| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 329, 16 November 2009
Welcome to this year's 46th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! openSUSE 11.2, one of the oldest and most popular Linux distributions, has kept many users on Linux web sites throughout the past week. What are the new features? How does it perform? Does it come with any major innovations? What packages does it ship with? For answers to all these and other questions please read our feature article - a first-look review of openSUSE 11.2. In the news section, Fedora developers give a green light to the release of version 12 later this week, openSUSE announces an upcoming release of a special edition for children and educational establishments, Mandriva moves swiftly to update a vast number of packages in its "Cooker" development branch, and pfSense celebrates its fifth birthday with a launch of a book dedicated to the FreeBSD-based firewall distribution. Finally, if you are wondering why the latest Ubuntu fails the Shields up port scanning test then read on - there is an easy fix. All this and more in this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, happy reading!
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|Feature Story (by Caitlyn Martin)
First look at openSUSE 11.2
When Ladislav asked me last week if I'd like to review the new release of openSUSE I jumped at the opportunity. After looking at much improved releases by Ubuntu and Mandriva over the past two weeks I had very high expectations for Novell's community distribution. The upstream problems with common Intel video and audio drivers, which created so much grief in releases from earlier in the year, seem to be solved. In my work I support Novell's enterprise operating system offerings, including both SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and Novell NetWare. The releases of Mandriva 2010 and Ubuntu 9.10 both installed smoothly and work nearly flawlessly on my hardware. I had no reason to expect anything less than that from openSUSE.
For this review I used my two usual systems, an HP Mini 110 netbook (1.6 GHz Intel Atom N270 CPU, 2 GB RAM, 16 GB SATA SSD storage) and my nearly 7-year old Toshiba Satellite 1805-S204 (1 GHz Intel Celeron CPU, 512 MB RAM, 20 GB HDD). The Toshiba laptop barely meets the published minimum RAM requirement for openSUSE 11.2. Both systems are 32-bit Intel architecture so this review does not include the x86_64 edition.
openSUSE offers eight different operating system images for download. live CDs for GNOME and KDE are available for both i686 and x86_64 Intel architectures. A 4.7 GB installation DVD image is available for i586 and x86_64 Intel and a 110 MB network install image is also available for both i586 and x86_64 systems. I downloaded both live CDs and the network installation image for 32-bit systems and decided to try out all three.
Running as a live CD
My initial attempts at running the live CD image on the netbook proved to be problematic. I tried both the dd command as described in the release announcement and the latest version of UNetbootin to create a live USB stick. The resulting image would start to boot but fail fairly early on in the process. I next used an external USB CD/DVD drive and that also failed. The failure was much deeper into the boot process and occurred when attempting to load the wireless drivers for the Broadcom 4312 chipset which HP uses in the Mini 110 netbook. I had seen something similar when I first attempted to install Pardus Linux 2009. This was caused by a wireless driver conflict and the fix is to pass "ssb.blacklist=1" to the kernel as an option when booting. I tried the same thing with the GNOME live CD and I was up and running.
openSUSE 11.2 with the GNOME 2.28 desktop
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I had very little reason to expect that either of the live CDs would run acceptably on the old Toshiba laptop. Some lightweight live CDs do work well on that system despite its very slow DVD-ROM drive, including the Ubuntu-based Debris Linux and a number of Slackware-based distros. Both Ubuntu and Mandriva live CDs run incredibly slowly on that system, to the point of being really unusable. The openSUSE live CD was a truly pleasant surprise. Performance was crisp and was every bit as good as the smaller, lighter distributions. Kudos to the openSUSE developers for successfully optimizing their live CD for maximum performance.
Installation and configuration
Most recent distribution releases I've tried on the HP netbook have installed smoothly without any sort of special process required. Unfortunately that was not the case with openSUSE 11.2. The live CD installer simply would not run. No error message was displayed and I never have figured out why. I was able to use UNetbootin to successfully copy the network installer image to a USB stick. I expected that the documentation for a network installation could be found in the openSUSE Wiki but clicking on the Wiki link from the distro home page yielded an error: "your desired Wiki was not found. the incident was reported. we will contact you." I have no clue how they could possibly contact me or anyone else without an e-mail address or any sort of interaction. A Google search did get me to the correct page in the Wiki which describes an FTP installation of openSUSE 10.3 using the network installer. The address for the mirror in the example is no longer valid but I was able to ping the main openSUSE download server, obtain an IP address of 22.214.171.124, and use that plus the correct path to the repository to do my installation via HTTP.
The installation process, once you start the GUI portion of the installer, is fairly straightforward. I chose to use the Expert disk partitioning option to allow me to install openSUSE side-by-side with Ubuntu. I found it strange that the "Edit" option for partitioning actually is the one that erases your hard drive and gives you a new partitioning scheme. What you are actually editing is the suggested layout provided by the installer. The "Create" option, on the other hand, lets you choose which existing partition(s) to use. This is precisely the opposite of the language used by other Linux distributions and seems counter-intuitive to me.
The installer offers a choice of GNOME, KDE, or "Other" for the desktop. If you choose "Other" you are presented with three further choices: Xfce, minimal X, or text-based server installation. The default choice is KDE which is what I chose on the netbook. A network installation of openSUSE 11.2 with a KDE desktop requires downloading 2.27 GB of packages. Even with my fast Internet connection it took several hours to download and install the necessary packages.
The first stage of the installation completed and when the system rebooted I saw that the installer had also failed to detect and include my Ubuntu installation in the GRUB menu. Therefore I booted into my new openSUSE installation. The boot process hung when the system tried to activate wireless networking. The installer correctly detected both my wired and wireless network interfaces but installed an incorrect driver for my Broadcom wireless chipset which caused the problem. Passing "ssb.blacklist=1" to the kernel produced an error claiming this was an invalid option. Despite the error, it successfully prevented the ssb and b43 drivers from loading and my system successfully booted into the new installation. Wireless networking was non-functional but at least I was up and running to some extent.
The installation on the Toshiba laptop was somewhat easier. I tried the network installation again in order to install a minimal system with an Xfce desktop. It hung at 60%, just after downloading GRUB. I booted the GNOME live CD again. The live CD installer warned me that I had less than 1 GB of RAM and that it might fail as a result. I decided to try it anyway and the second attempt at installation on the old laptop proceeded without a hitch. The only problem I experienced was one I had seen many times before with this particular laptop: I was left with a small desktop surrounded by lots of black space, the same result I had with Slackware Linux 13. Since I had an X configuration that I knew would work from my VectorLinux Light installation I just copied that to /etc/X11/ and I was up and running. Otherwise I would have had to manually create an /etc/X11/xorg.conf file or modify the one used by the installer.
Finishing the configuration of the netbook so that it would no longer hang when booted required me to edit the /etc/modprobe.d/50-blacklist.conf file to properly blacklist both the ssb and b43 drivers. I then researched my wireless chipset in the openSUSE forums. Unlike the recent Ubuntu, Mandriva or Pardus releases the broadcom-wl driver I needed is not included in openSUSE 11.2 repository. I had to obtain it from a third-party community repository called PackMan. PackMan is to openSUSE what Slacky.eu is to Slackware: it's a relatively large and well-trusted source of additional packages. openSUSE actually makes adding PackMan and a number of other community repositories easy by listing them in the YaST2 graphical package manager. Installing the broadcom-wl package also added a new "debug" kernel and required a reboot. Once I booted into the new kernel my wireless was working and configuring my WPA2 encrypted network was easily done in NetworkManager.
I should note that the 3G modem built into the HP Mini 110 is still disabled at this point and, once again, the driver is not in the openSUSE repository. I don't have 3G service as yet so I didn't take the time to track down, install and test the required driver. All in all, getting openSUSE 11.2 working properly was the most challenging Linux installation I've done in a very long time. I'm an experienced, knowledgeable and decidedly stubborn Linux user so I tracked down the information I needed and made it work. I expect a lot of users, and not just newcomers to Linux, would have given up in frustration.
Running openSUSE 11.2
As expected, openSUSE has recent versions of most popular applications. Since Novell is based in the United States they must comply with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and also avoid including software which may be patent encumbered. The net result is that multimedia support out of the box is quite limited, with even basic MP3 playback functionality left out. If there are no such restrictions where you live the Restricted Formats page on the openSUSE Community website allows you to add this functionality with SUSE's One Click Install. The YaST2 metapackages offer all the missing codecs and libdvdcss for DVD playback. Non-free software, like Flash and the Opera web browser are also included. I also was surprised to find Fluendo codecs and plugins for GStreamer and Flumotion, the Fluendo streaming server, in the PackMan repository. Fluendo products are properly licensed for use in the U.S. I can only assume that Novell has paid for the license necessary to make this product available to the openSUSE community. A Fluendo license came with my netbook in any case so this provided me with a legal option for adding multimedia capabilities.
openSUSE 11.2 with the KDE 4.3.1 desktop
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openSUSE features a KDE 4.3.1 desktop. I've been impressed with the look, feel and also the performance of KDE as implemented in Pardus 2009 and Mandriva 2010 so I expected it to work well with openSUSE as well. Instead I've been treated to applications crashing and occasional hard lockups of my system, mainly when running KDE apps.
Kaffeine has crashed on me on several occasions when trying to start playback of an MP3 audio file and locked up my system when I tried to play a FLAC file. I've given up on it since other media players are readily available in openSUSE. YaKuake also locked my system once when I hit the F12 key to roll up the terminal window. This is particularly frustrating to me as I really like YaKuake on systems with limited screen space like my netbook. I've also seen the KDE panel crash and burn once but it promptly restarted. I've also had problems with one non-KDE application. The AbiWord 2.6.8 package for openSUSE is completely unusable. It consistently crashes after typing just a few lines of text. I normally write my DistroWatch Weekly features in AbiWord and then add the HTML in Bluefish.
I've found that running openSUSE 11.2 with KDE is generally unstable to a greater degree than any Linux distribution I can remember. I ended up installing an Xfce 4.6.1 desktop environment on the HP netbook and so long as I religiously avoid AbiWord and KDE apps (with the exception of K3b, which is a must for me) the system mostly behaves as it should. GNOME 2.28 on the Toshiba has been stable but AbiWord crashed regardless of which system I use or what desktop environment I select.
openSUSE 11.2 with the Xfce 4.6.1 desktop
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One other complaint I have is that it seems like the openSUSE developers really didn't do much testing on netbooks in general. Many of the dialog boxes are just too long for a 1024x600 or 1024x576 screen resolution. I find myself using the ALT key and my touchpad to move the oversized boxes around. Both Ubuntu and Mandriva don't have this sort of problem and do seem to understand just how popular netbooks have become. On a more positive note I must say that performance, even on the limited, old Toshiba laptop, is very good with openSUSE 11.2. The developers have done an excellent job of optimizing this distro for speed with what subjectively seem to be the best results I've seen in one of the "big four" distros.
One of SUSE's great strengths has always been its incredibly large, complete and very functional suite of graphical system administration tools. That tradition continues with openSUSE 11.2. There are graphical tools for almost every imaginable system configuration process under the sun. All work well, many are unique to SUSE, and almost all of them are very well thought out and intuitive. For those who prefer working at the command line there is no lack of tools to administer the system from a terminal or the console as well. A user who isn't comfortable at the command line will find they probably have more control over even small details of their system configuration with openSUSE compared to any other distribution I've tried.
The YaST2 control panel
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The repositories for openSUSE 11.2 are reasonably well stocked but are not nearly as large as either the Mandriva or Ubuntu repositories. I found myself relying on the community repositories heavily, especially contrib and PackMan. The net result does include some package conflicts. Both YaST2 (graphical) and zypper (command line) do an excellent job of alerting the user as to what conflicts exist and offers one of three solutions: 1. remove what conflicts and replace it from the repository chosen for the new package, 2. ignore the conflict, or 3. don't install the new package. I've not chosen to use the second option at all and I have had no breakage resulting from the conflicts I've found. It's pretty easy to see how someone could end up in dependency hell using multiple community repositories and ignoring the errors.
Even with the community repositories all enabled I still couldn't find everything I normally use on my system. Mostly I found myself missing highly specialized packages but the Bluefish web editor, which I think is quite popular, was nowhere to be found. Another developers' editor I like, medit, is also missing. In the case of Bluefish I ended up using a Fedora package and installing it with rpm using the --no-deps option. That actually worked without a problem but I am well aware that Fedora packages are often incompatible with SUSE packages. Under the hood openSUSE sports a 2.6.31 kernel and X.Org 7.4. As previously mentioned I've had no problems at all with my Intel 945GME graphics chipset.
Internationalization and localization
openSUSE offers a very complete collection of dictionaries, language packs, and other internationalization and localization packages for all the supported desktop environments and applications. The selection is as extensive as any I've seen. YaST2 includes a graphical tool which allows a user with root privileges to select both the system's primary language and install support for a number of secondary languages. GNU FriBidi is installed by default so openSUSE has bidirectional language capabilities right out of the virtual box. This is important for those who need to support languages written right-to-left including Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew and Yiddish. An impressive selection of international fonts for languages written with non-Latin glyphs is also available.
If a KDE desktop is installed the default display manager is KDM which does not allow for changing languages on a session-by-session or user-by-user basis. A GNOME-based installation will install GDM which has that functionality. It is possible to install GDM after the fact and change the default display manager if language flexibility is important. What is not included in the openSUSE repositories are some specialized applications for languages included with distributions like Fedora, Mandriva and Ubuntu. I'm most familiar with Hebrew and I found that there are no packages for any of the Hebrew-specific applications I'm used to finding in major distribution repositories. From what I can tell the same is true of some Arabic applications. Users of languages who are not comfortable building from source may wish to investigate which applications they need are available before installing openSUSE.
While SUSE has never been my favorite I have always found it to be a solid distribution in the past. Sadly, at least on my hardware, that simply isn't true of openSUSE 11.2. Installation on my netbook, which is extremely well supported by a half a dozen other distributions I've tried, was exceptionally challenging with openSUSE. While installation on the old Toshiba was less problematic it still didn't "just work." Once installed the KDE desktop environment was pretty enough and performance was very good. Stability, however, was a major concern. Within an hour or two I would run into an application crash or even a hard system lockup (no, not just X) which is simply unacceptable in a modern operating system. GNOME and Xfce are considerably better so a user who has little interest in KDE or KDE applications would likely be able to use openSUSE 11.2 without many problems once installation and configuration were complete.
Some of SUSE's traditional strengths, including a fantastic suite of graphical administration tools and rather good internationalization and localization support, are still present and do offer some compelling reasons to consider openSUSE. The front ends to RPM package management (zypper at the command line and the YaST2 GUI package manager) are the best I've seen. The forums show clearly that openSUSE has a very large user community and I found answers to all my issues without having to ask any questions. Some documentation (i.e.: for the network installer) proved to be somewhat dated but was still adequate for me to figure things out.
I must say I found openSUSE 11.2 to be a major disappointment. I've come to expect better, much better, from Novell. If it weren't for the stability issues with KDE and relatively poor netbook support this distribution would have been a keeper for me. There really is a lot to like. Perhaps the results will be different for people with different hardware. For me, though, openSUSE 11.2 just doesn't compare favorably to the other major distributions and I can't recommend it at this time.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
Fedora 12 hits mirrors, openSUSE releases Linux for Education, Mandriva Cooker updates X.Org and desktops to latest versions, five years of pfSense
It's official: Fedora 12 will be released this week. There was a slight chance that it would be delayed due to problems with finalising the release, but the developers have put in extra hours to squash the last remaining bugs. As a result, Fedora 12 has been given a release go-ahead: "We have just completed our Go / No Go meeting for Fedora 12 and have reached the decision to Go. Fedora 12's package set is golden and we're ready to stage things for shipping. Great work all around, I'm very proud of this release. I'm sure there will be more back-patting and hand-shaking to come, but Will Woods would like to remind everybody that it's just 11 weeks until Fedora 13 Alpha freeze!" Fedora is a highly innovative distribution, often incorporating various bleeding-edge features into the final product. This sometimes gives an impression that it is more of an experimental distribution for knowledgeable users than an operating system for general public. Nevertheless, Fedora 12 promises to be a solid, stable release, although we'll have to wait for the first reviews to read the verdict. If you can't wait, download the last test build (labelled as "RC4"). It can't be very far off from the final release and you can always use the yum package manager to update it, if necessary, once the final Fedora 12 is formally announced.
Fedora 12 will be officially released on Tuesday, 17 November
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openSUSE 11.2 has been out for a few days and while the initial reaction seems to be mixed, at least it has managed to avoid the kind of bad press Ubuntu received shortly after the "Karmic Koala" release. One of the most pleasant improvements in the latest version of openSUSE is that you can now update the distribution online, without having to download any installation media. Of course, there is a lot more, including KDE 4.3, GNOME 2.28, OpenOffice.org 3.1.1, various new social networking features, netbook-specific improvements, and many under-the-hood updates: "Storage improvements include the ability to encrypt the entire hard disk, for users concerned about data security. Users can also take advantage of the next generation of file systems for Linux with ext4 or btrfs. Users can also install the first technology preview of WebYaST - a web-based remote administration tool for openSUSE systems." One other interesting item in the release announcement includes the upcoming availability of a special "Linux for Education" spin: "The 11.2 release will be followed closely by a very special spin, Li-f-e: Linux for Education. Li-f-e contains GNOME, KDE, as well as the award-winning Sugar learning environment for children. With packages from the PackMan repository, Li-f-e provides everything required to get rich multimedia experience too."
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Less than two weeks after the release of Mandriva Linux 2010, the development of the distribution's next release, version 2010.1, is now firmly under way: "One week ago, Mandriva Cooker, which will lead to version 2010.1 in about 6 months, was opened again. In eight days, this has resulted in almost 1,100 package updates. Some noteworthy changes: all X.Org related packages have been updated to X.Org 7.5, inclusive of X.Org Server 1.7.1; development snapshots of Qt 4.6.0 and KDE 4.4 are now included - when you add a Plasma widget, you will be presented with a much more beautiful overview of all available widgets; KTorrent 3.3 is now available - the most important change is a redesigned GUI, which should be less cluttered and easier to use; Firefox 3.6-beta2 is now available in testing - its engine has undergone lots of work to improve performance; NetworkManager has been updated to a recent version and it includes the GNOME notification applet; Cooker’s GNOME has been updated to 2.28.1, which contains lots of bug fixes." No development schedule has been published as yet, but based on past roadmaps, Mandriva Linux 2010.1 final can be expected in late April or early May of 2010.
In last week's review of Mandriva Linux 2010, Jesse Smith reported a problem he experienced with sound on the two machines where he tested the distribution. Fortunately, the problem was later solved, thanks to two Mandriva developers who offered help. Here is Jesse's report in his own words: "After my review of Mandriva 2010 last week, I was contacted by two members of the Mandriva development team, Colin Guthrie and Christophe Fergeau. They politely requested information from me which would help them solve any future sound problems in the Mandriva distribution. We did some tests, talked it over and did some more tests. What we discovered is that I had been reviewing a copy of Mandriva 2010-rc2, with updated packages to bring it into line with the final release. It seems the release candidate had a minor error in the sound configuration which was fixed in time for the final release. This means most users will not experience the sound problems I did. It also demonstrates the willingness of the Mandriva developers to seek out and correct problems for the benefit of their users." Very nice, especially coming from the developers of such a large project!
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We don't often talk about the various small and highly specialist distributions, but today we make an exception. pfSense, an excellent, minimalist firewall project based on FreeBSD has recently celebrated its 5th birthday: "Five years ago today, the pfsense.* domains were first registered. The project actually hit five years since its inception about 2 - 3 months ago, living the first part of its life as projectx (some history here) with no web site. We've come a long way! Thanks to everyone who has supported the project in any fashion over the past five years." pfSense has received an extra boost earlier this month when Reed Media Services published a book entitled pfSense: The Definitive Guide, written by pfSense co-founder Chris Buechler and developer Jim Pingle. The first reviews on Amazon.com are positive, including the one from well-known author of BSD books Michael W. Lucas: "Security updates? Just click a button and reboot. You need new features? Just turn them on. pfSense handles clustering, traffic shaping, load balancing, integration with your existing equipment through RADIUS, IPsec, PPTP, monitoring, dynamic DNS, and more. ... Personally, I don't build firewalls from scratch any more. When I need a firewall, I use pfSense."
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Why Ubuntu "fails" Shields Up port scanning and how to fix it
Trying to fly under the radar asks: Earlier today I ran the "Shields Up" service ports test on my Ubuntu PC and was a bit surprised to see that it "failed" the test. Although the first 1024 ports were correctly reported as being closed (or blocked) Shields Up complained about the fact that Ubuntu responded to the port scan, announcing that the ports were closed. Apparently it is much better if a PC stays quiet in such a case. I'm not sure how relevant this is. But I think it would be better if a system didn't respond to a port scan at all. Is Ubuntu alone in this or is this sort of behavior standard in Linux?
DistroWatch answers: For those who haven't tried it, "Shields Up" is one of the many products offered by the Gibson Research Corporation. It's a web-based service which scans your computer for open ports. It then displays a summary, stating which ports it found open, closed or which parts of the scan didn't return any results. The "Shields Up" port scan is free of charge and very helpful for home users who want to check their security settings.
I agree with you in that I also think a typical home computer should not respond at all when someone is trying to scan its ports. In my mind, if you're not running any services (such as a web server or OpenSSH), you don't want anyone out there to know you exist. Now, to answer your question, it's hard to define what is and isn't standard behavior with an operating system like Linux because Linux distributions are so diverse. I can tell you that the distro I'm currently testing passes the Shields Up test. But the important thing to consider is that you have the ability to alter your distribution of choice to work the way you want.
Ubuntu, the last time I checked, didn't have any firewall rules. That is, there is a firewall in place, but it doesn't try to block any incoming connections, which is why your Shields Up test "failed". However, I don't think Ubuntu runs any Internet services (such as FTP, web or SSH) and this means there is nothing for an attacker to connect to. What it boils down to is Ubuntu isn't putting a shield between you and incoming connections because there are no services running. It's difficult to remotely exploit a service which isn't there.
But you'd feel better being stealthy and so here's how to make your Ubuntu box disappear: Open up the Synaptic package manager and download the packages "ufw" and "gufw". If you prefer using the command line, the command is "sudo apt-get install gufw ufw". Once the packages have downloaded, run the command "gufw". This will open a program that will allow you to set up firewall rules with a fairly simple point-n-click interface. Assuming you're not running any network services, you should be able to simply click Enable Firewall and call it a day. Doing this on my Ubuntu machine allowed it to pass the Shields Up test.
|Released Last Week
DEFT Linux 5
Stefano Fratepietro has announced the release of DEFT Linux 5, a Xubuntu-based distribution with a collection of open-source applications dedicated to incident response and computer forensics: "DEFT Linux 5 is based on the new Xubuntu kernel 2.6.31 and DEFT Extra 2.0 (computer forensic GUI) with the best freeware computer forensic tools. It isn't a customized Xubuntu like the previous version, it is a new concept of computer forensic live system that use LXDE as the desktop environment and Thunar as the file manager. Other features: an advanced file and directory search tool; Foremost, Scalpel and PhotoRec carving tools; complete support for most file systems; support for Logical Volume Manager; powerful tools for network forensic, such as Xplico, Wireshark, Kismet, Ettercap and Nmap...." Read the release announcement a detailed list of all new features and improvements.
DEFT Linux 5 - an Ubuntu-based distribution for forensic analysis and penetration testing
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Stefan Lippers-Hollmann has announced the release of sidux 2009-03, a desktop distribution and live media with KDE and Xfce desktops based on Debian's unstable branch: "We have the pleasure to announce the immediate availability of sidux 2009-03 'Momos', shipping with Linux kernel 2.6.31 and KDE 4.3.2. For 'Momos', the development had to take massive upstream changes for SysVInit, insserv, X.Org and device detection into account, but it also concentrated on furthering the KDE 4 integration into sidux and upgrading to Linux kernel 2.6.31. Subsequently, it is the first sidux release to ship without KDE 3 or Qt 3 packages. Linux kernel 2.6.31 doesn't only improve and stabilise hardware support for newer devices, it also provides initial support for USB 3.0 devices and the Sound Blaster X-Fi sound card." See the detailed release notes for further information.
sidux 2009-03 - a new version of the desktop distribution based on Debian's unstable branch
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Novell has announced the immediate availability of openSUSE 11.2, the latest version of the popular Linux distribution for desktops and servers: "The openSUSE Project announced today that openSUSE 11.2 is immediately available for download. openSUSE is a secure and stable Linux-based operating system that is easy to use and includes everything needed to get started with Linux on the desktop or server. Some of the new and interesting features of this release include: KDE 4.3, a major update to the KDE platform, which offers improved networking support, and better integration of Firefox and OpenOffice.org with the KDE environment; GNOME 2.28, the latest release of the popular GNOME desktop, which includes a brand new theme, improved software update application...." Read the press release and visit the openSUSE 11.2 page for further information.
VectorLinux 6.0 "KDE-Classic"
Robert Lange has announced the release of VectorLinux 6.0 "KDE-Classic" edition: "The VectorLinux crew is proud to announce the final release of VectorLinux 6.0 KDE-Classic. This release is not about bleeding-edge technology. On the other hand, it is not about nostalgia either. KDE 3.5.10 gets the job done. It is a mature and solid product with a large user base. Many of us are comfortable with it, and are not yet ready to leave it behind. We thought it only right to make a robust system with KDE 3.5.10 at the helm. The classic text installer will quickly have you up and running with the expected KDE tools. The KOffice suite is fast and suitable for everyday word processing, spreadsheets and presentations. Multimedia capabilities have been enhanced with the inclusion of VLC, xine and the MPlayer application and plugins." Read the rest of the release announcement for more details.
Ultimate Edition 2.4
Glenn Cady has announced the release of Ultimate Edition 2.4, an Ubuntu-based live DVD with media codecs, eye candy and -- the kitchen sink: "It has been out for about a week, but I have had a lot happening in the meantime. A burnt power supply, a smoked 1 TB drive, painted a house and caught the flu. Ultimate Edition 2.4 was built off Ubuntu Ubuntu 9.10, all upgrades pre-installed as of current. This release is the largest release to date and is absolutely loaded with excellent tools, many new to Ultimate Edition. This distro is lightning quick on boot-up. I must apologize, the usplash does flicker on the screen when live; once installed it works as expected. Please enjoy ladies, and gents, a ton of work went into making this distro, more then any previous." Check out the release announcement and release notes for additional info and screenshots.
Ultimate Edition 2.4 - an Ubuntu-based live DVD with a substantial quantity of popular software
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Leszek Lesner has announced the release of ZevenOS 2.0, a Xubuntu-based distribution and live CD featuring the Xfce desktop and BeOS-like artwork: "We are proud to announce the release of ZevenOS 2.0. ZevenOS 2.0 is based upon Ubuntu 9.10; it brings big changes like a completely new audio subsystem (PulseAudio), switch from HAL to DeviceKit, MagiKit - a standard application management layer, Remaster-Kit for easy ISO re-mastering, Encode and Super Encode - an all-in-one multimedia converting application, MAGI 2 - an application launcher, installer and configuration center. The typical BeOS like look has been improved with changes to Deskbar, icon theme and GTK+ theme. Disk Manager now supports auto-detection of BFS (BeOS) partitions and allows to mount them. The contact manager got an improved VCard filter." Read the detailed release announcement for a full list of new features and screenshots.
ZevenOS 2.0 - a Xubuntu-based desktop Linux distribution for BeOS fans
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to database
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New distributions added to waiting list
- ABC GNU/Linux. ABC GNU/Linux is an Ubuntu-based distribution that allows building of Beowulf clusters automatically - either in a live mode or by installing the software in the front-end.
- GhostBSD. GhostBSD is a FreeBSD-based live CD that boots into the GNOME desktop. Currently in development, with a graphical system installer on the to-do list.
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DistroWatch database summary
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And this concludes the latest issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 23 November 2009.
Caitlyn Martin and Ladislav Bodnar and Jesse Smith
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|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 746 (2018-01-15): deepin 15.5, openSUSE's YaST improvements, new Ubuntu 17.10 media, details on Spectre and Meltdown bugs|
|• Issue 745 (2018-01-08): GhostBSD 11.1, Linspire and Freespire return, wide-spread CPU bugs patched, adding AppImage launchers to the application menu|
|• Issue 744 (2018-01-01): MX Linux 17, Ubuntu pulls media over BIOS bug, PureOS gets endorsed by the FSF, openSUSE plays with kernel boot splash screens|
|• Issue 743 (2017-12-18): Daphile 17.09, tools for rescuing files, Fedora Modular Server delayed, Sparky adds ARM support, Slax to better support wireless networking|
|• Issue 742 (2017-12-11): heads 0.3.1, improvements coming to Tails, Void tutorials, Ubuntu phasing out Python 2, manipulating images from the command line|
|• Issue 741 (2017-12-04): Pop!_OS 17.10, openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots, installing Q4OS on a Windows partition, using the at command|
|• Issue 740 (2017-11-27): Artix Linux, Unity spin of Ubuntu, Nitrux swaps Snaps for AppImage, getting better battery life on Linux|
|• Issue 739 (2017-11-20): Fedora 27, cross-distro software ports, Ubuntu on Samsung phones, Red Hat supports ARM, Parabola continues 32-bit support|
|• Issue 738 (2017-11-13): SparkyLinux 5.1, rumours about spyware, Slax considers init software, Arch drops 32-bit packages, overview of LineageOS|
|• Issue 737 (2017-11-06): BeeFree OS 18.1.2, quick tips to fix common problems, Slax returning, Solus plans MATE and software management improvements|
|• Issue 736 (2017-10-30): Ubuntu 17.10, "what if" security questions, Linux Mint to support Flatpak, NetBSD kernel memory protection|
|• Issue 735 (2017-10-23): ArchLabs Minimo, building software with Ravenports, WPA security patch, Parabola creates OpenRC spin|
|• Issue 734 (2017-10-16): Star 1.0.1, running the Linux-libre kernel, Ubuntu MATE experiments with snaps, Debian releases new install media, Purism reaches funding goal|
|• Issue 733 (2017-10-09): KaOS 2017.09, 32-bit prematurely obsoleted, Qubes security features, IPFire updates Apache|
|• Issue 732 (2017-10-02): ClonOS, reducing Snap package size, Ubuntu dropping 32-bit Desktop, partitioning disks for ZFS|
|• Issue 731 (2017-09-25): BackSlash Linux Olaf, W3C adding DRM to web standards, Wayland support arrives in Mir, Debian experimenting with AppArmor|
|• Issue 730 (2017-09-18): Mageia 6, running a completely free OS, HAMMER2 file system in DragonFly BSD's installer, Manjaro to ship pre-installed on laptops|
|• Issue 729 (2017-09-11): Parabola GNU/Linux-libre, running Plex Media Server on a Raspberry Pi, Tails feature roadmap, a cross-platform ports build system|
|• Issue 728 (2017-09-04): Nitrux 1.0.2, SUSE creates new community repository, remote desktop tools for GNOME on Wayland, using Void source packages|
|• Issue 727 (2017-08-28): Cucumber Linux 1.0, using Flatpak vs Snap, GNOME previews Settings panel, SUSE reaffirms commitment to Btrfs|
|• Issue 726 (2017-08-21): Redcore Linux 1706, Solus adds Snap support, KaOS getting hardened kernel, rolling releases and BSD|
|• Issue 725 (2017-08-14): openSUSE 42.3, Debian considers Flatpak for backports, changes coming to Ubuntu 17.10, the state of gaming on Linux|
|• Issue 724 (2017-08-07): SwagArch 2017.06, Myths about Unity, Mir and Ubuntu Touch, Manjaro OpenRC becomes its own distro, Debian debates future of live ISOs|
|• Issue 723 (2017-07-31): UBOS 11, transferring packages between systems, Ubuntu MATE's HUD, GNUstep releases first update in seven years|
|• Issue 722 (2017-07-24): Calculate Linux 17.6, logging sudo usage, Remix OS discontinued, interview with Chris Lamb, Debian 9.1 released|
|• Issue 721 (2017-07-17): Fedora 26, finding source based distributions, installing DragonFly BSD using Orca, Yunit packages ported to Ubuntu 16.04|
|• Issue 720 (2017-07-10): Peppermint OS 8, gathering system information with osquery, new features coming to openSUSE, Tails fixes networking bug|
|• Issue 719 (2017-07-03): Manjaro 17.0.2, tracking ISO files, Ubuntu MATE unveils new features, Qubes tests Admin API, Fedora's Atomic Host gets new life cycle|
|• Issue 718 (2017-06-26): Debian 9, support for older hardware, Debian updates live media, Ubuntu's new networking tool, openSUSE gains MP3 support|
|• Issue 717 (2017-06-19): SharkLinux, combining commands in the shell, Debian 9 flavours released, OpenBSD improving kernel security, UBports releases first OTA update|
|• Issue 716 (2017-06-12): Slackel 7.0, Ubuntu working with GNOME on HiDPI, openSUSE 42.3 using rolling development model, exploring kernel blobs|
|• Issue 715 (2017-06-05): Devuan 1.0.0, answering questions on systemd, Linux Mint plans 18.2 beta, Yunit/Unity 8 ported to Debian|
|• Issue 714 (2017-05-29): Void, enabling Wake-on-LAN, Solus packages KDE, Debian 9 release date, Ubuntu automated bug reports|
|• Issue 713 (2017-05-22): ROSA Fresh R9, Fedora's new networking features, FreeBSD's Quarterly Report, UBports opens app store, Parsix to shut down, SELinux overview|
|• Issue 712 (2017-05-15): NixOS 17.03, Alpha Litebook running elementary OS, Canonical considers going public, Solus improves Bluetooth support|
|• Issue 711 (2017-05-08): 4MLinux 21.0, checking file system fragmentation, new Mint and Haiku features, pfSense roadmap, OpenBSD offers first syspatch updates|
|• Issue 710 (2017-05-01): TrueOS 2017-02-22, Debian ported to RISC-V, Halium to unify mobile GNU/Linux, Anbox runs Android apps on GNU/Linux, using ZFS on the root file system|
|• Issue 709 (2017-04-24): Ubuntu 17.04, Korora testing new software manager, Ubuntu migrates to Wayland, running Nix package manager on alternative distributions|
|• Issue 708 (2017-04-17): Maui Linux 17.03, Snaps run on Fedora, Void adopts Flatpak, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, Debian elects Project Leader|
|• Issue 707 (2017-04-10): PCLinuxOS 2017.03, Canonical stops Unity development, OpenBSD on a Raspberry Pi, setting up a VPN for privacy|
|• Issue 706 (2017-04-03): Super Grub2 Disk, Snap packages of deepin applications, Subgraph OS routes network traffic for one application, announcements from Linux Mint|
|• Issue 705 (2017-03-27): Minimal Linux Live, sharing control of the operating system, new KaOS features, Uplos32 provides 32-bit fork of PCLinuxOS|
|• Issue 704 (2017-03-20): ToarusOS 1.0.4, Linux Mint's security record, Debian starts Project Leader election, Ubuntu 12.04 reaches end-of-life|
|• Issue 703 (2017-03-13): SolydXK 201701, CloudReady, Solus announces new features, KDE Connect sends text messages from desktop, openSUSE's YaST module for Let's Encrypt|
|• Issue 702 (2017-03-06): Fatdog64 Linux, elementary OS bundled with new netbook, Haiku announces new features, security and the size of a distro's development team|
|• Issue 701 (2017-02-27): OBRevenge 2017.02, Mageia 6 delays, NetBSD reproducible builds, questions about swap space, trying to steam video on a Raspberry Pi|
|• Issue 700 (2017-02-20): RaspBSD, Debian replaces Icedove with Thunderbird, Fedora's licensing guidlines, tips for switching shells, finding battery charge, getting IP address and killing processes|
|• Issue 699 (2017-02-13): Clear Linux, GhostBSD network utility ported to FreeBSD, Ubuntu coming to Fairphone, elementary OS crowd funding an app store|
|• Issue 698 (2017-02-06): Solus 2017.01.01, comparing containers with portable applicatins, Tails dropping 32-bit support, Debian Stretch enters freeze|
|• Issue 697 (2017-01-30): Subgraph OS 2016.12.30, running Ubuntu on an Android phone, Arch Linux phasing out 32-bit support, Linux Mint testing updated LMDE media|
|• Issue 696 (2017-01-23): GoboLinux 016, remotely running desktop applications, Solus adopting Flatpak, KDE neon using Calamares, TrueOS tests OpenRC|
|• Issue 695 (2017-01-16): Zorin OS 12, Peppermint team fixes installer bug, Debian refreshes Jessie media, Ubuntu improves low graphics mode, Exciting things coming in 2017|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
Bella OS was a beginner-friendly Linux distribution based on Xubuntu's latest LTS (long-term support) release and featuring a customised Xfce desktop. The project's primary goal was to provide a curated suite of high-quality web, office and entertainment applications on top of a desktop that combines some of the best features from several popular operating systems.