| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 1034, 28 August 2023
Welcome to this year's 35th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
There are few more interesting, independent Linux distributions than Void. The Void project offers its own package manager, makes the unusual choice to use the runit init software, and offers builds that use the lightweight musl C library. This unique combination sets the Void project apart and gives the rolling distribution a following of people looking for something outside of the mainstream. How well does this unique distribution function? Jesse Smith takes Void for a test run and reports on his experiences in this week's Feature Story. While most distributions use the GNU C library, Void is one of the few which uses the musl C library. Do you run a distribution that runs musl C? Let us know in the Opinion Poll below. In our News section we talk about the FreeBSD project gaining a port of Linux's NVIDIA DRM driver which should improve Wayland performance. We also talk about Fedora looking to offer better theme handling for Qt-based applications while Canonical plans new features for the Ubuntu desktop. Then we talk about measuring memory consumption on Linux in our Questions and Answers column. Plus we're pleased to share the releases of the past week and share the torrents we are seeding. We're also grateful to the readers and sponsors who continue to support us and thank them below. We wish you all a wonderful week and happy reading!
This week's DistroWatch Weekly is presented by TUXEDO Computers.
|Feature Story (By Jesse Smith)
Void is one of the more interesting Linux distributions, in my opinion. It is an independent project, meaning it is not based on other distributions. The Void project offers a rolling release, keeping it up to date, while maintaining a reputation for being more stable than the average rolling distro. The project features the rarely deployed runit init software and a custom package manager called XBPS which can work with both binary packages and source packages.
To make matters more interesting, Void is available in desktop flavours and a minimal, command-line only flavour. Plus, it offers multiple C library implementations: glibc (which is used by most Linux distributions) and musl libc. Void is able to run on x86 machines (both 32-bit and 64-bit) as well as a variety of ARM boards. All of this is to say, Void offers a great deal of flexibility, a unique personality, and a small resource footprint.
The Base (minimal) edition of Void is a 659MB download while the Xfce edition for x86_64 machines is 984MB. I decided to try the glibc build of the Xfce edition. While the musl libc build may be interesting, it's probably best reserved for people who know they specifically need it as some software in the GNU/Linux ecosystem is compatible with glibc only.
The Void live media boots straight into the Xfce 4.18 desktop. A panel at the top of the screen holds an application menu and system tray. A dock with launchers for key applications sits at the bottom. There are icons on the Xfce desktop for launching the Thunar file manager.
Void 20230628 -- Exploring the application menu
(full image size: 553kB, resolution: 1680x1050 pixels)
I noticed early on there is an audio mixer in the system tray and sound worked out of the box. The last few times I've run Void audio was muted by default and there was no mixer control available. This feels like a positive step.
I did not find any launcher on the desktop or in the application menu for the system installer. Instead we can launch the text-menu driven installer from the command line by running the "sudo void-installer" command.
Void's installer walks us through a series of steps which we can perform (or revisit) in the order of our choosing. We're asked to pick our keyboard layout from a cryptic list and given a chance to enable our network connection. We're asked if we'd like to install packages from the local media or install software over the network. There is a note on the Void website which warns us to stick to local packages on the ISO when installing a desktop environment.
We are asked to pick our locale from a list as well as our timezone. We're asked to make up a root password. Plus we are given the chance to create a regular user account and set its groups and password. Plus we can choose where to install a boot loader.
When it comes to disk partitioning, Void's installer will offer to launch either the fdisk or cfdisk partition managers. I used the latter and it worked well for me. We can then use another module of the installer to format these partitions and assign mount points. This also worked well. Finally, the installer copies its packages to our hard drive. The installer worked well - it was unusually fast and it was stable. Void's installer requires a bit of Linux knowledge to navigate, but worked without any issues. It also only took about three minutes to install Void, even when running in a virtual machine.
My fresh copy of Void booted to a simple, graphical login screen. From there I was able to sign into my account which started a new Xfce session. The background is a sort of string-themed, abstract painting with lots of negative space and colourful lines centred around the Xfce mascot. The Xfce is highly responsive, very fast, and its animation is smooth.
The default theme is a bit mixed. The panel and application menu show a dark theme while context menus are light. The virtual terminal is dark while the file manager and text editor are light. As with my experience with Solus a few weeks ago, there seems to be no consistency across the default desktop, even with fairly vanilla settings.
Void 20230628 -- The Thunar file manager
(full image size: 657kB, resolution: 1680x1050 pixels)
The Xfce screensaver locks the desktop after five minutes of inactivity. Even with this timeout removed or extended, the screen still blanked and locked. I discovered this was due to the power settings also blanking my screen during inactivity, so the behaviour needs to be addressed in two places.
I tested Void in a VirtualBox instance and on my workstation. The distribution performed well in the virtual machine without any issues. Void ran similarly smoothly on my workstation. All of my hardware was detected, sound worked out of the box, and I had no trouble connecting to local wireless networks.
While I was using Void, everything ran surprisingly quickly. The distribution boots and shutdowns almost instantly (thanks to a smaller number of background services and the runit init software), the distribution was always quick, responsive, and the Xfce desktop was unusually snappy.
The distribution is quite light on resources. A fresh install of Void's Xfce edition requires just 2.3GB of disk space (about a third of the typical mainstream desktop distribution) and Xfce runs in 410MB of RAM, about two-thirds of what KDE Plasma tends to use these days and less than half what GNOME often consumes. This offers extra room for running applications.
Void ships with a small number of desktop applications. We're given the Firefox web browser, the Ristretto image viewer, and Thunar file manager. The Parole media player is included along with the Mousepad text editor. The Xfce settings panel is provided to help us customize the desktop environment. All of these worked quite well for me. I like the minimal approach as there are enough tools to get us started while virtually no clutter.
Void 20230628 -- The Xfce settings panel
(full image size: 376kB, resolution: 1680x1050 pixels)
Void also ships with the GNU command line utilities and manual pages. This snapshot of Void runs the PipeWire media software, though a PulseAudio volume control is included. In the background Void uses the runit init software and version 6.3 of the Linux kernel.
Earlier I mentioned Void has its own, custom package manager. This command line package manager is called XBPS. XBPS is actually a collection of package management tools with the three key ones for most situations being: xbps-install for fetching new software, xbps-query for finding packages, and xbps-remove for deleting unwanted software. The syntax of these tools, particularly the query utility, is a little unusual, but the documentation does a nice job of offering examples.
The first day I was running Void, XBPS found 41 packages totalling 206MB in size waiting to be updated. These new packages were fetched and installed without any issues.
XBPS is quite fast, matching the rest of the Void distribution in general. It also worked without any issues. There doesn't appear to be any graphical front-end for XBPS which, also matching the rest of the distribution, suggests this operating system is not intended for novice Linux users.
Void doesn't have a lot of software in its repositories, compared next to projects like Debian. What is does have tends to be on the cutting edge though. Should we require a wider range of software, Void includes Flatpak support in its repositories (Flatpak is not installed by default). We can also customize available software using a utility called xbps-src which will build packages from source code. I didn't have cause to use xbps-src, but have encountered people in the Void community sharing source ports in order to help each other install new software without relying on the trust needed to download software from third-party binary repositories.
Void 20230628 -- Looking up steps to add Flatpak support using Firefox
(full image size: 83kB, resolution: 1680x1050 pixels)
Void certainly stands out in the Linux community. In a world with dozens of spins of Arch Linux and Ubuntu, Void is a rare gem, trying different approaches and offering an unusually clean and capable experience. The project is light on resources, blazingly fast, and (in my experience) stable.
Since the last time I tried Void, the developers have fixed the sound issues I experienced in the past and managed to keep everything else running well without introducing any new problems. In fact, Void seems to be error-free. I can't recall running into any error messages, glitches, or crashes during my trial and that's quite unusual.
Void is a capable distribution and, while it uses some lighter, custom tools, it provides a great deal of functionality.
I am a fan of what Void is doing and how it is accomplishing its goals. The distribution is light, fast, clean, stable, and well documented. If I had any concerns it would be just two things. First, the distribution requires a degree of familiarity with Linux. This is not a beginner-friendly project. People using Void need to be comfortable with the command line, documentation, and text menus. In this way, Void shares some style elements with Arch or OpenBSD. The other warning I would share is Void has a smaller repository of software. All the basics are there, but there are some niche tools, alternative web browsers, and such which are missing. These can often be supplied through other means, such as Flatpak or a container.
In short, for people with a bit of Linux experience who want a clean, efficient distribution and who don't mind using the command line, Void is one of the best options I've encountered in recent years.
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Hardware used in this review
My physical test equipment for this review was a Lenovo desktop with the following specifications:
- Processor: Hex-core Intel i5-10400 CPU @ 2.90GHz
- Storage: Western Digital 1TB hard drive
- Memory: 8GB of RAM
- Networking: Realtek RTL8111/8168/8411 wired network card, Realtek RTL8822CE 802.11ac PCIe wireless adapter
- Display: Intel CometLake-S GT2
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Visitor supplied rating
Void has a visitor supplied average rating of: 9.2/10 from 155 review(s).
Have you used Void? You can leave your own review of the project on our ratings page.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
FreeBSD receives port of Linux NVIDIA DRM driver, Fedora considers proposal for improved Qt theme handling, Canonical's plans for desktop Ubuntu
People who run FreeBSD with NVIDIA video cards received some good news recently. There is an ongoing effort to port the Linux NVIDIA DRM driver to FreeBSD which should improve compatibility and performance for desktops running Wayland sessions. "The most important use case of this is Wayland compositors. Namely, a sway desktop is fully usable on NVIDIA hardware when running with this driver. Wayland compositors primarily use the DRM-KMS API for advanced display features and for importing GPU buffers from clients without performing a copy. Please note that this is currently in the testing stage." People running FreeBSD can install this experimental driver using the project's port and package.
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There is a proposal up for discussion in the Fedora community which would improve theme handling for Qt applications. "Fedora Workstation has been using QGnomePlatform and Adwaita-qt projects to apply GNOME-like configuration and styling to Qt applications to match the environment. These projects are now in a state where they are outdated and semi-occasionally broken for some applications and it would be better to default to what Qt upstream has to offer."
The proposal goes into more detail: "With this change we would like to stop shipping and using these projects by default on Fedora Workstation and default to Qt default theming and styling. Also, because the GTK Platform Theme in Qt doesn't support everything we have support for in QGnomePlatform, we would like to contribute it to Qt instead. With this work, there shouldn't be any drawbacks when using Qt's GTK Platform Theme and we believe we would even get broader usage and more contributors for things like Client-Side Window Decorations. For Adwaita-qt replacement, we would default to Fusion style or possibly to Breeze style for KDE apps. Both styles have benefit of active upstream and broader usage than our custom style that is only used by Fedora Workstation and not tested by developers."
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Canonical has laid out plans for future versions of its Ubuntu distribution. The company has ideas for future versions, including an immutable desktop edition and improved security controls for applications. "Ubuntu Desktop must hold itself to the highest standards of security for both daily users and organisations with specific compliance requirements. Ubuntu's recommended security configurations should be easy to understand and available as the default experience. Ubuntu 23.10: We are currently working on a highly experimental implementation of hardware-backed full disk encryption as an option in the Ubuntu installer and the newest release of software-properties improves security for PPA key management." Additional plans and details can be found in the company's statement.
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Types of memory usage and running Linux on older computers
Forgetting-things asks: My Linux distro uses a lot of memory compared to Windows, but I heard Linux was supposed to work well on older machines? When I brought this up people told me "unused memory is wasted memory". But how is Linux considered good for older machines if it gobbles up so much memory?
DistroWatch answers: I think this is a good example (actually two examples) of how bits of wisdom tend to get boiled down into slogans and soundbites. In the proper context, snippets of wisdom are useful shorthands to guide people, but outside their specific context the soundbites of wisdom lose all value, and may be entirely wrong.
Outside the realm of computers, consider the phrase "You need to spend money to make money." This is helpful advice for an entrepreneur considering whether they should advertise or an investor planning their retirement. However, it's absolutely terrible advice to give someone entering a casino or a person deciding whether to engage in a multi-level marketing scheme. In a similar fashion, the line "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone," is a great reminder to not judge others too harshly because we all make mistakes. On the other hand, it is a stance which will get you fired from a job at a rock quarry.
Getting back to the original question, for most of its existence Linux has been offered up as a lightweight alternative to commercial operating systems such as Microsoft Windows and a good option for keeping older machines running. This is in large part because Linux can be configured to use very minimal amounts of resources. Some Linux distributions can run a lightweight graphical interface using just 100MB of RAM and a 32-bit CPU.
While some Linux distributions are quite minimal and will run with very few resources, not all Linux distributions are geared toward minimalism. For every Linux distro which runs a light window manager and functions well with 512MB of RAM and less than 2GB of disk space, there are three which run full-featured desktop environments with lots of background services, widgets, and conveniences which will gobble up 1,000MB of RAM before you open a web browser.
Over time people have boiled down the true observation that there are some Linux distributions which work well with minimal computer hardware to simply declaring "Linux runs well on older machines." It's true, in the proper context, but it's also true that a lot of popular, mainstream distributions will consume more resources to provide a more modern, convenient experience.
Moving on to the claim that "unused memory is wasted memory", this is another statement which can be true under the right circumstances, but it's not always true. To provide the proper context, let's talk about the different states of RAM.
There are basically three states of memory on a modern operating system, though admittedly I'm simplifying things a little here for the sake of brevity. The first is "free" memory. Free memory is not used at all, in any way. It's effectively empty and unused. The second state is "active" memory, which is RAM currently used by running applications. Active memory typically holds running programs and any data they are currently using to function.
The third state of RAM is "cached". Reading information from a storage disk is relatively slow compared to accessing RAM. For this reason, open files are typically loaded into RAM and a copy of the data is kept in memory for quicker access. Operating systems typically keep files in RAM, even after they have been closed, in case we want to open them again. This is why, especially if you have a spinning hard drive, opening a large file or application once might take several seconds but opening the same file later in the day might happen almost instantly - the file is still cached in RAM.
Some memory statistics programs treat both active and cached memory as being "used" and combine their total amounts together. For example, if we have 1GB of active memory and 2GB of cached memory, a lot of system monitors will report 3GB of memory are being used. This isn't exactly wrong, but it is a bit misleading. The reason it is misleading is cached memory is just mirroring information on our storage drive. Cached memory can be dropped (freed) at any time and used for something else.
In other words, while cached memory is being used for something (keeping copies of files for quick access) it can be quickly repurposed and used as active memory as needed. Active memory can only be freed up if a program uses less memory or terminates. Active memory is somewhat "locked in" and not available for use by anything else. Cached memory, by contrast, is basically still available for other purposes as needed.
Linux tends to fill up free memory with cached data in order to make file access faster. Over time, memory on a Linux system will gradually fill up with cached files. These cached files improve performance and, since cached data can be dropped at any time, cached memory does not prevent us from using the memory for something else. This is where the phrase "unused memory is wasted memory" comes from. There is no benefit to having memory be "free" instead of "cached" because both can be repurposed for "active" use as needed. Meanwhile, having data in cached memory speeds up file access.
This approach to caching, taking over free memory to be used as cached memory, often results in people seeing their memory as being entirely used by Linux and conclude Linux is heavy in RAM. In fact, Linux typically uses fairly small amounts of active memory and it is only the unfortunate method of reporting used by a lot of system monitors (which add active and cached memory together to show them as "used") that gives this impression of Linux being heavy. Linux usually consumes a small amount of active memory and will immediately dump cache to make room as needed.
The free command does a better job than most of showing how memory is being utilized. Here we have an example:
$ free -m
In the above example we can see the system has 7,599MB of physical RAM available. Of that, just 1,248MB is currently being actively used. In other words, about 16% is being consumed by applications and services. However, only about 521MB of RAM is free. This is what tends to make people concerned and think Linux is memory hungry. However, we shouldn't focus on how much memory is "free", we should look at how much is still "available" for use. In this case 5,839MB (76%) of the computer's memory is still available to be used by applications. All the system needs to do is dump some of its cached data and repurpose the memory for active use.
| ||total ||used ||free ||shared ||buff/cache ||available|
|Mem: ||7599 ||1248 ||521 ||185 ||5829 ||5839|
Getting back to the phrase "unused memory is wasted memory", that can be true. Memory which is currently "free" instead of "cached" is wasted. It's simply sitting there doing nothing and offering us no benefit. Since memory is available for applications to use whether it's free or holding cached data, it is almost always better for the operating system to cache files in RAM.
However, some people misunderstand the slogan "unused memory is wasted memory" and assume it applies everywhere. Ideally, an operating system won't eat up a lot of space with active memory, because active memory cannot be used for other tasks. The phrase "unused memory is wasted memory" occasionally gets used to justify heavy applications or desktop environments which should be made more efficient and improved to consume less active memory which could be better utilized by cache or other applications.
In short, the phrase makes sense when applied to free memory which could be cached. It is incorrect when talking about active memory which can be used to our benefit elsewhere.
I suspect your Linux distribution of choice probably doesn't require more memory than Windows did, the memory statistics are probably just being displayed differently. Usually when people see a big gap in resource usage in favour of Windows they're comparing "active" memory usage on Windows versus "active + cached" on Linux. That's likely why people are telling you unused memory (free memory which could be used for cache) is wasted.
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Additional answers can be found in our Questions and Answers archive.
|Released Last Week
Bodhi Linux 7.0.0
Robert Wiley has announced the release of Bodhi Linux 7.0.0, a major new update of the project's Ubuntu-based distribution featuring the Moksha desktop (a fork of Enlightenment). This version introduces a special "s76" variant with a cutting-edge Linux kernel (version 6.4.6): "The Bodhi team is thrilled to announce the long-awaited release of Bodhi Linux 7.0. Built on the Ubuntu 22.04 LTS base, Bodhi 7.0 is a momentous step forward. With a strong commitment to improving user experience, performance and adhering to its core values of minimalism and customization, this release marks a significant milestone in the evolution of Bodhi Linux. Bodhi Linux 7.0 comes with an array of improvements and updates. Most notable are: introduction of a new 's76' release which features a more advanced Linux kernel for those seeking cutting-edge performance; Linux kernel updates are now enabled by default; EFL and Terminology are updated to the version in e-git; Moksha no longer relies on deprecated libraries; the login screen boasts an upgraded slick greeter with a password reveal feature, complemented by a new Plymouth theme." See the release announcement and the release notes for further information.
Bodhi Linux 7.0.0 -- Running the Moksha desktop
(full image size: 2.0MB, resolution: 2560x1600 pixels)
Kali Linux 2023.3
Kali Linux is a Debian-based distribution with a collection of security and forensics tools. The project's latest release is Kali Linux 2023.3. "Today we are delighted to introduce our latest release of Kali, 2023.3. This release blog post does not have the most features in it, as a lot of the changes have been behind-the-scenes, which brings a huge benefit to us and an indirect positive effect to you as end-users. It always goes without saying, but there are a number of new packages and tools as well as the standard updates. If you want to see what's new for yourself download or upgrade if you have an existing Kali Linux installation. The highlights of the changelog since the 2023.2 release from May: Internal Infrastructure - Major stack changes are under way; Kali Autopilot - The automation attack framework has had an major overhaul; New Tools - 9 new tools added this time round! With the release of Debian 12 which came out this summer, we took this opportunity to re-work, re-design, and re-architecture our infrastructure. It is as massive as it sounds, and should not be a surprise that it's not yet complete! This is where a good amount of our focus has been for this release-cycle (and also the next one unfortunately)." Additional information is provided in the project's release announcement.
Mageia is a general purpose, independent desktop distribution from the Mandriva family of projects. The project's latest release is version 9 which includes improves to the installer, package management, and minimal install size of the distribution. "Smaller disk footprint: The size of the minimal install (when disabling the recommended packages) has been reduced. - It's the smallest since Mageia 4. The RPM DB has switched to SQLite: The RPM database no longer uses the old and unmaintained Berkeley DB. It now uses the modern SQLite. Conversion is performed during upgrade from Mageia 8. Major developments: Installation - NFS support is done using system tools rather than our 15 years old forked NFS code, thus gaining support for NFSv4 and co... When using an HTTP server, it's now possible to specify a port different than the default "80". The stage1 images are compressed with Zstd instead of gzip. Lots of bug fixes and improvements in the partitioner. Add 'downloader=curl' in order to switch from wget to curl for downloading packages. Rescue - The rescue system has been enhanced. Live ISO: The NetworkManager system service is now enabled by default on the Plasma Live ISO (this was already done for the GNOME and Xfce Live ISOs in previous releases). This allows network connections to be managed via the Plasma system settings tool as well as by the traditional Mageia network management tools." Additional details can be found in the project's release notes.
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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: 2,901
- Total data uploaded: 43.5TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|Opinion Poll (by Jesse Smith)
Running software on the musl C library
In our overview of the Void distribution this week we mentioned the project offers two separate builds. One build uses the popular glibc library while the other build runs on the musl C library.
While the musl library is less commonly used, it does have some attractive features such as being lightweight, fast, and with a focus on standards compliant behaviour. Do you run the musl C library on any of your systems? Let us know which distro provides your musl library in the comments.
You can see the results of our previous poll on the number of user accounts on an operating system in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Does your distribution run the musl C library?
|I run a distro that uses musl C: ||90 (9%)|
| I do not run a distro that uses musl C: ||623 (62%)|
| I do not know if my distro uses musl C: ||284 (28%)|
Donations and Sponsors
Each month we receive support and kindness from our readers in the form 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 $188 in contributions from the following kind souls:
|Adiel A R D||$5
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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, 4 September 2023. 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 • musl (by Guido on 2023-08-28 01:05:20 GMT from Philippines) |
I use an Arch derivative. Musl can be installed from the official repositories along with a kernel header. But I don't use it.
2 • Void review question (by Heinrich on 2023-08-28 01:21:34 GMT from United States)
Nice review as always, Jesse. I do have one question. You compared the RAM usage of Xfce *on Void* to typical RAM usage of KDE and Gnome *in general*. I’m curious about how the RAM usage of Xfce *on Void* to typical RAM usage on other distros. That would give me more insight into how lightweight Void is compared to other distributions.
3 • musl (by Jay on 2023-08-28 01:11:31 GMT from Finland)
I'm aware some apps work only with glibc, but I really appreciate that Alpine Linux doesn't. (Ditto for its lack of systemd.)
Alpine is just large enough to be useful (and yes, you can use it with a few WMs) and it strikes a good balance with a lean towards those that prefer CLIs.
Alpine works on most hardware one could use for network appliance projects. Alpine in Docker? It's tiny compared to all the things stuffed into most bloated, 'modern' distros.
"Small. Simple. Secure." works for me.
4 • Memory usage (by Jesse on 2023-08-28 01:59:36 GMT from Canada)
@2: "You compared the RAM usage of Xfce *on Void* to typical RAM usage of KDE and Gnome *in general*. I’m curious about how the RAM usage of Xfce *on Void* to typical RAM usage on other distros. That would give me more insight into how lightweight Void is compared to other distributions."
Fair point. RAM usage with Xfce tends to vary a lot in my experience across different distributions. Usually in the range of 400MB to 650MB. Void is close to the lighter end of the spectrum when it comes to Xfce, just over 400MB. So it's light, but not unusually light in memory when running Xfce.
5 • Void/musl (by Zaphod on 2023-08-28 03:41:54 GMT from United States)
I run Void with Musl on two machines. One is a raspberry pi 4 which runs as a headless server, and the other is a Dell Inspiration having laptop. I've never found Musl limiting in any way. On the contrary, I maintain a couple of applications that target Gnome and I'm perfectly able to run a full Gnome desktop with Wayland Ott of the box. I also use Steam on this machine via flatpak.
Nobody should be afraid to try musl based distos out. Both Void and Alpine provide a great experience and have a surprisingly large amount of software in their repositories, especially considering how people always keep saying that not all software is compatible with Musl. From what I've seen, about 95% of the time software complex and runs with Musl with zero changes to the source code. I can only surprise that people are referring to proprietary software, which I frankly am not interested in anyway.
6 • In the void and Runit, antiX 23 stable Runit init, now available (by Hank on 2023-08-28 05:55:25 GMT from France)
As noted in Void review
Anyone who tries a system which uses runit will have a jaw dropping experience.
Fast booting, near instant shutdown and easily controlled services.
Absolutly trashes system d in all respects and in daily productive usage goes on to prove the supposed sysd advantages only exist in the fantasy of the deluded....
Systems, tested Void, daily driver antiX with runit replacing the traditional Sysv which is also available.
After using several Beta versions I am now totally hooked on antiX23, A stable version is now available for download.
Short announcement and link to ISO in the helpful forum.
7 • xbps graphical package manager (by Miro on 2023-08-28 06:35:31 GMT from Slovakia)
There is a graphical front-end for xbps called octoxbps.
8 • Void Linux (by Microlinux on 2023-08-28 06:55:58 GMT from Austria)
I've been fiddling with Void for the past two months, and as a long-time Linux user (since Slackware 7.1) I must say I'm very (!) impressed. Tools and package repository are clean and fast, documentation is well-written and to the point. I've configured a custom-tailored desktop using a minimal Void, X11 and KDE, and I have yet to see another Linux distribution that's as fast and as clean. Booting is incredibly fast thanks to runit, shutting the thing down happens in a second (no "stop jobs" here).
The only point where Void could improve is online help. There's no mailing list and no forum, so you have to do with the corresponding IRC channel, Subreddit or GitHub discussion thread, which means no searchable archives. On the plus side, questions get answered rather quickly, and most Void users know their stuff.
I can only recommend this nifty little distribution.
9 • Void (by Devlin7 on 2023-08-28 07:29:24 GMT from New Zealand)
I am happy to say I have had 4 battles with Void , I have come back to win 3. It is light, fast and stable but I keep running into little road blocks. My loss has been xdg open of a torrent from Chrome. Works just fine on every other distro I have played with but Void and Chrome won't play nicely regardless of whether I use flatpak Chrome or from the source. Firefox works just fine with Void. Tried all the tips on the forums but haven't found the answer yet. Void is definitely light, an Enlightenment desktop comes in at 190Mb. Same setup on Nutyx is 220Mb and lately 320Mb on Arch. The Installation like Nutyx is super easy even if it is text based, it makes some of the GUI installers look sluggish for all the advancements in looks. The lack of a forum is a little offputting but there are distros with forums and no active people answering question. I have given up again for now but I am sure Void will be back.
10 • Void (by tomas on 2023-08-28 08:38:27 GMT from Czechia)
Thank you for the review of Void.
I will try it again though my previous trials ended by apparently not being one of the "people with a bit of Linux experience".
There is just one thing that I would like to know: Distrowatch displays Cinnamon, Enlightenment, GNOME, LXDE, LXQt, MATE, Xfce as the available Desktops for Void, but only a Xfce live image can be downloaded and on the manual pages I have found only GNOME and KDE (not listed on Distrowatch).
11 • memory usage on Linux (by Liviu on 2023-08-28 09:08:05 GMT from United Kingdom)
Just want to thank you for the clear explanation of memory usage on Linux.
12 • Void (by Hoos on 2023-08-28 09:13:09 GMT from Singapore)
My Void install with Cinnamon has been running for years. It's certainly fast and stable.
That said, I've kept only to what is in the official repos and 1 flatpak. I have never checked out xbps-src.
About the only significant thing missing for me on Void is that I have to use the openvpn files on network manager to operate my VPN, instead of relying on the VPN client (because systemd).
13 • musl (by James on 2023-08-28 10:17:46 GMT from United States)
musl is provided in the repository, but not installed our used.
14 • runit (by Otto on 2023-08-28 12:58:09 GMT from Czechia)
I wonder if runit is actively developed. While I found no release date on its website, the downloadable version is 2.1.2, which, if memory serves, the same that has been offered for many years now. Did I miss something?
15 • Types of memory usage and running Linux on older computers (by Geo on 2023-08-28 13:11:37 GMT from Canada)
I quite baffled that "some Linux distributions" does not include LegacyOS, since old computers are precisely what Legacy is designed for.
16 • Void Linux is absolutely fantastic! (by Void user on 2023-08-28 15:50:58 GMT from Finland)
Void Linux is absolutely fantastic!
Not fork or copy of copy another copy!
It is fast, minimal, configurable rolling release unique distro.
I am using Void Linux since 2016. Not single freeze, hanging, breaking changes, slowing down.
No bloatware or adware s*it. It has small software repository but all needed can be found there. More packages more security risk in my opinion.
sytemd free. Runit is amasing. It works out of the box. It is functional, fast, secure.
My setup is as main distro.
LUKS, DOH with tor, nftables, qtile and dwm.
I highly recommend Void Linux. Thank you to Void developers for their awesome beautiful unique distro!
17 • Void Linux (by void_kde on 2023-08-28 16:02:48 GMT from Brazil)
@14 - The most recent packages in my /var/cache/xbps/ are from April, 13 & 14, this year:
RAM usage 10 minutes uptime (iddle), according to /proc/meminfo = [ MemTotal - MemAvailable ], all distros with KDE without PIM:
Void 878 MiB
PCLinuxOS 921 MiB
Slackware 940 MiB
MX Linux 940 MiB
Redcore 1,001 MiB
Manjaro 1,031 MiB
Neon 1,049 MiB
Arch 1,059 MiB
Mageia 1,068 MiB
Fedora 1,139 MiB
openSUSE 1,210 MiB
Debian 1,211 MiB
18 • musl (by nsp0323 on 2023-08-28 19:11:33 GMT from Sweden)
Void Linux + musl-libc user since early 2017. "Fresh" install using the October 2017 iso, running until today without an itch. Initially, base install + AwesomeWM, replaced by FrankenWM which, in-turn was replaced by LeftWM. Same install, SSD moved to a newer laptop in 2018 with a minor fstab and wpa-supplicant config change. Soon, 6 years rolling :)
19 • Void : the NetBSD of Linux. (by Gerard Lally on 2023-08-28 22:55:05 GMT from Ireland)
Regarding Void, it doesn't surprise me that it took a NetBSD developer to create it. Intelligence is the difference between BSD and Linux. Linux, of course, has all the hardware support, but the design and ideas clearly show the BSD pedigree.
20 • Octoxbps (by vornan19 on 2023-08-29 01:22:21 GMT from Thailand)
Yes there is Octoxbps but it is not comparable to the Ubuntu Software GUI.
It is buggy, incomplete and unmaintained.
Void is great though.
21 • void-packages (by Vinfall on 2023-08-29 01:52:45 GMT from Hong Kong)
@14: You can check that in void-packages repo on GitHub, i.e. https://github.com/void-linux/void-packages/commits/master/srcpkgs/runit-void/template and https://github.com/void-linux/void-packages/blob/master/srcpkgs/runit/template.
This is one thing I like personally as it's really easy to get involved. It's yet rather easy to create a PKGBUILD but AUR is unofficial in soul. When your PR to void-packages is merged, it would become available to every Void users after next build & sync.
From void-packages, Void now has 14000+ pkgs in total while running `apt list | wc -l` on Devuan ceres returns 70333. It seems quite small but is larger than Arch/Manjaro for me. I have to use AUR or pip to install many Python packages on Manjaro and in Void there is usually a pkg already.
22 • musl (by Vukota on 2023-08-29 06:44:16 GMT from Serbia)
Good luck to anyone running musl based distro in production environment. I had some very nasty bugs related to it, compared to glibc. I will wait couple years before I try it again.
23 • Void (by Name (mandatory) on 2023-08-29 06:45:08 GMT from Slovenia)
I'm one of the "too noob for Void". I was using it, but when I ran into some problems, I was struggling. I also needed some packages that others were building by themselves and I didn't know how to.
For this reason I switched, but I understand, the reason is lack of my knowledge, not Void's fault. Since I like runit, one of my computers has antiX with runit.
I tried Void when there was a forum and I'm sad, it does not exist any more. I hope this is not a bad sign. I hope Void prosper and become used by more users. Linux need unique and innovative distributions, Linux need variety. This nudge and push into the ways, windows is operating, (systemd), bothers me.
24 • Void mea culpae, @ 23 (by El Gordo on 2023-08-29 12:15:18 GMT from Mexico)
"I was using it, but when I ran into some problems, I was struggling. but I understand, the reason is lack of my knowledge, not Void's fault."
I'm getting some strong cult vibes around this distro.
25 • Cult Vibes around Void (by Hank on 2023-08-29 12:52:01 GMT from Germany)
Void is not a cult, it needs some knowledge and perseverance, or some learning, that's all. Same goes for Arch or BSD Free BSD, building a system from antiX minimal or base install same goes.
26 • Areas for Void to improve (by Matt on 2023-08-29 13:03:41 GMT from United States)
First off, I think Void is incredible and deserves to be recognized by more people. It is outstanding for what it aims to be: a minimalist distro for advanced users. Does that make me a cult member? Maybe so, but...
I used Void for some time, but I ended up switching back to Debian due to commercial packages I needed that were in deb format.
Areas where Void can be improved:
1) Installer that allows encrypted disk partitions. If you use the default Void installer, it is blazing fast and simple. If you want to encrypt your hard drive, however, installation is slow and complicated. It involves manually setting up each partition and mount point, then doing installation in a chroot environment.
The fastest way I found to get an encrypted install is to use to default Void installer to install everything on a smallish root partition with no separated swap and leave a bunch of free disk space. After the fast install, manually set up the free disk space as an encrypted volume group with swap and home volumes inside it. After that, move home to its new home and activate the encrypted swap.
2) Some easier way to use commercial deb or rpm packages. Some of these are available as flatpaks, but those don't always work. Some are available as restricted/non-free packages in xbps-src, but those sometimes have quirks that affect functionality for some reason.
If you want an example of this, try installing Zoom on void. It works until you try to resister with SSO. I found no way to get Zoom SSO login to work on Void.
3) Texlive. This probably doesn't affect very many people, but if you use Texlive with a lot of extras, you have to use Texlive's internal package manager. It is very very slow. It takes hours to set up. Also, my preferred LaTex and BibTex editors (Kile and Kbibtex) are not available in Void, so I had to compile them from source. The whole process can be done in minutes on Debian.
27 • Void, perhaps to try again (by Otis on 2023-08-29 16:17:32 GMT from United States)
I've been in Linuxland for decades, and yet shied away from Void back in '21 when all I read was the title of a review at OSNews: "Excellent distro for advanced Linux Users" or some such wording. I thought for sure it was about compiling and all per Gentoo.
Today's write-up by the venerable Jesse has me getting out my Linux laptop and going at it head on, as my command line skills are fine.
I'm so SO glad we're talking about a great non-systemd distro's great points, along with stated improvement of the project as time goes by.
Great info (as often) right here in this comments area as we see that runit is certainly being developed, and that RAM usage by Void is amazing as compared to several other popular distros.
28 • Void (by debian_rules on 2023-08-29 16:18:41 GMT from United Kingdom)
I agree, Void is an incredible gem, but Debian rules them all.
For all complaining that Void is difficult to install and setup. Well, first do your homework, it's your problem not Void's one. The reword is a great one. Otherwise, eat your usual food and keep calm.
I am in between of what is best for me - the notorious stability of Debian or the shiny things I can get faster by running Void rolling. Cheers.
29 • Alternatives qTox dpkg nix docker (by Debian Arch Refugee on 2023-08-29 18:41:02 GMT from United States)
Run qTox. Zoom is a horror:
Cautions aside, Void can run Zoom with SSO as a Docker image:
Void includes package managers from nix and Debian. I've installed .debs with Void's dpkg. This method needs firm hand-holding. It can involve manual creation of missing folders, logs, and/or user accounts from Debian that the .deb assumes. Nix packages might work better on Void. However VM machinery like Docker or Flatpak is the proper way to go.
Debian always frustrated me with hollow claims of stability excusing stale package versions. I find Void, and musl particularly, vastly more stable. I no longer yell at the ceiling why Debian won't just build the latest versions of everything. It's been many years. I've never looked back. I am so happy to be free of Debian. Upstream software teams are always fixing bugs, but good luck getting Debian to roll their fixes out in a calendar year.
The one place where stable means something is the Linux kernel, because it's so massive with so many devs. Kernel rolling gives Arch 90% of its instability. Debian won't tell you its dirty secret: Debian gets 90% of its alleged stability from kernel caution. Unlike Arch, Void treats Linux kernels with care. Void can run the very latest kernel if you want it, but defaults to a conservative point release, not to say LTS, which you may install too. So Void lies on the sweet spot of kernel maintenance.
Rolling or not, Void has packaging issues. Packages can sit stale/orphaned for months. Void lacks Arch's flagging. Forget forums, what Void needs is a staleness flag on every package that anyone can click without github. So for instance,
mercurylang 22.01.3 ... should be at 22.01.7
pam-mount 2.16 ... should be at 2.20
new homepage ... https://inai.de/projects/pam_mount/
pam_rundir 1.0.0 ... should be forked
upstream is waaaay too slow on officially tagged releases
could use Artix fork now at 1.2.0 ...
gnome-maps missing dep ... requires libsecret or will not launch
Void also has a firm policy against serious web browser alternatives. If someone would volunteer package maintenance, Void might budge, but I'm not sure. I think several people have tried. What it will probably take is someone to launch an unofficial public repo just for alt browsers. Don't ask permission. Now I run LibreWolf App Image on Void glibc without trouble. I have run Flatpaks on Void too. Brave browser and LibreOffice did OK as Flatpaks, even on musl. (Void has LibreOffice, I just ran the Flatpak for an experiment.)
I recently tried to install Flatpak into nonstandard folder locations, distro-independence being the goal. My many attempts did not fly. It could be Flatpak design flaws or Void issues, or both. I played with all the env vars and followed Flatpak docs to the letter. My advice: let Void use whatever baked-in assumptions Flatpak wants. I had no issues with Flatpak on Void using Flatpak's default setup. I suspect Flatpak just doesn't respect XDG or its own env vars as well as advertised.
If I had to leave Void, I would move to Artix, which has full choice of non-systemd init system for all its packages, as I read it. Void forces runit, but choice is nice. You can install s6 on Void, but then must roll your own service mods. Artix is a bit more attentive to end users as well, e.g., offering regular spins of the major desktops, which Void only does once every few years.
One of the more interesting security distros is Split Linux, based on Void musl, in fact very closely. It's really more of a "spin" than its own distro.
30 • Running PostmarketOS, which uses musl C (by Elcaset on 2023-08-30 01:02:05 GMT from United States)
I'm running PostmarketOS on a Pinephone, & it uses musl C. I put off installing PostmarketOS for a long time, because it looked like a very steep learning curve. But, it turns out that, on some devices, it's quite easy to install. It's so fast, that it makes the Pinephone's slow hardware usable!
31 • @29 Debian (by Vic on 2023-08-30 13:09:13 GMT from Brazil)
Debian is fine when using the "testing" repository, but I agree that Debian stable is a unfixable buggy mess. Software simply won´t get bug fixes because it is a "stable" distro. I would call it "frozen", not "stable".
I think the Debian team should promote "testing" as the standard version, and keep "stable" to specific uses (i.e. servers).
32 • @2 & @4 Void review question (by Heinrich from United States) (by Kato San on 2023-08-30 19:18:05 GMT from Japan)
@2 & @4: "You compared the RAM usage of Xfce *on Void* to typical RAM usage of KDE and Gnome *in general*." I’m curious about how the RAM usage of Xfce *on Void* to typical RAM usage on other distros. That would give me more insight into how lightweight Void is compared to other distributions."
Bodhi Enlightenment ("Moksha") aprox. 230 MB; Fedora 38 LXDE aprox. 340 MB; Salix Xfce, aprox. 330 MB; and Porteus 5.0 Gnome & KDE, aprox. 490 MB.
antiX 23 zzzFM aprox. 400 MB; MiniOS 3.2 Fluxbox aprox. 600 MB; Ubuntu 22.04 Gnome 770 MB; MX-23 Xfce 870 MB.
Ubuntu 22.04 Server with Xorg and DWM, aprox. 200 MB.
33 • @23 (by Name (mandatory) from Slovenia) (by Kato San on 2023-08-30 19:44:08 GMT from Japan)
"Linux need unique and innovative distributions, Linux need variety."
What Linux needs is to get bought by one big company, which could make a usable OS out of it.
As is, we get 300 "crapstributions" and not a single one that works as it should.
And it needs a software cleanup, as 90 % of it is a pile of corpses.
Basically, most of what people need is unmaintained.
Everything is kind of half-functional, if at all.
34 • @33 (by Werewolfc on 2023-08-31 08:04:50 GMT from Germany)
I (partially) agree with Kato. For Linux to be mainstream in "public" space - I mean regular, not tech savvy Joe, it has to have consistence and be "better than windows".
Here's my rant:
1. it has to be fast and stable (booting and also in operating): many don't care if they are using systemD, runinit, blackPandaFur, Xorg, Wyland, MarioLand.... they want they system running as better and fast as possible.
2. the choice is bad: regular users don't need 30 desktops, 100 wallpaper applications... they need only one functional, easy to use, familiar desktop.
3. drivers need to work out of the box.. or offer easy way to fix them: Linux is lagging behind of that.
4. rolling release and also "stable way" seems not to be alternatives: rolling style increases the chance to screw your system, and even "delaying" Manjaro style the update seems not to work. Some are complaining that debian's stable style is not also working (bug fixing). I know that FreeBSD has an update system which allows you to update only the "system space" app... and the "user space" app are left alone, and vice-versa. (could that be the solution?)
5. popular apps need to be available pkg or binary blobs: many regulars don't care about the FreeSoftware and open source ideology : they need a way to do what they want.
6. gaming : a lot of progress has been made... but I see that there is a lot to do.
7. UX + looks and feel tend to get crazy in the Linux desktop: too many (crappy, incomplete) themes, icons, etc many of those created from passion (kudos) but not "ship it in a product" ready. Some DE have to many options to basically change everything possible (I'm looking at you XFCE).
I know, THE CHOICE is at the heart of the FSF and open source community, but sometimes too much is ... just too much.
8. Distro forking can be a good thing... but also means splitting the resources, which can mean lower quality.
9. Official support : like offline help files (in general).
So, if some company wanna do business on Linux desktop, they need money to put into it... and they need to make money out of it. Selling LinuxDesktop retail packages (not subscription) have to be at reasonable prices for the users. And they also have to support the upstream projects that are being used in their distro.
Subscription is no go imo.
Some are trying to bring Linux to mainstream (RH, Canonical, Manjaro...) but the
higher fees for support make LinuxDestop even more repulsive. (+I don't like the direction nor the DE the Ubuntu is heading to)
So, until someone/some company makes Linux more "Windows like", Linux will still be a "labor of love" created and used by the passionate ones period. (I'm not talking about production nor IT developers).
I'm an regular Joe, with medium Linux knowledge, but not a daily Linux user.
35 • yikes the linux landscape problems (by bert on 2023-09-01 04:00:38 GMT from New Zealand)
@33 @34 - in many ways I have to agree. So let the rant season continue...
If you look at just the top 4 or 5 distros on DW and ignore the 1000+ others (where the quality dives off a cliff), you still end up with a confusing set of mismatched features, incomplete package sets, etc.
Take couple of simple examples. Of the top 5, _only_ Mint sets up printers by itself. The others, especially in the Arch family, fight you that you wish to scream, die, or walk away.
Joe Public user wants to make a nice slideshow of their pictures. For many years, Photofilmstrip has the Ken Burns effect and has worked perfectly. Any distro on the Debian side, has it in the repos - easily done. Arch, nope - go build it, which fails, fails, fails.
Debian and downstream are infested with a font for every single village across ALL of Asia. We cannot physically be in all those places, fonts should be installed that are appropriate to the locale. Maybe even an option in Calamares installer? And talking of fonts, _only_ Zorin do the work of providing _and_ configuring metric compatible alternatives to the proprietary stuff.
36 • Strange... (by Friar Tux on 2023-09-01 04:14:27 GMT from Canada)
@32, @33, @34 I find it strange how people can rant and rave about how bad Linux is, while noobies like me, who have switched over from MSWindows find ourselves with a perfect, usable, operating system that functions far, far better than said MSWindows. In the past 7 years, I have never had a single glitch or issue with my Linux. I cannot say the same for MSWindows, which first of all forced a one hour upgrade onto MY laptop in the middle of my work. It then did a half hour update. And as if that wasn't enough it also loaded ads into my start menu, AND tried to force me to sign up for some Microsoft account. How is this better than Linux, which just sits on my laptop, lets me do me work in peace and OFFERS me updates and upgrades, but waits for ME to initiate them? And these said updates and upgrades, at the very most, have taken only about 1 or 2 minutes. (Yes, I time them, just for fun.)
The points @34 makes either vary from user to user, are personal opinions that also vary from user to user, and actually show the diversity of Linux, which I find to be its strength. No, Linux may not have taken over the world to replace MSWindows, BUT, I appreciate that it is there for those of us that need it to get stuff done. I, for one, love it and will never go back to dysfunctional MSWindows.
37 • @36 - Strange... (by Friar Tux from Canada) (by Kato San on 2023-09-01 09:56:42 GMT from Japan)
"@32, @33, @34 I find it strange how people can rant and rave about how bad Linux is, while noobies like me, who have switched over from MSWindows find ourselves with a perfect, usable, operating system that functions far, far better than said MSWindows."
"The points @34 makes either vary from user to user, are personal opinions that also vary from user to user, and actually show the diversity of Linux, which I find to be its strength."
This isn't really correct.
What varies is not the Linux landscape's weaknesses but the users' ability to notice those issues.
Users' demands and experience with other OS and applications play a role only in that someone with low demands, who only uses Firefox and Telegram, won't be able to notice Gimp issues, as it is never using it, and if it has no experience with Affinity Photo or Adobe Photoshop, it has nothing to compare it to—just as an example.
Regular Joe does not care for the OS or ideology, but it cares that the PC (== applications!) does what it needs it for.
I'll give you only a few examples.
A couple of years ago, someone with Linux Mint—I think it was 18 at the time—wanted to use Astro, a horoscope-making program. It installed fine, but a couple of months later, the new Mint version came out, and the "devil's cycle" started. If one upgraded Mint, Astro would quit working; if one wanted a working application, one couldn't upgrade the OS. Currently, it seems to be unmaintained.
Shutter was once the best screenshot-making tool that could not only make screenshots but also add annotations and capture a complete website. It worked well for awhile, until the unmaintained gnome-web-photo library didn't get deprecated—so, no more website capture.
Than Wayland emerged, and all Shutther was able to capture was: https://postimg.cc/SJgX5hcb
Recently, a friend of mine installed Ubuntu 22.04 and called me to help him install Gimp. One click in Software, one would think, but in that case, resynthesizer won't get installed, and that IS the killer feature and THE REASON to install it all. Long story short, resynthesizer was a school project of a student, was implemented as a plugin in Gimp, is unmaintained, of course, and relies on Python 2, which is deprecated and was removed from Ubuntu repositories.
There are some workarounds, the easiest being using a "Gimp Launcher with Python2" AppImage. One needs the application to start the application.
Recently, I tried to install Fedora 38 on one PC with an MSI mainboard, but it refused to boot. Fedora 36 worked fine on the same motherboard...
If I start Bodhi Linux, I find a few issues in the first 3 minutes. Jagged boot logo to start with, cut-off top and bottom of the login screen icons, "the hole" on the taskbar, Thunar that can't keep its layout, faulty and plain ugly icons (distorted, with artifacts, etc.), mixed monochrome and colored icons, etc.
Speaking of that very minimal software selection that I found on Bodhy 7.0 rc, it makes no sense at all. It shipped with Xarchiver (which has been broken for years), Thunar (which has been broken for years, just like the Xfce taskbar), and an unmaintained Leafpad. Enlightenment is not a complete DE, but it has its own file manager (EFL), text editor (Ecrire), and music player (Rage), along with some monitoring tools, and if it has to be an Enlightenment without Enlightenment applications, why not PCManFM, Engrampa, and L3afpad?
The Linux landscape is broken, and generally, it is getting worse instead of better, despite a few bright spots.
38 • still strange. (by Friar Tux on 2023-09-01 13:38:37 GMT from Canada)
@37 (Kato) And yet,again, here I am relatively new to Linux, having used Linux exclusively in the last 7 years and never having an issue. As with any other product, if something doesn't work, I find a product that does. With the amount of apps and programs in the Linux landscape there is always something that does the job quite well. Maybe it's my "newness" to Linux, but I've yet to find any issues. Upgrades and up dated go smoothly and don't break things, Installing and removing software presents no issues. And just to be fair, I have been retired for the past ten years. I start my laptop up every morning at 6:30 and shut it down every evening at 10:30. I do everything on this machine. It is my library, cook book, communication device with my family, I do my writing on it, my artwork, shopping, bill paying, games, and much, much more. It is important, to me, that it works flawlessly. Windows could not do it. Apple products were way too expensive for what you get. Linux was perfect - in every way. All the software I use, for the various things I need to do, works flawlessly. So, for now, this is where I stay.
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|• Issue 1047 (2023-11-27): GhostBSD 23.10.1, Why Linux uses swap when memory is free, Ubuntu Budgie may benefit from Wayland work in Xfce, early issues with FreeBSD 14.0|
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|• Issue 1045 (2023-11-13): Fedora 39, how to trust software packages, ReactOS booting with UEFI, elementary OS plans to default to Wayland, Mir gaining ability to split work across video cards|
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|• Issue 1043 (2023-10-30): Murena Two with privacy switches, where old files go when packages are updated, UBports on Volla phones, Mint testing Cinnamon on Wayland, Peppermint releases ARM build|
|• Issue 1042 (2023-10-23): Ubuntu Cinnamon compared with Linux Mint, extending battery life on Linux, Debian resumes /usr merge, Canonical publishes fixed install media|
|• Issue 1041 (2023-10-16): FydeOS 17.0, Dr.Parted 23.09, changing UIDs, Fedora partners with Slimbook, GNOME phasing out X11 sessions, Ubuntu revokes 23.10 install media|
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|• 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|
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|• 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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Star Labs - Laptops built for Linux.
View our range including the highly anticipated StarFighter. Available with coreboot open-source firmware and a choice of Ubuntu, elementary, Manjaro and more. Visit Star Labs for information, to buy and get support.