| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 970, 30 May 2022
Welcome to this year's 22nd issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
In a world increasingly full of companies and organizations spending great amounts of time and money to track Internet users, it can feel as though someone is always looking over your shoulder. There are a handful of Linux distributions which try to improve a person's privacy while they are on-line. One such distribution is Tails, a Debian-based project which filters its network traffic through the Tor network. We begin this week with a look at Tails and some of the new improvements which have gone into Tails 5. Do you use a privacy-focused distribution? Let us know which is your favourite in this week's Opinion Poll. Speaking of privacy, users of Linuxfx will be disappointed to learn the project exposed its database of users to the public and we share details on this in our News section. We also share plans the Budgie developers have for their desktop environment and talk about a configuration issue which is terminating processes on Ubuntu. While we often talk about minimal distributions where users can add extra software as needed, we rarely talk about the reverse process. In this week's Questions and Answers column we discuss taking apart a heavy distribution to make it smaller. We are then 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!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
The Tails distribution, also known as The Amnesic Incognito Live System, is a Debian-based project which seeks to provide anonymous web browsing and on-line communication for its users. The project connects to the Internet through the Tor network, making it more difficult for other people to identify and track users running Tails.
Tails 5.0 (and later versions of the 5.x series - there are new releases scheduled at the rate of about one per month) are based on Debian 11 "Bullseye". There are some key changes in the 5.x series and I've picked out what I feel are the highlights. One is the introduction of the Kleopatra key and certificate manager:
We added Kleopatra to replace the OpenPGP Applet and the Password and Keys utility, also known as Seahorse. The OpenPGP Applet was not actively developed anymore and was complicated for us to keep in Tails. The Password and Keys utility was also poorly maintained and Tails users suffered from too many of its issues until now. Kleopatra provides equivalent features in a single tool and is more actively developed.
Another change concerns adding extra software to persistent installs of Tails:
The Additional Software feature of the Persistent Storage is enabled by default to make it faster and more robust to configure your first additional software package.
Another point which stuck out in the project's announcement was the use of driverless printing and scanning to support more devices:
The new support for driverless printing and scanning in Linux makes it easier to make recent printers and scanners work in Tails.
Tails is available in two flavours. One is a disk image disk (IMG) which can be written to a USB thumb drive and used for persistent storage. The other download option is an ISO file which can be burned to a DVD or more conveniently run in a virtual machine. Both files are approximately 1.2GB.
The Tails media boots to the GNOME desktop and opens a configuration window that offers to help us set the desktop's language, keyboard layout, and locale. There is also a button at the bottom of the window which opens a second settings panel. This one offers more toggles and options such as setting a root password, disabling networking, enabling/disabling MAC address spoofing, and enabling the Unsafe Browser - a browser that does not try to keep you anonymous, but can be used to sign into network portals (like the ones used by many businesses).
I discovered changing my preferred language also caused the keyboard layout to change. This is an inconvenience for me since my desired language is Canadian English, but my keyboard is US English.
The next page of the welcome window asks if we want to connect to Tor automatically or manually. The automatic approach may make it more apparent that Tor is being used if someone is monitoring our network traffic. Tails will attempt to connect to Tor and then let us know when our network connection is ready.
Tails 5.0 -- Connecting to the Tor network
(full image size: 120kB, resolution: 1920x1080 pixels)
Tails runs the GNOME 3.38 desktop environment with a thin panel across the top of the display. This panel holds the Activities button, the system tray and two classic GNOME style drop-down menus called Applications and Places. These two menus provide access to a classic application menu and shortcuts which will open the file manager in commonly accessed areas. On the desktop we find three icons. One is called Trash and opens the GNOME Files application. The other two, labelled "Report an error" and "Tails documentation", open a web browser to provide access to documentation, support options, and bug reporting tips.
Tails 5.0 -- The Applications menu
(full image size: 65kB, resolution: 1920x1080 pixels)
The bug reporting documentation mentions a convenient tool called WhisperBack which is installed on Tails. This tool helps us organize bug reports and collect system information we can include in issue tickets.
Tails 5.0 -- Collecting data for an error report
(full image size: 125kB, resolution: 1920x1080 pixels)
What makes Tails an interesting and useful platform is its collection of software designed to assist users in their efforts to communicate and browse the web anonymously. The distribution includes the Tor Browser, which is essentially Firefox under another name which connects to the Internet through the Tor network. This hides our IP address from websites we visit.
Tails 5.0 -- Testing the Tor Browser
(full image size: 142kB, resolution: 1920x1080 pixels)
The distribution also ships with a useful file transmission and sharing tool called OnionShare. This application is split into three tabs. The first tab will allow us to select files we want to share over the network. The application then generates a unique URL for the file which allows the file to be accessed by other users through the Tor Browser. After the file has been transferred once OnionShare stops sharing it.
The second tab in the OnionShare application performs the opposite task, generating a unique address that will allow people to connect to our computer and send us a file. The third and final tab sets up a web server (again with a unique URL) which other people can access using the Tor Browser.
Tails 5.0 -- Sharing a file over OnionShare
(full image size: 62kB, resolution: 1920x1080 pixels)
OnionShare may be my favourite application included in Tails. It's wonderfully simple to use, it has a streamlined interface, and it automatically closes its connections after a file as been transferred. This is a great way to send or receive files over the Internet without requiring any additional software, opening firewall ports, or configuring anything. It's entirely a point and click experience and anonymous. As long as the other user has a copy of Tor Browser all that is required is sending them our unique Tor address in order to share files.
Tails also ships with a tool to open Veracrypt archives and access the encrypted volume's files. This is also a friendly point-n-click tool.
The distribution includes the KeePassXC password manager which is handy for keeping track of passwords in an encrypted vault. We're also given the GtkHash application which will generate multiple hash values for a given file. This helps us verify if a file has been corrupted or altered.
One final program which stood out during my trial was Kleopatra. This is a general purpose desktop application for generating security keys, signing files, encrypting data, and decrypting files. Kleopatra has evolved nicely in recent years and I found it pleasantly friendly to use while still offering a Swiss Army knife collection of encryption functions.
Tails 5.0 -- Generating security keys with Kleopatra
(full image size: 155kB, resolution: 1920x1080 pixels)
Along with its special collection of security and privacy tools, Tails ships with some common applications as well. These include the Unsafe Browser (which is essentially Firefox under a different name), Thunderbird, and LibreOffice. We're also treated to the GNU Image Manipulation Program, a simple image viewer, and the Brasero disc burning software. I found the Pidgin messaging software, the Totem video player, and Audacity for editing audio. The distribution includes media codecs, allowing Totem to play audio and video files.
Tails ships with the Synaptic package manager in case we need access to additional software. However, Synaptic's connection to remote repositories can be quite slow since its traffic is routed through Tor. We can also run the usual collection of GNU command line tools and read their accompanying manual pages. Tails runs the systemd suite and, in the background, we find version 5.10 of the Linux kernel.
I experimented with Tails on my laptop and in a VirtualBox virtual machine. When running in the virtual machine Tails performed well. It was stable, desktop performance was okay (not great, but practical). When running on my laptop the distribution ran a bit smoother, offering average desktop performance and detecting my machine's hardware.
Something I found curious was system alerts and the Totem media player would both play audio perfectly, but the Tor Browser would not play audio when I tried watching videos on-line, even when launched in Unsafe mode. I'm not sure if this was intentional or a bug, but other applications played sound out of the box.
The Tails distribution consumed about 645MB of memory when sitting idle at the GNOME desktop. This is actually a little better than some other desktop distributions featuring GNOME that I've tried recently.
I ran into a few quirks with the live media. For instance, my laptop wouldn't boot from the ISO file, just the thumb drive image (IMG) file. I also discovered that, despite the IMG file being just 1.2GB in size, Tails will refuse to boot if the thumb drive it is stored on is less than 8GB in size. I suspect the extra space is required to support the persistent storage feature, but it's required even if we don't enable the persistent storage option.
In the past I've felt as though Tails was one of the better distributions available for people who wanted to communicate anonymously or visit websites without giving away their location. It was a solid tool, if somewhat held back by two issues. One was that some of the included software was either geared more toward technically experienced users or hadn't yet matured. Early versions of OnionShare come to mind as software which still had some problems when it was first introduced in Tails. The other issue was performance. GNOME is one of the heaviest open source desktop environments and early versions of GNOME 3 were particularly cumbersome, especially when run on lower-end hardware.
What I have appreciated about Tails 5 is it feels like a polished, evolutionary step forward without (as far as I can tell) any regressions from the 4.x series. GNOME 38 still isn't as responsive and smooth as later versions of GNOME (40 and newer) have been for me, but it feels a little better than past releases.
I really like the new Kleopatra tool which acts as a one-stop application for all our encryption key management, file signing, and encryption needs. Kleopatra is another tool I feel has become more polished in recent years and I enjoyed having it in Tails 5.
Both Tor Browser and OnionShare worked beautifully for me. I think Tor Browser has always been a solid experience and it continues to be good. OnionShare was a good idea in the past, but I sometimes encountered stability issues with it. The current version feels easier to use and entirely stable.
I like the initial configuration screen Tails displays when the distribution starts. The default settings lock down the system (using MAC randomization, locking the Unsafe Browser option, and locking admin functions). However, we can toggle these features if we wish to give more flexibility. This walks a careful line between being secure by default while allowing users latitude to perform more actions.
Last, but not least, I appreciate the detail and honesty of the Tails documentation. There are a lot of tips and guidelines on the project's website. I especially appreciate the project is transparent about both the features Tails offers and the limitations. Some projects boast they will prevent all viruses or will keep people safe on-line, or will keep you anonymous. Tails doesn't make wild marketing claims. The developers explain how their tools work and how they help, but also warn there are limits and nothing is guaranteed. I appreciate this balanced approach to keeping users informed.
In short, if you need to browse the web or want to share files without giving away your location, then Tails is probably one of the most secure and easiest to use distribution to do this.
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Hardware used in this review
My physical test equipment for this review was an HP DY2048CA laptop with the following
- Processor: 11th Gen Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-1135G7 @ 2.40GHz
- Display: Intel integrated video
- Storage: Western Digital 512GB solid state drive
- Memory: 8GB of RAM
- Wireless network device: Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 + BT Wireless network card
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Visitor supplied rating
Tails has a visitor supplied average rating of: 4.8/10 from 16 review(s).
Have you used Tails? You can leave your own review of the project on our ratings page.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Linuxfx exposes user database, Ubuntu users seeing processes terminated, Budgie team plans future of their desktop
The Linuxfx project makes a number of questionable claims. This Linux-based system reportedly runs Android applications along with its native GNU/Linux applications. The project's website also claims there are over one million Linuxfx users in the world with over 15,000 downloads per week. Unsurprisingly these claims are not true. One of Linuxfx's features is an on-line registration and activation process, similar to the one used by Windows. This registration process collects information, such as a license key, IP address, and e-mail address which it then uploads to a server. This information, until recently, was publicly exposed and one enterprising user pointed out the database of user information was available for anyone to read. The database lists about 20,000 entries for users. "The fxkeys table contains the metadata for all registered Pro licenses for Linuxfx, consisting of the license key, email address and some other stuff (expiration, quantity of machines licensed, etc.). The machines table contains the metadata for all Linuxfx installations that has phoned home for the first time. It contains the IP address of the machine, some other metadata ripped off a IP geo-location service (set by the client), and the license key (if activated). There are only over 20,000 entries in this file, a far cry from the 1M number claimed by the company. With this information, anybody can correlate an activated installation along with its IP address with its owner's email address, which is not good."
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Some people running the new 22.04 version of Ubuntu have reported a problem with the way the distribution now handles low memory situations. In the past, Ubuntu (like most Linux distributions) would allow processes to consume as much memory as they wanted. This would sometimes result in applications gobbling up memory and then swap space, resulting in more disk access and poor performance. Ubuntu now employs the systemd out of memory (OOM) service which will kill processes when memory gets close to full. Some people are feeling the side effects of this change, specifically finding applications (and their related processes) are suddenly terminating without warning. "Ubuntu 22.04 comes with the systemd-oomd service enabled by default, which has been 'helpfully' killing my IDE and/or terminals whenever I try to compile an application using an abundance of threads/memory. What is the right way to either turn this off, or configure the service to not shoot random processes in the face while I'm using them?" The new behaviour can be turned off using the command "sudo systemctl disable --now systemd-oomd" and a bug has been filed for this issue.
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While the Budgie desktop environment is mostly associated with the Solus project, the desktop has been picked up and packaged for other Linux distributions. Development of Budgie has been fairly quiet recently, but that looks to be about to change. Joshua Strobl has published an overview of plans for Budgie, both the current version (10) and the upcoming Budgie 11. Some of the plans involve switching from old technologies running behind the scenes to new ones: "Deprecate our use of libwnck and separate our 'Abomination' application tracking library into a dedicated library for use in both Budgie 10 and 11. The immediate priority will be supporting X11 directly in this library but an important objective for it for Budgie 11 is supporting Wayland. While it is not guaranteed to happen for Budgie 10.x, if we happen to be in a position with Budgie 10 and the library that we support both X11 and Wayland, with no other hard deps on X11, it is not entirely out of the realm of possibility to have a Budgie 10 under Wayland." The detailed report has a lot more information.
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Taking apart a Linux distro
Tear-it-all-down asks: Lots of Linux distros let you build from the ground up - LFS, Arch, Gentoo, etc - but I want to know about the reverse process. How hard is it to take a fully functioning distro like Ubuntu and deconstruct it? Any tips or common steps involved you can share?
DistroWatch answers: While it is possible to start with a full featured distribution and whittle it down to something smaller, the process is longer and often more tricky than starting small and working up. This is why it's more common to find distributions which start from scratch, or with a minimal base and encourage users to add more components, rather than having a large project offer tools to trim down the installation.
In fact, with most distributions it will be easier to start from a minimal base and work up. If you have the urge to reduce an Arch-based system you can start with Arch itself (or one of its many minimal children) instead. If you want to get a minimal version of Debian or Ubuntu there are net-install and Core editions of these two, respectively. The same applies for openSUSE with its network image. In fact, almost all of the major distributions offer some form of minimal install base, or have a parent distribution which does. This means it's rare someone would want or need to start with a large install and work backwards to minimize it.
While starting with a full install and trimming the fat from it is harder, it's certainly possible. I think there are three important things to keep in mind if you're going to try to slim down an existing distribution:
While these steps will allow you to shrink an existing distribution, your efforts will probably yield better (and faster) results if you start with a minimal spin of your distribution (or its parent) and add just the items you need.
- Figure out why you want to remove something before you remove anything. Don't just rush in, slicing pieces out of the distribution. It's likely to break something and probably won't offer a practical benefit. Identify a specific problem or issue and then look toward addressing that issue. For example, if you want to improve boot times, don't just remove a handful of packages, you can accomplish just as much by disabling unwanted services or starting them later. If your desktop environment is taking up too much RAM, don't just remove it and replace it with something else. Look at what services the desktop is starting and disable or remove the extra components. You can make most systems faster and lighter without removing anything entirely. It's often more efficient to reduce the number of items which start automatically than replace them.
- Use the package manager. Some people want to dive in and remove items by hand, removing executable files or libraries they feel are no longer necessary. This usually leads to disaster. Most distributions include a package manager which can not only remove software cleanly, but it can also warn you if the package you are removing will break other components. You might believe you don't want or need the Samba software package since you don't use network shares, but your file manager might use it as a run-time dependency. Removing Samba might remove your file manager or cause it to stop working. Your package manager will warn you of this.
- Test your changes often. It can be tempting to start cutting out packages you don't want anymore and just keep slashing out the cruft. However, I recommend keeping notes of what you're doing and rebooting often to test each major change. You don't want to remove twenty different packages only to find out your system no longer boots and you don't know which change broke it. Try removing one or two packages, then restarting, then remove another package, then restart again. That way it'll be clear which package was necessary and caused the Jenga blocks to all come crashing down.
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Additional answers can be found in our Questions and Answers archive.
|Released Last Week
Alpine Linux 3.16.0
The Alpine Linux is a lightweight distribution well suited to server and container workloads. The Alpine team have announced the first release of the 3.16 series. "We are pleased to announce the release of Alpine Linux 3.16.0, the first in the v3.16 stable series. Various improvements in the setup scripts: Better support for NVMe. Administrator user creation. Possibility to add SSH keys. New setup-desktop script for easy install of desktop environment. Go 1.18, LLVM 13, Node.js (current) 18.2, Ruby 3.1, Rust 1.60, GNOME 42, KDE Plasma 5.24 / KDE Applications 22.04 / Plasma Mobile Gear 22.04, Python 3.10, PHP 8.1, R 4.2, Xen 4.16, Podman 4.0. Significant changes: sudo has been moved to community repository, which means that only latest stable release branch will get security updates in the future. Suggested replacement is doas or doas-sudo-shim." This release also removed PHP 7 and Python 2. Additional details are available in the release announcement.
Clonezilla Live 3.0.0-26
Clonezilla Live is a Debian-based live CD containing Clonezilla, a partition and disk cloning software. The project's latest version, Clonezilla Live 3.0.0-26, is based on Debian's Unstable branch and includes version 5.17 of the Linux kernel. "The underlying GNU/Linux operating system has been upgraded. This release is based on the Debian 'Sid' repository as of 2022-05-22; Linux kernel has been updated to 5.17.6; Partclone has been updated to 0.3.20; this release supports APFS (Apple File System) imaging/cloning now; added LUKS support; a better mechanism than dd is implemented; it's recommended to encrypt the image when saving the LUKS device; updated the de_DE, el_GR, es_ES, fr_FR, ja_JP, hu_HU, pl_PL and sk_SK language files; added wavemon, memtester, edac-utils, shc and uml-utilities to the live system; removed s3ql from the live system; a better mechanism to check GPT/MBR format of a disk has been implemented - this is a workaround to deal with ChromeOS Flex partition table." Additional details are in the release announcement.
AlmaLinux OS 9.0
The AlmaLinux OS team have announced the release of a new version of their Red Hat Enterprise Linux clone. The project published AlmaLinux OS 9.0 which includes support for four CPU architectures and runs version 5.14 of the Linux kernel. "AlmaLinux OS 9.0 is based on upstream kernel version 5.14 and contains enhancements around cloud and container development and improvements to the web console (Cockpit). This release also delivers enhancements for security and compliance, including additional security profiles, greatly improved SELinux performance and user authentication logs. Other various updates include Python 3.9, GCC 11 and the latest versions of LLVM, Rust and Go compilers to make modernizing the applications faster and easier. You can read more about it by checking out the release notes." Additional details can be found in the release announcement.
Ronnie Whisler has announced the release of a brand-new version of LXLE, a lightweight distribution based on Ubuntu and featuring the LXDE desktop. The new version is based on the long-term supported Ubuntu 20.04: "After many weeks of tweaks, adjustments and issues addressed, the final version of LXLE Focal is being released for public criticism. This version is based on Ubuntu 20.04.4 LTS with LXDE. This release concentrated on keeping the distribution light yet providing full-featured apps and utilities necessary to deal with today's computing demands. Issues addressed: Image Writer updated; Stick Formater updated; Driver Manager updated; Languages Installer updated; Input Method updated; PPA Library Additions updated; Xarchiver Contextual Menu fixed. Replaced Applications: Arista replaced with HandBrake; Pinta replaced with GIMP; Pluma replaced with Mousepad; SeaMonkey replaced with LibreWolf; AbiWord/Gnumeric replaced with LibreOffice; Mirage replaced with Viewnior; Linphone/Pidgin replace with uTox." Continue to the release announcement for a full list of changes, known issues and screenshots.
LXLE Focal -- Running the LXDE interface
(full image size: 5.7MB, resolution: 2560x1600 pixels)
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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: 2,727
- Total data uploaded: 42.1TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|Opinion Poll (by Jesse Smith)
Favourite privacy-focused distro
We started this week with a look at Tails, a privacy oriented distribution which strives to make on-line web browsing and communication anonymous. While Tails is one of the better known privacy focused distributions, there are others. Which of the privacy oriented distributions is your favourite? Let us know yours best and worst experiences with anonymity protecting software in the comments.
You can see the results of our previous poll on the Unity desktop environment in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Which is your favourite privacy-focused distro?
|Linux Kodachi: ||45 (3%)|
| Septor: ||24 (2%)|
| Tails: ||355 (25%)|
| Whonix: ||66 (5%)|
| Other: ||72 (5%)|
| I do not use privacy distros: ||855 (60%)|
Donations and Sponsors
Each month we receive support and kindness from our readers in the forms of donations. These donations help us keep the web server running, pay contributors, and keep infrastructure like our torrent seed box running. We'd like to thank our generous readers and acknowledge how much their contributions mean to us.
This month we're grateful for the $84 in contributions from the following kind souls:
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DistroWatch database summary
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This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 6 June 2022. 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 • Tails (by Former on 2022-05-30 00:34:18 GMT from United States) |
What are we commenting today about? ;-)
I like Tails
2 • Tails (by Andy Prough on 2022-05-30 01:03:47 GMT from United States)
Putting Gnome on a live USB is just complete nonsense. I can't trust developers or distro designers who make such poor decisions. That's unfortunate, as the basic concept of Tails would have been useful to me otherwise. As it is, I'll never even try it.
3 • not using a privacy based distro (by Jim L on 2022-05-30 01:12:29 GMT from Austria)
I chose the option "I do not use privacy distros" in the poll BUT I did add Tor Browser Bundle, OnionShare, proxychains, Gnu Privacy Assistant, Signal-desktop and KeePassXC to my chosen distro. I also use Luks and zuluCrypt. Network-manager has an option to randomize MAC addresses. I guess I am not paranoid but I do care about privacy in general and I am careful.
I don't use web mail and my ISP doesn't allow me to send mail if I connect through Tor. I'd rather use Thunderbird with the Enigmail plugin than use web mail.
4 • Tails (by S Sharma on 2022-05-30 01:57:22 GMT from United States)
I tried it a few years back as a VM -- it was pathetically slow and cumbersome to use and it won't install on VM disk unless you went thru a lot of contraptions. It wanted to run as a live USB based.
I keep a Septor VM around but rarely use it .. OnionShare sounds interesting will try to see if I can get it on Septor!
5 • Privacy based operating systems? (by Greg Zeng on 2022-05-30 02:26:28 GMT from Australia)
So many people do not understand what a computer operating system might be. The bare systems might use Arch, Debian or Ubuntu core. These are deliberately devoid of additional components: applications, most libraries, themes, and utilities.
There are very many "derivatives" of these specially engineered "cores". The most popular cores are the open source products from Arch, Debian and Ubuntu. The RPM-based "cores" are designed to limit the numbers of dependent operating systems, so becomes very messy.
Privacy can be added or removed from most (all?) computer operating systems. There are many types & levels of computer privacy. Easiest is to start with any "core", then add on the "privacy". However each additional layer of "privacy" slows everything down. Which of the many "cache" assistants, including user-sensitive, forensic, read-ahead, temporary and past recordings?
Microsoft Windows, and some comprehensive Linux systems are famous for being user "friendly", with many types of inbuilt cache assistants. There exist therefore further "aides" for increased "privacy". Extra processes include TOR, VPN, and the many isolated "containers", including applications and operating systems that seem virtually invisible to the main computer system.
The easiest way to determine the privacy breaking components is to compare the additions to the underlying bare-core operating system. Synaptic Package Manager allows this to very quickly become apparent. Removal of the unneeded parts can be risky. As removals are attempted, some "libraries" to also be removed might upset the other parts of the operating system. Hence the emergence of "containers" such as Flatpak & Snap.
6 • Privacy on Linux (by M.Z. on 2022-05-30 03:22:25 GMT from United States)
I've done a bit of tinkering myself to increase privacy, but I mostly use add-ons to Firefox, like DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials & Privacy Badger from the EFF. And of course there are built in options in Firefox worth turning on. These at least curb the problems I'm looking to solve with internet company tracking, and do it with minimal loss in web speed, or even an increase in some cases. I think this is generally good enough for me & probably most privacy conscientious types, though I can certainly respect the urge to go further.
All that being said I think Tails is doing some great things & may well be a necessity for certain people in & near Russia & China, especially Hong Kong & Xinjiang. No to mention numerous other places around the wold. The extra overhead of things like TOR may not be worth it for most users, but I'm truly glad that projects like this exist.
I'm also glad that they at least did some work to tame a few of the rough edges of a default Gnome install, though I often wonder why more projects don't switch to something else like Cinnamon, KDE, or XFCE rather than adding back in broken functionality like system menus. Regardless they are doing important work & I'm glad to hear they are improving they system with new tools.
7 • Tails vulnerability and etc. (by Justme on 2022-05-30 04:29:58 GMT from Latvia)
@Jesse, I expect you used an earlier copy. I'm on tails right now and first thing that popped up was a warning not to use it due to a vulnerability. Fix should be out tomorrow.
@4, "won't install on VM disk unless you went thru a lot of contraptions. It wanted to run as a live USB based." It's not meant to be installed, but will run live on a VM without issues with no 'contraptions" as long you download the ISO and not the IMG.
@5, Having trouble following you. If what you want is privacy at home, seems to me that encryption is the best bet. If you are talking about privacy or anonymity on internet, as long as you are running a live session as on Tails, none of what you write about matters.
8 • Tails (by hank on 2022-05-30 06:21:49 GMT from Iceland)
Lumbering heavyweight gnome desktop monster on a live system, sadly inefficient.
9 • Other (by Qubes on 2022-05-30 06:28:30 GMT from United States)
Where’s the option for Qubes? That has worked very well for me being a privacy-based distro. I feel it’s unfair putting it under the other section when the “privacy” distros like Tails have shown over time they are increasingly against user’s privacy.
10 • @6 (by M.Z.) (by JustSaying on 2022-05-30 08:57:11 GMT from United States)
"I often wonder why more projects don't switch to something else like Cinnamon, KDE, or XFCE rather than adding back in broken functionality like system menus."
Remember the last week's discussion and the posts @55 and @106? That's why.
Just as the @94 put it: "I am very sorry to say that it is you, not your OS GUI..."
Don't travel down the path of @110. Dr.Hu is exactly proving the point mentioned in @106 -- "creature of habit", incapable to adapt and screaming "I want my Windows back". A perfect example of Dunning-Kruger effect. That's why "Whoever ever configures Fedora like on that first image, has a serious problem, but is highly probable unable to notice it." in @106.
@55 and @106 already explained the issue very well -- there is absolutely no need.
If under "broken functionality like system menus" you mean a start menu, then there is no "broken functionality" in Gnome. If under "broken functionality like system menus" you mean system settings, there is again no "broken functionality".
Everything is there. On the login screen, a one has the option to choose between "classic" and "modern". Classic will give one application menu similar to the one in Mint. Modern will give one application menu similar to the one in macOS.
BTW, if one wants to have that classic menu under modern Gnome, one just needs to activate it. Install the "Extensions" extension and switch it on. However, I can hardly see any reason to do so. Why having two start menus?
The workflow is not something God-given. It is the user who creates the workflow. First there was a computer with some GUI, and after that, there was the first computer user ever.
The actual workflow doesn't really change -- the only difference is the design and where do you click on something. Top-left or bottom-left won't make someone more or less effective.
Let's compare modern Gnome and Mint on one example:
Click on Activities, top-left, opens the menu and one more click brings us to all applications. In Mint, one click on Start, bottom-left, opens the start menu and another click on a category brings us to the desired application. Two clicks either way.
If one used the search instead, then we get click on Activities and start typing 'write' and we can start Writer, or we would click on Start, type 'write' and start Writer.
If one uses the "Show desktop" button, one click on "Show desktop" would minimize all open windows, and another click on the application icon on the task bar would bring the desired application back. Instead, one could also place each application on another virtual desktop and then, one would have to click on the Activities first, and then on the desired virtual desktop, that contains the desired application.
Either way, it's always the same number of clicks. The only difference is in the mouse-travel distance, which is irrelevant in most cases. I mean, one is not opening and closing applications all day long. A one opens those few that one needs, and they stay there for days or weeks, until the next reboot. Why close or minimize anything ever?
Whatever system one uses, the most effective way will anyway be to use a handful of keyboard shortcuts. It's not like you need to learn them all, but knowing a half-dozen will help to get more effective and productive. It's much easier to learn one ctrl+alt+> or ctrl+alt+< and switch to another virtual desktop, then to poke on some Activities and "Show desktop"'s.
So, yeah, I can't really understand all that whining about ineffective Gnome.
11 • Which is your favourite privacy-focused distro? (by JamesI on 2022-05-30 09:54:22 GMT from United States)
Other - I use Parrot
12 • Tails (by kc1di on 2022-05-30 10:01:38 GMT from United States)
Sadly though I've used Tails at times. It is slow and cumbersome. Gnome DE is wrong choice for this type of system. Seems they going for something popular instead of secure.
13 • Privacy Distros (by pat on 2022-05-30 11:51:53 GMT from United States)
I have tried Tails and some of the others just to take a look and plow through all those onion layers. The one I found most interesting was Kodachi with its flashy but overwhelming dashboard. I'm surprised Qubes wasn't mentioned since Edward Snowden recommended it. Another is Mofo Linux which shows up periodically, a Ubuntu base and easy to use. I really don't have much need for any of them since I'm not in the KGB or Mossad. Jokes aside, I really don't believe you can be totally anonymous anywhere anymore. Maybe you can some.
14 • Privacy and Gnome (by Dr. Hu on 2022-05-30 12:05:17 GMT from Philippines)
@6, "why more projects don't switch to something else like Cinnamon" Admittedly, Gnome is a heavier DE than most, but I've run Tails without any problem. Granted, I don't have any ancient hardware. Gnome uses some more RAM than some others, about the same as Cinnamon, since Cinnamon is mostly Gnome. I think we forget that without Gnome some of the popular desktops would not exist.
@10, "I want my Windows back" You keep plowing the same row. Most Linux users don't leave Windows because of the desktop layout. There are myriad other grievances that lead them (us) to switch, too many to go into here. Their GUI works well for most people. Most Linux DEs follow the same pattern.
If you could install Gnome, or KDE, or XFCE or Cinnamon on Windows, you'd still be running Windows. There's the rub! The other most popular DE is Mac. Nothing wrong with that either, except for the rigidity, and of course, the cost.
Look at Gnome. Press one key and you have a dock at the bottom (Used to be on the side.) and a mostly useless panel at top. Just like Mac. Me, I like the dock, so I make it visible and configurable, and I get rid of the unsightly black line at the top.
I guess, since only a small percentage of the small percentage of Linux users actually use and like Gnome, the vast majority of the world's population mus be suffering from Whosis effect. Must be something in the water.
15 • Tails (by penguinx86 on 2022-05-30 12:25:34 GMT from United States)
I like Tails for a privacy focused distro. I usually run it as a VM with VirtualBox on LInux Mint. My only complaints with Tails is it's very slow to startup and VERY CPU intensive. Running it on a Core i3 dual core processor isn't optimal. Giving the VM 4gb or 8gb of RAM doesn't help much either. But it seems to work ok once Onion Browser is connected. Works great for accessing 'adult 'websites I don't want the wife or kiddies to see in my browser history. But sadly, Tails is blocked by the Great Firewall of the China Mainland. It is what it is, and it's FREE. Can't complain.
16 • Qubes OS (by Jesse on 2022-05-30 12:26:23 GMT from Canada)
A few people have asked why Qubes OS isn't in this week's poll. Qubes is not a privacy oriented project. It is a security oriented OS. It is not meant to keep you anonymous online. Qubes is designed to limit the fallout from compromised software and information breeches. It's a different class of OS.
17 • create privacy os?? (by mes on 2022-05-30 14:05:14 GMT from Netherlands)
How can I create my own privacy OS based on debian netinstall??
18 • Complaints are Valid (by AlsoJustSaying on 2022-05-30 14:45:32 GMT from United States)
@10 - It is true that there is no "one workflow to rule them all", and it follows that there are many valid approaches to creating a desktop environment. However, neither of those facts means that any approach is exempt from criticism. Gnome has some rough edges, as does every desktop environment. Ignoring valid complaints by saying it's "irrelevant in most cases" or "one just needs to [x]" is counter-productive at best. Good software developers pay attention to these things and improve their products over time.
19 • Tails (by gplcoder on 2022-05-30 15:17:26 GMT from Poland)
A security distro using Gnome with systemd...I'll retire to bedlam.
My vote for best security distro is Qubes but even this is infected with the systemd virus and is massively overweight and based on Fedora/RPM.
What is a really good security distro that is free of these issues?
20 • @14 (by Dr. Hu) (by JustSaying on 2022-05-30 15:24:34 GMT from United States)
OK, now please let me explain you something that you obviously missed here, as my previous writing wasn't anything personal, but a general statement.
""I want my Windows back" You keep plowing the same row. Most Linux users don't leave Windows because of the desktop layout. ... Most Linux DEs follow the same pattern. ... Me, I like the dock ... the vast majority of the world's population mus be suffering from Whosis effect."
I "keep plowing the same row" because it is a simple fact. Most Linux DEs follow the same pattern -- the Windows or the Mac pattern. Why did they leave Windows is irrelevant. The relevant here is, that they got used on that Windows-pattern, which again just proves the "creature of habit" and "incapable to adapt".
It should be pretty obvious why first -- the first popular computers with GUI were Mac and Windows, Windows was more widely used, and those, most peoples first computer was Windows (or OS/2), and most people got used on Windows GUI / workflow.
As of the second, if the users were flexible and capable enough to adapt themselves, they wouldn't complain about the Gnome just because it's different from what they already know. It's actually neither much better, nor it is much worse productivity-wise.
The actual issue is here not what are you preferring or why, nor what am I preferring or why. Everyone should use whatever makes them happy.
The actual issue here are those sentences like "one MUST install extensions on Gnome, to make it usable / bring back the functionality", which simply isn't truth, and which only proves the poor user's state -- the "creature of habit", "incapable to adapt" and "unable to notice the own poor condition".
The vast majority of the world's population IS suffering from Whosis effect -- only they can't notice it themselves because it is situational, and it can strike anybody -- even Einstein, Newton, and Tesla. ;)
"If you're incompetent, you can't know you're incompetent ... The skills you need to produce a right answer are exactly the skills you need to recognize what a right answer is." (Dr. David Alan Dunning)
21 • @18 (by AlsoJustSaying) (by JustSaying on 2022-05-30 15:33:52 GMT from United States)
Complaints are Valid? Sometimes ...
Depends on which complaints you talk about -- the justified complaints or those which are the direct consequence of the "human errors" -- the "creature of habit" and "incapable / unwilling to adapt".
Gnome surely has some rough edges, as does every desktop environment, but you are owing us a valid complaint.
22 • Tails (by bittermann on 2022-05-30 16:05:46 GMT from United States)
I don't have any complaint with Tails since I've never used it but the slowness of the Tor network among other video playback issues. Many websites downright won't let you play back videos due to having an "unknown" network. Just a layman's opinion here...
23 • taking apart a distribution (by dolphin_oracle on 2022-05-30 19:01:46 GMT from United States)
The comment in 2. to use the package manager is spot on. the number of times that folks hose files in the name of removing bloat never ceases to amaze me, in particular when something breaks during a future update.
24 • Gnomish Stuff (by M.Z. on 2022-05-30 21:14:27 GMT from United States)
Well, If you like extra mouse travel, clicking & fighting Gnome is a perfectly use-able desktop; however, the fact they everyone including System76, Red Hat, Tails, & Ubuntu has insisted on providing some heavy level of interface of modifications or add-ons to fix the DE indicates that something is wrong by default to many users. Your tastes suit you & that is fine, but don't pretend that anchovy Pizza should be the only thing ordered at every party just because you like it & ignore that fact that it is a less than popular topping. Perhaps it is loved my a larger # of people than Gnome 3-40+, but among all pizza eaters I'd guess the proportion of people who love it is not any higher than the portion of Linux users who love vanilla Gnome 3-40+. In either case I don't think they are a suitable default, but if they are on the menu of options that's fine.
As for my flexibility, I've grown to love all the new things my UI does with Cinnamon & KDE since I started using Linux. I was even hopeful to keep some of the basic functionality of multiple work-spaces in Windows since I started using version 10 for my current job. It felt far more organized to keep my local emails (for my direct employers & on my physical work laptop) open in a second virtual desktop/workspace while I was mapping things in my remote Citrix desktop on my first workspace. I could also stuff other related programs down there. This functionality seems to be broken in Windows since the last major update though. It certainly feels harder to get things to do what I want them to in Windows than KDE or Cinnamon at any rate. Some desktops just want you to do things their way & adapt regardless of the diminished functionality that they offer, which is a shame because a little more built in functionality would probably suit more users well & be a better design for everyone concerned.
@10 - "...Remember the last week's discussion and the posts..."
No I don't follow every DW discussion thread particularly close. It can be good on occasion, but I've got other stuff going on. I do think I remember someone mentioning people being able to adapt their environment to their needs rather than the other way around like what animals are stuck with. That was a solid point & going too far in the other direction seems to be an epic step backward to me.
25 • Tails lost me.... (by tom joad on 2022-05-30 21:38:54 GMT from United States)
I was annoyed that the 4.x version would not just transition the the 5.x version.
Anyway, I downloaded the five version. I made sure it was legit. And I putzed with it and putzed with it and putzed with it and finally just flat packed it in.
I think the folks running that outfit are more into cutesy and clever and stuff. What they have is nothing one could use in the real world. I know that is harsh. I used to like it a lot. No thanks. I may come back to Tails if they ever get the new verion, or the next new version, figured out.
My thoughts, too, are folks like me plowed through a lot fo 'alpha' and 'beta' releases of Tails over the years. Oh, and systemd and security. I think NOT!
Tails, like Ubuntu, is TOTALLY dead to me.
26 • Tails (by John Doe on 2022-05-31 02:13:11 GMT from Russia)
Does Tails use a hypervisor or does it run "bare-metal"? I think that nowadays privacy-focused OS distributions should run the kernel inside Xen or other lightweight hypervisor and that the browser must be sandboxed. This won't signficantly decrease performance but will greatly reduce the potential for information leaks and other adverse effects in case of compromise.
27 • Tails (by Jesse on 2022-05-31 02:23:24 GMT from Canada)
@26: Tails runs on bare metal.
Why do you think privacy focused projects should run their kernel inside Xen or another minimal hypervisor? What privacy improvement do you think that's going to add? Seems to me that what it's most likely to do is add one more complication, one more performance issue, and one more layer for hackers to exploit. When running a single OS there isn't much benefit to adding a hypervisor, especially in the case of Tails where people tend to run it in live mode.
28 • Qubes (by James on 2022-05-31 02:39:11 GMT from United States)
I’d say Qubes, it’s a privacy and security oriented distro, it’s a shame it has to be lumped under that other category when Tails for instance is more and more privacy unfriendly
29 • Tails (by Panther @10 (JustSaying) on 2022-05-31 02:45:37 GMT from United States)
I use Tails and I think it is a great OS. The documentation on the Tails web page is outstanding.
As with all OS, you really *should* read the documentation
With that said the advantage is that the developers take care of implementing, configuring, and maintaining TOR / TOR browser and other privacy features for you. Of course you can do this yourself but it takes a bit of time.
I agree with other observations, TOR is a bit slow and many web sites are "broken" in a variety of ways from blocking TOR exit nodes to problems of functionality if you block cookies and JS, etc, but this is the "price" you will pay if you wish to use such services / methods / anonymity.
With regard to overall performance, however, it is fairly snappy for what it is (a live image).
It is relatively easy to maintain and upgrade, but, "upgrades" are essentially COW although I am not completely certain how they work, the bottom line is over time, with upgrades, the size of the image on the flash drive increases. From time to time a fresh install is required as either there is no direct upgrade path or the upgrade fails.
I have not used the persistence feature but I would caution against installing a ton of additional software as COW tends to fail at some point if you do.
I give tails to people new to Linux as I think it is a decent basic OS, with the exception of the slow TOR speed and broken web sites, but it is a decent live OS and takes minimal effort to load onto a flash drive. If they are interested enough in Linux to install they can do the foot work at deciding what OS to install and learning the install process.
With regard to the use of Gnome, see the FAQ: https://tails.boum.org/support/faq/index.en.html
"Why does Tails ship the GNOME Desktop?
We had users ask for LXDE, XFCE, MATE, KDE, and so on, but we are not going to change desktop. According to us, the main drawback of GNOME is that it requires quite a lot of resources to work properly, but it has many advantages. The GNOME Desktop is:
Well integrated, especially for new Linux users.
Very well translated and documented.
Doing relatively good regarding accessibility features.
Well maintained in Debian, where it is the default desktop environment.
We invested quite some time in acquiring GNOME knowledge, and switching our desktop environment would require going through that process again.
We are not proposing several desktop environments to choose from because we want to limit the amount of software included in Tails."
At least that is their opinion on the subject and as you can see it is not likely to change any time soon.
In my experience / opinion the vanilla gnome desktop as found on Fedora 36 is just fine with me. It is fast on all my hardware and personally I hate searching through menus for apps / programs. hit the hot corner, the apps I use with any regularity pop right up, no searching. Otherwise, type a few letters, click what I want, simple, fast, elegant. I have no need to extensions, but to each their own.
There is a benefit in choosing your desktop interface and customizing it to your preference and workflow, everyone does, but there is also a point where such opinions regarding DE become prejudice and cloud your judgement, take care to keep an open mind.
30 • @20, Competent workflow (by Dr. Hu on 2022-05-31 04:27:09 GMT from Philippines)
"you can't know you're incompetent" Hurling insults disguised as quotes from some authority is well and good, but it does nothing to advance an argument. "You don't know what you don't know' is an old maxim, no need for pronouncements from whomever. The problem with wielding that sword is that it cuts both ways. if ten people walk by you and tell you you have a frog on your head, a) they are incompetent observers, or b) you have a frog on you head. I'll go with 'b'. So when one starts talking about most of the world being incompetent, it's time for one .to doubt the competence. of he who thinks he knows.
Workflow: Jesse reviewed Unity last week, and it does a much better job of redirecting workflow than Gnome. This guy on YouTube does an excellent demonstration. Demonstration, not pontification:
Workflow is about time and motion. I have two distros on my hard drive, one with Gnome and one with Plasma. There is nothing I can do on Gnome better or as well as I can do it in Plasma. I like Gnome, but it's no magician of workflow. You can do better? Demonstrate! Do what this guy did, and show how it's done instead of denigrating others.
It should take more than one click to shut down a system, for obvious reasons. Two is ideal, three maybe. Gnome takes four, and you have to slide the cursor all the way to the top right corner, scroll down, click, and then go to the center and click again. Gnome has a bottom dock. Yes, they call it a dash. It's still a dock. But the dock is hidden, and I have to hit the 'meta" key. Why? To see the overview? But all I want is to start my browser or terminal which sit right on the dock. Nevertheless, before I do something I have to do something else. At least Ubuntu does better, although their dock is fat and not configurable. I run VBox VMs full-screen. In Plasma, I can easily switch apps or desktops with a mouse on a corner I choose, or with a shortcut. In Gnome I have to get out of full-screen, or invoke right-ctl then ctl+alt+arrow. That's efficient? Those are just a few minor things. There are more.
Keyboard driven is great, in small batches. I have some often-used shortcuts. But once the shortcuts multiply, they can crowd the memory (mine, not the computers) and they become rather awkward since you can't repeat yourself. Why should I do alt+shift+ f8 or some other when my hand which was resting on the mouse can just make a short motion and finger-click?
I look forward to your demonstration of Gnome efficiency, just please, stop the preaching.
31 • The Windows style desktop and why it is popular (by JeffC on 2022-05-31 05:48:44 GMT from United States)
What many Linux users seem not to know now is that the Windows 95 desktop was the product of millions of early 1990s US dollars spent on researching how people actually use computers.
Back then many computers were sold without an OS and it was up to the user to choose one and install it themselves.
A desktop that works as expected will be popular and a desktop that does not work as expected will not be popular.
To expect that the user adapt to an unfamiliar desktop when alternatives that work as expected exist is misguided.
32 • @24 (by M.Z) (by JustSaying on 2022-05-31 07:45:48 GMT from United States)
(1) ... If you like extra mouse travel, clicking & fighting Gnome ...
(2)... the fact that ... Ubuntu has insisted on providing some heavy level of interface of modifications or add-ons to fix the DE ...
(3) Your tastes suit you & that is fine, but don't pretend that anchovy Pizza should be the only thing ordered at every party just because you like it & ignore that fact that it is a less than popular topping.
(4) I do think I remember someone mentioning people being able to adapt their environment to their needs rather than the other way around like what animals are stuck with. That was a solid point & going too far in the other direction seems to be an epic step backward to me.
1. And here is the catch with a user's flexibility, learning what one is using and adapting itself to the product in use.
There is no extra mouse travel needed, if the user changes the way, how it interacts with the system.
2. Ubuntu actually didn't really make make some heavy changes -- Ubuntu simply added a few own extensions to bring some Windows features back -- like User Folder and icons on the desktop, or permanent panel (taskbar / dock). Nice to have, but also, not really needed.
3. My taste is irrelevant here, and it's not at all about my taste or what I like or dislike, but it's about the user's (in-) ability to adapt to some tool in general.
4. That was the exact opposite of the solid point.
Gear changing lever in a car ... it can be a lever at the mid or on the steering wheel post, or it can be a simple button. Usually it'll be placed on the right side, but sometimes it's on the left too. It is up to the user to adapt according to the given environment, or it can buy another product, that'll better suit the own needs. Or quit driving.
A simple "legs-user", who just walks straight, as it always did, walks straight and suddenly there is a tree in front. It'll have to adapt and walk around. It'll continue walking straight until it reaches the river shore. Either it'll adapt and learn to swim to cross it, or it'll have a long walk around. Once on the other side of the river, it'll continue walking straight until it reached the mountain wall. Either it'll adapt to environment and learn to climb, or it can turn around and walk straight back.
Blowing-up the rocks or cutting-off trees isn't the real option here for the obvious reasons, and even if one builds the boat or the bridge, it would all still be just a kind of adapting itself to the environment. Namely, that would be a workaround, that was a product of that adaptation process, which resulted in changed environment in the end.
It doesn't matter what are we talking about, it's always the user who has to learn and adapt to something -- even if it's just a frying pan. There are many models of different size and weight and the pan is not the same as a pan.
OS GUI is not a car or a rock -- it's easier to change, but why bother? If someone is incapable of adapting to something new or different, it can simply choose another product.
However, the fact stays that the user must be intelligent and flexible enough, to be able to adapt to something that is completely different from anything it used before.
33 • @33, Gnomes and frying pans. (by Dr. Hu on 2022-05-31 09:39:30 GMT from Philippines)
You analogies remind me of the joke about two rather dumb carpenters. One would drive in a nail, pick up another and throw it out.This went on while the other man watched puzzled. Finally he asked: "Why are you throwing out those nails." Answer: "Because the head is on the wrong side." First man: 'Don't be stupid! Those are for the other side!"
I use a floor fan when I don't want air conditioning. By your thinking, if I get up from my chair, do I have to get a taller fan? I'd guess not. You see, the fan is made to be adjusted Well, so is Gnome! Why do they offer a tweak tool and extensions app either already installed or in the repos? Much like the fan's height adjustment knob, they are there so that people can adjust it. The source code and the Gnome Tool Kit are out there to be used by whoever can and will. So people are able can do anything from adding a couple of extensions to creating completely different GUIs like Cinnamon, Budgie, Cosmic, et al.
No, it's not an immovable object or a frying pan. Although if a frying pan's handle burns your hand, you can put a sleeve over it, and that is an adjustment.
34 • @31 (by Dr. Hu) (by JustSaying on 2022-05-31 12:16:24 GMT from United States)
As of your long 'why would I' pasage:
1. SHUTDOWN and productivity?? Never mind ...
BTW, I usually simply close the lid, and I open it again next day. ;)
I reboot my Windows 12 times per year -- last shutdown was ... a couple of years back? :)
2. Gnome Dash -- only Gnome knows. It's completely unnecessary. That's why "Activities" button and / or "Super" key. My guess would be -- to make it appear more Mac-like.
Mac also shouldn't have the Dock down there all of the time because it only unnecessary uses the desktop free space needed by the applications, and every maximized window ends at the beginning of the Dock. That's why mine is always set to auto-hide.
Every permanent Dash, Dock, Panel, Taskbar ... is just a LOST SPACE on the screen. "But the dock is hidden, and I have to hit the 'meta" key. Why?". That's why.
3. Ubuntu panel IS configurable. Auto-hide, length, width, position, items on it ... what else would you like to "configure"?
4. In Gnome, one can easily switch between the applications -- if one is willing to learn the GUI and adapts the workflow accordingly. Besides Alt+Tab ...
VD == Virtual Desktop
VD 1: Firefox (full-screen)
VD 2: Nautilus (default size)
VD 3: Inkscape (full-screen)
VD 4: The GIMP (full-screen)
VD 5: Telegram and Gedit (default size)
VD 6: Thunderbird? (full-screen)
Changing between applications is a simple Ctrl+Alt+left or right. There are other ways too, but all are inferior.
Firefox first because one usually needs some information, or one just wants to read some news, or ...
Nautilus next because of open the file with ... Inkscape or The Gimp.
Inkscape and The Gimp can't have enough space, and they must run full-screen. Those two are the reason for turning-on the computer -- the workhorses.
Telegram and Gedit next behind. If some sudden phone-call comes in, it's just a Ctrl+Alt+right away. Gedit is there for some quick notes.
Thunderbird if necessary ... it usually just sits there forever ...
Now replace the Inkscape and The GIMP for Kdenlive, LibreOffice Something ... and you're good to go. It'll rarely take more than 2 or 3 Ctrl+Alt+left or right's to switch to another application / workspace. The rest of the workflow is anyway the same, as it depends on the applications themselves, and not necessarily upon the GUI.
So, it is your workflow which is inefficient, not a Gnome GUI. That's exactly our topic, and that's exactly why Dunning-Kruger quote.
35 • Taking apart a Linux distro (by crayola-eater on 2022-05-31 12:42:51 GMT from United States)
I have to admit, I was very guilty of being a distro trimmer for more years than I care to remember. Most of my trimming (generally with Debian based distros and use of synaptic) was to remove the software that I didn't need or considered bloat-ware, to replace them with other smaller leaner packages. The reason is that I always seem to be running computers that are getting long in the tooth, short of drive space and memory, so I was always looking for small and lean.
Then I discovered net install (did this exist way back in time?), and life is so much simpler now. I do miss sometimes those clever tools that distro creators make to help us along, but all in all, as Jessie points out, it is the way to go. Still, with care, you can cut most of the crap out of a distro, until it stops being that distro all together. But it takes a lot of time better spent.
36 • @30 (by Dr. Hu) (by Nameless on 2022-05-31 13:38:54 GMT from Japan)
I was actually impressed by that video. Now I can understand @93 from the last week much better. Please just have a look at @8:35 in that video! Just as bad as Pop!_OS. Can't they pay someone to fix their presets? I personally only liked that Amazon integration in Trusty Thar because it left some hope that one might get some paid high-quality applications in Linux one day. That chance / hope is gone now.
The demo itself is kinda interesting, but I doubt that anybody would ever come to the idea to use it that way. The pro's know what they need, and they know which keyboard shortcut will do it, and the casual users probably don't even know that the function which they need is called 'keyframe', and those, they pretty sure won't use the search for 'keyfr'. The same goes for LibreOffice or any other application.
37 • @34, Crtl+Alt+ right (by Dr. Hu on 2022-05-31 14:17:53 GMT from Japan)
Now we are on topic.:
1 "SHUTDOWN and productivity?" I said nothing about productivity. I'm retired and have done enough producing. I mentioned workflow, which involves the ease with which a task is accomplished. I use a desktop, my laptop is seldom opened. I Put the PC to sleep when I walk away and I shut down every night. So I put buttons on the dock, 2 clicks to shutdown and one to suspend. .
3 "Ubuntu panel IS configurable." You are right. I hadn't run Ubuntu in a while, and then it was a solid lump. Has been upgraded since.
4 "Changing between applications is a simple Ctrl+Alt+left or right. There are other ways too, but all are inferior." Maybe other ways are inferior, but they can certainly be easier and quicker.You count seven apps on six desktops. I can bring up any app on any virtual desktop with one click on the dock. How is that inferior? Failing that, and assuming an app that is not on my favorites, "meta", a quick scroll and a click will do. Not "2 or 3" but 1. Ctrl+alt+right or left only needs to be used when leaving a full-screen VM, and that's only on Gnome, not on Plasma.
Oh, yes, I do keep the dock on smart hide or intellihide or whatever it's called when it just hides from maxed apps. Maybe it's Dunning-Kruger who is the old fuddy-duddy clinging to past times.
38 • @37 (by Dr. Hu) (by JustSaying on 2022-05-31 14:39:38 GMT from United States)
""meta", a quick scroll and a click will do. Not "2 or 3" but 1. "
""meta", a quick scroll and a click " makes 3.
39 • Tails and Privacy Distro (by MrSparkleWonder on 2022-05-31 15:02:31 GMT from Mexico)
Tails is a great idea and distro but implemented poorly. Why?
1) choice of desktop - Gnome, it is heavy, bloated, slow and memory hungry. For a distro that live boots, why would you use a heavy desktop like Gnome that eats 1.3Gb at idle? Mate, XFCE would have been much better suited.
2) difficult to implement persistent storage. I know, Tails is not meant to store anything, but some people want to and using their setup is cumbersome and not intuitive at all.
3) why use TAILS when you can use essentially any other Privacy distro to do exactly the same thing, but better. ParrotSec comes in 2 flavours with privacy baked in, and in Mate desktop. You can use KALI or PENTOO, or Kodachi or any other distro. Using fat slow bloated TAILS makes no sense.
40 • Tails and Privacy Distro (by MrSparkleWonder on 2022-05-31 15:24:55 GMT from Mexico)
A good article I found describes what the ideal privacy distro should have:
- a hardened kernel and a strict packet filter setup
- MAC address randomization on all interfaces
- a randomized, but natural-sounding hostname generated on each bootup
- absolutely no outbound network traffic “by default” (ie. no AVAHI, no SAMBA, no cloud anything, no remote error reporting)
- no ports open on the outside
- DNSCrypt & DNSSec enabled by default
- a reliable, DNSCrypt & DNSSec supporting global DNS service used for name resolution, never the local, DHCP-provided servers
- a somewhere-between-sane-and-paranoid Privoxy setup
- a hardened, privacy-focused Firefox build
- encryption tools with Smart Card support
- maybe some pentest tools
- maybe the TOR Browser bundle
If I ran a spy agency, the users of Tails Linux would be among the people I most wanted to spy on. Simply by using Tails, they have declared to the world that they want to hide something.
Certificate Authority system is brutally flawed.
For example, the copy of tails.boum.org that I see, has a certificate from Gandi SAS. There is no way for anyone to know that the Tails developers actually contracted with Gandi. For all we know, their actual certificates carry a promise from DigiNotar and the Gandi certificate is a fraud.
On top of this, the CA system requires that we trust hundreds of different CAs. Most people have no idea who they are. Heck, even getting the list of trusted CAs built into your web browser or operating system is nearly impossible. Steve Gibson's classic example of a trusted Certificate Authority is the Hong Kong Post Office. That pretty much says it all.
41 • @38, Ctrl+Alt=Right (by Dr. Hu on 2022-05-31 16:25:49 GMT from Philippines)
Rather than get too nitpicky, I'll concede half a point. I will also concede that it may feel different on a laptop. But on a desktop the actions flow as one, with minimal movement of the hands, and they feel more natural than Ctrl+Alt+ left/right.
42 • @39 (MrSparkleWonder) (by Panther on 2022-05-31 16:32:24 GMT from United States)
If you wish to know why Tails used Gnome read their faq or my post above.
Tails is actually fairly fast once you reach the desktop (they take you through a config screen). Remember it is a live image so it is going to run slower than bare metal but with that said it runs fast relative to other live images.
I am not sure about your point regarding persistent storage.
Your last point seems a bit off as well. You started by complaining about the bloat of Tails, but you then suggest alternatives with even more bloat.
There is a difference between privacy and security and why would I want all those security tools if all I want is the privacy features of Tails.
Also as I said previously I highly advise you read the Tails and TOR documentation if you wish to understand why use Tails over those other options as the discussion is long, technical, and beyond the comments on distrowatch.
43 • @40 (MrSparkleWonder) (by Panther on 2022-05-31 19:50:50 GMT from United States)
That is the difference between security and privacy.
Tails already does some of those things (random mac address for sure, not sure what else) , but running anonymous is not the same as undetectable. With the default Tails setting, it is difficult, but not impossible to tell one Tails user from another. Part of this is because all users use the same hostname for example. If you assign a unique host name, even if it is "random" it sticks out.
The more tools you use the more you stand out as a unique user. Test it out on the various privacy tools, you can set your browse to identify as "firefox" or "chrome" , etc. The more you identify as everyone else the more private you are, identifying using chrome on android on most of these tools is the greatest "privacy". Same general principle applies to Tails (or TOR) users.
Also, even using all those tools you can be identified/tracked by your behavior or by making mistakes, which is how most hackers get caught. Again this is somewhat covered in the Tails and TOR documentation, however, a full discussion of identifying unique users vs catching/tracking hackers is beyond the scope of distrowatch.
44 • distro names (by Otis on 2022-05-31 19:53:03 GMT from United States)
I admit to having to fend off misgivings about some distros merely based on the name. Tails, NixOS (c'mon, too close to Richard the Prez), Pop! (with an exclamation point?), Sparky, Puppy, Peppermint, Reborn, Snal, JingO.. in order to take them seriously enough to click on them let alone download. Sort of kidding. a-HEM...
Tails finally grabbed me when I saw that it deploys through TOR, which I'd been curious about. Ended up feeling like Gnome was in the way (again) so.. back to more prestigious named distros.
45 • @27, Tails (by John Doe on 2022-05-31 21:45:36 GMT from Switzerland)
I disagree that hypervisor is not needed or not useful when running a single OS.
A lightweight hypervisor makes a smaller TCB (Trusted Computing Base) than a huge Linux or *BSD kernel, it is less likely to be successfully exploited (beyond a simple denial of service) than a monolithic and complicated kernel. Of course, it needs a Dom0 kernel to interact with hardware, but guests have no direct access to it.
A hypervisor can potentially verify the integrity of certain critical data structures of guest kernels, further complicating any attempts to exploit it or to install a rootkit. I heared that this technology is used in certain smartphones.
For privacy focused distributions the hypervisor can provide a single set of emulated hardware devices for all users, making hardware environments visible to guests to be identical or very alike in order to thwart fingerprinting.
For live distributions the hypervisor can ensure that the OS cannot write to HDDs, SSDs and partitions of the live media meant to be read-only, and that it cannot mess with certain host devices or its firmware.
46 • @42 (by MrSparkleWonder on 2022-05-31 22:41:38 GMT from Mexico)
I read their FAQ https://tails.boum.org/support/faq/index.en.html#gnome and they even acknowledge my point about being resource heavy "According to us, the main drawback of GNOME is that it requires quite a lot of resources to work properly, but it has many advantages."
So, people, if you want to use TAILS make sure you have 8Gb ram on your machine.
If you are from a non-1st world country and have an aged computer with little memory but still want privacy, tough luck, the TAILS devs don't care about you and your old computer.
47 • Tails solved, @42 (by Justme on 2022-06-01 01:48:50 GMT from United States)
Solution: Download antiX or MX, depending on how light you want to be. Install Tor browser, OnionShare, and another privacy focused software you want. Remove extraneous software. Use the Snapshot app to create a bootable ISO. Now you have a light anonymity tool which can be copied to USB, burned to CD, or used on virtual machines. It's not Tails, but it's a reasonable facsimile.
Since you are concerned about third-world citizens who can't afford a decent computer, create a GoFundMe or other crowdsourcing page to ask for funding to distribute flash drives, DVDs or downloadable ISOs to the world's poor. I'm sure a lot of bleeding hearts will jump in and help. Job done. Meanwhile the third-world poor will probably continue to use privacy communications apps and unregistere prepaid Sims on cheap phones.
It's easy to rail at devs and other higher powers about Gnome, Systemd, or whatever the current bugaboo is.Doing something is harder. Devuan took and merged Debian's resources to create a Systemd and Gnome-free environment. It works quite well, I have it on my laptop. A bunch of little distros based on Devuan sprang up, some quite interesting. One was called heads, and it was anonymity focused, featuring the awesome wm. It withered on the vine along with most other Devuan-based projects. These days Devuan wilts right along with them. Lack of interest, lack of takers. Taking the talk is one thing. Walking the walk is another.
48 • @46 - Provacy distro for low-end PCs (by Uncle Slacky on 2022-06-01 10:35:10 GMT from France)
There is (was) a live privacy-based distro for 32-bit PCs called "heads" (https://heads.dyne.org/) (geddit?) but it seems to be dead (no activity on Github since March 2019?). It's a shame, as it was pretty good for its time.
49 • @47, Wrong cooment, @43, 46 (by Justme on 2022-06-01 10:50:02 GMT from United States)
My comment was misdirected. It should have gone to @43, @46. Apologies!
50 • @46 (MrSparkleWonder) (by Panther on 2022-06-01 16:32:42 GMT from United States)
I understand you do not like Gnome but there is no need to post misinformation. Tails requires 2 Gb RAM to run smooth, it may run on less, I have not tried running it on less than 2 Gb RAM, but it does not require 8 Gb RAM.
Gnome does use the most resources with regard to RAM, see https://unihost.com/help/how-to-choose-linux-desktop-environment-ram-usage/ or similar, but on any most machines the differences are trivial as it is rare to be RAM limited these days. It is rare that people choose a DE or window manager based on RAM usage, although it is a consideration for low RAM systems, however, such low RAM systems are rare.
I am not really sure why you are going on about "If you are from a non-1st world country and have an aged computer with little memory" or why you are directing your frustration at the Tails.
In the event you have specific hardware requirements (low RAM, old hardware) you may have to look at some of the alternates suggested by @47 (Justme). Slackware, Arch, and/or Gentoo may be options as well as compiling a custom kernel.
51 • @50 (by Andy Prough on 2022-06-02 02:07:10 GMT from United States)
>"I am not really sure why you are going on about "If you are from a non-1st world country and have an aged computer with little memory" or why you are directing your frustration at the Tails."
But this is the main problem. The people who NEED a true privacy distro to keep themselves from getting killed by a tyrannical government - those people mostly aren't living in San Francisco and don't have new $3,500 laptops. They are people living in desperately poor countries and probably only have access to the most minimal of hardware in a lot of circumstances.
The Tails devs COULD have thought of that, they SHOULD have thought of that, but they either did not or they disregarded it altogether. If they can't be trusted to make such a crucial, foundational design decision, why would anyone trust them to have the wisdom to actually implement technology correctly to truly protect their privacy?
52 • Privacy (by Cheker on 2022-06-02 02:53:10 GMT from Portugal)
Tails is my go-to these days when I need to do something different, but I have a soft spot for Kodachi. Its greatest strength is also its weakness - it's arguably bloated and takes forever to boot on older machines. Tails is fine though.
I haven't gone through the comments yet but anyone see the news on DuckDuckGo lately? Lots of questionable decisions coming from that camp in the last few weeks.
53 • TOR (by Friar Tux on 2022-06-02 02:54:46 GMT from Canada)
@51 (Andy Prough) The reason they went with what they did is that in the countries you describe TOR and Tails are illegal/frowned upon and if you're caught using them or going to disallowed sites, it will not go well for you. BUT... fear not. Those that truly want anonymity have found workarounds that we know nothing about - neither do their governments.
54 • adaptation (by M.Z. on 2022-06-02 03:41:07 GMT from United States)
@32 - "...even if one builds the boat or the bridge, it would all still be just a kind of adapting itself to the environment."
By that logical knot, one could never adapt the environment in any way, so what is the difference between living in caves & houses with Heating Ventilation & Air Conditioning & other modern amenities? 'The cave dweller is simply a superior person who has embraced the inevitability of adapting themself to the environment.' Is that genuine logic, and if so why do so many people want houses and modern convinces like HVAC?
Modern people with the means recondition the very air they breathe to adapt the environment to them to prevent both death & discomfort from freezing & heat stroke. It is an incontrovertible fact that both heating & cooling air away from ambient temperature saves lives. You would be a fool to not try to rework your local environmental conditions in either Death Valley or the arctic circle, or you would be a dead fool.
I find it ironic that someone would so quickly accuse others of not adapting to new things and yet so consistently tie them self up in logical knots as to claim that bridges are proof that people don't adapt their environment to their liking, just so they could avoid adapting their point a view even a little bit.
55 • @50, Tails (by Justme on 2022-06-02 05:43:35 GMT from Philippines)
"they SHOULD have thought of that, but they either did not or they disregarded it altogether." Tails is free. The devs have no responsibility to offer it at all, never mind make to some grousers specification in case some disgruntled citizens in deepest Somalia want to use it. (How they would get to them the ISOs is another topic. But someone would probably find that the Tails devs are responsible for doing that too.) Meanwhile, the complainers are only responsible for sitting and grumbling. That's the way of the world. If someone gave out free white rice, someone else would complain about the high glycemic index, and decide that they are irresponsible because it's not brown rice.
I was born, grew up, lived, worked, have family and friends, and still spend lots of time in the so-called non-first world. What "first-worlders" don't know about the other half could fill encyclopedias. First: Governments in poorer countries lack the tech and the equipment for constant and/or general surveillance on the internet. Those listening will more likely be the US and allies looking for 'terrorists", traffickers, child-porn purveyors, and others. China may be out there looking after their interests. Israel too. The rest are not that capable. Anyone who cannot afford a decent computer, by the same token cannot afford or access the bandwidth needed to download ISOs, or to run Tor with any kind of efficiency. Most poorer people don't bother with computers these days. They use prepaid limited data packs, which they can't afford to waste downloading ISOs or trying to connect Tor.
When I go overseas, I carry a dual-sim open-line phone. it has a VPN, and even Tor browser installed should I want it, along with encrypted messaging apps. When I arrive at the airport, I buy two sim cards from different providers, along with sufficient load. On the way out of the country, I dispose of the sims. In my experience, most "non-first world" anti-government activists are caught because their views are public and they air them on places like Facebook, Twitter, et. al.
56 • @54 (by M.Z.) (by JustSaying on 2022-06-02 06:55:06 GMT from United States)
It is always we who must adapt to something that surrounds us or that we use.
You can't deny that you need to adapt to your car's gear changing lever position or even the frying pan. One is small 500 g weight and empty; another one is heavy, 1'500 g and fully loaded. One can easily be handled with one hand; for the other one, it'll eventually need both of your arms to securely handle it. If you are right-handed and the water tap has a handle on the left side, you'll learn to use it with the left hand.
Same so, if you go on such walk like above, you won't be carrying all the tools needed to cut the trees on your walk-straight tour, nor you'll be having the necessary tools and knowledge to build the boats. Walking around that tree, or swimming across is much easier way.
However, if you build a village nearby and there are many people who constantly cross the river and even trade with people from another village on another side, swimming across won't be the most practical way anymore. So, you'll need to adapt yourself to the new situation and find a way around it -- build a bridge -- which will be environmental change directly caused by that adaptation process towards the new circumstances.
The main point stays -- even if you built the house, you'll again have to adapt inside it -- you can't just walk straight, as you would run into the wall. You can't just throw the ball inside that house blindly, as it could result in broken windows ... you'll have to adapt your behavior.
All this has a little to do with Gnome, but again, if you want to use it in a more efficient way, you'll have to adapt yourself to it. The first time Windows users had to adapt themselves to the Windows workflow too.
Usability studies are best made with the young or first time users. They'll try to use it as is because they don't know anything else yet, and they can judge the difference between the two GUIs much more objective.
57 • @54, adaptation (by Dr. Hu on 2022-06-02 14:22:53 GMT from Japan)
RE; @32, You waste your time, M.Z. I'm sitting at my Gnome desktop and I can see at a glance every running app, and can bring any into focus with one click, whether they are on one virtual desktop or ten; and I can multitask by drinking my coffee at the same time. But he thinks that CTRL ALT this or that is superior because he thinks it's the Gnome way and one must adapt. Go figure!
58 • @55 ... TAILS (by MrSparkleWonder on 2022-06-02 14:39:20 GMT from Mexico)
So, because of your own personal experience, living in an undisclosed non-first world country, you have made yourself the representative and authority to speak on behalf of Africas 1.2 billion, South Americas 434 million people (+ others) and state that they don't need TAILS because you know for an absolute fact that "Governments in poorer countries lack the tech and the equipment for constant and/or general surveillance on the internet". Thank goodness, what a relief to know that no government in any African country has surveillance capabilities. I guess, in your mind, the only reason why someone to use TAILS is to escape government surveillance rather than just have some anonymity while being online, or using a computer to do privacy sensitive work.
The point I was making in my post my friend and which only Andy seems to have understood from all these comments, is that the 3rd world outweighs the 1st in terms of population, and in the need for privacy. There is a huge need for a useable privacy centric distro such as TAILS that will run comfortably on old hardware, with 1Gb of RAM. Gnome does not do this. The devs, do in fact work for money, they are not doing it for free. They receive donations.
In 2021 they received 218,142.95€
"Tails is free. The devs have no responsibility to offer it at all," What? That is their entire product and means to make money. And they make money, and the devs are paid accordingly "We have a transparent compensation scheme where everybody enjoys comparable pay and benefits."
But the fact that you are wrong about the motivations, income and devs at TAILS is beside the point.
The point is that TAILS Gnome is unusable for most of the world, and therefore denies people the ability to use a privacy distro. You are making excuses for the devs in their inability to see the need as to why Gnome is a bad choice and ignoring the fact that they even say themselves that Gnome is resource heavy.
>Most poorer people don't bother with computers these days. They use prepaid limited data packs,
Since we don't know what country you refer to let me give you an example. In India, many people still use Internet shops to get online. These computers are usually still running WindowsXP and i do not need to go into details as to why this is a privacy nightmare. Most of Indias poplulation lives outside of the major large metropolises like Delhi Mumabai etc, and they are the ones who need to be able to use a public computer privately and securely. But these common machines in the internet cafes/shops are of the worst possible kind, with limited CPU (sometimes still Pentiums or Celerons) and RAM. TAILS Gnome will not run on these machines properly.
TAILS devs ....... just make a spin with Mate or XFCE or better still, with LXQT. Give people who don't have modern machines a chance to use your product.
59 • @57 (by Dr. Hu) (by JustSaying on 2022-06-02 15:02:07 GMT from United States)
The issue here is still the same Dr. Hu -- you are cheating -- but only yourself. ;)
Namely, with Gnome you can also work without on one single desktop only.
Go down to show hidden taskbar + click on application makes 2 clicks.
"Super" (or "Windows") key + click on application makes 2 clicks.
Will say, you are just miscounting your mouse clicks.
However, the number of 'clicks' isn't the issue.
"I don't want to adapt" IS the issue. ;)
60 • @59, adapting (by Dr.Hu on 2022-06-02 15:23:38 GMT from Japan)
"I don't want to adapt" IS the issue. ;) Precisely, you don't want to adapt as the world moves on. No one asked you to adapt or not adapt. You are the one decrying the incompetence of any one who disagrees with your positions. Your prized CONTROL ALT + something shortcut has nothing to do with Gnome. It precedes the GUI. CTRL+ALT+Del was used in the first IBM PCs. It was an awkward combination on purpose, so that no one would be likely to hit it by accident. If you want to see the dinosaur that won't adapt, look in the mirror.
I can count very well. One click, no more.
61 • Linux and Windows (by Otis on 2022-06-02 16:46:27 GMT from United States)
@14 "Most Linux users don't leave Windows because of the desktop layout."
Truth be told, at least be suspected, most Linux users don't leave Windows at all, at least not for long. I'm (nearly) convinced that Windows is on the same computers as most Linux distros, often on the same hard drive or SSD.
62 • @58 (MrSparkleWonder) (by Panther on 2022-06-02 17:05:24 GMT from United States)
I commend you for your passion on the subject regarding 3rd world countries but ...
First this is not really the proper forum. You really need to direct your efforts to proper channels OLPC or similar .
With that said, I am not sure old computers with limited RAM is the way to go. You are the only one advocating such a preposterous approach. First such things are not supposed without great effort and second the have a very limited life span due to their age. I know because I used to try to extend the lives of such machines and while it is possible there is a lot of effort pulling failing or failed RAM and hard drives. It is far less expensive, less effort, and more reliable to build your own with modern hardware.
Then there is the sheer infrastructure to support such a thing, lots of cable and internet providers.
Probably best at this point to look at tablets or cell phones as they are at least modern, supported, and less expensive than desktop or laptops. Now you are talking Android.
My point here is using outdated hardware with limited RAM as you propose is a failure on the hardware side for many reasons.
Now let's talk about an OS. First off let's throw out attempting to support 32 bit CPU. Support for such hardware is limited at best and becoming more limited every day . While not impossible it is probably not the best long term strategy and will become more labor intensive moving forward, not the best of strategies in this scenario.
The RAM limit you impose in your theory is also harsh. Now you are looking at a minimal OS with small light weight apps. This is similar to the problem of supporting 32 bit CPU as it becomes labor intensive. Far easier to work with a reasonable RAM such as 2 GB and stay in the main stream.
With regard to Gnome you are not looking at the advantages
Well integrated, especially for new Linux users.
Very well translated and documented.
Doing relatively good regarding accessibility features.
Well maintained in Debian, where it is the default desktop environment.
Those issues need to be considered and the benefits outweigh the RAM use if nothing else lessening the burden on the maintenance of a distro, unless you are going to start taking on more and more administrative overhead.
With regard to the OS side Tails has made very reasonable and practical decisions a f far more likely to be a long term, lower maintenance solution than a custom distribution on limited and outdated hardware.
63 • @60 (by Dr.Hu) (by Leon on 2022-06-02 17:59:16 GMT from France)
You must be the only one who still didn't get what JustSaying was trying to explain to you. ;)
Whenever you have a problem with something -- be it your GUI, your car or your frying pan -- it's mostly you -- and he also told you why.
Ctrl+Alt+Left or Right is the default Gnome keyboard shortcut for changing between the virtual desktops, but it can be easily changed -- if someone really can't remember it. ;)
64 • @61 (by Otis) (by Leon on 2022-06-02 18:08:24 GMT from France)
I know of exactly 1 1/2 Linux users.
One is occasionally using it, but usually using another Mac computer most of the time. The 1/2 consists of two users; one is barely ever turning it on, and another one more or less never, as it can't use it, and because the Android does everything it needs.
All the others, didn't keep it longer than a couple of days.
Windows does everything better.
Deleting MX too ...
65 • @62 (by MrSparkleWonder on 2022-06-02 18:50:03 GMT from Mexico)
Good job parroting the Tails website.
I am not advocating for low power machines to be the default, I am advocating that low power machines probably are the default in the world....as a whole....and that Tails needs to cater to the lowest common denominator and not just cater to high end machines.
66 • TAILS (by MrSparkleWonder on 2022-06-02 19:01:34 GMT from Mexico)
Also, aside from the Gnome sluggishness on anything less than an i5 with 4Gb+ why on earth would a privacy focused distro, use Systemd? where Google servers are used as fallback DNS and NTP servers? I am mean, why?
Have the devs never heard of Devuan?
Privacy is our goal as long as google is in the loop.
67 • @65. (MrSparkleWonder) (by Panther on 2022-06-02 19:15:25 GMT from United States)
And how is all those perfectly functional outdated electronics working for you?
I am 100% sure there is an abundance of computers in that pile capable of running Tails and certainly better than the even older equipment you are campaigning for.
68 • @67 (by MrSparkleWonder on 2022-06-02 19:26:53 GMT from Mexico)
> And how is all those perfectly functional outdated electronics working for you?
They may be outdated, but they work still. Better to keep using an old Pentium machine than tossing it in the garbage. But with Tails Gnome you can't.
Are you suggesting that instead of using a less resource intensive system like Gnome for Tails, that Indians (or others in 3rd world countries) should just trash their old machines and buy shiny new i7 machines so they can run Tails Gnome properly?
Panther....your points are getting ridiculous.
All i am suggesting is either 1) Tails devs switch from Gnome to XFCE or Mate or 2) someone forks Tails and provides a light weight desktop
69 • @68. (MrSparkleWonder) (by Panther on 2022-06-02 20:25:43 GMT from United States)
Worse your argument is a straw man and does not hold merit.
1. There is an overabundance of modern hardware perfectly capable of running Tails so much so that it makes no sense to use the hardware you are suggesting of reasons I stated and you can not dispute, thus the insertion of your straw man.
2. Tails made reasonable decisions for Gnome as it serves the most people in terms of end user support (language, documentation, etc) with the least effort on the part of the Tails developers. Is it the only option no but it is certainly reasonable.
3. No one who needs such a system is going to refuse to use it because it runs Gnome.
Your user case, running on 32 bit Arch with limited RAM is a pet project of yours perhaps but it is sort of irrelevant as your user case exists for such a small number of people as to be impractical but even that is irrelevant as you are making a straw man argument against Gnome and this is the only remaining user case you can cite.
70 • Tails/Gnome (by Otis on 2022-06-02 21:22:51 GMT from United States)
@69 You were doing okay (I suppose) in your numbered reasoning there until you typed #3. See my @44 (the last sentence): Gnome was the VERY reason I removed Tails. I have grave doubts I'm the only one.. but of course we must define "..NEEDS such a system.." I confess to being able to do without security/privacy extremes in my computing, as I do not bank online or download things or communicate things that are of interest to governments or crooks or whatever.
71 • TAILS (by Name on 2022-06-03 00:10:32 GMT from United States)
I find it strange that TAILS uses GNOME not only because it's resource-heavy but because it's not like Windows. Shouldn't a privacy-focused live media have a common, vanilla, familiar and not eye-catching look and feel? Arguments about supporting x86-64 only are mostly bogus as long as i386 is supported by Debian.
72 • @63, Leon (by Dr. Hu on 2022-06-03 02:54:53 GMT from Philippines)
"Ctrl+Alt+Left or Right is the default Gnome keyboard shortcut for changing between the virtual desktops" It was the default shortcut before Gnome 3. It is the same is Plasma and others. Gnome did not create it and it is not unique.
And then you teli me that if I want to adapt it to another shortcut, Gnome offers a way to do it. That's nice. Gnome also offers tweak and extensions apps which can obviate the need for multi-key shortcuts and make it doable with one simple click. Why is it okay to use one Gnome feature but not the other? Because you and JustSaying say so?
73 • @63, Ubuntu Gnome (by Dr. Hu on 2022-06-03 03:03:03 GMT from Philippines)
As to adapting the GUI, as mentioned earlier, Ubuntu already offers the dock feature. I choose to take advantage of it, so I need to add nothing. I still add one extension to make the black top bar transparent. Is that also prohibited?
74 • @61 Otis, Linux an Windows (by the Professional on 2022-06-03 03:42:08 GMT from France)
"I'm (nearly) convinced that Windows is on the same computers as most Linux distros" You may be correct. I've been using Linux daily for over 16 years. I don't have Windows on my hard drive, but I have it on VMs. Also I have Windows 11 to go on an external drive. Occasional use, but there are some small apps, some portable, that I can find no suitable substitutes in Linux. The GUI? I can take it or leave it.
75 • @72 & @73 (by Dr. Hu) (by Leon on 2022-06-03 06:47:25 GMT from France)
The only issue here is that you are denying the need to adapt. Even if you change something to your liking, you still have to adapt to that changed environment.
Docks are not necessarily advantage nor disadvantage. If you have a dock, you're missing the space; if you have a space, you'll be missing the dock.
Gnome works perfectly fine without any extensions, and if it doesn't, then it's because of 'you're using it wrong'. The same goes for any other GUI too.
76 • @64, @75 Leon (by The Professional on 2022-06-03 08:59:14 GMT from France)
I know of exactly 1 1/2 Linux users.
64- "One is occasionally using it, but usually using another Mac computer most of the time. The 1/2 consists of two users; one is barely ever turning it on, and another one more or less never, as it can't use it, and because the Android does everything it needs.
All the others, didn't keep it longer than a couple of days.
Windows does everything better.
Deleting MX too ... "
75- "Gnome works perfectly fine without any extensions, and if it doesn't, then it's because of 'you're using it wrong'."
Which is it? Perfectly fine, or sucks compared to Windows? Just saying. .
77 • @76 (by The Professional) (by Leon on 2022-06-03 11:06:56 GMT from France)
Unnecessary and provocative question.
On one side we have an OS, on the other GUI.
That same GUI could run on any OS, if someone wanted.
The reason for not keeping Linux, wasn't its GUI, but missing apps.
The second reason was the generally miserable quality and miserable QA.
78 • @77 (by Andy Prough on 2022-06-03 13:28:13 GMT from United States)
>"The reason for not keeping Linux, wasn't its GUI, but missing apps.
The second reason was the generally miserable quality and miserable QA."
So you don't use any distro, you just use Windows? This is a forum about GNU/Linux distros, not about the benefits of using Windows. Seems to me you are just trolling.
79 • @78 (by Andy Prough) (by Leon on 2022-06-03 14:06:26 GMT from France)
I use Linux more than you.
Just not as my primary or a secondary PC.
I use any OS, as long as the applications which I need runs.
With other words, like 99 % of all users, I DO NOT CARE FOR LINUX ...
... or any other operating system -- I care for the applications.
80 • P.S. @78 (by Andy Prough) (by Leon on 2022-06-03 14:25:50 GMT from France)
Contextual reading means -- connect all the relevant parts.
Your quote is only one part of the full context.
Namely, it was not at all about me.
It was about "1 1/2 users".
Taking something out of the context and nitpicking is what is called trolling. ;)
81 • @79 (by Andy Prough on 2022-06-03 14:42:00 GMT from United States)
>"I use Linux more than you.
Just not as my primary or a secondary PC."
But Linux is all I run, like most of the regular commenters here.
Anyway, enjoy your identity crisis or whatever it is you are doing. Have a nice day.
82 • Qubes (by Lisa on 2022-06-03 15:12:05 GMT from United States)
I choose “other”, which is unfortunately where Qubes would be for this week’s poll. Qubes works well and is a privacy and security focused distro. I hope next time the site owner(s) would see Qubes for what it actually is and not just drool all over Tails like it’s the best distro ever created.
83 • Other- Qubes is the privacy distro for me (by Charlie S. on 2022-06-03 15:21:02 GMT from United Kingdom)
Qubes has been an excellent distro for privacy. And security as well too.
84 • @81 (by Andy Prough) (by Leon on 2022-06-03 15:30:35 GMT from France)
"But Linux is all I run, like most of the regular commenters here.
Anyway, enjoy your identity crisis or whatever it is you are doing. Have a nice day. "
Wrong again, my dear Andy.
Not only you completely missed the context in @78, but you are repeating it again in @81.
What if I'm using a Solaris, Haiku and BSD, besides Mac, Windows, and Linux?
I'm then disqualified to write some facts about Linux or psychology?
Linux users are the reason why Linux doesn't progress.
The likes of "the regular commenters here".
And you who knows only a Linux (and can't read) are the "all-guessing-all-mighty" Judge?
Wish you a nice day too.
85 • Re 69 by Panther (by Computer commoner on 2022-06-03 22:41:44 GMT from United States)
You are wrong and appearing to write like an elitist snob. Not everyone can afford a top of the line computer every 6 months.
Tails is wrong to bloat up the OS with Gnome. The main benefit of Gnome is the network app and file manager. Surely another DE (like XFCE) can substitute.
32 bit is absolutely an essential platform. This might sound odd, given how old it is, but a 32 bit DVD can be used on both a 32 bit platform and a 64 bit platform, often with less binary bloat. Also, 32 bit is not just Pentiums, a number of functional laptops are 32 bit, with relatively modern CPUs.
It's really shameful how inefficient Linux distros have become.
Developers should be paid to produce a 999MB LiveDVD that can run from ram, and use a GUI and current browser with 500MB of ram used (1.5GB total).
If they can't meet these constraints, they should be fired. Period.
This is not impossible! Why are we getting massive 10GB "DVD" images??
86 • I'm surprised Tails doesn't include Signal (by Jeff Crown on 2022-06-04 04:19:00 GMT from United States)
I wasn't terribly surprised to see a general purpose messaging application like Pidgin, but I was surprised that it didn't include Signal. I have had occasion to use the distribution for its intended purpose and it is very, very adept at what it does, and I respect the fact that it's been vetted over a great many years by many people.
Number of Comments: 86
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