| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 810, 15 April 2019
Welcome to this year's 15th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
One of the interesting things about technology is that it can often be used in new and previously untried ways. We frequently get to see operating systems running on new devices or mixing different components together to make something entirely new. This week we explore a number of new developments and combinations in the open source community. In our Technology Review we explore three scenarios where Bedrock Linux, a meta distribution which allows the user to mix packages from multiple distributions without using virtual machines or containers to isolate the parts, is used. We are happy to report Bedrock is the latest addition to the DistroWatch database. Plus we cover KDE Plasma Mobile running on the soon-to-be released PinePhone. We also talk about Fedora continuing to phase out support for Python 2 packages and NetBSD's virtual machine monitor in our News section. First though we explore SolydXK, a friendly, Debian-based distribution available in Xfce and KDE Plasma flavours. In our Opinion Poll we ask, with a new Ubuntu release on the horizon, which flavour of Canonical's distribution we should review later in the month. Plus we are pleased to share the releases of the past week and list the torrents we are seeding. We wish you all a wonderful week and happy reading!
- Review: SolydXK 201902 "Xfce"
- News: Fedora continues to prune Python 2 packages, KDE Plasma running on the PinePhone, NetBSD's virtual machine monitor arrives
- Technology review: Bedrock Linux 0.7.2
- Released last week: MX Linux 18.2, NixOS 19.03, Proxmox 5.4 "Virtual Environment"
- Torrent corner: Alpine, ArchBang, ArcoLinux, Bluestar, Clonezilla, GhostBSD, IPFire, LinHES, MX, NixOS, NuTyX, Proxmox, Raspbian, SmartOS, Zevenet
- Upcoming releases: Ubuntu 19.04
- Opinion poll: Reviewing an Ubuntu edition
- New additions: Bedrock Linux
- New distributions: Ignis OS
- Reader comments
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (17MB) and MP3 (14MB) formats.
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
SolydXK 201902 "Xfce"
SolydXK is a Debian-based desktop distribution available in Xfce and KDE Plasma flavours. The distribution takes Debian's Stable branch and attempts to build a user friendly desktop experience on top of it. The latest version of the project adds new file system support for flash drives (offering f2fs and nilfs2 file systems). There have also been some changes in the arena of web browsers:
We changed the SolydXK Firefox settings even further to improve user privacy and also comply with Mozilla's distribution policies. This is done in the firefox-solydxk-adjustments package which can be purged if you don't need it.
The official versions of SolydXK run on 64-bit (x86_64) machines only. There are 32-bit x86 ISO files provided by the community and there is a build for Raspberry Pi 3 computers. I opted to try the official Xfce edition which is a 1.5GB download.
Waterfox is now packaged and distributed by the SolydXK repository. You can install Waterfox with this command: apt install waterfox waterfox-solydxk-adjustments.
The live media boots to the Xfce desktop. The live environment features bright orange wallpaper and offers a single icon on the desktop for launching the system installer. The desktop's panel, with the application menu and system tray, sit at the bottom of the screen.
SolydXK 201902 -- The default desktop and application menu
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When I tried launching the installer, at first nothing seemed to happen. Then, after about five seconds, a window opened which appeared to indicate the installer was being updated. Then the installer window opens. The SolydXK installer looks to be a modified version of the Linux Mint Debian Edition installer, which would make sense since the two distributions have some shared history. The installer walks us through selecting our preferred language from a list, confirming our time zone and choosing our keyboard's layout from another list. We are asked to create a username and password for ourselves and, optionally, we can enable auto-login for our user.
Partitioning is a little unusual. We are shown a visual representation of our disk with a list of partitions. We can right-click on partitions to assign them mount points. If we want to create or change a partition we can click a button that opens the GParted partition manager. Once we have finished working with GParted and returned to the installer, we need to click a Refresh button so the installer will see the new disk layout. When I first tried installing SolydXK, the installer refused to proceed past the partitioning screen, reporting my swap partition was the wrong size: it had to be larger than 1GB and no bigger than 4GB. This seems like an odd restriction since many people do not need swap space at all, but I changed my swap space assignment and managed to proceed. The installer then copied its files to my hard drive and completed its work successfully.
SolydXK boots to a graphical login screen that features a bright, orange background. When I first started using SolydXK the distribution took over two minutes to boot. When I looked into this I found that the FreshClam service was running during the boot process. FreshClam is a tool for updating the ClamAV anti-virus software. FreshClam was consuming all available CPU for several minutes and was set to run 24 times per day, starting when the system was booting.
Disabling the FreshClam service reduced boot times to under a minute (less than half what they were originally). The system was still slower than most to boot and further investigation revealed SolydXK was checking for software updates before reaching the login screen which consumed both disk and CPU resources.
When we first sign into SolydXK a welcome screen appears. It gives a short overview of what the distribution is. The welcome screen has multiple pages with most of them listing popular software packages which we can mark to download. The welcome screen offers to install extra multimedia support, bittorrent software, VirtualBox, games, Valve's Steam client, and PlayOnLinux to help us run Windows applications. I like that the welcome screen warns us about potential licensing and security concerns with some of the popular software items.
At first I went through the welcome pages and selected software I wanted to use. Then I clicked the window's Install button. I was told nothing was selected. Then I realized that the Install button only downloads selected items on the current page. We need to treat each page separately, selecting packages and then clicking Install for each page. I started over, queuing up applications to download. On the third page the welcome window crashed, which also stopped the install process running in the background. The next time I signed into my account the welcome window returned and I was able to use it to download a couple of applications.
SolydXK 201902 -- The welcome window
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The Xfce desktop places its panel at the bottom of the screen. The application menu uses a two-pane layout with categories on the right and specific launchers on the left. The desktop is pleasantly responsive and I had no problems navigating it.
I did run into two problems while using Xfce. The first was that the mouse pointer's image did not always match its context. Specifically, when the mouse pointer was over a pane edge which could be dragged left/right, the pointer displayed the up/down drag symbol. When hovering over a pane edge that could move up/down, the mouse pointer displayed the left/right drag symbol. This happened in both of my test environments.
SolydXK 201902 -- Mouse showing incorrect pointer
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The other issue was I wanted to change the wallpaper to something less intense. However, the wallpaper switching tool disables browsing into directories, effectively blocking us from changing the background to anything other than one of the wallpapers that ships with SolydXK. I settled for disabling wallpaper and using a solid background colour.
Applications and services
The distribution ships with many popular open source applications, including the Firefox web browser, Thunderbird, the X11VNC remote desktop server and LibreOffice. The Evince document viewer is included along with the VLC multimedia player, the Xfburn disc burning software, an image viewer and a simple scanning tool. There are some other useful items such as a font manager (for installing and removing fonts), a bulk file rename utility and the GNU Privacy Assistant (GPA). The luckyBackup tool is available to help us create archives of our files. Thunar is the distribution's default file manager.
I found the GNU Compiler Collection is installed along with Java. The distribution uses systemd for its init implementation, Network Manager to help us get on-line, and version 4.9 of the Linux kernel.
SolydXK 201902 -- Running LibreOffice and configuring the firewall
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Some of the included packages are little older than those we find on other desktop distributions. This is due to SolydXK using Debian Stable as its base, which is now about two years old. This means we start off with an older kernel and LibreOffice 5 instead of version 6. Practically this did not impact me, but people who want the latest and great software will probably want to want to enable a backports repository or consider getting newer versions of packages through a portable format such as Flatpak. Flatpak is not installed by default, but it is available in the repositories. It requires some manual setting up, we cannot just go to Flathub.org and click the install buttons of the programs we want; a bit of command line work is required to enable and download Flatpak applications. Flatpaks are not added to the application menu either which means we need to manually create short-cuts or launch Flatpak programs from the command line. This not at all user friendly, but it works and allowed me to run newer versions of applications.
One problem I ran into while web browsing was there were some websites where Firefox would not display images. On most sites, images were displayed, but on a few I would just see broken image outlines. At first I thought this might be a side effect of one of Firefox's extensions SolydXK enables. (Firefox ships with Privacy Badger, HTTPS Everywhere and uBlock enabled.) However, I turned all of these extensions off and the missing images still did not load. Installing another browser (Chromium in this case) did show the images on the same pages so the issue appears to be specific to just Firefox on SolydXK, since the sites worked perfectly on another system running Firefox. I thought Firefox's issues might relate to the comment in the release announcement about the firefox-solydxk-adjustments package, which is installed. I found that removing this package and restarting the browser fixed my issues.
Chromium came with its own frustrations since the browser regularly pops up prompts for our keyring password. This is something which can be worked around or disabled, but it is not a problem users should be forced to deal with.
SolydXK 201902 -- Browsing settings
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There are two graphical front-ends for managing background services. One, called Services, lists programs which will be run in the background at boot time. The other, called systemadm, allows us to start and stop existing systemd services. While using these tools I made some interesting discoveries. One is that the OpenVPN service and the exim4 mail service are both enabled. I did not find any use for the mail service and disabled it. I also did not find any indication OpenVPN was configured or meant to be used by default which makes me curious as to why it was installed and enabled.
Earlier I mentioned FreshClam runs periodically in the background and, whenever this happened, it slowed the system down quite a lot for a few minutes. Since I was not using the ClamAV scanner, I disabled the FreshClam service. The service continued to run though, probably launched from another tool or script and I ended up un-installing FreshClam and ClamAV to prevent them from consuming CPU and disk resources.
I started my experiment with SolydXK in a VirtualBox environment. The distribution played well with VirtualBox, running smoothly and integrating with my host machine and using my display's full screen resolution. I had a similarly good experience when running the distribution on my workstation. Sound, networking (wired and wireless), and my screen were all handled properly.
SolydXK was highly responsive in both environments (when FreshClam was not running) and I liked how quickly Xfce would open menus and launch applications. I also liked that SolydXK ships with the CUPS PDF printer enabled, allowing us to convert any document or image to a PDF.
SolydXK 201902 -- Setting up a printer
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The distribution was fairly light on memory, using 260MB of RAM. Disk usage was about average for a mainstream Linux distribution, consuming 5GB of space with the default applications.
SolydXK ships with two graphical tools for dealing with software. One is called Package Updater which simply checks for new software updates to install. During my trial no new packages were made available so I was unable to properly test this tool.
SolydXK 201902 -- Browsing available software
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The other graphical front-end to APT is simply called Packages. The Packages tool shows a long list of software categories to the left of the window and specific packages on the right. There is a search bar placed at the top of the window. We can then browse categories and mark items to be installed or removed. Packages builds a queue of actions to perform and handles them all in one batch. As far as low-level package managers go, Packages is quite good. It doesn't do anything particularly special or different, and it did not cause me any problems. So far as I could tell, there is no separate software centre for desktop applications.
I struggled quite a bit with my feelings toward SolydXK and I think it is largely because, on paper, the distribution sets out to do a lot of things I like. It uses a stable base, runs an extended support version of Firefox with privacy add-ons, has a nice welcome screen that offers users detailed descriptions of popular applications and provides a couple of top-notch desktop editions. I can even get on board with the idea of providing anti-virus software, not because I feel it is particularly useful, but a lot of people migrating from Windows want to have it. So all of these features strike me as good to have.
However, the implementation of these ideas often yielded unpleasant side-effects. The privacy-focused Firefox broke a couple of websites, the welcome screen crashed when queuing software downloads, the anti-virus updater strongly affected performance and boot times, and the wallpaper selector seems to have been disabled. Trying to work around some of these issues was not always easy, as I found out when dealing with Chromium's many password prompts and the system's inability to work with Flatpak bundles.
SolydXK 201902 -- Trying to select new wallpaper
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There are still several perks of SolydXK, such as the Xfce desktop's excellent performance, good hardware support and the PDF virtual printer being set up by default. However, I do not feel the distribution is as beginner friendly as it used to be. It seems conservative packaging and privacy (both good things) have taken priority over polish and ease of use (which would also be good things to have). On the whole SolydXK is a good distribution, and worked well once I made some adjustments. After the first day or two, I really appreciated its stable, high-speed desktop and lack of distractions. But there are some bugs to work around and it took me a while to hunt down and remove processes which were causing performance issues and sort out some web browser problems. On the whole this was not a bad release, but there were a lot of rough edges and extra services enabled that did not need to be included.
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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
SolydXK has a visitor supplied average rating of: 9.1/10 from 96 review(s).
Have you used SolydXK? You can leave your own review of the project on our ratings page.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Fedora continues to prune Python 2 packages, KDE Plasma running on the PinePhone, NetBSD's virtual machine monitor arrives
About a year ago we reported the Fedora project was planning to phase out Python 2 packages as upstream support for Python 2 was nearing its end of life. A year ago there were over 3,000 packages in Fedora which relied on Python 2, now around 1,000 remain and the effort to drop these packages before Fedora 31's release continues: "Python 2 is reaching end of life, and the current maintainers would like to orphan it. To prevent massive breakage, and to plan help with porting to Python 3, we will systematically track and remove packages that still depend on Python 2. The Fedora 30 change, Changes/Mass Python 2 Package Removal, continues in Fedora 31. We allow packagers to more easily abandon Python 2 parts of their packages (as an alternative to orphaning the whole package). We also start systematically collecting info on what remaining packages need to switch to Python 3. Finally, we'll use an expedited process to remove non-installable Python 2 packages from the distro." Details of the plan can be found in the Fedora wiki.
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Back in February we talked about hardware accelerated virtual machines coming to NetBSD. We are happy to report the NetBSD Virtual Machine Monitor (NVMM) is now available in NetBSD's development (-current) branch and will be included in the release of NetBSD 9. The NetBSD blog has some interesting observations with regards to NVMM. "One thing you may have noticed is that the complex emulation machinery is not in the kernel, but in userland. This is an excellent security property of NVMM, because it reduces the risk for the host in case of bug or vulnerability - the host kernel remains unaffected, and also has the advantage of making the machinery easily fuzzable. Currently, this property is not found in other hypervisors such as KVM, HAXM or Bhyve, and I hope we'll be able to preserve it as we move forward with more backends. Another security property of NVMM is that the assists provided by libnvmm are invoked only if the emulator explicitly called them. In other words, the complex machinery is not launched automatically, and an emulator is free not to use it if it doesn't want to. This can limit the attack surface of applications that create limited VMs, and want to keep things simple and under control as much as possible."
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Later this year the Pine64 organization is expected to release a mobile device for open source operating systems called the PinePhone. The PinePhone is already expected to work with UBports and a development kit for the phone was recently seen running the KDE Plasma Mobile interface on top of the postmarketOS mobile operating system. This means the new phone should be able to run multiple open source operating systems, with multiple user interfaces, by the time it officially launches.
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Technology Review (by Jesse Smith)
Bedrock Linux 0.7.2
People who distro-hop on a regular basis are probably familiar with the desire to mix components of different Linux distributions. Perhaps you want the stability of Debian, but also want to enjoy the benefits of Void's package manager. Or maybe you like the ten years of support provided by CentOS while missing Arch Linux's Arch User Repository (AUR). As someone who tries at least one different distribution every week, I often find myself appreciating how one project has solved a problem and wishing I could merge the best characteristics of all the distributions I have used. If you have had similar feelings you may be interested in an unusual project called Bedrock Linux.
Typically, when people want to enjoy special features of multiple distributions they either dual-boot or run one of the operating systems in a virtual machine. However, both of these approaches have their own issues. Virtual machines require a lot of extra resources to run, since the system is tasked with running two (or more) operating systems at the same time. Dual-booting offers better performance, but prevents the user from quickly switching back and forth between programs and features. Containers try to bridge this gap, offering a lot of the flexibility of virtual machines without the resource overhead. However, containers are meant to contain things - they isolate tasks, files and programs, making it difficult to seamlessly share resources and files.
Bedrock Linux is a meta-distribution which tries to offer a better solution by allowing users to run components from multiple operating systems side-by-side without requiring a virtual machine or container. In fact, one of the big features of Bedrock is that components work together seamlessly; nothing is contained or isolated, components from different distributions are merged together and act as one unified platform.
Some people view Bedrock as a sort of compatibility layer that sits on top of a distribution and makes it possible to run components from other projects (the way people visualize running Docker or VirtualBox on top of an existing distribution). However, it is probably better to think of Bedrock as a layer under a distribution, serving as a foundation where we can place pieces of other distributions. Bedrock is not a Linux distribution itself in the usual sense, it feels more like glue that holds other distributions together.
Personally, I find it tricky to visualize what Bedrock is, I think it is easier to explore how it works by example. To get started with Bedrock we need to begin with an existing Linux distribution. A list of supported projects can be found on the Bedrock Installation Instructions page. Once we have a supported Linux distribution on our computer, we need to download the Bedrock script and run it as the root user. The script performs some special magic that allows new distributions to be added to the system in layers or "strata". We can then reboot the computer and begin adding components from other distributions.
I began my trial with Bedrock by deciding that I wanted to run Void (one of the projects on the list of distributions known to work with Bedrock). My plan was to install a minimal Void system and then add components from Debian that were not available in Void's repositories.
Void's command line only install is quite small, using just 654MB of disk space and requiring 35MB of RAM. I downloaded the Bedrock script and ran it with "sh bedrock-linux-0.7.2-x86_64.sh --hijack initial". The "initial" text in this example is just a label and refers to the first distribution we installed. In this case I could have used the word "original" or "void" with equal effectiveness. The Bedrock script warns us, in red letters, that proceeding will convert our system into a Bedrock platform and that this cannot be reverted. Then it waits for confirmation. Once given permission, the script completes its work almost instantly and asks us to reboot the computer.
When we reboot, at first everything seems the same as before, except we have access to a couple of new commands, the most important one being "brl". The brl command is what allows us to set up other distributions on the system, remove old distributions/layers we no longer need, and run tests to see which layer provides which components. I will get to some examples of this later. Before diving in, I recommend reading the Basic Usage page on Bedrock's website as it provides a very nice overview of how the brl command can be used to manage distribution layers on the system.
I checked the list of distributions Bedrock can fetch and add to an existing system. They are, at the time of writing: Alpine Linux, Arch Linux, CentOS, Debian, Devuan, Fedora, Gentoo, Ubuntu, and Void. Interestingly enough, there are separate entries for Void's libc implementation and Void's musl platform, depending on which system library we want to use.
At any rate, I was already running Void, a minimal, rolling release distribution and I wanted to enjoy the benefits of Debian's large collection of software packages. It was my plan to use the Debian layer to install a desktop environment and a couple of games and see what would happen. I also planned to install the Chrome web browser, which is only available as an RPM or Deb package, and therefore not compatible with Void's XBPS package manager. If this sounds like a tough challenge, it is; I wanted to throw Bedrock in the deep end of the pool and see if it would swim.
I ran the command "sudo brl fetch debian" which downloaded a core collection of Debian packages and consumed 1.1GB of additional disk space. From there I was instantly able to start using Debian's APT package manager from the command line. I installed a few small, command line tools without any problems. The Debian packages installed and worked effortlessly alongside Void's programs, as if I'd installed them using Void's package manager directly. So far, so good.
I then tried something more complicated: installing a desktop environment from Debian's repositories on my Void base. Debian's APT command worked for a while to install KDE Plasma and eventually gave up with a long series of errors, most of them complaining that certain packages could not be configured. After that, I was unable to get APT to work, to either install or remove packages. This was when I discovered one of Bedrock's more useful features: the ability to remove a distribution layer. Running "brl remove debian" wiped the Debian layer off my computer immediately. I was effectively back to a Void-only experience in a matter of seconds. I could then re-install Debian using "brl fetch debian" and start over with a fresh slate.
I tried again to install a desktop environment from Debian's repositories, this time grabbing Xfce packages. This process also failed, and the key issue appeared to be that Debian's APT could not find udev software on my system. Ultimately several packages, including the X.Org server could not be configured.
I realized that this might be too tricky of a test for Bedrock. I was starting with a minimal, rolling distribution and attempting to install a larger, static distribution and desktop on it. This was a lot to ask and probably backwards to the way most people would approach mixing distributions. I decided to start over with a stable, Debian-based distribution and add rolling release packages to it.
I installed MX Linux on my machine next and then ran the Bedrock script. This appeared to go smoothly, but when I rebooted the computer I quickly ran into a couple of problems before getting to the next stage of installing a second distribution's packages. My login times had increased by about 20 seconds, whether signing in from the graphical login page or from the command line. Further, I found MX was no longer able to connect to the network and my user account was blocked from editing the network configuration.
Some research on the Bedrock website provides an explanation. Distributions that are running SysV init are listed as a potential problem. For the initial distribution it seems we should be using either systemd or runit as the init implementation. Armed with this information, I made a third attempt to work with Bedrock, installing Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS as the initial distribution and "hijacking" it with the Bedrock script.
Ubuntu MATE installed smoothly, using about 5GB of my disk space. I then converted the system into a Bedrock platform and used the brl command to install a layer of the Void distribution: "sudo brl fetch void". This raised the amount of disk space consumed to about 6GB. I was then immediately able to start using Void's package manager to install software from the Void repositories. In fact, at one point I decided to stress test the combined distributions a bit by performing a batch of upgrades from Ubuntu MATE's repositories and, at the same time, I used Void's XBPS package manager to install a couple of new desktop applications. Both processes ran smoothly and completed flawlessly. Afterwards Ubuntu MATE was up to date and a couple of new Void programs had been added to MATE's application menu.
Bedrock Linux 0.7.2 -- Installing new Void packages and updates from Ubuntu MATE
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At this point it seems like a good time to mention that Bedrock offers a tool to report which layer provides a given resource. For instance, running "brl which 1" will tell us which distribution layer launched PID 1 (init). The command "brl which ls" tells us which layer installed the ls command. Should we install multiple distributions from the same family, such as Debian and Ubuntu, we can find out which one provides the default APT tools by running "brl which apt". This helps the user from getting mixed up as to which layer does what.
In the case two layers both provide the same command, we can run one specific version of the program using the strat command. For example, running "strat ubuntumate apt update" makes sure we are updating Ubuntu MATE's package list. I found running system identifying commands, such as lsb_release interesting as different stratum provided different output. "strat void lsb_release -a" and "strat ubuntumate lsb_release -a" gave entirely different identifications for the merged operating system.
Bedrock Linux 0.7.2 -- Finding out which layers provide components
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The only problem I ran into when experimenting with my combined Ubuntu MATE and Void system was that some programs installed to the Void layer were added to the MATE application menu, but others were not. The Falkon web browser immediately showed up in the menu, but the GNU Image Manipulation Program did not, even after I had signed out and logged back into my account. It was fairly straight forward to set up a short-cut for programs which did not automatically show up in the menu and this provided me with seamless access to newer versions of programs without the hassle that comes from trying to work with portable package formats.
What I found from using Bedrock Linux is that this meta-distribution offers a very powerful approach to working with software from multiple sources and allows some Linux distributions to work on the same partition with very little overhead or resource usage, compared to virtual machines and containers. This is, in my experience, less effort and results in fewer side effects than working with portable packages and allows for smoother integration as Bedrock does not isolate system components from each other.
Bedrock Linux 0.7.2 -- Running Void's Falkon on Ubuntu MATE's desktop
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There are some limitations. Bedrock does not, as far as I can tell, allow different layers to provide different desktop environments. And Bedrock does not work well with SysV init yet, though the lead developer tells me this will be addressed in a future release. In short, I would not suggest using Bedrock to run complete, multi-desktop distributions mixed together. However, I do think Bedrock is ideal for installing a handful of applications and command line tools on an otherwise complete main operating system and makes the experience much faster and more pleasant than dual-booting or firing up a virtual machine.
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After my initial trial I had a chance to exchange e-mails with Daniel Thau, the creator of Bedrock Linux. We discussed some of the issues I ran into with converting MX Linux into a Bedrock system and sorted out most of the problems. We found the login and permission issues were due to some missing directories the login process was looking for under the /run directory and my connection problems were mostly tied to /etc/resolv.conf not being linked to a file containing DNS information. There are still a few minor issues to sort out, such as not being able to reboot the computer from within the desktop environment, and he recommended not running Bedrock with MX Linux in a production environment until this problem is resolved. However, personally, with my main two problems sorted out, I found I was able to use my hybrid MX/Bedrock/Void system fairly well and it sounds as though the remaining issues with MX and other (SysV init distributions) will probably be resolved in the next release of Bedrock.
|Released Last Week
MX Linux 18.2
MX Linux, a desktop-oriented Linux distribution based on Debian's Stable branch, is a cooperative venture between the antiX and former MEPIS Linux communities. The project's latest update is MX Linux 18.2, which provides security updates, improvements to the installer, and an updated set of MX tools. "We are pleased to offer MX-18.2 official release ISO for your use. MX-18.2 is a refresh of our MX-18 release, consisting of bug fixes and application updates since our original release of MX-18. Note: existing users do not need to reinstall. All bug fixes and additions will come through the regular update channel. Updated packages: the latest updates from Debian 9.8 (Stretch), antiX and MX repos, including Firefox 66.0.2, VLC 3.0.6 and many more. New and updated mx-apps: mx-installer (based on gazelle-installer) now has configurable encryption cipher options as well as selectable ESP install location. Autoinstall also received fixes for partition alignment. mx-repo-manager now lists even more repository mirrors." Further details are available in the project's release announcement.
NixOS is an independent Linux distribution which uses and showcases the Nix package manager. Using Nix, the operating system can install snapshots of packages and manage software and services through a central configuration file. The project's latest release, NixOS 19.03, features iprovements to Kubernetes and offers a UEFI-enabled image for Aarch64-powered computers. "A major refactoring of the Kubernetes module has been completed. Refactorings primarily focus on decoupling components and enhancing security. Two-way TLS and RBAC has been enabled by default for all components, which slightly changes the way the module is configured. See: Chapter 32, Kubernetes for details. There is now a set of confinement options for systemd.services, which allows to restrict services into a chroot(2)ed environment that only contains the store paths from the runtime closure of the service. A UEFI installer image for Aarch64 is now built by Hydra. It should work on all devices with a UEFI implementation such as upstream u-boot." Further details can be found in the distribution's release notes.
NixOS 19.03 -- Running the KDE Plasma desktop
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Proxmox 5.4 "Virtual Environment"
Proxmox is a commercial company offering specialised products based on Debian GNU/Linux. The company's latest release is Proxmox 5.4 "Virtual Environment" which is based on Debian 9.8 and offers improved flexibility in high availability environments. "The new features of Proxmox VE 5.4 focus on usability and simple management of the software-defined infrastructure as well as on security management: Installing Ceph via user interface with the new wizard - Integrated into the Proxmox VE software stack since 2014 the distributed storage technology Ceph comes with own packages and support from the Proxmox team. The configuration of a Ceph cluster has already been available via the web interface, now with Proxmox VE 5.4 the developers have brought the installation of Ceph from the command line to the user interface making it extremely fast and easy to setup and configure a hyper-converged Proxmox VE/Ceph cluster. Additionally, enterprise on a budget can use commodity off-the-shelf hardware allowing them to cut costs for their growing data storage demands. Greater flexibility with high availability improvements - Proxmox VE 5.4 provides new options to set the HA policy data centre-wide, changing the way how guests are treated upon a node shutdown or reboot. This brings greater flexibility and choice to the user." Additional information can be found in the company's release announcement.
GhostBSD is a rolling release TrueOS-based desktop operating system which features the MATE desktop (a community edition that offers the Xfce desktop is also available). The project's latest release is GhostBSD 19.04: "Finally, GhostBSD 19.04 is out! GhostBSD 19.04 has several improvements from the volume controller to the installer, and for the first time, we did add and change some code on the base system. GhostBSD 19.04 is available with our official MATE desktop including the community Xfce desktop iso. This release is a significant improvement from GhostBSD 18.12 enjoy. What has changed since 18.12: Replaced slim by LightDM; updated the system to FreeBSD 13.0-CURRENT; added the supports of ZFS with MBR on the installer; removed TrueOS setting to default to ZFS which improved the installation of UFS; fix default mate-terminal setting; Added GhostBSD boot mute; added Refine setup on the installer; removed gksu; fixed UnicodeDecodeError: 'ascii' problem with Software Station." Further details can be found in the project's release announcement.
Bedrock Linux 0.7.3
Bedrock Linux is a meta distribution which allows users to utilize features from other, typically mutually exclusive distributions. The project has published an update to its 0.7.x series, Bedrock Linux 0.7.3. The new update fixes some potential network issues, added the ability to fetch instances of Clear Linux and fixed a bug related o rebooting on systems running SysV init. The release notes state: "dded "current" to list of Slackware releases. Added code to handle users providing brl-fetch an Arch Linux mirror with unquoted/escaped shell variables. Added cross pixmap support. Added resolvconf support. Added support for multiple localegen lines. Added warning when default init does not exist. Fixed strat -r ... zsh escaping restriction via sourcing zprofile. Fixed fetch handling of Clear Linux. Fixed reboot handling after hijacking systems with PID1 provided by SysV init. Generalized brl-fetch user/group handling. Implemented work-around for Chromium/Electron/et al TZ bug. Improved hijack distro name detection to handle MX Linux. (Note other issues with Bedrock Linux/MX Linux compatibility are known at this time.) Various minor UI tweaks."
* * * * *
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: 1,349
- Total data uploaded: 25.0TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Reviewing an Ubuntu edition
Next week a new release of Ubuntu and its many community editions is expected to arrive. We are planning to review one of the Ubuntu 19.04 flavours and are open to suggestions as to which one deserves a look. Which one would you like to see us talk about in a future Weekly?
You can see the results of our previous poll on important web browser features in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Reviewing an Ubuntu edition
|Kubuntu: ||443 (18%)|
| Lubuntu: ||249 (10%)|
| Ubuntu: ||470 (19%)|
| Ubuntu Budgie: ||179 (7%)|
| Ubuntu Kylin: ||41 (2%)|
| Ubuntu MATE: ||422 (17%)|
| Ubuntu Studio: ||135 (6%)|
| Xubuntu: ||485 (20%)|
New projects added to database
Bedrock Linux is a meta Linux distribution which allows users to utilize features from other, typically mutually exclusive distributions. Essentially, users can mix-and-match components and packages as desired from multiple Linux distributions and have them work seamlessly side-by-side.
* * * * *
Distributions added to waiting list
- Ignis OS. Ignis OS is a Linux distribution based on Porteus which is modular and customizable and features the Openbox window manager.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 22 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 • Kubuntu (by Vern on 2019-04-15 00:09:20 GMT from United States) |
Please review Kubuntu. I have been using 19.04 for a while now and it is the best KDE that I've used in a long while. The older PC I used Lubuntu because Kubuntu wouldn't work because of nvidia.
2 • Ubuntu (by brad on 2019-04-15 00:25:43 GMT from United States)
Please review Ubuntu - the other variants (DE's) have better distros to showcase their strengths; KDE (Neon, Manjaro); XFCE (MX); Budgie (Solus); MATE (Mint). Ubuntu's default DE (Gnome) would be an interesting contrast against Fedora. You could even have someone review whatever distro uses Unity nowadays...
3 • DE Showdown Please, rather than Buntu Showdown (by BeGo on 2019-04-15 00:52:47 GMT from Indonesia)
Rather than Ubuntu Showdown, I prefer to see Desktop Environment Showdown.
My reference already too ancient, from Plasma 4 Era, when KDE won "Memory Voracity Award" :P
4 • Contrasting distro reviews (by Joe on 2019-04-15 01:32:01 GMT from New Zealand)
I think for reviews, to get the "original intent" it would be best to go with the "main" edition. For Ubuntu the Gnome default, for Manjaro the Xcfe, etc.
I like the idea Brad(USA) suggested above, review Ubuntu against Fedora. Such reviews could get people's blood pressure up, but such reviews could be useful for people to decide which distro suits them best.
I also like the idea of a desktops shootout. I think Manjaro now supports the widest range of desktops. Between their main editions and the community ones, must be over half a dozen. This would be an enormous amount of work, but have the Manjaro core as a base so the desktop vs desktop tests would not be affected by distro A doing something different to distro B.
Sigh. Have I just suggested content for DW #811 through #2999?
5 • review preference (by denflen on 2019-04-15 01:45:24 GMT from United States)
I could be wrong, but I think Lubuntu is the distro undergoing the biggest change at the moment. Lubuntu 18.10 started the evolution of switching from lxde desktop to lxqt desktop. I would like to know if the rough edges have been ironed out or not. I am a big fan of Lubuntu, but quite sure about it using lxqt.....
6 • newphone (by bOK on 2019-04-15 02:01:47 GMT from Australia)
looking forward to the pinephone release, and hope it does for phones what the raspberry PI did for SBCs
7 • Mate or XFCE ... predictably stable. (by Greg Zeng on 2019-04-15 02:38:31 GMT from Australia)
So stable, that I expect the reviewer to be bored. For typical users, that is what we want. The operating system should be like the road in a highway: to not be noticed, to not interfere with our interests in eith fun or work.
I'd be interested in its performance on a 4k screen (television set, etc), and use with WINE.
8 • Lubuntu for review (by albinard on 2019-04-15 02:58:18 GMT from United States)
The 19.04 release of Lubuntu is the second Lubuntu using the LXQt desktop. In my experience with the Beta version it is handling Libreoffice pages faster than all the GTK+ desktops do. If you handle a lot of LibO documents, that becomes a huge plus. I plan to replace one of my Xubuntu 18.04 desktops with this Lubuntu: the benefit even outweighs the stability of an LTS, for me.
9 • Poll: Ubuntu to review (by saltygreysoup on 2019-04-15 03:03:58 GMT from Australia)
Lubuntu for review, is my vote...now with the LXQT desktop, moving on from the light but aging LXDE desktop. 'sigh' I think I am bias in my view and would appreciate an objective look at the new Lubuntu.Thank you
10 • Ubuntu (by Andy Figueroa on 2019-04-15 03:21:01 GMT from United States)
Ubuntu? Yawn! Lubuntu, I guess. :-)
11 • Issues with SolydX (by Alburgheiro on 2019-04-15 04:40:22 GMT from Russia)
The reported issue with the wallpaper and as well as the annoying Chromium password requests also appear in Linux Mint 19 Xfce.
In Mint, the default wallpaper configuration works out of the box but if the users set a wallpaper from a different location they won't be able to set a wallpaper again.
In addition, last week I trying to post a comment explaining that Flakon compiles without issues or extra configuration steps in Debian Testing but my comment didn't go through.
12 • Ubuntu (by UkPete on 2019-04-15 07:11:21 GMT from United Kingdom)
As a Lubuntu user and having tried the lxqt version.(Don't like). Be interesting to see what you think. May be a move to Antix for me.
13 • @ 12 Lubuntu-Qt (by OstroL on 2019-04-15 08:49:26 GMT from Poland)
Agreed! There's no way to "develop" Lubuntu other than staying with Openbox and LXDE. Moving to LXQt is like being a little brother to Kubuntu. The strangest part of new Lubuntu-Qt is that it uses more memory than Kubuntu at idling.
14 • Ubuntu Reviews (by Jim on 2019-04-15 10:04:39 GMT from United States)
I don't really care which Ubuntu is reviewed, but I will say this, Ubuntu 19.04 will be found all over the Internet, on multiple sites, both Tech and Linus sites. Why not do a flavor to be different? (I am a Ubuntu Mate User)
15 • Which Ubuntu? (by steve on 2019-04-15 10:50:14 GMT from Switzerland)
Who cares! They are all Ubuntu.But you can make a general review of Ubuntu 19.04 looking at what is new, including all the flavors.
16 • Poll (by Fox on 2019-04-15 11:17:06 GMT from Canada)
Ubuntu; I'm interested in a review of the new Gnome stack. But if possible, include a mini-review of a few other flavours.
17 • SolydX, XFCE wallpaper changing (by Hoos on 2019-04-15 11:43:31 GMT from Singapore)
It's not a SolydX bug, but the non-intuitive way that XFCE 4.12 goes about the process of changing wallpaper.
You have to choose the wallpaper folder, not the individual picture files within the folder (which are greyed out in the file chooser dialogue window).
Once the folder is chosen and you are returned to the main Desktop Settings window, all the picture files in the folder will be displayed. You then click on the wallpaper you want displayed on the desktop.
18 • Bedrock (by Jim on 2019-04-15 12:48:01 GMT from United States)
I was thoroughly intrigued with your review of Bedrock Linux! What an interesting concept?! I think I have similar outlooks/viewpoints as you (the reviewer) and would probably be interested in Bedrock for similar reasons. The only thing you failed to investigate or report, which I would have liked to have seen, is what type of system resources/overhead Bedrock "layers" may add to the system. I think a fair comparison would be to report the RAM usage at idle, from a cold boot, of the underlying "host" or base system. Then a report of the RAM usage at idle, from a cold boot, of the same system after Bedrock installation. By extrapolation, I think this would be a reasonable approximation of Bedrock resource consumption.
Other than that, you have whetted my appetite. I'm off to learn more about Bedrock and mull the different ways I may integrate this software into my workflows?! THANK YOU!
19 • 'buntu review(s) (by Jordan on 2019-04-15 12:49:04 GMT from United States)
@10 .. You beat me to it. :oD
No, "None Of The Above" choice.
20 • Ubuntu Reviews (by Jim on 2019-04-15 12:52:00 GMT from United States)
I agree with the other Jim in comment #14. IMO, Lubuntu seems to be undergoing the most drastic changes right now, in a very accelerated manner. I'd like to know more about THAT distro, and how the maturation of LXQt is coming along! JMO...
21 • @17 (by Hoos) (by NoBody on 2019-04-15 13:03:15 GMT from Switzerland)
"It's not a SolydX bug, but the non-intuitive way that XFCE 4.12 goes about the process of changing wallpaper."
Right click on some image and choose "Set as wallpaper" is "non-intuitive way"???
22 • Lubuntu lxqt (by james on 2019-04-15 13:04:50 GMT from Switzerland)
@13 "there is no other way..." no, there is an other way as we all can see (using the lxqt desktop, which btw. does include openbox!) but you can allways install the lubuntu lxde desktop, if you like it better. So no worries!
23 • @21 - XFCE wallpaper chooser (by Hoos on 2019-04-15 13:28:07 GMT from Singapore)
My post was a response to Jesse's SolydX review above, where he talks about his problems setting wallpaper (the last paragraph in the section called "Early Impressions") and posts a screenshot of the XFCE Desktop Settings and the greyed out picture files in the selected folder.
Clearly his trouble was with the interface of the Desktop Settings tool in XFCE.
24 • Bedrock - interesting but never mainstream (by Kingneutron on 2019-04-15 13:35:05 GMT from United States)
Bedrock is an interesting thought experiment, but will be inherently unstable. Plodging together different packages from distros -and- package managers is nightmare fuel.
Even running Knoppix installed to HD (mix of stable, unstable and testing packages) a few years ago, I ran into irreparable package conflicts after a few months - and that was within the same "family"!
In Mac-land, having both Macports and brew installed can be a little bit tricky. Although doing that saved my butt when brew's Geeqie broke for El Capitan 10.11 -- I was able to get it working again with Macports (and Imagemagick as well)
I believe the way forward will be Flatpak and Snap.
25 • @24 (by voidpin on 2019-04-15 14:16:18 GMT from Sweden)
Hopefully, you'll be proven wrong.
Flatpak and snap are a security nightmare and system bloat. I'm already running *BSD on a second machine. If you're right, I'll ditch Linux and move full time tog *BSD.
26 • Ubuntu Studio dying? (by Heavy Metal Guitar God on 2019-04-15 14:34:55 GMT from United States)
I’ve been a Ubuntu Studio user for years, but recently things seem to be on the verge of falling apart, with the dropping of LTS, the coming change to a fat desktop, and near revocation of official flavor status. This is sad because, despite the existence of other media production distros, none of them have the turnkey usability of Ubuntu Studio. I am on the verge of buying a Mac if things don’t improve. I’d love for you to show me that my fears are misplaced and Ubuntu Studio is better than ever.
27 • Wallpaper (by Jesse on 2019-04-15 14:49:06 GMT from Canada)
@17: "It's not a SolydX bug, but the non-intuitive way that XFCE 4.12 goes about the process of changing wallpaper.
This is incorrect. I tried this on other distributions and the wallpaper folder selection tool on other distributions works. The bug only exists in SolydXK.
@23: "Clearly his trouble was with the interface of the Desktop Settings tool in XFCE."
The problem with the solution you suggested is that I could not browse into _any_ folders, not just bottom-level ones. Let's say, for example, I go into Desktop Settings and choose the button to select a new wallpaper location. If I click the breadcrumbs button at the top to switch to the /usr/share folder, it is then impossible to browse into _any_ directories under /usr/share. I can't even get back to the backgrounds directory as they are all greyed out. Every folder in every directory is blocked.
The folder selection dialog is broken and blocks navigating to any/all sub-folders, even if they have their own folders inside them.
Again, this only happens for me on SolydXK. If I use any other distro with Xfce I can browse into sub-folders.
28 • What to review... (by Friar Tux on 2019-04-15 14:52:22 GMT from Canada)
I was hoping for something different. Most of us know the 'buntus, and the write-ups (here on DW) are fairly accurate. I'd like to see a review of a dead/inactive OS and why it should be brought back. I think there's a treasure trove of past OS's that were gems in their day and could be again.
@11, the Chrome/Chromium password request nuisance appears to be with the browser itself as the same issue happens in a few other OS's and DE's. One thing I have noticed is the when I don't sign out of my gmail account Chromium stops asking for a password (not sure about Chrome).
@17, who still changes their wallpaper using the settings dialog? Just go to the picture you like , right click, and pick 'Set As Wallpaper' from the menu. The only time I still go to settings is if I want to change the timing on the 'slideshow' settings.
29 • @ 22 taken out of context.. (by OstroL on 2019-04-15 15:04:20 GMT from Poland)
"there is no other way..." and "There's no way.." are 2 different things. The "other" takes away the meaning. Goes out of context...anyway...
When Lubuntu came by quite some time ago, it added a desktop to Openbox, and most importantly, Lubuntu would allow any old computer some more life. Also, Lubuntu ran swiftly in a newer compter. The former Lubuntu developers have gone now, most probably not wanting to change the ideas, not wanting to move to Qt.
Now, if you read the official Lubuntu web site, you'd find that they are not offering the Lubuntu-Qt for older computers. The Lubuntu idea is dead, and Lubuntu is dead. Only the name is still there. You are better of using Kubuntu.
30 • chrooted in opposite corner (by Echo from the void on 2019-04-15 15:01:55 GMT from Norway)
@24 not really.
Their FAQ says it uses various virtual filesystem layer tools
31 • PinePhone (by Geo Savage on 2019-04-15 15:21:15 GMT from Canada)
Encouraged by PinePhone, but I still long for the day when I can run private and secure Linux on a phone.
Yes, I know about UBPorts, but It would be nice to have something new than a Nexus 5 and with auto install.
CyanogenMod was so close. Maybe I can get LineageOS to work on my phone.
32 • chrooted in opposite corner (by Echo from the void on 2019-04-15 15:46:55 GMT from Norway)
@24 not really.
Their FAQ says it uses various virtual filesystem layer tools
33 • ubuntu review (by Hank Slackman on 2019-04-15 16:14:36 GMT from Belgium)
I voted xubuntu, because I find it the most suitable edition for me. But really main Ubuntu edition should be reviewed first. All other editions are part of the same ecosystem, with a different interface and/or framework. I just don't like gnome (lack of customization, bloated, etc)
But let's be realistic, all editions will probably get exposure here, since it generates traffic.
34 • Bedrock, MX Linux, Ubuntu MATE, Fedora (by Roy on 2019-04-15 17:18:14 GMT from United States)
I downloaded and tried MX Linux. I prefer Mate over XFCE. Especially, Ubuntu MATE's version of Mate. But really liked MX Linux's calendar over Ubuntu MATE's. I was intrigued with Bedrock. Would be nice to see some respins of Bedrock like Fedora does.
35 • Poll (by dragonmouth on 2019-04-15 17:32:40 GMT from United States)
None of the Above.
Everybody and his brother is going to be reviewing the *buntus as soon as the new versions are released. I'd like to see a DW review of any distro that has no chance of ever being covered by the me-too mainstream tech pundits. (i.e. something else besides Fedora or *buntu family)
36 • Distro Review (by M.Z. on 2019-04-15 17:40:48 GMT from United States)
I've never been much of an Ubuntu fan, but the main edition & where that is at in terms of the Gnome 3 transition seem to be the version with the most impact on the Linux Desktop generally, so it gets my vote. I found Unity to be a fairly mediocre step up from Gnome 3 initially, though an improvement nonetheless. Now they've moved back toward a DE that constantly has me saying 'but do you really think most users want a design like THAT?', though Ubuntu seem to be moving half a step towards the Unity way of doing things.
Regardless of my personal feelings toward Ubuntu & Gnome 3, the Ubuntu name is still one with a lot of wider exposure compared to most distros & it's something that could very much affect the general impression of Linux to the wider world. That's why I think their main edition matters a lot even if I never use their distro or its community versions directly.
37 • Can't you use Bedrock to review all those Ubuntu flavors at once? (by CS on 2019-04-15 19:25:14 GMT from United States)
Picking an Ubuntu flavor is like playing Russian Roulette with 5 chambers loaded. Seriously all I want to know is which one is Ubuntu least unstable and is least likely to fry my laptop UEFI.
38 • Ubuntu MATE (by Roger on 2019-04-15 19:41:46 GMT from Belgium)
Ubuntu MATE for me please, Mate that's the one I use daily on Linux Mint.
39 • @37 stability (by Sim card on 2019-04-15 20:28:53 GMT from Brazil)
As with any distribution, Xfce variant is always the rock solid one.
"Stick with Xfce"
40 • Bedrock Linux (by Jessica on 2019-04-15 20:31:47 GMT from United States)
@28 well Linspire came back and look at what happened to it. It is just a Xubuntu clone that you can pay and get support. Boo! The Amiga never died as we got AROS, OS 4, and Morph OS. DOS never Died as we got FreeDOS, Arca OS, and Ecomstation. Be OS is alive in Haiku. Mac OSX is stil alive and you can now download the Open Darwin ISO images As for the Linux side who would care other then Lunduke fans like me. I would like to see EasyPeasy brought back with a QT based Unity CUDE (Classic Unity Desktop Envionment). Bringing back EDEbuntu would be cool as the last version was on 14.04 or CDEbuntu would be niece. Debian BSD (NO I AM NOT GOING TO LET IT GO!). Cub linux is needed but got killed off and Cloudready and clones do not replace it as they removed the chrome app launcher. Solus OS was cool as it had a custom desktop that was not based on Gnome like current Bundgi is. Pear OS had cool icons but who knows who bought it (I think it was eOS who bought the project)? Moebuntu would be cool to get a new full iso. Commodore OS was neat to use back in the day of Commodore USA (not to be confused by Commodore Internation run by Gold during the 80's). Blue-eyed OS was neat of a concept and so was tilt OS. Seeing love for the sequal to Web OS would be good.
@24 & 25: Universal apps are not reliable and suck. Snaps only work on X86 and that makes them garbage. I can't use them on my PowerMac or my PI so what is the point of them. Most apps can't be ported because they are closed source. I would move over to FreeBSD if the PowerPC support and app support did not suck right now. No one can run any code on the PS3 so why have PPC built for that when they would run it on a Mac. Power 9 is a diffrent architeure so you don't even have to worry about that. You can't use them on your Pi ether and as that is the way both Microsoft and Apple are going you should be scared. Also XFCE is better then Mate so why is it not the default for GhostBSD?
41 • Vote for next review (by eznix on 2019-04-15 22:00:55 GMT from United States)
Ubuntu? Why bother? All of the flavors will be covered ad nauseam. There is no need to review any of *buntu flavors. Same base, different desktop, boring!
42 • Review Which Ubunto Flavour (by Rev_Don on 2019-04-15 22:50:23 GMT from United States)
Considering that Lubuntu with it's switch to LXQT from LXDE and dropping 32 bit support will more than likely be the "Buntu with the biggest changes it would probably make the most sense to review it. As many have stated previously there will be more than enough coverage of Ubuntu Prime, U-Mate, Kubuntu, and the rest that DWs time would seem to be better spent focusing on Lubuntu, at least for this cycle.
At least that is the way I see it. Other folks mileage may vary.
43 • Lubuntu (by Jesse on 2019-04-15 23:03:42 GMT from Canada)
In response to all the suggestions of a review of Lubuntu to compare the newer LXQt against the old LXDE flavour, we did that for version 18.10. There probably isn't a lot of new ground to cover there. The 18.10 review is here: https://distrowatch.com/weekly.php?issue=20181029#lubuntu
44 • ubuntus (by Gary W on 2019-04-16 01:16:10 GMT from Australia)
I wasn't able to respond to this poll. As others have suggested, the latest Ubuntus are not the milestone that they once were. Although it is a slick family, and easy to work with, hence rather good for newbies, the gloss has worn off for me. This release is not even an LTS. The Ubuntus I've tried still appear to be prone to regressions, and the less said the better about the Init-That-Should-Not-Be-Named.
45 • bedrock linux (by Tim on 2019-04-16 02:28:04 GMT from United States)
I visited the bedrock site, and one question I couldn't find an answer to is whether you can add strata from different versions of an OS. Like if I wanted to run Ubuntu 19.04 but with some packages from 16.04, is that possible?
46 • Uy Uy (by Xi Dhum Thuat on 2019-04-16 05:49:40 GMT from Greece)
Unbuntu Kylin in Chinese, and all of @ 40's favorites.
47 • Ubuntu and the derivatives - review (by Akoy on 2019-04-16 07:03:39 GMT from United Kingdom)
If at all, a review is needed, it should be done on the default Ubuntu, and on weather it is better than the last Ubuntu with Unity 7. Gnome shell is usually slow and stutter. The windows move with a jump, not like it was in 16.04 or 17.04. The default snap packages are much slower than the deb ones. And, so on...
Most of the "derivatives" ar eone-man shows -- Ubuntu-budgie, Lubuntu-qt (won't call it Lubuntu, for it is not!), Ubuntu-mate. Xubuntu has few developers, but is so old fashioned, not worth a review -- any old review 2-3 years ago would give the same results. If one really wants to review a modern derivative, it would be Kubuntu.
Cannonical has no interest in the desktop, so few community developers are still looking after the default Ubuntu, for they are somewhat Gnome shell lovers. Some are still paid by Cannonical, so they'd be there until the pay check arrives. Most of the community developers would leave in time, a natural happening in Linux.
48 • Reviews (by Friar Tux on 2019-04-16 13:52:50 GMT from Canada)
@40 (Jessica) Now we're talkin', folks. Reviewing these should keep DW employed for a while.
By the way, talking about wallpaper issues, I haven't seen anything in Linux that allows you to use a gif loop, or such, as the wallpaper. Who's dropped that ball?
49 • Re Ubuntu Studio (by Maik on 2019-04-16 15:17:22 GMT from Belgium)
Ubuntu Studio isn't dying. The project is in need of volunteers to help with development as has been clarified in this blogpost last year. https://ubuntustudio.org/2018/05/clarification-on-non-lts-status-of-ubuntu-studio-18-04/
If there were enough people to help out they wouldn't have to drop the LTS version. You can't expect 3 to 4 people to maintain various releases, build and maintain packages plus document everything too. Not to forget the work on the website and artwork stuff.
The reason Ubuntu Studio is still around is because Erich Eickmeyer stepped up and got involved.
I myself joined in a couple of days ago because the guys need all the help they can get especially when it comes to testing isos for the new release.
We are all volunteers who have a job, family, go to school and what not. We don't get paid for doing this. We do it because of our love and passion for open source and linux projects.
I'll just quote what Erich said on IRC: "In the open source community, there's no excuse for being upset about your favorite project dying. If you don't want it to happen, get involved. "
Simple as that.
50 • Lubuntu-LXQT and recent review (by saltygreysoup on 2019-04-16 20:19:23 GMT from Australia)
@43 thanks for the reminder Jesse, I mean no disrespect to Simon Quigley either, I appreciate Lubuntu is still alive and being developed. I use a $70 (AUD) 2nd hand computer, Intel Core i7-3770 with 8gb RAM and an SSD. I just feel nostalgic for my first Linux experience.
Changing my vote for Ubuntu 18.10, last Distrowatch review was 18.04.
51 • @50 Lubuntu (by OstroL on 2019-04-17 07:31:38 GMT from Poland)
"I mean no disrespect to Simon Quigley either, I appreciate Lubuntu is still alive and being developed."
Simon is developing Lubuntu-Qt, which is not Lubuntu, the one that we knew. Lubuntu is gone, so are the developers. Lubuntu-Qt is a buggy one, which Lubuntu never was. It is also quite slow and uses more memory than Kubuntu. They should change the name to Lubuntu-Qt, or Qubuntu.
52 • @51 Lubuntu-Qt (by James on 2019-04-17 08:00:40 GMT from Switzerland)
Well well well...let's see: things change, big news! Did you think once, Mr.Ostrol, why Lubuntu should use a DE which is Gtk2-based and not actively developped, whit the prospect of not having any future in a constantly changing computing world?
Also I would sugest you first try Lubuntu-Qt bevor anoncing how buggy and slow it is.
53 • @52 (by OstroL on 2019-04-17 10:42:00 GMT from Poland)
"Also I would sugest you first try Lubuntu-Qt bevor anoncing how buggy and slow it is."
Don't worry about that. I've been trying Lubuntu-Qt from the day 1. So, I know that it is buggy and slow. Much slower than the elder brother Kubuntu.
It should be named Qubuntu or Qtubuntu, rather than Lubuntu. All the original developers have long time gone, the idea is gone, so the name too.And, it is no longer "light," so the "L" letter has no value any more.
54 • @52 Lubuntu or Lubuntu-Qt (by Pierre on 2019-04-17 11:15:59 GMT from United Kingdom)
There's a reason not to use the "new" Lubuntu-Qt, that is the availability of another, better Qt distro around, based on KDE, which uses just 336MB memory at idle, and also boots, responds faster than the "new" Lubuntu-Qt.
True that PCMan is behind the PCManFM-Qt, but it is slower than the PCManFM that many of us are used to.
55 • What to review. (by Garon on 2019-04-17 12:04:17 GMT from United States)
I would vote for a review of Kubuntu. Since Canonical dropped Unity I can't seem to warm up to Gnome shell. I just don't like the work flow. I'm sure that whatever is picked to review, the review will be good.
56 • LXQT (by Vern on 2019-04-17 18:02:57 GMT from United States)
I have zero problems with the new Lubuntu-QT. I personally like it much better, and it is faster than the old LXDE version.
I read a lot of complaints, but I haven't experienced them. Hardware, graphics, etc may be more the issue.
I glad they went from LXDE to LXQT.
57 • So what is the name of the distro that you think is better? (by Ted H in Minnesota on 2019-04-17 19:54:47 GMT from United States)
54 • Lubuntu or Lubuntu-Qt (by Pierre on 2019-04-17 11:15:59 GMT from United Kingdom)
"There's a reason not to use the "new" Lubuntu-Qt, that is the availability of another, better Qt distro around, based on KDE, which uses just 336MB memory at idle, and also boots, responds faster than the "new" Lubuntu-Qt."
You left us hanging...You didn't name the distro you think is better. So... What is it,
58 • @ 61 (by Pierre on 2019-04-17 20:25:52 GMT from United Kingdom)
How many KDE based distros are there in the Ubuntu family of derivatives?
59 • buntora (by brOK on 2019-04-19 00:41:49 GMT from Moldova, Republic of)
When Fedora is released which one of the desktop spins do you review? You normally review the official release which is a gnome spin. So probly should be the same for buntu.
60 • LXQT, @54 (by WhoamiOS on 2019-04-19 02:17:38 GMT from France)
I use the Plasma DE because it suits me better, but lighter and faster than LXQT it is not, at least on my hardware and my Virtualbox. I prefer Kubuntu becuse it suits me better. I get more like 410MB at idle, which is still pretty good, but Lubuntu is lower at around 330. I also don't see it as being any slower. Admittedly, Lubuntu uses more resources than it used to, but that can't all be blamed on LXQT. Try Sparky Linux with LXQT, which is also still available in 32 bit.
61 • @60 Sparky Linux (by Akoy on 2019-04-19 07:36:08 GMT from United Kingdom)
"Try Sparky Linux with LXQT, which is also still available in 32 bit."
That's different. Sparky is based on Debian Testing, meaning on pure Debian. Also, Sparky's main distro is/was always on LXDE. Pavroo had been there for a long time. LXQT is one of Sparky's "derivatives."
Sparky is one of the still surviving Linux distros, based on Debian Testing. And, still the best. By the way, if you are interested in the history of Linux distros, BSD, DOS, Solaris etc have look here https://archiveos.org You'd be surprised at what you'd find there!
62 • LXQT, @61 (by WhoamiOS on 2019-04-19 15:47:26 GMT from France)
Precisely the point. In a different distro, LXQT can be lighter. Does not need to be Debian. The lubuntu-qt-desktop package installed on Bodhi (Ubuntu-based) runs at around 200MB.
63 • @62 (by OstroL on 2019-04-20 08:54:45 GMT from Poland)
Interestingly, if you get rid of Lxqt, obconf-qt and all the kde/qt packages from Lubuntu-Qt, them reinstall lxde, you'd get a much snappier desktop environment. If you need kde packages, you should install Kubuntu, or any other KDE based distro. What the use of having a second-rated KDE?
64 • LXQT on older PC (by Vern on 2019-04-20 14:35:42 GMT from United States)
@63, reason being, I could not run Kubuntu using my 10 year old computer, but Lubuntu-QT ran just fine and was snappy.
65 • @62, (by Qutiepi on 2019-04-21 02:55:50 GMT from United Kingdom)
"What the use of having a second-rated KDE?" What's the use of having a second-rated XFCE?
66 • MXLinux (by Jordan on 2019-04-21 13:10:16 GMT from United States)
Manjaro just dipped to the #2 spot on the PHR list, with MXLinux taking over #1.
Users get a choice as to systemd or not, with MXLinux, as it is present but not enabled. I'm wondering if that is one of the reasons for the rise of that distsro. There are a lot of other reasons to install and keep MXLinux, but one of my reasons for keeping it as my main OS is that choice.
67 • Pop Trends (by Vern on 2019-04-21 14:43:34 GMT from United States)
@66, MX Linux popularity is only here, and it very well may be their forum users coming here everyday. I did a Google Trends on several operating systems, and MX Linux didn't even show up. Manjaro, Arch, Ubuntu, Debian, etc showed lots of data.
At Manjaro they discourage such discussions, but MX Linux even has topic on the matter.
68 • MX-Linux is popular ONLY on DistroWatch. (by R. Cain on 2019-04-21 20:34:47 GMT from United States)
MX-Linux has occupied the #1 spot for more than six months.
Simply refer to DistroWatch's "Page Hit Ranking" page (menu at the top of the Home Page), where there are four columns: "Last 12 months" through "Last 1 month". Because of this lack of granularity, MX-Linux has probably occupied the #1 slot for more than the last six months.
And yes; being "systemd"-free, as well as being a FULL-FEATURED, light-to-mid-weight distribution certainly has a lot to do with MX-Linux's rise. See...
"MX Linux MX-18 & 10-year-old Nvidia-powered laptop"
Updated: April 13, 2019 | Category: Linux
"MX Linux MX-18 & 10-year-old EeePC netbook - Fantastic"
Updated: April 1, 2019 | Category: Linux
["..MX Linux MX-18.1 Continuum has restored life to my netbook. It runs beautifully fast, it's elegant, loaded with real, practical goodies. The tremendous part is really the speed. This mini-laptop was weak even when I bought it, but to be able to keep using it in a nice fashion a decade later is truly an achievement. I want to thank all of you for your suggestions, and the MX Linux team for their excellent little product...."]
In this day and time, it stretches credulity to realize that some otherwise knowledgeable people do NOT realize that Google manipulates the data which it returns to the requesting party.
"...MX Linux popularity is only here...".
Fanbois much? Read much? Start with the first part of this post.
"...At Manjaro they discourage such discussions, but MX Linux even has topic on the matter."
Is this supposed to be a *positive* for Manjaro? Inclusion of this red herring seems to prove that Manjaro does not understand--or more to the point, does not WANT--open, transparent, objective discussion of their product and, at *least* just as importantly, comparison with other distributions.
69 • @66 Jordan: (by dragonmouth on 2019-04-21 20:53:27 GMT from United States)
If systemd is not enabled in MX 18 then why is it installed by default, and why can it not be uninstalled without trashing the system?
70 • Google Trends must be biased. (by Marcos Pereira de Sousa on 2019-04-21 21:59:33 GMT from Brazil)
I suspect that Google* will NOT show ALL the options in the table.
Number of Comments: 70
Display mode: DWW Only • Comments Only • Both DWW and Comments
|• Issue 840 (2019-11-11): Fedora 31, monitoring user activity, Fedora working to improve Python performance, FreeBSD gets faster networking|
|• Issue 839 (2019-11-04): MX 19, manipulating PDFs, Ubuntu plans features for 20.04, Fedora 29 nears EOL, Netrunner drops Manjaro-based edition|
|• Issue 838 (2019-10-28): Xubuntu 19.10, how init and service managers work together, DragonFly BSD provides emergency mode for HAMMER, Xfce team plans 4.16|
|• Issue 837 (2019-10-21): CentOS 8.0-1905, Trident finds a new base, Debian plans firewall changes, 15 years of Fedora, how to merge directories|
|• Issue 836 (2019-10-14): Archman 2019.09, Haiku improves ARM support, Project Trident shifting base OS, Unix turns 50|
|• Issue 835 (2019-10-07): Isotop, Mazon OS and, KduxOS, examples of using the find command, Mint's System Reports becomes proactive, Solus updates its desktops|
|• Issue 834 (2019-09-30): FreedomBox "Buster", CentOS gains a rolling release, Librem 5 phones shipping, Redcore updates its package manager|
|• Issue 833 (2019-09-23): Redcore Linux 1908, why Linux distros are free, Ubuntu making list of 32-bit software to keep, Richard M Stallman steps down from FSF leadership|
|• Issue 832 (2019-09-16): BlackWeb 1.2, checking for Wayland session and applications, Fedora to use nftables in firewalld, OpenBSD disables DoH in Firefox|
|• Issue 831 (2019-09-09): Adélie Linux 1.0 beta, using ffmpeg, awk and renice, Mint and elementary improvements, PureOS and Manjaro updates|
|• Issue 930 (2019-09-02): deepin 15.11, working with AppArmor profiles, elementary OS gets new greeter, exFAT support coming to Linux kernel|
|• Issue 829 (2019-08-26): EndeavourOS 2019.07.15, Drauger OS 7.4.1, finding the licenses of kernel modules, NetBSD gets Wayland application, GhostBSD changes base repo|
|• 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|
|• Full list of all issues|
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