| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 841, 18 November 2019
Welcome to this year's 46th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
While new software and new technologies are constantly being tried out and explored, older technology tends to get left behind, either due to a lack of maintenance or because it is no longer deemed necessary. This week we touch on this treadmill of software's progress, reporting on Debian's process of phasing out Python 2 and publishing updated install media. We also talk about Chrome OS updating their GNU/Linux application support and a Slackware volunteer providing up to date live media. This week we also touch on a distribution designed to help keep older hardware running. The Emmabuntüs distribution runs on a Debian base and is intended to be run on lower-end hardware. We have more details on this project in our Feature Story. Plus we explore the topic of remapping keys on a keyboard in our Questions and Answers section. Remapping keys can help work around dead or stuck keys and we provide a demonstration of how this works. Then we talk about running community spins versus main editions of distributions in our Opinion Poll. Let us know whether you are running a spin or a default edition in the comments. 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: Emmabuntüs DE3-1.00
- News: Debian phasing out Python 2, Chrome OS updates Debian containers, Debian releases updated media and debates init software diversity, live spin of Slackware with updated packages
- Questions and answers: Swapping keys in a keyboard's layout
- Released last week: IPFire 2.23 Core 137, PCLinuxOS 2019.11, Oracle 8.1
- Torrent corner: Archman, Bluestar, Clonezilla, Debian, Debian-Edu, IPFire, PCLinuxOS, Void, Volumio
- Opinion poll: Running community spins
- Reader comments
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (19MB) and MP3 (14MB) formats.
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
It was recently pointed out to me that I have never written a review of the Emmabuntüs distribution and I was asked to address this oversight. With that in mind, I downloaded the latest version of this Debian-based, desktop distribution. Emmabuntüs features the Xfce desktop and runs on packages provided by Debian 10 "Buster". The project, which is designed to be run on older or used computers in order to extended their usefulness, is available in 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit (x86_64) builds.
The distribution strives to lower the bar for trying Linux by providing support for multiple languages and using the friendly Calamares installer to set up the operating system. I downloaded the 64-bit version of Emmabuntüs which is a hefty 3.1GB.
Booting from the Emmabuntüs media brings up a boot menu asking us to pick our preferred language from a list. Then we are asked if we want to try the distribution's live desktop or launch either a text-based or graphical installer. The installer options launch Debian's text and graphical installers, respectively. The Try option launches a live desktop environment running the Xfce 4.12 desktop. I decided to use the live desktop to test the distribution before installing it.
When the Xfce desktop first loads we are shown a series of welcome windows. The first one just displays a short greeting. The next one invites us to change our keyboard's layout (the default mapping is US). Another pop-up asks if we want to turn on a number of features. These include enabling a dock, activating the taskbar, activating the workspace, and enabling a dark theme. To be frank, I'm not sure what the utility means by activating the workspace and none of the options are explained. Enabling the dock gives us a macOS style launcher at the bottom of the screen and the other two options did not appear to have any significant effect whether turned on or not.
The next window offers to install Flash and media codecs. It will then try to download and install these packages while we wait. When it is done, another welcome window appears. This one displays a grid of buttons that provide short-cuts to on-line documentation and a forum, a local PDF with tips on using Debian, and quick access to the software manager, settings panel, and some convenience tools. I will talk about these features later.
A panel at the top of the Xfce desktop holds the application menu, task switcher, and the system tray. In the upper-right corner is a menu we can use to logout or shutdown the computer. Icons on the desktop offer to run the Calamares installer, run an uninstaller, launch the Disks utility to partition the hard drive, and open a tool to change the keyboard layout. There is also an icon for opening a tool to repair the boot loader. The concept of an uninstaller intrigued me since usually people do not remove operating systems so much as remove their partition or install over them. I tested this tool and found the uninstaller will search for partitions with an operating system installed and then offer to format the selected partition with either the NTFS or ext3 filesystem.
The live environment, once we navigate through the welcome windows, worked well for me. Xfce was responsive and straight forward to use. My hardware was working well with the distribution and I was happy to move ahead with running the installer.
Emmabuntüs DE3-1.00 -- The Xfce desktop and Classic menu
(full image size: 540kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
While taking the installer option from Emmabuntüs's boot menu launches the Debian system installer, launching the installer from the live desktop opens Calamares. The graphical Calamares installer begins by offering to show us the release notes and put us in touch with on-line support. Clicking either of these buttons produces a pop-up error indicating the web browser cannot be launched. (Manually opening the Firefox web browser works, meaning the issue is with the installer's configuration rather than the browser.) The following screens walk us through the usual steps of selecting our time zone, keyboard layout, and making up a username & password. The partitioning section allows us to use a smooth, manual partitioning tool or take an automated partitioning option. The automated choice uses available space to create a single ext4 filesystem and no swap space. Apart from its first page with the broken links, Calamares worked well for me and offered to restart the computer after it finished setting up the operating system.
The freshly installed copy of Emmabuntüs boots to a graphical login screen. From there we can sign into the Xfce 4.12 desktop. Once again we are greeted by a series of welcome screens, though this time with a few differences. After the initial greeting we are asked if we would like to use the Classic application menu or the Whisker menu. Examples of these are not displayed so the user needs to guess which one will suit them better. I kept the Classic menu to start. We also also asked to "Please select the most appropriate image version for your needs." We are shown an image, but not told what it will decorate. At first I assumed it was a wallpaper selection, but the next choice we make is to pick our wallpaper from a drop-down menu. Even after picking the first image, I do not know where it was used.
Emmabuntüs DE3-1.00 -- Customizing the distribution through the welcome windows
(full image size: 479kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
We are also asked if we would like to enable text-to-speech and auto-login, two valuable convenience functions. The window asking if we want to activate a dock, taskbar, and workspace appears next. Then a new window offers to install extras like Flash and codecs, but with additional options available. Now we can also install Microsoft fonts, TeamViewer, and Skype. The following window offers to remove any language packages we do not need. Then the welcome window with links to documentation, tools, and settings is shown.
This is a lot of upfront configuration to get through - twice. Sometimes I don't mind performing customizations up front, it can help newcomers take control of their operating system right away. However, several of the options are not clearly explained and some more descriptions of the options would be beneficial. New users are unlikely to know whether they need a task switcher, or TeamViewer, for instance.
When new software updates become available a notification appears in the upper-right corner of the screen. There is an update icon in the system tray. Something I found curious was that while I was using the live desktop session (on the install media) clicking the update icon would open the update manager which would let me select which updates I wanted to install. When Emmabuntüs was running from my hard drive clicking the update icon would not do anything. Right-clicking the icon would let me select how often the system should check for new package updates.
Emmabuntüs DE3-1.00 -- Checking for software updates
(full image size: 575kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
Something else I noticed early on is the application menu is very full. I started off using the Classic application menu, which uses a traditional tree-style menu. The Classic menu lists programs by name, without a description. Because the menu is packed with many launchers (some categories have more than a full page of entries) and there is no search box, this makes finding some programs difficult. For instance, when I was trying to find the update manager, I first located GNOME Software, the repository manager, the Packages and the Synaptic package managers, and a launcher for accessing Flatpaks. All of these were encountered before I finally found the update manager.
Since browsing the many entries in the Classic menu was not an efficient use of my time, I switched over to the Whisker menu. This menu uses a two-pane layout, which is still very full, but it includes a search box that helps us find programs quickly by typing their name or description.
Emmabuntüs DE3-1.00 -- The Whisker application menu
(full image size: 631kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
Emmabuntüs ships with multiple tools for managing software packages on the system. GNOME Software is included, along with the Synaptic package manager, and the Packages graphical front-end. On the command line we have access to the APT package manager and the Flatpak command line tools. This gives the user a range of utilities to use and, depending on our preference and what we are looking for, each of them can be helpful. GNOME Software is handy for when we wish to find desktop applications, organized into familiar categories. The Packages utility helps us find specific programs, also divided into familiar categories. While Synaptic helps us work with lower level packages and can be used to apply all sorts of filters. Each seems to work well, leaving the user to pick whichever tool suits their needs.
Emmabuntüs DE3-1.00 -- GNOME Software, Synaptic, and Packages
(full image size: 300kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
There is a Flatpak launcher in the application menu, and in the Tools panel (which I will discuss later). Clicking the Flatpak launcher merely opened the Firefox browser and took me to the Flathub website. I found it odd that, once I had reached the website, none of the bundle's description pages would open for me. Even with Firefox's extensions disabled the browser always locked up trying to load information about the available software bundles.
Emmabuntüs ships with a surprisingly large collection of software. There are so many applications in the menu, I was tempted to simply say Emmabuntüs includes all the possible software, but that would be a slight exaggeration. The distribution does tend to ship two or more applications for each category of task though. The usual flagship applications, such as Firefox, Thunderbird, Transmission, and LibreOffice are included. The Thunar file manager and VLC media player are provided too. We also have AbiWord and Gnumeric for office work, multiple image viewers, multiple media editing tools, lots of educational programs and games. There are a couple of chat programs, a few file transfer programs, like FileZilla, and a couple of e-book readers/managers, like Calibre.
Emmabuntüs DE3-1.00 -- AbiWord, LibreOffice, and Gnumeric
(full image size: 197kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
We are also given copies of WINE and PlayOnLinux to run Windows software. Media codecs are easy to install during the initial configuration and there are launchers in the menu to fetch codecs and non-free programs. Emmabuntüs ships with Java and the GNU Compiler Collection. I found systemd is used as the init software and the distribution runs on version 4.19 of the Linux kernel.
Something I found interesting is the application menu includes a launcher that opens a window and offers to install the LXDE desktop. I don't think I have ever before encountered a distribution which made installing an alternative desktop a two-click process.
When working from the command line I discovered making a typo would result in a Python crash report appearing. This report indicates the command-not-found software has crashed while trying to find programs matching the typo. Seeing this message each time a mistake is made becomes frustrating quickly as the long crash report pushes most of the terminal's content up off the screen.
I began by testing Emmabuntüs in a virtual machine. While running in VirtualBox the distribution performed well, integrating with the virtual environment and working smoothly. The Xfce desktop was responsive and I encountered no hardware-related issues. When trying the distribution on a physical workstation, Emmabuntüs worked well again. All my hardware was detected, the distribution ran quickly, and both the Xfce and LXDE desktops were highly responsive.
The distribution requires about 330MB of RAM when signed into the Xfce desktop, which is pleasantly light. However, the distribution requires 8.5GB of disk space, just for the root filesystem. That does not include swap space or user files.
In the project's release announcement Emmabuntüs claims to install and run in Secure Boot mode. However, when I tried running Emmabuntüs on my workstation, the distribution was only able to boot in Legacy BIOS mode, not in UEFI mode, with or without Secure Boot enabled.
Earlier I mentioned Emmabuntüs provides access to extra tools. These can be accessed through the welcome screen or the application menu. The special Tools application displays a panel where we are shown categories of launchers that perform common administration tasks. For instance, there are a few tools for writing disk images to USB thumb drives. There are a couple of tools for managing or setting up printers. There is a tool for handling local disk partitions, and another button that launches Firefox and opens the Flathub website.
Emmabuntüs DE3-1.00 -- The Tools panel
(full image size: 470kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
These extra utilities are mostly small, single-purpose configuration modules which worked for me. I'm not sure why they have their own, separate panel when we can access them through other ways. Perhaps it is just to keep things organized. However, this means that Emmabuntüs not only doubles down on most types of applications, but also settings panels. There is a separate control panel filled with modules for adjusting the look and behaviour of the Xfce desktop, the window manager, sound settings, drivers, and other aspects of the underlying operating system. There are a lot of these modules and the ones I used functioned smoothly.
Emmabuntüs DE3-1.00 -- The settings panel
(full image size: 511kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
The word which kept coming to mind while I was using Emmabuntüs was "overwhelming". The distribution includes so many options, applications, tools, settings, and welcome windows that I often felt like I was not only spoiled for choice, but flooded under a torrent of options. This is a distribution which has at least six tools for managing packages, three system installers, two office suites, four tools for setting up printers (or printer drivers), a long series of first-run tools, and launchers for adding all sorts of extras, including codecs, Flash, and an entire alternative desktop environment.
The use of the Whisker menu certainly helps the situation as it makes it easier to find and filter programs we may wish to use. However, even then it can take a surprising amount of looking around and scrolling through options to find what we are hoping to use.
Usually, I'm not one to complain about too much choice. I do, after all, celebrate the range of hundreds of Linux distributions available. I'm never one to say "Option B should not exist because we already have Opinion A." However, the caveat to my philosophy of "The more the merrier" is I don't want all the options all at once. To put it another way, I love that my local corner store has 32 different flavours of ice cream. I don't want to try to eat all 32 at once in one bowl. Emmabuntüs, for better or worse, puts all of the options in one bowl.
To be fair, to some people this may be appealing. If you are running a computer that has a slow (or non-existent) Internet connection, I can see why having a lot of software installed locally would be appealing. Emmabuntüs is targeting lower-end hardware and it is not always convenient to stop what you are doing and download AbiWord because LibreOffice is too big. I can see why having a very full bowl, with all the available options, would appeal in a situation where trying new options is difficult.
Perhaps the bigger concern I had was the welcome screen, while it allows for a lot of customization up front, does not do a great job of explaining the available options. What does it mean to activate a workspace? Why does the user need to decide up front whether to have a dock and whether that dock should use OpenGL? Should the user really need to know whether they need extra fonts before they even start using the distribution? Again, I see how having these options is a good idea, however the lack of on-screen documentation explaining these options may leave users confused.
Having spent a while complaining about the distribution's design choices, I think it is important to also highlight what Emmabuntüs does well. Apart from offering the user lots of choice, the distribution uses a lean and stable base (Debian 10). The project enjoys several years of support as a result, along with predictable behaviour, and a huge collection of additional software in case the user wants more. Emmabuntüs ran very quickly during my tests, the default applications (the ones I got around to using anyway) all worked. Emmabuntüs, once we get through the initial configuration steps, provides a very smooth, responsive experience.
It takes some getting used to all the options, and I tend to prefer to build up from the ground rather than trim down, but for people on slower connections I think this distribution would offer a welcome array of functionality.
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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
Emmabuntüs has a visitor supplied average rating of: 8.4/10 from 26 review(s).
Have you used Emmabuntüs? You can leave your own review of the project on our ratings page.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Debian phasing out Python 2, Chrome OS updates Debian containers, Debian releases updated media and debates init software diversity, live spin of Slackware with updated packages
Version 2 of the Python programming language will reach the end of its supported life at the beginning of 2020. This leaves developers is a tricky position where they need to either migrate to the incompatible Python 3 language or continue to use unsupported software. Most Linux distributions are in the process of removing their old Python 2 packages in preparation for the language's transition. Debian is about halfway through removing Python 2 packages in preparation for the distribution's next stable release, Debian Bullseye. Ondřej Nový writes in a mailing list post: "We are aiming to remove Python 2 for the Bullseye release, or at least remove as many Python 2 related packages as possible. Python 2 is discontinued upstream, but crucially, more and more providers of Python modules don't support Python 2 in either the current or future upstream version.... With about 3,300 py2removal bugs filed and 1,500 closed, we are now almost done with half of the removals."
Google's Chrome OS operating system runs a Debian container which allows the platform to run GNU/Linux applications. Up to this point Chrome OS used a Debian 9 "Stretch" container and, according to xda-developers, the software is being updated to run Debian 10 "Buster". "At Google I/O last year, Google announced Linux app support for Chrome OS. This is made possible thanks to installing a GNU/Linux distribution, specifically Debian 9 'Stretch', in a Linux container. Earlier this year, the Debian project announced Debian 10 'Buster', but Google wasn't ready to upgrade the default Linux container on Chromebooks just yet. Now, after months of testing and bug fixing, Google is ready to enable Debian 10 'Buster' as the default Linux container in Chrome OS. According to a recently merged commit we spotted in the Chromium Gerrit, new Crostini (the code-name for Linux apps on Chrome OS) installations will get Debian 10 by default. The commit doesn't mention how Chromebooks with existing Debian 9 'Stretch' installations will be migrated to the newer version, but users can easily upgrade the container themselves by running a few commands."
The Debian project has released updated install media for Debian 10 "Buster". The new media includes bug fixes for existing packages, but does not represent a new version of the distribution. A news post on the Debian website states: "The Debian project is pleased to announce the second update of its stable distribution Debian 10 (codename Buster). This point release mainly adds corrections for security issues, along with a few adjustments for serious problems. Security advisories have already been published separately and are referenced where available. Please note that the point release does not constitute a new version of Debian 10 but only updates some of the packages included. There is no need to throw away old buster media. After installation, packages can be upgraded to the current versions using an up-to-date Debian mirror."
Finally, the Debian project is revisiting the idea of init diversity and which init implementations should be supported. Right now Debian uses systemd by default with some developers trying to support alternative init implementations such as SysV and OpenRC. This attempt to maintain multiple packages can cause some conflicts and this is giving rise to a new Debian resolution which will be voted on by the developers. The options available now are: to officially support init diversity, support systemd while trying to encourage support for additional implementations, and focusing on systemd exclusively. This decision is likely to impact not only Debian, but also distributions based on Debian, such as MX Linux which support multiple init options.
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It has been over three years since the most recent release of Slackware Linux and the venerable distribution is not known for providing live desktop environments for users to test. One popular Slackware community member, Eric Hameleers (aka AlienBob), is addressing both of those concerns by releasing an up to date live disc based on Slackware's development branch and running KDE Plasma 5. "Yesterday I uploaded a new DVD-sized ISO for the Plasma 5 variant of Slackware Live Edition based on the liveslak scripts version 1.3.3. The ISO contains Slackware-current 'Tue Nov 12 23:08:45 UTC 2019' with my KDE-5_19.11 and boots a Linux 4.19.83 kernel." Further details can be found in the Alien Pastures blog post.
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Swapping keys in a keyboard's layout
Working-around-dead-keys asks: I reckon it would help a lot of folks if you could outline the code for swapping (dead or otherwise) keys, especially a problem with laptops. In my case I have a dead "A" key which is particularly problematic. There are some tutorials on the InterWeb, but mostly concerning swapping Control and Function keys and they don't all agree. In my case a switch for "A" to "grave-accent" would be acceptable. It would also help if I could load a file prepared elsewhere via a file on USB fob since typing in the terminal is bound to require an "A"!
The first thing you are going to want to do is find out what keycodes are assigned to the keys you want to swap on your keyboard. A keycode is a numeric identifier which basically lets the system know which physical key on the keyboard is being pressed. We can learn the keycode of any key on the keyboard by running the xev command. Running xev from a terminal will open a mostly blank little window. Typing while the little xev window is active will cause the keycodes of any key we press to be displayed in our terminal. Here is some sample output from xev:
KeyPress event, serial 34, synthetic NO, window 0x5e00001,
In the above example I pressed the "T" key. Then I tapped the "[" and "]" keys. The keycodes of these three keys are displayed in bold above. We can see that plain "T" is associated with keycode 28. The "[" and "]" symbols are 34 and 35, respectively. This gives me enough information to cause the system to interpret pressing any of these three keys as producing another symbol.
root 0x674, subw 0x0, time 201862773, (-343,-80), root:(229,355),
state 0x0, keycode 28 (keysym 0x74, t), same_screen YES,
XLookupString gives 1 bytes: (74) "t"
XmbLookupString gives 1 bytes: (74) "t"
XFilterEvent returns: False
KeyPress event, serial 37, synthetic NO, window 0x3600001,
root 0x674, subw 0x0, time 131533515, (-227,311), root:(345,746),
state 0x0, keycode 34 (keysym 0x5b, bracketleft), same_screen YES,
XLookupString gives 1 bytes: (5b) "["
XmbLookupString gives 1 bytes: (5b) "["
XFilterEvent returns: False
KeyPress event, serial 37, synthetic NO, window 0x3600001,
root 0x674, subw 0x0, time 131533851, (-227,311), root:(345,746),
state 0x0, keycode 35 (keysym 0x5d, bracketright), same_screen YES,
XLookupString gives 1 bytes: (5d) "]"
XmbLookupString gives 1 bytes: (5d) "]"
XFilterEvent returns: False
How do we perform the reassignment for these keys? We use the xmodmap command line tool to replace the mapping of a key to another symbol. We can do this using what is called an expression. Here we can cause the remapping of "[" to "A". We do this by telling the system that anytime the physical key "[" is pressed, which is associated with keycode 34, we want it to behave as though we pressed "A".
xmodmap -e "keycode 34 = A"
Now whenever I press the "[" key it will cause an "a" to be typed in my window. Whenever I press Shift and the "[" key it will cause an upper-case "A" to appear.
Be careful with these mappings because it can be hard to clear them once a key has been remapped. (Once you reassign the "[" key to produce another character, how do you type it into the terminal to reassign it?) Once you have reassigned a key, it will stay that way until you sign out of your desktop session or remap your keyboard using a utility like your desktop environment's keyboard layout tool.
To avoid typing in this remapping command every time you login you can put the line
xmodmap -e "keycode 34 = A"
in your shell's start-up file, such as .bashrc (for the Bash shell). Then it will automatically run each time you login.
If you cannot type the command, due to a missing or damaged key, then you can write the command on another computer, transfer it to your local computer on a thumb drive and copy/paste the line into your terminal or shell's start-up file using the text editor of your choice.
Something else you might consider if you have a computer with a keyboard where you cannot completely type some commands (for instance commands which require the letter 'A') is using a virtual keyboard. This allows you to type normally most of the time, while clicking the icon for the missing key using your mouse pointer. Some desktops, such as GNOME, ship with a virtual keyboard as an accessibility option.
Once you get your physical keyboard fixed or replaced, you can remove the remapping by deleting the "xmodmap" command from your shell's start-up file and logging out of your account. The next time you sign in, with the mapping instruction removed, your keyboard will use its default map and keys will perform normally.
Some people may be interested in changing their keyboard mapping under a Wayland session. This is tricky since different desktop environments use different implementations of the Wayland protocol. This means you may be able to change your keyboard mapping under one desktop, but another desktop may not have the feature implemented. The best solution I have found so far is for GNOME users. The GNOME Tweaks tool will allow the user to perform some remappings of keys, but I have not found an equivalent for KDE Plasma.
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Additional answers can be found in our Questions and Answers archive.
|Released Last Week
IPFire 2.23 Core 137
IPFire is a Linux distribution that focuses on easy setup, good handling and high level of security. It is operated via a web-based interface which offers many configuration options for beginning and experienced system administrators. The project has released a new stable update, IPFire 2.23 Core Update 137, which includes improved Quality of Service performance and updates the Linux kernel. "We are happy to announce the release of IPFire 2.23 - Core Update 137. It comes with an updated kernel, a reworked Quality of Service and various bug and security fixes. Development around the Quality of Service and tackling some of the bugs required an exceptional amount of team effort in very short time and I am very happy that we are now able to deliver the result to you to improve your networks.... As explained in detail in a separate blog post from the engine room, we have been working hard on improving our Quality of Service (QoS). It allows to pass a lot more traffic on smaller systems as well as reduces packet latency on faster ones to create a more responsive and faster network. To take full advantage of these changes, we recommend to reboot the system after installing the update." Further details can be found in the project's release announcement.
The PCLinuxOS distribution has released updated install media which carries the version number 2019.11. The new media feature kernel and desktop environment updates for each edition. The project's release announcement offers further details: "The KDE versions both Full and the minimalistic Darkstar contain kernel 5.3.10 plus a fully updated KDE Plasma desktop. Plasma desktop 5.17.3, Plasma Applications 19.08.3 and Plasma Frameworks 5.64.0. The MATE ISO was refreshed with kernel 5.3.10 and the applications and libraries were updated to their most recent stable versions from the previous release. The Xfce ISOs were updated to kernel 5.3.10 including Thunar updated to 1.8.10, xfce4-whiskermenu-plugin to 2.3.4, xfce4-screenshooter 1.9.7 and xfburn-0.6.1 and fully updated from the software repo from the past month. All ISOs received a theme update across the board from GRUB, bootsplash and the desktop. Bluetooth got some work this month and may work better."
Oracle Linux 8.1
Simon Coter has announced the release of Oracle Linux 8.1, the first update in the new 8.0 series of the project's enterprise-class server distribution built from the source code of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.1. This release deprecates the Virtual Machine Manager application (virt-manager), among many other changes: "Oracle is pleased to announce the general availability of Oracle Linux 8 Update 1. Individual RPM packages are available on the Unbreakable Linux Network (ULN) and the Oracle Linux yum server. Notable new features: udica package added - you can use udica to create a tailored security policy, for better control of how a container accesses host system resources, this capability enables you to harden container deployments against security violations; SELinux user-space tools have been updated to release 2.9; SETools collection and libraries have been updated to release 4.2.2; new boltd_t SELinux type added (used to manage Thunderbolt 3 devices); new bpf SELinux policy added (used to control Berkeley Packet Filter); SELinux policy packages have been updated to release 3.14.3...." See the release announcement and the release notes for more details.
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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:
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|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|Opinion Poll (by Jesse Smith)
|Website News (by Jesse Smith)
DistroWatch database summary
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This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 25 November 2019. Past articles and reviews can be found through our Article Search page. To contact the authors please send e-mail to:
- Jesse Smith (feedback, questions and suggestions: distribution reviews/submissions, questions and answers, tips and tricks)
- Ladislav Bodnar (feedback, questions, donations, comments)
- Bruce Patterson (podcast)
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 848 (2020-01-13): elementary OS 5.1, accessing USB ports directly, NetBSD expanding Wayland support, Fedora phasing out old Python packages|
|• Issue 847 (2020-01-06): Android-x86 9.0, Hypberbola switching to BSD base, Debian votes on init diversity, slow adoption of Wayland and delta packages|
|• Issue 846 (2019-12-23): NomadBSD 1.3, Tails publishes boot fix, Arch update requires intervention, Purism launches server lineup, password protecting files|
|• Issue 845 (2019-12-16): OpenIndiana 2019.10, BunsenLabs' "Lithium" preview, MX-Fluxbox, 10 years of Tails, installing local packages|
|• Issue 844 (2019-12-09): Project Trident Void alpha, alpha installer for "Bullseye", SparkyLinux portable edition, dealing with large log files|
|• Issue 843 (2019-12-02): Obarun 2019.11.02, Bluestar 5.3.6, using special characters on command line, Fedora plans to disable empty passwords, FreeBSD's quarterly status report|
|• Issue 842 (2019-11-25): SolydXK 10, System Adminstration Ethics book review, Debian continues init diversity debate, Google upstreaming Android kernel patches|
|• Issue 841 (2019-11-18): Emmabuntus DE3-1.00, changing keys in keyboard layout, Debian phasing out Python 2 and voting on init diversity, Slackware gets unofficial updated live media|
|• 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 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 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 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 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, 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 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|
|• Full list of all issues|
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Scientific Linux is a recompiled Red Hat Enterprise Linux, co-developed by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). Although it aims to be fully compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux, it also provides additional packages not found in the upstream product; the most notable among these are various file systems, including Cluster Suite and Global File System (GFS), FUSE, OpenAFS, Squashfs and Unionfs, wireless networking support with Intel wireless firmware, MadWiFi and NDISwrapper, Sun Java and Java Development Kit (JDK), the lightweight IceWM window manager, R - a language and environment for statistical computing, and the Alpine email client.