| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 793, 10 December 2018
Welcome to this year's 50th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Technology and software development move ever forward, typically at a high pace. In a world where packages can feel outdated after just six months it can be a struggle to stay current. openSUSE's Tumbleweed distribution addresses this problem by providing a rolling release operating system with optional file system snapshots to protect against broken packages. This week we begin with a look at Tumbleweed and the problems it fixes (and experiences) over time. In our News section we talk about Debian's struggle to migrate to a merged /usr system, Hyperbola gaining FSF recognition as a completely free distribution, and link to holiday technical tips the Void project is sharing. Then we talk about how to identify non-free software packages on your Linux distribution. If you use the techniques we mention, let us know how many non-free packages you find in our Opinion Poll. Finally, we are pleased to share last week's releases and list the torrents we are seeding. We wish you all a wonderful week and happy reading!
- Review: openSUSE Tumbleweed (2018)
- News: Debian struggles with usrmerge, Void provides technical tips, Hyperbola gets FSF approval
- Questions and answers: Finding and removing non-free packages
- Released last week: DragonFly BSD 5.4.0, Scientific Linux 7.6, CentOS 7-1810
- Torrent corner: Antergos, AUSTRUMI, CentOS, DragonFly BSD, ExTiX, FreeNAS, GuixSD, HardenedBSD, Kodachi, Omarine, Scientific, SmartOS, SwagArch
- Upcoming releases: FreeBSD 12.0, Tails 3.11
- Opinion poll: How many non-free packages are on your system?
- New distributions: Sculpt OS
- Reader comments
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (17MB) and MP3 (13MB) formats.
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
openSUSE Tumbleweed (2018)
openSUSE is a general purpose, community maintained distribution sponsored by SUSE. The distribution is available in two editions: Leap (a fixed release) and Tumbleweed (a rolling release). The Tumbleweed edition provides the latest available upstream packages, or as the openSUSE website states:
Any user who wishes to have the newest packages that include, but are not limited to, the Linux kernel, Samba, git, desktops, office applications and many other packages, will want Tumbleweed. Tumbleweed appeals to power users, software developers and openSUSE contributors.
openSUSE's Tumbleweed edition is available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds for x86 computers. There are also builds for the ppc64, ppc64le, and aarch64 architectures. There are live discs available in GNOME and KDE editions as well as a full sized DVD with more packages, and a minimal net-install CD. This gives us lots of options for running Tumbleweed in many environments. I decided to download the full DVD build for 64-bit computers. The download was 4.1GB in size.
Going into this test drive of Tumbleweed I had a slightly different focus than I did when I reviewed openSUSE Leap 15 earlier in the year. I was less interested in specific features or problems and more interested in how the distribution would perform over time. A fixed release platform, such as Leap, tends to remain the same for years - once you get the general feel of the operating system it doesn't change. But Tumbleweed, like other rolling releases, may change rapidly and may quickly become better or worse, and may have different requirements over a longer time-line. I was curious to see how maintaining Tumbleweed would feel compared to Leap: Would packages break? What resources would it take to keep up with new updates? Would applications visibly change over the course of a few months? With this in mind, I installed Tumbleweed in early October 2018 and kept using it occasionally, keeping up with new packages, to see what the overall experience would be like.
Booting from the Tumbleweed DVD brings up a graphical system installer. The installer shows us the project's license agreement and gives us a chance to select our preferred language and keyboard layout. Next we re asked to select the computer's role, which means we can choose to install the KDE Plasma desktop, GNOME, another desktop, set up a server (with no desktop) or a Transactional Server which is basically a server with a read-only root file system. I decided to stick with the default option and installed the Plasma desktop. The installer then offers to set up partitions for us, defaulting to using Btrfs as the root file system. We have the option to customize partitions or use another file system, but I accepted the default Btrfs option.
The installer then asks us to select our time zone from a map of the world and gives us the chance to create a user account for ourselves. The installer then shows us a summary of the actions it will take and gives us a chance to change these actions. Once we confirm the actions the installer copies its packages to the hard drive and automatically restarts the computer, booting into openSUSE.
When we first boot into Tumbleweed it brings up a login screen where we are invited to sign into the Plasma desktop or the IceWM window manager. Plasma is the default and the interface I chose to use during my experiment. openSUSE gives us the further option of running Plasma on a X11 session or on a Wayland session. I started out with the Wayland session and quickly found it to be impractical. The screen was often plagued by drawing artefacts and tearing windows. I also found new windows, especially confirmation boxes and file selection dialogs, appeared either off screen or half off the edge of the screen. When using the mouse pointer to navigate menus, the highlighted item was not the one the pointer was hovering over. Some programs, such as the GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) were not even visible on Wayland. The program would run, but its window was invisible in the Wayland session. I quickly switched over to the Plasma on X11 session which did not present any of these issues.
openSUSE Tumbleweed 2018 -- Adjusting desktop settings
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openSUSE ships with a fairly standard set of open source software, including Firefox, LibreOffice, the VLC media player, and GIMP. Since I installed the KDE Plasma desktop many applications were members of the KDE family, including the KOrganizer planner, KAddressBook, Kmail and the Dolphin file manager. TigerVNC was included for remote desktop sessions and Kleopatra was installed for managing certificates and security keys. The distribution ships with systemd as the init software and runs on version 4.18 of the Linux kernel. When I first installed Tumbleweed the default kernel was 4.18.12, but a month later I had been updated to 4.18.15 - the version gradually increases over time.
I found that, out of the box, openSUSE would play my audio files, including MP3s. However, I could not play video files due to the codecs not being included. There are a few ways to attempt to resolve this and I decided to try the easiest first. I went on-line and did a search for openSUSE's "1-click" media support, which took me to a community website where I could indeed click a button to set up community repositories, install third-party media support and some media players. The 1-click install failed and aborted due to missing package dependencies.
openSUSE Tumbleweed 2018 -- Trying to play a video file
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I then opened the distribution's software manager and made sure the necessary community repositories were enabled. I then tried to manually install the codecs and media players I wanted. These also failed to download because of missing or broken dependencies. I was unable to install the new VLC beta, MPlayer and gstreamer codecs, as all were missing dependencies. I was able to install the mpv player, but it crashed whenever I tried to play a video file. In the end, after a handful of attempts, I gave up on being able to play videos on Tumbleweed. Broken media support did not resolve itself during the span of my trial.
Having talked about struggling with media packages, I think this is a good time to talk more about software management on Tumbleweed. When we first sign into the Plasma desktop a widget checks for new updates and will leave an icon in the system tray letting us know when new packages are available. The first day I was running Tumbleweed there were 88 updates. The desktop widget does not handle installing these new packages for us, instead it advises us to open a terminal and run "sudo zypper dup" to grab the latest versions of packages. The "zypper dup" command performs a distribution upgrade, installing new packages, removing stale ones and trying to fix any dependency issues.
By the end of the first month I had installed about 1,100 updates, totalling over 700MB in size. In other words, I'd basically downloaded a whole new distribution's worth of software in four weeks.
Apart from the update widget and the zypper command line package manager, there are two graphical software managers. The first is Discover, which handles desktop software. On the left side of the Discover window there are links for opening a list of available software, checking updates and browsing settings. On the right we see programs in the selected software category or search results. We can click a button next to an application's entry to install it, or click on the package to bring up more information about it.
openSUSE Tumbleweed 2018 -- Text fields in settings panel undefined
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When I first started using Discover it worked fairly well, except that all the text entries in the Settings panel were missing. Every option and checkbox had the word "undefined" next to it, making it impossible to know what the user was selecting. This was fixed in a future update.
One of the options in Discover is to enable the Flathub Flatpak repository which gives us access to portable packages. Installing Flatpaks worked for me. Something which did not work was the Launch button on each program's information page. Clicking the Launch button failed to open the selected program, whether it had been installed through a Flatpak or RPM archive.
openSUSE Tumbleweed 2018 -- Discover with fixed settings panel
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The final software manager is built into the YaST control panel, which I'll get to in a moment. The software manager offers several different views and methods of filtering software and can be used to enable or disable access to repositories. The YaST software manager is highly flexible, and makes it possible to find items through all sorts of ways (searching for key words, browsing categories, browsing alphabetically, and so on). However, it is also complex enough that it is likely to put off a lot of users who just want to quickly find and install a package.
openSUSE Tumbleweed 2018 -- One of the many package views in YaST
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openSUSE offered me two settings panels: the KDE System Settings panel and YaST. The former is mostly used to adjust the look and behaviour of the desktop. We can adjust the theme, change fonts, enable visual effects and workspace behaviour. Generally speaking the KDE panel does not deal with the underlying components of the operating system, but there are modules for working with printers and user accounts. I found the user account manager worked and I was ale to create a new user. The printer module did not perform as well. I was asked for my password at each screen and, ultimately, the KDE printer module failed to set up a printer. At one point I created a virtual printer in YaST, and then found the KDE module could not adjust its settings.
openSUSE Tumbleweed 2018 -- Trying to manage printers
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YaST, on the other hand, deals with the lower levels of the operating system. Through YaST we can control software packages, adjust administrator access, read logs, manage file system snapshots, set up printers, manager users and adjust the firewall. Managing printers through YaST worked - in fact virtually everything worked well. I think most people will find the firewall, with its many zones, overly complicated. Though it can be useful if we want different rules for different locations, but for most people the firewall configuration tool adds extra levels of complexity.
Updates and snapshots
One of my favourite YaST modules is called Snapper and works with file system snapshots. When we change a setting in YaST, or install new packages, openSUSE takes a snapshot of the system. The Snapper tool lets us see what changes were made between snapshots and compare individual files across time. It is a handy tool for catching problems and reverting changes which break functionality.
From openSUSE's boot menu we can select older snapshots to boot into. This allows us to temporarily revert changes to the operating system, to run an older kernel or desktop environment. I like having file system snapshots I can boot into for when the system breaks. It makes the operating system more robust. I especially like having this feature with Tumbleweed as the rapid changes are more likely to introduce new behaviour or problems. Being able to revert the system back to yesterday's configuration was occasionally helpful.
openSUSE Tumbleweed 2018 -- Browsing file system snapshots
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There were some side effects of using older snapshots. One of them is that programs that have been installed are added to the user's application menu. When we boot into an older snapshot the application may no longer be there, but its icon remains in the menu. This means the user can still see the program's menu entry, but can no longer run it.
Speaking of odd behaviour, once I installed updates, closed the software manager and restarted the computer. When I signed back into my account the Discover software manager opened and immediately asked for my password so it could install waiting updates. This only happened once, but took me by surprise. Discover's actions were all the more unusual because, when I checked, there were no new updates available.
Finally, on the subject of Tumbleweed's ever-changing nature, I feel resource usage should be mentioned. Tumbleweed running Plasma used about 480MB of memory, and this memory consumption stayed fairly level during my trial. Disk usage though started at around 6GB and steadily grew, due mostly to the stream of updates and file system snapshots. Within a month Tumbleweed was using over 9GB of disk space. After five weeks it was consuming 10GB.
As I mentioned before, I was pulling in over 1,000 updates a month and seemingly installing enough new packages to replace an entire operating system. This uses up a lot of bandwidth (over 700MB in four weeks in my case) and I had a fairly modest collection of applications installed. Potential Tumbleweed users should plan to consume a lot more disk space and bandwidth than they would with most fixed release distributions.
My experiment with openSUSE's Tumbleweed was a mixed experience. On the positive side, Tumbleweed stays constantly up to date, providing the latest packages of software all the time. For people who regularly want to stay on the cutting edge, but who do not want to re-install or perform a major version-to-version upgrade every six months, Tumbleweed provides an attractive option. I also really like that file system snapshots are automated and we can revert most problems simply by restarting the computer and choosing an older snapshot from the boot menu.
On the negative side, a number of things didn't work during my time with the distribution. Media support was broken, the Discover software manager had a number of issues and some configuration modules caused me headaches. These rough edges sometimes get fixed, but may be traded out for other problems since the operating system is ever in flux.
In the long term, a bigger issue may be the amount of network bandwidth and disk space Tumbleweed consumes. Just to keep up with updates we need set aside around 1GB of downloads per month and (when Btrfs snapshots are used) even more disk space. In a few weeks Tumbleweed consumed more disk space with far fewer programs installed as my installation of MX Linux. Unless we keep on top of house cleaning and constantly remove old snapshots we need to be prepared to use significantly more storage space than most other distributions require.
Tumbleweed changes frequently and uses more resources to keep up with the latest software developments. I would not recommend it for newer Linux users or for people who want predictability in the lives. But for people who want to live on the cutting edge and don't mind a little trouble-shooting, Tumbleweed provides a way to keep up with new versions of applications while providing a safety net through Btrfs snapshots.
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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
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Visitor supplied rating
openSUSE has a visitor supplied average rating of: 8.8/10 from 370 review(s).
Have you used openSUSE? You can leave your own review of the project on our ratings page.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Debian struggles with usrmerge, Void provides technical tips, Hyperbola gets FSF approval
Many mainstream Linux distributions, such as Fedora and openSUSE have merged some of their top-level directories into the /usr directory of the file system. This process, called merge-usr (or usrmerge) removes redundant directories such as /bin and /sbin, turning them into symbolic links. Recently, Ubuntu and Debian have been working toward usrmerge systems, but Debian packagers have hit a snag. "The decision on whether /usr merge would be done by default has changed multiple times during the debootstrap development timeline. The initial support was coded in September 2016, and released in debootstrap version 1.0.83, in a disabled-by-default state. In October 2016 there was an attempt to enable it by default, but this was reverted in November, because the dpkg-shlibdeps program (which is used during package builds to automatically generate dependencies on packages that provide the needed shared libraries) broke. Therefore, Debian 9.0 (with the code name "Stretch") was released in June 2017 without this feature." Problems continue with the move, largely because Debian plans to support both traditional and usrmerge systems. Other distributions have typically avoided problems by having a firm cut-off date when packages were expected to work with the new file system layout. LWN has further details on Debian's migration.
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As many people begin preparations for the holidays, the Void distribution is celebrating with a series of informative articles and tutorials called The Advent of Void. The series covers alternative compilers, connecting to remote file systems over secure shell, generating passwords, and unusual web browsers. The entire series can be found on the project's news page and offers a great way to lean new tips and tricks.
* * * * *
The Hyperbola GNU/Linux-libre developers announced this week that their distribution is now officially recognized as a purely free software operating system by the Free Software Foundation (FSF). "Hyperbola GNU/Linux-libre is a modified version of the GNU operating system along with the Linux-libre kernel distributed by Hyperbola Project. We are now listed by the Free Software Foundation as meeting their guidelines for a fully free software OS." The FSF website lists the criteria for completely free distributions and the projects they recognize as being entirely free.
* * * * *
These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Finding and removing non-free packages
Cleaning-up-unwanted-packages asks: How can I find and cleanse non-free packages from Ubuntu? I want to get rid of any non-free stuff like MP3 codecs and drivers.
DistroWatch answers: Before we get into how to find and remove non-free pieces of software from your distribution, I would like to clarify one point. While MP3 was covered by software patents for many years in some countries, such as the United States of America, these days those patents have expired. You can listen to MP3 audio files without infringing patents or worrying about the software doing the decoding being non-free.
Next, I would like to suggest that, for most people, it will be easier to start with a completely free software distribution instead of beginning with a mixed licensing system and removing the non-free pieces. We provide a list of entirely free (as defined by the Free Software Foundation) Linux distributions on our Search page. Installing a distribution such as Trisquel will give you an experience similar to Ubuntu while starting with a purely free software operating system.
That being said, if you already have Ubuntu installed and do not want to start over, you can do a few things to locate and remove non-free components. For example, if you want to get rid of NVIDIA non-free video drivers you can run the following from the command line:
dpkg -l | grep -i nvidia
The above command will list all the NVIDIA packages on your system which you can then remove using your package manager. Be careful doing this, if you do not have another (open source) video driver in place, or if your desktop depends on an NVIDIA package, you could end up removing access to your desktop in the process. Always check the list of depending packages that will get removed when you uninstall something.
You will probably want to swap out your existing kernel as the default Linux kernel has some non-free components in it for hardware compatibility. On Ubuntu and related distributions you can use the Trisquel Linux-libre packages. You should be able to download the kernel package from their repository and install the package by clicking on it or running the dpkg command in the directory where you downloaded the Linux-libre files.
dpkg -i linux-*.deb
I recommend installing the Linux-libre packages and testing them first before removing your old Linux image package files. Removing a working kernel and replacing it with a libre kernel may prevent your computer from booting.
A handy tool you can use to check for non-free packages is called Virtual Richard M Stallman (vrms). You can install and run this program to get a list of non-free software on your computer:
sudo apt install vrms
Keep in mind many non-free items on Debian and Ubuntu systems are firmware and drivers used for hardware compatibility. If you remove everything the vrms program lists, it may prevent your computer from starting or connecting to the network.
Finally, if you want to perform a manual check for non-free items you can find licensing information for most packages by looking in the /usr/share/doc directory. Packages listed there will include a copyright file in their directory which will tell you if the software is licensed under the GPL, MIT, BSD or another license. When you find a non-free entry you can remove the corresponding package.
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More answers can be found in our Questions and Answers archive.
|Released Last Week
DragonFly BSD 5.4.0
The DragonFly BSD project has announced a new version of their operating system. The new version, DragonFly BSD 5.4.0,includes a number of performance improvements, ships with version 8.0 of the GNU Compiler Collection, and HAMMER2 file system bug fixes. "Big-ticket items: Better support for asymmetric NUMA (Non-Uniform Memory Access) configurations. In particular, both the memory subsystem and the scheduler now understand the Threadripper 2990WX's architecture. The scheduler will prioritize CPU nodes with direct-attached memory and the memory subsystem will normalize memory queues for CPU nodes without direct-attached memory (which improves cache locality on those CPUs). Incremental performance work. DragonFly as a whole is very SMP friendly. The type of performance work we are doing now mostly revolves around improving fairness for shared-vs-exclusive lock clashes, reducing cache ping-ponging due to non-contending SMP locks (i.e. massive use of shared locks on shared resources), and so forth. Major updates to dports brings us to within a week or two of FreeBSD's ports as of this writing, in particular major updates to chromium, and making the whole mess work with gcc-8. DragonFly now ships with GCC 8.0, and runs as the default compiler. It is also now used for building dports." Further information can be found in the release announcement.
Scientific Linux 7.6
Pat Riehecky has announced the release of Scientific Linux 7.6, a new update of the entereprise-class Linux distribution rebuilt from source packages provided by Red Hat Enterprise Linux and sponsored by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, USA. The new release comes with several minor updates and a known issue affecting the Cinnamon desktop users: "Scientific Linux 7.6 x86_64. These are the notes for the 'release candidate' of Scientific Linux 7.6. Please also review the upstream vendor's 7.6 release notes for major upstream changes. Scientific Linux 7.x users should run 'yum clean expire-cache' at this time. Major differences from upstream 7.6: Scientific Linux features the X.Org fix listed in Bugzilla 1650634. Major differences from Scientific Linux 7.5: sl-release is updated to use the 7.6 repos; PackageKit has initial support for notification of SL7 minor release upgrades, to use this feature you must install sl7-upgrade. Known issues: Cinnamon desktop from EPEL7 prevents upgrades due to Caribou and GNOME Shell." Here is the brief release announcement, with further information provided in the detailed release notes.
Karanbir Singh has announced the release of CentOS 7-1810, the latest update in the CentOS 7 series, built from the source code of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.6: "We are pleased to announce the general availability of CentOS Linux 7 (1810) for the x86_64 architecture. Effective immediately, this is the current release for CentOS Linux 7 and is tagged as 1810, derived from Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.6 source code. Updates released since the upstream release are all posted, across all architectures. We strongly recommend every user apply all updates, including the content released today, on your existing CentOS Linux 7 machine by just running 'yum update'. As with all CentOS Linux 7 components, this release was built from sources hosted at git.centos.org. In addition, SRPMs that are a byproduct of the build (and also considered critical in the code and buildsys process) are being published to match every binary RPM we release." See the release announcement and release notes for further information.
CentOS 7-1810 -- The Getting Started greeter
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Proxmox 5.3 "Virtual Environment">
Proxmox is a commercial company offering specialised products based on Debian GNU/Linux. The company's latest release is Proxmox 5.3 "Virtual Environment" which includes several improvements for storage and containers. "Proxmox VE 5.3 brings many improvements in storage management. Via the Disk management it is possible to easily add ZFS raid volumes, LVM, and LVMthin pools as well as additional simple disks with a traditional file system. The existing ZFS over iSCSI storage plug-in can now access LIO target in the Linux kernel. Nesting is enabled for LXC containers making it possible to use LXC or LXD inside a container. Also, access to NFS or CIFS/Samba server can be configured inside containers. For the keen and adventurous user, Proxmox VE brings a simplified configuration of PCI passthrough and virtual GPUs (vGPUs such as Intel KVMGT)–now even possible via the web GUI." Further details can be found in the distribution's release announcement.
Guix System Distribution 0.16.0
Guix System Distribution (GuixSD) is a Linux-based, stateless operating system that is built around the GNU Guix package manager. The operating system provides advanced package management features such as transactional upgrades and roll-backs, reproducible build environments, unprivileged package management, and per-user profiles. The project's latest release is GuixSD 0.16.0 which includes several new packages and improvements to the package manager. "On GuixSD, 'guix system reconfigure' will now always load replacements of system services. That way, when you deem appropriate, you can run 'herd restart service' to start the upgraded service. As usual, 985 packages were added and 1,945 were upgraded, notably the GNU C Library now at version 2.28 (which, incidentally, allowed us to get rid of our Hurd-specific glibc variant, at last!). Today Guix provides 8,715 packages. The manual is now partially translated into German. The French translation is now 90% complete. You can help translate the manual into your native language by joining the Translation Project." Further details are available in the release announcement.
UBports 16.04 OTA-6
UBports is a community project which continues the development of Ubuntu Touch, a mobile operating system originally started by Canonical. The UBports team has announced the release of a new update, 16.04 OTA-6. The new version brings fixes and stability improvements, as well as several enhancements to the Morph web browser. "OTA-6 brings a number of fixes and improvements to Ubuntu Touch. In this release, we primarily focused on bug fixes and stability improvements. Half of the confirmed closed tickets for OTA-6 affected the Morph browser. This got to be so high, in fact, it swayed the decision to start the release process! A number of high-visibility issues were fixed: Unable to restore previous session at startup. No way to accept self-signed certificates. Webapps cannot access local content on device. ReCaptcha says "browser not supported". Media playback does not stop when a tab is closed. Scrollbar theme does not match the system theme." Additional information can be found in the project's release announcement. Download instructions for supported devices can be found on the project's Get UT page.
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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: 1,156
- Total data uploaded: 22.5TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
How many non-free packages are on your system?
In our Questions and Answers column we talked about how to detect and remove non-free software packages on a free and open source software (FOSS) system. We would like to hear how much non-free software is on your computer. If you are running non-free packages, let us know why in the comments.
You can see the results of our previous poll on how much swap space to use in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
How many non-free packages are installed on your system?
|None: ||159 (10%)|
| 1-5: ||423 (28%)|
| 6-10: ||159 (10%)|
| 11-25: ||85 (6%)|
| 26-50: ||38 (2%)|
| More than 50: ||40 (3%)|
| Unknown: ||515 (34%)|
| I do not run a FOSS system: ||110 (7%)|
Distributions added to waiting list
- Sculpt OS. Sculpt OS is small distribution of the Genode Operating System Framework. Sculpt uses Genode as a base userland with the NOVA microhypervisor as its kernel. Sculpt supports running legacy OSes as virtual machines using VirtualBox and hardware assisted virtualization. Sculpt features a package manager with packages for virtual machines, a port of the Arora web browser, and games.
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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, 17 December 2018. Past articles and reviews can be found through our Article Search page. To contact the authors please send e-mail to:
- Jesse Smith (feedback, questions and suggestions: distribution reviews/submissions, questions and answers, tips and tricks)
- Ladislav Bodnar (feedback, questions, donations, comments)
- Bruce Patterson (podcast)
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 848 (2020-01-13): elementary OS 5.1, accessing USB ports directly, NetBSD expanding Wayland support, Fedora phasing out old Python packages|
|• Issue 847 (2020-01-06): Android-x86 9.0, Hypberbola switching to BSD base, Debian votes on init diversity, slow adoption of Wayland and delta packages|
|• Issue 846 (2019-12-23): NomadBSD 1.3, Tails publishes boot fix, Arch update requires intervention, Purism launches server lineup, password protecting files|
|• Issue 845 (2019-12-16): OpenIndiana 2019.10, BunsenLabs' "Lithium" preview, MX-Fluxbox, 10 years of Tails, installing local packages|
|• Issue 844 (2019-12-09): Project Trident Void alpha, alpha installer for "Bullseye", SparkyLinux portable edition, dealing with large log files|
|• Issue 843 (2019-12-02): Obarun 2019.11.02, Bluestar 5.3.6, using special characters on command line, Fedora plans to disable empty passwords, FreeBSD's quarterly status report|
|• Issue 842 (2019-11-25): SolydXK 10, System Adminstration Ethics book review, Debian continues init diversity debate, Google upstreaming Android kernel patches|
|• Issue 841 (2019-11-18): Emmabuntus DE3-1.00, changing keys in keyboard layout, Debian phasing out Python 2 and voting on init diversity, Slackware gets unofficial updated live media|
|• Issue 840 (2019-11-11): Fedora 31, monitoring user activity, Fedora working to improve Python performance, FreeBSD gets faster networking|
|• Issue 839 (2019-11-04): MX 19, manipulating PDFs, Ubuntu plans features for 20.04, Fedora 29 nears EOL, Netrunner drops Manjaro-based edition|
|• Issue 838 (2019-10-28): Xubuntu 19.10, how init and service managers work together, DragonFly BSD provides emergency mode for HAMMER, Xfce team plans 4.16|
|• Issue 837 (2019-10-21): CentOS 8.0-1905, Trident finds new base, Debian plans firewall changes, 15 years of Fedora, how to merge directories|
|• Issue 836 (2019-10-14): Archman 2019.09, Haiku improves ARM support, Project Trident shifting base OS, Unix turns 50|
|• Issue 835 (2019-10-07): Isotop, Mazon OS and, KduxOS, examples of using find command, Mint's System Reports becomes proactive, Solus updates its desktops|
|• Issue 834 (2019-09-30): FreedomBox "Buster", CentOS gains a rolling release, Librem 5 phones shipping, Redcore updates its package manager|
|• Issue 833 (2019-09-23): Redcore Linux 1908, why Linux distros are free, Ubuntu making list of 32-bit software to keep, Richard M Stallman steps down from FSF leadership|
|• Issue 832 (2019-09-16): BlackWeb 1.2, checking for Wayland session and applications, Fedora to use nftables in firewalld, OpenBSD disables DoH in Firefox|
|• Issue 831 (2019-09-09): Adélie Linux 1.0 beta, using ffmpeg, awk and renice, Mint and elementary improvements, PureOS and Manjaro updates|
|• Issue 930 (2019-09-02): deepin 15.11, working with AppArmor profiles, elementary OS gets new greeter, exFAT support coming to Linux kernel|
|• Issue 829 (2019-08-26): EndeavourOS 2019.07.15, Drauger OS 7.4.1, finding licenses of kernel modules, NetBSD gets Wayland application, GhostBSD changes base repo|
|• Issue 828 (2019-08-19): AcademiX 2.2, concerns with non-free firmware, UBports working on Unity8, Fedora unveils new EPEL channel, FreeBSD phasing out GCC|
|• Issue 827 (2019-08-12): Q4OS, finding files on disk, Ubuntu works on ZFS, Haiku improves performance, OSDisc shutting down|
|• Issue 826 (2019-08-05): Quick looks at Resilient, PrimeOS, and BlueLight, flagship distros for desktops,Manjaro introduces new package manager|
|• Issue 825 (2019-07-29): Endless OS 3.6, UBports 16.04, gNewSense maintainer stepping down, Fedora developrs discuss optimizations, Project Trident launches stable branch|
|• Issue 824 (2019-07-22): Hexagon OS 1.0, Mageia publishes updated media, Fedora unveils Fedora CoreOS, managing disk usage with quotas|
|• Issue 823 (2019-07-15): Debian 10, finding 32-bit packages on a 64-bit system, Will Cooke discusses Ubuntu's desktop, IBM finalizes purchase of Red Hat|
|• Issue 822 (2019-07-08): Mageia 7, running development branches of distros, Mint team considers Snap, UBports to address Google account access|
|• Issue 821 (2019-07-01): OpenMandriva 4.0, Ubuntu's plan for 32-bit packages, Fedora Workstation improvements, DragonFly BSD's smaller kernel memory|
|• Issue 820 (2019-06-24): Clear Linux and Guix System 1.0.1, running Android applications using Anbox, Zorin partners with Star Labs, Red Hat explains networking bug, Ubuntu considers no longer updating 32-bit packages|
|• Issue 819 (2019-06-17): OS108 and Venom, renaming multiple files, checking live USB integrity, working with Fedora's Modularity, Ubuntu replacing Chromium package with snap|
|• Issue 818 (2019-06-10): openSUSE 15.1, improving boot times, FreeBSD's status report, DragonFly BSD reduces install media size|
|• Issue 817 (2019-06-03): Manjaro 18.0.4, Ubuntu Security Podcast, new Linux laptops from Dell and System76, Entroware Apollo|
|• Issue 816 (2019-05-27): Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, creating firewall rules, Antergos shuts down, Matthew Miller answers questions about Fedora|
|• Issue 815 (2019-05-20): Sabayon 19.03, Clear Linux's developer features, Red Hat explains MDS flaws, an overview of mobile distro options|
|• Issue 814 (2019-05-13): Fedora 30, distributions publish Firefox fixes, CentOS publishes roadmap to 8.0, Debian plans to use Wayland by default|
|• Issue 813 (2019-05-06): ROSA R11, MX seeks help with systemd-shim, FreeBSD tests unified package management, interview with Gael Duval|
|• Issue 812 (2019-04-29): Ubuntu MATE 19.04, setting up a SOCKS web proxy, Scientific Linux discontinued, Red Hat takes over Java LTS support|
|• Issue 811 (2019-04-22): Alpine 3.9.2, rsync examples, Ubuntu working on ZFS support, Debian elects new Project Leader, Obarun releases S6 tools|
|• Issue 810 (2019-04-15): SolydXK 201902, Bedrock Linux 0.7.2, Fedora phasing out Python 2, NetBSD gets virtual machine monitor|
|• Issue 809 (2019-04-08): PCLinuxOS 2019.02, installing Falkon and problems with portable packages, Mint offers daily build previews, Ubuntu speeds up Snap packages|
|• Issue 808 (2019-04-01): Solus 4.0, security benefits and drawbacks to using a live distro, Gentoo gets GNOME ports working without systemd, Redox OS update|
|• Issue 807 (2019-03-25): Pardus 17.5, finding out which user changed a file, new Budgie features, a tool for browsing FreeBSD's sysctl values|
|• 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, 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 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|
|• Full list of all issues|
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|Random Distribution |
MilaX was a small-size live-CD distribution which runs completely off a CD or a USB storage device. It was based on OpenSolaris Nevada and includes its basic features. It originally started as an experiment to see how much OpenSolaris software could fit on a mini-CD, but it eventually became a full-fledged OpenSolaris distribution. It was also possible to use MilaX as a rescue CD. It can be installed on storage media with a small capacity, including bootable business cards, USB flash drives, memory cards, and Zip drives. MilaX was free to use, modify and distribute.