| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 849, 20 January 2020
Welcome to this year's 3rd issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
There has been a lot of talk in the Linux community recently about how best to welcome former Windows 7 users as the legacy version of Microsoft's operating system has reached the end of its supported life. There are several beginner-oriented desktop distributions in the Linux community and perhaps the one most geared towards Windows refugees is Zorin OS, a distribution that is designed to resemble Microsoft's operating system. Robert Rijkhoff took Zorin OS 15.1 for a spin and reports on the distribution's strengths and problems in our Feature Story. Then, in our Questions and Answers section, we discuss distributions that are still running SysV init and why, along with some thoughts on OpenBSD's recent security patches. Whether init software is an important factor in picking a distribution is the subject of this week's Opinion Poll. In our News section we report on the PinePhone, an open platform mobile device, shipping and link to a guide with a list of operating systems which will run on the new phone. We also report on new features coming to elementary OS in 2020 and say a sad good-bye to Mark Greaves, a core member of the Peppermint OS team who passed away this month. Mark was a positive and talented open source contributor and will be missed. We also share the releases of the past week and share the torrents we are seeding. We wish you all a wonderful and fulfilling week.
- Review: Zorin 15.1 "Lite"
- News: elementary team plans future features, open platform PinePhone now shipping, Peppermint marks the passing of Mark Greaves
- Questions and answers: PCLinuxOS, antiX, and OpenBSD patches
- Released last week: CentOS 8.1.1911, Linux Lite 4.8, Raspberry Slideshow 13.0
- Torrent corner: Alpine, AUSTRUMI, CentOS, Linux Lite, KDE neon, Nitrux, PCLinuxOS, Raspberry Slideshow, SmartOS, Tails, Volumio
- Opinion poll: Does it matter which init software your distribution uses?
- Website news: Server upgrade
- New distributions: Kaisen Linux
- Reader comments
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (16MB) and MP3 (12MB) formats.
|Feature Story (by Robert Rijkhoff)
Zorin 15.1 "Lite"
Zorin OS is an Ubuntu-based operating system that aims to make Linux easy for Windows and macOS users. In the words of Zorin, it is "the alternative to Windows and macOS designed to make your computer faster, more powerful, secure and privacy respecting". Zorin's main product is the paid-for "Ultimate" edition, which will set you back €39 and comes with macOS, Windows, Linux and "Touch" layouts (i.e. themes) as well as a relatively large collection of software and "installation support". Other editions of Zorin are free but come with less pre-installed software and fewer desktop layouts.
For this review I dusted off a MacBook that dates from late 2009 and installed the "Lite" edition which, as the name suggests, is designed to breathe new life into older hardware. The laptop is one of the plastic, white MacBooks. It has an Intel Core 2 Duo CPU and 4GB of RAM - I doubled the amount of RAM a few months ago. The laptop has mostly been running Fedora with the MATE desktop and the i3 window manager as an alternative environment, both of which ran fine. Zorin's Lite edition uses Xfce as the desktop environment.
First impressions and installation
Zorin's website is either modern and clean or yet another bootstrap site, depending on your view. There are just three links in the navigation menu: Download, Computers and Help (the Computers section links to vendors that sell laptops with Zorin pre-installed). The Download section lists Zorin's Ultimate edition first, followed by the Core, Lite and Education editions.
Clicking any of the Download links for the free versions triggers a "Sign up to our newsletter & Download" pop-up window featuring a huge "Sign up & Download" button and a very small "Skip to download" link. I am not a fan of this type of marketing. I don't mind that they ask if I maybe want to sign up to their mailing list, but I take issue with the fact that the dialogue window has been designed to make the "No thanks" option easy to miss. Such marketing techniques assume that users need to be tricked into signing up to receiving marketing materials, which reflects poorly on the project as a whole.
Zorin OS 15.1 -- The newsletter subscription form that pops-up when trying to download Zorin
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Speaking of dubious marketing practices, Zorin's home page claims that installing the operating system will make your computer "virus resistant". The word "resistant" is open to interpretation, but I reckon it is fair to say that most people use "resistant" and "immune" interchangeably. Zorin's claim is obviously false, and I really wish Zorin would reign in its marketing department. So much for my rant about marketing – let's get back to the review...
The Lite edition is available for 32- and 64-bit architectures and the download page helpfully explains that PCs with less than 2GB of RAM should use the 32-bit version. When you select the version you want to download the website provides a link to the installation instructions in the Help section. The articles in the Help section are quite minimal but well written. One thing I found interesting is that Zorin recommends creating a bootable USB drive using an application called balenaEtcher. The application is available for Windows, macOS and, as an AppImage, for Linux. I couldn't get balenaEtcher to work on Fedora 31, so I did what I usually do: dd the ISO image to a USB stick like a greybeard.
Zorin boots to a live environment and I was pleased that almost everything worked out of the box, including the Fn keys. The only issue I noticed early-on was that right-clicking on the laptop's trackpad often registered a left-click.
Zorin OS 15.1 -- The live environment
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Zorin uses Ubiquity for the installer. Ubiquity is very user-friendly but I did manage to get myself into a bit of muddle at the partitioning stage. The issue appeared to be related to the fact that the existing partitions on the laptop were encrypted. I decided to cancel the installation and do the partitioning using fdisk before running the installer again, which did the trick.
Zorin OS 15.1 -- Testing the keyboard layout in the Ubiquity installer
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Zorin 15 and 15.1 features
Zorin 15 Lite was released in November and only a few weeks later all Zorin editions were updated to version 15.1. Both versions are based on Ubuntu 18.04 and users of Zorin 15 are automatically upgraded to version 15.1 when they update their system.
The release notes for Zorin 15 highlighted a few changes: the desktop theme has been "refreshed and refined"; the theme can be now configured to automatically switch from the default light theme to a dark theme in the evening; Flatpak support has been added and there is a new "Do not disturb" mode for notifications. The blog post about Zorin 15.1 mentions improvements to Zorin Connect (a clone of GSConnect); a new "GameMode" which makes games run faster by allocating more system resources to games being played and improvements to the above-mentioned theme switcher.
The main change in Zorin 15.1 isn't mentioned in the release notes: in the installer you can now opt-out of the "Zorin census". By default, Zorin contacts a server every hour and once a day via cron jobs in the /etc/cron.hourly and /etc/cron.daily directories. Until recently nobody seemed to be aware of Zorin's telemetry, and when it was discovered there was a bit of an outcry.
The zorin-os-census Bash script was first introduced in November 2016, when Zorin 12 was released. In Zorin 15.1 the script posts various bits of data to census.zorinos.com/submit:
Of course, to send this data your IP is collected by the mothership as well. Zorin's CEO insisted in an interview with It's FOSS that the user's IP address isn't logged by Zorin and he promised that version 15.1 would have an opt-out box in the installer. The opt-out box has indeed been added: on the page where you can choose to download updates during the install and include third-party software you can now tick a box if you don't want to participate in the census. The checkbox is accompanied by a link for more information.
- The number of user accounts on the system (by counting the number of users on the system with an ID equal to or greater than 1000).
- The Zorin OS version number (i.e. 15 or 15.1).
- The OEM ID, if present (that is, an ID assigned to a laptop that came pre-installed with Zorin).
- A unique identifier stored in /var/lib/zorin-os-census/uuid.
Personally, I am fine with operating systems collecting basic, anonymised information. It is quite obvious that having data is useful for projects and that it will help with the development of the software. However, I think Zorin showed poor judgment by introducing the telemetry without informing users (it should have been mentioned in the release notes for Zorin 12) and with given users an option to opt-out. When the telemetry was discovered it didn't take long for people with objections to creep out of the woodwork and the fact that Zorin was collecting data in secret will hurt the project's reputation for a long time.
One other thing to note is that the description of the zorin-os-census package changed from version 1.2 (installed on version 15) and 1.2.1 (installed on 15.1). The description for version 1.2 states that the package transmits "the operating system version, the number of user accounts and the city & country the user is in". As the diff for version 1.2.1 shows, the mention of geolocation data was removed in version 1.2.1. That raises several questions. The It's FOSS interview was published in November, and at that time the package description stated that the user's city and country were being collected (presumably by linking a user's IP address to the data submitted via census script). Does that mean that the package description was factually incorrect, or have they stopped collecting geolocation data?
Zorin OS 15.1 -- The zorin-os-census script and the diff for version 1.2.1
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Again, I don't mind distros collecting a small amount of anonymised data, but it seems to me that Zorin has done this wrong. In any case, you can opt-out by removing the zorin-os-census package by running "sudo apt purge zorin-os-census".
Applications and software management
Zorin Lite includes a fairly large collection of pre-installed software. Leaving aside Firefox, Thunderbird and the LibreOffice suite the applications are mostly a mix of well-known Xfce and GNOME apps. The file manager, terminal emulator, media player and image viewer are all Xfce applications, and the GNOME applications include Gedit, Software, Evince, Simple Scan and various smaller applications, such as games and a calculator.
Zorin uses the Ubuntu repos and its own PPAs. The PPAs includes various packages that are also in the Ubuntu repos, including LibreOffice, the Thunar file manager and WINE. I think these packages are mainly included in the PPAs to give users more up to date software. As a result I got version 6.3 of LibreOffice, which features a "tabbed" menu toolbar and full-page background fills.
Zorin OS 15.1 -- LibreOffice and GNOME Mines. The unusual approach to playing mines is because right-clicks are often registered as left-clicks
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Interestingly, the Zorin themes are shipped as Flatpak packages. However, contrary to what the release notes for Zorin 15 suggest, it is not possible to add Flatpak repositories via GNOME Software (which, like the other GNOME applications, is at version 3.28). To add the Flathub repository I needed to add a PPA via the command line. I encountered a few issues with Flatpaks I installed. There is currently a bug that prevents the openh264 Flatpak from being installed and GNOME Music threw the error "Your system Tracker version seems to be outdated". The Tracker package was not installed, and the only version available in the repos was too old.
I didn't run into any issues with software I installed from the Ubuntu repos and Zorin's PPAs. That is to be expected for a distro is based on Ubuntu's long-term support releases but it is worth noting that the system was stable.
Theming and usability
One of Zorin's main selling points are the desktop themes, and that is precisely the point where Zorin fell down for me. Roughly half of the pre-installed applications are GNOME applications, and they have a very different look and feel than the other applications. Worse, in Zorin 15 various GNOME applications were missing options. Most GNOME applications in Zorin don't have the hamburger menu and instead display one or two items from the menu as large buttons. To illustrate the point, the below image shows the Baobab disk usage analyser in Zorin 15 and 15.1. In Zorin 15 Boabab had just one option: Scan Folder. In Zorin 15.1 an application icon was added, which also acts as a menu.
Zorin OS 15.1 -- GNOME menus in Zorin Lite 15 (top) and 15.1 (below).
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What remains is the issue that GNOME and Xfce applications look and behave differently. GNOME applications don't show the application name in the title bar and instead use a combination of a drop-down menu and large buttons in the toolbar. Towards the end of my trial I turned Zorin Lite into a GNOME Lite desktop by changing the theme to Adwaita and replacing most Xfce applications with their GNOME equivalents. The experiment was fairly successful, although there is no way to get round the fact the GNOME applications don't integrate well in a non-GNOME environment.
Zorin OS 15.1 -- Zorin Lite with the Adwaita them and two GNOME apps (Podcasts and Web)
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There are two applications that can tweak the theme: Zorin Appearance and Xfce's Appearance utility. The Zorin Appearance application in the Lite edition doesn't let you drastically change the desktop layout. There are only two layouts to choose from, and the only difference between them is the size of the application launchers in the taskbar.
Zorin Appearance's Theme tab lets you define the accent colour (by default elements such as buttons are blue); select the light or dark theme (and set up auto-switching the themes) and define the theme used by applications, the icon set and the window manager. The latter three items use drop-down menus and by default no option is selected. That is a usability bug, as there is nothing to indicate the default desktop theme, icon set and window manager. In other words, there is no easy way to revert any changes. If you select, say, an icon set that you don't like there is no quick way to go back to the default icons.
Zorin OS 15.1 -- Zorin Appearance and Xfce's Appearance application
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Xfce's Appearance application is much more functional when it comes to changing the desktop theme and icons. I suspect that Zorin Appearance was simply ported from the GNOME-based Zorin editions to Zorin Lite, without much thought about whether or not it makes sense to duplicate various theming options.
Performance, bugs and oddities
I rarely mention CPU and memory usage in distro reviews, as just about any distro I install runs fine. Zorin Lite was an exception. I regularly found myself looking into why the laptop's fan was going crazy. It was mostly the xfwm4 process that was responsible for the high CPU usage, though on a few occasions xiccd was the culprit. I wasn't able to find out what triggered the issue but I suspect it may be Zorin-specific, as the xfwm4 package is provided by one of the Zorin PPAs. Whatever caused the issue, it was annoying. No matter what I tried, at times the laptop's fan just kept spinning like mad and the only solution was to reboot the laptop.
There were a few other issues I encountered. At one point I rebooted the laptop after applying some updates. During the boot process the GRUB screen was suddenly displayed and had a time-out of 30 seconds. After I had logged in the screen saver kicked in after two minutes, which is not the default time-out setting. And after twenty minutes or so I got a notification telling me that new updates were available, even though GNOME Software told me that the system was fully up to date. For the most part the system was stable and pleasant to use, but there were a few occasions when it seemed to have a life of its own.
Something I found curious is that Zorin displays asterisk characters when you enter your sudo password in a terminal window. I was taught that doing so is bad practice, as it reveals the length of your password to anyone who might be looking over your shoulders while you enter your password. I didn't know this behaviour could be changed but it turns out to be quite easy – you can add (or remove) the pwfeedback option in either the sudoers file or by adding a file to /etc/sudoers.d/.
Another unusual default setting is that the application menu includes command line utilities. For instance, when you search for "desktop" you will see an option named "run top". That option is supposed to open a terminal window and run the top command, but that didn't work for me. I also don't quite see the benefit of including options such as "run dd" and "run rsync" in the menu.
There are a few other minor issues with the applications menu. For instance, a search for the string "terminal" returns both "Terminal Emulator" and "Xfce Terminal". The first launches the Xfce Terminal while the latter launched the preferences for the application.
Zorin OS 15.1 -- Searching for a terminal and unusual sudo behaviour
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Another minor annoyance are Zorin's default keyboard shortcuts. You can open the menu by hitting the super key, which is a bit awkward as the key is also used for a dozen or so other shortcuts. If, for instance, you launch the default web browser using Super+W the application menu opens first and after a few seconds Firefox will launch. The menu is still sitting in the foreground, and the search field in the menu still has focus.
Zorin OS 15.1 -- Opening Firefox using the Super-F keyboard shortcut.
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After a bit of digging I found that the menu is launched by xfce4-popup-zorinmenulite and that the default keyboard shortcut is "Super L" (which is just the Super key on its own and different from Super+L). To change the shortcut you have to remove it and then add it again. I mapped it to Super+Spacebar.
Finally, I should note that I haven't really touched on the new features mentioned in the release notes. The dark theme looks good and the auto-theme switcher works as advertised. The "Do Not Disturb" feature, which can be enabled via the Notifications icon in the system tray, is also quite nice. I did find it odd that enabling the option also suppresses the visual cues you normally get when you change the screen brightness or volume. To my mind, those are not really notifications as the visual feedback is only triggered when you interact with the desktop environment.
My gaming activities are limited to classics such as Mines and Solitaire, so I can't really say anything meaningful about the new "GameMode". As for Zorin Connect, the package is not compatible with Zorin Lite as it depends on GNOME. I did try installing the zorin-connect package, just to see what would happen. It installed GNOME, and on the login screen I got two new desktop environment options: Ubuntu and Ubuntu on Wayland. As expected, Zorin Connect refused to launch on the Lite desktop.
Zorin OS 15.1 -- The Ubuntu GNOME session
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Zorin Lite is a relatively young project and quite different from Zorin's other versions - if only because it uses Xfce rather than GNOME as the desktop environment. The distro aims to provide a lightweight operating system that looks modern, and in many respects Zorin Lite achieves that goal. Things like the login screen, task bar and application menu have plenty of polish and work well. It is nice that applications such as LibreOffice are more up to date than they are in Ubuntu, and Zorin's dark theme is quite well done.
Zorin OS 15.1 -- Zorin's dark theme
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That said, Zorin Lite didn't strike me as a finished product. Compared with other distros I have tried on my MacBook the performance wasn't great. And although I noticed some improvement when I moved from version 15 to 15.1, there are some basic usability issues that I don't expect to see in a project that is over two years old. In particular, I don't see the benefit of including command line utilities in the menu's search results and the pre-defined keyboard shortcuts don't make much sense. Also, having two separate - but overlapping - applications to tweak the appearance of the desktop is confusing.
Another thing I disliked was the mix of Xfce and GNOME applications. My experiment to turn Zorin Lite into a GNOME Lite desktop worked fairly well, though I personally feel it would make more sense for Zorin Lite to stay much closer to Xfce. Zorin Lite is aimed at Windows refugees and Xfce applications behave much more like Windows applications than their GNOME counterparts. As things stand I am not sure why I would recommend Zorin Lite over distros like Xubuntu or Ubuntu MATE.
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Visitor supplied rating
Zorin OS has a visitor supplied average rating of: 8.4/10 from 207 review(s).
Have you used Zorin OS? You can leave your own review of the project on our ratings page.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
elementary team plans future features, open platform PinePhone now shipping, Peppermint marks the passing of Mark Greaves
The elementary OS team has written a blog post in which they look back at milestones in the project's progress in 2019 and plan ahead for new features in 2020. Some of the upcoming new features include making more applications work with Wayland and improving touch gesture support: "Flatpak, sandboxing, and Portals. Along with our big Flatpak efforts comes updating several components to use newer sandboxed APIs and implementing the many Portals available to apps. Some of that work intersects with becoming Wayland ready, and we've already made progress towards Screenshot being ready for Wayland - with other issues being tracked on GitHub. Even if we don"t ship Wayland by default in 2020, these fixes and updated APIs will still make the experience more robust and secure. Improved gesture support in elementary OS: One area in elementary OS that we aim to significantly improve in 2020 is support for one-to-one touch gestures, like we recently added to Onboarding."
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People interested in getting their hands on an open platform smartphone that can run GNU/Linux operating systems will soon have a new option available. The PinePhone began shipping on January 17th. By default it does not include an end-user operating system as the company plans for the phone to be more of an open platform on which users can install their preferred software. However, the UBports team has been working on early development kits of the PinePhone and have install images ready for the device. The option to use the UBports graphical installer to automate the install process is expected to arrive in the future. "At this point I assume that everyone getting a Braveheart PinePhone understand that it"s up to them to find the operating system build they are interested in, flash it and take part in the community discussion and ongoing development. Most builds are available on the PinePhone Wiki"
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The Peppermint team published sad news this week, reporting one of the distribution's lead developers, Mark Greaves, passed away earlier this month. "With a heavy heart I unfortunately have to inform you that Mark is no longer with us. Shane and I received word from one of Mark's sons that he passed away this morning after a 10 day hospital stay. Mark was among the best of us. His contributions to both Peppermint and to the desktop Linux world as a whole are incalculable and he will be sorely missed. There are many unanswered questions at the moment and I'll try to be diligent in relaying relevant information." Greaves will be missed - by his family, the Peppermint community, and the DistroWatch team who got to correspond with him.
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
PCLinuxOS, antiX, and OpenBSD patches
Curious-on-a-range-of-topics asks: I wonder if readers would enjoy a side-by-side deep-dive comparison between antiX and PCLinuxOS, ranked 11th & 13th respectively as of today. I'd be curious to learn how they approach things differently. They appear to be the two strongest non-systemd distros. Not only are they both on the rise, recently, but coupled with antiX's big brother MX Linux's top spot, there seems some substance to indications of a growing grass-roots "rebellion". Yes, perhaps a bit of drama, but it does add interest!
I'd also like to hear OpenBSD discuss how 12 security patches suddenly crushed their past bragging rights so severely (OK, they can still be proud, but you get what I mean). So far they've been silent running (besides issuing patches). Were the causes external? Will similar discoveries be the new normal? Inquiring minds want to know!
DistroWatch answers: There are several mini-topics to explore here so let's quickly run through them. Both antiX and PCLinuxOS are fine distributions and ones I have enjoyed using. The MX Linux project, which is closely connected to antiX, is also a project I enjoy a lot. So, in general, I'm happy to discuss them and have posted the occasional reviews of these projects.
While I like exploring these three distributions separately, I think doing any kind of side-by-side comparison between them would yield unwieldy results. PCLinuxOS and antiX have different development models (rolling versus static, usually), different bases (independent versus Debian), different approaches to package management (RPM versus Deb), different default desktop environments (KDE and MATE versus lightweight window managers). One of the few things these two projects do have in common is their init software (SysV init), and even then they don't use the same version of the package.
All of that is to say, we can find a lot of things these projects do differently, but I don't feel an article comparing them would have a firm common base from which to draw attention to those differences. For now I'd suggest trying each project on its own as each one does some things really well. But I personally would have trouble comparing them side-by-side.
The question made reference to the idea of a "rebellion", I suspect against the move many distributions have made toward using systemd. Maybe there is some truth to that, some people do feel strongly about which init software they use. However, I also think it is equally true these project may be continuing to use SysV init, less as an act of defiance, and more because the developers feel it works well enough. A case of "If it's not broke, don't fix it." The systemd init software may offer enticing features, but some developers are conservative when it comes to adopting newer technologies if they can get by with what they already have.
Let's move on now to talking about the second question: OpenBSD's patches and security record. The question didn't mention which specific security patches the author meant, but I suspect (based on when this query landed in my inbox) these OpenBSD patches from December were the ones being referenced.
While I am not an OpenBSD developer, I can get a pretty good idea of what is happening in these patches and I do not think there is anything here that would "crush their past bragging rights". The OpenBSD project famously claims a good record with remote security: "Only two remote holes in the default install, in a heck of a long time!" A long time, in this case, meaning around two decades, which is impressive.
Some of the patches issued by OpenBSD are serious, in my opinion, but none of them appear to affect the remote security of a default install. In fact, while there are several patches published, I don't think any of these issues appear particularly out of the ordinary for OpenBSD. Which is probably why not much has been said about them.
I don't know enough about the OpenBSD code to say who introduced the issues or why they got fixed now. But I don't think there is any sign that these issues came about from external factors or that this shifts what is normal for the OpenBSD project.
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Additional answers can be found in our Questions and Answers archive.
|Released Last Week
Linux Lite 4.8
Jerry Bezencon has announced the release of Linux Lite 4.8, a new stable version of the project's beginner-friendly distribution based on Ubuntu 18.04 and featuring the Xfce desktop: "Linux Lite 4.8 final is now available for download and installation. We would like to take this opportunity to welcome all Windows 7 people who have come here to find a simple, fast and free alternative to Windows 7 which has reached its end of life and no longer provides security updates. Linux Lite makes the transition to a Linux-based operating system by offering a full, Microsoft-compatible office suite, familiar software like Firefox, Chrome, Teamviewer, VLC as well as full system back-up tools, a comprehensive and easy-to-follow help manual to guide you on your journey, Steam so you can keep playing your Windows games and so much more familiar software. Our desktop is laid out just like it is in Windows with a Start Menu to the left and a tray to the right with volume, network and calendar options, with familiar desktop icons that take you exactly where you want to go on your system." Read the rest of the release announcement for further information and screenshots.
Linux Lite 4.8 -- Running the Xfce desktop
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Raspberry Slideshow 13.0
Raspberry Slideshow is focused on being a quick-to-set-up platform for displaying image and video files. The distribution is built for the Raspberry Pi exclusively. The distribution's latest release is Raspberry Slideshow 13.0 introduces some significant configuration changes, more logging options and the default media folder has been moved. The project's release announcement lists the latest changes: "New features for the v13 release: media.conf now replaces all the .txt files for configuring the system behaviour. It’s a breaking change; upon timeout reached, only remote changed sources’ media are fetched again (previously, all media of all remote sources were downloaded); Web/P images added to whitelisted images’ file formats; better logging and printer debugging output; refetching hashes improved and better handling of connection issues (Dropbox improved); USB device is unmounted as soon as media have been copied to the internal SD card for a safer USB key removal, idea thanks to Francois Audirac; default MEDIA_FOLDER moved to /var/lib/rs; the underlying operating system has been updated."
CentOS, which builds its distribution's packages from upstream sources provided by Red Hat Enterprise Linux, has published a new release, CentOS 8.1.1911. The new version is derived from the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.1 source code. "Release for CentOS Linux 8 (1911): We are pleased to announce the general availability of CentOS Linux 8. Effectively immediately, this is the current release for CentOS Linux 8 and is tagged as 1911, derived from Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.1 Source Code. As always, read through the Release Notes - these notes contain important information about the release and details about some of the content inside the release from the CentOS QA team. These notes are updated constantly to include issues and incorporate feedback from the users. This release supersedes all previously released content for CentOS Linux 8, and therefore we highly encourage all users to upgrade their machines." Further information was provided by Brian Stinson in the release announcement.
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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: 1,778
- Total data uploaded: 29.8TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|Opinion Poll (by Jesse Smith)
Does it matter which init software your distribution uses?
In our Questions and Answers column we touched on the idea of some distributions not using systemd and some possible reasons why. Some people feel quite strongly about which init software their distribution uses while others are indifferent as long as the operating system boots properly. We would like to hear whether init software is a factor in which distribution you choose to run.
You can see the results of our previous poll on direct storage access in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Does init software choice matter?
|I do choose which distro I use based on init software: ||401 (19%)|
| The init software is one factor I consider: ||696 (32%)|
| I do not care which init software my distro uses: ||1025 (47%)|
| Other: ||39 (2%)|
|Website News (by Jesse Smith)
Last weekend we migrated from our old web server to a new machine. The old box was having some hardware trouble and we felt it was time to switch over to newer (and hopefully more reliable) equipment for the long-term health of this website.
The migration went smoothly for the most part and we were happy to complete the transition from the old server to the new one without experiencing any downtime.
Since we were getting a fresh start with the equipment and were not in a terrible rush to get it set up, it opened the opportunity to talk about which technologies we wanted to run on the new server. We are, after all, not immune to the siren song of distro-hopping and like to try out different approaches from time to time.
In the end, we decided to run FreeBSD on the new server, which offers some nice features such as filesystem snapshots, boot environments, the PF firewall, and long-term support. Previously we had been running Debian for the past twelve years and had a very good experience with the distribution. You can see more of the history of the operating systems running on the DistroWatch web server on our FAQ page.
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Distributions added to waiting list
- Kaisen Linux. Kaisen Linux is a Debian-based distribution that aims to provide the maximum of tools necessary for troubleshooting, maintenance, as well as certain tools to diagnose and help in the administration of IT infrastructure.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 27 January 2020. Past articles and reviews can be found through our Article Search page. To contact the authors please send e-mail to:
|Linux Foundation Training
|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • Init systems, Zorin (by Romane on 2020-01-20 00:48:31 GMT from Australia) |
I voted that the init system does not play any role in my choice of a distro. What I am interested in is whether the distro does what I want, and performs in the way I want.
Zorin. Yeah, well there is a kettle of fish. Was going to download and "play" with, but it is clear that I cannot trust the distro - too much has happened without advising the user and/or giving them choice, so I cannot tell when they may introduce "something" which likewise/otherwise invades my privacy. Pity, because otherwise the review painted a generally good and interesting picture of Zorin.
2 • Mark Greaves (by hotdiggettydog on 2020-01-20 02:08:46 GMT from Canada)
I'm shocked and saddened by the news of Mark's passing. Condolences to his family and friends.
I'm a long time user of Peppermint Linux. It became the love of my linux life thanks to the efforts of Mark and the team.
3 • Windows 7 (by Wedge009 on 2020-01-20 02:20:04 GMT from Australia)
I have been running Linux on spare machines for years now, especially ones which I wasn't playing games on (I've never been a latest-and-greatest 'gamer', though), but I had been running Windows 7 on my primary machine ever since XP was killed off (that, plus the 3 GiB RAM limit made the switch necessary back then).
I know people have polarised opinions regarding Windows 10, and I'm definitely in the 'no thanks' category, so I'm pleased to say I'm one of those who have switched to Linux with the end of public support for Windows 7. It hasn't been as smooth a process as I hoped given my previous experience running Linux on older machines (jumping to a brand new hardware platform at the same time meant that there were some rough edges in kernel support), and I'm also surprised at all the small habits I had from Windows that don't translate directly to a Linux desktop. Still, I'm hoping it'll be worthwhile in the long run and it's a case of 'so far so good'.
* Get VLC 3.0.8 working with my old, possibly buggy TV recordings (last version that works is 2.2.8, but even this still seems to have issues with playback on my new machine).
* Play through Knights of the Old Republic in Wine. (:
4 • Init always the way (by Mick Migwana on 2020-01-20 02:38:38 GMT from Canada)
Time to shelter in place boys, I hear the mad dash of foot steps by the systemd fan club.
Too late, their already here.
5 • Init Systems (by Cynic on 2020-01-20 03:24:23 GMT from Ghana)
In general I do my best to avoid SystemD, preferring sysvinit by far (if it ain't broke don't fix it..) but CentOS has me on the rails.
It's always been my server go-to distribution when it needs to be others can use without a crash course in Linux command line. SystemD added nothing but unnecessary complications to the distro and as such I find myself looking for an alternative yet again..
I avoid Gnome3 because it is far too tied in with a particular init.
I avoid Debian-based because I disagree with the concept of "source-splitting". (Debian package slicing)
Makes it a bit difficult to find a replacement.. :/
6 • init and winit7 (by fonz on 2020-01-20 03:38:49 GMT from Indonesia)
while currently i dont really mind which init software the distro uses, systemd (and linux) has been somewhat worrying IMHO. lots of things that are better off in its own submodule (whatever the term is) are being included instead. whelp, seeing how im still a linux noob ill just stop here.
as for win7 dying, im pretty sure it wont be dead for a while.i cant run away from windows yet as im still a mmo gamer, but im sure games wont drop win7 for a long time. hell, some mmos continued to support winxp til a few years back. as for win10, yep i completely hate it, and from the looks of it win11 might be even worse...
7 • init systems (by greenpossum on 2020-01-20 03:40:24 GMT from Australia)
Where would the fanatics get their daily entertainment if there was only one init system? I've never had any problem getting any init system to do what I want. To paraphrase Lewis Carroll's Humpty Dumpty, The question is which is to be master, you or the software, that's all. Whether the system fulfills the requirements, whether a desktop or server, is paramount. So the native init system is a secondary consideration for me, not a religion.
BTW distrowatch's website's mobile support is still horrid. When I tried to post this from my mobile, this text box obscured the submit button, so had to switch to a desktop.
8 • init systems (by Jeff on 2020-01-20 05:13:27 GMT from United States)
The systemd fan boys always want to frame it as systemd vs sysvinit, as if those were all the init systems in the world, completely ignoring all the other modern inits.
Or is it that they are hoping no one finds out that not only is systemd not the only choice but not the best choice?
9 • Zorin review + init software (by eco2geek on 2020-01-20 06:21:39 GMT from United States)
Thanks for the well-written review of Zorin. I did not know that it "called home". (Other than it sets its web browsers' home pages to its own home page, so it "calls home" that way). I wonder if it also does this when running from Live media.
As far as the argument over init software goes, it really doesn't bother me as long as it works and stays out of my way. When it doesn't work and I have to fix something, that's when I want to be using SysV, because I've already got experience with it. But that ship has (mostly) sailed. It probably says something good about SystemD that I haven't had to go out and learn all about it.
10 • @5 Cynic (by Justpassingthrough on 2020-01-20 08:23:05 GMT from Australia)
Slackware as your server distro? No systemd, no source splitting i believe...
11 • Zorin is cool (by usinglinixfor20yearsnow on 2020-01-20 08:34:39 GMT from United Kingdom)
I agree that Zorin Lite is not great, but Zorin OS is cool. My non-technical mom switched from Windows to Zorin OS a couple of years ago and the support calls just stopped.
12 • Zorin (by Erwin on 2020-01-20 09:24:20 GMT from Switzerland)
I have never tried Zorin Xfce. Why trying a Xfce Ubuntu based distro (Zorin, Mint etc.) when there is the goood old Xubuntu? I just do not see the point.
13 • Transition from Windows 7 to Linux (by mick on 2020-01-20 11:32:49 GMT from United States)
Article in How-To Geek:
Personally, I find the KDE desktop to be more like "Windows 7". When Mint parted company with KDE, I tried Kubuntu and KDEneon, was impressed with both and now use Kubuntu as my daily OS.
14 • NO SYSTEMD (by Plank on 2020-01-20 12:10:30 GMT from Germany)
After going as some might call it, back to an older init I will not return to systemD.
I am sick and fed up of wanting to make small changes then finding that dependency chains would either wreck my system or fill my sdd with unwanted bloat.
If ever forced because nothing else left for linux will move to BSD.
Zorin stinks like rotten fish. It also offers nothing far better no pay distros bring.
I do make donations to the OS I use.
15 • Init Software (by Dan on 2020-01-20 12:20:24 GMT from United States)
As a Tiny Core user, it is BusyBox for me, but never had any trouble before with SystemD, that's why I chose The I Do Not Care choice.
16 • ZFS: "The Lord's" buzz word. (by Zack Zzzz on 2020-01-20 12:25:11 GMT from Canada)
Just popping-up after reading Jim Salter's amusing article on ARS Technica, titled
"Linus Torvalds says “Don’t use ZFS”—but doesn’t seem to understand it".
The very first thing:
No one on this planet knows "the linux kernel - a heart core component" of GNU/Linux
better than Linus Torvalds coz it is his own baby in a same way as in Emacs.
Jim Salter argued that "He doesn't seem to understand it". He goes further “It was always more of a buzzword than anything else”. This jaw-dropping statement makes me wonder whether Torvalds has ever actually used or seriously investigated ZFS. Keep in mind, he's not merely making this statement about ZFS now, he's making it about ZFS for the last 15 years—and is relegating everything from atomic snapshots to rapid replication to on-disk compression to per-block checksumming to automatic data repair and more to the status of "just buzzwords."
It seems like Jim has written whole blah... blah... bhah... in his article on a Windows machine. And, further more seems like he never used GNU/Linux in his life. As of date The kernel supports many file systems apart from just ext2/ext3/ext4.
ZFS was originally developed by Sun Microsystems, and Oracle added spiced-up with encryption. ZFS native encryption is supported in many OSes including Debian, Ubuntu, and BSDs.
ZFS might make atomic snapshots possible to keep a full block-for-block identical copy of storage. But, definitely, the linux kernel does not require any additional kernel ZFS module loadable at boot-time.
Oracle should feel free to do so in GPLed GNU/Linux for OpenSolaris or Oracle.
17 • Zorin OS (by akoy on 2020-01-20 13:26:38 GMT from United States)
They were kids, when they created Zorin OS, 18 years ago. They kept at it, creating interesting little apps, having a vision. There Zorin OS grew with them. They create their own extensions to make Gnome more usable.
18 • RIP Mark (by Pikolo on 2020-01-20 13:59:15 GMT from United Kingdom)
My sincere condolences to Mark's family. PeppermintOS was my first Linux distro, and I remember it fondly.
19 • Init systems and Zorin (by Friar Tux on 2020-01-20 14:26:59 GMT from Canada)
I voted "I don't care", as, really, I don't care. When I make spaghetti sauce, do I use canned, diced tomatoes, or chop up a few whole tomatoes? It don't matter. Either way the sauce works, and tastes great (though with the canned, diced tomatoes, someone has kindly done some of the work for me). Of all the hundreds of distros I've seriously played with, none of the issues I've come across were init related.
As for Zorin, it doesn't work for me. And I wouldn't recommend it to a Windows user wanting to switch to Linux. I would recommend Linux Mint/Cinnamon. It meets the criteria far better - at least from my own experience. (To be honest, here, I did not try the 'paid' version of Zorin as that would defeat one of the purposes of moving to Linux in the first place. 'Donations' should be voluntary. Try first, donate if you really like it. So far, Mint gets my money.
20 • FreeBSD (by Jan on 2020-01-20 15:03:17 GMT from Poland)
Well, here we go - the most popular linux webpage switching their server to FreeBSD - I just cannot help wondering if things are already so bad with Debian, or maybe also with the linux kernel? Seems like I'II try FreeBSD myself, just to be on the safer side.
21 • Mark Greaves (by Brian on 2020-01-20 15:44:31 GMT from United States)
I'd not been following Peppermint's development especially closely, but I'd always heard such kind words about Mark Greaves. Surely he was a genuinely good guy--no "hagiography" necessary. No doubt it's a difficult time for his family and friends.
I also hope Peppermint will be able to continue. It's a quality distro, one that's certainly underappreciated.
22 • init systems and more. (by Garon on 2020-01-20 15:47:44 GMT from United States)
The init system seems to only be a problem for die hard UNIX converts. That's okay because people usually like to stay with what they know, and there's nothing wrong with that. The saying of "if something isn't broke, then don't fix it" is good if you want to remain static. Even if something isn't broke doesn't mean it can't be improved on. If SystemD is an improvement is debatable but I have not yet seen where is has caused any serious problems, and from the poll numbers it seems many others also believe that.
Zoin Lite, I have not tried it but I have tried the other Zoin distros. They do work very well and as far as a paid version goes, if others want to pay them for the extra functions and the work they put into the distro then more power to them. A paid distro is not EVIL. Furthermore the Ultimate version is the only paid one.
Rest in peace Mark Greaves. You will be missed.
23 • Server switch (by Jesse on 2020-01-20 16:01:30 GMT from Canada)
@20: "Well, here we go - the most popular Linux webpage switching their server to FreeBSD - I just cannot help wondering if things are already so bad with Debian, or maybe also with the Linux kernel?"
I don't think there is anything wrong with Debian or the Linux kernel. Sometimes we like to switch things around or try different technologies. As I wrote above, we are, after all, prone to distro-hop.
I did a Q&A on Reddit last week during the migration which covered some of the benefits and difficulties with the switch. https://old.reddit.com/r/freebsd/comments/eodhit/switching_distrowatch_over_to_freebsd_ama/
24 • Init (by Sam Slaphappy on 2020-01-20 16:10:03 GMT from Canada)
@20 - You forgot to donn your 2 sided placard and ring your bell.
The world is Not ending anytime soon. Jesse is a man, among many men and not to be considered a barometer on debians life or the life of any distro.
Get a grip man ! *slaps*
Now....I find it quite strange indeed that the poll shows 50% of voters do not care about the init software they are using (this is actually a slight of hand systemd poll), Yet the systemd majority vote is absent in the comments.
I guess it follows what my mammy use to say. "If you got nothing good to say, don't say anything"
25 • systemd (by voidpin on 2020-01-20 16:16:35 GMT from Sweden)
If it was **just** an init system...
The question is deeper than an init system. systemd does much more than that and thats where the problem starts.
Above anything else its killing portability. Software designed assuming systemd is present/standard is harder to port to other platforms, if not impossible. Also, its killing other projects, e.g. ConsoleKit. Its killing freedom of choice.
The killing is the problem, not init the system.
As long as its still possible, I won't use systemd.
26 • init sowtware (by Morton on 2020-01-20 16:22:44 GMT from Germany)
In the 2016, while Linux Mint 17 and Ubuntu 14.04 were (and still are) so polished and stable, I was reluctant to embrace systemd due to widely known, valid and well-argumented concerns. Now, several years later, almost on a daily bases using formalized systemd process management and convenience of fine-tuning, I’m feeling himself out of touch, returning to modify something on the non-systemd system. And new Debian 11 (with systemd 242) , Mint 19 and Ubuntu are as stable and quick as ever. Regretfully, the choice of init software seemed to be moved to a pure philosophical domain with little real life implication. With all due respect to the successful and popular non-systemd distros, they are, per se, heavily customized secondary adaptations of the systemd-based Debian.
27 • Init (by David on 2020-01-20 16:30:37 GMT from United Kingdom)
In the last 20 years, I've only had to adjust the initialisation twice. Once it was System V, once systemd, and neither task was rocket science. The debate has been endless at Linux Questions, and I was quick to notice that the anti-systemd posters were mostly what I'd call tinfoil-hat conspiracy theorists!
28 • systemd (by ionel on 2020-01-20 17:11:45 GMT from Republic of Moldova)
generally systemd does great job, and because of that nobody cares,
but in ideal world there is a dream to switch from linux to bsd and go back again,
which systemd totally ruins.
so systemd is not like xorg or gnome or kde, which simply work on bsds.
it has its own "linux only by principle" philosophy which is simply stupid,
thats why it is bad.
and people brag......
29 • SystemD is like the Master Control Program (by Kingneutron on 2020-01-20 17:53:21 GMT from United States)
...from TRON. It's pervasive, invasive and wants to control Everything. And it breaks the *nix philosophy "do one thing and do it well." I've been using Linux for decades and SYSV init is OK, but I liked Upstart as well for the brief time that Ubuntu used it. Now I mostly use antix, MX and Devuan. Even SuSE got lost in the systemd mess or I'd use it more.
30 • init (by GreginNC on 2020-01-20 18:10:31 GMT from United States)
I voted "based on init system" but that is conditional. I will never use anything with systemd, simple as that. Also I wouldn't use a distro I had prior issues with or just simply disliked based on their refusal to adopt syatemd. Thus far I've been fortunate that the 2 main distros I've always used, Slackware and PcLinux have both opted out on systemd. When the time comes that systemd is universally accepted in linux I'll just move on to either BSD or hopefully one or more of the more fringe OS's out there will be usable by that time. Regardless death before systemd is my motto.
31 • Zorin // systemd (by Cheker on 2020-01-20 18:36:01 GMT from Portugal)
I believe Zorin was one of the first distros I virtualized. I was left astounded as to how beautiful it was/is, and I have it installed in a partition in my old desktop that doesn't see much activity anymore. The census nonsense unfortunately does put a bit of a stain on an otherwise excellent distro, I'm not gonna forget about that anytime soon. It sets a bad precedent that Zorin & Co. are willing to do stuff behind the users' backs.
The init is a factor sometimes. If it's an old machine I will try to dodge systemd as I'm under the impression that its presence in itself already slows things down a bit (someone correct me on this if I'm wrong). On the other hand, I'm new to Linux, and with systemd I know how to do things that I don't in SysV for instance.
32 • Init (by Otis on 2020-01-20 18:54:13 GMT from United States)
Sort of relevant to me.. but the question cause me to recall how I never considered it, and never was affected by it as far as I know, until I began seeing the (repeated) wars about it in here.
So, as to the reality of systemd or no, heck, I don't really give a rat's fuzzy fanny.
33 • Mark Greaves (by Christian on 2020-01-20 19:25:35 GMT from Canada)
I've heard the news and my heart sank. One of the Linux community's best guys. Go in peace.
34 • Not so much a case of shady marketing as much as an understanding of language (by JaceMan on 2020-01-20 20:09:26 GMT from United States)
I can't comment on Zorin as an operating system, because I haven't tried it. Be that as it may, I felt that I had to comment on your suggestion that most people probably use "resistant" and "immune" interchangeably. As to that, all I can say is that I certainly hope note, because if true that means the majority of people don't know what the words resistant and immune mean.
To suggest that they are interchangeable would be to suggest that the terms "medium" and "well done" when ordering a steak are interchangeable as well.
35 • "Shady" marketing (by Robert Rijkhoff on 2020-01-20 21:09:23 GMT from United Kingdom)
@34 Not quite: https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/immune?s=t
As I mentioned, the two terms are open to interpretation. The point I made in the review, though, was that the suggestion that Linux is immune or resistant to viruses is false. I see such claims being made from time to time, and I feel it's worth debunking that myth.
36 • Windows replacement (by Sean Greenhalgh on 2020-01-20 21:30:04 GMT from Australia)
You know what is a really good replacement for Windows 7? KDE Neon. The current version runs on just under 400mb of ram. It's really professional too. The other thing I like about it, is that it respects the software's icons - like Firefox, Opera, Chrome etc. It doesn't just replace them with the system's tacky flat icon set or whatever. Give it a try!
37 • There's no "myth" to debunk. (by JaceMan on 2020-01-20 21:59:39 GMT from United States)
I guess if thesaurus.com lists "resistant" as a synonym for "immune" then it must be one. I mean, as long as you don't actually click the little "SEE DEFINITION OF xxxxx" link that exists on each listing to take a look at what the definition of the words actually are.
There are degrees to things. Many clothes are "wrinkle resistant." That does not mean that they are "immune" from wrinkles. It merely means that the fabric stands up against wrinkles better than a non-resistant fabric. If you believe that they are equal, then you are probably one of these guys that believes we need MORE not fewer frivolous lawsuits and that people aren't accountable for themselves. Anything open to the mildest nuances of interpretation means that whomever spoke is guilty and should be responsible for your understanding of their intent. A big fat hog to the hot, steamy wash.
Their page does not claim that their operating system is immune from viruses. It states that it is resistant. There are a lot of things that could and would make that qualifying statement true. I'm not even going to attempt to play devil's advocate and talk about how a Linux system is "resistant" from viruses written to target Windows operating systems either. (One could make that argument, but I wouldn't -- because it isn't resisting anything. In fact, THAT might actually be closer to the definition of immunity in that case.)
But rather than list several different reasons a Linux operating system MIGHT be able to claim that they are virus resistant, I'll just stick with one. As long as a distribution doesn't run as root by default, that small level of protection could be said to be making the operating system "resistant" from malware. It certainly makes it more so than one that surrenders root privileges from start-up. (Again, I don't know if Zorin qualifies or not.) And that's all one needs to say that their product or service is "resistant" is for it to position their client/customer better than the option without. That is, by definition, resistant.
Again, I have no dog in this fight. I have never ran Zorin, and I probably never will. Admittedly, and in the interest of transparency, I do work in marketing however. So perhaps you will say that is why I am "defensive" and raging about this topic. I would contend that is not accurate either. But I decided to volunteer what field I work in to give you that option if you want it.
In reality though, I don't feel that their claim is false or misleading. I certainly don't think it is egregious (at least not without knowing a few more things about how the operating system works or doesn't work) to list it as being "virus resistant" as a Linux OS. I also take issue with your response saying you, "see such claims being made from time to time," as being an accurate representation as to what you were attempting with your article. You didn't speak of that being a trend in the industry that you observe, or some greater topic that needs to be addressed. It was a pointed comment at Zorin specifically.
I would also say that it is unfair and unprofessional for you to take on the position of the majority and presume to know exactly how "most" would interpret or use the terms. It felt to me like your writing was accusing them of having a deceptive, unethical, and unprofessional agenda. If that is the case, I find your writing to be equally as unprofessional.
By this point, I know exactly what you're thinking... 'Ok, ok, troll. Move along!' And with that, I'll probably roll my eyes, shrug my shoulders and do just that. But I have to say that I haven't read too many "REVIEW" articles on Distrowatch Weekly that seem to take on Distrowatch's perceived intent of a distribution or the organization behind it as much as a look at the distro itself. Personally, I saw it as a low blow. I could have done without it.
38 • Mac-based distros (by James LaRue on 2020-01-20 22:23:40 GMT from United States)
Appreciated the Zorin review. First, it raised some important technical issues. Second, it happened to parallel my own recent experiment with elementary OS on a 2011 MacBook Pro. This fine laptop, struggling under Apple updates, had become all but unusable. But it wasn't hard to install elementary (although I had to solve the wifi install, which I did with a wireless dongle), and it felt very Mac-like. But some core and custom programs to the distro -- AppCenter, Music, Movies -- flat out failed. With apt I could resuscitate the first, but the others still stymie me. Nonetheless, viewing it as a lightweight Linux machine let me combine Epiphany (web browser) and Emacs (although I had to use the emacs25-lucid package to get around a GTK display bug) into a remarkably quick, light, and focused appliance for writing and research. I don't know if anyone else would be interested in another article about installing Linux on older Macs, but I'd appreciate learning more about what's going on under the hood.
39 • FreeBSD (by aaro on 2020-01-20 22:42:32 GMT from Venezuela)
@20: Latest decisions in the Linux world had made me take this route too on my systems. After using Linux for 12 years, 3 months passed since i made the switch to FreeBSD and can't be happier with my decision. I have to thank Poettering and all the Red Hat crew for giving me the final push i needed to make the jump to BSD land.
pd: i even got my laptop wireless working with it woot!
40 • KDEneon as Windows replacement (by mick on 2020-01-20 22:46:00 GMT from United States)
@36 I agree, Sean. KDEneon would be an excellent replacement. I'm dualing booting Kubuntu and KDEneon, two fine distros.
41 • Init (by zephyr on 2020-01-21 01:01:29 GMT from United States)
Only SysVinit and runit. Only those now! Nothing else, zilch!
42 • The init software is one factor I consider (by Flavio on 2020-01-21 03:51:24 GMT from Brazil)
Another factor, if it is a community distro or an enterprise distro, if it is a point distro or a rolling-release, and so on.
I am trying both SystemD and SystemD-free, community and enterprise, and at least one from each main branches.
Nothing is a real problem, just at this moment, except begin to depend on a single option, mainly when a few people take all decisions.
43 • systemd creep (by Sam L on 2020-01-21 12:14:34 GMT from United States)
When systemd took over DNS, my setup broke. I had been using DNScrypt and dnsmasq. The "update" from Mint caused my DNS to break and switched to google (slurp!) DNS.
Now I use MX Linux and firewall google's DNS servers.
Systemd needs to stop with the feature creep and limit itself to init only.
44 • 243: (by dragonmouth on 2020-01-21 13:13:31 GMT from United States)
"Systemd needs to stop with the feature creep and limit itself to init only."
Yes, they do but they won't. Systemd has a long way to go before it subsumes the kernel.
45 • Windows replacement (by not a fan-boy, but... on 2020-01-21 15:25:34 GMT from United States)
Linux is not immune or resistant to viruses...
Linux is spying on users...
Linux uses shady marketing...
KDEneon would be an excellent replacement for Windows 7...
in your dreams fan-boy...
in reality a very small percent will use some distro just for online activities
the overwhelming majority will stick to 7 or XP, and, at best, bite the bullet and upgrade to 10
46 • Init software (by James on 2020-01-21 16:48:08 GMT from United States)
I'm not overly hung up on init systems. I use systemd only because the distros I prefer to use rely on it. I'd rather use something other than systemd because it's so un-Unix-like, feature-creepy, and tracking systems with a public machine ID, but I'm not quite conscientious enough to inconvenience myself with using some obscure distro with no userbase, poor support and unlikely updates to free myself from systemd. For better or (mostly) worse, it seems systemd is what the majority of distro developers have decided to go with.
47 • anything but systemd (by dogma on 2020-01-21 18:07:33 GMT from United States)
The only good thing about systemd is that it pushed me away from debian to freebsd.
48 • Systemd free distros (by Otis on 2020-01-21 19:10:42 GMT from United States)
Pretty nice page. Distros that are not systemd categorized by type/family, etc.
But gee wiz folks, looking at the top 25 PHR here at distrowatch we don't see much in the way of those systemd free distros.
Must be something okay/good about distros utiizing the systemd init.
49 • @3 Migrating from Win7 (by Jeff on 2020-01-21 19:57:20 GMT from United States)
@3 I made a similar switch with the end of XP. Despite having run Linux at work for mobile development, using cross-platform software like Firefox and VLC for a while, and even using Linux VMs to force myself to "use Linux," I still had the trouble like you describe. It took me a few months to fully adjust. I don't regret the move and have found the experience to be superior to Windows once I figured out the Linux way to do things. I love a central software repository where I don't have to download random zip files from the internet and all my updates happen in one place. I also find Windows too restrictive to figure out what's wrong when something doesn't work, and many times it is Windows' fault. Recently we had a family computer mouse stop working on Win7. I "fixed" it by using lsusb in Linux to make sure the mouse was okay and booting into Safe Mode (mouse still didn't work) and then back into normal Windows (suddenly it worked). It was all caused by some problem with updates not taking effect despite several reboots. I don't know how anyone tolerates that type of thing any more. This is why I moved.
You'll get the hang of things in time. Stick with it. It does get better. In fact, it's the best.
50 • init software (by Jesse on 2020-01-21 20:03:21 GMT from Canada)
@48: "But gee wiz folks, looking at the top 25 PHR here at distrowatch we don't see much in the way of those systemd free distros. Must be something okay/good about distros utiizing the systemd init."
This seems like a strange claim to make. 6 of the top 25 PHR projects do not use systemd by default. The top distro on the list is MX Linux, which uses SysV init by default. There are lots of cases to be made in favour of systemd, but looking at the top PHR projects probably isn't a good way to go if you want to promote it.
51 • init wars (by Joe on 2020-01-21 20:31:01 GMT from New Zealand)
I cut my teeth way back when on several makes and models of Unix. I remember some confusion among It pros over the new SysV init. We got over it and adopted the "new".
Then along came Linux and the world improved. The copy command grew a "-r" so you did not have to perform rituals and careful incantations over cpio. Most of the old favourites from Unix were and still are available. New init systems rolled out. X windows sprouted several desktop environments and then a dozen more. New file systems were adopted, adapted or introduced.
At the end of the day, I don't see the reason for all these wars. Replacing old establishged Unix components like SysV and X are not trivial projects - at least systemd is working, unlike Wayland (cough). If you want to scream, go write an init system. Good luck, see you in 15 years time.
Nowadays I don't primarily compute, I turned to the creative arts to try and forget the corporate madworld. A distro for me has only one of two settings:
1. It works (for me).
2. It does not work (for me).
Init system, desktop environment, filesystem - these factors might play into it, but if I can get my workflow tasks done I am happy. If I can find the software I want and it runs without drama, I am happy.
Currently my 1-2 check gives a passing grade to Mint, Manjaro and not much beyond those two.
52 • Boutique Distros With Meager Team Support (by David on 2020-01-21 22:12:29 GMT from United States)
How many of those non-SystemD distros on this list are supported by a one or two-person development & maintenance team ?
I am an Arch user. One of the finest Arch-based distros(in my opinion), Swag Arch, recently went belly-up, and it was essentially run by a one-guy shop. The same happened with Antergos a few moths back, leaving its users to mostly fend for them selves as a result. At least Antergos removed its proprietary repositories before it crashed and burned, so users could at least attempt to transition to pure Arch.
Have you ever tried to actually install Obarun(a convoluted disaster) or Artix(weird proprietary repositories installed, loaded with useless bloatware) ? Smallish support teams for both of them, I'd guess.
Try running sudo -k pacman-key --refresh in an Arch terminal and you'll see DOZENS of Arch maintainer's names, many of them having supported Arch for YEARS.
I don't want to get stuck with a distro that may come up dead & buried at any time because their are enough maintainers to sustain its continued existence. I'll stick with a mature distro that maintans itself, and the Arch Wiki is second to none, in terms of its detailed & timely documentation.
As long as Arch supports my work flow as effectively as it does, the negative perception of systemd will remain a philosophical issue, rather than a practical & pragmatic deterrent for me.
53 • @46: (by dragonmouth on 2020-01-22 00:28:35 GMT from United States)
PCLinux uses Sys V init. It is not an obscure distro. It is very well supported and is quite popular.
54 • @43--Feature Creep (by R. Cain on 2020-01-22 03:49:09 GMT from United States)
"...Systemd needs to stop with the feature creep and limit itself to init only."
It was too late for that to happen a long, long time ago.
"Systemd – Progress Through Complexity"
"...Today, it is the reality in most distributions, for better or worse. Mostly the latter....
"...Why would you oppose progress, one may say. To that end, we need to define progress. [ Is it ] merely the state of something being newer, AKA newer is always better, or the fact it offers superior functionality that was missing in the old technology? After all, System V is 33 years old, so the new stuff ought to be smarter..."
"...sometimes, future solutions fail to deliver, because they are trying to fix a problem that does not exist..."
55 • Zorin works as advertised! (by CS on 2020-01-22 13:52:46 GMT from United States)
@37 I installed Zorin, now my CPU refuses to run viruses! In fact my hard drive won't even allow them to install nor my wireless card allow me to download them! It's true! My computer is now "virus resistant"! It also filters out thesaurus.com and dictionary.com so I don't even know what resistant means anymore! Thanks Zorin! 100% truth in advertising!
56 • Need Any More Examples Of How systemd Is Becoming / Has Become So Invasive? (by R. Cain on 2020-01-22 13:58:17 GMT from United States)
Systemd Is Approaching 1.3 Million Lines While Poettering Lost Top Contributor Spot For 2019
Linux Kernel Developers Fed Up With Ridiculous Bugs In Systemd
“...systemd developers warned users not to discuss this matter on the BugZilla
“...we now get another tirade by Linus Torvalds bashing systemd developers for making kernel developers work around their problems...”
“...Well known kernel developer H. Peter Anvin also said in the original bug report, "This is utterly ridiculous, and it matches what I have observed that the system becomes undebuggable on a dracut/systemd system...this aspect is a disaster."
Systemd Rolls Out Its Own Mount Tool
Systemd 217 Will Introduce Its New "Consoled" User Console Daemon
BUS1: A New Linux Kernel IPC Bus Being Made By Systemd Developers
and on, and on, and on...
57 • Init and choices (by flyingalone on 2020-01-22 14:21:19 GMT from Australia)
I prefer to not use systemd it's got that microsoft appeal - you do as we say so !
And from the choices left lets see what runs without too many problems for my hardware the pick is PClinuxOS 20.01 KDE, So Cool.
58 • Happy Linux user, unhappy with Linux Installers. (by Andre Gompel on 2020-01-22 16:35:07 GMT from France)
I am a happy Linux user, mostly Fedora(31)/MATE and Mint(19.3)/Cinnamon.
However, to say I am content with Linux installers, would be a serious exageration!
When installing Linux, by default on the whole drive, usually works OK....but does not install the way I need or simply wish.(see below).
* Installing Linux along Windows (already on the disk 0) is very doable, but very poorly documented. By necessity I became an expert there, but here is the problem: anyone who is NOT an expert should be able to install at least one version of Linux, alongside Windoes (usually 10).
a) Reducing Windows partition(s)
b) Adding (ideally) separate partitions for /boot, /, /home a Swap partition Not necessary on SSD).
The main reason to have separete partitions, is to be able to reinstall Linux, without losing (reformating) /home... and perhaps /boot.
On /boot, there is an issue, when mounting several Linux distros, on separate parttions (This worked on GRUB 1, !), this is due to files name conflicts along distros.
This should work on either MBR or GPT type of storage, GPT having the advantage of unlimited number of partitions, MBR requiring the use of extended partitions (not available on GPT to make things simpler!).
Custom partinioning, rarely work well, Fedora and Mint/Ubuntu being... as buggy as others. (Refuses a valid choice, or fails at booting, etc...)
c) Installing a boot manager, usually GRUB2, now works quite well, but is complex.
Most distros properly detect (and do not overwrite) the windows partitions, but fail to provide adequate feedback (for "commit" the partionning) , which is a bit scary !
Until recently (this may have changed) GPARTED could not properly shrink Windows partitions, neither could Windows, however AOMEI (partitions assistant) Version 6 and above works well.
I endeavored to pre-partition (including formating with the files system of my choice, using GPARTED.
Unfortunately the "custom partitioning") refuses in most case to mount on theses. (This worked in the past!).
Allowing GPARTED to shrink "magically" the Windows NTFS, or FAt partition, and ideally create the adequate template for fstab (with proper options, like UUID, etc...) would be useful.
Actually, I would prefer installers like Fedora's Anaconda to use GPARTED as partitioning and mounting tool, including "shrinking Windows as explained above".
Allowing Linux distros installers to install over pre-formatted partitions (with or without formatting) would be great. This is NOT REALLY the case now.
On File Systems, BTRS is now reliable, fast and allows ZSTD (fast + efficient) compression, which I really like.
XFS, albeit not the fatest is rock solid, and is the best choice for /boot, and good for / (slower, no compression).
ZFS is so far overly complex to use manually, so I gave up for the moment.
ENCRYPTION, is a complex topic, I usually use gnome-disks which to this end is somewhat easy to use. (for non system partitions, like /home). Hopefully some file systems, will have "native" encryption, some time soon.
That's all folks.
59 • systemd (by Wally Johnn on 2020-01-22 18:48:05 GMT from United States)
Many have experienced two minute startups and/or two minute shutdowns with systemd. In the "old days" we would assume that fsck was running, but fsck would run every 30 days, or so, and usually just on startup. (Is there a reason why systemd would be doing a fsck on shutdown?) With systemd running on a SSD it comes as a shock that fsck would take over two minutes to complete. After one experiences the fast boot times an SSD allows and then also sees a two minute hang, one is not likely to become enamoured with systemd.
I have experienced where systemd will scan a system on startup and mount all swap spaces, which, at one time would cause Ubuntu to hang on bootup. I then had to manually edit the GRUB2 boot file (which is probably beyond the advanced user) and remove any offending recover=UUIDs. If I have four distros, each with a swap space, systemd will then create & mount a swap file four times bigger. (Is this why Ubuntu is moving towards a Windows-like swap file instead of a swap partition?) [If I have four disk drives in my system, each with four swap spaces, does systemd then try to mount a swap file 16x bigger?] (If a laptop goes into sleep mode where does the Recover file get written if there are four recover swap files mounted as one? Exactly which UUID doe it use?) So I then had to change my ways and create just one swap space (2x RAM for laptops), that could be used by all four distros on the one disk. (I isn't uncommon for me to have KDE, MATE and Xfce all from the same distributor, or three or four Xfce flavours and four KDEs and two MATEs from different distributors.)
If systemd scans my system for all swap spaces won't it also gather all the already existing OSes, and in doing so, does it home phone to Fedora my system configuration, much like Windows10 does?
Certain distros with systemd will overwrite the swap UUID already existing on another distro. when a subsequent distro is installed, causing more confusion; and some distros will map USB UUIDs into the system map, which if not present upon boot time will likely cause systemd confusion.
If one sees cryptic error messages on shutdown about disk partitions that could not be dismounted, what is one to think? Even the newly added systemd diagnostic utilities are obscure.
Two minute startups and shutdowns, multiple swaps mounted, system hangs, cryptic shutdown error messages, UEFI munging, GPT corruption... No, I don't like systemd; I try to avoid it whenever possible.
60 • *eye roll* (by Otis on 2020-01-22 18:52:38 GMT from United States)
Well, here we are again in the systemd/init wars. Damn. Points are being forwarded about systemd being "invasive," etc. Haven't seen "evil" yet. Probably will soon.
People are posting links to words by others who don't like it, giving tech reasons for their choices. Reminds me of the used to be stuff about Netscape vs Mosaic, et al. "Invasive" was in there, too, as I recall.
Meanwhile, whatever systemd is invading and wreaking its evilness on seems to be getting along very well with my computers, as I run Manjaro (for now, distro hopper that I tend to be). It's fast. Configurable. Very responsive as to upgrades/updates. I don't think it's aware of my bank account data, because as I've posted here before, I do not use my computers or any other device for things I don't want the world to have.
61 • @52 One Man Shows (by Jeff on 2020-01-22 21:57:32 GMT from United States)
@52 I used to run Archbang which at the time was based on Arch-OpenRC which later merged with the Manjaro OpenRC project to make Artix. The Artix migration was a complete disaster and bricked my install. While the consolidation is nice, losing Arch-OpenRC hurt because it went from a stable base to a lot of shifting pieces. I eventually gave up and installed pure Arch and gave in to systemd. Even when I ran Archbang's Artix mix, it had many of the same problems. Archbang was great to get started with Arch but for a while they did only systemd, and then broken Artix, so I moved on. Now I do my own custom install build script that I maintain for myself. It's a pain to be a one man show, but since I'm the only user, I can't complain about the support! ;) Seriously, though, there's just too much to maintain on your own and in the end it's a lot of wasted effort for things that bring no benefit. It's often easier to learn to live with someone else's changes because they'll waste the effort for you so that you can work on stuff that matters more to you like actually using your computer.
62 • tech group hug (by hugd on 2020-01-23 03:46:36 GMT from Australia)
@60 Technology can be a vitriolic field. But it's sobering to know that some people working to give us free distros and open source software are literally dying doing it..
We like to give hugs to our troubled animals - koalas, roos, lambs, crocs, and the like - so wouldn't it be good if we consider some virtual hugs for the people doing this good work on free technologies - even if we might not like the results.
63 • Virtual Hugs (by Friar Tux on 2020-01-23 18:36:16 GMT from Canada)
@62 (hugd) I totally agree. In fact, the best way I know to 'hug' them is to support their cause by way of donation. And/or an email of encouragement. Human nature, being what it is, tends to make us more negative than anything else. Software/OS development puts you touch with tons of people, some of which are socially challenged (to say the least). Some folks are better on the computers than with fellow humans. Usually those are the ones that code and program 'cause dealing with other people just doesn't work for them. (Yup, I tend toward that category, though I've learned to deal with humans, too (I hope).
So, to all you coders, programmers, developers, and such... thank you and keep up the great work. There ARE those of us that really do appreciate it.
64 • Vanity Projects & Hobby Shop Distros (by David on 2020-01-23 20:04:18 GMT from United States)
It is a certainty that a one-person shop can produce innovative, sophisticated technology. Linus Torvalds himself has proven that to be a fact.
My point is that if you want to travel with KISS-formulated pure Arch, then systemd will be coming along for the ride, since the two are inseparable at this point in time. There are no stable, reliable non-systemd alternatives that are hanging from the Arch branch of the Linux tree.
There is definitive reasoning to the fact that the non-systemd Arch-based derivatives are struggling to cling to the bottom of the DistroWatch HPD ladder. They do not represent a viable, dependable computing platform. If they did, they would be rocketing to the top of the list, propelled by the embrace of Arch users that wish to return to the pre-systemd days of the distro.
The raging debate engulfing the SystemD Conundrum has motivated me to take a flying leap outside my comfort zone, as I've decided to download and do a bare metal install of FuryBSD / XFCE on my test box. I've read some positive commentary and viewed a couple of installation tutorial videos recently. While I don't expect it to ever replace Arch as my production distro, I've found myself craving a taste of Unix.
65 • Runit a SysV init and SystemD alternative (by Dana Silva on 2020-01-24 13:50:06 GMT from United States)
voidlinux uses runit a simple solution to the age old question of SysV init or SystemD,
read more at
66 • Init software (by Barney Rubble on 2020-01-24 18:40:45 GMT from Luxembourg)
I have a desktop with two SSDs, one boots to MX XFCE with SysVinit, the other to Mint 19.3 XFCE with Systemd.
In the Mint install I have a file in /etc: machine-id
MX doesn't have this.
Systemd seems to be a large monolithic piece of code. The explanation for the use of machine-id I have seen is that it provides details of the hardware in the machine.
I simply don't trust the motives of the systemd developers and their backers. I am sick of being tracked on the internet and the possibility that my OS is making that easier is a show stopper for me.
Long live SysVinit systems.
67 • @ #66 machine-id (by Morton on 2020-01-24 20:57:09 GMT from Germany)
" The explanation for the use of machine-id I have seen is that it provides details of the hardware in the machine. "
The /etc/machine-id file contains the unique machine ID of the local system that is set during installation or boot. The machine-id is generated from a RANDOM source. It was conceived as replacement to GETHOSTID in older non-systemd systems.
( freedesktop.org/software/systemd/man/machine-id.html )
There is a way to changed it as often as you want.
68 • Thought you had heard it all; right? (by R. Cain on 2020-01-24 23:57:35 GMT from United States)
"...People are posting links to words by others who don't like it, *giving tech reasons* for their choices..."
...and I always thought that people came to this web-site for the excellent TECHNICAL information and advice one finds here. Silly me. And you...
Number of Comments: 68
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