| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 393, 21 February 2011
Welcome to this year's 8th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! The recently released Debian GNU/Linux 6.0 is by far the largest Linux-based operating system ever created. In this week's feature story Jesse Smith takes a look at the new version and wonders, while marvelling at the achievement, whether the distribution can successfully compete for desktop market share with more user-friendly Debian-based projects, such as Ubuntu or Linux Mint. Read on for the full review of "Squeeze". In the news section, Fedora announces the upcoming graphics test day for Nouveau, Radeon and Intel graphics cards, openSUSE and Fedora put asides plans for packaging Ubuntu's Unity desktop, and OpenBSD developer and Undeadly.org editor writes about innovative ways of raising funds for developer conferences. Also in this issue, a brief introduction to Mageia, a new distribution created by ex-Mandriva employees and contributors, a Questions and Answers section that brings attention to "noexec" as a way of preventing some social engineering attacks, and five new distro submissions, including FrameOS, a distro built from Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 sources. Happy reading!
- Reviews: Introducing Debian GNU/Linux 6.0
- News: Fedora announces graphics test day, openSUSE drops Unity from 11.4, OpenBSD developer's fund raising story
- Questions and answers: Using noexec to prevent social engineering attacks
- Released last week: Ubuntu 10.04.2, Tiny Core Linux 3.5, Pardus Linux 2 "Corporate"
- Upcoming releases: FreeBSD 8.2, PC-BSD 8.2, openSUSE 11.4 RC2
- New additions: Mageia
- New distributions: Dax OS, Express Linux, FrameOS, Hanthana Linux, Progress Linux
- Reader comments
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (38MB) and MP3 (31MB) formats
Join us at irc.freenode.net #distrowatch
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Introducing Debian GNU/Linux 6.0|
Debian and I have an unusual relationship -- I respect the work the Debian team does, I admire the huge amount of packages, infrastructure, coordination and testing which goes into the project. Quite often I find myself using the children or grandchildren of Debian for work and on my home machines. I've worked with a handful of the Debian developers fixing or updating packages and have found them to be great, helpful people. (Yes, I'm leading up to a "but".) But, up to this point, I've never managed to get a stable release of Debian GNU/Linux to install and run on my hardware. When each new stable release ships, I grab a copy and give it a whirl and, each time, I run into an installer cash, failure to boot or some key component isn't recognized. It's a condition I've found puzzling as several other distros have worked successfully on the same equipment, including Debian-based projects, such as KNOPPIX and Ubuntu. With the release of Debian 6.0 I went into my trial hoping this would be the release to break my streak of bad luck.
Debian GNU/Linux 6.0 "Squeeze" contains approximately 29,000 software packages and fills several CDs/DVDs. To install Debian we don't need all of the discs; typically we just need the first disc of the set. Users with fast and reliable Internet connections have the option of grabbing smaller net-install CDs. Additionally the project maintains a list of disc vendors for people who have slow connections or who wish to contribute funds to the Debian project. I opted to download Debian on a DVD, a heavy ISO of 4.4 GB. While waiting for my download to complete I took the opportunity to look over the project's new website. Debian has, in the past, taken some flak for having a website which looks like it was developed with the Lynx web browser in mind. While the new design does still largely favour columns of black text on a plain white background, the layout has been greatly improved. I found navigation much more intuitive and the site map at the bottom of the screen makes accessing information faster. The site is still geared toward developers and Linux enthusiasts and the documentation assumes we already have a level of comfort with Linux.
Looking through the release notes we find that, aside from including a lot of new packages, there have been some important changes behind the scenes since the project's last stable release. For instance, support has been dropped for the HP PA-RISC, Alpha and ARM architectures. The sub-project of porting GNU's tools onto the FreeBSD kernel is now officially a part of the release. As we read a few weeks back the Debian team has removed firmware blobs from their Linux kernel and moved those pieces of firmware to their non-free repository. This means once Debian is installed we can later install the firmware, but it won't be available out of the box. "Squeeze" also includes support for LDAP authentication.
Installation and first boot
Enough background information, let's see how Debian "Squeeze", "the universal operating system," works. The install DVD begins by presenting us with a boot menu which allows us to launch either a text installer or graphical installer, perform an expert install, run an automated install or enter into rescue mode. Given that I was reviewing Debian from desktop perspective I opted for the graphical installer. The Debian GUI installer uses a simple layout where we are typically asked for one small piece of information per page. The appearance is a bit crude, similar to the Red Hat installer of a decade ago. We're walked through selecting our preferred language, choosing our global location and a keyboard layout. We provide a hostname for the machine and enter a network name. We're prompted for a root password and then we're walked through screens to create a regular user account.
The installer asks us to provide our time zone, which is helpfully narrowed down for us based on the location we picked earlier. Next up is disk partitioning and here the Debian installer stands out with its own style. We're given the chance to manually partition the disk or have the installer guide us through plain partitions, a LVM layout or an encrypted LVM layout. I tried both guided and manual options and found both to be functional, but quite awkward. Where installers for Fedora and Ubuntu use one main partition layout screen and a pop-up to configure a specific partition, Debian uses multiple screens to walk the user through options for each partition. This especially makes manual partitioning a longer process than it would usually be. However, as I mentioned, it does work and there are a wide variety of Linux partition types from which to choose.
After we're done partitioning the disk, the installer copies over the base system from the DVD. We're then asked if we'd like to make use of additional discs, which I did not. We're asked if we'd like to use the online repositories during the install to make sure we're up to date. I chose "no", yet still had to wait while the installer tried to connect to various Debian repositories and, finally, displayed an error message saying the Volatile repository wasn't available. Next up the installer asks if we'd be willing to submit package popularity information to Debian. Here, again, I selected "no" and had to wait while the installer told me it was installing the popularity software. (I checked post-install and found the popularity software had not really been installed.) The last two steps are selecting which package groups we would like to install, most of which are for servers. I stuck with the graphical desktop environment package and, on my laptop, a package group plainly called "Laptop". The last step is to confirm we want to install GRUB. To install the desktop software took about half an hour on my test machines and then I was asked to remove the DVD and reboot.
Firing up "Squeeze" for the first time I was briefly presented with a GRUB 2 boot menu and then Debian loads. The boot process was fairly short and concluded by leaving me at a graphical login screen. GNOME (version 2.30) was the only desktop environment installed and I logged in to find a screen populated with a few navigation icons and a menu bar across the top of the screen. The GNOME task switcher sat at the bottom of the display and the wallpaper was a dark sky populated with stars. The theme for menus and icons is plain and make the desktop look older than the software really is. Upon logging in one of the first things I did was to open the Synaptic package manager (more on package management later) and tried to refresh the package list. Synaptic popped up an error message telling me it couldn't update my package list and requested I provide it with DVD 1. Apparently the installer leaves the installation disc as a package source and APT won't work around it when the disc is removed. After I manually removed my disc drive from the source list, Synaptic was able to connect to Debian's mirrors and update my list of available software.
Debian GNU/Linux 6.0 - fetching updates post-install
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Software and package management
Debian has a huge selection of software in its repositories, but the default install is fairly standard. Epiphany is the distro's default web browser and Iceweasel 3.5.16 (Debian's de-branded Firefox) is also available. We're given the Evolution e-mail client, the Empathy instant messaging client and the Ekiga phone software. OpenOffice 3.2 is installed for us, as is the GIMP and the Transmission BitTorrent client. The Shotwell photo manager is included in the application menu, as is Tomboy Notes and a standard grouping of GNOME games. There is a CD ripper, the Rhythmbox music player, a video player and the Cheese webcam application. Debian includes some accessibility tools, including an on-screen keyboard and screen reader. To go along with the GNOME environment, Debian includes the GConf configuration editor and makes it easy to find. There's the usual set of GNOME configuration tools to adjust the look & feel of the desktop, a user manager, a utility for handling system services and a printer manager. In the background Debian provides codecs for playing popular media formats, including MP3 audio files.
Debian tries to provide users with strictly free software solutions and that choice shows up in some of the available software. For instance, "Squeeze" comes with Gnash in place of Flash. I've found that it works on some sites, but the version included in Debian 6.0 won't play YouTube videos. GNU's Java is included in place of Sun's/Oracle's Java. For users who prefer non-libre Flash and Sun's flavour of Java, those packages are available in Debian's repositories. Considering Debian's strong focus on developers I was a bit surprised not to find the GNU Compiler Collection pre-installed on the system. All of this software sits on top of the 2.6.32 version of the Linux kernel. Or, more specifically, a libre variant of the Linux kernel as some firmware has been moved to Debian's non-free repository. These pieces of firmware can be added to the system via the project's firmware-linux package. One of the few items I felt was missing from the default install was a graphical firewall application. Debian runs a mail transfer agent service out of the box which I suspect most desktop users will not require.
Debian GNU/Linux 6.0 - web browsing and reporting bugs
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In addition to the APT family of command-line tools, Debian has two graphical package managers, Synaptic and Software Centre. Synaptic will probably be familiar to anyone who uses the Debian family of distributions. It's a powerful, responsive program and works very well. Synaptic's appearance and options may put off novice users and, for them, there's the Software Centre. This second GUI package manager takes a simplified approach, presenting software in easy-to-understand categories and boiling down the options to essentially "Install" and "Remove". I found Software Centre also works quite well and had no serious problems with it. I did run into an odd quirk where if I closed Software Centre it would leave an icon in the system tray letting me know the application was continuing to work. When I clicked on the icon to restore the Software Centre window, the Synaptic application was launched instead. It's an approach I think likely to confuse people. Aside from the main package managers there is also a small update tool. At the time of writing no updated packages have appeared in Debian's repositories and I've been unable to test the update tool.
I began my experiment with "Squeeze" on my HP laptop (dual-core 2 GHz CPU, 3 GB of RAM, Intel video card). The operating system performed well on my laptop, setting my screen to a suitable resolution, audio worked without any trouble and my touchpad was properly picked up. My Intel wireless card was not handled out of the box. Moving to my desktop machine (2.5 GHz CPU, 2 GB of RAM, NVIDIA video card) I felt the desktop was slightly more responsive. Again, my desktop was set to the appropriate resolution, though I did have to fiddle with the audio controls a bit to get sound from my speakers. On both machines boot up times were short and the desktop was snappy. When run in a virtual environment I found Debian could login and perform basic functions with 128 MB of RAM, though with those limited resources the desktop lagged a lot. For common tasks, such as web browsing, listening to music and document writing I found 512 MB was typically enough memory. A fresh install of Debian from the DVD used about 3 GB of disk space, making Debian unusual in that the default install actually required less space than the ISO I downloaded.
When talking about Debian and what the project brings to the table I think it's important to separate the Debian infrastructure from the released distribution. With "Squeeze" now out in the wild a lot of talk has been going on debating whether Debian is relevant, whether it's still useful in the face of more recent distributions, such as Ubuntu and Linux Mint. Of course projects like Ubuntu, Knoppix, MEPIS and many others are based on Debian packages. Debian is the parent (and grandparent) of dozens of active distros and without the Debian infrastructure those projects wouldn't exist or would, at least, be a lot poorer. I'm of the opinion Debian has one of the best bug trackers in the open source ecosystem, their repositories are treasure troves of software and they have good documentation to back up the whole thing. Debian has an open approach and their team is committed to free and open source software.
Debian GNU/Linux 6.0 - enabling system services and searching for software
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But how does their 6.0 release measure up? My first reaction to Debian's latest was one of disappointment. The graphical installer feels like it's about ten years behind the other big-name distributions, the issue with the package manager giving up when it couldn't find the installation DVD struck me as something which shouldn't have made it through testing. Most of my first day was a series of these sorts of little issues which I'd expect from beta software, not from a distro that had been in feature freeze for months. And that's why this review is appearing two weeks after the official release, because after such a poor start I wanted to give the distro a chance to win me over. After a few days Debian's virtues did shine through. For instance, the project's implementation of GNOME is very light, putting the usually heavy desktop environment about on par with the mid-weight Xfce. The system is fast and responsive, boot times are quick and the presented software is stable without being terribly out of date. Apart from the early quirks with the package managers, adding and removing software went smoothly.
Of course there's a wealth of software available and, with the non-free repository added, I found everything I wanted. I did come to appreciate Debian "Squeeze", but not to the point where I'd recommend it to people. This may sound a bit odd, but I'm of the opinion Debian isn't one of the better Debian-based distributions. People looking for a libre distribution with Debian's strengths can find what they're looking for in Trisquel, users who want a polished Debian where everything works out of the box might try Mint (which comes in a Debian flavour). People who want to benefit from Debian's low-resource nature can get up and running easier and faster with Saline. Administrators looking for a server distro can get up and running quickly with Ubuntu's server edition, enjoy five years of updates, have better ISV support and have the option of buying commercial support from the vendor. Each of these projects stand on the shoulders of the Debian giant, but in doing so they are able to give a more specialized, more polished experience to the user. I found that, once it was up and running, Debian was all very satisfactory -- stable, useful, fast, accessible -- but by being so general, so universal, I felt Squeeze didn't excel at anything.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
Fedora announces graphics test day, openSUSE drops Unity from 11.4, OpenBSD developer's fund raising story
The public alpha release of Fedora 15 is scheduled for 1 March and the Fedora developers are working hard to ensure a smooth experience for all users. As always, hardware compatibility is high on the priority list. Adam Williamson calls on testers (irrespective if you are a Fedora user or not) to participate in a graphics test day later this week: "This week is Fedora graphics test week, when the Fedora project runs test days for each of the major graphics drivers. Tuesday is Nouveau test day, Wednesday is Radeon test day, and, Thursday is Intel (graphics) test day. Although this is a Fedora event, since Fedora has a strong emphasis on working upstream, any fixes resulting from the event will go upstream straight away, and benefit all distributions - so even if you don't run Fedora, it's a good idea to come along and help contribute to testing. Testing is very easy and can be done entirely from a live image - there's no need to install Fedora pre-release onto your system. You can help with testing in only a few minutes, plus the time it takes to download a live image. All the information you need to test is present on each test day Wiki page, and there will also be QA group members and Fedora graphics developers in the IRC channel - #fedora-test-day on Freenode - all day long to help you out. If you don't know how to use IRC, you can use WebIRC. Please come along and help out!"
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The next release of Ubuntu, version 11.04 and code-name "Natty Narwhal", is also currently in heavy development. But when the final version is released in April, chances are that many users will adopt the new default user interface called Unity. This radical change has already received a fair amount of coverage, both positive and negative, and there were even reports that other major distros might also make Unity available as an option. These hopes now appear to be squashed, writes Katherine Noyes in "Fedora and openSUSE Linux Drop Unity Efforts": "Not long after Canonical's announcement, developers of both the Fedora and openSUSE projects indicated that they'd start implementing Unity on their own distributions as well. This week, however, both efforts apparently stalled. Fedora's Williamson, for example, wrote on Monday that he has 'had little time or inclination for doing much with Unity / Poulsbo. Unity is still stuck on this bug that the upstream maintainer promised to look at after Christmas (I last submitted a requested change on Jan 25 and it's been crickets since),' he explained, noting that his work on the effort has been entirely voluntary. Nelson Marques of the openSUSE project, meanwhile, has encountered similar obstacles. 'Packaging Unity wasn't much of a problem, but implementing is being translated into frustration,' Marques wrote in a blog post on Tuesday."
* * * * *
With the imminent releases of both FreeBSD 8.2, a highly popular operating system used in many mission-critical deployments, and PC-BSD 8.2, a user-friendly desktop BSD system, it's obvious that these excellent free alternatives to Linux continue to thrive. One way to ensure that they keep on doing so is to raise funds and donate them to these projects. Janne Johansson, the editor of Undeadly.org and an OpenBSD developer, writes about some innovative and creative ideas to generate money for conferences, developers' meetings and other useful purposes: "A long time ago, I read a post on Undeadly about some person claiming he would donate a small sum but the currency conversion and money transfer would eat most of it. I wrote a reply about how he should get a bunch of friends to donate at the same time to reduce the losses and then it just hit me: I can do that too, even if my conversion rates weren't that evil. This ended up becoming a yearly fund-raiser event called Slackathon which ran from 2006 to 2009 and even if I think many of the visitors would have donated to OpenBSD anyhow, it collected large amounts of money, while also allowing people to attend a free conference with BSD and development-related talks and meet up with other Swedish and international OpenBSD people. This was not a single-person effort from me, I had very good help from friends, colleagues and my workplace in order to make it work."
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Using noexec to prevent social engineering attacks
Trying-to-block-social-engineering asks: I've heard that security on a Linux system can be overcome by social engineering, i.e. getting a user to download a trojan and run chmod u+x screensaver.bin and ./screensaver.bin. Is there a way to prevent this type of attack?
DistroWatch answers: I'm sorry to say that no system is entirely safe from its users, particularly not when they are sitting next to the machine. For instance, I once discovered a user using the red voltage switch on his power supply as a reset button. Some people will find ways to damage their computers you just wouldn't imagine and it's difficult to protect a system from its users while still making it useful.
Working with the example given above, there are ways to make running such a program more difficult. For instance, you could configure the user's directory to be mounted with the noexec flag (see "man mount" for details). This would allow the user to run chmod on a file and they would appear to gain execute permissions on the file, but it won't run. The noexec flag blocks program execution. Now this will work if screensaver.bin is an application, but it's only a speed bump if screensaver.bin is a shell script. Shell scripts can still be run without execute permission using the source command, as in "source screensaver.bin". The same goes for other scripts, such as the Perl and awk variety.
In short, mount's noexec parameter will block the attacks of users who are trying to run compiled programs and unknowing users who don't understand what a script is and are just parroting commands to the terminal. It won't stop a determined attacker, just drive-by social engineering attacks.
If you do decide to implement this on your system, keep in mind that users may have the ability to save and execute programs in other directories. The /tmp directory is an area which is almost always open for users to save and run whatever they want. In addition, if you plan to use noexec, do not apply it to the root (/) directory. Blocking execution on / will likely prevent your system from booting. Make sure the areas you mark as noexec zones are separate partitions.
|Released Last Week
Tiny Core Linux 3.5
Robert Shingledecker has announced the release of Tiny Core Linux 3.5, a minimalist, but extensible distribution: "Team Tiny Core is pleased to announce the release of Tiny Core Linux 3.5. Change log: updated BusyBox to 1.18.3 plus patches; updated zsync to 0.6.2; updated Fluff file manager to 0.8.9; new autoscan-devices compiled to improve boot speed; updated tc-functions for call to autoscan-devices; new rotdash compiled to improve boot speed; updated tce-audit builddb to not force fetch of all .dep files when no tce.db exists; updated appsaudit to support removing on-demand uninstalled extensions without rebooting; clean up of tce-audit 'delete' spurious messages; new tce-remove support for appsaudit; update wbar_rm_icon to support tce-remove; updated appsaudit, added highlight on failed MD5 checking...." Here is the complete changelog.
François Dupoux has released an updated version of SystemRescueCd, a Gentoo-based live CD with a collection of utilities for data rescue and disk management tasks. As always, the new version comes with updated Linux kernels as well as the brand new GParted 0.8.0 and X.Org Server 1.9.4. From the changelog: "Updated standard kernels to 126.96.36.199 (rescuecd + rescue64); updated alternative kernels to 188.8.131.52 (altker32 + altker64); updated Memtest86+ floppy disk image to 4.20 (supports Sandy-Bridge + fusion); updated X.Org Server to 1.9.4 (graphical server and drivers); updated initramfs software (programs involved in the boot process); upgraded atl1c driver in standard kernel for Atheros AR8151 Gigabit devices; fixed name resolution in the initramfs environment (used for PXE booting); updated GParted to version 0.8.0."
Comfusion is a Spanish Ubuntu-based distribution formerly known as Uberyl. The latest release, version 3, is the project's first stable build in over two years and it comes with a number of major changes. Firstly, there is a choice of desktop environments which includes GNOME, the full-featured desktop for modern computers, LXDE, a lightweight desktop similar to GNOME but with less resource-hungry components, and Openbox, a very light, but highly configurable window manager. Secondly, the release also comes with the XBMC media centre, the Cairo-Dock application launchbar, and a large variety of usability improvements and modifications of all aspects of the desktop. Please head for the detailed release notes (in Spanish, PDF format) if you'd like to learn more about Comfusion 3.
Comfusion 3 - an Ubuntu-based distribution with XMBC media player and Cairo-Dock
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Parted Magic 5.10
Patrick Verner has announced the release of Parted Magic 5.10, a Linux-based live CD containing a variety of disk partitioning and data rescue utilities: "Parted Magic 5.10. It seems like it has been longer than a month, but it's time for a new release. The most notable changes are the Linux 2.6.37 kernel, GParted 0.8.0, and the move back to Firefox as the default web browser. We updated some programs and here is the list: FSArchiver 0.6.12, gzip 1.4, hdparm 9.37, xz 5.0.1, Conky 1.8.1, NTFS-3G 2011.1.15, Linux kernel 2.6.37, gDisk 0.6.14, HDT 0.4.1, Squashfs 4.1 and GParted 0.8.0. These programs have been added: Firefox 3.6.13, and NTP 4.2.6p3 (ntpd starts automatically at boot). Some of the lesser changes were fixing the 'shred' bug in the 'Erase Disk' menu and the boot/isolinux directory has been removed (instead we use the boot/syslinux directory and the syslinux.cfg). Some other bugs were fixed, as always." Visit the project's home page to read the release announcement.
Pardus Linux 2 "Corporate"
Ozan Çağlayan has announced the release of Pardus Linux 2 "Corporate" edition, a desktop distribution featuring the legacy KDE 3 desktop: "The final release of the Pardus Corporate 2 is now available. Pardus Corporate 2 is shipped with KDE 3.5.10 which has a good reputation for its stability and performance. All other components of the system are updated to offer a fast, comfortable and problem-free desktop experience. Here are the basic components and their versions shipped within Pardus Corporate 2: KDE Desktop Environment 3.5.10, Linux kernel 184.108.40.206, LibreOffice office suite 3.3.1, Mozilla Firefox web browser 3.6.13, X.Org 1.7.7, GIMP 2.6.11, Python 2.6.5. The installation image includes support for all officially supported languages." Here is the brief release announcement.
Pardus Linux 2 "Corporate" - remember KDE 3?
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Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.9
Red Hat has announced the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 4.9, the final maintenance release of the company's legacy 4.x product series. According to Red Hat's life cycle policy, this release brings "production stage 2" to an end, with only selected security advisories of critical impact and urgent bug fixes getting released from now on. From the release announcement: "Red Hat is pleased to announce the availability of the latest update to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4, release 4.9 (with kernel 2.6.9-100.EL) for a family of products. This is the final minor release for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4. With this release Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 will be entering production 3 phase during which qualified security errata advisories of critical impact, as well as, selected urgent priority bug-fix errata may be released." See also the detailed release notes.
Kate Stewart has announced the release of Ubuntu 10.04.2, an updated set of CD and DVD images with all the security errata and bug-fix updates since the release of Ubuntu 10.04 in April 2010: "The Ubuntu team is proud to announce the release of Ubuntu 10.04.2 LTS, the second maintenance update to Ubuntu's 10.04 LTS release. This release includes updated images for the desktop, alternate installation CDs and DVDs for the i386 and amd64 architectures. Numerous updates have been integrated, and updated installation media has been provided so that fewer updates will need to be downloaded after installation." Here is the release announcement.
Superb Mini Server 1.5.6
Superb Mini Server (SMS) 1.5.6, a Slackware-based server distribution, has been released: "Superb Mini Server version 1.5.6 released (Linux kernel 220.127.116.11). SMS 1.5.6 comes with a long-term version of the Linux kernel. This release upgrades packages to Slackware 'Current' and brings the latest stable versions of several packages. New packages in this release are Berkeley DB 4.6 (this is the default DB for SMS from now on) LXC, libcgroup, nss-mdns, util-linux (replaces util-linux-ng) and Yasm. New packages in extra are the Avahi directory which includes Avahi, libdaemon, nss-mdns with Avahi support and imlib2 which is mostly for sharing photo libraries through Avahi to iPhoto or FronRow on a Mac OS X or to an Apple TV. Important changes for those who are upgrading are Netatalk and OpenLDAP compiled against Berkeley DB 4.6." Here is the release announcement with a brief changelog.
Puppy Linux 5.1 "Wary"
Barry Kauler has announced the release of Puppy Linux 5.1 "Wary" edition, a small, fast and light distribution designed for older hardware: "Wary Puppy 5.1 has been released. Wary Puppy is our Puppy Linux variant that targets support for older hardware, especially in the areas of video and analog modem dial-up. Wary Puppy 5.1 is a bug-fix and minor upgrade of Wary 5.0. The default kernel is now the long-term supported 18.104.22.168. The PET package repository is still small but is growing, with many major applications added to it. For a 'minor upgrade', rather a lot of applications have been upgraded, as well as one new one, the 'Wcpufreq' CPU frequency scaling tool, added. There have been numerous tweaks in the underlying infrastructure." Read the release announcement and check out the more detailed release notes for more information.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to database
* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list
- Dax OS. Dax OS is a lightweight, but configurable distribution based on Ubuntu. The project's website is in Spanish.
- Express Linux. Express Linux is an Ubuntu-based lightweight distribution (with Openbox) designed for older or less powerful computers. The project's website is in Italian.
- FrameOS. FrameOS is a distribution built by recompiling source code for Red Hat Enterprise Linux. It includes an up-to-date Ruby stack as well as the latest Xen virtualisation stack.
- Hanthana Linux. Hanthana Linux is a Fedora remix suitable for desktop and laptop users. It has all the features of Fedora and loads of additional software, including multimedia players and out-of-the-box codecs support.
- Progress Linux. Progress Linux is a Debian-based distribution. At this time the project's website provides no details about the distribution's objectives.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
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This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 28 February 2011.
Jesse Smith and Ladislav Bodnar
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|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 754 (2018-03-12): Reviewing Sabayon and Antergos, the growing Linux kernel, BSDs getting CPU bug fixes, Manjaro builds for ARM devices|
|• Issue 753 (2018-03-05): Enso OS 0.2, KDE Plasma 5.12 features, MX Linux prepares new features, interview with MidnightBSD's founder|
|• Issue 752 (2018-02-26): OviOS 2.31, performing off-line upgrades, elementary OS's new installer, UBports gets test devices, Redcore team improves security|
|• Issue 751 (2018-02-19): DietPi 6.1, testing KDE's Plasma Mobile, Nitrux packages AppImage in default install, Solus experiments with Wayland|
|• Issue 750 (2018-02-12): Solus 3, getting Deb packages upstream to Debian, NetBSD security update, elementary OS explores AppCentre changes|
|• Issue 749 (2018-02-05): Freespire 3 and Linspire 7.0, misunderstandings about Wayland, Xorg and Mir, Korora slows release schedule, Red Hat purchases CoreOS|
|• Issue 748 (2018-01-29): siduction 2018.1.0, SolydXK 32-bit editions, building an Ubuntu robot, desktop-friendly Debian options|
|• Issue 747 (2018-01-22): Ubuntu MATE 17.10, recovering open files, creating a new distribution, KDE focusing on Wayland features|
|• 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|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
Puppy Linux is yet another Linux distribution. What's different here is that Puppy is extraordinarily small, yet quite full-featured. Puppy boots into a ramdisk and, unlike live CD distributions that have to keep pulling stuff off the CD, it loads into RAM. This means that all applications start in the blink of an eye and respond to user input instantly. Puppy Linux has the ability to boot off a flash card or any USB memory device, CDROM, Zip disk or LS/120/240 Superdisk, floppy disks, internal hard drive. It can even use a multisession formatted CD-RW/DVD-RW to save everything back to the CD/DVD with no hard drive required at all.