too slow to respond to the mouse movement or eager enough to hold the focus in any case. Maybe I really SHOULD try to use a stricter focus policy
After all, what’s the use of running KDE Plasma unless you fine-tune everything exactly to your liking? ;)
11 • Focus Stealing (by Kevin on 2019-02-25 14:53:28 GMT from United States)
With dwm I rarely have focus stealing issues. I do occasionally have one Java based app, IBM i ACS, that occasionally steals focus with a message dialog. And every once in a great file I think I remember Firefox doing the same, but those instances are so few and far between they're hardly worth mentioning.
12 • Focus (by Christian on 2019-02-25 15:28:01 GMT from Brazil)
If I open an application, I want it now, no point in preventing it on gaining focus.
If I already have what I need running, and there's a window demanding attention, then I want it to only flash or call for attention in a non intrusive fashion. It could even be a notification.
BTW, I find the Gnome notifications usefull and annoying at the same time. I've tried to change the position, but I always find it getting in my way... If there's any Gnome dev here, I would love to have my notifications like a news ticker, birefly displayed over the panel (just like Android used to do) and not taking any space in my screen...
13 • Focus Stealing considered evil (by Sitwon on 2019-02-25 15:38:32 GMT from United States)
I think focus stealing pop-up windows are the cardinal sin of GUI interfaces.
There's nothing worse than typing away and having a pop-up window flash on the screen and disappear as you don't stop yourself from hitting the space bar in time... and you're just left wondering what you just confirmed or cancelled with no way of knowing even which application it was.
This was also one of the main reasons I switched to Linux. While there are some applications which suffer from this bad design habit in Linux, it had become the status-quo in the Windows world with every application shouting for your attention like a toddler.
Today, I use a tiled/dynamic window manager that helps manage the apps with bad behavior.
It's FINE to pop up a new windows, but never to steal focus. Focus changes should always require a deliberate action from the user.
14 • focus follows mouse (by Luke on 2019-02-25 19:12:06 GMT from United States)
I have focus stealing disabled, focus set to follow my mouse pointer, and windows are only brought to the front on click. This lets me, for example, partially obscure a terminal window with a browser window if I'm using it for reference. And yet, Alt-Tab still works exactly as you'd expect--it will give focus to the chosen window (until the mouse is moved).
It's such a simple thing and probably not even that hard of a habit to break, but it's the first thing I miss when I sit down at a Windows PC.
15 • Survey (by Mitch on 2019-02-25 19:54:01 GMT from United States)
I selected: "do not block focus stealing:" because "I only use one application at a time:"
Make sense. And, the available screen size after some window resizing allows for two or three to be seen as needed. Every day computing for me is in a linear method; I am not prone to tile windows, etc. One task at a time, maybe two if needed with the file manager minimized and waiting.
16 • Focus Issues (by M.Z. on 2019-02-25 20:40:59 GMT from United States)
As with most of the poll responses so far, I don't generally mess with focus settings because the default behaviour is unobtrusive enough on most every Linux Distro I've tried. It's always been worlds better than the aggravation of 'Acer Portal Service Termination Notice' garbage I got using a family member's new/refurbished laptop with Windows 10. Apparently Acer thought it was nice to load some already discontinued crap-ware into Win10 & make a giant pop up window to inform users that the pre-installed crap-ware nobody asked them for was being discontinued 6 months before they got the laptop. Not only that, it comes back again & again until you uninstall the crap-ware. Not exactly an enticement to go back to Windows.
I guess the worst I've seen recently in Linux is a little pop up windows that moves between virtual desktop when I'm running updates in the Mageia Control Center. Perhaps changing the KDE focus settings will prevent the issue? Either way it's fairly minor compared to what I see in MS machines.
17 • @1 @2 Start applications minimised (by Charles on 2019-02-25 20:59:50 GMT from United Kingdom)
It depends on the window manager. Some will support starting an application (or all applications) minimised, some won't. Just a couple of examples I know of, with Fluxbox you can right click on a the window button of a minimised window, and choose "Remember -> Minimized" and then all subsequent instances of that application will start minimised.
Likewise, with FVWM you could do:
Style _appname_ StartIconic
Style * StartIconic (to match all applications)
which accomplishes the same thing.
18 • NVMM and NetBSD rocks! (by Oscar on 2019-02-25 23:58:01 GMT from Spain)
Great job for NVMM as the rest of the NetBSD projects: Xen port, rump kernels, Kernel sannitizers, npf, pkgsrc and many more... those NetBSD developers worth four!
19 • focus stealing (by tim on 2019-02-26 06:00:45 GMT from United States)
when using fluxbox window manager, your can right-click an application window and choose "Layer". Additionally, you can choose "Remember--}Layer" and that will establish a permanent rule (matches based on the title of window). Separately, you can edit ~/.fluxbox/apps and add a rule applicable to all windows of a named applicatio, e.g. [firefox]
20 • Focus stealing (by Simon on 2019-02-26 07:33:34 GMT from New Zealand)
Focus stealing is very annoying. Overwriting windows visually is OK...there can be legitimate reasons for bringing something urgent to a user's attention (e.g. in a pop-up notification near the corner of a desktop) no matter what else s/he is doing...but to grab the input without warning is infuriating and I'm surprised anyone tolerates it: all these desktop environments have focus-stealing prevention features for good reason. It has the potential to grab a user's password and send it somewhere else... ("please enter your publicly visible username for our crappy software" pops up just as you're typing your root password into a shell...) many things can go wrong when someone is assuming that their input is going into one window, and then an application decides to jam itself in between the user and the user's intended application. Maybe not if you're a drooling one-finger typist pecking painfully along at three words per minute...but for anyone with good muscle memory and a fast workflow, focus stealing is a nightmare, because the odds are pretty high that your fingers will already be interacting with something else when the focus stealer pushes in, so it will receive input that wasn't intended for it.
21 • Window focus: set it one time and leave it alone. (by R. Cain on 2019-02-26 14:30:43 GMT from United States)
Regarding Linux Mint--
Under “System Settings/Preferences/Windows/Behavior”, one finds the following Windows Focus menu of choices, along with “On/Off” switches, for selection--
● Automatically raise focused windows
● Bring windows which require attention to the current workspace
● Prevent focus stealing
● Attach dialog windows to the parent window
Switches are set, respectively, to ‘Off’, ‘Off’, ‘On’, ‘Off’.
Works for me. Always has. Zero aggravation.
Because of all the horsesh*t from the Mint organization since v. 17.3, I'm switching to MX-Linux 17.3, and would appreciate hearing from users of this distribution as to how to easily manipulate 'windows focus' in this new distribution (will consider v. 18 when it has a few more miles on it, a couple more point releases, as well as the expected great reviews. 'Til then...)
22 • @21 - MX17.3 and MX18 (by Hoos on 2019-02-27 17:21:49 GMT from Singapore)
" I'm switching to MX-Linux 17.3, and would appreciate hearing from users of this distribution as to how to easily manipulate 'windows focus' in this new distribution (will consider v. 18 when it has a few more miles on it, a couple more point releases, as well as the expected great reviews. 'Til then...) ..."
A fully updated MX17+ is essentially MX18, except for the newer default kernel (4.19) of MX18, a new set of backgrounds/wallpapers and other default artwork, all of which you could manually install if you wished.
I don't recall being annoyed with window focus behaviour in MX while using the default setup. MX uses XFCE 4.12 so you could just check the general literature on XFCE.
23 • @21 (by Az4x4 on 2019-02-27 18:07:44 GMT from United States)
"Because of all the horsesh*t from the Mint organization since v. 17.3, I'm switching to MX-Linux 17.3.."
What "horsesh*t" specifically do you have in mind R. Cain? Broad brush strokes like "all the horsesh*t" don't tell us anything..
24 • MX17.3 and MX18 (by Hoos on 2019-02-27 17:21:49 GMT from Singapore) (by R. Cain on 2019-02-27 23:04:15 GMT from United States)
Thank you very much for this information; it's one more piece which will lead--hopefully--to the use of MX-18.X
This is a great help; it lends further validation to my decision to download MX-17.3's latest update, which was updated in October (or November) of 2018. I'll still reserve judgement until good, hard data is available on MX-18.xx.
[I'm a firm believer in the old, VERY wise piece of advice: "Never use, or trust, a piece of software whose revision number ends with 'Point-Oh' "]
25 • MX 17.3 (by Andy Figueroa on 2019-02-28 05:25:01 GMT from United States)
"... validation to my decision to download MX-17.3 ..."
This, sir, is wrong. MX-18 is effectively a point release of MX-17. MX-18 is built on the solid base of the same Debian stable as MX-17. The number only changed to 18 (now 18.1) because of their tradition to apply a new number each December. MX-17.3 cannot be updated to a better MX-17.3 or 17.4. It automatically becomes MX-18.~.
Installing an out-of-date distribution iso does not give one stable, it just gives less secure and not-corrected.
26 • Mis-directed, valuable information. (by R. Cain on 2019-02-28 10:17:50 GMT from United States)
You have made some extremely valuable points, but they are of such importance that you really should make better use of your time by directing this extremely valuable information not to me or to the discerning, misinformed members of this venue, but to the developers of MX-Linux.
I'm certain that the MX developers will be relieved to be disabused of the notion that any of their point releases, into which one must infer from your very knowledgeable post that not much effort is expended on their part "...cannot be updated to a better..." version. I'm just as certain that MX-Linux, as well as the entire Linux community will be extremely comforted in knowing from you--by inference--that not very much effort has gone into the development of MX-18--that it is simply a minor--how did you put it--"...*point release* of MX-17...". No one even SUSPECTED that MX-17 was simply a "point release" of MX-16; that MX-16 was nothing more than a "point release" of MX-15; that MX-15...
I know that *I* feel extremely more comfortable and much better informed about computing in general to have been informed that my use of Linux Mint 13--Maya--considered to be one of the best and most stable of ALL Linux Mint distributions *by no less than the entire Mint community*, is a serious error; and that all the stability which Maya has offered over all these years, and still continues to do so, is simply a figment of my imagination--a chimera, so to speak.
Once again, thank you from the entire community for this extremely lucid and valuable clarification and amplification; and for yet one more addition to the (amazingly) rapidly-growing sentiment--among EXTREMELY knowledgeable Linux experts--that the only valuable Linux distribution is the very latest one.
27 • @24, 25 and 26 (by Hoos on 2019-02-28 11:15:37 GMT from Singapore)
@Andy Figueroa is correct. At least one developer has commented on their forum that there was some debate among the team as to whether to call it "MX17.whatever", or MX18.
The reason is that both 17 and 18 are based on Debian Stretch. MX15 and MX16 were based on Debian Jessie.
Of course there was more to MX18 than the name. There was a move to default plymouth boot splash, the introduction of Gimp 2.10 (which had to be backported and by necessity some dependencies had to be upgraded), new kernel for newer hardware, etc. MX18 was a release that also pulled together various bug fixes/improvements to installer and MX tools.
See -- https://mxlinux.org/mx-18-continuum-now-available
However, these updates also came to MX17 users through their normal updating process, except for the new kernel, artwork and setting plymouth as default boot option.
See -- https://mxlinux.org/updates-coming-soon-mx-17
If you fully update your MX17+, the name of your installed distro does change to "MX18".
@25 was what I was trying to express in my post @22.
MX18.1 iso is more updated than a Oct/Nov 2018 iso of MX17+. There was at least one large Debian point release update in the interim, and bug fixes/improvements of some MX apps, including the installer.
@R.Cain, if you have really old hardware, sometimes an older kernel may work better than the newest one. You know your hardware best. If you still choose to install MX17+, I recommend updating the installer first before installation.
On the other hand, you could also change kernel from MX18 live iso. If your live run shows you that the newer 4.19 kernel doesn't work as well on your hardware, you could install any other kernel from the repositories, then use the MX app called "Live usb kernel updater" to remaster the live usb with the newly-installed kernels.
28 • @27 (continued) (by Hoos on 2019-02-28 11:25:54 GMT from Singapore)
MX18 also introduced full disk encryption for the first time.
Obviously if you have already installed MX17, you can't change that installation to a fully-encrypted one just by installing the updates.
29 • Not miss-directed, and very valuable . (by Garon on 2019-02-28 13:59:42 GMT from United States)
@Hoos, and Andy,
Thinks for the info on the MX17 and MX18 differences. Being able to install using a fully-encrypted disk is very valuable information for many of us. That's why I read these comments.
30 • @29 a slight clarification (by tim on 2019-03-01 03:37:41 GMT from United States)
The "live-kernel-updater" utility featured in MX Linux and in antiX, it involves a separate operation, it operates separately from the "live-remaster" tool. One must first perform a "live-remaster" operation to ensure that a safe rollback is possible in case the new kernel doesn't operate smoothly with your system (the live-kernel-updater checks for this, it will not allow you to proceed with the kernel update operation if a safe rollback is not possible).
31 • @21 (by Justin on 2019-03-01 20:50:49 GMT from United States)
While I'm not sure what @21 is referring to specifically, I'm planning to migrate to Debian "Cinnamon" when 17.3 hits EOL and Ubuntu stops providing updates for Mint. That way I can continue to get the desktop I like but closer to the "mothership." You can even install all the artwork packages manually to get a very similar look to Mint 17.3. It isn't packaged such that this is super easy to do if don't want extra stuff, but it's close enough. I had to change a couple defaults to fix a few things broken in the theme, but it was easy enough.
32 • Misdirected, INVALUABLE information for the MX-Linux development team. (by R. Cain on 2019-03-02 21:17:02 GMT from United States)
I am almost certain that--to a newcomer to the Linux scene, as well as long-time Linux users, the questionable logic employed here to justify (some)one’s stance that MX-Linux 18 is nothing more than a “point release” of MX-17 must seem to the first group to be yet one more example of the disarray in the Linux community; and to the second group...simply laughable.
I have here excerpted some comments which are used to “PROVE” your points that MX-18 is nothing more than a “...point release...” of MX-17--
“This, sir, is wrong. MX-18 is effectively a point release of MX-17....”
“...A fully updated MX17+ is essentially MX18, except for the newer default kernel (4.19) of MX18, a new set of backgrounds/wallpapers and other default artwork, all of which you could manually install if you wished...” [“...MX-18 is effectively a point release of MX-17...”]
"...MX18.1 iso is more updated than a Oct/Nov 2018 iso of MX17+. There was at least one large Debian point release update in the interim, and bug fixes/improvements of some MX apps, including the installer....”-- [“...MX-18 is effectively a point release of MX-17...”]
”...Of course there was more to MX18 than the name. There was a move to default plymouth boot splash, the introduction of Gimp 2.10 (which had to be backported and by necessity some dependencies had to be upgraded), new kernel for newer hardware, etc. MX18 was a release that also pulled together various bug fixes/improvements to installer and MX tools...” [“...MX-18 is effectively a point release of MX-17...”]
"...MX18 also introduced full disk encryption for the first time. “ [“...MX-18 is effectively a point release of MX-17...”]
As I stated earlier, you people need to direct your not-inconsiderable efforts at trying to convince ME--using your convoluted logic--but directly *to the source* to let the developers know how badly THEY are out of step with the rest of the Linux-development world when it comes to assigning version numbers. Do PARTICULARLY stress that MX-18 is simply an MX-17 “point release”...PLEASE.
Since you obviously have such a hard time trying to determine how to get in touch with the MX-Linux development team in order to convince them of the errors of their ways, I have expended a TREMENDOUS amount of energy unearthing this information for you...here it is; and please DO report back with the response--and tremendous thanks we’re sure you’ll get-- from the MX-Linux team--
So that _NO ONE_ forgets--
"... MX-18 is effectively a point release of MX-17....”
33 • MX Linux Releases (by Arcane on 2019-03-03 00:42:38 GMT from France)
MX Linux makes three kinds of releases:
Official release: once a year, typically in December. The year of the release is used for the version number, so MX-17 was released at the end of 2017.
Point release: when needed. These can occur when major software changes are required, such as a kernel upgrade to fix a vulnerability as with MX-17.1.
Snapshot: monthly. These unofficial releases serve to update all software, and are designed to avoid lengthy download and setup time after a new installation.
MX Linux follows a modified fixed-release model: users will upgrade between major MX releases that are still within the same Debian version (e.g., MX-18 will still be based on Stretch so there will be no need to reinstall from MX-17.x).
Although MX Linux is always based on the Stable version of Debian, packagers continually backport newer software versions to the main repository.
34 • Distinctions & Differences (by M.Z. on 2019-03-03 05:32:45 GMT from United States)
Beyond all the foolish snark the big debate this week seem to about a distinction without a difference. From the MX site on upgrades it looks an awful lot like the guts of an MX 17 & 18 have all the distinction of a Linux Mint 18.1 & 18.3 upgrade. Which is to say you get wallpapers, kernels, & certain apps, all either optional or manual to some degree in each while maintaining a compatible base. On many distros like PCLinuxOS kernel upgrades are a fairly trivial process & fairly easy to roll back once you've done them, though Debian Stable follows one of the most cautious approaches around & only does patches to their set kernel version from what I can tell.
The practical differences between different recent Mint lines like the point releases in 17.x, 18.x & 19.x, and the MX 17-18 series appear to be all but non existent. Meanwhile the jump between MX 16 & 17 is much the same as the jump between Mint 18 & 19, which is to say far more substantial. Yes, _Effectively_, there is little practical difference & the biggest difference is what the MX team chose to name their Distro releases. There are no hard & fast rules on software naming conventions, to one groups 1.x release may get a bump from 3-4 from another. Groups even decide to change naming conventions on occasion, as has happened with the Linux kernel in the 3.x & 4.x lines verses the 2.x line. The jump from 3.20 to 4.0 was roughly as minor as the jumps within 3.x, it was just done because .20 sounded like a good place to change the big version number.
Version number can mean either a lot or very little depending on the project & context. All the sarcasm in the world can't change a perfectly reasonable interpretation from being valid, though some seem to enjoy attacking people over their own foolish misinterpretations. It's unfortunate because there is no good reason for it, if certain people would try to understand rather than attack with mounds of snarky garbage.
35 • Snark (by Friar Tux on 2019-03-03 20:40:38 GMT from Canada)
#34 (M.Z.) Not to worry M.Z. most of us pass over the snark and read on, especially if the snark is consistent from week to week. Trolls are just shoved 'under the bridge' where they belong. And don't worry about new comers misreading the snark and being scared away from Linux. Most new comers are here because of their intelligence, not the lack of it.
Number of Comments: 35
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