| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 808, 1 April 2019
Welcome to this year's 13th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
In a world where billions of computing devices are interconnected and more of our lives take place on-line, it is increasingly important for our operating systems to be secure. This week we focus on a number of security-related developments, including IPFire offering more proactive network filtering. We also talk about a new version of Redox OS, a modern, Unix-like operating system written in Rust for improved memory protection. Plus we discuss the benefits and drawbacks to using a live distribution to perform secure tasks, such as on-line banking. In our Opinion Poll we ask whether our readers employ an operating system on a USB thumb drive or live disc to perform certain on-line tasks. We are also pleased to report that Gentoo continues their work to make modern versions of the GNOME desktop run without relying on systemd as a dependency. First though, we start with a look at the highly anticipated release of Solus 4.0. Solus is an independently developed, rolling release distribution that strives to bring polish and consistency to the Linux desktop. We are also pleased to share the releases of the past week and list the torrents we are seeding. We wish you all a terrific week and happy reading!
- Review: Solus 4.0
- News: IPFire offers proactive security, Gentoo gets GNOME port working without systemd, Redox OS update released
- Questions and answers: The benefits and drawbacks to using a live distro
- Released last week: Puppy 8.0, NuTyX 11.0, Proxmox 5.2 "MG"
- Torrent corner: antiX, Condres, Lite, Nitrux, NuTyX, Pinguy, Proxmox, Puppy, Sabayon, SmartOS
- Upcoming releases: Fedora 30 Beta
- Opinion poll: Using a live distro for secure tasks
- New distributions: Donau, KduxOS
- Reader comments
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (13MB) and MP3 (11MB) formats.
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Solus is an independently developed, rolling release, desktop distribution for 64-bit (x86_64) computers. The distribution is available in three desktop flavours: Budgie, GNOME, and MATE. There is also a KDE Plasma edition being tested at the time of writing, but it was not released along with the other editions of Solus 4.0.
Looking through the release announcement we can see several changes have been introduced in Solus 4.0. Many packages have been updated, search results have been improved in the software centre and the WPS productivity suite has been removed from the repositories due to licensing issues. The distribution now ships with version 10.5 of the Budgie desktop which itself offers several improvements, including volume controls that go up to 150% and a feature called Caffeine Mode:
Budgie 10.5 introduces a new applet called Caffeine Mode. Caffeine Mode is designed to ensure your system does not automatically suspend, lock, or dim when you're hard at work. Caffeine Mode supports:
The Budgie edition also makes it easier to deal with notifications: "Budgie 10.5 introduces improved notification management. With this release, notification management is no longer a 'clear all or nothing' scenario."
- Notifications when it is turned on or off
- Setting a timer to automatically turn off Caffeine Mode
- Turning up your display brightness to max or a designated brightness level
Solus 4.0 -- The Budgie desktop and application menu
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I decided to download the Budgie edition of Solus, which was 1.4GB in size. Booting from the live media brought up the Budgie desktop with its panel placed at the bottom of the screen. The desktop's application menu and quick-launch buttons are placed to the left of the panel while the system tray and user menu are placed on the right. There are no icons on the desktop. The panel and menus use a dark theme, which I found was consistent across the distribution. One of the quick-launch buttons on the panel opens the distribution's installer.
Solus uses a custom graphical installer which begins by asking us to select our preferred language from a list. Then the installer offers to automatically determine our location so that it can guess our time zone and keyboard layout. (The installer correctly guessed my time zone, but not my keyboard.) We can override the installer's choices for these settings if need be.
Next we are asked if we would like the installer to automatically partition our hard drive or manually assign mount points to existing partitions. The installer does not offer manual partitioning and will not launch a separate partition manager for us. Instead, should we want to repartition the disk, we need to close the installer, launch a partition manager (such as GParted) and then re-launch the installer once we have arranged our partitions. The installer lets us assign mount points for a root partition, swap space and (optionally) a /home directory.
The installer then gives us the option of installing a boot loader and we can create one or more user accounts, the first of which will be given administrator privileges. The installer shows a list of actions it plans to take, then gets to work. When it has finished copying packages to our hard drive, it offers to restart the computer.
The whole process is fairly straight forward. Partitioning is a little awkward since we need to use a third-party tool to divide up the disk, but otherwise I found the installer to be quite friendly and easy to use. I particularly like that we can create multiple user accounts up front.
My new copy of Solus booted to a graphical login screen where we can choose which user account to log into using the mouse or arrow keys. When I first signed in there were no pop-ups, no welcome screens and no waiting notifications. The Budgie desktop stays out of the way and assumes we know what we are doing.
Solus 4.0 -- Applets and notifications
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The application menu is presented with two panes, the one on the left holds categories of software and the one on the right presents launchers. We select categories by clicking on them, unlike many other desktops where categories do not change when the mouse simply hovers over them. This means it takes more mouse clicks to navigate the menu, but it largely avoids the problem of accidentally switching between categories. The menu offers a search box for finding programs by name or by category. Searching for "password", for instance, turns up both the Passwords & Keys manager as well as the Users account manager.
Something I noticed early on in my trial was the screen would automatically turn off and lock after five minutes. We can adjust the delay or disable this power saving feature in the main settings panel.
The Budgie edition of Solus features two settings panels. One settings panel is inherited from GNOME and features a two-pane layout. The GNOME panel offers a wide range of options for working with networks, enabling location services, getting information on the host system, working with user accounts and changing power saving settings. The second settings panel is specific to Budgie and offers options for working with fonts, button placement in application windows, the location and contents of the panel, and which programs to start when the user logs in.
Solus 4.0 -- The GNOME and Budgie settings panels
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In either panel I did not find a tool for working with background services. While the GNOME panel offers more options and deals with the operating system as much as the desktop, the Budgie panel just deals with the user interface. Both panels worked well and provided a good deal of customization options. The only issue I ran into was with the GNOME panel which crashed once while switching between two screens.
Something I like a lot about the Budgie panel is the options are generally accompanied by an explanation. The GNOME panel tends to just show an option, often with an on/off toggle and no description. The Budgie panel tends to describe what a feature does, for example the modal dialog toggle reads: "Modal dialogs will become attached to the parent window and move together when dragged." I suspect this will make navigating the Budgie settings easier for newcomers.
I began by running Solus in a VirtualBox instance. The distribution ran smoothly inside VirtualBox and correctly resized the desktop to match the size of the VirtualBox window. The desktop ran smoothly and was fairly quick to respond; neither overly snappy or slow. My one concern with running Solus in VirtualBox was the distribution used more of my host system's CPU. Typically, a Linux distribution sitting idle at the desktop uses around 4% of my host's CPU (according to top). Solus used three times this, idling at 12%. This did not have a significant impact on either the host or the guest system.
Solus 4.0 -- Moving the Budgie panel to the left
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Solus performed well on my workstation. The distribution ran quickly, the Budgie desktop was responsive and I did not find the operating system consumed more (or less) CPU than would be typical for other Linux distributions. Solus required about 6GB of disk space, though I used up about another 2GB installing additional programs I wanted. When sitting idle in the Budgie desktop, the distribution consumed about 420MB of RAM.
The distribution ships with a fairly standard collection of popular open source applications, including the Firefox web browser, Thunderbird for checking e-mail, Transmission for downloading torrents and the HexChat IRC client. LibreOffice is installed for us, along with the GNOME Calendar program, MPV for watching videos and Rhythmbox for listening to music. Media codecs are included, allowing us to play audio and video files.
GNOME Photos, the gedit text editor and GNOME's Files file manager are included too. The Evince document viewer is installed for us, along with a system monitor, image viewer and an on-screen keyboard. Network Manager is available to help us get on-line and there is a printer manager to connect us with local and network printers. I also found a tool for installing third-party drivers and an account manager for setting up new users. Solus does not ship with a compiler, but developer tools can be installed from the repositories.
The distribution uses systemd for its init implementation and runs on version 4.20.16 of the Linux kernel. Newer versions of these tools will become available over time as Solus is a rolling release distribution.
Solus 4.0 -- Running LibreOffice and Files
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One item I found in the menu that seemed out of place was the Help program. Clicking the Help icon opens the GNOME documentation, which is sometimes helpful for dealing with a few GNOME components installed on the system, but it feels out of place (and even misleading) on the Budgie desktop since the two desktops do not share the same layout or controls.
Something else that bothered me while using the GNOME applications included in Solus is that their menus are inconsistent in their placement. If I was looking for the About or Preferences menu entries, sometimes they were placed under the program's icon to the left of the window. Other times they were under the triple-dot menu on the right. There seems to be approximately an even split between the two styles of menu among the GNOME applications and I found not being able to settle into a pattern while using them frustrating. This isn't a fault with Solus, just a general complaint about the way GNOME applications are designed at the moment.
Solus 4.0 -- Different approaches in menu placement
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Solus features one graphical software manager that handles a variety of tasks. Using the project's software centre we can check for, and install, software updates. We can browse categories of programs available to be downloaded, perform one-click installs, and browse a list of third-party items which are not included in the main repositories (usually for licensing reasons). There is also a separate screen for performing searches for specific items.
Solus 4.0 -- The software centre
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While the software centre does not show command line and low-level tools by default on the categories page, we can search for specific packages. This strikes a nice balance, keeping the interface uncluttered while letting the user find everything they need in one software manager.
The software centre was responsive on my test systems, worked well and I encountered no problems while using it. My only complaint while using it was the software centre would not queue actions, meaning we can only install one package at a time. Early on this slowed down my process of getting the programs I wanted, but otherwise the software centre offered a very clean, pleasant experience.
Solus includes support for Snap packages out of the box. It appears as though the software centre does not integrate with snaps, or at least none of the third-party items I downloaded through the graphical software manager were snaps. We can use the command line snap tool to locate and install snaps. I found the snaps I did install were automatically added to the application menu, making them easy to find and launch. Flatpak support is not included by default, but can be installed from the Solus repositories.
I made some other observations during my time running Solus. One of them is that non-admin users cannot install software packages, perform updates or run commands through sudo. This may seem obvious, but I have run a couple of operating systems so far this year where non-privileged users could do just about anything on a system and it was refreshing to see Solus enforces users' roles.
The default dark theme looks good, in my opinion. I like the high contrast white text on black backgrounds. I like the colourful icons. Generally speaking, I found Budgie easy on the eyes. There were some side-effects of the dark theme though. Sometimes I had trouble telling where one window stopped and another began since the windows were all dark and did not have distinct borders. I also found the icons in some programs looked faded, as if they were disabled, though they could be clicked.
On the subject of icons, Budgie tends to use icons instead of words on its controls and buttons. For example, we click a star icon to pin open programs to the panel rather than clicking a word such a "pin" or "lock". This cuts down on the need for translations, but it results in more trial and error when exploring what controls do.
When I first started using Solus, temperatures and other units were displayed in imperial units, for example the calendar uses Fahrenheit for temperatures. It took me a while, looking through the calendar's settings, Budgie's settings, and the GNOME location settings before I found the option I needed to switch to metric under the Region & Language module.
One of my favourite Budgie features is fine-grained font scaling. We can set font style and base size, which is pretty typical across most desktops. Budgie then takes things a step further by allowing the user to adjust font scaling by a percentage, in real time. This was a very welcome feature and it felt so much smoother and more natural than trying to adjust font sizes on other desktops.
Solus 4.0 -- Adjusting font scaling
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The natural feel of font scaling, combined with the detailed descriptions of options in the Budgie settings panel made me an instant fan of the way Budgie is configured. I think a lot of time and effort was put into making it easy to customize Budgie and I appreciated that a lot.
I very much enjoyed my time with Solus. The project offered an unusually polished experience and presents a breath of fresh air that is all the more impressive considering it is an independent distribution which cannot rely on a parent project to do the heavy lifting. Early on I ran into some minor issues. For instance, the installer cannot handling manual partitioning and will not launch GParted for us. When I tried using the automatic location check, I ended up with the wrong keyboard layout and measurement units.
After these initial hurdles though, and some minor frustration dealing with the inconsistent menus in GNOME applications, I rapidly grew to appreciate the care that has gone into both Budgie and Solus. The theme is unusually consistent, the desktop both well crafted and flexible enough for people like me who want to customize their environment. The default applications are generally some of the best in their categories and worked beautifully.
I really like the software centre and found it pleasantly easy to navigate and uncomplicated. I like that Solus has managed to make one streamlined package manager instead of shipping three different software managers to handle different situations.
Ideally I would have preferred one settings panel instead of two. The GNOME panel offers many more options and deals with operating system configuration while the Budgie panel deals specifically with the user interface. However, there is some overlap between the two and that sometimes meant it took longer for me to find settings I wanted to tweak. That being said, the Budgie settings panel is beautiful in its explanations and simplicity; other desktops could learn from Budgie's example.
In short, all the issues I ran into were minor, more inconveniences than problems. Meanwhile the polish, flexibility, default applications, stability and performance were all top notch. I was happy with my experiences with Solus 4.0 and think it will definitely appeal to new Linux users and more experienced users who want to install their system and just have it work.
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Hardware used in this review
My physical test equipment for this review was a desktop HP Pavilon p6 Series with the following specifications:
- Processor: Dual-core 2.8GHz AMD A4-3420 APU
- Storage: 500GB Hitachi hard drive
- Memory: 6GB of RAM
- Networking: Realtek RTL8111 wired network card, Ralink RT5390R PCIe Wireless card
- Display: AMD Radeon HD 6410D video card
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Visitor supplied rating
Solus has a visitor supplied average rating of: 8.6/10 from 449 review(s).
Have you used Solus? You can leave your own review of the project on our ratings page.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
IPFire offers proactive security, Gentoo gets GNOME port working without systemd, Redox OS update released
IPFire, a Linux distribution typically used in firewalls, is introducing a more proactive approach to dealing with malicious traffic. The changes involve IPFire's Intrusion Detection System (IDS): "One of the biggest changes we are now introducing is that the IDS will no longer just listen to traffic by default. Snort used to analyze a copy of every packet on the network. While it has been scanning it, it was passed on into the network. Any alarms that were raised had to be processed from a log file and potentially created iptables rules that blocked the host where the malicious packet came from. That leaves a tiny chance to an attacker to talk to a host on the network he wants to attack. Suricata takes the packet, analyses it first, and when it has passed all checks, it is being sent onward. Therefore, it is very easy for Suricata to be an Intrusion Prevention System, too. If the packet has failed the tests, it is just being dropped and alert is logged - leaving no chance to even send a single packet to the internal network. Because of that, we have renamed it on the IPFire Web UI and call it Intrusion Prevention System." More information on this change can be found in the project's blog post.
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The Gentoo project has reported that it is once again possible to run a recent version of the GNOME desktop port with alternative init systems. The GNOME desktop is typically dependent on systemd, but developers have worked to get around this dependency to allow GNOME to run on computers with alternative init systems. "GNOME 3.30 is now available in the Gentoo Linux testing branch. Starting with this release, GNOME on Gentoo once again works with OpenRC, in addition to the usual systemd option. This is achieved through the elogind project, a standalone logind implementation based on systemd code, which is currently maintained by a fellow Gentoo user. Gentoo would like to thank Mart Raudsepp (leio), Gavin Ferris, and all others working on this for their contributions. More information can be found in Mart's blog post."
* * * * *
Redox OS is a young, open source operating system which is written in the Rust language. Redox strives to provide a modernized Unix-style operating system and offers features such as a microkernel and the concept that "everything is a URL". We previously covered Redox in a review two years ago. The Redox team has published their first release in a year, Redox OS 0.5.0. The new version offers many changes to the Redox system library which, in turn, allowed for the inclusion of several new packages. Information on the new version of this interesting branch of the Unix family tree can be found in the project's release announcement.
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
The benefits and drawbacks to using a live distro
Trying-live-distros asks: I have been told it is a good idea to use a live Linux distro for secure tasks, like banking. But doesn't software on a live distro get out of date? I know I could update some software every time I use the disc, but is this safe?
DistroWatch answers: The benefit of using a live distribution, particularly one run from read-only media, for security-sensitive tasks is that it gives you an isolated, clean slate. The idea is that it is unlikely the live media has been compromised by malware, a backdoor, a malicious local user, or a keylogger and that should mean you are working with a clean environment. The theory is that, by comparison, it is more likely your day-to-day operating system has picked up some form of malware or been remotely hijacked and the live media is hopefully giving you a fresh start.
The concern that software on the live media may be out of date and could be compromised by an attacker is valid. It is possible a malicious website could take over an unpatched web browser, or an attacker could take advantage of a remote security hole in your distribution, particularly if the live media has not been updated in a while.
With that being said, if you are working with a live environment that does not run any network services (or is behind a firewall) and you update all available packages before you use the web browser, then there are very few avenues an attacker can use to compromise your live session. At that point, about the only method of attack is through a kernel exploit (since the kernel on most distributions is not updated without a reboot) or new browser flaw and it is relatively unlikely that will be a problem if you are only using the live session long enough to do some on-line banking.
To reduce your exposure and to reduce the time it takes to update the software in the live environment, you might want to consider updating your live media every few months. Most distributions publish refreshed media on a regular basis and keeping up with the new versions will reduce updates on the live system. It will also patch most potential kernel flaws that could be used to take over the live environment.
I also recommend, if you want to use live media for secure tasks, that you only use the live media for that specific task. The advantages gained by using live media for a secure task, such as on-line banking, mostly disappear if the same media is used for checking social media, casual web browsing and other tasks.
Finally, please remember that if your live media does allow updating (persistence) across reboots, then it means an attacker can gain a lasting foothold on the system. Using live media will really only be a security improvement if it is read-only and the environment gets reset at every boot.
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Additional answers can be found in our Questions and Answers archive.
|Released Last Week
Puppy Linux 8.0
The Puppy Linux project produces a lightweight distribution which includes many graphical utilities in a small download. The project's latest release is Puppy Linux 8.0 "BionicPup". A forum post lists the changes in 8.0: "Built with woofce using Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver packages and various .pet packages. All the usual packages (many updated) - Palemoon, DeadBeef, quickpet, pburn, JWM, change_kernels, Gnumeric, AbiWord, MPV, Samba, jwmdesk, Geany, Simple Ccreen Recorder, mtPaint, dunst, Transmission, pkg, uget, osmo etc. Some new stuff: woodenshoe-wis Rox filer. Rox now has copy and paste! Compton compositor set up as default. Adds subtle shadows to windows and menus. Matching JWM, GTK2 and GTK3 themes. Claws-mail now has a tray icon. Steps findnrun now default in tray. rg66 and geoffreys tweaked retrovol ffconvert, swapped for qwinff. Homebank is back. Sunfish chess, guvcview, redshift-gui, janky_BT bluetooth, gpick instead of gcolor, Take A Shot instead of Screeny." More information can be found through the project's release announcement.
Puppy Linux 8.0 -- Puppy's welcome screen
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NuTyX is a French Linux distribution (with multi-language support) built from Linux From Scratch and Beyond Linux From Scratch, with a custom package manager called "cards". The project has published NuTyX 11.0 which includes a complete re-build of the distribution and several package upgrades. "I'm very please to announce the new NuTyX 11 release. The NuTyX 11 is a complete recompilation of all the available binaries on NuTyX. Since everything has been recompiled, most of the packages have been update as well. The base of NuTyX comes with the new kernel LTS 4.19.28 and the very new kernel 5.0.3. The toolchain is completely rebuild around glibc 2.29, gcc 8.3.0 and binutils 2.32. The graphical server is now in xorg-server 1.20.4, the mesa lib in 18.3.4, GTK3 3.24.3, Qt 5.12.1. The Python 3.7.2 and 2.7.16 are updated as well. The MATE desktop environment comes in 1.22, the very last version as well. The KDE Plasma desktop in 5.15.3, Framework in 5.56.0 and applications in 18.12.3. Browsers Firefox in 65.0.2 and Chromium in 72.0.3626.121 (build by the Arch Linux team)." Further information can be found on the project's news page. The distribution is available in Fixed and Rolling editions.
Proxmox 5.2 "Mail Gateway"
Proxmox is a commercial company which offers specialized products based on Debian. The company recently launched Proxmox Mail Gateway version 5.2 based on Debian 9 "Stretch". "Proxmox Mail Gateway 5.2 introduces a new mobile interface for the quarantine, making it very handy to check Delivery/Whitelist/Blacklist/Delete emails in the quarantine from any mobile device. The mobile interface is based on Framework7, a full featured open-source HTML framework for building Android and iOS apps. The Proxmox Mail Gateway 5.2 release also introduces improvements in the LDAP integration, now allowing the use of Fully-Qualified Domain Names (FQDN) instead of IPs in the web user interface. Support for certificate verification (can be enabled for new deployments), and for LDAP+starttls has been added. A new appliance template enables users to install the Proxmox Mail Gateway 5.2 as a privileged or unprivileged Linux Container. A new 'proxmox-mailgateway-container' Metapackage makes the installation of the template smaller and faster. As it does not depend on a kernel, it results in a reduced size and fewer updates." The company's release announcement offers further details. Proxmox Mail Gateway 5.2 can be downloaded from the company's download page.
Linux Lite 4.4
Linux Lite is a beginner-friendly Linux distribution based on Ubuntu's long-term support (LTS) release and featuring the Xfce desktop. The project's latest release, Linux Lite 4.4, offers a number of small updates and improvements as well as updates to key applications. "Moved from betas to RC releases. The RC release's build number is the date of the actual ISO build eg. Build 24022019 - 24th February 2019. The RC information and build number will only appear on the default wallpaper for that release, login screen and the live boot screen. The positioning of the text is such that it allows room for desktop widgets like Conky and Lite Widget to appear uncluttered on the right. Finals will not have any build information on the default wallpaper. Updated the Papirus icon theme to the latest release. Sound Juicer CD ripper has now been added to Lite Software. To get rip-to-mp3 support, Sound Juicer will also install the Restricted Extras package. Volume level - the double level volume bug has been eliminated. Removed all references to Google+ as that service is due to close down on April 2nd 2019." Further details and screenshots can be found in the project's release announcement.
Sabayon is a Gentoo-based distribution which follows the works-out-of-the-box philosophy, aiming to give the user a wide number of applications that are ready for use and a self-configured operating system. The project has published a new snapshot, Sabayon 19.03, which switches the system installer from Anaconda to Calamares, uses Python 3 by default and offers full disk encryption. "19.03 is a long awaited release, coming with a lot of new features and enhancements: New build infrastructure; switch to Dracut for initramfs generation; full disk encryption support; installer switch from Anaconda to Calamares; support for 32-bit UEFI (Intel Sticks, and so on); latest kernel is 4.20; Python 3 is default; Entropy improvements, including better tracking of 'automatic' dependencies and a new command, equo mark; AMDGPU Enhancements such as extended Vega support including Radeon VII; AMD Freesync ready - MESA19, xf86-video-amdgpu-19, solid 5.X kernel available soon; NVIDIA Freesync ready - 'Gsync Supported Monitors' can be enabled in nvidia-drivers-418.43 via the nvidia-settings tool." Further information can be found on the project's for latest release page.
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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: 1,328
- Total data uploaded: 24.7TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Using a live distro for secure tasks
In our Questions and Answers column we talked about the benefits and drawbacks to using a live distribution for security-sensitive tasks, such as on-line banking. Live distributions can be especially useful if we want to use a pristine operating system when traveling or visiting a location where we do not have our own, trusted computer. We would like to hear how many of our readers regularly use a live USB or live disc to perform security-sensitive tasks.
You can see the results of our previous poll on reading log files in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Using a live distro for secure tasks
|I often use a live distro: ||256 (16%)|
| I sometimes use a live distro: ||674 (43%)|
| I do not use a live distro: ||646 (41%)|
Distributions added to waiting list
- Donau. Donau is a Debian-based Linux distribution for 64-bit computers.
- KduxOS. KduxOS is an Arch Linux-based distribution featuring the Openbox window manager.
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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, 8 April 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
|• Issue 828 (2019-08-19): AcademiX 2.2, concerns with non-free firmware, UBports working on Unity8, Fedora unveils new EPEL channel, FreeBSD phasing out GCC|
|• Issue 827 (2019-08-12): Q4OS, finding files on the disk, Ubuntu works on ZFS, Haiku improves performance, OSDisc shutting down|
|• Issue 826 (2019-08-05): Quick looks at Resilient, PrimeOS, and BlueLight, flagship distros for desktops,Manjaro introduces new package manager|
|• Issue 825 (2019-07-29): Endless OS 3.6, UBports 16.04, gNewSense maintainer stepping down, Fedora developrs discuss optimizations, Project Trident launches stable branch|
|• Issue 824 (2019-07-22): Hexagon OS 1.0, Mageia publishes updated media, Fedora unveils Fedora CoreOS, managing disk usage with quotas|
|• Issue 823 (2019-07-15): Debian 10, finding 32-bit packages on a 64-bit system, Will Cooke discusses Ubuntu's desktop, IBM finalizes purchase of Red Hat|
|• Issue 822 (2019-07-08): Mageia 7, running development branches of distros, Mint team considers Snap, UBports to address Google account access|
|• Issue 821 (2019-07-01): OpenMandriva 4.0, Ubuntu's plan for 32-bit packages, Fedora Workstation improvements, DragonFly BSD's smaller kernel memory|
|• Issue 820 (2019-06-24): Clear Linux and Guix System 1.0.1, running Android applications using Anbox, Zorin partners with Star Labs, Red Hat explains networking bug, Ubuntu considers no longer updating 32-bit packages|
|• Issue 819 (2019-06-17): OS108 and Venom, renaming multiple files, checking live USB integrity, working with Fedora's Modularity, Ubuntu replacing Chromium package with snap|
|• Issue 818 (2019-06-10): openSUSE 15.1, improving boot times, FreeBSD's status report, DragonFly BSD reduces install media size|
|• Issue 817 (2019-06-03): Manjaro 18.0.4, Ubuntu Security Podcast, new Linux laptops from Dell and System76, Entroware Apollo|
|• Issue 816 (2019-05-27): Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, creating firewall rules, Antergos shuts down, Matthew Miller answers questions about Fedora|
|• Issue 815 (2019-05-20): Sabayon 19.03, Clear Linux's developer features, Red Hat explains MDS flaws, an overview of mobile distro options|
|• Issue 814 (2019-05-13): Fedora 30, distributions publish Firefox fixes, CentOS publishes roadmap to 8.0, Debian plans to use Wayland by default|
|• Issue 813 (2019-05-06): ROSA R11, MX seeks help with systemd-shim, FreeBSD tests unified package management, interview with Gael Duval|
|• Issue 812 (2019-04-29): Ubuntu MATE 19.04, setting up a SOCKS web proxy, Scientific Linux discontinued, Red Hat takes over Java LTS support|
|• Issue 811 (2019-04-22): Alpine 3.9.2, rsync examples, Ubuntu working on ZFS support, Debian elects new Project Leader, Obarun releases S6 tools|
|• Issue 810 (2019-04-15): SolydXK 201902, Bedrock Linux 0.7.2, Fedora phasing out Python 2, NetBSD gets virtual machine monitor|
|• Issue 809 (2019-04-08): PCLinuxOS 2019.02, installing Falkon and problems with portable packages, Mint offers daily build previews, Ubuntu speeds up Snap packages|
|• Issue 808 (2019-04-01): Solus 4.0, security benefits and drawbacks to using a live distro, Gentoo gets GNOME ports working without systemd, Redox OS update|
|• Issue 807 (2019-03-25): Pardus 17.5, finding out which user changed a file, new Budgie features, a tool for browsing FreeBSD's sysctl values|
|• Issue 806 (2019-03-18): Kubuntu vs KDE neon, Nitrux's znx, notes on Debian's election, SUSE becomes an independent entity|
|• Issue 805 (2019-03-11): EasyOS 1.0, managing background services, Devuan team debates machine ID file, Ubuntu Studio works to remain an Ubuntu Community Edition|
|• Issue 804 (2019-03-04): Condres OS 19.02, securely erasing hard drives, new UBports devices coming in 2019, Devuan to host first conference|
|• Issue 803 (2019-02-25): Septor 2019, preventing windows from stealing focus, NetBSD and Nitrux experiment with virtual machines, pfSense upgrading to FreeBSD 12 base|
|• Issue 802 (2019-02-18): Slontoo 18.07.1, NetBSD tests newer compiler, Fedora packaging Deepin desktop, changes in Ubuntu Studio|
|• Issue 801 (2019-02-11): Project Trident 18.12, the meaning of status symbols in top, FreeBSD Foundation lists ongoing projects, Plasma Mobile team answers questions|
|• Issue 800 (2019-02-04): FreeNAS 11.2, using Ubuntu Studio software as an add-on, Nitrux developing znx, matching operating systems to file systems|
|• Issue 799 (2019-01-28): KaOS 2018.12, Linux Basics For Hackers, Debian 10 enters freeze, Ubuntu publishes new version for IoT devices|
|• Issue 798 (2019-01-21): Sculpt OS 18.09, picking a location for swap space, Solus team plans ahead, Fedora trying to get a better user count|
|• Issue 797 (2019-01-14): Reborn OS 2018.11.28, TinyPaw-Linux 1.3, dealing with processes which make the desktop unresponsive, Debian testing Secure Boot support|
|• Issue 796 (2019-01-07): FreeBSD 12.0, Peppermint releases ISO update, picking the best distro of 2018, roundtable interview with Debian, Fedora and elementary developers|
|• Issue 795 (2018-12-24): Running a Pinebook, interview with Bedrock founder, Alpine being ported to RISC-V, Librem 5 dev-kits shipped|
|• Issue 794 (2018-12-17): Void 20181111, avoiding software bloat, improvements to HAMMER2, getting application overview in GNOME Shell|
|• Issue 793 (2018-12-10): openSUSE Tumbleweed, finding non-free packages, Debian migrates to usrmerge, Hyperbola gets FSF approval|
|• Issue 792 (2018-1203): GhostBSD 18.10, when to use swap space, DragonFly BSD's wireless support, Fedora planning to pause development schedule|
|• Issue 791 (2018-11-26): Haiku R1 Beta1, default passwords on live media, Slax and Kodachi update their media, dual booting DragonFly BSD on EFI|
|• Issue 790 (2018-11-19): NetBSD 8.0, Bash tips and short-cuts, Fedora's networking benchmarked with FreeBSD, Ubuntu 18.04 to get ten years of support|
|• Issue 789 (2018-11-12): Fedora 29 Workstation and Silverblue, Haiku recovering from server outage, Fedora turns 15, Debian publishes updated media|
|• Issue 788 (2018-11-05): Clu Linux Live 6.0, examining RAM consumpion, finding support for older CPUs, more Steam support for running Windows games on Linux, update from Solus team|
|• Issue 787 (2018-10-29): Lubuntu 18.10, limiting application access to specific users, Haiku hardware compatibility list, IBM purchasing Red Hat|
|• Issue 786 (2018-10-22): elementary OS 5.0, why init keeps running, DragonFly BSD enables virtual machine memory resizing, KDE neon plans to drop older base|
|• Issue 785 (2018-10-15): Reborn OS 2018.09, Nitrux 1.0.15, swapping hard drives between computers, feren OS tries KDE spin, power savings coming to Linux|
|• Issue 784 (2018-10-08): Hamara 2.1, improving manual pages, UBports gets VoIP app, Fedora testing power saving feature|
|• Issue 783 (2018-10-01): Quirky 8.6, setting up dual booting with Ubuntu and FreeBSD, Lubuntu switching to LXQt, Mint works on performance improvements|
|• Issue 782 (2018-09-24): Bodhi Linux 5.0.0, Elive 3.0.0, Solus publishes ISO refresh, UBports invites feedback, Linux Torvalds plans temporary vacation|
|• Issue 781 (2018-09-17): Linux Mint 3 "Debian Edition", file systems for SSDs, MX makes installing Flatpaks easier, Arch team answers questions, Mageia reaches EOL|
|• Issue 780 (2018-09-10): Netrunner 2018.08 Rolling, Fedora improves language support, how to customize Kali Linux, finding the right video drivers|
|• Issue 779 (2018-09-03): Redcore 1806, keeping ISO downloads safe from tampering, Lubuntu makes Calamares more flexible, Ubuntu improves GNOME performance|
|• Issue 778 (2018-08-27): GuixSD 0.15.0, ReactOS 0.4.9, Steam supports Windows games on Linux, Haiku plans for beta, merging disk partitions|
|• Issue 777 (2018-08-20): YunoHost 220.127.116.11, limiting process resource usage, converting file systems on Fedora, Debian turns 25, Lubuntu migrating to Wayland|
|• Full list of all issues|
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|Random Distribution |
BitKey is a Debian-based live distribution containing specialist utilities to perform highly secure air-gapped Bitcoin transactions. It contains a swiss army knife of handy Bitcoin tools that support a wide range of usage models, including a few very secure ones which would otherwise be difficult to perform. The system boots into one of the three available modes: "cold-offline" - for creating a wallet and signing transactions; "cold-online" - for watching the wallet and preparing transactions; "hot-online" - standard usage but less secure as the private keys are known to the computer which is connected to the internet. BitKey also provides tools for generating "brainwallets", for the most paranoid of Bitcoin users. The live CD provides a simple desktop based on the Metacity window manager with quick links to the Bitcoin tools and Chromium for web browsing.