| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 481, 5 November 2012
Welcome to this year's 45th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
It has been another fun week in the world of open source operating systems. The highly secure and reliable OpenBSD operating system, version 5.2, was released with a number of important improvements, including the ability to allow multithread programs running on OpenBSD to use multiple CPUs. Speaking of releases, Debian, a pillar of the Linux community, is nearing its 7.0 release. Read on below for some of the interesting changes coming to the "universal operating system". Also in our News section the Electronic Frontier Foundation weighs in on Ubuntu's latest release and user privacy. Additionally, on the topic of privacy, the Tails project produces a live image which is designed to protect a user's identity and security. In this week's feature review Jesse Smith takes the Tails distribution for a spin and reports on his experience. Last week we touched briefly on a bug in the ext4 file system which may cause data corruption and Robert Storey brings us more details on the problem and suggests possible workarounds while the kernel developers prepare a fix. As usual we cover the releases of the past week, look ahead to exciting new releases and bring you news, podcasts and reviews from Around the Web. We here at DistroWatch wish you a pleasant week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Tails and Claws
Over the past year I have looked at two distributions (Liberté and LPS) which have a strong focus on security. Staying secure and anonymous on-line is a popular topic these days as many people are concerned about freedom of speech and monitored communications. Many of us are concerned about our privacy and, with that in mind, I would like to introduce our readers to a Linux distribution called Tails. The Tails project is based upon Debian's Stable repositories and includes a number of privacy and security tools available out of the box. The distribution can be transferred to a USB drive or a live DVD. The distribution isn't meant to be installed to a local hard disk, but rather run from external media (specifically the documentation suggests read-only DVDs) in an effort to avoid infection of the operating system. I downloaded the project's ISO which weighs in at approximately 770MB.
Before getting into what it was like to run Tails, I first want to acknowledge the documentation provided on the Tails website. The project does a nice job of explaining potential threats, explaining what Tails will do for its users and it also goes over a list of things from which Tails will not protect people. This is good because some people seem to feel security is a binary situation, either they are secure and anonymous on-line or they aren't. The situation isn't so black & white and the Tails documentation does a nice job of telling us how the distribution can protect us and what dangers still lurk out there on the Net.
Tails 0.13 -- Website and documentation.
(full image size: 124kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
When we first boot off the Tails media we're brought to a graphical screen which is essentially a login screen. However, instead of asking us for a name and password we are asked if we would like to login with the defaults or select from more options. Taking the defaults logs us into a GNOME 2 (version 2.30) desktop with a plain blue background. An application menu and system tray sit at the top of the display and a task switcher sits at the bottom of the screen. On the desktop we find icons for browsing the local file system, accessing the Tails documentation and there is an icon for launching a bug reporting wizard.
Going back to the login screen for a moment, if we do decide to browse the available options we are asked if we would like to set a password for the root account and we are given the option of logging into a desktop environment which is themed to look like Windows XP. I tried this alternative theme and the effect really is quite convincing at a glance. The same applications are available to us and the same technology protects us, but the alternative theme allows a person to avoid the attention an open source desktop might attract from casual observers.
Tails 0.13 -- Alternative desktop theme.
(full image size: 361kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
Looking in the application menu we find the Iceweasel web browser, the Claws e-mail client, Pidgin for instant messaging and a Tor connection monitor. There is a second web browser entry marked "unsafe" and this menu item also launches Iceweasel, but without the benefit of Tor. Launching the unsafe browser option brings up a dialog box warning us of the risks and asking if we are sure we wish to launch the browser. Assuming we do open Iceweasel without Tor then we find Iceweasel's border has been tainted red as a reminder that its use is not recommended. Also in the application menu we find the OpenOffice suite, the Audacity audio editor, a CD ripper and the Totem video player. The PiTiVi video editor is included in the distribution and there are apps for setting up (and removing) persistent storage volumes on USB drives. Additionally, the menu holds a copy of the GNU Image Manipulation Program, Inkscape, an archive manager, a calculator and a text editor. The Orca screen reader is available to us as are the full range of GNOME configuration apps. Another handy tool presented to us is a meta data anonymizer. This application will scan files, such as images, and detect meta data stored in the file. The application will then offer to scrub the file, removing the meta data. The scrub is performed on a copy of our file, leaving the original intact. This is useful if we want to upload a file to someone without risk of having identifying marks left in the file.
Tails 0.13 -- Web browser plugins.
(full image size: 174kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
Exploring Tails further we find Java is installed for us, as are popular multimedia codecs. Flash isn't included, due to security concerns surrounding the plug-in. In order to assist users in acquiring more software, the Synaptic package manager is included in the application menu. Finally, behind the scenes, the Linux kernel, version 3.2, keeps things running for us.
Besides Iceweasel there are a few programs included with Tails that can be used to communicate with the outside world and I'd like to touch briefly on two of them. The first is Pidgin, the instant messenger client. Launching Pidgin automatically connects us to an IRC server and lists two available chat channels, one for Tor and one for Tails. Here we can hope to find help in trouble-shooting problems. I tried connecting to other types of accounts Pidgin supports, but found my login attempts were blocked. I'm uncertain if this is a bug or a feature as logging in to a server with known credentials would be a security breech.
The other application I'd like to touch on briefly is Claws. Claws is an e-mail client which attempts to be both user friendly and secure. The security aspect comes from having encryption and signing support built into the e-mail client. Typically the use of encryption tools requires a plug-in, but Claws comes with security in mind by default. Aside from the built in encryption, Claws acts much like any other modern e-mail client. It reminds me a bit of Thunderbird, or perhaps Thunderbird before the developers introduced tabs. At any rate, Claws is fairly straight forward to use and supports both POP and IMAP connections. I played around with it a little and had no trouble connecting to remote servers and downloading messages. Of course, signing into a remote server gives away our identity and the headers of messages aren't encrypted, so e-mail should be used with a degree of caution.
Tails 0.13 -- The Claws e-mail client.
(full image size: 113kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
I ran Tails on my laptop (dual-core 2GHz CPU, 4GB of RAM, Intel video card and Intel wireless card) and in a VirtualBox virtual machine. In both cases Tails worked well. When running on physical hardware, the distribution properly detected all of my hardware, set my screen to its maximum resolution and sound worked out of the box. Wireless networks were automatically detected and connecting was easy using Network Manager. I noticed that by default tapping my trackpad wouldn't register taps as clicks, but this feature can be enabled through the GNOME configuration menu. One nice feature of Tails is it will detect when it is running in a virtual machine and warn the user the operating system is not running directly on hardware and the session may be monitored. The GNOME 2 desktop is quite responsive and I found that, even with Tor running and accessibility features enabled, the distribution only used approximately 180MB of RAM.
Package management on Tails is handled by the Synaptic application. This graphical utility allows us to refresh our list of available packages from the Debian repositories. We can upgrade software and install new packages. Of course, when running from a DVD the changes we make to the operating system won't last through a reboot, but having a package manager available does give us some additional flexibility while using Tails. Synaptic works quickly and operated through Tor, much like Iceweasel does, hiding our IP address from the repository servers. I didn't do much with Synaptic during my trial, but I did take the time to install a few items to make sure they would install properly and I encountered no problems.
Having played around with Tails for a few days I have found it to be a pleasant, flexible platform from which to browse anonymously. I think what I enjoy most about Tails is that, unlike some specialty distributions, it feels much more like a general purpose desktop. Quite often I find projects which try to be secure or which are designed to rescue data or which have some other focus don't give the user the benefits (and flexibility) which come from running a regular desktop distribution. Tails has its focus aimed at being secure and anonymous out of the box, yet it manages to present a fairly friendly desktop and gives us the ability to get a wide range of work done and even access Debian's vast supply of software. Security may be placed first, but not in an exclusive fashion and I find that appealing. Another aspect of Tails I appreciated was the "XP" theme. The effect is really quite good and consistent, likely to mislead anyone who doesn't examine the desktop closely.
One other thing I like about Tails, and I brought this up briefly in the review of Liberté, is there are a few different approaches to take when a user wants to perform an action which is not recommended. The operating system can allow the action, the operating system can warn the user of the potential danger and then give the user a choice as to whether to proceed, or the system can block the action. Liberté opted to block unsafe actions. Tails, on the other hand, takes what I feel is the more desirable approach of educating the user about the potential dangers of their actions and then letting the user decide whether to take the risk. It is a style which protects the operator, but doesn't presume to know better than the user and I like this approach. Last, but not least, I found the documentation on the Tails website to be clear and fairly easy to navigate. The developers have done a good job of trying to educate their users, both explaining what Tails is and what it is not, and I see that as a good starting point. To date, Tails is probably my favourite security-oriented distribution.
The EFF talks about privacy and Ubuntu, Debian introduces changes to their installer and Valve seeks help testing Steam on Linux.
Canonical's decision to include on-line searches for Amazon products in the Dash of the latest version of Ubuntu stirred up some controversy and any number of bug reports from users. Some complained that the on-line search component made local searches too slow, others felt there was a privacy concern and some simply didn't want advertisements mixed in with their local search results. Others feel that Ubuntu should be able to make money with a little product placement, no harm, no foul. This past week the Electronic Frontier Foundation put forward their two cents saying "Technically, when you search for something in Dash, your computer makes a secure HTTPS connection to productsearch.ubuntu.com, sending along your search query and your IP address. If it returns Amazon products to display, your computer then insecurely loads the product images from Amazon's server over HTTP. This means that a passive eavesdropper, such as someone sharing a wireless network with you, will be able to get a good idea of what you're searching for on your own computer based on Amazon product images. It's a major privacy problem if you can't find things on your own computer without broadcasting what you're looking for to the world." The EFF goes on to acknowledge that on-line searching can be disabled and provides instructions for users who wish to either disable these searches or switch to a different desktop environment, thus side-stepping the Dash completely. The EFF's statement concludes with a list of requests for the Ubuntu developers, including changing the on-line ads feature to opt-in rather than opt-out; explaining to users in detail what is done with their search results and which third-parties get access to that data; and making the privacy settings more fine-grained.
* * * * *
The release of Debian 7.0 is getting closer and it was recently announced that the installer for 7.0 will include support for IPv6. Support for EFI has also been introduced which means the Debian installer will no longer rely on legacy BIOS code. This change may also pave the way for future support of additional features such as Secure Boot. A few months back it was announced Debian would be shipping Xfce as the default desktop on their installation media, replacing GNOME which was becoming too large to fit on a single CD. Since then work has been done to squeeze GNOME onto the installation CD and it looks as though GNOME is back in as the default Debian desktop.
* * * * *
The openSUSE developers have been working on an ARM port of the big, green operating system. Last week the developers pushed out openSUSE 12.2 for ARM, release candidate 2, with plans to release the final version November 6th. To date it looks as though the ARM port works on Chromebooks and the N900. Future plans include making openSUSE work with the popular Raspberry Pi economy computer. People looking to experiment with the new openSUSE branch can find testing images on the project's website.
* * * * *
Valve is one of the more influential gaming companies these days. Their games and their Steam platform have gained a large following, both among dedicated and casual gamers alike. This year Valve has been dipping their toes in the Linux pool, experimenting with porting their software to work with Linux distributions. This could be very good news for Linux users who want access to big name gaming titles as where Valve goes others often follow. Last week Valve put out a call for beta testers to try out the Linux version of their Steam client. If you are an experienced Linux user and have some spare time, consider helping Valve bring mainstream gaming to Linux.
|Tips and Tricks (by Robert Storey)
Ext4 Data Corruption Bug and Solution
Just when you thought it was safe...
Ext4 (the fourth extended file system) has been the gold standard for the Linux kernel ever since it was declared "stable" in October 2008. It was the direct descendant of ext3 (released November 2001) which introduced journaling to the previously unjournaled ext2 file system that has been with us since 1993.
Ever since its release into the wild, ext4 has proven to be fast and reliable. I've installed it onto more computers than I can count, and never had any reason to complain about it...until recently. But a serious bug has crept into the ext4 stable release, causing data corruption on some computers running Linux kernels 3.4, 3.5, and 3.6.
I first stumbled across this problem about six weeks ago when I was writing this review of Bodhi Linux. After installing Bodhi, it initially ran well, but by the fourth or fifth reboot problems developed. The first glitch: I couldn't log in while running Xorg, but could log in if I used text mode. A few reboots later and I couldn't log in at all -- in fact, all I saw was a blank, black screen. Needless to say, I was nonplussed and had a few email exchanges with the developer, who insisted that Bodhi was innocent. I, of course, occupied the moral high ground and nearly gave Bodhi a scathing review -- until I tried installing Lubuntu which soon developed similar problems. Properly chastised, I meekly retreated and gave Bodhi the fine review it deserved, and looked elsewhere for the cause of this debacle.
My assumption at this point was that my hard drive was probably failing. However, I had an older version of Ubuntu installed on the same hard drive and it ran smooth as silk. As it turned out, that installation was on a partition formatted with XFS, a file system that used to be my favorite because it was considerably faster than ext3. I never had any complaints about XFS and only abandoned it because most new distros no longer include the formatting command mkfs.xfs plus the necessary XFS utilities for error-checking. However, kernel support for XFS is very much alive, so it is still a viable option.
I broke out an old Slackware CD and reformatted my ext4 partition with XFS, then reinstalled Bodhi. It ran without a hiccup. Although I still wasn't confident that my hard drive was OK, I was glad to see it running well and wasn't going to look a gift horse in the mouth.
Then just last week I was installing the recently released Ubuntu 12.10 on a friend's new computer when the same thing happened. Ubuntu ran great until the third reboot, when it too began to act flaky. At first it gave me nasty error messages, but on subsequent reboot attempts it just crashed and burned. Remembering my prior experience with Bodhi, I broke out that Slackware CD and reformatted with XFS, reinstalled and all was well.
If I was seeing this, I assumed there were others in the same boat, so I went searching. With just a little bit of googling, I found this October 24 post by Michael Larabel on the Phoronix web site: EXT4 Data Corruption Bug Hits Stable Linux Kernels. You should probably read Michael's post, but in a nutshell what it says is that starting from Linux kernel 3.4 and continuing, some users are seeing file data corruption on partitions formatted with ext4.
I should stress that not everyone is experiencing this issue. Indeed, I make a habit of installing Linux on friends' computers and only two of them formatted with the latest ext4 have so far developed this problem. On the other hand, that is two too many. I am always claiming that Linux is rock-solid reliable, so it's more than a little embarrassing when I install it for someone only to see it blow up shortly thereafter.
The chief maintainer of ext4, Theodore Y. "Ted" Ts'o , is well aware of the problem and hard at work on a solution. Ted is one of the most knowledgeable people in the world when it comes to file systems and I don't doubt for a minute that he will sort out this issue. However, tracking down the bug, issuing a fix and putting it through rigorous testing takes time.
On the one hand I am somewhat reluctant to write this news story, since having a large community of beta-testers (even unwilling ones) is helpful to solving this problem. On the other hand, some of us value our data more than life itself (did I just say that?), so we need a solution right now. Thus, I would like to make a few suggestions to those of you who have been bit by this bug, or are at least very concerned about it.
At the minimum, your various removable backup devices (external USB hard drive and USB memory sticks) should be formatted with either FAT32 (the factory default in almost every case) or ext2. I personally prefer ext2 as it supports such niceties as file ownership and uses space more efficiently. In fact, I've been using ext2 for this purpose long before this ext4 bug ever hit, because there really is no need for journaling on a backup device.
On your hard drive itself, a minimum precaution would be to have a separate /home partition formatted with a file system other than ext4. This would at least protect your precious data even if the root partition crashes and burns. However, most people (present company included) tend to put everything under the "/" root partition, /home included. Furthermore, it's kind of inconvenient to have your root file system crash, though again I stress that only a minority of users are actually experiencing this.
If you decide do as I've done and go with XFS, there are a few tricks to installing it. As I already said, practically every distro comes with a kernel with XFS support baked in, but you need the formatting and maintenance utilities. You can hunt around for a live CD that already has mkfs.xfs installed. I used Slackware 13, but there are many others.
Alternatively, you could boot up even the latest Ubuntu live CD and install package XFSprogs before you run the installer. The Ubuntu installation program allows you choose XFS under the "something else" option for disk partitioning, but if you don't have XFSprogs installed, it won't be able to format the partition with that file system.
You may find that after you've installed your favorite distro on an XFS partition, on first boot-up you'll be greeted with this disheartening error message (as I saw on Ubuntu):
Serious errors were found while checking the disk drive for /. Press I to ignore, S to skip mounting or M for manual.
As scary as that message looks, there was nothing wrong with the disk. The problem was simply that since package XFSprogs was not installed by default, there were no XFS file system checking utilities. Thus, file system integrity could not be checked on boot-up and the attempt to do so failed. The simple solution is to press I to "ignore" and then after boot-up, install XFSprogs. On subsequent restarts, the error message should be absent.
Now that I've hyped XFS, I should probably mention that there are a few other ancient alternatives passed down to us by our ancestors. Why not simply go back to good old ext3? Probably not a good idea, for the reason it was abandoned in the first place - it was slow. Indeed, the old ext2 file system was significantly faster than ext3, but it lacked a journal. Aside from lackluster performance, ext3 had a few other drawbacks which you can read about here.
Another competitor in the file system wars is ReiserFS. Once very popular, it was the default on a number of distros I used (SUSE, for example). However, the murder conviction of chief developer Hans Reiser put a dark cloud over the whole project and no one really likes to talk about it. Nevertheless, the Linux kernel still has support, and if you want to try it look for the package reiserfsprogs.
One more alternative is JFS (the Journaled File System). This is an open-source implementation of a commercial file system that was used on IBM's trusty old AIX operating system. From what I understand, it works well enough though I've never used it personally. I don't know any distros that default to JFS, but it's still supported in the Linux kernel. The package you'll need is jfsutils. Using JFS might at least give you the warm fuzzy feeling of knowing that it was developed by a major brand-name tech company.
On the other hand, my personal favorite, XFS, was also a corporate spin-off. Developed by the now-defunct SGI (Silicon Graphics, Inc), it was the star file system of the IRIX OS and was considered very advanced for its time. Now that SGI is no longer with us, all development work on XFS has ceased. Given the fact that such development has introduced bugs into ext4, that might be a good thing.
|Released Last Week
Ryan Finnie has announced the release of Finnix 106, a small, self-contained, bootable Linux CD distribution for system administrators, based on Debian's testing branch: "Today I am pleased to announce the release of Finnix 106, which contains an important kernel update as well as minor fixes and improvements. Finnix 106 includes Linux kernel 3.5, and notably fixes a major bug observed in Finnix 105 where booting would freeze if the system's disk included an extended partition. With Finnix 105, Project NEALE was announced - an effort to build Finnix releases in a completely automated and normalized way. Finnix 105 was the first release to be produced with NEALE, but the build infrastructure was not available to the public at the time. For Finnix 106, the build infrastructure has been finished and released to the public." See the release announcement and release notes for more details.
Parabola GNU/Linux 2012.10.17
André Fabian Silva Delgado has announced the release of Parabola GNU/Linux 2012.10.17, a new version of the project's Arch-based distribution containing strictly free software only: "There is a new install medium available. We plan to release new installation media monthly. The live system can be used for new installs or as a rescue system. We have updated packages, fixed bugs and we have done the following visible changes: first medium with Linux-libre 3.6 (3.6.2) with Atheros AR8162 (ALX driver) support; the script boot parameter works again; when booting via PXE and NFS or NBD the ISO will be copied to RAM to ensure a more stable usage; the live medium contains usb_modeswitch and wvdial which allows to establish a network connection using an UMTS USB dongle; the newest version of systemd and netcfg are included...." Read the remainder of the release announcement for further details.
Dimitris Tzemos has announced the release of Slackel KDE-4.9.2, a live Slackware-based distribution with the very latest KDE desktop environment: "Slackel Live KDE-4.9.2 has been released. A collection of two KDE live DVD images are immediately available that can be burned to a DVD or used with a USB drive. The Slackel live DVD images include Linux kernel 3.2.29. Slackel Live KDE-4.9.2 includes the current tree of Slackware Linux and KDE 4.9.2, accompanied by a rich collection of KDE-centric software. Firefox 16.0.2, KMail, KTorrent, Akregator, Kopete, OpenJRE 7u9, Pidgin, gFTP, GParted, wicd, slapt-get and Gslapt, sourcery. In the multimedia section Bangarang 2.1, Clementine 1.0.1, K3b 2.0.2 are all included." See the release announcement to find out more about the release.
Bob Beck has announced the release of OpenBSD 5.2, a free, multi-platform BSD-based UNIX-like operating system: "We are pleased to announce the official release of OpenBSD 5.2. This is our 32nd release on CD-ROM. We remain proud of OpenBSD's record of more than ten years with only two remote holes in the default install. As in our previous releases, 5.2 provides significant improvements, including new features, in nearly all areas of the system. The most significant change in this release is the replacement of the user-level uthreads by kernel-level rthreads, allowing multithreaded programs to utilize multiple CPUs/cores. Some highlights: GNOME 3.4.2, KDE 3.5.10, Xfce 4.10, MySQL 5.1.63, PostgreSQL 9.1.4, Postfix 2.9.3, Mozilla Firefox 3.5.19, 3.6.28 and 13.0.1, Mozilla Thunderbird 13.0.1, LibreOffice 3.5.5...." See the OpenBSD 5.2 release page which includes a detailed list of all changes and improvements.
Tiny Core Linux 4.7
Robert Shingledecker has released version 4.7 of Tiny Core Linux, a minimalist but extensible graphical Linux distribution for desktop computers. From the release announcement: "I am pleased to announce the release of Core 4.7. Change log: updated ondemand to support scm extensions and icons from both tcz and scm; updated wbar - to support scm ondemand icons; updated scmapps GUI for new ondemand maintenance and download option; updated scm-load - new option -wo ondemand download; updated tc-functions - added new support functions; updated scm to interface to updated scmaps GUI; new scm-run to support scriptable load and launch scm style extensions; updated filetool - new GUI access to filetool.lst, .xfiletool.lst, and backup options; updated filetool.sh to interface to updated filetool GUI; updated apps GUI - New Check Onboot Unneeded and changes required by ondemand scm support...."
Arch Linux 2012.11.01
Pierre Schmitz has announced the availability of Arch Linux 2012.11.01, the latest of the regular installation CD images that the project providing a popular rolling-release Linux distribution now makes available at the beginning of each month. This is mostly a bug-fix release. From the release announcement: "The latest snapshot of our install and rescue media can be found on our download page. The 2012.11.01 ISO image mainly contains minor bug fixes, cleanups and new packages compared to the previous one: first media with Linux kernel 3.6; copytoram=n can be used to not copy the image to RAM on network boot - this is probably unreliable but an option for systems with very low memory; cowfile_size boot parameter mainly for persistent COW on VFAT, see the README file for details."
DragonFly BSD 3.2.1
Justin Sherrill has announced the release of DragonFly BSD 3.2.1, an updated version of the BSD operating system originally forked from FreeBSD 4: "The 3.2.1 release of DragonFly BSD is available now. Significant work has gone into the scheduler to improve performance, using postgres benchmarking as a measure. See the PDF of graphed results to see the improvements. DragonFly should be now one of the best selections for PostgreSQL and other databases. USB4BSD has been incorporated into this release. More USB devices are compatible with DragonFly, and xhci (USB 3.0) users may be able to take full advantage of their newer hardware. Since this is a new feature, it is available in 3.2 but not built by default." See the release announcement and the release notes for further information.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|Around the Web
* * * * *
* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list|
- Maui. Maui aims to be a user-friendly desktop operating system which aims to reduce the learning curve required from new users. It has an appliance-like approach and one of the project's goals is to have a distribution which can boot in under four seconds.
- sposkpat. A single purpose operating system designed to offer a distraction in the form of the Kpatience card game.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 12 November 2012. To contact the authors please send email to:
- Jesse Smith (feedback, questions and suggestions: distribution reviews, questions and answers, tips and tricks)
- Ladislav Bodnar (feedback, questions, suggestions and corrections: news, donations, distribution submissions, comments)
- Bruce Patterson (feedback and suggestions: podcast edition)
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
(Tips this week: 0, value: US$0.00)
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 773 (2018-07-23): Peppermint OS 9, types of security used by different projects, Mint reacts to bugs in core packages, Slackware turns 25|
|• Issue 772 (2018-07-16): Hyperbola GNU/Linux-libre 0.2.4, UBports running desktop applications, OpenBSD auto-joins wi-fi networks, boot environments and zedenv|
|• Issue 771 (2018-07-09): Linux Lite 4.0, checking CPUs for bugs, configuring GRUB, Mint upgrade instructions, SUSE acquired by EQT|
|• Issue 770 (2018-07-02): Linux Mint 19, Solus polishes desktop experience, MintBox Mini 2, changes to Fedora's installer|
|• Issue 769 (2018-06-25): BunsenLabs Helium, counting Ubuntu users, UBports upgrading to 16.04, Fedora CoreOS, FreeBSD turns 25|
|• Issue 768 (2018-06-18): Devuan 2.0.0, using pkgsrc to manage software, the NOVA filesystem, OpenBSD handles successful cron output|
|• Issue 767 (2018-06-11): Android-x86 7.1-r1, transferring files over OpenSSH with pipes, LFS with Debian package management, Haiku ports LibreOffice|
|• Issue 766 (2018-06-04): openSUSE 15, overview of file system links, Manjaro updates Pamac, ReactOS builds itself, Bodhi closes forums|
|• Issue 765 (2018-05-28): Pop!_OS 18.04, gathering system information, Haiku unifying ARM builds, Solus resumes control of Budgie|
|• Issue 764 (2018-05-21): DragonFly BSD 5.2.0, Tails works on persistent packages, Ubuntu plans new features, finding services affected by an update|
|• Issue 763 (2018-05-14): Fedora 28, Debian compatibility coming to Chrome OS, malware found in some Snaps, Debian's many flavours|
|• Issue 762 (2018-05-07): TrueOS 18.03, live upgrading Raspbian, Mint plans future releases, HardenedBSD to switch back to OpenSSL|
|• Issue 761 (2018-04-30): Ubuntu 18.04, accessing ZFS snapshots, UBports to run on Librem 5 phones, Slackware makes PulseAudio optional|
|• Issue 760 (2018-04-23): Chakra 2017.10, using systemd to hide files, Netrunner's ARM edition, Debian 10 roadmap, Microsoft develops Linux-based OS|
|• Issue 759 (2018-04-16): Neptune 5.0, building containers with Red Hat, antiX introduces Sid edition, fixing filenames on the command line|
|• Issue 758 (2018-04-09): Sortix 1.0, openSUSE's Transactional Updates, Fedora phasing out Python 2, locating portable packages|
|• Issue 757 (2018-04-02): Gatter Linux 0.8, the UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook, Red Hat turns 25, super long term support kernels|
|• Issue 756 (2018-03-26): NuTyX 10.0, Neptune supplies Debian users with Plasma 5.12, SolydXK on a Raspberry Pi, SysV init development|
|• Issue 755 (2018-03-19): Learning with ArchMerge and Linux Academy, Librem 5 runs Plasma Mobile, Cinnamon gets performance boost|
|• 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|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
PHLAK (Professional Hacker's Linux Assault Kit) was a modular security distribution, geared to be used as a live CD. PHLAK was created to become the only tool security professionals would need to perform security analysis, penetration testing, forensics, and security auditing. PHLAK comes with two light GUIs (fluxbox and XFCE4), packages for printing, publishing, a little multimedia, many security tools, and a file cabinet full of security related documentation for your reading/educational purposes. This distro was based off of Morphix.