| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 994, 14 November 2022
Welcome to this year's 46th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
There are thousands of developers, artists, and technical writers in the open source community, each with their own focus and pet projects. Our News section this week highlights progress in a variety of areas as people's passions come to fruition. We discuss a new Phosh spin coming to Fedora which will attempt to bring the distribution to mobile devices, including tablets and the PinePhone. We also talk about openSUSE expanding the availability of its manual pages to an on-line portal. Plus we report on the Snap package format receiving the long-requested feature of locking package versions, effectively disabling automatic updates. Before we dive into these news stories we begin with a look at Redcore Linux, a Gentoo-based project which strives to be more convenient to use while offering the same strength and flexibility of its base. Read on to learn how Redcore performs. Then, in our Questions and Answers column, we talk about adjusting the font size of text in a console terminal. We're also pleased to share the releases of the past week and list the torrents we are seeding. Then, in our Opinion Poll, we ask what testing, if any, our readers perform before upgrading their distribution. Do you test out a new version in a virtual machine, from live media, or on its own partition before upgrading? Let us know below. We wish you all a wonderful week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Redcore Linux 2201
Redcore Linux is a Gentoo-based distribution which offers an easy to use graphical install process. Redcore also offers the option of using binary packages to provide most applications as opposed to compiling software from its source code which is an approach Gentoo is famous for using.
Redcore is a rolling release distribution and its latest snapshot introduces a number of improvements and fixes. There are a few fixes which address edge-case bugs in the system installer and the package manager (Sisyphus) should more gracefully handle situations when large dependency trees are involved. The Discover software centre should now handle Flatpaks faster than it did before.
The release announcement mentions some other highlights, such as older (and less secure) methods for authenticating with wireless networks have been re-added. These insecure protocols were dropped for security reasons, but enough people are still using them to justify their return. The announcement also warns there is no VirtualBox support and, regardless of which language preferences are stated, Redcore will end up using English as the default language.
Something which might give potential users pause is Redcore has a wiki, but very little documentation is included. There is virtually nothing on installing the distribution or default passwords. (Password information is presented on the download page.) There are good tips shared on package management, though not much else at the time of writing.
Redcore Linux is currently available in one edition for x86_64 machines which features the KDE Plasma desktop. The project's download media is a 4.1GB ISO file. Booting from this media quickly loads the KDE Plasma desktop. A panel sits at the bottom of the screen and holds the application menu, quick launch icons, task switcher, and system tray. The application menu is presented in a classic tree style with a search function.
Redcore Linux 2201 -- The application menu and Dolphin
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The quick launch icons on the panel open applications such as the Dolphin file manager and the System Settings panel. One icon is labelled with a question mark and clicking it pops up an error notification that simply says: "preferred://browser". It looks like it is meant to launch a web browser, but the icon doesn't work. I did find the Chromium web browser is installed and clicking a URL in other applications will successfully launch the browser. It's just the one quick-launch button which doesn't function.
On the desktop we find two icons, one labelled "Install System" and the other called "Ask for help". Clicking the latter opens a web browser and connects us with a live chat room where we can ask for support. The Install System icon launches the graphical Calamares installer.
Calamares is an increasing popular, graphical installer which works across multiple families of distributions. It works quite well here too, helping us pick our timezone, selecting a keyboard layout, and making up a username. Calamares also offers both guided and manual partition management. The manual approach is pretty easy to navigate. The guided approach offers to set up our root filesystem on an ext4 partition. Using a drop-down menu we can select whether to use a swap partition, a swap file, or forego swap space entirely. Once our selections are made, the installer copies packages to our hard drive and then offers to restart the computer.
I ran into a few minor issues while using Calamares. The first is that on the first page of the installer there are three buttons: Known issues, Release notes, and Support. None of these buttons work; clicking them does nothing. This seems curious since Redcore does, in fact, offer release notes, a list of known issues, and live support through its website and chat room. This seems like a missed opportunity to connect people with those established resources.
Another thing I noticed was while Calamares was running it used a lot of my CPU. For the five to ten minutes it was working, the installer gobbled up all available CPU cycles. However, disk activity was relatively low. I didn't dig too deeply into this quirk as it didn't prevent Calamares from working and successfully setting up the distribution, but I found it unusual.
Booting my new copy of Redcore brought up a graphical login screen where we can sign into the KDE Plasma desktop. The desktop is available in two session options: X11 and Wayland, with the former set as the default. Signing into my account presented me with the Plasma 5.25 desktop. The icon for launching Calamares was gone from the desktop, but the "Ask for help" icon remained. Once I got signed in there was no sign of a welcome window, notifications, or a customization tool. The distribution, once installed, simply hands us control and gets out of the way.
My initial impression of Redcore was the desktop was responsive and applications were quick to load. The distribution doesn't enable much in the way of visual effects and the result is a crisp, reactive desktop session.
Redcore Linux 2201 -- The System Settings panel
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The distribution features a lot of red and some orange in its default theme. To me the red highlights and orange folders look a little harsh compared to other common themes, but I suppose it matches the project's name and branding. Also, on the topic of the default look, the panel and menus use a low contrast font (typically black on grey). System tray icons tend to be grey on grey which makes them harder to see. We can change the appearance settings if we wish in the KDE System Settings panel.
By default Redcore mutes the audio volume. I liked this as I prefer not to have login sounds and notifications pestering me. Though that brings me to some hardware quirks...
When I started exploring Redcore Linux on my laptop one of the first things I noticed was the distribution doesn't cause the internal speaker to beep loudly when the boot menu is displayed in UEFI mode. This is a nice reprieve from the behaviour of some recent projects I've tried. Once booted, the distribution continued to be silent as the audio is muted. When I tried to play music or videos though, I found the audio wasn't just muted, the distribution had been unable to detect my laptop's speakers at all. No matter what tests I ran or which applications I tied to use, none of the programs or settings modules could detect my laptop's sound system.
Everything else on the laptop worked well. My network card was handled properly, the system was responsive, and videos played smoothly, though silently. Redcore was able to boot successfully in both Legacy BIOS and UEFI modes.
The distribution's release announcement warns Redcore doesn't integrate with VirtualBox at all. While it is true the distribution can't load a graphical environment or integrate with VirtualBox with the default settings, this can all be easily fixed by changing the VirtualBox video settings from using the VMSVGA graphics controller to VBoxVGA. Then the distribution runs normally and the desktop performs well, integrating with the host system. In VirtualBox, with the VBoxVGA video setting enabled, Redcore performed quickly and smoothly. Sound worked in the VirtualBox environment too.
A fresh install of Redcore is quite large on the disk, consuming 15GB of space, not including the optional swap space. This makes Redcore about two and a half times larger than most other mainstream Linux distributions.
One odd bit of behaviour I noticed when running Redcore was, when the distribution first signed into the desktop, its memory usage was quite low, especially for a system running KDE Plasma. The system used up just 410MB of RAM at first. However, five minutes after I'd signed in memory consumption had climbed to 490MB. If I just left the desktop idle, not interacting with it or launching applications, RAM consumption would continue to climb at a steady pace of about 2MB per minute until, after half an hour, Redcore would be using 550MB of RAM. After that, memory usage levelled off.
After monitoring memory consumption for a while it looks like this early, gradual climb is probably related to the Plasma Shell process, but I'm not sure why it grows steadily for half an hour and then suddenly stops. This occurred each time the machine booted and did not appear to be related to any typical background functions such as file indexing or checks for updates.
Redcore ships with a fairly standard set of open source applications. These include the Chromium web browser, the Konversation chat client, and LibreOffice. We can also find the qBittorrent application, the Okular document viewer, and the Dolphin file manager. The VLC media player and Qmmp audio player are installed along with media codecs. There are Lutris and Steam launchers in the menu which will help us set up and connect with gaming portals. The Timeshift backup software is present too.
Redcore Linux 2201 -- Running Firefox and the Qmmp music player
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Digging down to the terminal we find Java is installed on Redcore along with both the Clang and GNU Compiler Collection compilers. Redcore ships with manual pages and common GNU utilities. The distribution uses the OpenRC init and service management software. The install media includes version 5.15 of the Linux kernel.
The sudo privilege escalation software is not included, but can be installed later. To perform administrative functions we can use the su command line utility.
I installed Firefox at one point. Its home page defaulted to the Gentoo website, which will probably make it easier for people to find documentation. I also noticed once Firefox was installed the question mark quick launch icon changed to the Firefox logo and clicking it would launch the browser.
I really like the System Settings panel which can be used to tweak the Plasma desktop in all sorts of ways. On Redcore the System Settings panel uses the classic, single-pane layout rather than the newer two-pane layout. Personally, I like this classic look better and appreciate that Redcore uses it.
A feature I liked less was the requirement for long, complex passwords. When setting up the distribution, Calamares will allow us to use just about any password we want. However, when I was adding extra user account to the system post-install, I found accounts had to be assigned long, complex passwords with more requirements than I've encountered on almost any other distribution. This can be tweaked, but it's an unnecessary requirement for most home users and likely to cause more frustration than improved security.
The distribution includes three main ways to handle software management. From the desktop, perhaps the most obvious software manager is Discover. When we first open the Discover utility it warns us it does not have access to any repositories and offers to enable the Flathub repository to give us access to Flatpak packages. Clicking the button does set up Flathub access for us. We can then browse categories (and sub-categories) of applications. We can click on an application's entry to see details about the software along with screenshots. New packages can be installed by clicking an Install button. Discover will also launch installed items for us with the click of another button.
Redcore Linux 2201 -- The Discover software centre
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I noticed Discover did not prompt me for a password when installing new Flatpak packages. This is because the Flatpak applications are installed under our user account, rather than being set up to be system-wide, and are not accessible by other users.
The second approach we can take to managing packages is to use the command line program Sisyphus. We can also make use of its graphical front-end which is called Sisyphus GUI. Sisyphus GUI is a simple, low-level package manager. It displays a list of available software in the Redcore repositories and we can highlight items we want to install or remove. Then we can click a button to perform the action. Sisyphus GUI also has a button to upgrade all packages on the system. All of these features worked for me and Sisyphus, despite being simple and not much to look at, performed quickly and without problems.
Redcore Linux 2201 -- The Sisyphus GUI package manager
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The command line version of Sisyphus provided a similar impression. It has a simple syntax where we can run "sisyphus search", "sisyphus install", "sisyphus uninstall", or "sisyphus upgrade" to perform actions. The utility accesses binary packages by default, but the documentation seems to imply Sisyphus can make use of source-based installs too if needed.
I successfully used Sisyphus to perform a handful of actions, including a large upgrade of 297 packages on the first day. Some actions were handled a bit slower than other mainstream package managers, such as APT or pacman, but the difference was not significant. The only speed bump happened when I was performing searches as Sisyphus would pause to refresh its database each time I performed a new search.
Since Redcore is based on Gentoo, users also have the option of using Gentoo's Portage source-based system for managing software. I tested this to confirm it works with the parent distribution's repository and it does. However, since building source code is a lot slower than installing binary packages, it only makes sense to use Portage if we have a specific need to customize or optimize the software we are installing.
I feel it is important to note that after my first giant wave of upgrades, I logged out of my account and then went to sign back in to see if any changes had occurred. Indeed things had changed! After the first wave of updates, the X11 version of Plasma no longer worked and would immediately crash when I tried to sign into the desktop. This problem continued after rebooting the computer too and did not get resolved by future updates. The Wayland session did work and powered my desktop session for most of the week. The Wayland flavour of Plasma worked passably well. Sometimes my mouse pointer would disappear for a few seconds and my screen resolution could not be set to its full potential. However, despite the slight decrease in resolution, Wayland was up to the task and about as responsive as the X11 session.
I have tried Redcore a few times in the past, with the most recent trial taking place about two years ago. I was pleased to discover most of the issues I faced back then have been addressed. The distribution loads faster, the desktop is more responsive, and (despite the warning in the release announcement about VirtualBox not being supported) Redcore worked better in VirtualBox this time around.
I like that Redcore makes it fairly easy to work with binary packages (through Sisyphus) and Flatpak packages (through Discover) while also making it possible to work with Gentoo's powerful Portage system. This array of options for software management will likely confuse new Linux users, but the collection of tools provides advanced users with a lot of options.
I really like the install process, the performance, and boot times were greatly reduced in this trial compared to the previous time I ran Redcore. It wouldn't be a stretch to say that, apart from a few key issues, this was one of the best experiences I've had with a Gentoo-based project. I am not in the habit of giving out awards, but I would consider Redcore Linux for the "most improved distribution" category when comparing its past performance against its latest snapshot.
However, there were a few issues I ran into with Redcore. Some of these are fairly minor or personal preference items. For example, I don't like how small the default font is on my laptop or how low contrast the icons are. The grey-on-grey look is not easy to see, especially in menus and on the desktop panel. There are little missed opportunities too, like the web browser quick launch button that doesn't work until we install a new browser such as Firefox. The documentation buttons in the installer that do not do anything are also minor issues.
The bigger issue though was Redcore wasn't able to handle my laptop's sound system. No sound card worked or was even detected. When run in VirtualBox sound worked so this isn't a generic setting problem with the distribution's audio, but something specific to the hardware. This is odd as sound has typically "just worked" for me with most distributions for years. It's not even an issue of Redcore using something new or experimental like PipeWire, the system appears to be using PulseAudio. This is a big problem, for me at least, but as I said, it also appears to be hardware dependent.
On the whole, Redcore is doing well. It's making progress, the project is making efforts to be more practical and more up to date with its parent. We have easy access to both classic and Flatpak packages. Boot times and performance have been greatly improved. There are some rough edges, including one audio bug which was a bit of bigger problem for me, but I like the direction in which Redcore is moving. It's an attractive option, especially for people who like Gentoo while wanting the convenience of an easy installer and binary packages.
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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
Redcore Linux has a visitor supplied average rating of: 8/10 from 30 review(s).
Have you used Redcore Linux? You can leave your own review of the project on our ratings page.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Fedora plans Phosh spin, openSUSE makes manual pages available on-line, it will soon be possible to disable automatic Snap updates
The Fedora project is considering the creation of a new spin which will target mobile devices (such as tablet computers) and feature the Phosh user interface. "Phosh is a Wayland shell for mobile devices based on GNOME. The mobility SIG has packaged up Phosh and related packages into a 'phosh-desktop' package group and would like to start making x86_64 and aarch64 images for mobile devices." The proposal mentions the PinePhone series of devices will eventually be a target of these mobile spins.
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The openSUSE project has announced the introduction of a new documentation portal which will provide online access to manual pages. "Users no longer need to install a package on their system to access a program's documentation thanks to the openSUSE Project's repository of manual pages at manpages.opensuse.org. There are a couple of different ways to use the manpages repository. People can browse the repository index, which features thousands of packages (currently 111,387), enter the package in the search or enter the /name of the package in the URL."
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People who run the Ubuntu distribution, along with other Linux distributions which run Snap packages, will soon gain the ability to disable automatic updates to Snap software. Up to this point, Snap packages have been subject to automatic updates, whether users wanted them or not. Now it will be possible to turn off automated updates to either all packages or just specific packages. Merlijn Sebrechts writes: "This might sound like an obvious feature to many people, but it's a continental shift in philosophy for the Snap developers. Snaps allow users to easily install Linux applications. By default, snaps automatically update to the newest version. Snapd, the service that manages snaps, checks for updates four times in a day. Although there are many ways to control when and how often updates are installed, it was not possible to completely turn off automatic updates."
* * * * *
These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Changing the terminal font size
Reading-the-fine-print asks: I have a high resolution monitor and, under my graphical environment, it looks great. My problem is if I switch to a text console (using Ctrl+Alt+F2) the text is super tiny. Tried a bunch of stuff to change it, but everything I do alters the desktop font too. Is there a way to change the font size in just the terminal?
DistroWatch answers: There are a few approaches a person can take to adjusting the font size of their terminal. As with many things on Linux, there is more than one way to accomplish changing font sizes. The easiest way I have discovered is to use a tool called setupcon.
The setupcon program handles font and keyboard settings for the terminal. One of the nice things about using setupcon is the program doesn't require any arguments, it doesn't involve tweaking kernel boot flags, or remembering obscure information about fonts. All we need to do is edit one or two lines of a configuration file and then run the setupcon program.
The configuration file we need to edit is a plain text file which is called console-setup and it is usually stored in the location /etc/defaults/console-setup. The console-setup file looks like this:
I have highlighted the only two lines we need to examine. The first line, which starts with "FONTFACE", determines the font family to use. The second line, "FONTSIZE" determines how large the font will be. These two fields are covered in some detail in the console-setup manual page, under the section titled "FONTFACE and FONTSIZE".
The manual page tells us the FONTFACE field can be one of the following values: VGA, Terminus, TerminalBold, TerminusBoldVGA, or Fixed. Most systems I've encountered have used Fixed or TerminusBold. Personally, I'm a fan of TerminusBold.
The manual page also lists the valid font sizes for each of the font families. A small font will typically be around 8x16, while a large font will be 16x32.
All we need to do is edit the /etc/defaults/console-setup file to adjust the two key lines and then run the setupcon program. Here are my font settings, which you can see are slightly altered from the defaults:
When you first adjust the console-setup file, nothing will happen. You need to manually run the setupcon command line program for the font to change. This will adjust the font on your text console, but not the font in your virtual terminal or on your desktop.
If you have a multi-user system it is possible each person will want their own font settings. Each user can copy the /etc/defaults/console-setup file to their home directory, to the location ~/.console-setup, and then edit their own copy. This copy of the file stored in their home directory should override the system-wide defaults listed in /etc/defaults/console-setup.
Each time a new text terminal launches, you may find it reverts back to its old, smaller font. If this happens you can run setupcon again manually. Alternatively, you can make sure your console font is properly set each time you login by adding the line setupcon to your shell's start-up file. For most systems, which run the bash shell by default, the line setupcon can be placed at the bottom of the ~/.bashrc text file.
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Additional answers can be found in our Questions and Answers archive.
|Released Last Week
Clonezilla Live 3.0.2-21
Steven Shiau has announced the release of Clonezilla Live 3.0.2-21, the latest stable version of the project's Debian-based live CD featuring a partition and disk imaging/cloning program called Clonezilla: "Stable Clonezilla Live 3.0.2-21 released. This release of Clonezilla live (3.0.2-21) includes major enhancements and bug fixes. Enhancements and changes from 3.0.1-8: the underlying GNU/Linux operating system has been upgraded - this release is based on the Debian 'Sid' repository as of 2022-11-03; Linux kernel has been updated to 6.0.6; the de_DE, el_GR.UTF-8, es_ES, fr_FR, ja_JP, pl_PL, sk_SK and tr_TR language files have been updated; show options '-k0' and '-k1' in the restoring action for beginner mode in ocs-onthefly; include the ufw package in live system; disable the glances service in live system; add the '-sfs' option in the dialog menu - the corresponding language files have been updated too. Bug fix: /etc/default/espeakup has changed its variable, so modify default_voice instead of VOICE." Here is the complete release announcement.
AlmaLinux OS 8.7
AlmaLinux OS is a clone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux which strives to be entirely compatible with its upstream parent. The project's latest release is AlmaLinux OS 8.7. "AlmaLinux 8.7 Stable provides a more stable foundation for open hybrid cloud innovation, new enhancements and features to deliver workloads, applications and services for multiple environments more efficiently, security features and updates for risk reduction and better compliance maintenance. New automation and management functionality is provided to make additional manual task automation, performing standard deployment processes at scale easier and to simplify day-to-day system management. These enhancements include adding several system roles and the web console new options and features. As for containers, Sigstore technology was built into the container tooling. You can read more about this release by checking out the Release Notes." Additional information is provided in the release announcement.
Barry Kauler has announced the release of EasyOS 4.5, a new milestone version of the project's lightweight, experimental Linux distribution with support for running applications in containers: "EasyOS 'Dunfell' series 64-bit version 4.5 released. The 'Dunfell' series of EasyOS is built from packages compiled from source using 'meta-quirky', a build system based on OpenEmbedded/Yocto (OE). The binary packages from a complete recompile based on Dunfell 3.1.20 release of OE was used to build EasyOS 4.5. There has been a major structural change, completely separating the EasyOS installation from the bootloader, and the rEFInd/Syslinux bootloaders have been replaced with Limine. The latter handles both UEFI and legacy-BIOS computers. As the packages are cross-compiled from source, the repository is rather small compared to other distributions; however, this is compensated by a much increased collection of SFS files. These are large packages, even complete operating systems, that can run on the main filesystem or in a container. These are downloaded and installed by clicking on the 'sfs' icon on the desktop - a very simple operation." See the release announcement and the release notes for more details.
EasyOS 4.5 -- The EasyOS welcome window
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Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.7
Red Hat, Inc. has released Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 8.7 earlier this week. This is the latest version of the company's legacy branch of Linux distributions, fully supported until May 2024. RHEL 8.7 brings several new features: "RHEL 8.7 introduces a number of new capabilities, including the ability to view and manage system-wide crypto policies for consistency and reduction of risk, label and optionally encrypt data in sosreports generated in the web console, install only kpatch updates with improved kernel live patching workflow in the web console, download installation media when creating a new virtual machine within the web console, and edit custom firewall services. Also included are several new RHEL system roles, especially the new Redfish Ansible automation modules, which let customers use the Redfish hardware management interface to control the power state of a system, manage the order of boot devices, manage Redfish accounts and virtual media." See the release announcement and the release notes for further information.
* * * * *
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: 2,789
- Total data uploaded: 42.5TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|Opinion Poll (by Jesse Smith)
Do you do any testing before installing a new version of your distribution?
It's common for most Linux distributions to publish new versions, often once or twice a year. When this happens, people often upgrade to the new version to take advantage of the latest features.
Upgrading can provide new features and abilities. It can also introduce new problems. We'd like to hear how much testing, if any, you do prior to performing an upgrade. Let us know the details below in the comments.
You can see the results of our previous poll on the number of packages installed on your system in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
When a new version comes out...
|I upgrade immediately: ||380 (23%)|
| I do some testing in a VM: ||152 (9%)|
| I do testing with a live disc: ||267 (16%)|
| I install the distro on a spare machine/partition: ||187 (11%)|
| I wait for a point release - let others beta test: ||312 (19%)|
| I am part of the rolling release elite: ||388 (23%)|
DistroWatch database summary
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This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 21 November 2022. Past articles and reviews can be found through our Weekly Archive and Article Search pages. 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)
|Linux Foundation Training
|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • testing new releases (by MIkeOh Shark on 2022-11-14 01:21:49 GMT from Germany) |
I always test with the live versions first. Live discs are just one of the killer apps that make Linux a better choice for me than Windows.
2 • New Releases (by Pietro ZAMMIT on 2022-11-14 01:52:26 GMT from Australia)
I always install a new version on another partition to learn the differences before committing to the changes
3 • New release. (by Friar Tux on 2022-11-14 02:17:41 GMT from Canada)
The option I use wasn't actually listed. I wait a while after a new release comes out until I've read most of the reviews/articles in various Linux and FOSS sites about that release. If I like what I read, I upgrade, if I don't like what I read, I wait. Because I prefer LTS versions I usually DO up-grade every five years. Seems to work, for me, quite nicely.
4 • Testing Releases (by CorpSouth on 2022-11-14 02:19:45 GMT from United States)
My rule of thumb is if you insist on the latest and greatest, wait until at the most two months away from official release, and don't get bent out of shape if you experience disruptions.
5 • Fedora plans Phosh spin (by Sebastian on 2022-11-14 02:32:48 GMT from Canada)
For the time being, we have only two options in the mobile world, iOS and Android (and its spins). We need to have more choices, we need a(t least one) solid Linux distro for mobile devices.
6 • upgrading (by Trihexagonal on 2022-11-14 02:56:16 GMT from United States)
I upgrade FreeBSD as soon as I can get to it without testing.
Kali GUN/Linux is a rolling release. I update and upgrade 2-3 times a week.
I've never had any problems upgrading either.
7 • Changing terminal font size (by New User on 2022-11-14 03:04:55 GMT from Canada)
Re your tip on changing the terminal font size:
The way to handle this seems to vary on different distributions. In researching this I found a lot of info, but mostly related to Arch based distros.
For those using Slack based distros, the following may be helpful.
In Salix 14.2 (based on Slackware 14.2), I used to be able to pass a kernel argument via the append line in lilo (vga=769).
When installing Salix 15.0, I would get an illegal entry error message.
Ok, in /etc/lilo.conf, changed vga=normal, to vga=769.
Great, that works during bootup, until the kernel takes over, and everything reverts to teeny unreadable font size.
If I understand correctly, there is a way to "append" a vga setting in lilo.conf, but the formatting is not at all clear to me, and I kept finding comments about this being "poorly documented" and to refer to kernel.org
Setting vga=nomodeset works for the console, but the minute you engage X, the kernel no longer controls video settings, and everything is too tiny to see.
In the end, this is what worked:
Fonts are stored in /usr/share/kbd/consolefonts
The default font is ter-v16n, which is terminal font, 16 pitch, normal (vga text mode, 80x25 characters, 16 colours).
I simply needed to engage a larger font from those installed in /usr/share/kbd/consolefonts.
From the console, setfont -v (your preferred font).
I chose ter-v20n which is larger (512 char., 10x20)
To hold these settings, edit /etc/rc.d/rc.font
(In my case, replacing ter-v16n with ter-v20n).
As to the specific question about temporarily changing console fonts, there are the commands setconsolefont and setfont (see the manpages).
Remember, this info is specific to Slack-based distros. Seem to recall mention that on Arch based distros, there is a tool vconsole. I do not know which distros use the console setup command mentioned in this weeks column.
I hope this is helpful to somebody out there. I'm sure there will be helpful comments and corrections on my tips, as I am (somewhat) new at this. (Suppose using Salix 14.2 sort of "dates" me...).
8 • 'Damn the torpedos! Full speed ahead...' (by tom joad on 2022-11-14 03:34:11 GMT from Luxembourg)
I don't test squat. I sail right into the storm if you will. I am on the deck with cutlass in hand ready to have at it with all comers...
Honestly, I have never test a new version. I make back ups of my home folder, wipe it clean and do a new install. I NEVER do the install of the new OS while still running in the old OS. Mint is great for that. They heartily suggest it. I never, ever do that.
Wnen I was working for Gateway I learned very quickly that is a bad idea. I would say you are down on your knees begging for trouble.
As for Linux, I have had few issues doing or installing a new version. But I do the main line stuff, Mint, Ubuntu in the old days, MX a good ways back. You know stuff like that. Sure I have had some hiccups here and there.
The worst one was about 2008 or so. A new version of mint, I don't remember which one, had a bad issue with Nvidia drivers. It something like the plymouth driver would not kick up the Nvidia driver later in the boot for some reason. Something like that. Pretty quickly a work around became availble. That was the worse of it.The AMD and Intel drivers worked fine in the new revision. It was just Nvidia and only specfic cards, not all of them. I had one of the effected cards or chip on my Dell laptop.
I am sure Jesse remembers what I am talking about. Other than that I just do it.
9 • Upgrade vs fresh installation vs rolling release vs... (by TheTKS on 2022-11-14 03:35:24 GMT from Canada)
I voted installing onto a spare/open partition, since that's what I do with the distro I use most, Slackware (stable).
In fact, I do several of those depending on the Linux distro or BSD:
- Xubuntu LTS, hybrid: upgrade after first point release (every two years) for 2-3 LTSs, then do a fresh installation, either over the existing one or onto a spare/open partition
- Slackware -current, installed once, upgrade from time to time
- OpenBSD -stable, usually a fresh installation over the existing one with each new version (every six months), but I have also done sysupgrade
- elementaryOS, fresh installation, either over the existing one or onto a spare/open partition (upgradability between major versions has not been an option, but is under consideration)
- Arch, rolling release (most recent new Linux distro for me, installed onto a hard-to-"retrofit" 32-bit ARM Chromebook. Arch because the instructions were the most straightforward, and it was still a bugger to get working on this hardware.)
I also download new Puppies and TinyCore from time to time to have a copy of recent releases in my back pocket, but haven't installed any onto a USB in awhile.
10 • a new version? (by JeffC on 2022-11-14 04:07:10 GMT from United States)
The poll would be better if it allowed to pick two, I would then be able to vote use a live 'disc' (actually USB) and wait for a point release.
Not having the Must have New Shiny Syndrome I see no need to upgrade to the newest immediately.
Let someone else find the bugs and give the devs time to fix them.
11 • RedCore and Upgrades (by Andy Prough on 2022-11-14 04:15:36 GMT from United States)
RedCore sounds like it's in shape and that I need to try it soon, thanks for the review!
As far as upgrades, I use them in a VM for awhile AND wait to see what troubles others report on the forums. A multi-pronged approach.
Except for antiX, I don't usually try any other distros on a live USB. Only a very few distros like antiX and the Puppies give you live persistence out of the box. If I'm going to give it a test drive as a live USB, why would I not want to save any changes I make? The fact that it's 2022 and the vast majority of distros still don't give you default persistence options on live media is just awful.
12 • I'm an elite guinea pig (by Matt on 2022-11-14 05:11:47 GMT from United States)
My laptop and desktop are running rolling releases (Devuan testing and Void). If something breaks terribly, I keep backups.
13 • Changing terminal font size (by Roger Brown on 2022-11-14 06:21:31 GMT from Australia)
@7 An easier way is to change your desktop file in /usr/share/applications.
For example, for xterm, change your exec line to something like
Exec= xterm -fa monotype -fs 14 -bg darkgreen -fg yellow
14 • Rolling Release Elite? (by Bobbie Sellers on 2022-11-14 06:43:36 GMT from United States)
Only if standards for "Elite" are pretty low.
I used to use Mandriva and it was 2 releases per year and updating the
system with this need to replace the whole OS at once was a chore I
was not looking forward too. When 2011 would not run on my laptop I
decided to change distributions. Remember with Mandriva I at least
paid for Power-Pack updates which had licensed codecs for video.
No one in support could give me a clue Then Mandriva went bust on
the consumer front at least.
Mageia 3 would not boot on my laptop. I tried PCLinux 2014 and it was
satisfactory then I went to the next Mageia distribution because EFI was
not yet clearly understood by my PCLOS packager and from the problems
I had neither was Mageia totally on board.
Since then i have learned it was probably the Windows install of new kernels
which overwrote the boot loader. But in 2016 PCLinux was onboard with EFI
and new ways of partitioning or not. I have stuck with PCLinuxOS and its,
bliss of "Rolling Releases." Not an elitist but a person willing to update frequent
running Linux 6.0.8 and KDE's Plasma 5.26.3. Also the <https://www.pclinuxos.com/forum/index.php> provides much support for the users from people who know their
15 • @13 (by rb on 2022-11-14 06:43:50 GMT from United States)
I think @7 is referring to the terminal output during boot sequence and the tty, not a terminal emulator application like xterm, which is very easy to configure for font sizes. On some, like Konsole, you can dynamically change it by using ctrl with +/- keys. However, the terminal (tty) font size is not as intuitive and many of the vga= are no longer supported by newer kernels. I found setting the font size by choosing a different in consolefont , at least for my use case, was not an ideal solution either. The font does not kick in immediately, so you have the initial kernel font that then changes during boot sequence to your chosen font. Rather choppy and ugly solution. I decided to just leave it be and now use quiet splash as boot parameters so i don't even have to see any of it. I turn that off on the rare occasion I want to troubleshoot something and want to watch the boot messages progress in the terminal.
16 • A new release (by Alexandru on 2022-11-14 06:57:46 GMT from Romania)
I have 2 partitions for Debian. As soon as a new release is out (sometimes even just before it), I install it on a separate partition and keep installed the current version together with the new one for some time (I have separate home partition accessible from both versions). So, when I am confident new release satisfies my necessities, I start using it exclusively.
17 • Release (by 0323pin on 2022-11-14 07:12:36 GMT from Sweden)
Rolling but, the "elite" thing is a missconception.
18 • Testing (by penguinx86 on 2022-11-14 07:23:06 GMT from United States)
Most distros work just fine in Virtualbox, but I like to test them by burning the ISO file to live bootable USB flash drives. That's the only way I'll know if the new distro is 100% compatible with my hardware or not. No Wifi? Can't get my preferred video resolution? Audio problems? In the past, I burned ISO files to CD/DVD's to install new distros, only to find out they didn't support my hardware. I wasted SO many blank CD/DVD's that way. Then I scrambled to reinstall Linux Mint, to get my Wifi and video working again. Hardware incompatibility is why I stopped distro hopping and stick with Linux Mint now.
19 • New Releases - but mind your wording (by Dr.J on 2022-11-14 07:27:13 GMT from Germany)
"Rolling releases" are simply a way to install updates. I like this approach very much. That's all. This has nothing to do with "elite". But this wording doesn't make the arguments in the Linux community any better.
To the point: I update my Arch distro every day. It runs in a virtual machine and for difficult things (kernel, runit, Xorg, Virtualbox etc) I make a snapshot. If there are problems (which is very rare), I'm back in a minute.
20 • @19 the term rolling 'elite' in poll (by rb on 2022-11-14 08:03:29 GMT from United States)
@19 re: "has nothing to do with 'elite'. But this wording doesn't make the arguments in the Linux community any better."
I think that is how you interpreted it. I did not interpret it that way. I think elite in this case is not intended in a negative way, such as an elitist personality. I think it is simply referring to a luxury, a person who can afford to run a system that updates constantly, deal with breakage on occasion, has the skills to fix it and manage it themselves. Most rolling distro users by numbers are either using Arch or Gentoo, including the derivative distros. Many Linux users cannot even write a bash script or build/install/remove a program from source code. Many cannot build or configure a kernel. The few who do know how to do these things could be considered the elite.
I think elite in the use of the term "the rolling elite" used in the poll refers to the lower number of users; fewer users overall are running a rolling release distro, therefore the elite.
It is a luxury to run a rolling release distro, you have the latest and greatest software. Using a rolling release is not intuitive. It takes time and skill and knowledge which many do not have. They may not be able to afford the extra time or resources to attain or maintain a rolling release, therefore elite. Not elite as in better than or of a higher class. Elite as in fortunate, do not have to deal with reinstalling every six months. Your interpretation is your own, but that is not the only interpretation.
21 • Current and Stable for Slackware (by Livestradamus on 2022-11-14 11:00:56 GMT from Saudi Arabia)
Already running the current (development) branches on daily driver, so the main stable release on the servers is of little to no surprises.
The stable releases are years apart so thats nice.
22 • Upgrading (by Peter Hayward on 2022-11-14 11:22:55 GMT from United Kingdom)
I run EndeavourOS on a rolling release. Very rare to have a problem upgrading automatically, but if I do need to I reinstall. Important stuff is in the cloud so I never lose that. I have a very simple config so not a problem to set it up again.
23 • New releases (by fox on 2022-11-14 12:41:24 GMT from Canada)
I use Ubuntu, and I upgrade as soon as a new release is available. My safety valve is that I have the latest Ubuntu LTS on a partition on the same internal drive. So if there was a problem with the new release I would simply move back to the LTS. I have never had to do this yet, and I have been using Ubuntu since 2007.
24 • Upgrading (by seacat on 2022-11-14 12:59:35 GMT from Argentina)
I use Linux Mint and I use the Mint standard procedure to upgrade to the next version, using mintupgrade tool.
25 • I upgrade immediately? (by Low Tech Jim on 2022-11-14 13:28:12 GMT from United States)
I marked that I upgrade immediately, but the Ubuntu-Mate that I use releases on Thursdays and I upgrade my laptop on the second weekend after release. That gives 9 days to correct major bugs in the new release.
26 • No one size fits all (by John on 2022-11-14 13:59:49 GMT from Canada)
After way too many years distrohopping, I've come to the conclusion that running linux as either rolling or LTS, or which distro is "best" depends on the hardware you're using.
I've never been able to get the same distro to perform flawlessly on all my hardware. Some work great on one computer and horribly on a different machine. So I've stopped trying to fing the "ultimate" distro and use it everywhere - I just use the distro that works best for the particular computer.
Currently running Linux Lite on an old Dell, LMDE 5 on a Huawei Matebook X Pro, and Fedora on a Microsoft Surface. Each one works flawlessly, but definitely not a one-size fits all.
27 • Distro updates (by CSRoad on 2022-11-14 14:56:15 GMT from Canada)
I'm writing this on a Devuan Ceres machine, so I'm in the daily "rolling" group.
I typically give cursory eyeball to the updates for anything that seems wrong.
I also have a full backup, that is always there, but I can't remember the last time I had to use it. That is probably a reflection on the stability of both Debian and Devuan "unstable" branches and the good work of the Devs of both.
28 • New version testing (by Alloy on 2022-11-14 17:11:43 GMT from United States)
Mandatory 'I use Arch btw' comment
29 • Two world collide (by Jyrki on 2022-11-14 17:26:40 GMT from Czechia)
As for Linux, I run rolling release distro...but I do not use it everywhere, and on most machines I run OpenBSD and I do upgrade straight away without any doubts.
30 • @17 (by Panther on 2022-11-14 17:35:51 GMT from United States)
Agreed I do not believe rolling release users are in any way "elite" .
31 • update (by thym on 2022-11-14 17:49:44 GMT from Greece)
When a new release comes, i adjust the very next days the sources and that's all. Worked for me for many years now with zero problems so far. Having said that, i am not running distros with two releases per year.
I found rolling releases to be more time demanding to administer. Plus they are offering questionable benefits. I do not need for example the newest kernel for my projects.
The everlasting quest for the latest and greatest it's a hobby on it's own, not a real, practical need for the majority of the users.
32 • Fonts auto configuration (by DevaJu Sans on 2022-11-14 18:06:45 GMT from Moldova)
Is there any automatic solution for fonts configuration on UltraHD displays ?
Can X(or wayland) server automatically figure out that font should be scaled ?
Or if it is the case even in command-line only mode, can systemd(openrc etc) figure out that font should be scaled ?
Or maybe bash could be more clever though...
While setupcon is nice, most of end users will wanna switch back to windows/mac if they have a UltraHD laptop.
33 • Upgrade... (by Vukota on 2022-11-14 18:57:09 GMT from Serbia)
I used (and will use) all of the strategies mentioned, though, I try to avoid rolling these days (it gets old too fast).
- If I upgrade immediately, I have a backup first.
- If I would like to check if a distro is worth using or how something specif work on it (like file system, boot loader, etc.), I use virtual machine
- If live disc is available, I always test distro on target hardware first.
- Sometimes If I have spare computer, and I would like to test drive different (new) distro, I install it first on that "available" computer.
- If distro is not stable right away after a big release (Ubuntu comes to my mind), I may wait for point release or until I hear it is stable enough.
34 • Upgrading (by Robert on 2022-11-14 19:18:26 GMT from United States)
I primarily run rolling, mostly Arch. I rollback using snapshots if I need to.
When I do run fixed releases, I upgrade when I get to it. That might be right after release or months down the line. No testing, if it blows up I do a reinstall. If it's still broke, switch distros.
35 • @19 Elite (by Justin on 2022-11-14 20:25:32 GMT from United States)
I took it as a joke. Rolling release users like Arch users have this stereotype reputation of being elitists. To me the poll played on that. I thought it was hilarious, especially since nowadays you don't have to really know what you're doing to run a rolling distro.
I use a rolling Arch release on a dedicated laptop because I wanted to experiment and learn Arch. I thought it would make me an elite Linux user but it didn't. For my main machine, I usually wipe and install the newest LTS when the old one hits EOL. There is a one year overlap, so I said I wait for a point release.
36 • @19 Elite (by eznix on 2022-11-14 21:39:13 GMT from United States)
The "elite" was an obvious joke, poking fun at the immature Arch users who hold themselves in such high esteem for being able to copy and paste some installation instructions. :-p
37 • Rollin', Rollin', Rollin' - with apologies to Clint Eastwood (by brad on 2022-11-14 22:35:37 GMT from United States)
Yep - I'm as 1337 as they come...
: - )
Seriously though, if we were talkin' Windows, I would have chosen "let others beta test". I have a couple of "production" machines that run Windows (because my job...), and I will not be coerced into "upgrading" to Windows 11, until I can be d@$n sure that the applications will work, and that I won't lose any W10 functionality...
38 • @36 - c n' p (by brad on 2022-11-14 23:04:58 GMT from United States)
Funny you should mention copy and paste - I experimented installing Arch a few times, using the c 'n p method - failures each time, because of some important missing instructions.
I probably could have fixed the errors, but these were experiments, where I was pressed for time.
It made me look askance at the Arch fanbois who insist that their documentation is the best - it's better than most, but "no one's perfect".
39 • Terminal font size (by LiuYan on 2022-11-15 01:35:12 GMT from China)
In case of displaying Chinese (or non-ASCII) characters in terminal, I use `fbterm`, the config file of fbterm is ~/.fbtermrc .
40 • Console fonts in Debian (by Head_on_a_Stick on 2022-11-15 06:45:30 GMT from United Kingdom)
Debian users are advised to take advantage of the supplied abstraction to change the console fonts:
apt install console-setup
No need to mess around in /etc/defaults/console-setup like some kind of cave person :-)
41 • Microsoft/Intel Roadblocks... (by Jim Mulkey on 2022-11-15 09:11:12 GMT from United States)
Last week Lizard questioned my comment on difficulties in installing Linux on refurbished Microsoft/Intel machines. He said he had no problems with Linux with dual-boot Windows. I was surprised he's using Windows and he apparently didn't know I was talking about running Linux only, no Windows. I haven't used Microsoft in over 20 years! The difficulties are mostly around Intel's BIOS being tightly integrated to Microsoft's Secure Boot.
42 • @41, Microsoft/Intel Roadblocks... (by Harry the Lizard on 2022-11-15 09:37:24 GMT from United States)
"I was talking about running Linux only" I have removed and reinstalled Windows several times on this machine. Right now it has Debian and Windows 11, but I have run Linux by itself and dual booting with other Linux distros. I have 2 laptops with 8th and 10th gen. Intel running just Ubuntu and Debian. At no time have I had any problem with installation or running. For those distros that don't work with secure boot, it can be easily disabled in bios/uefi.
43 • Testing (by James on 2022-11-15 12:23:42 GMT from United States)
I test on a USB drive (live disc) to see if my hardware is supported out of the box or there are easy to find and install divers (i.e. Broadcom wireless on Debian). If a never used before OS I look that my required software is available.
44 • testing distros (by Otis on 2022-11-15 21:33:54 GMT from United States)
It's always been the live disc thing for me, which can admittedly be misleading at times. I've seen bugs in the live environment that don't show up once installed, and vice versa; no bugs live but cropping up after installation. Overall I'm with post #1 as one of the huge advantages of linux/bsd over Windows is being able to do that.
45 • testing new version (by agn on 2022-11-16 02:02:37 GMT from Taiwan)
Currently a Debian testing user. Never test any new version, but apt-listbugs help me pin the packages whose new version have grave bugs so I seldom encounter bugs.
46 • testing new releases (by John on 2022-11-16 02:52:37 GMT from Canada)
I use Slackware and have been for a very long time. I upgrade instantly when a new release comes out. The last time I had an issue with a Slackware upgrade (and use) was with version 3.4, which cane out around 1997 or 98.
47 • Do you do any testing before installing a new version of your distribution? (by Wallijonn on 2022-11-16 06:23:43 GMT from United States)
Always. I will install onto a spare disc drive. I will try to make it look exactly like the old, if possible. (We all have our own favourite icons, splash screens, colours, etc., no?) KDE upgrades can blow away themes, styles, icons, colours, or the distro update or upgrade re-arranged where they are, renamed them, hid them, or become incompatible, icons deleted, a browser no longer works, audio may no longer work, if nVidia, video problems are common, programs can be dropped & new programs installed to replace them, or old features no longer available in the new program version, libraries retired and then certain programs, fonts changed, etc.; a kernel update could munge the wireless (nothing like regressions to brighten anyone's day), BT, printers may no longer work, downloaded user supplied login screens may no longer work, etc. Or a distro drops the Desktop Interface (MInt Dropping KDE, Parrot dropping KDE, etc.) Mint upgrades never worked for me.; the system always blew up. It taught me to always do a clean install and transfer my data.I prefer Rolling Distros because of that. But, every now and then even that can blow up (usually Arched based distros, for example.)
48 • Rolling release (by bgstack15 on 2022-11-16 15:35:12 GMT from United States)
I use Devuan Ceres, i.e., the unstable release. I originally needed it for the freeipa packages which were only in unstable but now have made it to a named release but I'm hooked on the shiny, new packages. Occasionally I've run into issues like wicd (a sane network manager) getting removed because it was python2 (although I hear a python3-based wicd is somewhere out there), so I had to choose connman. Other issues have happened but are generally smaller. I get what I pay for, as well as what it says on the tin: unstable!
49 • Topics (by Cheker on 2022-11-16 23:01:51 GMT from Portugal)
"I am part of the rolling release elite" LMAO you didn't have to do us like that.
I was a little disheartened the last time I tried a recent PinePhone release (think it was Mobian but perhaps not). It felt like there was no progress in like a year. Please don't make me duck for the default pin, slap that thing in a very visible, obvious place. You'd think that'd be obvious but so many PP distros fail right here, step 1.
50 • Redcore Linux (by FRC on 2022-11-17 01:42:23 GMT from Brazil)
When I installed Redcore last June, Live session inverted "sda" (Sata #1 slot) and "sdb" (Sata #2 slot) -- and after installed, it keeps inverting my disks sometimes. No problem, as I could see my Labels, so I didn't do any mistake while installing Redcore; and my mountpoints use Labels, too. Just pay attention to it.
When using "sisyphus", always use the "--ebuild" parameter (or just "-e"), so it will find / install / upgrade non-binary packages from Gentoo, too. If no "ebuild" is needed, "sisyphus" will prefer its own binary packages.
I had high CPU usage, too, so I disabled "Intel Turbo Boost" (I don't use it, anyway). Redcore used to start with 3900 MHz (as my Slackware does). Now it starts using 2900 MHz; and when "sisyphus" deals with "ebuilds" it doesn't get 100ºC anymore. All my other distros (all with KDE) use to start using about 800 MHz and go high when needed, only.
Also, Redcore is the only distro which increases RAM usage if iddle after startup, as far as I know. All other tend to decrease RAM usage after boot, if you do nothing for a few minutes.
Redcore's Documentation is only about "sisyphus". For all other things, use Gentoo wiki.
I had to learn a little and deal with "USE flags" because of Dolphin didn't show "Info Panel" (F11), until I enabled “semantic-desktop” USE flag and recompile it.
51 • Testing before installing a new version of your distribution (by FRC on 2022-11-17 01:56:41 GMT from Brazil)
I have marked "I install the distro on a spare machine/partition", because that's what I have done with MX Linux 21. It didn't use to offer version upgrade. When I saw everything working fine, I have replaced old MX Linux 19.
Fedora and KDE Neon, I just wait a few before upgrade them to the new version.
openSUSE Tumbleweed, Debian testing, Arch, PCLinuxOS, Void, Redcore, are rolling-release.
Mageia, I used to replace (reinstall) with Beta or even with Alpha, so I had a "rolling-release" for a few weeks, before it reaches its point release.
52 • Ready for my upgrade (by CS on 2022-11-17 20:38:04 GMT from United States)
I use Yggdrasil and as soon as the new release is out I'm ready to upgrade!
(Posted from Lynx)
53 • @47 mint upgrades ymmv (by dave on 2022-11-17 23:55:57 GMT from United States)
Yeah I have a friend who had the same experience with Mint upgrades (and Ubuntu upgrades) in the period of time he was using Linux. On the other hand, my mother's computer uses Mint and hasn't seen a fresh install since 2017 and I don't recall having a single upgrade-induced problem along the way. Maybe it just likes the combination of hardware.. or maybe it's because my mom's Mint install is mostly stock/default programs with little-to-nothing extra added. It's one of the great mysteries of the universe.
54 • release varieties (by lost in the Dark Web on 2022-11-18 00:27:47 GMT from Singapore)
shouldn't a rolling release be called a "rollease" :)
55 • Upgrading and Testing (by Andy Figueroa on 2022-11-18 05:13:11 GMT from United States)
On my main desktop and several servers I run Gentoo and update them daily. Being truly rolling, there are no releases in the usual sense. However, I support desktop machines at a school using MX-Linux which has traditional Debian style releases. I extensively test new releases as follows:
1. Boot ISO in a VirtualBox as a virtual machine.
2. Later, I will create a live-usb with persistence and do more extensive testing including installing software and customization, being attentive to changes in workflow and errors.
3. I will subsequently install onto a spare partition on my testing machine and work with the desktop primarily in X2GO remote sessions. Once I'm happy with the system, I'll create a new ISO using MX-Linux's snapshot tool. The ISO will then be installed as a new Live-USB.
4. The new Live-USB will be used to install upgraded systems onto spare partitions on the school's desktop computers while preserving the older installation keeping it untouched. User files will then be restored to the new installation.
56 • Poll on upgrading (by Hoos on 2022-11-18 06:03:14 GMT from Singapore)
I didn't participate in the poll because I have various distros on my machines and I approach each differently.
For fixed release Debian-based distros, I test the new release in VM or just create a new partition to install it to. I don't tend to use the upgrade path provided as I prefer to install clean. With my data stored elsewhere, any new installation can access the same easily. Any settings in dot config files can easily to copied to the new partition once I'm satisfied the new release is working fine.
For my Arch and Arch-based distros, I just upgrade roughly every 10 days. I have Timeshift restore points so I don't worry too much.
For Fedora, I use their upgrade path, but I only upgrade to my current system +1, immediately after current system +2 is out. Thus, with Fedora 37 just out, I'll be upgrading from Fedora 35 to 36 this weekend. That way I'm using a release only after any issues are sorted out. In particular, I like to use a Gnome version only some time after its release so that the shell extensions I use are mostly upgraded to work on the release. I already run latest Gnome in Arch and while it is generally problem free, it's inconvenient at times when an extension is temporarily out of commission.
57 • Microsoft/Intel Roadblocks... (by Jim Mulkey on 2022-11-18 16:22:30 GMT from United States)
Lizard and I disagree on whether Microsoft and Intel deliberately make it difficult to remove Windows and run Linux only. My experience is that Microsoft does everything it can to make using anything else difficult. I have Xubuntu 22.04 working on my newest Dell 7060 i7-8700, but it boots slower with an NVMe ssd than my older Dell 7010 i7-3770 with a SATA ssd and the same OS!
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|• Issue 1037 (2023-09-18): Bodhi Linux 7.0.0, finding specific distros and unified package managemnt, Zevenet replaced by two new forks, openSUSE introduces Slowroll branch, Fedora considering dropping Plasma X11 session|
|• Issue 1036 (2023-09-11): SDesk 2023.08.12, hiding command line passwords, openSUSE shares contributor survery results, Ubuntu plans seamless disk encryption, GNOME 45 to break extension compatibility|
|• Issue 1035 (2023-09-04): Debian GNU/Hurd 2023, PCLinuxOS 2023.07, do home users need a firewall, AlmaLinux introduces new repositories, Rocky Linux commits to RHEL compatibility, NetBSD machine runs unattended for nine years, Armbian runs wallpaper contest|
|• Issue 1034 (2023-08-28): Void 20230628, types of memory usage, FreeBSD receives port of Linux NVIDIA driver, Fedora plans improved theme handling for Qt applications, Canonical's plans for Ubuntu|
|• Issue 1033 (2023-08-21): MiniOS 20230606, system user accounts, how Red Hat clones are moving forward, Haiku improves WINE performance, Debian turns 30|
|• Issue 1032 (2023-08-14): MX Linux 23, positioning new windows on the desktop, Linux Containers adopts LXD fork, Oracle, SUSE, and CIQ form OpenELA|
|• Issue 1031 (2023-08-07): Peppermint OS 2023-07-01, preventing a file from being changed, Asahi Linux partners with Fedora, Linux Mint plans new releases|
|• Issue 1030 (2023-07-31): Solus 4.4, Linux Mint 21.2, Debian introduces RISC-V support, Ubuntu patches custom kernel bugs, FreeBSD imports OpenSSL 3|
|• Issue 1029 (2023-07-24): Running Murena on the Fairphone 4, Flatpak vs Snap sandboxing technologies, Redox OS plans to borrow Linux drivers to expand hardware support, Debian updates Bookworm media|
|• Issue 1028 (2023-07-17): KDE Connect; Oracle, SUSE, and AlmaLinux repsond to Red Hat's source code policy change, KaOS issues media fix, Slackware turns 30; security and immutable distributions|
|• Issue 1027 (2023-07-10): Crystal Linux 2023-03-16, StartOS (embassyOS 0.3.4.2), changing options on a mounted filesystem, Murena launches Fairphone 4 in North America, Fedora debates telemetry for desktop team|
|• Issue 1026 (2023-07-03): Kumander Linux 1.0, Red Hat changing its approach to sharing source code, TrueNAS offers SMB Multichannel, Zorin OS introduces upgrade utility|
|• Issue 1025 (2023-06-26): KaOS with Plasma 6, information which can leak from desktop environments, Red Hat closes door on sharing RHEL source code, SUSE introduces new security features|
|• Issue 1024 (2023-06-19): Debian 12, a safer way to use dd, Debian releases GNU/Hurd 2023, Ubuntu 22.10 nears its end of life, FreeBSD turns 30|
|• Issue 1023 (2023-06-12): openSUSE 15.5 Leap, the differences between independent distributions, openSUSE lengthens Leap life, Murena offers new phone for North America|
|• Issue 1022 (2023-06-05): GetFreeOS 2023.05.01, Slint 15.0-3, Liya N4Si, cleaning up crowded directories, Ubuntu plans Snap-based variant, Red Hat dropping LireOffice RPM packages|
|• Issue 1021 (2023-05-29): rlxos GNU/Linux, colours in command line output, an overview of Void's unique features, how to use awk, Microsoft publishes a Linux distro|
|• Issue 1020 (2023-05-22): UBports 20.04, finding another machine's IP address, finding distros with a specific kernel, Debian prepares for Bookworm|
|• Issue 1019 (2023-05-15): Rhino Linux (Beta), checking which applications reply on a package, NethServer reborn, System76 improving application responsiveness|
|• Issue 1018 (2023-05-08): Fedora 38, finding relevant manual pages, merging audio files, Fedora plans new immutable edition, Mint works to fix Secure Boot issues|
|• Issue 1017 (2023-05-01): Xubuntu 23.04, Debian elects Project Leaders and updates media, systemd to speed up restarts, Guix System offering ground-up source builds, where package managers install files|
|• Issue 1016 (2023-04-24): Qubes OS 4.1.2, tracking bandwidth usage, Solus resuming development, FreeBSD publishes status report, KaOS offers preview of Plasma 6|
|• Issue 1015 (2023-04-17): Manjaro Linux 22.0, Trisquel GNU/Linux 11.0, Arch Linux powering PINE64 tablets, Ubuntu offering live patching on HWE kernels, gaining compression on ex4|
|• Issue 1014 (2023-04-10): Quick looks at carbonOS, LibreELEC, and Kodi, Mint polishes themes, Fedora rolls out more encryption plans, elementary OS improves sideloading experience|
|• Issue 1013 (2023-04-03): Alpine Linux 3.17.2, printing manual pages, Ubuntu Cinnamon becomes official flavour, Endeavour OS plans for new installer, HardenedBSD plans for outage|
|• Issue 1012 (2023-03-27): siduction 22.1.1, protecting privacy from proprietary applications, GNOME team shares new features, Canonical updates Ubuntu 20.04, politics and the Linux kernel|
|• Issue 1011 (2023-03-20): Serpent OS, Security Onion 2.3, Gentoo Live, replacing the scp utility, openSUSE sees surge in downloads, Debian runs elction with one candidate|
|• Issue 1010 (2023-03-13): blendOS 2023.01.26, keeping track of which files a package installs, improved network widget coming to elementary OS, Vanilla OS changes its base distro|
|• Issue 1009 (2023-03-06): Nemo Mobile and the PinePhone, matching the performance of one distro on another, Linux Mint adds performance boosts and security, custom Ubuntu and Debian builds through Cubic|
|• Issue 1008 (2023-02-27): elementary OS 7.0, the benefits of boot environments, Purism offers lapdock for Librem 5, Ubuntu community flavours directed to drop Flatpak support for Snap|
|• Issue 1007 (2023-02-20): helloSystem 0.8.0, underrated distributions, Solus team working to repair their website, SUSE testing Micro edition, Canonical publishes real-time edition of Ubuntu 22.04|
|• Issue 1006 (2023-02-13): Playing music with UBports on a PinePhone, quick command line and shell scripting questions, Fedora expands third-party software support, Vanilla OS adds Nix package support|
|• Issue 1005 (2023-02-06): NuTyX 22.12.0 running CDE, user identification numbers, Pop!_OS shares COSMIC progress, Mint makes keyboard and mouse options more accessible|
|• Issue 1004 (2023-01-30): OpenMandriva ROME, checking the health of a disk, Debian adopting OpenSnitch, FreeBSD publishes status report|
|• Issue 1003 (2023-01-23): risiOS 37, mixing package types, Fedora seeks installer feedback, Sparky offers easier persistence with USB writer|
|• Issue 1002 (2023-01-16): Vanilla OS 22.10, Nobara Project 37, verifying torrent downloads, Haiku improvements, HAMMER2 being ports to NetBSD|
|• Issue 1001 (2023-01-09): Arch Linux, Ubuntu tests new system installer, porting KDE software to OpenBSD, verifying files copied properly|
|• Issue 1000 (2023-01-02): Our favourite projects of all time, Fedora trying out unified kernel images and trying to speed up shutdowns, Slackware tests new kernel, detecting what is taking up disk space|
|• Issue 999 (2022-12-19): Favourite distributions of 2022, Fedora plans Budgie spin, UBports releasing security patches for 16.04, Haiku working on new ports|
|• Issue 998 (2022-12-12): OpenBSD 7.2, Asahi Linux enages video hardware acceleration on Apple ARM computers, Manjaro drops proprietary codecs from Mesa package|
|• Issue 997 (2022-12-05): CachyOS 221023 and AgarimOS, working with filenames which contain special characters, elementary OS team fixes delta updates, new features coming to Xfce|
|• Issue 996 (2022-11-28): Void 20221001, remotely shutting down a machine, complex aliases, Fedora tests new web-based installer, Refox OS running on real hardware|
|• Issue 995 (2022-11-21): Fedora 37, swap files vs swap partitions, Unity running on Arch, UBports seeks testers, Murena adds support for more devices|
|• Issue 994 (2022-11-14): Redcore Linux 2201, changing the terminal font size, Fedora plans Phosh spin, openSUSE publishes on-line manual pages, disabling Snap auto-updates|
|• Full list of all issues|
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View our range including the highly anticipated StarFighter. Available with coreboot open-source firmware and a choice of Ubuntu, elementary, Manjaro and more. Visit Star Labs for information, to buy and get support.