| 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."
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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
|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • Solus (by Vern on 2019-04-01 01:38:38 GMT from United States) |
The problem I have with Solus is two fold. It wants a lot more esp storage and having trouble with grub.
2 • Solus (by Gustavo on 2019-04-01 02:46:08 GMT from Brazil)
Solus having no Chromium browser in repository is a showstopper. They say Chrome is all right, but it is not open source.
3 • Live Distro (by Simon Plaistowe on 2019-04-01 02:54:46 GMT from Australia)
I use live distros mostly for diagnostics/repairs and to demo Linux for people who want to know how well it will run on their machines. Security not so much, although I did take a brief look at Kodachi recently and was initially impressed. Must look at it in more detail very soon. Has anyone else tried it - what did you think?
4 • @2 - Solus Chromium browser (by Shadow53 on 2019-04-01 04:05:20 GMT from United States)
Solus has Vivaldi (based on Chromium) available in the main repositories and encourages people wanting open source Chromium to use the chromium snap. They are also working on packaging Chromium I believe, if they haven't finished that yet. Finally, most packaged browsers that are not Firefox use the Chromium renderer, so there are those options as well.
5 • @1 Solus grub problems (by jan on 2019-04-01 07:19:33 GMT from Poland)
Since I have a multiboot setting on my laptop, could you please describe a bit more the grub related problems you had?
6 • Solus (by Ostrol on 2019-04-01 09:38:04 GMT from Poland)
I was expecting at least a mention of the original creator of Budgie desktop in the review. He's gone silent for the moment, but without his vision, this desktop and the file system never would have happened. It happened because he didn't want to compile deb packages any more, and because he wanted to make a desktop environment for himself. You can find Budgie desktop in any Linux system, and loved by those, who use it.
7 • WPS Office license (mentioned in Solus review) (by Daniel on 2019-04-01 10:15:17 GMT from United States)
I hadn't read the WPS Office EULA, but I see why the Solus developers would remove WPS Office (apart from it being proprietary software).
"(3)If this Software is a WPS Office version for Linux OS, the following apply:
1) You are only entitled to install and use this Software on computers meeting the following operating environment requirements as agreed herein:
OS: Linux OS produced by China brand enterprises, such as Ubuntu or Ubentu Kylin, Deepin, NeoKylin, NFS China, and New Start
CPU: X86 or CPU produced by China enterprises such as Loongson, Phytium, SW, Zhaoxin, and MPRC"
I prefer to avoid using online office suites when possible, and I'm not interested in Microsoft Office via Wine or a virtual machine. A few years ago I tested LibreOffice, WPS Office, AbiWord + Gnumeric (Ease and Glide were long since stagnate, so I didn't bother testing either of those presentation applications), Calligra Suite, and SoftMaker Office (trial version) with regard to several qualities, one of which was best compatibility with word processing, spreadsheet, and (where applicable) presentation file formats I frequently have to deal with. At the time I tested these suites, when it came to word processing documents, WPS Writer noticeably did the best job of preserving formatting in Microsoft Word documents (particularly with regard to more complex formatting). WPS Presentation was marginally better at preserving formatting in Microsoft PowerPoint slides. I still distro hop a fair bit, so I've primarily used LibreOffice as I can be reasonably certain nearly all Linux distributions have LibreOffice in their repositories, whereas WPS Office availability has been hit or miss, but I recently noticed that WPS Office is available on Flathub, and I had considered installing it to see how it currently compares. Now, I'm leaning towards not giving WPS Office another look.
8 • Clarification (by Daniel on 2019-04-01 10:23:11 GMT from United States)
For the sake of clarity, I have no issue with Chinese distributions (I've tested numerous). But I don't use these with any regularity, and I won't be. I have no plans to do business directly with any of the listed CPU manufacturers either.
9 • @ 7, 8 country bias... (by Kazan on 2019-04-01 11:09:17 GMT from France)
Why this country bias?
Do you know, how many day to day apps, open-source or not, created by the Chinese that you use?
10 • @9 (by Daniel on 2019-04-01 11:29:10 GMT from United States)
Is your comment tongue-in-cheek, or are you serious?
As I tried explaining in #8, I have no issue with Chinese distributions, or Chinese CPU manufacturers (though, as stated, I have no current plans to buy from any of those manufacturers directly). However, the WPS Office EULA is quite restrictive in stating that you should not use the Linux version of the office suite unless you are running a Chinese distribution and are also using a processor released by a Chinese manufacturer.
I, in no way, seek to downplay the work done by Chinese companies and organizations in either hardware or software.
It's bad enough to have government-enforced export controls which essentially blacklist users in certain countries (e.g. Iran, North Korea, Sudan, etc.) from using software from certain other countries (e.g. the US). In the case of WPS Office for Linux, only people using distributions originating in China and processors originating in China are whitelisted to use WPS Office. No one else is entitled to use WPS Office for Linux as per the EULA. Sure, you can disregard it, just as you can work around export restrictions, but you shouldn't have to.
11 • Live distro (by Christian on 2019-04-01 13:34:17 GMT from Brazil)
I usually don't use a Live Distro for banking. My bank demands the install of a specific package (called warsaw), that's usually only distributed as a DEB package, for Ubuntu.
A 2 FA is also mandatory and you have to go to the bank to enable the app on your smartphone. If you reset your phone, buy a new one, or sometimes only update the app, you'll have to enable the app again, at the bank (can't do it online).
I think the guest account works better than a live distro. The environment is already updated and everything is lost after a log out (please correct me if I'm wrong).
Firefox containers are another must.
12 • Solus, Budgie in the black (by Sam on 2019-04-01 14:43:32 GMT from United States)
Ye gods do I yearn for the day when this "make everything black... black on black... dark grey on black..." fad in UI design finally goes away. ::goes back to waiting for the Windows 10 Spring update so he can finally switch that ugly black panel for a proper white/grey panel::
13 • @10 (by Kazan on 2019-04-01 14:44:22 GMT from France)
Yes, I am serious.
There's certain madness in attacking anything, everything Chinese. And, they create all kinds of excellent stuff. One of the best open source file mangers is made by a Chinese. A top class open source file system cleaner is made by a Chinese. There's a multitude of such apps in Linux world. Some people even claim that the WPS Office is much better than MS Office (both closed source).
The top selling US based laptops (HP, Dell) are made in China, made by the Chinese. And, closed source US based laptops (Windows, Mac) ar ealso made by the Chinese. There should be respect for the Chinese, without any politics clouding that judgement.
14 • Solus (by Jordan on 2019-04-01 15:08:38 GMT from United States)
What I like very much about Solus is that it is obviously going in a good direction. The devs have even outlined at the Solus website in some detail what and where and why they are going. Solus 4 is a keeper, just like KDE Neon is. Dual booted them for a while then saw no need for KDE Neon and removed it in favor of Solus as quite a bit more innovative and much faster from click to click.
15 • @13 (by Daniel on 2019-04-01 15:40:45 GMT from United States)
Let me reiterate that I am not attacking anything and everything Chinese. I couldn't escape Chinese contributions to hardware and software if I wanted to, and I have no desire to. And as I said in my original post, I was impressed with certain aspects of WPS Office when I tested it. But the EULA has issues (hence my original post), which is, I assume, what Solus devs were addressing when they removed WPS Office from their 3rd-party repo.
I don't think I can make my viewpoint much clearer than I did in #10, so I will leave it here.
16 • @13, 15 Restrictive licences (by Nathan on 2019-04-01 16:14:16 GMT from United States)
I primarily used three different distros, Arch Linux (based out of Canada), Gentoo (USA), and Slackware (also USA). When I settled on these I had no idea nor did I care what their countries of origin were, I just liked the control they gave me. It's fine that WPS imposes arbitrary restrictions on their software - they have the right to do so, and I hope that the referenced stanza in their EULA brings them whatever benefits they foresaw in putting it there. It just saddens me that I and other Arch/Gentoo/Slackware etc. users are precluded from enjoying their work on our distros (or CPU architectures) of choice.
17 • Chinese distro deepin (by Vern on 2019-04-01 16:23:19 GMT from United States)
I've been using deepin for a while now. I really like it. Have read how the Chinese are infiltrating your data. As soon as Chinese comes up FUD is not far behind.
Regarding WPS. The one thing I don't loke is you can't import Libreoffice files. Or at least I couldn't. I didn't far though.
18 • @ 7 WPS Eula and so on... (by Ostrol on 2019-04-01 16:50:21 GMT from Poland)
No idea where you got that "only can be used" in Chinese CPUs and distros/
This website https://www.wps.com/office-free says that WPS Office is available in English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish and Russian.
Well, never heard of a Polish language distro made in China.
19 • Solus (by lupus on 2019-04-01 17:06:46 GMT from Germany)
I loved Solus so much until I learned the hard way that limited repositories are quite unacceptable for my needs. Though congrats to the team who held on to their Distribution although Ikey seem to have left somewhat abruptly to say the least.
Budgie DE is far superior to KDE GNOME XFCE etc. but it even got surpassed at least in my view by the deepin DE.
As much as I distrust the Chinese government it is a good thing we can use deepin on other distros than Deepin itself. The deepin DE goes even further with one unified control panel. I love that and it's better than the Solus one!
20 • @18 (by Daniel on 2019-04-01 17:16:44 GMT from United States)
I copied the wording verbatim from their EULA. "You are only entitled to install and use this Software on computers meeting the following operating environment requirements as agreed herein".
Why would a distribution originating in China (or any other country) preclude support for non-native languages? E.g. Can openSUSE, Mageia, Deepin, etc. not be configured in any number of languages? Of course they can.
21 • WPS, misreadings and Chinese English (by Angel on 2019-04-01 17:21:22 GMT from Philippines)
First to misreadings: "X86 or CPU produced by China enterprises" Two little letters, "o" and "r," make a lot of difference. Don't they?
Second: Anyone as familiar as I am with Chinese user's manuals and such documents knows that the English can be puzzling and sometimes amusing. Granted, the EULA does say "Linux OS produced by China brand enterprises," but then it includes Ubuntu, which is definitely not Chinese. (And then misspells it.) Other things that lead me to think it's unintentional: The WPS Office Software subsidiary of Kingsoft has headquarters in Palo Alto, CA. There may be several chinatowns in California, but it's not China. Also, the Linux version advertises itself as "Compatible with Fedora, CentOS, OpenSUSE, Ubuntu, Mint, Knoppix and more." Anyway. the comments made me look and get curious. I will email WPS and ask. Maybe I'll get an answer, maybe not.
The Linux version, by the way, is a community edition, maintained by the usual under/unpaid devs. They even have the obligatory "Donate" button to emphasize their abject poverty.
22 • What a bizarre EULA (by CS on 2019-04-01 18:15:37 GMT from United States)
A little puzzling how people are trying to explain the strange and restrictive EULA away as something they didn't really intend to say, companies spend months crafting these things under intense legal scrutiny. It says exactly what they wanted it to say.
I expect that Kingsoft didn't really care about the Linux market, but some Chinese government agency really needed support so they added support, but wanted to keep it extremely restrictive, limiting themselves only to Chinese OSes and Chinese CPUs. But who knows! Certainly the strangest EULA I've ever read.
23 • "Everything black on black" (by Friar Tux on 2019-04-01 19:13:09 GMT from Canada)
@12 (Sam)... I love the BLACK backdrop themes. I find the bright white 60 watt bulb themes a pain in the eyes. (Haha, see what I did there?) I also hate those grey supposedly 'dark' themes. I find the grey looks totally crappy. I have taken a number of the grey themes are redid the grey to black or very dark cyan (#001616). I can now work at my laptop for eight hoirs straight WITHOUT getting tired eyes or headaches. So I said, "Long life to black themes!!" (By the way, I realize that touch screens sometimes have difficulty with totally #000000 screens so I usually do #020202 as that appears to be the lowest colour code these screens appear to be able to handle without issues.)
24 • WPS EULA (by Hoos on 2019-04-01 19:15:24 GMT from Singapore)
Obviously if individuals want to install WPS themselves, they are free to do so.
But for distros who want to respect copyright and licence terms of software, you cannot expect them to officially house WPS in their own repos or distribute it, if doing so will breach the terms in the WPS EULA. They can't pick and choose which EULA to comply with or which to ignore.
So I really don't see why posters are criticising this dropping of WPS by distros as some act of discrimination against Chinese entities or developers. Blame the WPS creators for their own EULA.
25 • Black on black (by aguador on 2019-04-01 21:25:33 GMT from Bulgaria)
@12 I can't wait for Firefox to fix the problems with dark themes it exacerbated with the move to Quantum and couldn't agree more with @23 about the pain in the . . . eyes. When I moved to Linux I thought dark themes odd at first, but have found them so much easier on the eyes. One simply cannot work with that brilliant white all the time. Hurray for Solus for recognizing the problem!
26 • @2 Gustavo (by sarkaara on 2019-04-01 23:13:40 GMT from United States)
Don't they have Vivaldi? it's chromium based but not Chrome.
27 • IPFire sigs are lacking (by casual user on 2019-04-01 23:20:46 GMT from United States)
Only sha256 and no key files or GPG signatures? Not something I would trust in a super-privileged position.
28 • Live Distros are only secure if recent (by casual user on 2019-04-01 23:23:50 GMT from United States)
Witness heartbleed, krak, etc.
29 • EULAs, @22 (by Angel on 2019-04-02 01:11:13 GMT from Philippines)
I was not commenting on EULAs in general, only about Chinese companies. However, rather than a roomful of careful attorneys making sure all 'ts" are crossed, many EULAs tend to read more like they threw everything at the wall to see what would stick. Facebook is an extreme example, and these days they are starting to pay for some of it. I also offer no opinion on whether a distro should offer it or not. Their distro, their choice. If I wanted it I could easily install it. I don't use or recommend it. The free Windows and Android versions are adware. They are not so yet on Linux, but why encourage them.
Relative newcomers to western marketing, maybe the Chinese haven't got the hang of it so well. Many user documents are translations from Simplified Chinese, most pretty bad. (Where I am I get a lot of stuff directly from China, cutting out the middleman, so to speak.) For example: Deepin's EULA had a clause whereby you agree to abide by the laws of the PRC, including those about badmouthing the government. When asked they pointed out that it only applied if you live in China. It took a while, but they did remove the clause on the free version. It still exists on the commercial editions. WPS"s EULA with its poor editing and spelling just doesn't read like a roomful of lawyers, more like a quick adaptation from the Chinese versions.
Some odd ones:
30 • Solus Not So Ryzen-friendly? (by R O on 2019-04-02 02:53:08 GMT from United States)
Solus 4 has a lot of hype about the recent kernel version and AMD support it has, which got my hopes up, but as far as I could see, the installation did not have that activated for my new Dell Inspiron 7000 series with Ryzen 5 2500U and Vega 8 GPU, and I did not find how to set the necessary boot options (iommu=soft noapic) to let it start up, so I bailed out, and went with the more familiar Mint 19 Mate, which runs it well with those aforementioned tweaks (aside from a few niggles like a MS mouse, but not a generic one, locking up the PC after using a while, and incomplete power management sleep support). After reading Jesse's review, I am glad I stayed with Mint/Mate for a reliable and familiar (to me) distro.
31 • China (by EdCoolio on 2019-04-02 06:04:31 GMT from United States)
I do not care, not even a little bit, if Office software is proprietary or restricted. I don't care if it is produced in China, America, or Swaziland. Seriously, I could care less.
What I do care about:
1. The ability to use it on my distro of choice, cost free and legally.
2. The software is free of all tracking and viruses.
3. Maximum, if not complete, compatibility with Microsoft Office.
Yeah, I know, not popular opinions among the hardcore Linux believers. I do believe, however, that it is the popular opinion for most users looking to dump Microsoft while keeping compatibility with the rest of the business world.
32 • Black on black (by dragonmouth on 2019-04-02 12:35:07 GMT from United States)
I have been distro-hopping for at least 12 years and have rarely encountered dark default themes in distros, most of them years ago. Anyway, with Linux being as flexible as it is, there should be very little trouble with installing ANY kind of a theme your heart, or eyes, desire.
Dark themes are YOUR personal preference. There is nothing that makes them inherently better or worse than light themes. AFAIC, dark themes give me a headache. However, popular DEs allow the user to theme the screen any way (s)he wants. That is why I always make sure that any theme I use has a pastel background and no stark contrasts.
33 • @22 EULAs (by dragonmouth on 2019-04-02 12:43:23 GMT from United States)
"companies spend months crafting these things under intense legal scrutiny"
Maybe, in addition to intense legal scrutiny, these companies should subject these EULAs to intense grammatical, idiomatic and syntactical scrutiny. As we have seen in the posts above, EULAs written in Engrish could, and do lead, to misunderstanding.
34 • KduxOS - Distributions added to waiting list (by babu on 2019-04-02 18:33:34 GMT from Belgium)
Would like to let you know that your statement : "KduxOS is an Arch Linux-based distribution featuring the Openbox window manager." seems to be wrong. There is no Openbox window manager. Command-line only iso.
As far as I know only ArchBang is providing an very nice Arch Linux-based distribution featuring the Openbox window manager.
35 • Live distros for secure tasks (by Vee on 2019-04-02 19:16:49 GMT from Hong Kong)
To solve the issue of clean slate (ideal for the kind of secure tasks people seek a live distro for anyway) vs updated software/security patches, I recommend getting live distros with persistent file saving and an "always fresh" option. This way you can boot up the distro in its default (persistent file saving enabled) mode, update necessary software and get the security patches you need. Then you can reboot in "always fresh" mode to get a true clean slate for performing your secure tasks. In my opinion this is better than a guest account on your main install because a guest account still has all the same packages on your main install, and all the risks that come with it.
My live distro of choice for these cases is Porteus (Slackware-based) due to its small size, lightweight-ness enabling it to run on very low end hardware, and all around speed. And of course, because it can run the configuration I described above (switching between persistent file saving and "always fresh" mode). It mostly works out of the box but is very minimal, and I'd understand the trepidation some people will get hearing the words "Slackware-based" if they're not very familiar. It's easy to configure, though, after you spend a little time learning the conf files to edit, and in my experience Porteus has shaped up to be one of the most reliable options out there for lightweight distros completely functionally run-able on a small USB drive.
36 • Live distros (by Roger on 2019-04-02 23:15:39 GMT from Belgium)
Live distros I only use to repair broken Windows PC or save the data, sometimes to save a Linux I messed up by trying something new.
37 • OpenRC (by Durwood Protske on 2019-04-02 23:53:16 GMT from United States)
Thanks to the heroic Developers of Gentoo, for fighting with such valiance against the Cybernetic Devil. Even though it would probably be better for people to avoid Gnome altogether, it's still a proper gesture in the general direction of the offensive strategists over at Gnome Corp.
Long live Gentoo!
38 • WPS EULA revisited (by Angel on 2019-04-03 01:41:20 GMT from Philippines)
Sometimes a little knowledge can be a problem and result in misinformation. As previously stated, I have asked and researched. Seems there are two separate licenses for WPS Office. One is for the commercial version and the other for the community version. The Linux version we would use is the community version. Below is a Link to the license agreement. It is meant to be freely distributed, and those you distribute to are free to redistribute, and on and on.
Also as stated, I am not pushing WPS. I don't use it, and I consider the Windows and Android versions to be adware. I don't much care for adware.
39 • @38 - EULA refers to another EULA unfortunately.... (by Hoos on 2019-04-03 02:20:45 GMT from Singapore)
When I read the link you provided, I thought the same as you at first. Then I noticed it referred to another EULA in Section 1, paragraph 2(a).
That one is found here: https://www.wps.com/eula
and that is the one that has the "China distros/hardware only" clause.
That document is also described as being applicable for WPS Office running on Linux (as well as for Android and Microsoft versions). Is there a commercial WPS version? If not, it seems a little hard to say it doesn't apply when the Community Licence does refer to it.
40 • @39, true believers (by Angel on 2019-04-03 05:20:26 GMT from Philippines)
Believe what you wish. Not my job to convert true believers. Others may choose as they want. As per your section 1 paragraph 2 , it refers to the EULA included with the installation package, not to the website. That seems clear enough. Yes, you have to agree to the license terms before first use, which are the same as on the community license.. Unlike you, I have downloaded and installed the software rather than prattle on about things I don't know.
41 • 34 • KduxOS - Distributions added to waiting list (by babu on 2019-04-03 18:19:35 GMT from Belgium)
Have to apologize. Was wrong when I stated that KduxOS is command-line only. My remark was based on the link you provided.
Discovered today a kduxos-desktop-0.1.1-prealpha iso featuring the Openbox window manager.
Downloaded it immediately and did a frugal install. Looks nice. Am writing now from this distribution. Will do some more testing.
Thank you for mentioning this distro in your News section.
42 • WPS (by Garon on 2019-04-03 18:34:43 GMT from United States)
Is WPS any good?
43 • @42 Re: Is WPS any good? (by Rev_Don on 2019-04-03 18:49:36 GMT from United States)
Depends. It tends to import MS Office files better than other programs do, but if that isn't important to you then LibreOffice is just as good overall.
44 • Upcoming Releases and Announcements (by Marathon Man on 2019-04-04 06:53:54 GMT from Kenya)
Ubuntu = Debian + added bugs!
I see that Ubuntu 19.04 is scheduled for release in two weeks. I've really tried to love Ubuntu, but every time I end up being disappointed by all the annoying bugs. I really hope that this time they give me a reason to change my opinion.
45 • Added bugs... (by Friar Tux on 2019-04-04 13:31:01 GMT from Canada)
@44 (Marathon Man) I usually find the opposite. Ubuntu takes Debian and improves it. Linux Mint takes Ubuntu and improves on it. (Though I DID find that Feren, which is based on Mint was a bust.)
46 • Ubuntu/Debian (by Jordan on 2019-04-04 15:52:26 GMT from United States)
I agree with the buggy nature of Ubuntu, as to my experience (and my wife's.. after seeing Ubuntu marketing out there she had high hopes of using Ubuntu to get away from Windows, didn't happen). Mint was a bit better, but neither of us can understand the high PHR of Mint (and Ubuntu, for that matter).
Ubuntu wrecks Debian.. reminds me of the Ford Edsel, which was ruined by too many "ideas" as to design being implimented; turned out to be a freak.
There are a lot of well-honed distros out there. For us, Ubuntu isn't it at all.
47 • Different Experience (by Garon on 2019-04-04 16:38:43 GMT from United States)
While it may hold true that some people don't have a good experience with Ubuntu most seem to. I've had different experiences with different distros and with different hardware. I has a lot with what you want to do and what you do it with. My favorite was Ubuntu with Unity. That really isn't an option anymore. Just can't seem to buddy up with Gnome or Cinnamon. Mate is a step backward even tho I've used it quite a lot. I believe that Kde is really about the only innovative system now. I miss the days of Warren Woodford and Mepis. Sorry but MX just isn't the same.
48 • Ubuntu 19.04 all releases beta (by Vern on 2019-04-04 16:46:32 GMT from United States)
I have zero issues with any of the current 'disco' Ubuntu's.
Hardware? knowledge? Installed apps? Don't know, but I've used 'disco' from the start. Everything I need to run works.
49 • Ubuntu (by mcellius on 2019-04-04 18:42:21 GMT from United States)
I've been using Ubuntu for a number of years now and have found it more free from bugs than any other distro I've tried. (And I've tried a lot!) It works extremely well for me, is very customizable and flexible in the ways that matter to me, and has been very solid and reliable.
Of course different peoople have different experiences. I tried to help a friend a couple years ago by installing Mint on his machine, and whatever I did I could not get it to install. I finally gave up and installed Ubuntu, and it worked perfectly. That won't be everyone's experience, of course (Mint seems to install just fine on most systems, including my own), but one bad experience won't cause me to badmouth a fine distro.
I've also used various desktop environments: KDE, Gnome 2 and 3, MATE, Cinnamon, LXDE, Unity, etc. I liked Unity quite a lot, but now use Gnome 3 (which I've managed to make look quite a lot like Unity, just to please myself) and find it fine.
I tried Fedora 29 when it came out. Not bad, and nothing really wrong with it, but I just found it more difficult to work with. I've installed and used Arch several times, but each time found it to be more trouble than it was worth (to me; there are also those for whom it is perfect).
My point is that it's silly and arrogant to get on here and try to pre-emptively badmouth a particular distro. It might not be your cup of tea, but so what? Others may like it and find it very useful - in fact, perhaps the best option - even if you don't think it works well for you. So what? Use what you like, and encourage others to use what they like. It's far better to tout the positive features of whatever you prefer, than to try to tear down those you don't like.
50 • Distro dissing (by Friar Tux on 2019-04-04 22:44:04 GMT from Canada)
@49 (mcellius) Whoa... easy there, big fella... no one's dissing your distros. We're merely comparing notes. My experience has been this... Debian = buggy, not working; Ubuntu = buggy, lots of issues; Mint = absolutely great, not a glitch in three whole years. Do I think Debian or Ubuntu are rubbish - nope, not at all. I have friends that swear by them. As well as friends that will use naught but Arch (and tease the rest of us for using a 'Linux toy distro'). One thing I absolutely love about Linux is the diversity. In the people and the distros.
51 • @37 (Gentoo, GNOME and systemd) (by Simon on 2019-04-05 00:15:11 GMT from New Zealand)
Agreed. Well done Distrowatch, too, for putting Gentoo back among the "major distributions" where it belongs. Gentoo is a genuinely unique and productive distro that makes significant contributions to the wider Linux community, most often in the form of fixes and patches to upstream projects...but this is a great example too, purging GNOME of systemd. I also agree that it's probably better to abandon GNOME given that it has clearly tied its fate to that of systemd...but the kind of work that Gentoo have done here opens the way for a major fork (like MATE did with GNOME 2) into something that develops GNOME in the right direction.
52 • Debian, Ubuntu and Arch experiences (by RJA on 2019-04-05 01:15:57 GMT from United States)
@49 and @50, I've had excellent experiences with Ubuntu and I like their LTS releases.
I've also had an excellent experience with Debian, who Ubuntu is based on.
My experience with Arch, was poor in 2010, I had to play mirrorlist musical chairs, because one mirror was apparently missing a required file that another mirror had, and vice-versa!
So, when installing KDE with pacman, I had to keep changing the mirror server and run pacman multiple times, because random files were missing! The mirrors were completely inconsistent!
53 • @51 Gentoo, GNOME and systemd (by mandog on 2019-04-05 01:56:24 GMT from Peru)
Your about 3 years to late Void was offering Gnome3 on runit 3 years ago.
Gentoo has done nothing new apart from using openrc.
54 • Dissing distros (by mcellius on 2019-04-05 11:31:15 GMT from United States)
@50 "... no one's dissing your distros."
Not so. You didn't, but @44 came out of nowhere, changing the topic just to diss a distro; @46 joined in. Furthermore, their dissing came with hyperbole and without logic or reason. Such behavior seems pretty anti-Linux, where we encourage people to base their choices on things that make sense, not baseless emotional outbursts.
55 • Distros (by EdCoolio on 2019-04-05 16:36:48 GMT from United States)
It sounded like DistroWatch readers's personal comments about distros. Re-reading the comments, they were opinionated but respectful - if not hopeful.
Is this not the "Reader Comments" section of DistroWatch, where readers of DistroWatch make comments? This is not a forum full of overzealous moderators which seem to pervade discussions these days (thank God).
Maybe you're too sensitive for an unmoderated Internet discussion, maybe not... but either way, I respect your off topic post.
56 • Dissing distros (by dragonmouth on 2019-04-05 17:39:36 GMT from United States)
And if they are dissing Ubuntu, so what?! Every other distro gets dissed at some point in time. Why should Ubuntu be different? Is Ubuntu some sacred cow that cannot be talked badly about? Marathon Man and Jordan did not have the same warm & fuzzy experiences with Ubuntu that you did. They are basing their statements on how Ubuntu behaved for them. Are Linux distros so fragile that they cannot stand criticism? Steve Balmer and Microsoft dissed Linux for years and it just kept on growing.
57 • @56, dis-distros (by Angel on 2019-04-06 01:00:53 GMT from Philippines)
Steve Ballmer attacked Linux not because he despised it, but because he feared it. As it turns out, there was nothing to fear. Perhaps all this inter-distro dissing is powered by a smaller fear: That one's choice is insignificant.
58 • @ 57 distros... (by Ostrol on 2019-04-06 06:53:44 GMT from Poland)
No distro is good enough until you tweaked it for your liking, for example, gnome shell becomes somewhat easy to use, if/when you change the default file manager, add placing icons on desktop, add categories to app-grid etc. Or moving Linux Mint to disco base.
59 • @57: (by dragonmouth on 2019-04-06 13:12:34 GMT from United States)
For whatever reason, he dissed it. Just as, for various reasons, DW posters diss various distros at one time or another. Don't pick nits.
Number of Comments: 59
Display mode: DWW Only • Comments Only • Both DWW and Comments
|• 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 184.108.40.206, limiting process resource usage, converting file systems on Fedora, Debian turns 25, Lubuntu migrating to Wayland|
|• Full list of all issues|
Star Labs - Laptops built for Linux.
View our range including the Star Lite, Star LabTop and more. Available with a choice of Ubuntu, Linux Mint or Zorin OS pre-installed with many more distributions supported. Visit Star Labs for information, to buy and get support.
|Random Distribution |
XStreamOS and XStream Desktop are Sonicle's effort to maintain a distribution of the illumos kernel (originally derived from OpenSolaris), featuring the ZFS file system, Crossbow network architecture, virtualisation and zones, as well as a customised LXDE desktop. It also strives to develop and contribute to the illumos kernel. Sonicle, a company located in Italy, also maintains two other full-featured products - XStream Server and XStream Storage.