| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 617, 6 July 2015
Welcome to this year's 27th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
One of the nice things about the open source ecosystem is that there is always something different available. People who tire of a particular family of distributions or a package manager can always find something completely dissimilar to try. This week we explore some different technologies, beginning with the Alpine Linux distribution. Alpine offers a minimal, fast distribution and we explore how this unusual distribution works. This week we also talk about Ubuntu's adoption of the Snappy package manager and what this might mean for the distribution's relationship with its parent, Debian. In our News section we talk about Fedora being ported to the MIPS architecture, FreeBSD's extended support for FreeBSD 8.4, a new graphical package manager coming to FreeBSD and new test builds of Solus. In our Torrent Corner we share the torrents we are seeding this week and then we cover the distributions released last week. In our Opinion poll we explore how dedicated people are to using free and open source solutions. We wish you all a wonderful week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Exploring Alpine Linux 3.2.0
Alpine Linux has become one of the most frequently requested distributions on my list of projects to review. Alpine is an independent distribution which, as the project's front page tells us, is "a security-oriented, lightweight Linux distribution based on musl libc and busybox." The project's About page goes into more detail: "Alpine Linux is a very simple distribution that will try to stay out of your way. It uses its own package manager, called apk, the OpenRC init system, script driven set-ups and that's it! This provides you with a simple, crystal-clear Linux environment without all the noise. You can then add on top of that just the packages you need for your project, so whether it's building a home PVR, or an iSCSI storage controller, a wafer-thin mail server container, or a rock-solid embedded switch, nothing else will get in the way."
Looking through the download options we find that there are a number of different builds we can select. We are presented with six editions: Standard, Mini, Vanilla, Xen, Raspberry Pi and Generic ARM. I was not able to find any concrete description of what set the various editions apart. Raspberry Pi and Generic ARM seemed straight forward enough, but I wasn't sure what would differ between the Standard, Mini and Vanilla editions. The Standard edition is about 300MB in size and it was the option I chose to download. The Vanilla and Mini editions are both about 90MB in size and I'm not sure what those two editions do differently.
Booting from Alpine's Standard media brings up a text console. From the text console we can login as the root user without any password. At this point we have a fairly minimal command line interface without manual pages or hints as to what to do next. Luckily, Alpine has an extensive wiki and the documentation includes a section on installing Alpine to our hard drive. As it turns out, most people can probably just run the program setup-alpine and follow the on-screen instructions.
The setup-alpine program presents us with a text installer that walks us through several configuration steps. We are asked to select our keyboard's layout from a list, give our computer a hostname and then enable networking. We can opt to use DHCP to get an IP address or we can manually provide our own network settings. We are then asked to make up a password for the root account. The following steps ask us to select our time zone from a list, select a package repository mirror the same way and then we are asked if we would like to run OpenSSH or Dropbear as our secure shell server. We are then given the choice of which network time daemon the system should run with options including Busybox, OpenNTPD and Chrony. The user is then asked to select a disk where Alpine will be installed. The next step is interesting. We are asked if we would like to use the target hard disk for storing data only, or we can use the disk to store the entire operating system plus our data. Apparently we have the option of running Alpine from live media and accessing our data from the hard disk. I decided to place the whole Alpine operating system on a local drive. The installer copies its files into place and then asks us to reboot the computer.
At this point I found Alpine would work well in my VirtualBox test environment. Alpine booted very quickly and generally worked well. However, when I tried to run Alpine on a physical desktop computer I ran into a few problems. When booting on my desktop machine Alpine would present me with a command line and indicate it could not find the operating system. With a little experimenting I discovered the root partition had not been mounted. I performed the mount manually and resumed the boot process. Alpine then reported it could not find any init software. I found /sbin/init on Alpine was created as a symbolic link. I replaced this symbolic link with a hard link to the init program. Alpine resumed booting once more, but eventually ran into a kernel panic before reaching a login prompt. After some experimenting, I gave up on running Alpine on my desktop machine and focused on the instance of Alpine I had running in a virtual environment.
The Alpine distribution, by default, boots to a text console. We can login to the root account using the password we created at install time. Alpine is quite light on resources, using a mere 40MB of RAM and taking up 265MB of hard drive space for a full install. The distribution ships with basic GNU command line utilities and version 3.18 of the Linux kernel. When we first sign in a message appears letting us known documentation and tutorials can be found in Alpine's wiki. I definitely recommend exploring the section of the wiki containing tutorials and how-to guides as they are well written and provide step-by-step instructions for enabling common services.
While exploring Alpine's default environment, I made a number of observations which I will share here in no particular order. First, Alpine uses OpenRC to bootstrap the operating system and manage background services. OpenRC is quite light in RAM (using 52kB of resident memory, according to the ps command) and operates very quickly. I usually do not use OpenRC and so I turned to the manual pages, only to discover Alpine does not ship with the man command, nor does the distribution include documentation pages by default. Once the man package has been installed from the repositories, we find documentation is packaged separately from software. So, for example, the repository contains an openrc package and an openrc-doc package for optional documentation. Likewise, the repository holds a coreutils package for common GNU command line programs and a separate coreutils-doc package with documentation for these programs.
Alpine is a very minimal distribution by default. Not only does the distribution ship without manual pages, by default the Standard edition does not ship with a compiler, firewall (iptables) or a graphical interface. When searching through the distribution's repositories (more on package management later) we can find graphical desktop environments, the GNU and Clang compilers and an iptables package. By default user accounts use the ash command line shell. We can install bash from the repositories. Observant readers will note a pattern. Very little is included in Alpine by default, but most popular software can be installed via the distribution's package manager.
Alpine ships with an unusual security feature. When a regular user runs the top or ps commands, they can see only the processes they own. This prevents some forms of snooping on other users' processes. When the root user runs top or ps they can see all running processes, regardless of who owns them. Speaking of user accounts, by default we start out with just the root account. If we wish, we can enable additional user accounts using the adduser command.
Earlier I mentioned Alpine does not include local documentation with the operating system, but there is a good deal of documentation on the project's website. Browsing through the Alpine wiki I found documentation on setting up services such as OpenSSH, an e-mail server and an Apache web server. There are tutorials for setting up desktop environments, configuring common services (such as CUPS, for printing) and tips on using monitoring tools. Each how-to document is laid out in an easy to read format and includes clear instructions.
On Alpine we use the apk command line utility to manage software packages. The apk program uses a command line syntax similar in style to APT on Debian or DNF on Fedora. The apk program works very quickly, which is nice, but it also offers very terse output. For example, when trying to perform an upgrade apk does not say whether the local software is up to date or not. I like to assume no output from the command means no new upgrades are available, but it is difficult to be sure. Even with verbose output enabled on the command line, apk still does not tell us what it is doing (or not doing) or why. Despite the lack of information from apk, I did find the package manager was functional. Using apk, I was able to install lots of new packages, remove unwanted items and search the repositories for new packages.
At one point I experimented with adding a desktop environment to Alpine. I suspect, based on the project's documentation and minimal nature, that Alpine is intended for use on low-end devices, routers, home servers and similar headless machines. Still, Alpine's repositories do feature desktop software (including Xfce, Firefox and Claws Mail) so I wanted to give it a try. The Alpine wiki includes instructions for setting up the X display server and a tutorial on enabling Xfce. While I was able to install the necessary packages, I did not get X to work properly as it seemed to be missing the necessary drivers to work inside VirtualBox. I suspect a graphical environment would have worked as expected on a physical computer.
I am of the opinion that an operating system should either be easy and intuitive to use (like Linux Mint or Mageia) or the operating system should provide a lot of clear and useful documentation (like FreeBSD or Arch). I believe Alpine fits cleanly into the category of providing a lot of useful documentation while offering a bare and terse user interface. I am okay with this arrangement as it means Alpine offers an uncluttered, clean operating system, but I think it's important to note which sort of system we are dealing with; Alpine is an operating system that requires the administrator to read.
There are a number of things I like about Alpine. The distribution is lightning fast, very light on resources, offers a good deal of documentation and lots of packaged services. The wiki is well organized and the distribution provides builds for common x86 and ARM hardware.
I had just one complaint while using Alpine. Basically, it is that some aspects of the distribution are not immediately obvious. For instance, even after skimming through the project's documentation I am still not clear on what the difference is between the Mini and Vanilla editions. The package manager, while capable and fast, is terse to the point of being cryptic. Since, as I noted above, the distribution requires some reading, I think the developers should probably have included manual pages in the Standard installation. In short, I feel that information should be more readily available to facilitate navigating this distribution.
During my time with Alpine I set up a file server, a web server and some database tools. Everything worked well and I was very much in the debt of the wiki writers. The distribution makes performance a priority and offered me very little trouble once I finished the initial setup. I think people who want to run a minimal system, especially on low-end hardware, will be quite pleased with Alpine.
* * * * *
Hardware used in this review
My physical test equipment for this review was a desktop HP Pavilon p6 Series with the following specifications:
- Processor: Dual-core 2.8GHz AMD A4-3420 APU
- Storage: 500GB Hitachi hard drive
- Memory: 6GB of RAM
- Networking: Realtek RTL8111 wired network card
- Display: AMD Radeon HD 6410D video card
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Fedora running on MIPS processors, FreeBSD 8.4's life extended, the OctoPkg package manager and Solus unveils daily builds
A few years ago there was some effort made to port the Fedora distribution to the MIPS processor architecture. While those efforts eventually dropped off, we are now seeing renewed interest in getting Fedora running on MIPS hardware. Michal Toman posted to a Fedora mailing list, writing: "A brief history - some effort to bootstrap Fedora for MIPS has been done
around Fedora 11/12/13, but died afterwards because of lack of interest.
Even though the RPMs were labelled with mips64el architecture, they were
using the hybrid n32 ABI with 32-bit pointers and 64-bit data, rather
than the full 64-bit n64 ABI. Since we decided to go with n64 rather than n32, we have tried to bootstrap the distribution from scratch (well, almost) to see how much problems we will run into. I need to say that I was very surprised that a majority of packages build fine with no or just minor tweaks to specfiles and very few packages do require actual code patching. Anyway, we have now arrived into a state where Fedora mips64el userspace can be booted and played with." At this point the Fedora distribution can be booted into a text console on MIPS hardware and users can login remotely (using OpenSSH) to administer the operating system.
* * * * *
Version 8.4 of the FreeBSD operating system was originally expected to reach its end of life on June 30, 2015, but the FreeBSD project has decided to extend its life cycle. The FreeBSD project wants to insure there is a clear and appealing upgrade path from FreeBSD 8.4 to newer versions of the operating system and some problems, including one involving Sendmail, have made the FreeBSD team decide to support FreeBSD 8.4 until these issues are fixed. FreeBSD security officer Xin Li wrote, "After the recent reminder about the upcoming EoL for FreeBSD 8.4, several issues have come to our attention related to earlier security advisories, most notably users have reported a regression with Sendmail. We have decided to postpone the EoL date for 8.4 and 8-STABLE to August 1, 2015 to make sure that all known issues have been addressed." More details and a scheduling showing the life cycles of supported FreeBSD releases are available in this mailing list post.
In other FreeBSD-related news, some users of the operating system have been asking for a graphical front-end to the young pkg-ng package manager. The pkg-ng utility has simplified package management on recent versions of FreeBSD, but lacks a graphical interface. The OctoPkg application aims to provide a simple, graphical front-end for the pkg-ng utility. As the project's website states, "OctoPkg is a powerful tool to manage FreeBSD or PC-BSD packages. It has a simple interface which consists of just two panels." The OctoPkg application is in its early stages, but already offers users easy access to most pkg-ng features.
* * * * *
The Solus project is trying to make the distribution's development builds more accessible. The project recently announced there will be daily snapshots of Solus available for people who wish to test the latest features. "We're enormously happy to be shipping our very first daily ISO today! In a nut-shell, it's built directly from our latest unstable development material, meaning its brand spanking new, and all yours for the humble price of $0.00! This ISO is configured to continue using our unstable software sources, and as such is not meant for production usage. However, we'll be uploading ISOs every day now, in a fully transparent development process. This enables you, our awesome users, to give us real time feedback on breakages, feature enhancements, and see tangible results every single day. This image features the 4.1.0 Linux kernel, Budgie desktop taken directly from git, latest stable GNOME stack (3.16.x), and many other goodies. New packages are appearing in the repositories daily, such as our initial Blender build! As always, get your package requests in, and we'll get them in for you!" The daily snapshot is a development and testing tool and expected to be highly unstable and should not be used in environments where reliability is a priority. More information on the new testing images can be found in the project's blog post.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
The source of Ubuntu's packages
Wondering-about-Ubuntu's-base asks: I've heard Ubuntu is no longer going to be based on Debian and is moving to Snappy over Deb. What impact is this going to have on Ubuntu users? Will Ubuntu no longer be compatible with Debian?
DistroWatch answers: Last month we talked about how the Ubuntu developers were working on merging several technologies into one experimental build. These technologies included the Mir display server, the Unity 8 desktop environment and the Snappy package manager. The Snappy package manager is designed to make packages more secure and it should be easier to roll back Snappy packages to earlier versions if an upgrade breaks functionality.
Some people have speculated that if the Ubuntu developers adopt a new package manager that the Ubuntu distribution will no longer use Debian packages as the distribution's base. Which would mean, the theory goes, that Ubuntu would no longer be based on Debian.
The truth is a little less exciting. At the moment, Snappy packages are being used in development builds and in a special edition of Ubuntu called Ubuntu Core. It is likely, for the next few years anyway, that Snappy packages will be used exclusively in Ubuntu products designed to run on embedded devices, such as Ubuntu's phone operating system and Ubuntu Core. Ubuntu's Desktop and Server editions will almost certainly continue to use .deb packages that have been imported from Debian.
Last December, Mark Shuttleworth wrote about Snappy on his blog. When talking about how Snappy will help developers isolate their packages from the rest of the system he commented, "The snappy system keeps each part of Ubuntu in a separate, read-only file, and does the same for each application. That way, developers can deliver everything they need to be confident their app will work exactly as they intend, and we can take steps to keep the various apps isolated from one another, and ensure that updates are always perfect. Of course, that means that apt-get won't work, but that's OK since developers can reuse debs to make their snappy apps, and the core system is exactly the same as any other Ubuntu system - server or desktop.
Whenever we make a fix to packages in Ubuntu, we'll publish the same fix to Ubuntu Core, and systems can get that fix transactionally. In fact, updates to Ubuntu Core are even smaller than package updates because we only need to send the precise difference between the old and new versions, not the whole package. Of course, Ubuntu Core is in addition to all the current members of the Ubuntu family - desktop, server, and cloud images that use apt-get and debs, and all the many *buntu remixes which bring their particular shine to our community."
In short, it looks as though the traditional flavours of Ubuntu (Desktop and Server) will continue to use .deb packages. At the moment the only editions of Ubuntu where we are likely to see Snappy packages are Core and some experimental builds. The impact to users of Ubuntu's Desktop and Server editions will be non-existent. When Snappy packages do become more widespread, it seems likely Snappy packages will be built using Debian packages.
Bittorrent is a great way to transfer large files, particularly open source operating system images, from one place to another. Most bittorrent clients recover from dropped connections automatically, check the integrity of files and can re-download corrupted bits of data without starting a download over from scratch. These characteristics make bittorrent well suited for distributing open source operating systems, particularly to regions where Internet connections are slow or unstable.
Many Linux and BSD projects offer bittorrent as a download option, partly for the reasons listed above and partly because bittorrent's peer-to-peer nature takes some of the strain off the project's servers. However, some projects do not offer bittorrent as a download option. There can be several reasons for excluding bittorrent as an option. Some projects do not have enough time or volunteers, some may be restricted by their web host provider's terms of service. Whatever the reason, the lack of a bittorrent option puts more strain on a distribution's bandwidth and may prevent some people from downloading their preferred open source operating system.
With this in mind, DistroWatch plans to give back to the open source community by hosting and seeding bittorrent files for distributions that do not offer a bittorrent option themselves. For now, we are hosting a small number of distribution torrents, listed below. The list of torrents offered will be updated each week and we invite readers to e-mail us with suggestions as to which distributions we should be hosting. When you message us, please place the word "Torrent" in the subject line, make sure to include a link to the ISO file you want us to seed and please make sure the project you are recommending does not already host its own torrents. We want to primarily help distributions and users who do not already have a torrent option. To help us maintain and grow this free service, please consider making a donation.
The table below provides a list of torrents we currently host. If you do not currently 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 here. All torrents we make available here are also listed on the very useful Linux Tracker website. Thanks to Linux Tracker we are able to share the following torrent statistics.
Torrent Corner statistics:
- Total torrents seeded: 82
- Total downloads completed: 44,512
- Total data uploaded: 8.3TB
|Released Last Week
DragonFly BSD 4.2.0
The DragonFly BSD team has announced the launch of DragonFly BSD 4.2.0. The new release includes a number of important new features and upgrades. DragonFly BSD 4.2.0 includes GNU's GCC 5 compiler as the default system compiler, offers improved graphics support and Sendmail has been replaced by a home-grown, minimal mail transfer agent. "Sendmail has been replaced by the home-grown DragonFly Mail Agent (DMA) in the base system. DMA is not a full-featured MTA (Mail Transfer Agent), it only accepts mails from local MUA (Mail User Agents) and delivers them immediately, either locally or remotely. DMA doesn't listen to network connections on port 25. People who still need a full-featured MTA must install it from dports. OpenSMTPD, Postfix and Sendmail itself are available as binary packages." DragonFly BSD's audio stack and packet filter have been updated with code ported in from FreeBSD's development branch. More information is available in the release announcement.
OpenMandriva Lx 2014.2
The developers behind OpenMandriva have released a new version of their novice-friendly distribution. OpenMandriva originally started as a fork of Mandriva and continues on with similar goals and practices. The latest release, version 2014.2, ships with UEFI support and upgraded desktop, kernel and multimedia packages. "Just as any offering in the Mandrake spirit should be - it's even more stable and it has loads of new fun stuff! OpenMandriva Scion (2014.2) is a major update release of OpenMandriva Lx 2014.1. What's in and what's new? With this release you can boot the installer or live system from memory stick or DVD on any EFI or BIOS based machine. If you have one where it doesn't work tell us, we really want to know. The installer now offers full EFI support you can even choose which ESP partition you install to. What's more it offers the option to create a BIOS boot partition which means you can install OpenMandriva in BIOS mode on a GPT partitioned disk and you can do this independently of any EFI installs." Additional information is available in the project's release announcement and release notes.
OpenMandriva 2014.2 -- Greeted by the welcome screen
(full image size: 420kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
Volker Theile has announced the release of OpenMediaVault 2.1, a new version of the project's specialist Debian-based distribution designed for network-attached storage (NAS) tasks: "Today I am happy to announce the release of OpenMediaVault version 2.1 (Stone burner). The main features at a glance: using Sencha ExtJS 5.1.1 framework for the WebGUI; add a new dashboard and widgets; many internal improvements and bug fixes; improved the internal network interface backend; add WiFi support, only WPA and WPA2 are supported; add VLAN support; the network interface configuration page has been modified, now only the configuration values are displayed, use the dashboard widget to show the state of all network interfaces; the public key of the user must now be specified in the RFC 4716 SSH public key file format, it is possible to add multiple keys; option to turn off the collection of system performance statistics..." See the release announcement for further details.
Linux Mint 17.2
Clement Lefebvre has announced the availability of Linux Mint 17.2. The new release is a long term support release, based on packages from Ubuntu 14.04, and supported through to 2019. Linux Mint ships in two editions, Cinnamon and MATE. The Cinnamon edition offers a number of performance improvements along with better multi-panel and multi-monitor support. The MATE edition now provides users with the ability to enable/disable Caja file browser extensions at run time and ships with a new audio library that automatically detects and works with OSS, ALSA and PulseAudio sound systems. "UEFI is fully supported. Note: Linux Mint does not use digital signatures and does not register to be certified by Microsoft as being a `secure' OS. As such, it will not boot with Secure Boot. If your system is using Secure Boot, turn it off. Note: Linux Mint places its boot files in /boot/efi/EFI/ubuntu to work around this bug. This does not prevent the installation of multiple releases or distributions, or dual-boots between Ubuntu and Linux Mint, as they can all be bootable from the same GRUB menu."
Linux Mint 17.2 -- Cinnamon edition
(full image size: 334kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
The antiX project, a distribution suitable for low-resource computing based on Debian's Stable branch, has announced the launch of antiX 15. "A lot of time and work was spent getting antiX-15 (Killa P) ready for stable release; we hope you like it. As with previous releases, antiX-15 comes in 3 flavours for 32- and 64-bit processors all fitting on a CD." Each edition of antiX 15 is based on Debian "Jessie", ships with version 4.0.5 of the Linux kernel and does not include systemd or systemd shims. "antiX has been designed to be fast, light on resources and flexible. Install it to harddrive, run it live from a stick or run as a frugal install on a partion. Want to run antiX on a USB device with persistence? antiX does this simply and effectively. Want to remaster your running live system? antiX makes this easy. Want to create an ISO file of your installed to hard drive system? Yes, antiX has this feature too. Want to run live on a box with UEFI bootloader? antiX can do this. The choice is yours!" Further information is available in the project's release announcement.
The 4MLinux project has announced a new release of the independent Linux distribution. The latest release, 4MLinux 13.0, ships with the GNU Compiler Collection 5 and offers miscellaneous desktop improvements. "The status of the 4MLinux 13.0 series has been changed to S. Major changes in the core of the system, which now uses GNU Compiler Collection 5.1.0 to compile programs designed for the i686 architecture. Additionally, I am very happy to announce that my long work on improving the 4MLinux Desktop has been finished. 4MLinux users can now enjoy the result of this work: an unique, highly customized mixture of JWM (Joe's Window Manager), Window Maker and PCManFM." The release announcement and this blog post offer details and a screen shot tour.
4MLinux 13.0 -- Running the distribution's live desktop
(full image size: 147kB, resolution: 1280x800 pixels)
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Level of FOSS usage
Some people use free and open source software (FOSS) because it fits with their ideals about how technology should be developed and shared. Others see FOSS as a useful set of tools they can use to achieve their goals. Some see FOSS as a way of life or an ethical choice. This week we would like to know what portion of your computing experience is provided by FOSS. Are you strict about using FOSS exclusively, do you use mostly FOSS with a few exceptions or is most of your software still proprietary?
You can see the results of last week's poll on 32-bit vs 64-bit operating systems here.
Level of FOSS usage
|I use FOSS exclusively: ||159 (8%)|
| I use mostly FOSS with a few exceptions: ||895 (46%)|
| I use a mixture of FOSS and non-free software: ||798 (41%)|
| Most of my software is non-free: ||73 (4%)|
| All of my software is non-free: ||25 (1%)|
Distributions added to waiting list
- CrunchBang-Monara. CrunchBang-Monara is a Debian-based distribution that ships with the Openbox window manager. It is intended to act as a spiritual continuation of the CrunchBang distribution.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 13 July 2015. To contact the authors please send email to:
- Jesse Smith (feedback, questions and suggestions: distribution reviews, questions and answers, tips and tricks)
- Ladislav Bodnar (feedback, questions, suggestions and corrections: news, donations, distribution submissions, comments)
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 806 (2019-03-18): Kubuntu vs KDE neon, Nitrux's znx, notes on Debian's election, SUSE becomes an independent entity|
|• Issue 805 (2019-03-11): EasyOS 1.0, managing background services, Devuan team debates machine ID file, Ubuntu Studio works to remain an Ubuntu Community Edition|
|• Issue 804 (2019-03-04): Condres OS 19.02, securely erasing hard drives, new UBports devices coming in 2019, Devuan to host first conference|
|• Issue 803 (2019-02-25): Septor 2019, preventing windows from stealing focus, NetBSD and Nitrux experiment with virtual machines, pfSense upgrading to FreeBSD 12 base|
|• Issue 802 (2019-02-18): Slontoo 18.07.1, NetBSD tests newer compiler, Fedora packaging Deepin desktop, changes in Ubuntu Studio|
|• Issue 801 (2019-02-11): Project Trident 18.12, the meaning of status symbols in top, FreeBSD Foundation lists ongoing projects, Plasma Mobile team answers questions|
|• Issue 800 (2019-02-04): FreeNAS 11.2, using Ubuntu Studio software as an add-on, Nitrux developing znx, matching operating systems to file systems|
|• Issue 799 (2019-01-28): KaOS 2018.12, Linux Basics For Hackers, Debian 10 enters freeze, Ubuntu publishes new version for IoT devices|
|• Issue 798 (2019-01-21): Sculpt OS 18.09, picking a location for swap space, Solus team plans ahead, Fedora trying to get a better user count|
|• Issue 797 (2019-01-14): Reborn OS 2018.11.28, TinyPaw-Linux 1.3, dealing with processes which make the desktop unresponsive, Debian testing Secure Boot support|
|• Issue 796 (2019-01-07): FreeBSD 12.0, Peppermint releases ISO update, picking the best distro of 2018, roundtable interview with Debian, Fedora and elementary developers|
|• Issue 795 (2018-12-24): Running a Pinebook, interview with Bedrock founder, Alpine being ported to RISC-V, Librem 5 dev-kits shipped|
|• Issue 794 (2018-12-17): Void 20181111, avoiding software bloat, improvements to HAMMER2, getting application overview in GNOME Shell|
|• Issue 793 (2018-12-10): openSUSE Tumbleweed, finding non-free packages, Debian migrates to usrmerge, Hyperbola gets FSF approval|
|• Issue 792 (2018-1203): GhostBSD 18.10, when to use swap space, DragonFly BSD's wireless support, Fedora planning to pause development schedule|
|• Issue 791 (2018-11-26): Haiku R1 Beta1, default passwords on live media, Slax and Kodachi update their media, dual booting DragonFly BSD on EFI|
|• Issue 790 (2018-11-19): NetBSD 8.0, Bash tips and short-cuts, Fedora's networking benchmarked with FreeBSD, Ubuntu 18.04 to get ten years of support|
|• Issue 789 (2018-11-12): Fedora 29 Workstation and Silverblue, Haiku recovering from server outage, Fedora turns 15, Debian publishes updated media|
|• Issue 788 (2018-11-05): Clu Linux Live 6.0, examining RAM consumpion, finding support for older CPUs, more Steam support for running Windows games on Linux, update from Solus team|
|• Issue 787 (2018-10-29): Lubuntu 18.10, limiting application access to specific users, Haiku hardware compatibility list, IBM purchasing Red Hat|
|• Issue 786 (2018-10-22): elementary OS 5.0, why init keeps running, DragonFly BSD enables virtual machine memory resizing, KDE neon plans to drop older base|
|• Issue 785 (2018-10-15): Reborn OS 2018.09, Nitrux 1.0.15, swapping hard drives between computers, feren OS tries KDE spin, power savings coming to Linux|
|• Issue 784 (2018-10-08): Hamara 2.1, improving manual pages, UBports gets VoIP app, Fedora testing power saving feature|
|• Issue 783 (2018-10-01): Quirky 8.6, setting up dual booting with Ubuntu and FreeBSD, Lubuntu switching to LXQt, Mint works on performance improvements|
|• Issue 782 (2018-09-24): Bodhi Linux 5.0.0, Elive 3.0.0, Solus publishes ISO refresh, UBports invites feedback, Linux Torvalds plans temporary vacation|
|• Issue 781 (2018-09-17): Linux Mint 3 "Debian Edition", file systems for SSDs, MX makes installing Flatpaks easier, Arch team answers questions, Mageia reaches EOL|
|• Issue 780 (2018-09-10): Netrunner 2018.08 Rolling, Fedora improves language support, how to customize Kali Linux, finding the right video drivers|
|• Issue 779 (2018-09-03): Redcore 1806, keeping ISO downloads safe from tampering, Lubuntu makes Calamares more flexible, Ubuntu improves GNOME performance|
|• Issue 778 (2018-08-27): GuixSD 0.15.0, ReactOS 0.4.9, Steam supports Windows games on Linux, Haiku plans for beta, merging disk partitions|
|• Issue 777 (2018-08-20): YunoHost 188.8.131.52, limiting process resource usage, converting file systems on Fedora, Debian turns 25, Lubuntu migrating to Wayland|
|• Issue 776 (2018-08-13): NomadBSD 1.1, Maximum storage limits on Linux, openSUSE extends life for 42.3, updates to the Librem 5 phone interface|
|• Issue 775 (2018-08-06): Secure-K OS 18.5, Linux is about choice, Korora tests community spin, elementary OS hires developer, ReactOS boots on Btrfs|
|• Issue 774 (2018-07-30): Ubuntu MATE & Ubuntu Budgie 18.04, upgrading software from source, Lubuntu shifts focus, NetBSD changes support policy|
|• Issue 773 (2018-07-23): Peppermint OS 9, types of security used by different projects, Mint reacts to bugs in core packages, Slackware turns 25|
|• Issue 772 (2018-07-16): Hyperbola GNU/Linux-libre 0.2.4, UBports running desktop applications, OpenBSD auto-joins wi-fi networks, boot environments and zedenv|
|• Issue 771 (2018-07-09): Linux Lite 4.0, checking CPUs for bugs, configuring GRUB, Mint upgrade instructions, SUSE acquired by EQT|
|• Issue 770 (2018-07-02): Linux Mint 19, Solus polishes desktop experience, MintBox Mini 2, changes to Fedora's installer|
|• Issue 769 (2018-06-25): BunsenLabs Helium, counting Ubuntu users, UBports upgrading to 16.04, Fedora CoreOS, FreeBSD turns 25|
|• Issue 768 (2018-06-18): Devuan 2.0.0, using pkgsrc to manage software, the NOVA filesystem, OpenBSD handles successful cron output|
|• Issue 767 (2018-06-11): Android-x86 7.1-r1, transferring files over OpenSSH with pipes, LFS with Debian package management, Haiku ports LibreOffice|
|• Issue 766 (2018-06-04): openSUSE 15, overview of file system links, Manjaro updates Pamac, ReactOS builds itself, Bodhi closes forums|
|• Issue 765 (2018-05-28): Pop!_OS 18.04, gathering system information, Haiku unifying ARM builds, Solus resumes control of Budgie|
|• Issue 764 (2018-05-21): DragonFly BSD 5.2.0, Tails works on persistent packages, Ubuntu plans new features, finding services affected by an update|
|• Issue 763 (2018-05-14): Fedora 28, Debian compatibility coming to Chrome OS, malware found in some Snaps, Debian's many flavours|
|• Issue 762 (2018-05-07): TrueOS 18.03, live upgrading Raspbian, Mint plans future releases, HardenedBSD to switch back to OpenSSL|
|• Issue 761 (2018-04-30): Ubuntu 18.04, accessing ZFS snapshots, UBports to run on Librem 5 phones, Slackware makes PulseAudio optional|
|• Issue 760 (2018-04-23): Chakra 2017.10, using systemd to hide files, Netrunner's ARM edition, Debian 10 roadmap, Microsoft develops Linux-based OS|
|• Issue 759 (2018-04-16): Neptune 5.0, building containers with Red Hat, antiX introduces Sid edition, fixing filenames on the command line|
|• Issue 758 (2018-04-09): Sortix 1.0, openSUSE's Transactional Updates, Fedora phasing out Python 2, locating portable packages|
|• Issue 757 (2018-04-02): Gatter Linux 0.8, the UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook, Red Hat turns 25, super long term support kernels|
|• Issue 756 (2018-03-26): NuTyX 10.0, Neptune supplies Debian users with Plasma 5.12, SolydXK on a Raspberry Pi, SysV init development|
|• Issue 755 (2018-03-19): Learning with ArchMerge and Linux Academy, Librem 5 runs Plasma Mobile, Cinnamon gets performance boost|
|• Full list of all issues|
Star Labs - Laptops built for Linux.
View our range including the Star Lite, Star LabTop and more. Available with a choice of Ubuntu or Linux Mint pre-installed with many more distributions supported. Visit Star Labs for information, to buy and get support.
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CTKArch was a minimalist, Arch-based live CD using the Openbox window manager. It includes a text-based system installer, support for a number of popular file systems, and out-of-the-box support for English and French languages.