| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 837, 21 October 2019
Welcome to this year's 42nd issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
One of the big events of the past week was the launch of Ubuntu 19.10 and its many community editions. The new versions of the Ubuntu family include new hardware support, updated desktop environments (including Xfce 4.14 and its migration to GTK3), and greater focus on Snap packages. We share these releases and their highlights below. In our News section we talk about Project Trident finding a new base with Void, a rolling release Linux distribution. The Trident team plans to migrate from using TrueOS to Void for future releases, starting in 2020. Plus we discuss Debian migrating its firewall tools from iptables to nftables, and link to an interview with Fedora's Matthew Miller as he looks back on 15 years of the Fedora project's history. First though we explore CentOS 8 and discuss how this clone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux includes some differences from its parent distribution. One of the big differences between Red Hat's distribution and CentOS is paid support and we would like to hear from you in our Opinion Poll on the topic of whether you pay for operating system support. Plus we are pleased to share the torrents we are seeding and provide details on last week's releases. We wish you all a terrific week and happy reading!
- Review: CentOS 8.0-1905
- News: Project Trident finds a new base, Debian planning firewall changes, a look back at 15 years of Fedora
- Questions and answers: Merging directories of files
- Torrent corner: 4MLinux, Android-x86, antiX, Bluestar, Clonezilla, Container, KDE neon, NuTyX, OpenBSD, Pop!_OS, Volumio, Zevenet
- Released last week: Ubuntu 19.10, OpenBSD 6.6, NuTyX 11.2
- Upcoming releases: Tails 3.17, FreeBSD 12.1-RC3
- Opinion poll: Do you purchase support for your distribution?
- Reader comments
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
CentOS is a community-run project which builds its distribution from the source code of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The project's goal is to provide a binary compatible, nearly identical experience to Enterprise Linux, but without the commercial support provided by Red Hat. This makes CentOS an attractive option for people who want to have a distribution with long-term support and the same technology Red Hat provides, but feel they do not need vendor support.
I reviewed Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 (RHEL 8), briefly covering the distribution's installer, software and settings management, several of its Workstation features, and a few of its server technologies, such as Cockpit. I ran into several issues during that experience - some of them relating to documentation, some dealing with permission problems, some due to missing applications in the official repositories - and I was curious to see if CentOS would provide the same experience, problems and all. One could assume so given CentOS uses the same source code, but CentOS has its own website and repositories so I thought it would be worth giving it a test run and seeing what differences, if any, I could spot. In particular, I planned to focus on the strengths and weaknesses I observed in the conclusion of my RHEL 8 review.
Before I get to my experiences with CentOS 8.0.1905, I feel it is worth mentioning that CentOS is now available in two branches: CentOS Linux, the traditional, fixed release operating system based on RHEL; and CentOS Stream. The new Stream branch is described as a rolling release platform which will fit in somewhere between Fedora and RHEL. The idea appears to be that software and concepts will get their initial testing in Fedora. Then Red Hat will fork a version of Fedora to be the basis of a future RHEL release. Changes and improvements that would normally be made internally within Red Hat prior to the next RHEL will become available for the public to try and comment on in CentOS Stream. Ideally, the plan here seems to be that this will give a larger portion of the community a chance to try new ideas and report issues, giving Red Hat more feedback and a chance to polish their commercial offering.
Both CentOS Linux and CentOS Stream are available in two editions, the DVD edition and a net-install edition called Boot. CentOS Linux's DVD is 6.7GB (about the same size as RHEL 8) and the Boot edition is 534MB. CentOS Stream's DVD is larger, 8GB, but the net-install disc is 533MB.
CentOS's release notes include a section dedicated to known issues. One of these warns against installing the "Server with GUI" package set in VirtualBox: "If you are planning to install CentOS-8 in a VirtualBox guest, you should not select "Server with a GUI" (default) during the installation." The release notes link to a Red Hat article which confirms this warning, but without a reason as to why this would be a problem. Since "Server with GUI" is the default role selected in the installer we need to remember change the role if we are using VirtualBox.
Installing CentOS was, as far as I could tell, identical to installing RHEL, at least during the initial configuration. When packages have finished copying to the hard drive and we reboot, the first-run wizard asks us to accept a license. With CentOS this license agreement is just a disclaimer and a notice that CentOS uses the GNU General Public License. This is less legal material to go through than what RHEL provides. The license activation step used by RHEL is not present in CentOS, we are not required to register our installation with anyone.
CentOS offers the same desktop options: GNOME Shell and GNOME Classic, both available through X.Org and Wayland sessions. RAM usage and performance appears to be virtually identical in all of the session options when compared next to their RHEL counterparts. The menus and software selection also appear to be the same, along with the default settings.
CentOS 8.0.1905 -- The GNOME settings panel
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CentOS ran smoothly on my workstation and detected all of my hardware. The desktop, audio, and wireless networking all worked properly. Like RHEL, CentOS worked well on my physical hardware. Trying to run CentOS in a VirtualBox instance was another matter. Like RHEL, CentOS does not provide VirtualBox guest modules and cannot integrate with VirtualBox or use the host computer's screen resolution. To complicate matters, neither distribution provides a VirtualBox module in their repositories.
When I was testing RHEL 8, I tried to build the generic VirtualBox module and it failed, at first, due to a missing package: elfutils-libelf-devel. Once this package had been installed, I was able to build the add-on module and install it without further problems. I tried this on CentOS, installing elfutils-libelf-devel and then building the VirtualBox guest module. This appeared to work and the process reported the module had installed successfully. But it was soon clear the module was not working.
I investigated and found that, despite the build process reporting success, the module had not been installed anywhere on my system. I then went down through the list of dependencies VirtualBox has and discovered that while the compiler, build tools and header files were all available, Perl was missing. For some reason the build process reports success (and silently fails) when Perl is not installed. I installed Perl and had no further problems. I'm not sure why this happened on CentOS and not RHEL (perhaps there are different default packages in the install) but I eventually got it sorted out and the distribution running smoothly in the virtual environment.
Working with software packages was the area where I saw the biggest differences between RHEL and CentOS. There were some similarities as both use the DNF command line package manager (most documentation refers to the package manager as YUM, but YUM is just a symbolic link to DNF). Both distributions use GNOME Software as the graphical front-end for installing new packages and downloading updates. Where things differ is mostly with regards to permission/configuration issues.
For instance, when I was running RHEL there were no available applications listed in GNOME Software. CentOS is able to show installed software in GNOME Software, and a few Featured Items. However, beyond these few items there are virtually no applications listed. Searching for almost any application turns up no results, even when looking for packages I knew existed in the repositories. For example, searching for "thunderbird" on the command line works, but the same search does not work in GNOME Software. Searching for "gimp" in either tool presents us with the GNU Image Manipulation Program.
CentOS 8.0.1905 -- Comparing searches between GNOME Software and DNF
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Another difference was I could perform searches for packages on the command line without using sudo on CentOS. When I was running RHEL any package manager searches performed without sudo (or root) permissions would fail.
CentOS, like RHEL, has a small subset of software compared to the Fedora repositories. While many core and server-related software bundles are available, most workstation software I tried to find was not. I could find GIMP and Thunderbird, but little else. There was no VLC, no MPlayer, Clementine, AbiWord, K3b, Audacity, Chromium web browser, or media codecs. I had hoped to fix this by enabling third-party repositories such as RPMFusion, ELrepo, and Fedora's EPEL repository. Exploring these repositories I was able to find the VLC media player, and some codecs, but the other packages remained unavailable.
Some software I found would not install. CentOS, like its parent, makes MP3 codecs available, but is missing video codecs for most popular formats. When trying to play a video file, GNOME Software would offer to find the missing codecs. The software manager did successfully find multiple codec packages I could download and most of these worked. However, not all of the codec packages would install successfully and no error message was produced to explain why. I suspect there is a conflict between the repositories/packages available, but GNOME Software will not explain why it refused to install a package.
When I was running RHEL any time I made a typo on the command line, such as typing "sl" instead of "ls", the shell would lock up for several seconds and then display an error message relating to a failed package search. This does not happen on CentOS. Making a typo such as "sl" immediately produces a suggestion asking if I meant to type "ls". Likewise, typing "ttop" suggests using "top". There is no delay or error on CentOS, just the helpful tip.
I believe Flatpak, which is installed by default, deserves a mention. Many users, finding that CentOS and third-party repositories are missing many popular applications, will probably consider turning to Flatpak to fill in the gaps. This could prove difficult in practise. To start with, there are no repositories enabled by default on CentOS. I went to Flathub and the instructions for enabling the repository on RHEL/CentOS say to simply download a file and install it. Which sounds simple, but CentOS does not recognize the file type, meaning we can't install or launch it automatically - we need to work with it from the command line manually. I then tried to enable the repository manually using the file, but its digital signature was reportedly not trusted. I eventually enabled the Flatpak repository manually using the command line.
CentOS 8.0.1905 -- Playing music in Rhythmbox
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When I was running RHEL I was unable to install any Firefox extensions. I tried several, after updating my copy of Firefox, but none worked. Each of the Firefox extensions I downloaded using CentOS worked flawlessly.
CentOS, like RHEL, allows remote root logins by default, even in the Workstation role. This is convenient for people doing remote setups, but also a security hole that most other distributions have closed. On the other hand, CentOS enforces RHEL's complex password rules - requiring accounts have either long, complex passwords or no password at all when they are created.
CentOS ships with the Cockpit web-based, remote administration software installed, though not enabled. This mirrors my experience with RHEL. I really like Cockpit and how it gives easy access to several administrative functions. Using Cockpit I was able to manage services, check resource usage, and view logs.
CentOS 8.0.1905 -- Managing services in Cockpit
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When I was running RHEL I was unable to install updates or new applications through Cockpit. While running CentOS, I could check for (and install) package updates. However, Cockpit under CentOS, was unable to find any applications for me to install.
The experience I had with CentOS is very similar to my experience with RHEL, as is to be expected. Both distributions are using the same source code and the same versions of utilities. There are little differences though, most of them in the field of software management and the initial setup.
While CentOS's install process is virtually the same as Red Hat's, the process of getting the install media is entirely different. With CentOS one can just go to the project's website and click the appropriate download link. Red Hat requires registration (even for the free developer version), browsing through product versions, and picking the right edition. Then we need to accept on-line registration the first time we run the distribution.
Package management on both distributions makes use of the same tools, but the experience was night and day. On RHEL GNOME Software didn't work for finding and installing software at all. On CentOS it worked a little, though with a limited selection and with some packages quietly refusing to install. DNF worked much better on CentOS and didn't require administrative access to perform simple searches. I don't know if the difference lies in a configuration change, or bug fixes that have been applied and trickled down to CentOS over the past few months.
One of the biggest differences though is just a matter of timing. When I tried RHEL 8, third-party repositories had not had time to populate yet. By the time CentOS 8 came along, third-party package sources were up and running, providing some (though still not nearly enough, in my opinion) packages to fill in the gaps.
Otherwise the two distributions, in their default software, desktops, performance, and hardware support appear to be identical. CentOS is a more accessible, free version of RHEL, and will probably appeal to most people who do need enterprise-grade software, but do not need commercial support.
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CentOS/RHEL on the desktop
I would like to add a few comments about using Red Hat Enterprise Linux and CentOS on a desktop machine. After my review of RHEL 8 came out, several people raised questions as to the value of testing RHEL on a workstation or laptop. Red Hat's operating system is mostly used on servers, the argument went, so why discuss how RHEL runs in a desktop environment? Why talk about GNOME Software, GNOME, and Wayland on an operating system that is often run headless?
It's a fair point, Red Hat products (and CentOS) are typically seen on servers. Which is why I talked about command line package management and server tools such as Cockpit more than usual. However, I think there are at least three reasons why also talking about these distributions running on workstations is important:
- The default role CentOS's installer selects is "Server with GUI". CentOS and RHEL may be used mostly on servers, but their default setting is to install graphical tools. I think it's reasonable to test software that is likely to be installed by default. Several of the alternative roles also install desktop software.
- Red Hat's release notes specifically talk about desktop features like Wayland. I suspect they wouldn't advise users of these features unless they expected people to use them. On a similar note, while RHEL is famous for running on servers, many professionals run these distributions on their workstations, particularly at work.
- Earlier this year Red Hat published an article called Why You Should Be Developing On Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The article lays out suggestions as to why developers should be using RHEL on their workstations. The professional desktop user is a market Red Hat is actively targeting. If Red Hat wants developers, like me, to run RHEL on our workstations and laptops I think it is reasonable to take them up on the suggestion.
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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, Ralink RT5390R PCIe Wireless card
- Display: AMD Radeon HD 6410D video card
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Visitor supplied rating
CentOS has a visitor supplied average rating of: 8.5/10 from 71 review(s).
Have you used CentOS? You can leave your own review of the project on our ratings page.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Project Trident finds a new base, Debian planning firewall changes, a look back at 15 years of Fedora
Last week we reported that Project Trident was changing its base operating system from TrueOS to something else. In particular the Trident team seemed to be looking at improving boot times and hardware support. The developers have made their choice and Project Trident will be shifting its base to Void, a rolling release Linux distribution. "After several months of examination and testing of the various operating systems that are available right now, we have reached a conclusion. Project Trident will rebasing with Void Linux. In addition to meeting our OS requirements with flying colors, there were several features of Void Linux that also attracted our attention." A blog post on the Project Trident website offers further details on the switch. Migrating users from the current base to the new one will not be supported due to the key differences between the two bases.
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The release of Debian 11 (code name "Bullseye") is still about two years away, however the developers are already planning what features will appear in the future version. One of the planned changes to migrating from the old iptables tools to the newer nftables. While iptables would still be available to those who need it, nftables and firewalld would be the new default methods for managing the operating system's firewall. A post linked to from Debian's micronews service reads: "This is another step in deprecating iptables and welcoming nftables. But it does not mean that iptables won’t be available in Debian 11 Bullseye. If you need it, you will need to use aptitude install iptables to download and install it from the package repository. The second part of my proposal was to promote firewalld as the default 'wrapper' for firewalling in Debian. I think this is in line with the direction other distros are moving. It turns out firewalld integrates pretty well with the system, includes a DBus interface and many system daemons (like libvirt) already have native integration with firewalld. Also, I believe the days of creating custom-made scripts and hacks to handle the local firewall may be long gone, and firewalld should be very helpful here too."
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The Fedora distribution is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. While the project has gone through several changes over the years, and a name change, it continues to be a cutting-edge testing ground for new software. Matthew Miller has answered some questions from TechRepublic about where Fedora has been, the future of its release cycle, Flatpak, and growing pains that come from adopting new technologies quickly. "Both GNOME 3 and systemd landed in the same release. Basically, we lost half of our users doing that. Or, at least half of our users didn't upgrade from Fedora 14, and we stopped getting growth. That was a pretty bad situation, and there's plenty of ways for blame to go around. But, I think just absorbing all that change, all at once, is hard on people.
That's a lesson learned. If you look at the GNOME user interface, if you go back and install GNOME 3.0 and compare it to 3.32, it's a very different experience. The designers working on GNOME, despite some reputation, actually do listen to feedback and adjust. They really do want to provide a polished user experience.
I think that if GNOME goes to 4.0, it is not going to be a radical redesign, like that. It's going to be architectural shifts under the hood. In one of your earlier interviews, someone mentioned concern about Wayland, and the split between the desktop and the shell compositor. If your shell crashes under [X.Org], it automatically restarts, you barely notice it. If you crash under Wayland, it brings things down. That actually requires a big architectural change to fix, that might be GNOME 4. That isn't necessarily something that means that the user interface has been run into a blender and changed all around just for the sake of it." The rest of the interview can be found on the TechRepublic website.
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Merging directories of files
Bringing-files-together asks: I have two folders of archives (tens of thousands of files) where most of them are unique, but some are duplicates. I'm trying to merge them into one big archive. How can I do that?
DistroWatch answers: The best approach for combining two directories of files into one big collection may depend on the nature of the duplicate files. For instance, if all the files you have in the two collections that are the same also have the same name, then you could possibly just move all the files into the same folder. You could do this with a tool like rsync and copy all of the files from the second archive into the folder containing the first archive:
rsync -av Second-Archive/ First-Archive/
There are two possible problems with this simple approach. The first is you may have files that are duplicates of other files, but have different names. If that is the case then you will end up with multiple copies of the same file, but with different names. For instance, image20190101.jpg and image20190101.JPG might have the same content, but due to case-sensitivity, have different names. The second possible problem is you could have files with the same name, but different content. For instance, I have a document called important-notes.odt in the first folder and there is a completely different file in the second folder that also happens to be called important-notes.odt. When the two directories are merged, the above rsync example will replace the document in first archive with the second copy. This is not ideal.
The rsync command has an option for not copying files with the same name from one folder to another. This option is called "--ignore-existing", which basically means that if a file exists in the destination folder, it will not be copied. This improves on the situation by making sure we do not overwrite any files with the same name.
rsync -av --ignore-existing Second-Archive/ First-Archive/
However, when the above command is finished, we do not know which files were copied and which ones were not. We managed to avoid overwriting files with the same name, but which ones have the duplicate names? We may want to go through those and see what is in them, and make sure we have a copy of them in the merged archive. To do this we can tell rsync to copy all of its files, except duplicates. Then delete files from the second archive that have been copied. What we will end up with is one large, merged archive in the First-Archive folder, and a trimmed down archive containing only files with duplicate names in Second-Archive.
rsync -av --ignore-existing --remove-source-files Second-Archive/ First-Archive/
We could then copy the files with duplicate names from the second archive into a special folder of the first archive. This effectively merges the two archives while placing files with duplicate names in a special area we can go through and purge or sort later.
rsync -av --ignore-existing --remove-source-files Second-Archive/ First-Archive/
We have a pretty good solution in place now. We have merged all files without duplicate names into one big archive. Plus we have placed files with matching names, which may have different content, into a special folder to be examined later. All we need to do now is find, and possibly remove, files that have duplicate content. These files may have matching names, or they could have different names, but their content is identical and we do not need them taking up additional space on the disk. To clear out files with duplicate content, we can use the fdupes utility.
rsync -av Second-Archive/ First-Archive/Duplicate-Names/
The fdupes program is a handy tool for finding files with matching contents and, optionally, deleting them. In its simplest form, fdupes only finds matching files in the same directory. The following example lists duplicates in the current directory:
To remove all duplicate files in an archive, we can tell fdupes to recursively search a directory and prompt us when it finds duplicate files so we can choose which one to keep:
fdupes -r --delete First-Archive
When operating on large archives, getting prompted before each file removal can get tedious. We can automate the process by telling fdupes not to prompt us for file removals, and instead just keep the first duplicate it finds:
fdupes -r --delete --noprompt First-Archive
When we string all of the above steps together, we can complete the merge of the two archives, preserving files with duplicate names and removing files with duplicate content, by running:
rsync -av --ignore-existing --remove-source-files Second-Archive/ First-Archive/
We can then, optionally, remove what is remaining of the Second-Archive directory as we have already copied its contents into the merged archive.
rsync -av Second-Archive/ First-Archive/Duplicate-Names/
fdupes -r --delete --noprompt First-Archive
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Additional answers can be found in our Questions and Answers archive.
|Released Last Week
Zevenet 5.10.1 "Community
Zevenet is a load balancer and application delivery system based on Debian. The Zevenet platform provides HTTP and HTTPS connections for web applications as well as load balancing services for TCP and UDP traffic. The project has published a new version of their Community Edition. The new Zevenet 5.10.1 Community Edition introduces a language plugin and allows the administrator to limit the number of concurrent connections. "Zevenet is glad of announcing that Community Edition 5.10 has been released. This version contains some important improvements for the L4xNAT profile, as the possibility of configuring the backend ports, set a limited number of connections per backend and new algorithms and persistence methods. A language plugin has been added to WebGUI, to do it more intuitive and friendly to non-English speakers. The community help is welcome to improve the plugin translations. One of the main changes in Community 5.10 is the new l7 core, zproxy, which improves the performance and will be extended in future versions with more features." Additional details can be found in the distribution's release announcement.
NuTyX is a French Linux distribution (with multi-language support) built from Linux From Scratch and Beyond Linux From Scratch, with a custom package manager called "cards". The project's latest release is NuTyX 11.2 which includes several new package updates, including an LTS release of the Linux kernel. "I'm very pleased to announce the new NuTyX 11.2 release. The 64-bit version contains more than 2800 packages upgraded. The 32-bit version of NuTyX, still actively supported contains more then 1,800 packages upgraded. In the newest release, base NuTyX comes with the Long-Term Support (LTS) kernel 4.19.79 (4.9.196 for the 32-bit version). For 64-bit systems, the kernel release 5.3.6 is also available. The GNU Compiler Collection, GCC, is now GCC 9.2.0. The graphical server is xorg-server 1.20.5. The mesa lib is 19.2.1, GTK3 is 3.24.12, and Qt has been updated to 5.13.1. Python interpreters 3.7.4 and 2.7.16 have been included in this release. The MATE desktop environment comes in 1.22.2, the latest version. The KDE Plasma desktop is now 5.16.5, the KDE Framework is now 5.62.0 and applications are now 19.08.2. Available browsers are: Firefox 69.0.3, Falkon 3.1.0, Epiphany 3.34.0." Additional details can be found on the project's news page.
OpenBSD is an operating system developer with efforts that emphasize portability, standardisation, correctness, proactive security and integrated cryptography. The project's latest release, OpenBSD 6.6, furthers the migration from using the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) to the Clang compiler on supported architectures. It also improves memory handling on machines with one terabyte of memory or greater. A full of list changes can be found in the project's release announcement. "This is a partial list of new features and systems included in OpenBSD 6.6. For a comprehensive list, see the changelog leading to 6.6. General improvements and bug fixes: Fixed support for amd64 machines with greater than 1023GB physical memory. drm(4) updates. The octeon platform is now using clang(1) as the base system compiler. The powerpc architecture is now provided with clang(1), in addition to aarch64, amd64, armv7, i386, mips64el, sparc64. Disabled GCC in base on armv7 and i386. Prevented dhclient(8) from repeatedly obtaining a new lease when the mtu is given in a lease. Prevented more than one thread from opening a wscons(4) device in read/write mode. Allowed non-root users to become owner of the drm(4) device when they are the first to open it."
The Ubuntu team have announced the release of Ubuntu 19.10. The new version features the GNOME 3.34 desktop environment, kernel 5.3 with new video card and single board computer hardware support, and new security options enabled in the package builds. "Ubuntu 19.10 is based on the Linux release series 5.3. It adds a variety of new hardware support since the 5.0 kernel from 19.04, including support for AMD Navi GPUs, new ARM SoCs, ARM Komeda display, and Intel Speed Select on Xeon servers. Significant developer-facing features include pidfd support for avoiding races cause by PID reuse, a new mount API, and the io_uring interface for asynchronous I/O. To help improve boot speed the default kernel compression algorithm was changed to lz4 on most architectures, and the default initramfs compression algorithm was changed to lz4 on all architectures. Ubuntu 19.10 comes with refreshed state-of-the-art toolchain including new upstream releases of glibc 2.30, OpenJDK 11, rustc 1.37, GCC 9.2, updated Python 3.7.5, Python 3.8.0 (interpreter only), Ruby 2.5.5, PHP 7.3.8, Perl 5.28.1, golang 1.12.10. There are new improvements on the cross-compilers front as well with POWER and AArch64 toolchain enabled to cross-compile for ARM, PPC64 LE, S390X and RISCV64 targets. Ubuntu 19.10 comes with additional default hardening options enabled in GCC, including support for both stack clash protection and control-flow integrity protection. All packages in main have been rebuilt to take advantage of this, with a few exceptions." Support for installing on 32-bit (x86) processors has been dropped for this release. Further details can be found in the release notes.
Ubuntu 19.10 -- Running the GNOME desktop
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Ubuntu Studio 19.10
Ubuntu Studio is a variant of Ubuntu aimed at the GNU/Linux audio, video and graphic enthusiast as well as professional. The distribution provides a collection of open-source applications available for multimedia creation. The project's latest release, Ubuntu Studio 19.10, includes OBS Studio, Ray Session, and an improved version of Ubuntu Studio Controls. "Ubuntu Studio Controls version 1.11.3 is included in this release, and provides numerous improvements: Now includes an indicator to show whether or not Jack is running. Added Jack backend selections: Firewire, ALSA, or Dummy (used for testing configurations). Added multiple PulseAudio bridges. Added convenient buttons for starting other configuration tools. Other changes: Ufraw has been removed from the repositories as development ceased in 2015, and it is incompatible with the current version of GIMP. For those affected, we suggest you find a new workflow for working with RAW images. Applications we suggest include RawTherapee and DarkTable." Additional information can be found in the release announcement and in the release notes.
Xubuntu is a community edition of Ubuntu featuring the Xfce desktop. The project's new version, Xubuntu 19.10, features the Xfce 4.14 desktop which migrates from using GTK2 to GTK3. The distribution also features a new screensaver package. "Xubuntu 19.10 features Xfce 4.14, released in August 2019 after nearly 4.5 years of development. Backed by GTK 3 and other modern technologies, Xfce 4.14 includes many new features, improved HiDPI support, and the same great performance for which Xfce is known. Xfce Screensaver replaces Light Locker for screen locking. The new screensaver is built on years of development from the GNOME and MATE Screensaver projects and is tightly integrated with Xfce. It also features significantly improved support for Laptops. We've added two new keyboard shortcuts to make transitioning from other desktop environments and operating systems easier. Super + D will show your desktop, while Super + L will now lock your screen." The release announcement and release notes offer further details.
Ubuntu MATE 19.10
Martin Wimpress has announced the release of Ubuntu MATE 19.10. The new version provides nine months of support and addresses a number of minor desktop bugs. "Upstream MATE Desktop recently released 1.22.2. All the updates are present in Ubuntu MATE 19.10 plus I've cherry picked a good deal of fixes from MATE Desktop development snapshots. In total, 67 additional patches have been applied to the MATE Desktop packages in Ubuntu MATE 19.10 to finesse this release prior to launch day. Included in those patches are fixes for locking the screen on resume from suspend, adding a Media Information extension to the file manager, performance improvements for the window manager and cycling external displays using Super + p. All this work has also been submitted to Debian. Since the final beta we worked on the following: Added experimental ZFS install option. Fixed rendering window controls on HiDPI displays. Fixed irregular icon sizes in MATE Control Center and made them render nicely on HiDPI displays. Fixed Caja extensions not loading." In addition, Thunderbird has been replaced by Evolution as the default e-mail client and GNOME MPV has replaced VLC. Both of the replaced applications are still available in the distribution's repositories. Further details can be found in the release announcement and in the release notes.
The Kubuntu team has announced the availability of Kubuntu 19.10. The new version offers nine months of security updates and ships with KDE Plasma 5.16 (Plasma 5.17 can be installed from the distribution's Backports repository). the project's release announcement lists the new updates and features: "Codenamed Eoan Ermine, Kubuntu 19.10 integrates the latest and greatest open source technologies into a high-quality, easy-to-use Linux distribution. The team has been hard at work through this cycle, introducing new features and fixing bugs. Under the hood, there have been updates to many core packages, including a new 5.3-based kernel, Qt 5.12.4, KDE Frameworks 5.62.0, Plasma 5.16.5 and KDE Applications 19.04.3. Firefox 69 is the default browser and LibreOffice 6.3 is provided by default in the full installation, along with updates and bugfixes to latte-dock, Elisa 0.4.2, Kdenlive, Yakuake, Krita, Kdevelop and Ktorrent." NVIDIA drivers are now available on the install media, ensuring they will be available when installing Kubuntu off-line. The release notes offer further details.
Kubuntu 19.10 -- The KDE Plasma desktop and application menu
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The Lubuntu developers have launched Lubuntu 19.10. This is the third version of Lubuntu to feature the LXQt desktop (which replaced LXDE). The current release offers nine months of security updates. The project's release announcement lists new package features and updates: "This is the third Lubuntu release with LXQt as the main desktop environment. The Lubuntu project, in 18.10 and successive releases, will no longer support the LXDE desktop environment or tools in the Ubuntu archive, and will instead focus on the LXQt desktop environment. You can find the following major applications and toolkits installed by default in this release: LXQt 0.14.1. Qt 5.12.4. Mozilla Firefox 69, which will receive updates from the Ubuntu Security Team throughout the support cycle of the release. The LibreOffice 6.3.2 suite. VLC 3.0.8, for viewing media and listening to music. Featherpad 0.11.1, for notes and code editing. Discover Software Center 5.16.5, for an easy, graphical way to install and update software. The powerful and fast email client Trojitá 0.7 to get you to inbox zero in no time." Additional details can be found in the distribution's release notes.
antiX is a fast, lightweight and easy-to-install Linux live CD distribution based on Debian for x86 compatible systems. The project's latest release is antiX 19 which is based on Debian 10 "Buster" and uses SysV init instead of Debian's default systemd init software. The distribution's release announcement lists the changes available in antiX 19: "Based on Debian Stretch, but without systemd and libsystemd0. eudev (3.2.8) instead of systemd-udev. Customised 4.9.193 kernel with fbcondecor splash. LibreOffice (6.1.5-3) (full version only). Firefox-ESR (60.9.0esr-1). Claws-mail (3.17.3-2). CUPS for printing (full versions only). XMMS -for audio. gnome-mpv - for playing video. SMtube and mps-tube - play youtube videos without a using a browser. streamlight-antix - stream videos with very low RAM usage. qpdfview - PDF reader. formatusb, for formatting USB storage devices. Set Date & Time, to make clock setting chores easier. arc-evopro2-theme. Papirus icons. New wallpaper artwork. Updated video configurations via vcard boot code (F4). Improved support for frugal installations on NTFS devices. Live system now boots with a informative text-based boot splash. "Safe" video boot mode from live boot menus should get to X when all else fails." antiX is available in four editions from the full featured Full edition, to the lighter Base and Core editions, and the minimalist Net edition.
Ubuntu Budgie 19.10
The Ubuntu Budgie team has released version 19.10 of their distribution which features nine months of security updates and ZFS on root support. The project's release announcement lists the features users can expect in Ubuntu Budgie 19.10: "We are pleased to announce the release of the new version of our distro, the sixth as an official flavor of the Ubuntu family. Based on 18.04 through to 19.04 experiences, feedback and suggestions that we have received from our users, the new release comes with a lot of new features, fixes and optimizations. Here is what you can expect with the new release: showcasing the latest Budgie desktop developments - budgie-desktop v10.5 on a GNOME 3.34 stack, showcasing the latest budgie-applets available. NVIDIA graphics installed automatically from our ISO. Showcasing ZFS integration. Upgrade of Nemo to v4 together with the ability to turn desktop icons on/off via Budgie desktop settings. Debut of new accessibility options - desktop keyboard and screen magnifier. You can read more about what we have been up to via our 19.10 release notes. Upgrade instructions from 18.10 are included. Please have a read these since there are a number of issues that you need to be aware of."
Ubuntu Budgie 19.10 -- The Budgie desktop, welcome screen and menu
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Ubuntu Kylin 19.10
Ubuntu Kylin is an official Ubuntu subproject whose goal is to create a variant of Ubuntu that is more suitable for Chinese users using the Simplified Chinese writing system. The distribution has published Ubuntu Kylin 19.10 which offers nine months of support. The release announcement (Chinese, English) lists the new project's new features: "In this release, Kylin Software Center is upgraded with fabulous startup animation and clear navigation which make it easier and smoother to operate. Practical and powerful as always. About the kernel, Ubuntu Kylin 19.10 ships with v5.3 based Linux kernel updated from 19.04. The new kernel adds a variety of new hardware support inherited from upstream, including: Adds support for Intel Speed Select, a feature only supported on specific Xeon servers. Adds initial support for the AMD Navi GPUs in the amdgpu driver, these are the new AMD RX5700 GPUs that just recently became available. Adds support for Zhaoxin x86 Processors. Adds utilization clamping support to the task scheduler. This is a refinement of the energy aware scheduling framework for power-asymmetric systems. The 0.0.0.0/8 IPv4 range will be accepted by Linux as a valid address range, allowing for 16 million new IPv4 addresses."
* * * * *
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: 1,661
- Total data uploaded: 28.5TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|Opinion Poll (by Jesse Smith)
Do you purchase support for your distribution?
In this week's review of CentOS we touched on how the distribution is technically almost identical to Red Hat Enterprise Linux, but lacks the commercial support option which makes Red Hat such a widely popular choice for server distributions. There are not many Linux distributions which provide commercial support, but there are a handful, including Ubuntu, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise, and a few others. We would like to know if you purchase support for your distribution. If you do, please let us know which distribution you purchase support from in the comment.
You can see the results of our previous poll on running a graphical interface on a server distribution in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Do you purchase support for your distribution?
|I purchase support for my home distro: ||24 (1%)|
| I purchase support for a distro at work: ||63 (4%)|
| I purchase support for both home and work systems: ||7 (0%)|
| I do not purchase support: ||1550 (94%)|
|Website News (by Jesse Smith)
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 28 October 2019. 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 843 (2019-12-02): Obarun 2019.11.02, Bluestar 5.3.6, using special characters on the 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 a 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 a 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 the 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 the 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 the 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, 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|
|• 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, Linux Mint or Zorin OS pre-installed with many more distributions supported. Visit Star Labs for information, to buy and get support.
|Random Distribution |
Mockup was a desktop operating system, based on the Morphix live CD. The project's goal was to create an Open Source operating system that was easy to use - a live CD which can be installed on a hard disk. The desktop environment was based on new and exciting technology, such as udev, hotplug and HAL for hardware detection and automatic device files creation. The whole desktop was written using Trolltech's Qt 4 with both vector and bitmap graphics, with antialiasing. Where supported by the hardware, translucency and drop shadows are also provided for interesting effects.