| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 903, 8 February 2021
Welcome to this year's 6th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Linux distributions are constantly evolving, often introducing new features or phasing out components which are no longer popular or easy to maintain. These changes often spark debate as not every component being brought in is useful to everyone and not every discarded feature is unwanted. In our News section we explore a few examples of distributions bringing in or removing features. The Ubuntu team is trialing a new system installer while IPFire is planning to drop 32-bit support at the end of the year. The UBports team is working towards introducing Wayland support for their mobile operating system while Raspberry Pi OS users are debating the merits of a new, third-party package repository the developers have added to their operating system. We have the details on these changes below. First though we look at an intriguing project which strives to hide itself on a computer's hard drive in an encrypted volume. The Split Linux project helps users set up a hidden distribution on computers alongside a "decoy" operating system and we talk about how this works in our Feature Story. In our Questions and Answers column we share tips on storing data files in RAM for quick access and ask if you use tools to pre-load files into RAM in this week's Opinion Poll. Plus we are pleased to share the releases of the past week and list the torrents we are seeding. We wish you all a wonderful week and happy reading!
- Review: Split Linux
- News: Ubuntu to get new system installer, IPFire phasing out 32-bit support, UBports explains app confinement, Raspberry Pi OS users discuss new package repository, Debian updates install media
- Questions and answers: Keeping files in RAM
- Released last week: Ubuntu 20.04.2, Solus 4.2, EndeavourOS 2021.02.03
- Torrent corner: Arch Linux, EndeavourOS, Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Solus, SparkyLinux, Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Kylin, Xubuntu
- Upcoming releases: FreeBSD 13.0-BETA2
- Opinion poll: Caching files in RAM
- Site news: One of our authors interviewed
- New distributions: AlmaLinux, Freeduc-usb
- Reader comments
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (9MB) and MP3 (12MB) formats.
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
This week I want to talk about an unusual project I tried out recently called Split Linux. The project's website describes itself as follows:
Split Linux is a general operating system optimized for safely navigating hostile environments like the Internet and physical check points. Split Linux builds on tools that follow the UNIX philosophy and is based on the fast and independent Void Linux.
Digging a little deeper we can learn additional bits about Split Linux. The idea of Split is to run two or more operating systems on your computer. The first operating system is installed normally and can be any Linux distribution or other operating system that looks semi-familiar to the public. The first operating system is not used for anything important and is considered the "decoy".
We then set up a second volume which will be home to an encrypted volume we will fill with Linux containers. Each container has its own username and password, its own files, and its own programs. Network traffic is routed through the Tor network.
The computer cannot directly boot into this second partition and the boot menu does not even list it as an option. The second partition with our encrypted containers is not bootable. To access the containers we plug in a USB thumb drive that holds Split Linux. The computer boots off the thumb drive and, if we provide the proper username and password, we are granted access to one of the encrypted containers.
The idea here seems to be to provide multiple layers. If we are stopped at a border and asked to power on our laptop, the system will boot to the decoy operating system where nothing important is visible. Even if we boot the computer from our Split thumb drive, and are compelled to enter our password, we can choose which account to sign into. Since each account has its own container (which is isolated from the rest) this means we can have one innocent looking account, another for work, one for home, another for banking, and so on. Anyone inspecting the machine shouldn't be able to tell which container holds important information or even the number of containers present as they are all in one big, encrypted partition.
As mentioned above, Split Linux is based on Void and uses the lightweight musl C library. This means we are essentially running Void when we boot from the Split thumb drive and containers we make in the encrypted volume run a minimal version of Void by default.
Booting from the Split thumb drive brings up a menu offering to start in the distribution and run it from the USB drive or load the operating system into RAM before running it. The boot process produces a lot of output, mostly information on services starting, some networking data, and there is a blurb about default login credentials which goes by too quickly for me to read.
When I first booted Split it looked like the boot process had locked up. However, when I pressed the Enter key output scrolled up the terminal and I was shown a login prompt. After failing to guess the password three times, a message appeared to give me the login credentials and show me the login prompt again. We can sign in using "root" as the username and "voidlinux" as the password.
The first time we boot Split Linux we should follow the guide for setting up local partitions and an encrypted volume. Basically this involves creating a new partition, setting up encryption, and creating a logical volume on the partition. Apart from the initial device name for the partition, the install process can be completed by just copying a handful of commands from the documentation into the terminal. This seems like a series of steps which could be easily scripted to avoid typos or getting the instructions out of order. All the script would need to do would be to get our partition name, such as /dev/sda1 and then run the instructions listed in the documentation.
Once the steps of creating an encrypted volume and formatting it are completed we should reboot the computer, leaving the Split thumb drive in the machine. This time when the system boots Split detects the encrypted volume we just created. It is mounted and we can then continue following the aforementioned guide to set up one or more containers. Optionally, we can add additional software, such as a window manager, to the container. The guide recommends installing the Beast graphical environment and I gave this a try. We need to copy a long command into the terminal to install the Beast window manager and, again, this seems like a step which could be presented as an optional script to be run from the live media.
The container we create will, by default, run a minimal copy of the Void distribution, though I suppose we could install anything we wanted into a container should we prefer a different distribution.
After we set up one or more containers we can logout of the root account on the live media and sign into a container. How this works is we can use the name of a container as our username and its password (assigned during setup) to sign into the container's minimal operating system. By default we get a bare bones, command line distribution. Basically, it's Void running some command line programs with the XBPS package manager. Assuming we install Beast, the graphical environment loads by default.
The Beast desktop is very minimal and, unusually, appears to offer a very simple tiling window manager that is navigated almost entirely with keyboard shortcuts. I found it a bit tricky to get used to Beast, but it seems functional once you get to know the appropriate shortcuts.
Split Linux -- Running the Beast graphical interface
(full image size: 89kB, resolution: 800x600 pixels)
Though the documentation guide does not appear to mention this in detail, the decoy partition (the one which is not encrypted) is to be setup and used separately. That is, we install any distribution we like on the decoy partition the way we normally would. It is intended to have a minimal operating system with its own applications and user account set up entirely separately.
Basically the idea is when we boot the computer normally we sign into the unencrypted operating system, whatever it is. The decoy system has a desktop, some apps, maybe some files, but nothing important or interesting. When we boot from the Split Linux live media, it detects the encrypted volume and mounts it. Each user account gets its own container on an encrypted volume. This way we can run multiple users (one for work, one for home, one for banking) and they are isolated from the other accounts and containers. The data is all encrypted and Split Linux doesn't boot without its live media so people doing a cursory inspection of the laptop only see the decoy operating system.
In other words, to access our important files, a person would need three things: Our encryption password, the name and password of our container, and a way to see (and access) encrypted partitions such as the Split Linux thumb drive. Plus they would need to ignore the decoy operating system that boots automatically.
Exploring Split, I found that the system was fairly light. Running one container with the Beast interface consumed 325MB of RAM. The live distribution itself is fairly small, under 700MB, so can be run from a CD, USB thumb drive, or DVD.
Each container, with a window manager installed, consumed about 2GB of my encrypted volume, prior to adding any programs or data files. I suspect that, for a basic installation with a desktop environment and web browser, each container would probably need about 8GB of space. This means if we wanted three isolated containers we would be looking at at least 24GB of drive space, plus any data files and swap space.
The distribution is fairly light and fast, staying true to its Void roots. I found it does not automatically integrate with VirtualBox, but then again it's not designed with virtual machines in mind. Its purpose is to help us secure physical devices, particularly ones we might take across borders, so virtual machine support is not a priority.
I was unsure about Split Linux at first. The project's website mixes some good technical information with some philosophy and tips on privacy, so I wasn't sure what kind of experience I was getting into at just by reading the website. I had a rough idea of what Split was trying to do (isolate and hide files), but not sure what that would look like or how much effort would be required to set it up.
On the positive side, Split's approach of having a decoy distribution on one partition and an encrypted partition full of hidden containers, each with their own files and login credentials, is a really great idea. This is a bit like Qubes OS in that both focus on security by isolation, but with much less resource overhead and a shorter setup time. However, where Qubes protects us mostly from outside (remote) attacks, Split is designed to protect us against attackers who have direct, physical access to the computer. The concept of Split seems to be solid and the installation went just as the documentation said it would.
There are two downsides as I see them for potential Split Linux users. The first is that the project is not at all user friendly yet. Setting it up takes a good deal of command line Linux knowledge and the Beast user interface is going to be completely alien to most computer users. This project could greatly benefit from an install script, some optional "install add-ons" scripts, and a more mainstream, yet light, desktop such as Xfce or LXQt.
The other potential problem I see is with maintenance. Setting up Split isn't bad, it requires technical knowledge of the command line and device names, but it's not a long process. The problem is we need to keep on top of maintaining each container and the decoy system if we plan to use it occasionally. People sometimes struggle to keep up with patches for one or two operating systems. With Split we might end up with the decoy operating system, plus an innocent/decoy container, a work container, and a home container. That is four isolated systems to keep patched for just one laptop. For people with more compartmentalized lives, I could see the maintenance time getting out of hand.
In short, I think Split has a lot of potential. I'd like to see the documentation fleshed out, some install scripts added, and a more friendly graphical window manager. I'm not sure I'd recommend it yet over something like Qubes, especially not for daily use. I think Split is best suited for short trips, like popping over a border for business, but then returning to another distribution after we get back home. I think juggling multiple containers and running the minimal operating system full-time would be more effort than it is worth, but I can see the benefit for people who want it for one-off jaunts into situations where they don't want the contents of their hard drive examined.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Ubuntu to get new system installer, IPFire phasing out 32-bit support, UBports explains app confinement, Raspberry Pi OS users discuss new package repository, Debian updates install media
The Ubuntu desktop installer, Ubiquity, has been in service and largely unchanged for several years. The Ubuntu developers are planning changes to their desktop installer, merging it with the distribution's server system installer. "The current Ubuntu Desktop installer, Ubiquity, dates back to 2006. While still functional, Ubiquity hasn't seen significant feature development for some years and due to its legacy is becoming cumbersome to maintain. Meanwhile, a new installer for Ubuntu Server has been developed, called Subiquity, which uses curtin. Consolidating the installer for server and desktop on common technologies will mean we can deliver a consistent, robust, installation experience across the Ubuntu family and focus our efforts on maintaining a single code base." The new installer is expected to be included in Ubuntu 21.10, which will be available in October.
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The IPFire team have announced plans to phase out 32-bit (x86) support. The plan is for IPFire to drop support for 32-bit processors, which make up less than 10% of the project's install base, at the end of 2021. The team has run into bugs which only affect 32-bit packages and the effort to maintain these packages outweighs the benefit to supporting the rarely-used architecture. Michael Tremer provided details: "Currently, only 7% of all IPFire systems are not capable of running the 64-bit version. We have taken the decision to give everyone who is still using IPFire on those machines one year to upgrade to new hardware. After December 31st 2021, we will no longer support the i586 architecture."
* * * * *
The UBports team have published an update on the work they are doing along with future plans. The blog post includes information on the next minor update, plans to migrate to Ubuntu's 20.04 base, and offers information on how UBports applications are contained. "Kelmes asked when UT is based on 20.04 and using Wayland how easy do you think it will be to get Flatpak applications working? First we need to clear up some routine confusion between a supposed Wayland compositor and Wayland protocol. There is actually no such thing as the 'Wayland compositor'. Mir is the compositor for Lomiri and UT. It exists in the 1.x series which is what UT uses at the moment and in the 2.x series which is currently under development. Basing UT on 20.04 actually has little at all to do with using Wayland. Those are two distinct transitions. 20.04 comes first, then Wayland but over quite a long time-scale. In any event, neither of those is in any way related to whether you will be able to run Flatpak on UT. Flatpak applications use a confinement mode but not the same mode as is used by UT applications...."
* * * * *
The Raspberry Pi OS forums erupted with several topic threads following an update to the distribution which installs a third-party repository for Microsoft's VSCode packages. The new repository was added by the distribution's developers to facilitate access to popular development tools which the team feel are useful for many Raspberry Pi owners. However, the closed source nature of the VSCode packages, along with the lack of notice regarding the additional of the new repository, has many people protesting. One Pi owner wrote, "This editor is clearly not using the GPL license and is not free software, but the Debian packages are in the 'main' component, which is against the Debian guidelines, they should rather be in 'non-free' due to the license. Due to the license conflict I would like to ask you kindly to either remove that repository again from the 'postinst' script of 'raspberrypi-sys-mods', and if you really want it in, then please add it in a way the user can clearly see its license and that it is non-free software before installing it, and actually has a choice about it."
The Raspberry Pi team has so far stood by their decision to keep the new repository as it is, stating: "Already discussed in another thread. We won't be making any changes to this, it is to help users install VSCode which is our recommended IDE for Pico development."
* * * * *
The Debian project has published updated installation media. The new media, which carry the version label 10.8, is not a new release, but bundles software fixes made available since Debian 10 was released. "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."
* * * * *
These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Keeping files in RAM
Not-wanting-to-forget asks: Some live distros can be loaded into RAM to make them super fast. What if I want to load just specific files into RAM to make programs launch quicker or make games run faster? Can that be done?
DistroWatch answers: Files that are kept in memory by the operating system for quick access later on are said to be cached. A cached file is kept by the kernel in RAM so that it can be accessed almost instantly on demand. This is a lot faster than loading the same file from a hard drive. Linux, like most other modern kernels, will attempt to keep recently used files in memory so that we don't need to keep reloading the same data from the (relatively) slow disk over and over. Unfortunately most systems don't have enough memory to hold all of our applications, plus data files, and so cached files are occasionally purged from memory to make space for other things.
In most cases Linux will do a good job of figuring out what it can keep in memory and hold onto those files in the cache to avoid re-reading the data from the disk. It is also important for the operating system to not try to hold onto too much data in RAM because if the memory is needed for something else, like a newly opened application, it can result in the system struggling to find enough space, slower swap space being used, the system slowing down, or applications crashing.
I mention this because if we are going to try to store commonly used files permanently in RAM it means there is less room for other stuff and we might be speeding up one application while slowing down others. This may especially become a problem if we try to store the data files for a big game in memory. Modern games can be quite large and holding them in memory might starve the rest of the operating system of RAM it needs for other things.
There are a few tools available for loading files into memory and keeping them there. The preload service will monitor our system, figure out which files we use the most, and then try to keep those files in memory. This tends to cause commonly used libraries and applications to be loaded into RAM when the system boots and can speed up boot times as well as application load times. As far as I know, preload is a service that is only available to Linux users and I don't think it is in the repositories of many distributions. Though it is in the Arch Linux AUR.
While preload tries to automatically figure out which files we use most and keeps them in RAM, the vmtouch application allows us to manually load specific files into memory. We can also evict specific files from the cache. This makes vmtouch a bit more flexible. Files loaded by vmtouch get locked into memory and stay there until the system restarts or until vmtouch is terminated.
The vmtouch program works on most Linux distributions and other members of the UNIX family, including the BSDs. This makes it quite portable and makes it easy for a user to specify a file (or directory of files) to be kept in memory for a period of time.
* * * * *
Additional answers can be found in our Questions and Answers archive.
|Released Last Week
Solus is a Linux distribution built from scratch. It uses a forked version of the PiSi package manager, maintained as "eopkg" within Solus, and a custom desktop environment called "Budgie", developed in-house. The project's latest version is 4.2 which includes package updates across key components. The Budgie desktop has gain improvements and features a new system tray and better support for desktop icons. "We are proud to announce the immediate availability of Solus 4.2, a new Solus 4 Fortitude series release. This release delivers new desktop environment updates, software stacks, and hardware enablement. All of our editions feature: Firefox 85.0, LibreOffice 126.96.36.199, Thunderbird 78.6.1. For audio and video multimedia playback, we offer software out-of-the-box that caters specifically to our desired experience for each edition. Budgie, GNOME, and MATE editions all ship with Rhythmbox for audio playback, with the latest release of the Alternate Toolbar extension to provide a more modern user experience. Budgie and GNOME ship with GNOME MPV for video playback. MATE ships with VLC for video playback. Plasma ships with Elisa for audio playback and SMPlayer for video playback." The release announcement offers further information.
Solus 4.2 -- Running the Budgie desktop
(full image size: 1.0MB, resolution: 1920x1080 pixels)
EndeavourOS is a rolling release Linux distribution based on Arch Linux. The project aims to be a spiritual successor to Antergos - providing an easy setup and pre-configured desktop environment. The project's latest snapshot is EndeavourOS 2021.02.03 and it includes a large collection of updated packages. A number of fixes and features have been added to this release: "We've also improved some features on the live environment and the installation process to make the installation a smoother sail. Reflector-auto has been removed since Reflector has this feature shipped by default The Welcome app now supports Brazillian-Portuguese. Alacrity has been added as one of the supported terminals for our native apps. You can now choose a swapfile from the installer in addition to a traditional swap partition when an automatic partition scheme is chosen. reflector-bash-completion has been added to make the use of Reflector easier. When chosen online install, mirrors will be automatically updated for a faster install and to decrease the possibility of a failed install caused by unresponsive mirrors. Our newest mirror in India has been added to improve the experience for our Indian users. During install, the user will now be added to the sys rfkill wheel users group by default, we have removed some of the legacy groups that were causing issues with drivers and CUPS." Additional information can be found in the project's release announcement.
The Ubuntu team has announced a new update to the distribution's install media and community editions. The new version is 20.04.2 and it includes bug fixes that have become available since 20.04 was launched along with support for additional hardware. The release announcement states: "The Ubuntu team is pleased to announce the release of Ubuntu 20.04.2 LTS (Long-Term Support) for its Desktop, Server, and Cloud products, as well as other flavours of Ubuntu with long-term support. Like previous LTS series, 20.04.2 includes hardware enablement stacks for use on newer hardware. This support is offered on all architectures. Ubuntu Server defaults to installing the GA kernel; however you may select the HWE kernel from the installer bootloader. As usual, this point release includes many updates, and updated installation media has been provided so that fewer updates will need to be downloaded after installation. These include security updates and corrections for other high-impact bugs, with a focus on maintaining stability and compatibility with Ubuntu 20.04 LTS." Further information can be found in the release notes.
PCLinuxOS, an independently-developed desktop Linux distribution which continues to use SysV as its init system, has been updated to version 2021.02. The new release features updated kernel and applications, as well as improved compatibility with VirtualBox: "PCLinuxOS installation media has been updated so new installations do not require such a large update to get current. This release features Linux kernel and application updates, bug fixes and security updates, with a focus on speed and stability. PCLinuxOS is officially released in three editions: KDE Plasma, MATE and Xfce desktops. Community editions featuring Trinity, Openbox and LXQt desktops are also available. All the editions can run on the computer alone, or in VirtualBox. PCLinuxOS is an old-school, rolling-release desktop distribution and has been serving the Linux community for 18 years. Changes: speed improvements of installation media; better compatibility with VirtualBox; easier guest additions install within Virtualbox; installation support to a f2fs partition; systemd-free since 2003." Here is the brief release announcement.
* * * * *
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: 2,325
- Total data uploaded: 36.1TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|Opinion Poll (by Jesse Smith)
Caching files in RAM
In this week's Questions and Answers column we talked about tools used to store files in memory, making them faster to access than if they were only available on a hard drive. Do you use any tools like preload or vmtouch
to cache files into RAM for quick access? Let us know which file caching tool you use in the comments.
You can see the results of our previous poll on keep it simple distributions in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
To cache files I use...
|preload: ||71 (6%)|
| vmtouch: ||23 (2%)|
| Other: ||50 (4%)|
| I do not pre-cache files: ||989 (87%)|
One of our authors interviewed
This past week Jackson Kelly of Console sat down with DistroWatch contributor Jesse Smith to discuss his background, career, and the process of porting software between open source operating systems. The interview has been published in Console Edition #39.
* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list
- AlmaLinux. AlmaLinux is a binary compatible clone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, maintained by CloudLinux.
- Freeduc-usb. Freeuc-usb is a live distribution based on Debian. It runs the Cinnamon desktop, offers data persistence, and ships with non-free firmware to support a wider range of hardware.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 15 February 2021. Past articles and reviews can be found through our Article Search page. To contact the authors please send e-mail to:
- Jesse Smith (feedback, questions and suggestions: distribution reviews/submissions, questions and answers, tips and tricks)
- Ladislav Bodnar (feedback, questions, donations, comments)
- Bruce Patterson (podcast)
|Linux Foundation Training
|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • @SplitLinux (by Drac63 on 2021-02-08 00:34:00 GMT from Australia) |
Thanks Jesse, on this weeks newsletter. "Split Linux" is indeed avery interesting distro, yet DW has not allocated page for it, like all other distros, providing an overview, especially in regards to it's init & FS support. Could you look into that. I'm not that technical, and your reply in Question of the week RE Ram, was very helpful in understanding more about the inner workings of Linux. Thank you !!
2 • Caching files in RAM (by Guido on 2021-02-08 01:58:06 GMT from Philippines)
Preload can be installed on the current Ubuntu version 20.10. I've noticed that the boot process is a bit slower with this service. Maybe applications start a little bit faster with it. If I am not wrong, on Lubuntu it is preinstalled already.
3 • Split review (by Otis on 2021-02-08 02:44:03 GMT from United States)
What a strange distro, as described and tested for review here at dw. I'm wondering if any other distro has tried such an approach to privacy; the idea of a "decoy" os to fool or block intrusions. Interesting.. strange. I like it and I'm hoping the reported issues are squashed with further development; perhaps the idea will gain attention from other devs, perhaps even developers of established distros.
4 • SlipLinux = Paranoid to the max. (by Buck Owens on 2021-02-08 03:02:51 GMT from United States)
I'm not even interested in SlipLinux. Waste a partition to try and fool some would be hacker.
5 • Paranoia? (by Wedge009 on 2021-02-08 03:26:24 GMT from Australia)
I think @4 missed the point of SplitLinux (not Slip) - while I don't see any use for it personally or for the majority of users, I can see its usefulness in very hostile environments such countries with oppressive governments and commensurate physical inspection procedures. Particularly people for people who may frequently cross borders into and out of such countries/environments.
6 • RPi and VSCode (by Any on 2021-02-08 07:00:05 GMT from Spain)
Can't they just use VSCodium in Raspberry Pi?
From https://vscodium.com/ :
"VSCodium is a community-driven, freely-licensed binary distribution of Microsoft’s editor VSCode"
"These binaries are licensed under the MIT license. Telemetry is disabled."
7 • On IPFire (by Дмитрий on 2021-02-08 07:14:40 GMT from Russia)
It's funny how IPFire developers have a huge Donate button at the end of their article. We don't support your hardware, so give us money and also buy a new computer. I don't think phasing out 32 bits needs much rationalization nowadays, however what they say is just hilarious. They've mashed up some random facts about Microsoft, 256 MB of RAM, SSE and whatnot. They probably think that people use old hardware just for lulz, to spite the developers.
8 • Console Edition #39 (by Tech in San Diego on 2021-02-08 07:47:28 GMT from United States)
Let me be the first to congratulate you on your interview with Console. I found the article to be engaging and learned more about you and what makes you "tick". The thoroughness and extra time that you put into your reviews is evident and greatly appreciated by this reader and, if I might be so bold, as to include the entire "DistroWatch" community.
No one person deserves the recognition more than you. You have come up with so many wonderful ideas and contributed so much to the Linux community, and we are all better for it.
Again, thank you for your efforts and dedication, you have inspired me to work on my new project with a renewed vigor and to follow my dreams.
All the Best!
Tech in San Diego
9 • Caching files in RAM (by Jeff on 2021-02-08 08:47:35 GMT from United States)
I do not use preload or any other caching method, I use an SSD so I do not need to wait on disk reads very long.
10 • Split Linux and security by obfuscation (by Barnabyh on 2021-02-08 08:57:48 GMT from Germany)
Some people may not see the need for this but the world is getting more authoritarian. Half the world is now hostile to and actively undermines privacy, human rights and the rule of law and people standing up for them or attempts to find and persecute activists to suffocate any opposition. Something I would not have expected to happen in my lifetime - if you grew up at a time when everything was getting more liberal for decades.
The backlash and democratic rollback is fierce. There is definitely a need for Split Linux. Great idea and Kudos to them. This will be valuable to many, even business travellers to very restrictive countries with a track record of industrial espionage.
11 • Caching files in RAM (by Kazlu on 2021-02-08 08:59:23 GMT from France)
I mount /tmp in RAM at boot time using tmpfs, I guess the counts as caching files although it does not go as far as preload or vmtouch. Temporary files (by definition, you are using them at the moment!) are accessed faster with the extra benefit of being sure they are flushed out when the system shuts down.
12 • @10 Split Linux and Security by Obfuscation (by Anonymous on 2021-02-08 11:28:31 GMT from Singapore)
They mean well, but really? I guess I'll never be so paranoid about computer use at home that I'll go through all those contortions. Yes, I want to be as safe as anyone else. I do have VPNs. Occasionally, I use TOR, and I keep a few important things, such as banking, separate.
Here's what I also do: There is nothing residing in my hard drive, files or history, that I would not want my sainted grandmother to see, or the cursed immigration agent, for that matter. All other things I connect and/or mount as needed. And if I'm crossing a border that makes me uneasy, the last thing I want is a very suspicious-looking huge encrypted partition that screams: "Here I am! I'm hiding something!" My hard drive should not only look clean. It should be clean.
Should I be trying to get by with something that may be a problem, the last thing I want is to stand out, and that means when the border desk-drone asks to turn it on, there is no Linux distro. Best thing is Windows with an ill-fitting picture of wife/children/dog as background, and a clutter of assorted shortcuts and files. Mr or Ms Average.
Encrypted partition? Never on the HD. How about a micro-SD card with two partitions formatted, one in NTFS and the other in ext2-3-4. The Linux partition gets encrypted and gets the juicy stuff. The NTFS partition is filled with innocuous pics, videos, etc. A flash-drive, also partitioned and formatted the same, with a Linux distro installed (not live) on one partition, and the other (NTFS) filled with fluff. If these are among other SD cards or flash-drives with harmless fluff in them, they are much less likely to attract attention. And if they are inserted they will only show what Windows sees.
None of these is foolproof. Best not to carry anything you can't explain. If you have access to the cloud at origin and destination, use that. Or send to your cousin Rufus in advance. Once you arouse suspicion and are passed on to the techies, you are probably sunk.
13 • Main machine or auxiliary fleet of eee pc? (by MInuxLintEbianDedition on 2021-02-08 11:55:15 GMT from United Kingdom)
Tried saving disk space by mounting all tempfs to ram, in my early attempts to fit LMDE into 3.23 GiB, before I started drinking of the bleachbit and learned to set my xargs on the deborphans.
Thinking about it. It probably better if I let root have the space and delete a few of the yucky theme colours.
14 • Split Linux (by nanome on 2021-02-08 12:01:23 GMT from United Kingdom)
Split Linux: plausible deniability on suspect media is an interesting problem. An encrypted file or partition sticks out like a sore thumb, whether or a computer hard drive or removable media or even an anonymous "cloud [someone else's computer].
If a State Actor can find this data and associate it with a person, obscuring its content through encryption is no defense.
Steganography, the hiding the individual bits of an encrypted file as least significant bits a "noisy image", is possible, but still open to attack: those pesky State Actors can be suspicious of too many cute "kitten photos".
Even encryption in the age of SSDs and the difficulty erazing their content presents a challenge.
15 • Microsoft in Mainline Raspberry Software. (by Hank on 2021-02-08 12:28:32 GMT from Netherlands)
That unwanted update made me very angry
Absolute NO GO, reason being this was no prior warning and I was not asked if I wanted the package in MAIN, not as an optional addition.
My purchase of a raspi 4 is cancelled, at least for time being. I am replacing Raspbian with a Beta MX Linux for Raspberry.
16 • Console interview and IPFire (by Jesse on 2021-02-08 15:11:17 GMT from Canada)
@8: "Again, thank you for your efforts and dedication, you have inspired me to work on my new project with a renewed vigor and to follow my dreams."
This makes me very happy. Best of luck with your project and I wish you all the best in chasing your dreams.
@7: "It's funny how IPFire developers have a huge Donate button at the end of their article. We don't support your hardware, so give us money and also buy a new computer."
I think it's more of the other way around - no one is giving them support to maintain 32-bit builds (including upstream) so the architecture is costing the project more than they are making from it. If 32-bit users were supporting the project the IPFire team could hire a part-time developer to keep the architecture running. 32-bit users, unfortunately, need to make a choice: put money into supporting developers to keep software on their platform alive OR upgrade their equipment.
As 32-bit platforms become increasingly niche, the cost:benefit ratio to supporting it increases. The resources to keep it running need to come from somewhere - either financially or from 32-bit users donating their development time.
17 • @10 Split Linux (by Semiarticulate on 2021-02-08 15:19:59 GMT from United States)
Absolutely. Everyone should feel the need to familiarize themselves with tools such as this. It's funny how everyone I talk to tells me that they have absolutely nothing to hide, but it would be a cold day in Hades before they handed me their unlocked laptop.
18 • @8 interview of Jesse (by Otis on 2021-02-08 16:08:30 GMT from United States)
That interview was needed! I'm sure I'm not the only dw devotee who has wanted a mind's eye of Jesse Smith's life. What jumped out at me from the interview text was how Jesse felt challenged by Unix and chose to immerse himself in it more.. then that led to Linux and here we are. :oD
Thanks to all involved here, of course, but man that was impressive, that whole interview, as superimposed over this site and the LInux world in general.
19 • More interviews (by Jesse on 2021-02-08 16:38:51 GMT from Canada)
@18: Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it. If you'd like to hear more about me and my work on DistroWatch, Dedoimedo did an interview about four years ago in which we mostly focused on my work with DistroWatch and our love of Star Trek: https://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/interview-distrowatch.html
20 • Dedoimedo interview (by Otis on 2021-02-08 17:45:33 GMT from United States)
@19 I don't know how I missed that 2017 interview; I'm a regular at Dedoimedo as the distro reviews there attracted me several years ago. Creative writing about tech stuff at its best! I love this person's sense of humor and overall approach to the tech world.
Thank you for that link.
21 • Split (by hotdiggettydog on 2021-02-08 16:55:53 GMT from Canada)
Split sounds like a lot of overkill to me and overly complicated.
There are so many ways to hide data. Veracrypt hidden containers for instance.
If you have the resources use VirtualBox or another and setup your locked down OS.
I would never use Tor or Torbrowser for anything sensitive. Popular Vpn services are safer but not immune to hacks either IE: Nordvpn.
22 • preload (by Nick on 2021-02-08 20:47:01 GMT from United Kingdom)
Jesse says that 'preload' "can speed up boot times". How? It loads files into RAM, but when the computer is off there are no files loaded in RAM.
23 • Files in RAM (by penguinx86 on 2021-02-08 21:12:08 GMT from United States)
I like to use tmpfs to store temporary files in RAM. This increases system performance and reduces SSD wear too. Since these files are temporary anyway, I don't have to worry about losing them when the system reboots. I add these lines to /etc/fstab:
tmpfs /tmp tmpfs defaults,noatime,mode=1777 0 0
tmpfs /var/tmp tmpfs defaults,noatime,mode=1777 0 0
This makes half the RAM available for storing temporary files. I only had a problem with this once. My computer had 8gb of RAM. When I tried downloading a 5gb ISO file, the 4gb tmpfs wasn't big enough to hold it.
24 • Split Linux (by John on 2021-02-09 00:31:33 GMT from Latvia)
Very Interesting and a nice concept. One of the most interesting distros and will keep an eye on them. I can see places were this would be a great OS to use. But you probably should put some non-harmful personal data on the decoy once in a while just to make it look good.
25 • Raspberry Pi idiocy (by Simon on 2021-02-09 02:09:06 GMT from New Zealand)
Why on earth would they build their OS on Debian and then introduce their own idiotic new meanings for well established sections (so that "main" now suddenly means "whatever we Raspberry Pi developers want to put in here" rather than "free software", and "non-free" suddenly means "some of our non-free software, but we're idiots so we put other non-free software in the sections that aren't called non-free")?! There was nothing preventing them from putting the closed-source MS nastiness in an appropriately-named section and still making it an automatically installed default. The fact that they want to undermine their own platform by introducing garbage like that is bad enough already: their "tough, we're going to make irrational decisions because we feel like it" stance towards their community's reasonable objections makes it look as though they're trying deliberately to alienate the community upon whose efforts they build their OS. As #15 said, no more Raspberry Pi OS for me: in fact, I won't be buying any more Raspberry Pi computers. The FSF already lists it among the worst SBCs in terms of closed hardware drivers: now that they're also choosing closed source solutions for other aspects of the platform, and on top of that demonstrating contempt for their users' perfectly valid feedback, it's no longer a contender for best SBC.
26 • @25 (by Simon on 2021-02-09 02:12:25 GMT from New Zealand)
I mean "non-free"...I assume it's still open source (though it's even worse if it is in face closed source too).
27 • Raspberry Pi vs. Microsoft (by Robert McConnell on 2021-02-09 04:47:31 GMT from United States)
Looks like it is time to take a serious look at Slackware/ARM for my next upgrades. I gave up fighting Microsoft's bug ridden garbage 27 years ago. I have no interest in any of their products, nor will I support them in any way. I have four RPi's right now being used for various projects, as well as the two I bought for my grandsons. There will be no more Raspian or RaspberryOS updates installed on any of them.
I have to wonder if someone got a significant 'gift' from Microsoft to make this happen. I hope it was worth all of the pain and suffering it will cause.
28 • MS - the largest OS contributor (by whoKnows on 2021-02-09 10:09:25 GMT from Switzerland)
Doesn't matter what, some people will always complain.
"The software giant [Microsoft] is now the single largest contributor to open-source projects in the world, beating Facebook, Docker, Google, Apache, and many others."
Soon, even the Windows 10 will be Open Source.
Remove anything Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and Twitter from Linux and there will be not even 1.5 % of 1.5 % users left.
Actually, there would be no good reason on Earth to even mention that Linux and Open Source ever existed.
29 • @28 MS as the biggest OS contributor (by Ivan on 2021-02-09 10:27:39 GMT from Hungary)
I don't get it: what makes Microsoft the biggest Open Source contributor? The article cites a few project of theirs, but no numbers, no comparisons. Without any cold hard data, I cannot believe MS would be *the biggest* OS contributors. (Buying up the already successful Github doesn't count, of course, they hardly have any merit there, if any at all.)
30 • @29 (by whoKnows on 2021-02-09 11:17:32 GMT from Switzerland)
Hmm ... interesting ...
"I don't get it: [...]"
1. Why do you make any comments on a topic if you don't get it?
"The article cites [...] no numbers, no comparisons. Without any cold hard data [...]"
2. I suppose you have a web browser? bing.com and google.com has all the numbers, comparisons and "cold hard data" ready for you.
"[...] I cannot believe MS would be *the biggest* [...]
3. Your "belief" is irrelevant.
One way or the other, better believe that if you have something against Microsoft and Co., you'll soon be replacing the computer with a pen and paper.
31 • Open source contributions (by Otis on 2021-02-09 14:05:37 GMT from United States)
@30 The spirit of open source is left behind as not relevant to Microsoft, and, sadly, many Linux distro developers. No data to back up that notion. Sorry. To some my belief about that is irrelevant, I'm certain.
I see open source as having no corporate or even profit hope on its horizon, and also as having "sharing" as a replacement for "exploiting." Difficult to put one's finger on. But maybe you get my point. Maybe not.
32 • To drive point home... (by Otis on 2021-02-09 14:12:25 GMT from United States)
...open source devotees at their best are those planting seeds, cultivating, and sharing. Microsoft et al are picking the fruit, modifying it, and selling it, all the while aggressively moving forward with their scorched Earth corporate ethic of market takeover.
That's not, in my opinion, "contributing to open source," no matter what code they insert into their product.
33 • @31, 32, Open source contribution points (by Anonymous on 2021-02-09 15:54:51 GMT from Singapore)
With "no profit hope on its horizon", how is open source going to keep going with no deep pockets to fund it? Begging?
"open source devotees at their best are those planting seeds, cultivating, and sharing." Unfortunately, most open source devotees are just consuming without paying. That's called freeloading.
"Microsoft et al are picking the fruit, modifying it, and selling it, all the while aggressively moving forward with their scorched Earth corporate ethic of market takeover." Please give specific examples.
34 • "begging," etc (by Otis on 2021-02-09 17:16:34 GMT from United States)
Donate buttons aren't begging. Having a day job and working on your BSD or Linux project is devotion to open source. In a few important ways you're making my point.
35 • Rasp Pi distro (by Cole Danwell on 2021-02-09 17:24:19 GMT from United States)
There are many distros that should work on the rasp pi that won't compromise the open source spirit. I believe they can be searched for here on Distrowatch.
36 • open source for people not profit (by Cole Danwell on 2021-02-09 17:25:53 GMT from United States)
I value DistroWatch and often applaud Jesse and the DistroWatch crew for bringing us a plethora of info on the people focused open source world. My organization runs a truly not-for-profit group that refurbishes old computers and donates them to, and instructs, low-income and abused people. We support efforts that put people above profits.
However, as an arts organization and publisher, I could not follow the link to the pages of console. Many think this is 'political'. It is not. It is a matter of honesty and decency. console is part of the Amaz0n empire, which was founded by coercing a small bookshop to steal their name and URL. It is parasitic. My organization condemns any use of open source for profit.
A new acronym used by responsible people is GAFAM. It represents huge corporations that succeed by abusing the public and destroying countless worthwhile, unique small businesses. I personally know of many ruined by these greedy soulless entities. They are deceitful, infiltrating people powered open source projects and injecting virulent capitalism to corrupt them. They always work to control everything for their own agrandizement at the cost of people's safety and prosperity. They are thugs and bullies.
Linux, the WWW, open source and organizations like ours were founded to help people, not increase the obscene wealth of the greedy and abusive.
37 • Open source for profit (by Jesse on 2021-02-09 18:09:37 GMT from Canada)
@36: "My organization condemns any use of open source for profit."
If your organization feels so strongly about open source not being used for profit, to the point where you won't visit a website to read an article, then I'm curious where you draw the line? Almost every website in the world is run on an organization which uses open source software in order to maintain a profitable business. Either using free Linux cloud operating systems to resell to website owners, or storing files on an Amazon cloud backend, or using Linux servers on Microsoft's Azure for computation. Nearly every news organization, social network site, and for-profit website in the world uses open source server side scripting in order to make money. Almost every major web browser is based on open source technology and brings in money for the organization and its developers.
On a practical level a lot of the open source software you may run, perhaps even install on refurbished computers, is developed by people working for profit. The Linux kernel itself, again most web browsers, many command line tools... all done to make money.
This isn't a bad thing. If people didn't pay me to work on and deploy open source software then I couldn't contribute to most of the open source projects I do and I wouldn't be able to dedicate time to working on DistroWatch. For-profit organizations building off and profiting from open source are why most of the technologies, software, and websites you use exist.
On an ideological level it's odd to find people entirely opposed to free and open source developers making a profit. Even the Free Software Foundation takes a stance in favour of selling and making money off free software. ("We encourage people who redistribute free software to charge as much as they wish or can. If a license does not permit users to make copies and sell them, it is a nonfree license. ") And they are about as hard core as it gets when it comes to helping each other and giving back to software projects.
38 • Open Source and Profit (by Cole Danwell on 2021-02-09 19:14:29 GMT from United States)
I appreciate your thoughtful response. My comment "My organization condemns any use of open source for profit." Has a larger context than what would be appropriate to expand here. As comment @32 says: "Microsoft et al are picking the fruit, modifying it, and selling it, all the while aggressively moving forward with their scorched Earth corporate ethic of market takeover." That better expresses our position. What we decry is the exploitation and deceitful infiltration of open source by abusive organizations to further their obscene profit. Most businesses can generate a reasonable profit without being abusive of people or their open source work. Our organization does not use "an Amazon cloud backend, or using Linux servers on Microsoft's Azure " For over 16 years we have used a great small business hosting service here in the united states. We use duckduckgo because it is much more ethical. We buy our tech from reputable independent businesses. We try our best to be honest, caring, responsible and ethical in our actions.
Thank you for your great contributions to an open community of people.
39 • Open source profit vs begging, @34, @36 (by Anonymous on 2021-02-09 19:20:57 GMT from Singapore)
@34- You can't be that naive. You really think Linux has gotten to where it is by the effort and "devotion" of people working out of their kitchens in their spare time? Donate buttons? Look at the bottom of this week's DW weekly where they have a "TIp Jar." They have collected the grand old sum of $6.02 at this time. You really think distros with donate buttons do much better? You wonder why distros keep appearing and disappearing? Now take a look at where Linus Torvalds and the Linux Foundation get funding:
@36, You do realize that were it not for the greedy capitalistic entities that designed and built the computers you refurbish you would have zilch to donate to your low income abused?
40 • Computing: minimizing greed and abuse as best we can (by Cole Danwell on 2021-02-09 19:37:00 GMT from United States)
@39 I recently read (don't have the source handy) about a group in an eastern block country that was building computers from scratch that were being sold to people in that country that couldn't afford GAFAM systems. And, there is a man at http://www.sunrise-ev.com who has home built replicas of old computers available. Also, there have been computer developers who did not exploit people but were more altruistic. The whole spirit of open source hardware and software and refurb. is to be more responsible to our world and its people and to avoid becoming selfish abusive capitalists. And, yes, often we (and others in our group) work at creating hardware and refurbing on our kitchen table. I've even heard that the creator of Puppy Linux has worked at his 'kitchen table' occasionally.
41 • devotion.. (by Otis on 2021-02-09 21:16:10 GMT from United States)
..to what? @39 ..we're all devoted. Microsoft is devoted. Eric Turgeon is devoted. Wide disparity in there respective passions, yet they're both involved with open source in their own ways.
Again, I feel that Microsoft is not contributing toward open source any more than strip miners are contributing toward the environment; yep they're there, and they're providing a product perceived to be needed.
42 • Open Source or Free Software (by Robert McConnell on 2021-02-10 02:12:18 GMT from United States)
Many of you hoping for no corporate entanglements are actually describing Free Software, much as RMS envisioned it. The various versions of the GPL are used to protect the code from being exploited, far different from the Open Source licenses which all allow the code to be repurposed for proprietary use. Most commercial users of code try to pretend there is no difference, hoping we all will forget that Free Software actually exists. Personally , I will not contribute to Open Source projects, only Free Software. I feel it is important to maintain a clear distinction between them.
43 • @39 Distros with donate buttons (by Elford on 2021-02-10 09:48:49 GMT from Austria)
Some distros (and some non-distro free software projects) do relatively well. Look at the Linux Mint blog. In december 2020, they received ~2800 USD from patreons, and nearly 24 000 USD from other (non-Patreon) donations. While this may be an exceptionally well-supported project, it does show that it is possible to get enough funding just from donations. (And for what my opinion's worth, Linux Mint does deserve the donations, what with their LTS releases, alternative Debian edition, and snap being supported but disabled by default, to cite a few advantages.)
44 • Distrowatch donations (by Andy Prough on 2021-02-10 15:06:45 GMT from United States)
I send all my Brave Rewards to Distrowatch, and I would highly recommend that any other DW readers who use the Brave browser do the same. DW is one of the few GNU/Linux sites that has gone to the trouble to become a Brave Verified Creator, allowing them to receive and process Brave reward tokens and monetize them. It's a very simple way to contribute $3 to $5 a month or even more to DW simply by allowing a few unobtrusive, non-tracking, non-spyware ads.
45 • GPL vs. Open source etc. (by Cole Danwell on 2021-02-10 16:03:22 GMT from United States)
@42 Thanks Robert for making that important distinction. It will help us all to make decisions that reflect our intentions and values.
I presume that RMS (also RootMeanSquare) refers to the GPL elder statesman,Mr. R. Stallman
Also, I was sad to see the end of the minino distro. I have used it to make old computers usable for people.
46 • Donatoins to DW (by Otis on 2021-02-10 18:28:51 GMT from United States)
I confess to a strange sort of blind spot in my knowledge of DW's financial roots and relationships. The site has ads. The site has a button/link to get a few bucks from us. My hope is that it is not now nor ever will be in danger of extinction due to any reason at all let alone financial.
I once traced a link here to a company in Dubai. So.. I guess everything is okay.
47 • RAM (by Jay on 2021-02-11 13:04:25 GMT from United States)
preload to RAM as in DRAM? I think that may be yesterday's tweak. Some L3 on processor cache RAM are large enough to fit entire operating systems, albeit small & basic such as Kolibri OS. Perhaps some microkernels as well. But still, imagine that! Something for bloated Linux and BSD to really think about, or atleast give a holler to chip designers. Its definitely far easier for chip manufacturers to keep expanding L1 to L3 cache RAM sizes over pushing for ever tinier nanometer nodes. I suppose thats also why an FPGA can blow most CPUs out of the water in specific tasks, with its very high speed drivers.
48 • tmpfs as ramdrive (by GeirH on 2021-02-11 13:31:16 GMT from Norway)
To save wear on my ssd I'm using tmpfs. Created 3 empty folders:
/ram/ (root.root drwxrwxrwt )
/tmp/ (root.root drwxrwxrwt )
/var/log/ (root.root drwxrwxrwt )
Added to end of fstab:
tmpfs /ram tmpfs size=15032385536,noatime,nodiratime 0 0
tmpfs /tmp tmpfs size=7538212864,noatime,nodiratime 0 0
tmpfs /var/log tmpfs size=1073741824,noatime,nodiratime 0 0
I'm using devuan 2.0 with 16gb of ram. And
/ram is 14gb and used for download and media playback and other things.
/tmp is 7gb and emty at each boot,
/var/log is 1gb and works at each boot without any further config.
Doesn't use more ram than you put into them.
49 • IPFire (by Well-Wisher on 2021-02-12 08:23:29 GMT from India)
Supporting less than 10% of the world's market is still a great amount of wealth.
50 • General confusion on economics (by Daniel on 2021-02-12 15:28:31 GMT from Brazil)
@36: Every time I read such debates on free/open stuff, not for profit etc. there is a lot of confusion on basic concepts. Profit is the necessary gain from some form of work. It means the value you get from the work you do. How could profit be bad???? Come on. What is bad is economic abuse, backstabbing contractual practices, market vultures... This sounds too much like blind communism.
No system will do any good if it is run by people with bad intents. But an imperfect system can do wonders if run with good intents. It’s easier to blame “the system” whatever it is, right? I too participate and run some charity programs here, but the focus is *to assist people* because that’s where the real solution is.
I really hope all the best on your organization’s projects, that you can be *sustainable* and that you can provide the right tools to the people who need it, in order to make their lives better, make them better people, and that they can strive regardless of any such “system” (be it free/open/closed, capitalist/communist, whatever) is in place.
51 • profit (by Ots on 2021-02-12 15:54:32 GMT from United States)
@50 Profit is not bad any more than anything else with possible misplaced or even dangerous potential is bad. In the case of Microsoft's use of open source, I see profit as bad as compared to most BSD and Linux open source distros with donate buttons on their websites.
To pull out the word/concept of profit as bad when discoursing about the relative differences between what Microsoft is doing as compared to what KaOS or FreeBSD developers are doing seems like just a diversion in the conversation.
Number of Comments: 51
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|• Issue 1009 (2023-03-06): Nemo Mobile and the PinePhone, matching the performance of one distro on another, Linux Mint adds performance boosts and security, custom Ubuntu and Debian builds through Cubic|
|• Issue 1008 (2023-02-27): elementary OS 7.0, the benefits of boot environments, Purism offers lapdock for Librem 5, Ubuntu community flavours directed to drop Flatpak support for Snap|
|• Issue 1007 (2023-02-20): helloSystem 0.8.0, underrated distributions, Solus team working to repair their website, SUSE testing Micro edition, Canonical publishes real-time edition of Ubuntu 22.04|
|• Issue 1006 (2023-02-13): Playing music with UBports on a PinePhone, quick command line and shell scripting questions, Fedora expands third-party software support, Vanilla OS adds Nix package support|
|• Issue 1005 (2023-02-06): NuTyX 22.12.0 running CDE, user identification numbers, Pop!_OS shares COSMIC progress, Mint makes keyboard and mouse options more accessible|
|• Issue 1004 (2023-01-30): OpenMandriva ROME, checking the health of a disk, Debian adopting OpenSnitch, FreeBSD publishes status report|
|• Issue 1003 (2023-01-23): risiOS 37, mixing package types, Fedora seeks installer feedback, Sparky offers easier persistence with USB writer|
|• Issue 1002 (2023-01-16): Vanilla OS 22.10, Nobara Project 37, verifying torrent downloads, Haiku improvements, HAMMER2 being ports to NetBSD|
|• Issue 1001 (2023-01-09): Arch Linux, Ubuntu tests new system installer, porting KDE software to OpenBSD, verifying files copied properly|
|• Issue 1000 (2023-01-02): Our favourite projects of all time, Fedora trying out unified kernel images and trying to speed up shutdowns, Slackware tests new kernel, detecting what is taking up disk space|
|• Issue 999 (2022-12-19): Favourite distributions of 2022, Fedora plans Budgie spin, UBports releasing security patches for 16.04, Haiku working on new ports|
|• Issue 998 (2022-12-12): OpenBSD 7.2, Asahi Linux enages video hardware acceleration on Apple ARM computers, Manjaro drops proprietary codecs from Mesa package|
|• Issue 997 (2022-12-05): CachyOS 221023 and AgarimOS, working with filenames which contain special characters, elementary OS team fixes delta updates, new features coming to Xfce|
|• Issue 996 (2022-11-28): Void 20221001, remotely shutting down a machine, complex aliases, Fedora tests new web-based installer, Refox OS running on real hardware|
|• Issue 995 (2022-11-21): Fedora 37, swap files vs swap partitions, Unity running on Arch, UBports seeks testers, Murena adds support for more devices|
|• Issue 994 (2022-11-14): Redcore Linux 2201, changing the terminal font size, Fedora plans Phosh spin, openSUSE publishes on-line manual pages, disabling Snap auto-updates|
|• Issue 993 (2022-11-07): Static Linux, working with just a kernel, Mint streamlines Flatpak management, updates coming to elementary OS|
|• Full list of all issues|
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Star Labs - Laptops built for Linux.
View our range including the highly anticipated StarFighter. Available with coreboot open-source firmware and a choice of Ubuntu, elementary, Manjaro and more. Visit Star Labs for information, to buy and get support.