| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 824, 22 July 2019
Welcome to this year's 29th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Every so often it feels nice to step outside the flow of mainstream distributions and see what else is available. Smaller projects are often doing new things or introducing new applications and this week we explore Hexagon OS, a Linux distribution selected at random from the DistroWatch waiting list. Our Feature Story talks about this young project and its custom applications. While new distributions hold lots of potential, there is something to be said for long-running projects that keep performing well year after year. In our News section we tip our hats to Slackware, the world's oldest surviving Linux distribution, as the project turns 26 years old. Plus we report on Mageia publishing new media to better support some AMD CPUs, Fedora phasing out 32-bit repositories, and the launch of Fedora CoreOS. Then, in our Tips and Tricks column, we explore how to limit the amount of disk space a user can consume. We are curious how our readers keep their users from taking up too much storage space and we invite your comments in this week's Opinion Poll. Plus we are pleased to share the releases of the past week and list the torrents we are seeding. We wish you all a fantastic week and happy reading!
- Review: HexagonOS 1.0
- News: Mageia publishes media update, Fedora unveils CoreOS and plans to phase out 32-bit repositories, Slackware turns 26
- Tips and tricks: Limiting a user's disk usage with quotas
- Released last week: Q4OS 3.8, Proxmox 6.0 "Virtual Environment", Oracle Linux 8.0
- Torrent corner: ArcoLinux, Clonezilla, deepin, KDE neon, Mageia, NST, OPNsense, PClinuxOS, Proxmox, Q4OS, Slackel, SmartOS, Sparky, Univention
- Upcoming releases: Rebellin Linux 4
- Opinion poll: Limiting a user's disk usage
- New additions: AcademiX GNU/Linux
- Reader comments
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (16MB) and MP3 (12MB) formats.
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Sometimes I like to pick a random distribution from the DistroWatch waiting list rather than running a tried and true distribution, just to see what options are out there in the world. The project I selected this week is called HexagonOS and is based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS with the Xfce desktop. HexagonOS 1.0 appears to stick pretty close to its Ubuntu/Xubuntu origins, but includes a few custom utilities:
HexagonOS 1.0 contains: HexagonCentre (software manager), UBackup (a simple backup tool for your user folder), HexagonAutoDock (a tool that solve a problem with Xfce and Plank) and AboutHexagon.
Hexagon is available for 64-bit (x86_64) computers exclusively and its ISO is a 1GB download. Booting from the media brings up the Xfce desktop. A panel at the top of the screen holds the Whisker menu and system tray. A dock at the bottom of the display provides quick access to commonly used applications and doubles as the desktop's task switcher. When running from the live disc, the desktop holds a single icon for launching the distribution's graphical system installer.
One curious aspect of the desktop is the clock and calendar software displays information in another language (I believe it is Italian) while everything else (the application menu, About page, and menus in programs) all display text in English. The keyboard layout is also Italian, which took me a while to notice since the Italian layout and US English layouts are similar, but with a few characters shifted. The keyboard's layout can be changed in the settings panel with just a few clicks.
HexagonOS 1.0 -- The application menu and About window
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Like its parent, Hexagon uses the Ubiquity system installer. It begins by asking us to select our preferred language from a list, with the default option being French in my case. We are offered a link to the release notes and clicking this link does nothing. We can then select our keyboard's layout from a list and choose whether to install third-party drivers and media support. Partitioning comes next, with automated and manual options. The manual approach is quite straight forward and pleasantly easy to navigate. We then choose our time zone from a map of the world and create a username and password for ourselves. The installer finished its work quickly and without any issues during my test runs.
The freshly installed copy of Hexagon boots to a graphical login screen. We are presented with two desktop session options: Xfce and Xubuntu. Both options launch the same session - the Xfce desktop with the layout we experienced on the live disc. One unusual aspect of the desktop I noticed early on is Hexagon places the application control buttons on the left side of the window, rather than the right. Otherwise the desktop feels like a standard Xfce experience, with the addition of the dock at the bottom of the screen.
When I first started using Hexagon a window appeared on the desktop reporting Ubuntu 18.04 had experienced an internal error and asking if a bug report should be sent. I don't think seeing this window is a good sign, partly because the mismatched distribution name may confuse newcomers and partly because it indicates some unknown problem is happening in the background. After I had installed the first batch of available software updates, I stopped seeing the error message.
On the subject of software updates, when new packages are available an orange icon quietly appears on the dock. The icon doesn't draw attention to itself, but clicking on it opens the update manager. The update manager shows which new packages we can download and we can uncheck a box next to any we do not want to download. There were several updates available on the first day, totalling 322MB in size. Most of the update process seemed very friendly until the update manager paused to ask whether we should keep our existing GRUB configuration file or accept a new one from an updated package. I chose to keep my existing configuration.
One curious feature I noticed was each time I downloaded new packages a removable media icon would appear on the desktop. The icon indicates it represents a volume 4.1kB in size. Clicking the icon produces a “failed to mount” error and there is no indication from command line tools that any new storage media or temporary filesystem is available.
HexagonOS 1.0 -- Installing software with Synaptic
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To install new packages, upgrade existing ones or remove unwanted items we can use the Synaptic package manager. Synaptic works quickly and organizes packages into simple lists with brief descriptions. Synaptic will also search for packages based on their name or description. Synaptic is not as beginner friendly as most modern software centres, but it works quickly and gets the job done.
I ended up running Hexagon in three test environments: a VirtualBox virtual machine, a laptop, and a workstation. Everything worked smoothly and quickly on both physical machines and, apart from changing my language and keyboard layout settings during the live session, I encountered no hardware-related problems. The Xfce desktop was pleasantly responsive and could be made unusually fast by disabling compositing.
I ran into a few minor issues when running the distribution in VirtualBox. Screen resolution was initially limited to 800x600 pixels. VirtualBox guest modules could be installed from the default repositories to fix the display limitations. From then on everything worked properly.
Hexagon is a mid-weight distribution, using about 5.3GB of hard drive space and 270MB of RAM. This puts it in the same range as other distributions running Xfce I have tried recently.
HexagonOS 1.0 -- Running LibreOffice and GNOME-Paint
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Hexagon ships with a very minimal collection of desktop software. We are treated to the Firefox web browser, a small drawing editor, the VLC media player with lots of codecs, and the Thunar file manager. There are also some small tools such as the gedit text editor, an archive manager, and the systemd init software. The distribution runs on version 4.15 of the Linux kernel.
Hexagon ships with a few custom tools. Apart from the program which tells us which version of Hexagon we are using, there are two applications users may find interesting. The first is called User Backup (UBackup). This desktop program has just one button which, when clicked, creates a Zip archive of the user's home directory. There are no options, no way to place the archive elsewhere, and no file filters. There also is no restore feature, we need to do that manually by operating on the created Zip archive. While this program works, its lack of features, progress information, and restore option make it a limiting backup solution.
HexagonOS 1.0 -- Creating an archive with User Backup
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The second custom program is Hexagon Centre, a simple software centre. The program's window lists five categories of software (Basic, Office, Graphics, Music, and Education). Clicking one button next to a category lists the packages included in the category. Clicking the other button installs every package in the given category. A single click on the install button downloads the whole category without confirmation and without any indication of progress. At one point I accidentally ended up downloading the Education group which effectively locked the centre for a few minutes.
HexagonOS 1.0 -- Installing packages with HexagonCentre
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The organization of some categories left me a little puzzled. For example, LibreOffice is included in the Basic, Education, and Office categories. The GNU Image Manipulation Program is listed under both Graphics and Education. The Brasero disc burning software is listed under Basic instead of Music.
On the whole, the Hexagon Centre works, though I'm not sure if it's particularly useful. It can grab batches of programs, but the inability to customize these groups makes me feel most users would be better served by a mature software centre such as GNOME Software or mintInstall.
The distribution ships with a settings panel which should feel familiar to anyone who has used a recent version of Xfce. The desktop settings panel provides a grid of modules we can open to adjust window decorations, change the wallpaper, and fine-tune the mouse and keyboard settings. We can also enable software repositories and check for the availability of compatible third-party hardware drivers. I found all the configuration modules worked, were generally clearly labelled and well organized.
HexagonOS 1.0 -- Adjusting settings
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On the whole, Hexagon worked well for me. Hardware support was solid, performance was above average, the included applications worked well, and the settings were easy to adjust. I had very few complaints - just two really: my keyboard layout had to be adjusted and Hexagon did not automatically work well with VirtualBox. However, both of these issues were easily addressed.
With that being said, Hexagon appears to bring relatively little, technologically, to the experience over its parent. While running this distribution I sometimes forgot that I was not simply running Xubuntu with a dock installed. The custom utilities Hexagon provides (the software centre and the backup tool) both function, but are quite limited in what they can do for the user and this makes me disinclined to use them over other solutions like Deja Dup and GNOME Software.
It's probably too soon to judge what HexagonOS will become. Right now it's just at its 1.0 release, and appears to be a first attempt to take Xubuntu and customize it with a few changes. Hopefully future versions will try more new things, polish the custom applications and distinguish the distribution from its parent.
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Hardware used in this review
One of my physical test environments for this review was a desktop HP Pavilon p6 Series with the following specifications:
My laptop used in this review was a de-branded HP laptop with the following
- 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
- Processor: Intel i3 2.5GHz CPU
- Display: Intel integrated video
- Storage: Western Digital 700GB hard drive
- Memory: 6GB of RAM
- Wired network device: Realtek RTL8101E/RTL8102E PCI Express Fast
- Wireless network device: Realtek RTL8188EE Wireless network card
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Mageia publishes media update, Fedora unveils CoreOS and plans to phase out 32-bit repositories, Slackware turns 26
Approximately two weeks after the release of Mageia 7, the project has published a minor update, Mageia 7.1. The new media is mostly the same as the original version, but with fixes for systemd and AMD Ryzen 3000 series CPUs. "The timing for Mageia 7, just prior to the recent release of the new AMD Ryzen 3000 series of CPUs, didn't play nicely. Namely, there was an issue with the system starting up on these new CPUs that prevented any type of installation, except for a net install. So, the only solution was to release a new set of installation media, which are available to download here. It's very important to note that if you have a working system, there is nothing that you need to address. This release is primarily to fix installation on systems with the above CPUs." Details can be found in Mageia's blog post.
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The Fedora team unveiled a few new items this week. The first is a preview of Fedora CoreOS. According to the project, "Fedora CoreOS is an automatically-updating, minimal operating system for running containerized workloads securely and at scale. It is currently available for testing on a limited set of platforms, with more coming soon." People interested in Fedora CoreOS can learn more from the distribution's Getting Started guide.
The Fedora team is also looking at removing standalone 32-bit package repositories. This would cut back on testing and block users of older 32-bit releases from upgrading to new versions of Fedora. The plan calls for maintaining multilib support, allowing older software and WINE to continue to run. "With the dropping of the i686 kernel package it's no longer possible to directly install Fedora 31 or later on i686 hardware, however, it is still a possibly to upgrade older releases as long as we continue to provide a repository. This will leave those users with an old possibly vulnerable kernel installed. The only other use/need for the repositories is to allow maintainers to debug and test fixes for multilib shipped packages, but the koji buildroot repo can be used for this use case. Multilib x86_64 repos will not be affected and all packages will still be built for i686 for this use case."
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Slackware is the world's oldest surviving Linux distribution. The project, which was founded by (and continues to be run by) Patrick Volkerding, turned 26 years old this week. The initial announcement for Slackware 1.0 is still available on the distribution's website. "The Slackware Linux distribution (v. 1.00) is now available for anonymous FTP. This is a complete installation system designed for systems with a 3.5" boot floppy. It has been tested extensively with a 386/IDE system. The standard kernel included does not support SCSI, but if there's a great demand, I might be persuaded to compile a few custom kernels to put up for FTP." Happy birthday, Slackware!
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Tips and Tricks (by Jesse Smith)
Limiting a user's disk usage with quotas
Whenever two or more people have access to a computer, there is a chance one of them will consume a lot of disk space, taking over and filling the disk. Chances are if you have worked in an office or shared a computer at home, you have run into a situation where one person archives everything or downloads a lot of material and fills the disk to capacity, preventing others from saving their own documents.
Linux, and related operating systems in the UNIX family, have a tool for preventing users from consuming more than their fair share of disk space called quotas. An administrator can set quotas on specific users, or groups of users, to limit how much of the disk they can use for storage. This week I want to look at a few simple examples of using quotas.
The first thing we need to do is install the quota package. On Fedora and related distributions this can be done by running "sudo dnf install quota", on Debian and Ubuntu we can run "sudo apt install quota", and on the Arch Linux family of distributions the command "sudo pacman -S quota-tools" will get us started.
The next thing we need to do is edit the /etc/fstab file to indicate we want to use quotas on a specific filesystem. Usually quotas will be placed on the /home partition, but we can assign quotas elsewhere too. Let's assume I have an entry for the /home partition in my fstab file which looks like this:
/dev/sda2 /home ext4 defaults,noatime 1 2
We can enable quotas for specific users by adding the "usrquota" option. Now the entry for my /home partition looks like this:
/dev/sda2 /home ext4 defaults,noatime,usrquota 1 2
To make this change take effect we need to re-mount our /home partition. Otherwise the change will not take effect until the computer is rebooted.
sudo mount -o remount /home
Our filesystem is now ready to use quotas, but no quota information is in place yet. We can initialize the filesystem with fresh, blank quota information using the quotacheck program:
sudo quotacheck -cmu /home
The quota information is in place and we can now turn on disk quotas:
sudo quotaon /home
Now quotas are enabled on our computer, but we have not set any limits on specific users. This means everyone can still write as many files as they want to our disk. To limit a user, run the following command where the last parameter is the account name of the person to limit. Here I limit the user named "Jesse":
sudo edquota jesse
When we run the edquota (edit quota) command it opens a text editor where we can see the current number of blocks of disk data the user is consuming, along with "Soft" and "Hard" limit settings. A Soft limit is how much data a user can consume within a given grace period, while a Hard limit is how much data a user can store in total, but then no more can be written to the disk. I recommend sticking to using the Hard limit as it is easier to visualize and avoids confusing users with time constraints. A typical quota entry for a user may look like this:
The amount of space used and the limits specified are listed in one kilobyte (1kB) blocks rather than in bytes. This means if we want to limit a user to 1MB of space, roughly a million bytes, we would set the hard limit to be "1024" (1024 x 1kB). A 1GB limit would be listed as "1048576" (1024 x 1024 x 1kB). And a 100GB limit would be entered into the edquota file as "104857600". Here we see an example of a 100GB quota limit:
|Filesystem ||blocks ||soft ||hard ||inodes ||soft ||hard
|/dev/sda2 ||400 ||0 ||0 ||80 ||0 ||0
For the sake of simplicity, I am going to ignore inode quotas as most systems will run out of storage blocks before they run out of inodes. Once the file is saved and we quit the text editor, the new quota settings are applied. We can check that they are in place for the user Jesse by running:
|Filesystem ||blocks ||soft ||hard ||inodes ||soft ||hard
|/dev/sda2 ||400 ||0 ||104857600 ||80 ||0 ||0
sudo quota jesse
This will show the same information that we saved in the text editor when we ran edquota above.
You might be wondering what happens if the user tries to save more data than their disk quota allows. Basically, for that user, the disk acts as though it were full. Downloads will stop once a quota is reached, copy commands will no longer work and will report "Disk quota exceeded." They will need to delete some files in order to free up space if they want to save new information to the drive. Meanwhile everyone else using the computer can continue to use the disk normally.
We can copy quota limits from one user to another. For instance, now that we have placed a quota limit on Jesse, we can copy the same limitations to the user named Mike by running edquota with the "-p" flag:
sudo edquota -p jesse mike
Now both users how a maximum quota of 100GB. We can remove these restrictions at any time by running edquota again and changing the Hard Blocks field to zero. The value of zero in the edquota file indicates there is no limit.
On FreeBSD the process of enabling quotas is very similar to how it is on Linux distributions, however, the option we set in the /etc/fstab file is written "userquota" instead of "usrquota" and the administrator needs to enable quotas in the global configuration file, /etc/rc.conf.
Looking at the steps above for enabling quotas on traditional filesystems, where we need to enable the feature, initialize quotas, and convert between bytes and blocks, it probably seems like a lot of extra work. And it is. However, some filesystems make things easier for their users. For instance, the ZFS advanced filesystem enables the quota feature by default. Administrators can set a quota for a given user with just one command, without translating between block sizes or editing the /etc/fstab file. For instance, the following command limits user Jesse to having 10GB of files on a ZFS storage volume called zroot/usr/home:
sudo zfs set userquota@jesse=10GB zroot/usr/home
We can check if a user has a quota and, if so, how large it is, but running a similar command:
sudo zfs get userquota@jesse zroot/usr/home
Quotas for a specific user can be removed by setting the quota size to "none", for example, here we remove the disk quote for user Jesse on the ZFS volume:
sudo zfs set userquota@jesse=none zroot/usr/home
The administrator can check how much data each user has on a given ZFS volume, and what their total quota is, by running the userspace command, followed by the name of the ZFS sub-volume:
zfs userspace zroot/usr/home
It is worth noting that ZFS usually compresses data, so the size of the file, as listed by tools like ls, may not reflect the size of the file on the disk. Quotas set by the administrator on ZFS volumes limit the amount of disk space the user can consume, not the total uncompressed size of the file. This means mostly empty files or files that can easily be compressed, like text files, may make it look like the user is going over their quota limit when really the data is just compressed on the disk.
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Additional tips can be found in our Tips and Tricks archive.
|Released Last Week
Q4OS is a lightweight Linux distribution based on Debian. The distribution's latest release is Q4OS 3.8 which is available in two desktop editions: KDE Plasma and Trinity. "Q4OS Centaurus is based on Debian Buster 10 and Plasma 5.14, optionally Trinity 14.0.6, desktop environment, and it's available for 64-bit and 32-bit/i686 PAE computers, as well as for older i386 systems without PAE extension. We are working hard to bring it for ARM devices too. One of the Q4OS specific goals is the ability to have Plasma and Trinity desktop alongside each other installed. Users can switch back and forth between more advanced Plasma or efficient Trinity desktop. Both desktops can independently coexist side by side and don't interfere with each other. Plasma is being the logical primary choice for most of users, so it's considered to be the default option, which is also obvious from the Q4OS downloads site. Q4OS 3.8 will receive five years of security updates. Further details can be found in the project's release announcement.
Q4OS 3.8 -- Running the KDE Plasma desktop
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Proxmox 6.0 "Virtual Environment"
Proxmox is a commercial company offering specialised products based on Debian GNU/Linux, notably Proxmox Virtual Environment and Proxmox Mail Gateway. Proxmox Virtual Environment is an open-source virtualisation platform for running virtual appliances and virtual machines. The company's latest release is Promox 6.0 "Virtual Environment" which is based on Debian 10 "Buster" " Proxmox Server Solutions GmbH, developer of the open-source virtualization management platform Proxmox VE, today released its major version Proxmox VE 6.0. The comprehensive solution, designed to deploy an open-source software-defined data center (SDDC), is based on Debian 10.0 Buster. It includes updates to the latest versions of the leading open-source technologies for virtual environments like a 5.0 Linux kernel (based on Ubuntu 19.04 'Disco Dingo'), QEMU 4.0.0, LXC 3.1.0, Ceph 14.2 (Nautilus), ZFS 0.8.1, and Corosync 3.0.2. Proxmox VE 6.0 delivers several new major features, enhancements, and bug fixes." Further information can be found in the company's release announcement.
Univention Corporate Server 4.4-1
Univention Corporate Server (UCS) is an enterprise-class distribution based on Debian GNU/Linux. The project's latest version is an update to the distribution's 4.4 release, bringing with it performance improvements and application recommendations based on what administrators have installed previously. "The most obvious change is certainly the new app suggestion system in the Univention App Center. Based on the apps already installed in the UCS environment, administrators receive recommendations for suitable supplementary apps. These recommendations are based on the most common already existing combinations, e.g. the combined use of apps like Nextcloud or ownCloud with the Let's Encrypt application. Another improvement was the handling of interruptions during updates in the App Center. UCS 4.4-1 also brings a whole range of improvements to the area of Windows Services. Thus there are changes in the integration of Samba when dealing with server-side Windows profiles, in that the respective paths are now hidden in the file share, so that users no longer damage their profile unintentionally." Further details can be found in the project's release announcement and in the release notes.
Network Security Toolkit 30-11210
Network Security Toolkit (NST) is a bootable live CD based on the Fedora distribution. The toolkit was designed to provide easy access to best-of-breed open source network security applications. The project's latest release is based on Fedora 30 and offers a number of enhancements. "Here are some of the highlights for this release: The NST WUI now supports geolocation of photos or videos that have embedded geotagged information. This provides the security professional with potential location and speed discovery when conducting a forensic analysis. The combination of using the ExifTool utility for metadata extraction with the NST Mapping Tools provides this geolocation capability. The NST WUI Directory Browser page has been enhanced to facilitate the entry point for photo and video geolocation. At first, if many images appear to overlap at the same location on the Google Map, a thumbnail representation will be presented. One can then zoom in to provide better image location separation to reveal individual photo or video detail. If a video image can be geolocated (e.g., One generated by a Garmin Dash Cam 55), one can view and control the video with a new NST Map Data Layer Editor tool." Additional details can be found in the project's release announcement.
SparkyLinux is a lightweight, Debian-based distribution. The project has switched its 5.x branch over from Debian Testing to Debian Stable, making the 5.x branch a more static release. SparkyLinux 5.8 is the first new snapshot based on the Stable branch. The release announcement states: "There are new live/install media of SparkyLinux 5.8 'Nibiru' available to download. This is the first release of the new stable line, which is based on the Debian 10 'Buster'. Changes: based on Debian 10 stable Buster now; repositories changed from Testing to Stable; system upgraded from Debian stable Buster repos as of July 14, 2019; Linux kernel 4.19.37-5 (i686 and amd64); Linux kernel 4.19.57-v7+ (ARMHF); the Calamares installer updated up to version 3.2.11; apt-daily.service disabled; sparky-tube installed as default; removed old third-party repositories."
SparkyLinux 5.8 -- Running the LXQt desktop
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OPNsense is a HardenedBSD-based specialist operating system (and a fork of pfSense) designed for firewalls and routers. The project's latest release is OPNsense 19.7 carries the codename "Jazzy Jaguar" and offers several new features. "For four and a half years now, OPNsense is driving innovation through modularising and hardening the open source firewall, with simple and reliable firmware upgrades, multi-language support, HardenedBSD security, fast adoption of upstream software updates as well as clear and stable 2-Clause BSD licensing. 19.7, nicknamed "Jazzy Jaguar", embodies an iteration of what should be considered enjoyable user experience for firewalls in general: improved statistics and visibility of rules, reliable and consistent live logging and alias utility improvements. Apart from the usual upgrades of third party software to up-to-date releases, OPNsense now also offers built-in remote system logging through Syslog-ng, route-based IPsec, updated translations with Spanish as a brand new and already fully translated language and newer Netmap code with VirtIO, VLAN child and vmxnet support." Additional information can be found in the project's release announcement.
Oracle Linux 8.0
Simon Coter has announced the release of Oracle Linux 8.0, the first stable version of the project's enterprise-class server distribution built from the source code of the recently-released Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8: "Oracle is pleased to announce the general availability of Oracle Linux 8. With Oracle Linux 8, the core operating environment and associated packages for a typical Oracle Linux 8 server are distributed through a combination of BaseOS and Applications Streams. BaseOS gives you a running user space for the operating environment. Application Streams provides a range of applications that were previously distributed in Software Collections, as well as other products and programs, that can run within the user space. Oracle Linux 8 introduces numerous enhancements and new features. Highlights include Application Streams, where multiple versions of user space components can be delivered and updated more frequently than the core operating system packages." See the release announcement and the release notes for further information.
deepin is a Debian-based distribution featuring the custom Deepin desktop environment and associated tools. The project has published a new stable release, deepin 15.11. The new version features a Cloud Sync feature in the control panel and introduces the ability to burn optical media through the distribution's file manager. "Welcome to deepin 15.11 release. Compared with deepin 15.10, deepin 15.11 comes with new features - Cloud Sync in Control Center and disc burning function in Deepin File Manager. Besides, kwin window manager was fixed and optimized for better stability and compatibility, and a number of bugs were fixed. In deepin 15.11, you will enjoy smooth and better user experiences! Attention: deepin Unstable version is officially not supported since deepin 15.11. For Unstable version users, please download Stable version here and install it as soon as possible." Tips for checking which version you are running along with screenshots of deepin's new features can be found in the project's release announcement.
Slackel 7.2 "Openbox"
Dimitris Tzemos has announced the release of Slackel 7.2 "Openbox", an updated build of the project's lightweight desktop distribution based on Slackware Linux and Salix. The new version comes with a set of new graphical tools that improve the creation and transfer of Slackel ISO images: "Slackel 7.2 Openbox has been released. It includes the Linux kernel 4.19.59 and the latest updates from Slackware's 'Current' tree. The new version is available in 64-bit and 32-bit builds. The 64-bit ISO image support booting on UEFI systems. The ISO image is 'isohybrid' and can be used as installation media. New tools: instonusb - a GUI tool written in C to install Slackel, Salix 32-bit and 64-bit live ISO images to a USB stick, it can also create an encrypted persistent file; multibootusb - a GUI tool written in C to create a live USB image including 32-bit and 64-bit live editions of Slackel and Salix and to choose the one to boot in live environment at boot time; sli - a complete GUI installer as in other distributions. Live ISO image: persistent file encryption after installation on USB devices has been added; medialabel="USB_LABEL_NAME" parameter added." Read the detailed release announcement for more information.
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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: 1,517
- Total data uploaded: 26.8TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|Opinion Poll (by Jesse Smith)
Limiting a user's disk usage
In our Questions and Answers article we talked about limited the amount of disk space a user can consume. We would like to know if you place any usage restrictions on your own (presumably shared) computers. Do you use quotas, loopback devices, sandboxes, or virtual machines in order to restrict the amount of data a person can store? Let us know how you manage storage space in the comments.
You can see the results of our previous poll on do-it-yourself routers and firewalls in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Limiting storage space usage
|I use quotas: ||42 (4%)|
| I use a sandbox: ||4 (0%)|
| I use virtual machines: ||34 (3%)|
| I use a loopback device: ||2 (0%)|
| Each user gets their own partition: ||54 (5%)|
| I use another method: ||15 (2%)|
| I do not limit storage usage: ||838 (85%)|
|Website News (by Jesse Smith)
New projects added to database
AcademiX GNU/Linux is a Debian Stable-based distribution which works with software which can be used at all levels of education from grade schools through to university. AcademiX includes an installation utility (called EDU) that can be used to install a variety of applications in mathematics, physics, chemistry, geography, biology, statistics, electronics, amateur radio, graphics, office, programming - which are accompanied by virtual interactive labs. The distribution uses the MATE desktop by default.
AcademiX GNU/Linux 2.2 -- Running the MATE desktop
(full image size: 204kB, resolution: 1920x1080 pixels)
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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, 29 July 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 • plank issues (by vern on 2019-07-22 00:15:36 GMT from United States) |
Jesse, what issues have you encountered with Xubuntu and Plank?
2 • plank issues1 (by vern on 2019-07-22 00:16:39 GMT from United States)
I never had issues with using Plank and Xubuntu, unless I read your review wrong.
3 • the only one (by slackware on 2019-07-22 00:49:08 GMT from Brazil)
slackware was my first distro. After several attempts with others, there is nothing better than slack. Long live to it!!!
4 • Hexagon (by Jon Wright on 2019-07-22 00:51:38 GMT from United States)
Never heard of a Distro-dotting before but the Hexagon website is dead. This review was a waste of time, one-man-band project based off Ubuntu 18.04??? Even Mint 19 was garbage. Was kind of hoping you'd do a firewall this week. Jesse have you collected any more Raspberry-like toys? Planning to do an AP/firewall off one.
5 • Re: HexagonOS, Plank, and its web site... (by eco2geek on 2019-07-22 01:10:45 GMT from United States)
@1, @2 -- Dunno if Jesse had any problems with Plank, but the quote -- "... HexagonAutoDock (a tool that solve a problem with xfce and plank) ..." -- is directly from HexagonOS's web site.
@4 -- HexagonOS's web site works just fine, at least for me (as does the download link at the bottom of the page):
6 • @4 Hexagon (by mandog on 2019-07-22 01:21:59 GMT from Peru)
Yes the website is alive and kicking you need to apologise for your actions
7 • Hexagon plank (by albinard on 2019-07-22 02:19:10 GMT from United States)
The "plank" in Hexagon looks exactly like what I always add as Panel 1 (vs panel 0 at the top) to installations of Xubuntu. It's a built-in option for Xfce4, and has been for years.
8 • quotas (by greenpossum on 2019-07-22 03:19:29 GMT from Australia)
I give all the users on my computer a stern talking to when the disk starts getting full. :) But seriously as I'm the only user and I keep an eye on usage to buy more disk, I've never had to do this.
At my work, engineers have their own workstations and if they fill /home, they have to clear it. For the shared servers quotas would not work because some users have usage peaks so it would be necessary to overprovision and that makes quotas pointless. They would get upset artificially running out of space on a long simulation. We have to do it by monitoring and cooperation. Quotas work best when a system has a lot of similar users, e.g. students.
9 • quotas (by mmphosis on 2019-07-22 05:58:18 GMT from Canada)
I don't use quotas, but it is nice to know that feature is there. I really liked reading the HOWTO for quotas with commands and descriptions of what to do, and also included was how to do quotas using BSD. We pretty much have limited constrained hardware, like a laptop with a 28GB SSD which could no longer run the OS that came with it. The little 28GB SSD laptop works really well since the SSD was wiped and a "medium" sized Linux distro is now running on it, with a significant amount of room to spare on the 28GB SDD! I find that Pictures, and Videos (and Distros and Developer tools) tend to consume a lot of space, so I move those off of constrained devices to large drives as soon as possible. I am more into maximizing what we have, and Linux has been extremely helpful in this regard.
10 • Quotas (by Alexandru on 2019-07-22 07:20:32 GMT from Romania)
Although I voted (and actually use) hard limitation of disk space per user via separate partitions for each user, the quotas is the right way to do it in Unix like OS for many reasons. Unlike different partitions, quota limit can be changed on the fly and there is the possibility to set "soft quotas".
11 • Academix (by Simon Plaistowe on 2019-07-22 10:50:01 GMT from New Zealand)
Academix looks interesting, it brought Edubuntu to mind, which seems to be discontinued for several years now ...although I expect it won't be anything like Edubuntu when I actually try it.
12 • @7, plank (by Angel on 2019-07-22 11:37:57 GMT from Philippines)
Plank may look the same in Hexagon, but it is not the same as the second panel on XFCE. It is a simple but full-fledged dock, with theming, animations, etc. I prefer a dock, so I used Docky and then Plank for quite a few years. Since I started using Plasma, I've switched to Latte Dock.
13 • Plank (by Jesse on 2019-07-22 12:00:12 GMT from Canada)
@1: I have not had any issues with Plank and/or Xubuntu.
14 • Hexagon (by dragonmouth on 2019-07-22 12:02:22 GMT from United States)
IOW, Hexagon is nothing more than a copy of Xubuntu with a couple of mediocre utilities added. The only purpose it serves is to provide the developer his 15 minutes of fame. It adds very little to the Linux landscape.
15 • @14 Distribution as Software Showcase (by Dr. E.S. Ktorp on 2019-07-22 12:17:44 GMT from United States)
Most distributions exist purely to provide a safe haven for 1 or 2 mediocre pet projects to exist, without their usefulness being questioned. More egregious than this, is the number of distributions that exist purely to push a few cosmetic modifications or a shuffling around of default software. Linux Lite and FerenOS come to mind, but there are so many others whose names I've happily forgotten.
16 • users and disc usage (by Jordan on 2019-07-22 13:13:47 GMT from United States)
There was a time when we had 53 users on 13 machines (at a school). We were switching from Windows to Linux for the very reason of disc usage, security, speed, and student proaction in installing and learning Linux. Yes, disc usage was a subject every day and we went around and around about how to optimize in various ways. Step one was obviously to complete our Windows to Linux transition.
17 • Slackware (by Geo.Savage on 2019-07-22 13:30:32 GMT from Canada)
@3 My hat's off to you. I tried my best, but with precarious employment, a newborn, and a mortgage to feed, it was an exercise in frustration and ultimately failure. I had almost given up on Linux until I tried Mepis (now MX Linux) - it was a revelation. I haven't looked back since. :-)
18 • Slackware (by Semiarticulate on 2019-07-22 13:36:43 GMT from United States)
Happy Birthday, Slackware! Oh, how time has flown.
19 • Still moving on (by Garon on 2019-07-22 14:32:39 GMT from United States)
Happy birthday to Slackware.
That is what is so great about open source software. You can do anything you want to and for whatever reason. That is the way all software comes about. A few little apps here and a few little changes in design here and now you have a distro to work with. The sad thing about it is you seem to want everything already made or something totally different then anything else. Chances are that the distros and apps you use probability started that same way. You talk like they are trying to make money by stealing other peoples ideas. That cannot happen. Also some people just like to have fun building things and they should be commended for doing so. After all, that's where all the great ideals come from.
20 • Slackware (by Slack on 2019-07-22 14:51:50 GMT from United States)
Happy birthday to Slackware, my first distro as well.
Patrick hope you're not getting too fat on all that sweet t-shirt loot. Managed to make more than 15% of net with your own cafepress site?
(for those of you wondering how far off the deep end I've gone, google slackware store ripped off and enjoy the ride)
21 • Plank xfce isue (by vern on 2019-07-22 16:07:57 GMT from United States)
I'm referring to this comment:
"a tool that solve a problem with Xfce and Plank"
From the Hexagon review.
22 • @#5 comment (by vern on 2019-07-22 16:11:17 GMT from United States)
Thanks. I missed your comment. I thought Jesse was referring to pland & xfce.
23 • @19 Garon: (by dragonmouth on 2019-07-22 18:01:36 GMT from United States)
The sad thing is that you are making an awful lot of assumptions based on absolutely no facts. You are also putting words in my mouth. If you wish to rebut my points, do so. Don't be setting up straw men.
"That is what is so great about open source software. "
That is also the Achilles' heel of Linux. Anybody and everybody who fancies themselves some kind of programmer is trying re-invent the wheel only because they are allowed to. These wannabe distro developers would contribute lots more to Linux if they exercised their creativity by working on existing projects. This is similar to all these script kiddies attempting to write me-too malware. The wannabes and the script kiddies don't want to join existing projects because then they would be part of group and be denied their 15 minutes of fame. There are distros who are begging for additional people. Instead of joining these projects and contributing something worthwhile, the wannabes keep churning out me-too distros.
DW has 900 distros in its database. I would bet that between 600 and 700 of them are basically nothing more than copies of other distros with some utilities added and/or some cosmetics changed. Over 600 distros are either dormant or discontinued. One trick ponies?
Today, I just happened to be looking through the 160 distros listed on the Waiting List. There are distros on the Projects Not Ready and Projects with Concerns lists that date back to 2010 with nobody making any updates to them. There is even one distro that dates back to 2007. Some of the distros on the Waiting List no longer even exist. Obviously the Great Ideas their developers have proven to be not so great.
The vast majority of innovations and improvements in Linux have come from the development teams of the major distributions - Slackware, Debian Red Hat, Gentoo, Ubuntu Arch, etc, not from wannabes.
24 • @19 (by Dr. E.S. Ktorp on 2019-07-22 18:14:48 GMT from United States)
it's just evidence that there isn't enough cooperation between developers. Everyone who develops a software center naturally ends up repackaging an existing distro just for the purpose of getting people to try 1 piece of software. Call it fragmentation I guess, but the bottom line is that it's prohibitively confusing for most people to navigate the ol Linux family tree and most of that is due to overzealous developers trying to Rambo ramrod their pet project via a slapped together respin. Just because people are free to do whatever they wish doesn't mean they end up with good results. I'm not against people respinning, rebranding, etc.. but often they seem to do it for the wrong reasons; most would-be distro admins would be better off joining forces with an existing distribution.
25 • I don't think so. I would never say what you did. (by Garon on 2019-07-22 18:45:33 GMT from United States)
You said, "The only purpose it serves is to provide the developer his 15 minutes of fame. It adds very little to the Linux landscape."
That sounds like you are making a lot of assumptions then and on your latest post is seems the same way. I agree there would be more progress with worthwhile projects if more people were to volunteer but you seem to lump everyone into one group. Sometimes people need a starting point and developing a me-distro may be the first step. It's not really hard to do but it can be somewhat rewarding. After that a person may want to do more. Help in core development, help in application development, and the list can go on. Any effort, no matter how small, should not be frowned upon, (most of the time). A lot of times better direction will come. I know that there a lot of distros that seem to have no purpose and a lot of those are not even under development anymore, but it was a start for someone. It seems we need more people to become interested in the community as a whole. A copy-cat distro may be the first step. Discouragement is never a good thing.
26 • @23, 19 and 15 (by Christian on 2019-07-22 18:48:13 GMT from Brazil)
I mostly agree with 19 and 23 both. Yes software freedom allows us to do anything we want with the software and that's good. Yes, that also leads to am excessive number of small projects that have a very short life.
I guess the point is what defines a distro? I would say that most of the projects on Distrowatch are kind of "re-spins" (I couldn't find a better word) of an existing distro. Or maybe I'm wrong and that's excactly what a distro is.
IMO, it's good that some people go an extra step to create a "distro" that they believe will help someone else. Even if it's a small project, it could help a new user into Linux, into learning Ubuntu or Debian, into learning the importance of free software or even into contributing to free software.
I'll not be using Hexagon OS. But I'm glad someone decided to create something for free software.
Maybe we would enjoy more a "natural" review instead of a "random" review. Maybe by reading a new name (Hexagon OS) we were expecting a system that would do something entirely new or different.
Maybe Hexagon OS is more of a personal project. It doesn't matter.
27 • We're not that far off. (by Garon on 2019-07-22 18:57:12 GMT from United States)
You are correct when you say, " Just because people are free to do whatever they wish doesn't mean they end up with good results." That's where the discontinued distros come from. Isn't it great tho when good results do come alone. It may have started with crap-ware, but have evolved along the way. For me it's more of a sit back, wait, and see what happens kind of thing. We will know if people don't warrant our support by the progression of their projects. Anyway I do understand your grievances but I just think we should be a little more patient.
28 • Look back in anger, fondly (by Ennio on 2019-07-22 21:13:25 GMT from Netherlands)
Ladies, gentlemen, the issue of not assured perfectibility in the conception, genesis, maturation of a Linux&GNU distributions picks my nose to the regards of an eventual poll.
Which distro we, I, maybe you, miss the most?
Carpe diem sive rèspice finem.
29 • Distros-Disco (by Bob on 2019-07-22 21:54:04 GMT from United States)
@14 I agree, Hexagon is nothing more than a Stuart-distro. "Look what I can do!"
@28 CrunchBang! #!
(@ fans of BunsenLabs: No Thanks. It is NOT the same as cornominal's #!, and it never will be.)
30 • Distros (by Rev_Don on 2019-07-22 22:09:27 GMT from United States)
"The only purpose it serves is to provide the developer his 15 minutes of fame. It adds very little to the Linux landscape."
"That is also the Achilles' heel of Linux. Anybody and everybody who fancies themselves some kind of programmer is trying re-invent the wheel only because they are allowed to. These wannabe distro developers would contribute lots more to Linux if they exercised their creativity by working on existing projects."
Maybe some of them are. Or could it be that this is their learning process. They have to learn somehow so why not create a re-spin as part of their process. The ones that die off after seeing how difficult it is to maintain over the long haul may well start contributing to a more established project.
31 • Too many distros? (by Angel on 2019-07-23 00:24:24 GMT from Philippines)
I'll agree that Hexagon seems to have little purpose, in my view, along with quite a few others. And then I'll say: So what? It's their time, their effort, their decisions. If someone wants to put out a distro just for English Bob (Ferient OS) I chuckle and move on. As they said in the old days, no skin off my nose.
I suppose Linux users could band together and name a dictator-regulator-police to decide what belongs and what does not. Laughable, but seems to be what some would prefer, with themselves being the authority, of course. Looks to me that there's this fear that with all the fragmentation, Linux desktop will never be mainstream. Again, so what? When I want mainstream I use Windows. Funny, because in Windows there are lots and lots of people working together as directed on a single OS with very limited versions. No little Windows distros made in the kitchen by adjusting someone else's recipe. So it should be superior. Is it?
32 • Much to do about nothing... (by Tech in San Diego on 2019-07-23 02:47:32 GMT from United States)
I for one, and I speak for others as well, that creating a distro, be it from scratch or a rebranding of an existing distro, is no simple task.In the early days of Linux there were very limited resources available. Fast-forward to today's distros and you will find a plethora of innovations, unlike Windows, who's only goal is to satisfy their shareholders.
With very few exceptions, Linux remains unencumbered by profit margins. As a developer myself, I do it for the challenge of seeing hours of hard work come to fruition. For me it's a labor of love and I appreciate watching what the future holds for GNU/Linux.
Lastly, I appreciate DW as a central repository for Linux distros and the resources that Jesse put's in to every evaluation. Until you have put in the effort each week that the DistroWatch team does so well, I would hold my opinions and welcome their effort.
Have you ever donated to a distro, or for that matter DistroWatch? I do and it feels good to further the effort of all the developers out there who work so hard to make Linux what it is today.
All the Best!
Tech in San Diego
Bill Gates dies and goes to heaven, where Saint Peter gives him a nice, modern six-bedroom house with a pretty garden and a tennis court. Pleased with his lot, Bill quickly settles into the afterlife.
One day he is out walking when he bumps into a man wearing a fine tailored suit.
"That's really nice," says Bill. "Where did you get it?"
"Actually," says the man, "I was given 50 of these, plus two mansions, a yacht, a golf course and four Rolls-Royces."
"Wow, were you a pope or a doctor healing the terminally ill?" asks Bill.
"No, I was the captain of the Titanic."
Bill storms off to see Saint Peter. "How come the captain of a sunken ship gets all that while I, the inventor of the Windows Operating System gets a crummy little house?" he asks.
Saint Peter replies, "The Titanic only crashed once."
33 • GNU/Linux = Freedom (by anon on 2019-07-23 06:20:14 GMT from United States)
It seems that some people are so obsessed with competing with Microsoft for market share and mainstream appeal that they would rather eliminate the freedom of others by stopping them from making their own distros and enjoying the opportunity that open source presents to us all. GNU/Linux is not a proprietary, closed source gulag with a top-down command structure where everyone must goose step to the same beat of a single, master distro. The idea of railroading everybody into working on your favorite distro instead of letting them work on whatever they want in an OS that advertises itself as being about freedom and openness is sheer absurdity, especially considering the fact that this stuff is available completely free of charge. If somebody wants to make their own distro, then that is perfectly fine. The only purpose that a distro needs for existing is that somebody wanted to make it. After all, they don't work for you, and they are not beholden to you in any way, shape, or form.
34 • Slackware (by Son of Ivan Stang on 2019-07-23 10:47:53 GMT from Sweden)
Slackware still faces financial issues, but the project can be saved.
Keep Slackware Linux alive by becoming a patreon: https://www.patreon.com/slackwarelinux
35 • @ 32 (by OstroL on 2019-07-23 10:54:14 GMT from Poland)
"Bill storms off to see Saint Peter. "How come the captain of a sunken ship gets all that while I, the inventor of the Windows Operating System gets a crummy little house?" he asks.
Saint Peter replies, "The Titanic only crashed once." "
Well, this fanboism is and was terrible for Linux all the time. One should learn to appreciate other operating systems and other people. If one doesn't want to use another operating system, one should refrain from commenting on that. It is that simple.
We should care for those, who created something, useful for some people (most people) in the world, and stop caring for a Peter that never existed.
Btw, My Windows 10 laptops never crashed a single time; I am using one of them for more than 6 years. And, I am using Linux since October 2004 and have a multitude of Linuxes. Some of them crashed a few times. But, I liked those crashes, for they taught me a lot.
36 • @32 @33 (by Dr. E.S. Ktorp on 2019-07-23 12:26:32 GMT from United States)
@32 "..creating a distro, be it from scratch or a rebranding of an existing distro, is no simple task."
Rebranding an existing distro is waaay easier than it used to be. Start with a live iso of your base distro, configure it the way you want, snapshot that iso, do a few batch renames, clone a repository, come up with a goofy name, notify distrowatch of the coming desktop linux revolution, profit $$$. (okay that last part never happens, but you get the idea) It might not be as simple as squeezing a pimple, but it's evidently a relatively easy task, otherwise we wouldn't be seeing the number and.. ahem-- quality, of distros we see today.
@33 That would be true in situations where people actually behave as if they have built/respun a distro for themselves, but when these projects are uploaded to github, given goofy names with websites, torrent files, marketing fluff, etc, they cease being purely personal labors of love and become Yet Another Linux. That's fine if they have something to offer that sets them apart from the pack; not "reinventing the wheel" as someone said earlier.
Unfortunately, for every unadvertised, custom linux out there, there are probably 10 struggling and defunct "Linux for Humans" "Linux for Everybody" etc.. it used to be embarrassing to watch these things repeatedly sprout and die. Now it's only embarrassing to watch people pretend that every Linux is equally useful, simply by nature of being free. This complaint isn't about people exercising freedom-- that is perfectly fine. My complaint is about pretentious marketing from wannabe developers and those who muddy the waters around these 'joke distros' and similar BS, to protect them from rational (often constructive) criticism.
It's fine when it's your time to waste, but once it's advertised even a little bit.. here or there.. it becomes a time waster for others.
37 • @33: (by dragonmouth on 2019-07-23 13:18:35 GMT from United States)
I couldn't care less whether Linux has 2% or 92% market share. I just want to see it the best it can be, not balkanized into hundreds of similar, mediocre, niche products. It is quality, not quantity that will determine Linux's market share.
It's not about competing, it is about making something or making it better than it is.
If there was road to be repaved or a house to be remodeled, would you want the workers to work as a team following one plan or would you want each of them to be expressing their ingenuity and individuality? How would that road or house look after everybody was done doing their thing?
38 • @37, Good Linux, Bad Linux (by Angel on 2019-07-23 14:37:21 GMT from Philippines)
"It is quality, not quantity that will determine Linux's market share." Market share, by its very definition, is quantity. "I just want to see it the best it can be" Something is not just "the best." It is best at something or for someone. Who determines this "best"? You? Linux is not analogous to a road or a house. You keep going on with this boss>foreman>worker>end-user, top-down undertaking. That is the antithesis of what Linux is about. You may have those within Linux , e.g. Red Hat, Canonical, and others. If they want to build "roads" or "houses" to their own or someone else's specifications, no one is impeding them, but no one is required to join them. It's not a zero-sum game. The time and effort someone spends on their own boutique distro is not deducted from Canonical's or Red Hat's time, and neither can lay claim to the other's time and effort.
Obviously, you are dissatisfied with the state and course of Linux. Fine. Roll up your sleeves, gather other like-minded people, and do something to make it more to your liking. The worst that can happen is that you fail. But I suppose it's easier and risk-free to carp and assign blame on internet forums.
39 • @38 Well Said (by shotdown on 2019-07-23 15:56:46 GMT from United States)
Clap, clap, clap...Couldn't have been said better.
@38 - typical consumer. We'll all be waiting for your Distro to land soon and be reviewed.
40 • @ the usual bickering: we don't need that, nor to re-invent wheels... (by Lambert Simpkins on 2019-07-23 16:21:03 GMT from Austria)
especially when wheels can't actually be improved.
to get attention from most people on the desktop, Linux has to do what they need doing without making mess with the nuts and bolts. new or at least better applications are what's needed. visicalc wasn't tied to an OS. no one cares about wheels so long as they're round
41 • It's open source, not closed source (by anon on 2019-07-23 16:44:37 GMT from United States)
@36: How so? Nobody is forcing anybody to use any of these distros that are off the beaten path. You and anybody else are free to use whatever you want to use, and others are free to start their own little boutique distros. That's the beauty of the whole thing. Nobody is being forced or coerced to do something against their will. Just because somebody advertises something doesn't mean that you automatically have to go out of your way to use it if you are already happy with what you are using, and most new users are going to stick to what is most popular and what is most supported, anyways. So, how is anybody's time being wasted by letting others create and share their own little projects? Yes - there are several distros that advertise themselves as next big thing, and yet the cream always rises to the top and the majority of users both old and new stick to the tried and true. Perhaps the real issue is this idea that anytime anyone makes something in GNU/Linux then it must automatically cater to one's personal tastes and agendas, and that if it doesn't, then it is automatically a "waste of time" or "fragmenting the community" because the entire universe apparently revolves around the individuals casting judgment.
@37: The best that it can be? By whose definition? Yours? As long as it meets the needs of those who use it then what is the problem? It is large enough and versatile enough to satisfy nearly every use case. What you see as balkanization, others see as variety and choice, and aren't those two of the biggest things that the community talks about when explaining GNU/Linux to non-users? And what do you mean by making it better? Again, whose definition of better? By better do you mean making it more like Windows? If so, then why even leave Microsoft to begin with? GNU/Linux is great the way that it is. It powers 500 of the world's supercomputers, it powers the most phones on the planet, and it's being used everywhere from NASA and the New York Stock Exchange to major 3D studios. That it manages to do all of that while respecting your freedom and presenting a near limitless amount of options is pretty impressive, no?
Oh, and bad analogy. Those workers are being *Payed* to work, so they have an actual obligation to do their job exactly as they're told by their superiors. The non-payed workers in GNU/Linux are working because they choose to work, and they have the freedom to work on whatever they damn well please, however they damn well please. There is no contract or obligation (software provided "as is"), and there is no requirement for fitness of purpose. The people who work for Red Hat and Canonical are only obligated to do what Red Hat or Canonical tell them to do, and nothing more. I guess I will never understand people who use a free OS and then act as though they are owed something as if they were a paying customer.
42 • Balkanization of Linux (by dragonmomuth on 2019-07-23 19:19:03 GMT from United States)
There's nothing like purposely misinterpreting a statement to make your point. I should have specified that "it the quality of distros, not the quantity of distros" that determines the market share.
@Angel & anon: "The best that it can be? By whose definition? Yours?"
No, not mine. The prospective users. A very common complaint from prospective Linux users is that there are too many distros which confuses the choice. If these prospective Linux users happen to choose a distro like Hexagon, there is a very good chance they will decide that Linux sucks and stick with their current O/S.
" As long as it meets the needs of those who use it then what is the problem?"
You guys are thinking like the experienced Linux users you are. Try thinking like a newbie.
It is no problem for those already hooked on Linux. They have already pretty much decided on a distro and, if need be, they have the expertise to pick a different one. The problem is with and for those who want to try Linux. How does a newbie coming from Windows or macOS determine which distro meets his or her needs? If (s)he picks the wrong one, it will not work for them and there is a very good chance they will be turned off to Linux.
I'm all for choice. Choice is good but only up to the point it is an informed choice. Past that point, it becomes a crap shoot How does a newbie understand the nuances between different distros based Ubuntu or Arch? How does (s)he make a choice other than eeny-meenie-miny-moe? How do you make a choice between close to 300 items you don't know anything about?
43 • Who is this confused user? (by Tim on 2019-07-24 01:09:49 GMT from United States)
Dragonmouth: do you really think a potential new Linux user is going to mistake a base distro for a one man project?
Anyone coming to Linux on their own accord is going to do a Google search, read several of the "top 5 Linux desktops for 2019" type articles and pick a major distro.
I'm sure each small project has its own goals in mind. Maybe a one man distro exists because someone has gotten good at installing Linux on friends and family's computers and wants a common image. Maybe it is just learning. But this idea that people aren't choosing Linux because they're overwhelmed by the number of distributions needs some evidence to back it up.
44 • Which distro we, I, maybe you, miss the most? (by zcatav on 2019-07-24 04:53:51 GMT from Turkey)
45 • New Users (by anon on 2019-07-24 07:07:25 GMT from United States)
@42: This is not a common complaint that I've come across when dealing with people who are new to it all. Most will ask which distro is the best (read: easiest) for a new user, and they will almost always end up with Ubuntu, Mint, or Manjaro due to search results and/or word of mouth. I hear the "too many distros" complaint more from Windows users who are trying to discredit GNU/Linux than from actual GNU/Linux users. That's not to say that there aren't *any* new users making that complaint, of course. It just seems to be a sticking point with the anti-GNU/Linux crowd, as most of the community seems to believe that having more options is not inherently a bad thing. They may not actively support yet another respin of Ubuntu whose only meaningful addition is a new icon theme, but they understand the nature of open source software, and they either take a look at it or simply ignore it while focusing on the distro that they currently use.
46 • New-to-distros choices (by Somewhat Reticent on 2019-07-24 09:14:54 GMT from United States)
Sure, there's a constant stream of "Top # Distros" articles (and helpful DW tools, thanks!), but a searcher will filter out marketing hype and review support systems for genuine mentoring vs. harassment.
LibraNet - from back in the day when people paid for installation media, before deep pockets paid for "free" promotional live/install discs - pioneering the friendly and supportive niche in Freed Open-Source. Excellent illustration.
47 • Which distro do we miss? (by mechanic on 2019-07-24 10:04:56 GMT from United Kingdom)
48 • New distros, one man shows (by OstroL on 2019-07-24 10:09:30 GMT from Poland)
Just imagine, if there hadn't been a plethora of one-man shows all this time, there wouldn't be Distrowatch.
Those one-man shows are dwindling very fast these days, with most of the former top class developers moving to proprietary OSs (#!), and some even completely dropping what they had created (Budgie) going away. If anyone wants to have look at some of those that was once in the heyday, look here; https://archiveos.org/linux/ You can download them and check them out yourself. This website is there thanks to the Sparky Linux developer.
49 • Hexagon (by tymothy on 2019-07-24 10:26:21 GMT from United States)
nearly everything in the linux ecosystem is borrowed,have you ever taken something ,made a few changes modified something and then wanted to show it off? the differences may seem inconsequential,even silly,but almost no one makes something from whole cloth. yes the Linux landscape does seem to get watered down by it's general decentralization and lack of unified goals, but that diversity has produced some truly remarkable projects. there always seems to be plenty of unhappy souls when comes to either what is seen as too much of either convergence or divergence in Linux,but if this is the toy they want to play with i say let em play! enjoy the show!
50 • Reality Check (by Windows user/Linux newbie on 2019-07-24 12:33:04 GMT from France)
I wander, what if a Linux distribution becomes mainstream; it would be popular, or as hated as Android?
@45 "Windows users who are trying to discredit GNU/Linux"
I occasionally use Linux Live. Most home Windows users don't even heard about GNU or Linux, so, why wold they try to discredit it?
Do I care if there are to many distributions?
NOPE, because is FREE.
Do I wander why nobody come up with something else after Linux kernel? Well, probably because instead of writing NEW code, everybody copy/paste and occasionally modifies the old one, but since I'm not smart enough to do it by myself, THANK YOU FOR YOUR EFFORT!!!
51 • Reality check (by Jordan on 2019-07-25 00:03:56 GMT from United States)
@50 Well, several distros have come and gone (Vector, Blag, Yoper.. etc) which had idealism in their dna, as I saw them, Blag in particular which stated that they wanted to "overthrow corporate control of information and technology." Quite the endeavor. Failed, of course. And if they had succeeded would they have become the monster they were attempting to slay? That idealism would have had to be spread across ALL of their users and of course ALL linux users.
Ain't gonna happen. Thus Android, Canonical, etc.
52 • Reality Check (by anon on 2019-07-25 01:24:28 GMT from United States)
@50: I wasn't implying that *most* Windows users are trying to discredit GNU/Linux. I pointed out that the relatively few people that actually make that particular complaint seem to be the particular Windows users who are looking for another way to criticize GNU/Linux. Why would they do that? The same reason why Xbox fans would try to discredit Sony fans, I guess. Human nature being what it is and all. Thankfully, they are relatively few due to most Windows users being happy with their OS and not caring about GNU/Linux.
I miss Korora. It was a pretty good respin of Fedora.
53 • HexagonOS (by Titus_Groan on 2019-07-25 04:59:22 GMT from New Zealand)
as at least one other has said, lets give it a while....
In the (dis)information age, distros (and, pretty much everything else now) grow or die at the whim of (anti)social media.
all current distros / respins started as some-ones vision and grew from there.
Human nature seems particularly adept at weeding out "rubbish", be it one man band or corporate supplied.
look back 10 / 15 (or more) years and try to remember all those brands that have fallen by the wayside of human choice (or not)
54 • New Linux distros (by OstroL on 2019-07-25 07:39:34 GMT from Poland)
It is very good that there are still enthusiasts ready to create "re-spins." Most of those, who comment here don't even know how to make a live iso off his installed Linux system. But, they comment, as commenting is free.
We see a bit less of those new Linux distros -- every Linux system that's given away to others, free or for money is a distro -- at Distrowatch, maybe one or two at a time in a week. But, if you are really keen to find out, there are quite a lot of new Linux distros uploaded to another web site, practically every day! Most of the distros appear there, before they appear here.
It is always goo that there are newcomers, who try to do something interesting with their Linux system, and then upload it for others. That's how Linux Mint, Manjaro etc happened. That's how #!, the nimble Debian remix, made an impact on the Linux community.
Keep on doing it! Don't even read the negative (and ugly), non-constructive remarks!
55 • Nature of Open Source, Innovation, & Number of Distros (by M.Z. on 2019-07-25 08:37:31 GMT from United States)
I find these occasional complaints about too many distros extremely ironic, because true innovation often involves dozens or even hundreds of failures along the way. If they didn't try 39 other things first & keep going we wouldn't have WD-40, let along the number of failed light bulb prototypes there were or number of rockets that blew up on the pad or came hurdling off course before one made it into orbit.
Linux is a terrific place to start an adventure in creating a new operating system project & has tons of people available to help you get off the ground with a new idea. It even has a project to document making something up entirely new called Linux From Scratch. What better way is there to let someone scratch an itch & try too innovate or just do something for them self is there? What more dynamic OS family is there with more possibilities for innovation?
Linux & it's open license handed everyone who care to give it a try the right to do something, anything, with their GPL software as long as others can do the same with what's built. Sure some things go nowhere, but others are reused, or have team members that go on to successful projects or succeed as new projects outright on their own merits. Why complain about people trying new things, or about things blowing up? It's not the Soviet space program, so we get to see all the fireworks & explosions of things going wrong. Either ignore it or sit back & enjoy the show, because one of these days some Linux project will start chugging along in the sky & then do something unexpected like make a complete 180 in the sky & stick a landing like no one has ever seen before. I have seen such things with my own two eyes come from folks that failed repeatedly & which some would have written off as two bit nothings with half baked ideas.
I don't care a bit about the failure rate, the fact that so many people are trying new things with Linux tells me that a few groups are bound to succeed eventually & will keep Linux on the cutting edge of innovation well into the future.
Number of Comments: 55
Display mode: DWW Only • Comments Only • Both DWW and Comments
|• 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|
|• 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|
|• Full list of all issues|
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