| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 511, 10 June 2013
Welcome to this year's 23rd issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
The Linux Mint distribution is a desktop oriented project which has become quite popular in the past few years. The project's latest release of their Ubuntu-based edition introduces some new system utilities and polished versions of traditional desktop environments. Read Jesse Smith's review in this week's feature to get the details on Linux Mint 15. In this edition of DistroWatch Weekly we will hear from a number of developers as they discuss important technology in the world of open source software. First Stephen Gallagher talks about the new GNOME Classic desktop which will be featured in Fedora 19 and then Matt Ahrens takes the stage to talk about the history and future of the ZFS advanced file system. We will also bring you news of Ubuntu's new community portal and efforts by the MINIX development team to port many new software packages to the educational operating system. OpenBSD users and people interested in experimenting with the highly secure operating system will want to read this week's book review which covers "Absolute OpenBSD", a text that explains the inner workings of OpenBSD in a fun and educational manner. Also in this week's issue we bring you reviews, podcasts and newsletters from Around The Web and share with you the distribution releases of the past week. We wish you a pleasant week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
First Impressions of Linux Mint 15 "Olivia"
The Linux Mint distribution has gained a reputation over the years as a powerful and user friendly desktop operating system. The project takes packages from the Ubuntu repositories and adds its own utilities, themes and customizations to create a distribution which is designed to perform most tasks out of the box. The Mint team has also pleased many people by adjusting their distribution to fix perceived problems with the underlying Ubuntu packages. Where Ubuntu tends to be experimental -- switching from using the GNOME desktop to introducing Unity and adding advertisements to the desktop -- Mint tends to walk a more conservative line. The Mint distribution maintains a classic style of desktop and tends to avoid revolutionary changes or eye-catching effects. The latest offering from the Mint team, version 15, was released in May and is based on the Ubuntu 13.04 repositories. Mint is offered in two basic flavours, one which comes with the Cinnamon desktop environment and the other ships with the MATE desktop. Both flavours can be downloaded either with or without third-party software which may be subject to non-free software licenses or patent laws. Each edition of Mint is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit builds and the download images are approximately 1GB in size. I decided to take the 32-bit MATE edition of Mint for a spin.
Looking over the release notes for Linux Mint 15, code named "Olivia", we find this is a fairly tame update to the Mint lineup. This release of Mint includes EFI boot support, the MATE desktop has been updated to version 1.6 and Cinnamon has been bumped to version 1.8. The login manager has gained some new features, including support for HTML 5 features, which means users will be able to make their login screen as ugly and interactive as they wish. The new Mint comes with two new utilities. The first is a Software Sources tool which replaces Ubuntu's repository configuration tool. Mint also adds a new application, called Driver Manager, which makes it easier to add new drivers and find hardware support in the distribution's repositories. The latest 32-bit build of Mint comes with a kernel which requires PAE support in the computer's CPU. While this won't be a problem for most users, people running older hardware without PAE support are advised to use Mint's most recent long term support release which will receive security updates for the next four years.
Linux Mint 15 -- The distribution's system installer
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Booting from the Mint disc quickly brings us to the MATE desktop. In the background we see the Linux Mint branding. Icons sit on the desktop, giving us access to the file browser and system installer. The application menu and task switcher sit at the bottom of the display. Mint uses the Ubuntu installer and I found it worked quite well. The installer confirms we have at least 6.3GB of free space available on the hard drive before we are allowed to proceed. From there we are quickly walked through partitioning the hard drive, confirming our time zone and our keyboard's layout. We are asked to create a user account and asked whether we would like to encrypt the files in our home directory. I've said it before, but I think it bears repeating: the built-in partition manager used by the Mint (and Ubuntu) system installer is really quite friendly and flexible. We can easily make use of Btrfs, XFS, JFS, ext2/3/4 or Reiser file systems and LVM layouts are available. For my trial with the distribution I opted to use a Btrfs volume.
Once the installer has finished copying its files to the local hard drive we are prompted to reboot the computer. Loading my local copy of Mint for the first time brought up an error message saying "sparse file not allowed" and the boot process stopped for several seconds. This error is related to Btrfs and also cropped up during my trial with Ubuntu 13.04. Simply waiting a few seconds gets us past this error message and on to the graphical login screen. The aforementioned login screen is decorated with a pretty blue sky and clouds. Signing in brings us back to the MATE desktop and a welcome window appears. This window contains links to the project's forums, documentation, hardware database and other key information resources where users can get assistance. Shortly after I had dismissed the welcome window an icon appeared in the lower-right corner of the screen letting me know security updates were available. Clicking on this icon brings up the mintUpdate application. The update app shows us a list of newly available packages waiting in the repositories. Next to each upgradeable package we see the version number of the package currently installed, the version available in the repositories and the package's size. We are also shown the package's safety rating, a number in the range of 1-5 which lets us know how likely the update is to disrupt the operating system's functionality. The same day Mint 15 was released I found 27 updates waiting to be installed, totaling 29MB in size. Both that first day and for the remainder of the week I found all updates downloaded and installed without any problems.
Linux Mint 15 -- Working with LibreOffice and image editing software
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Exploring the green and silver themed desktop I found MATE was quite responsive and the desktop feels both familiar and clean. MATE provides a traditional desktop environment and, after the initial welcome screen, the system generally stays out of our way. The distribution comes with a custom menu which organizes items into three categories. The menu contains locations, such as our home directory; system settings and applications. The application menu allows us to switch between viewing our favourite (or most commonly used) applications and showing all installed applications. The menu also comes with a search feature to help users locate programs. Digging through the menu we find a collection of popular software, including the Firefox web browser, the Thunderbird e-mail client and LibreOffice. We also find the Pidgin instant messaging client and the Transmission bittorrent client. We're provided with the Banshee audio player, the VLC multimedia player, the Totem video player and the Brasero disc burning software. I installed the build of Mint which comes with codecs and Flash and found these provided a complete multimedia experience with no work required on my part. We're given a PDF viewer and the GNU Image Manipulation Program and a small app for uploading files to remote computers. The MATE desktop comes with a central Control Centre which allows users to tweak most aspects of the graphical interface and access various administrative tools. In the toolbox we find a simple backup app, a domain blocker and a firewall configuration program. There are also utilities for managing system services, handling printers and working with user accounts. Two new programs have appeared in Mint, one for managing software sources and another one for dealing with drivers and I'll cover those later. Mint also comes with text editors, note taking apps, a calculator and archive manager. The system comes with Java installed and developers will find the GNU Compiler Collection available out of the box. By default Network Manager runs and helps us get on-line. For users who require dial-up networking there is a package on the system which installs the GNOME PPP dial-up software. I'm not sure why this package isn't installed by default, but GNOME PPP and its dependencies are available on the disk and can be installed if we need it. Behind the scenes I found the Linux kernel, version 3.8.
For the most part the applications which came with Mint worked well for me. The configuration tools all worked flawlessly and were user friendly. I had little reason to complain. The one exception to my smooth sailing came from using the file browser. Opening a folder which contained sound files and clicking on of these audio files would cause the file browser to crash. It would also, incidentally, cause the audio file to be played in the background without any visible player. This means the user is stuck listening to the entire sound file unless they know how to identify and kill the process playing the file.
Linux Mint 15 -- Browsing software in the repositories
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Mint comes with two graphical package managers. The first is called Software Manager and has a modern, icon-rich interface. Software Manager allows us to browse categories of software and takes an application-centric approach to locating packages. Clicking on a specific application brings up an information screen which shows us a detailed description of the package, user ratings, reviews and, for programs with graphical interfaces, a screen shot. Installing or removing software from the system is accomplished with the click of a button. Software Manager allows us to queue actions on packages and then continue to browse for other packages which makes for a nice, smooth experience. The other graphical front end for software management is Synaptic, the venerable package manager. Synaptic has a stronger focus on individual packages rather than programs and trades some user friendliness for speed. With Synaptic we can create batches of actions which will be all processed at once. I used both package managers and found they worked well. I didn't encounter any problems and both front ends worked quickly, giving me easy access to Mint's 41,000 software packages. The distribution pulls most of its packages from the Ubuntu repositories, but Mint also maintains its own repositories for the Mint-specific tools and proprietary software packages.
Earlier I mentioned a package for GNOME PPP is available on the system, but not actually installed. Accessing this dial-up software seemed like a good way to test Mint's new Software Sources utility. I launched the Software Sources program from the Control Centre and found it is nicely laid out. The program is basically separated into five sections. One screen handles our access to the main repositories and mirrors, the second lets us add or remove PPA repositories. The third screen allows us to add custom repositories to the system and the forth handles authentication keys. The final screen lets us launch repair or purge actions. I found access to locally stored packages could be enabled on the Additional Repository screen. From there I was able to open a package manager, refresh my repository data, search for GNOME PPP and add the package. It's important to manually refresh the repository data, otherwise the package manager will get confused and not be able to find the proper dependencies, as I discovered my first time through. The other new utility to be introduced in Mint 15 is the Driver Manager. This program is a small, simple application which simply shows us a list of drivers which may be of use to us. We can select the add-on driver we think will work best with our system and hit the Apply button at the bottom of the window. The Driver Manager does the rest, downloading and installing the driver for us. It appears to work well and I'm glad to see Mint introduce this tool after Ubuntu decided to awkwardly merge their own device driver manager into their repository configuration tool.
Linux Mint 15 -- Managing the firewall, drivers and repositories
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I ran Linux Mint on my desktop machine (dual-core 2.8GHz CPU, 6GB of RAM, Radeon video card, Realtek network card) and found the distribution performed very well. Boot times were short, the desktop was responsive and tasks completed quickly. Sound worked out of the box, my screen was automatically set to its maximum resolution and the system was stable. I found Mint, when running the MATE desktop, required approximately 200MB of memory. I also tried running Mint in a virtual machine, provided by VirtualBox, and found the distribution performed quite well there too. Again, the desktop was responsive and the operating system functioned without any problems.
After a week with Mint 15 I have to say I'm happy with most aspects of this release. It's easy to install, comes with lots of useful software, has a huge repository of additional packages and is really easy to navigate. We're given a familiar, traditional desktop which performs well and there are plenty of user friendly configuration tools. For a modern desktop operating system Mint is fairly light on resources and a nice balance is struck between assisting users and staying out of the way. Aside from the file browser crash I mentioned earlier I really couldn't find anything about which to complain. I like the package manager, I like the Control Centre and Mint ships with applications which are popular rather than applications which adhere to a certain policy or match a particular toolkit. Mint installed quickly and then let me get straight to work (or play) without complications. Mint 15 is somewhat limited by their upstream's shortened nine month support cycle, but otherwise this is an excellent release and I'm happy with the latest version of Mint.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
A week with GNOME Classic, Ubuntu launches its community portal, MINIX expands its package repository
Stephen Gallagher is a software engineer who works at Red Hat. Curious about the new GNOME Classic desktop interface, Mr Gallagher decided to sit down with a copy of Fedora 19 Beta and try working with GNOME Classic for one week. Gallagher shares his experiences and opinions in a multi-part blog series entitled One Week With GNOME 3 Classic. Gallagher goes over bugs encountered, problems worked around and his general opinion of the Classic interface. Among his observations is one to which many users will probably relate: "Up there with the list of things that you don't really recognize until you think about it hard is the advantages of having the window selector in the lower taskbar. I realized that I have been unconsciously focusing my attention on that space when I switch back and forth between workspaces because they contain the set of information that I need to determine when to stop scrolling. In the standard GNOME Shell, if I have several windows/applications present on a workspace, I can only really determine which apps are there (if some are hidden) by going into the overlay mode before switching between workspaces." The multi-part series begins with this prologue post.
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In an effort to engage and coordinate information with Ubuntu users it was recently announced that the Ubuntu website will feature a community portal. The new Ubuntu Community website features documentation and links for developers, designers, translators, documentation writers and testers interested in working with the Ubuntu distribution. Jono Bacon, Ubuntu's Community Manager posted, "Together we have the opportunity to bring real technological freedom to every part of the world, across multiple devices and the cloud, and clothed in an elegant, beautiful, experience. It is a bold vision, but our greatest strength in Ubuntu is our community and together we can do this. Come and join us and be a part of bringing Ubuntu to the masses."
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ZFS is an advanced file system and volume manager which was originally developed by Sun Microsystems. The file system made its debut in Solaris and has slowly expanded to other operating systems, including FreeBSD, Linux and OS X. The podcast BSD Talk recently sat down with developer Matt Ahrens who was one of the original ZFS team members. In this interview Mr Ahrens talks about how ZFS came about, the early challenges of the project, aspects of ZFS's design and his current plans regarding the file system. Ahrens also talks about licensing conflicts which prevent ZFS from being merged into the Linux kernel, the roadblocks associated with relicensing the project and using ZFS in cross-platform situations. It's a candid and informative interview which will appeal to file system enthusiasts.
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The small MINIX operating system is probably best known for its role in education. The MINIX 3 project represents an effort to create a secure, fast operating system which uses an underlying microkernel. While typically not considered practical for desktop or heavy server usage, the operating system is interesting and is trying to become more useful for a wider audience. One of the ways the developers are doing this is building and importing packages from the NetBSD pkgsrc ports tree. A recent attempt to build binary packages from the pkgsrc tree showed that about 3,000 ports (a quarter of the ports tree) would compile without modification. This is good news for people who are interested in running MINIX for either educational or experimental use.
|Book Review: Absolute OpenBSD (by Jesse Smith)
Book review: Absolute OpenBSD (Second Edition)
OpenBSD 5.3 came out at the beginning of May, right on schedule. The latest version of the security-oriented operating system brought several improvements to the table, including better driver and processor support, bug fixes and security enhancements. All in all it looked like a positive and conservative step for the OpenBSD project. This is all great news for users of the operating system as the OpenBSD crowd tends to appreciate quiet, evolutionary steps. While great for the users and administrators who run OpenBSD, "driver improvements and security enhancements" doesn't make for exciting reviews as not a whole lot of changes have happened on the surface since we looked at OpenBSD last year. With that in mind, rather than focus on the latest release of OpenBSD, I'd like to share a resource which will help people who have an interest in OpenBSD get better acquainted with the operating system. Specifically, I'd like to share with you a book written by Michael W. Lucas called "Absolute OpenBSD".
There are two aspects of Mr Lucas' book which set it apart from most other instructive texts and, for that matter, from the other books I've reviewed here in the past. The first is Lucas has a sense of humour and that makes what would otherwise be a dry look at the nuts and bolts of an open source operating system a surprisingly fun journey. On the topic of system upgrades Lucas writes, "Sever upgrades can make even seasoned sysadmins wish that they had a simpler job, such as performing as a carnival sideshow, stuffing weasels into their trousers." On another page he points out that OpenBSD will allow you to set up any program to act as a window manager, "You can also enter a command that isn't a window manager, such as grep. If you do, OpenBSD will silently log you out. It won't say, `Please step away from the keyboard before I hurt you.' Not threatening you passes for user-friendly in OpenBSD." In both cases his jokes are funny because they come loaded with more than a kernel of truth.
The second characteristic of Lucas' book I greatly appreciated was that it doesn't really try to be a how-to text. In the past I've shared books I've enjoyed which talk about how to use the Ubuntu desktop or how to trouble-shoot a server or how to use the command line. Those books tend to take things one step at a time and walk us through processes. "Absolute OpenBSD" doesn't really come across as a how-to-use-this-technology book. While it does include tutorials and plenty of advice on how to administer OpenBSD, I didn't really get the feeling we were being shown how to use the operating system. Rather I believe Lucas was primarily concerned with showing us how OpenBSD works, how the pieces fit together. Last month I reviewed a book called "A Practical Guide to Linux Commands, Editors and Shell Programming" and we might think of that text as an instruction manual which teaches us how to drive a car, how to fill the gas tank and change the tyres. All very useful things to know how to do. "Absolute OpenBSD" does cover filling the gas tank and changing the tyres, but it spends a good deal of time under the hood. The chapters in "Absolute OpenBSD" cover things like how the engine works, what a spark plug is, why a battery goes dead and why we should never lick said battery. (In this example licking a battery is a direct parallel to reconfiguring the OpenBSD kernel.) Lucas is aware OpenBSD is a highly flexible operating system and the tasks we may perform with it are not necessarily the same ones he performs. Therefore he sets about explaining how all the pieces fit together, how the system works, what its key features are and he sprinkles in a good deal of advice about how to avoid common pitfalls. Actually, one of the first things Lucas does is acknowledge his book can't cover everything and we will need to seek outside help eventually. The first chapter is dedicated to introducing OpenBSD resources, documentation, mailing lists and other places where we can seek assistance.
After that we get into some more hands-on material such as how to install OpenBSD, how to partition our hard drives and checking to make sure our hardware is supported. There are chapters on securing the operating system, managing the OpenBSD firewall, performing upgrades and adjusting kernel-level settings. These are the more practical aspects of the book. Thrown into the mix are chapters containing more abstract information. For example, one chapter is dedicated to explaining the purpose and contents of every configuration file under the /etc directory. We're told how the system boots itself and which files are checked and in what order. We're told about different styles of attacks (and attackers) and how to protect ourselves. We're told how user accounts and account security features work and how to best handle sudo. There is a chapter on dealing with X and a section dedicated to what OpenSSH does and how we can make the most of secure shell, including a tutorial on locking down users' remote access. We're told about the OpenBSD ports tree, not just how to use it, but how ports work and why the ports tree has certain features. Lucas covers how to perform scheduled tasks and, more importantly, what sort of tasks we might wish to automate.
In a lot of ways reading "Absolute OpenBSD" reminds me of conversations I've had while sitting around a table with other IT people, trading little snippets of advice and horror stories. The book focuses less on the steps required to perform tasks and more on why we should (or should not) perform those tasks. It's less about guiding us down a single path and more of a crash course in (digital) jungle survival. "These are the plants you need to be able to recognize -- these ones are poison, those ones you can eat," the book seems to say. "These are the tools you should take with you and here is how to get the most out of your pocket knife." While the material is specifically focused on OpenBSD, a good deal of the concepts and advice are relevant to users of any UNIX or UNIX-like operating system. The instructions on using pkg_add to keep software up to date may be specific to OpenBSD, but scheduling package updates is universal. Using inetd to limit network connections from the outside world may be specific to a subset of UNIX-like systems, but limiting the flow of connections in general is important for any server admin. That's what I like about "Absolute OpenBSD", it covers the why at least as much as the how and that makes it a great instruction manual for any system administrator, not just OpenBSD admins. I certainly recommend the book for administrators, especially people interested in OpenBSD. Even if you don't read the entire text, be sure to check out the author's tips and asides that are featured on almost every page, they are heavy with wisdom from the trenches.
Title: Absolute OpenBSD (Second Edition)
Author: Michael W. Lucas © 2013
Publisher: No Starch Press
Length: 536 pages
Available from: No Starch Press and Amazon
|Released Last Week
Manjaro Linux 0.8.6
Philip Müller has announced the release of Manjaro Linux 0.8.6, a set of Arch-based desktop Linux distributions: "We are happy to announce our stable release for June 2013 - Manjaro 0.8.6 - a set of installation media for Manjaro Linux. A lot of work went into our community editions. With respect to the official flavours, a more detailed list of the most significant general changes made are as follows: we fixed the installer bug we found in our Net edition image; we are using the Linux 3.9 series as our kernel; Openbox install media are smaller now; more mirrors are pre-configured; updates to Pamac and proprietary drivers for AMD and NVIDIA; Live Installer is translated to Arabic, Catalan, German, Greek, English, Spanish, Farsi, Indonesian, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak and Turkish." See the full release announcement for further details and screenshots.
Following three test builds, a new stable version of antiX, a lightweight Debian-based distribution designed for older and low-specification computers, is now out: "Ten months on from the release of antiX 12 series, we are pleased to announce the release of our antiX 13, code name 'Luddite'. What's new? 64-bit flavours; Iceweasel 22.0 browser, LibreOffice 4, improved boot times, particularly when running live; safer and faster shutdown, especially in live use; customised live boot menu; SpaceFM desktop integration; live remaster scripts improved; improvements to the antiX snapshot application; dynamic fstab when running live; XFS, JFS, ext2, Btrfs file systems available in installers; MuPDF, a very fast and light PDF reader, included; more options in meta installer; all ISO files built using antiX build scripts to enable consistency and freshness." Visit the project's news page to read the full release announcement.
Snowlinux 4 "MATE", "Cinnamon"
Lars Torben Kremer has announced the release of Snowlinux 4 "MATE" and "Cinnamon" editions, both based on Ubuntu 13.04: "The team is proud to announce the release of Snowlinux 4 'Frosty'. Snowlinux 4 'Frosty' is the latest release based upon Ubuntu 13.04. MATE 1.6, the default desktop environment, and Cinnamon 1.8 run perfectly. While MATE 1.6 was mostly improved technically, Cinnamon 1.8 was improved with an unified control center and an own screensaver. Snowlinux 4 'Frosty' uses the latest technologies and has an updated package base. New features: Linux kernel 3.8; MATE 1.6 and Cinnamon 1.8; Snowlinux Metal theme; Nemo 1.8; Caja 1.6; Firefox 21.0 and Thunderbird 17.0.5; Cinnamon control center and screensaver; Snowlinux Full HD backgrounds." Read the rest of the release announcement for more information and system requirements.
Snowlinux 4 -- Default desktop
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AV Linux 6.0.1
Glen MacArthur has announced the release of AV Linux 6.0.1, an updated version of the Debian-based distribution with a collection of audio and video production software: "Out of the uncertainty of the successful AV Linux 6.0 release an unexpected 6.0.1 update has arrived. What began as a minor update to bring a few bug fixes and fresh releases of Ardour 3 and Kdenlive to the DVD image has ballooned into a major update encompassing many of the main applications and bringing the best of what is new and happening to Linux audio and video enthusiasts. Changelog: updated to Trulan's 220.127.116.11 Linux kernel with Yamaha THR10 patches and USB 2 audio clock switching patch; complete new 'Dozer' theme and graphics; two new menu sections for audio and video utilities...." Continue to the release announcement to read the complete changelog.
TurnKey Linux 12.1
Liraz Siri has announced the release of TurnKey Linux 12.1, a maintenance update of the project's Debian-based set of virtual appliances that attempt to integrate the best open-source software into highly specialised and ready-to-be-deployed solutions: "TurnKey Linux 12.1 is out and it's the first 64-bit maintenance release to be built with tkldev - TurnKey's shiny new open appliance build system in a box. With 64-bit support out the door, we've also pushed out a round of updates to the Hub so that users can finally deploy TurnKey on all instance sizes. Full details on the changes to the Hub below, but first I'd like to talk a little bit about tkldev, TurnKey's new open build system. tkldev will soon be released as a standalone appliance along with the full source code to all appliances in the TurnKey Linux roster, which we will be maintaining on TurnKey's GitHub page." Read the rest of the release announcement for more information.
Glen Barber has announced the release of FreeBSD 8.4, the new production release of the project's legacy 8.x branch: "The FreeBSD Release Engineering team is pleased to announce the availability of FreeBSD 8.4-RELEASE. This is the fifth release from the 8-STABLE branch which improves on the functionality of FreeBSD 8.3 and introduces some new features. Some of the highlights: GNOME version 2.32.1, KDE version 4.10.1; feature flags 5,000 version of the ZFS filesystem; support for all shipping LSI storage controllers. FreeBSD 8.4-RELEASE is now available for the amd64 and i386 architectures. Images for the pc98 architecture should be available within the next 24 hours. FreeBSD 8.4 can be installed from bootable ISO images or over the network." See the release announcement and release notes for further information.
ROSA 2012 R1 "Desktop.Fresh"
Konstantin Kochereshkin has announced the availability of an updated build of ROSA 2012 "Desktop.Fresh" edition, a desktop-oriented Linux distribution with a highly customised and enhanced KDE 4.10.3 desktop: "ROSA is glad to announce a new release of its distribution for the Linux community - ROSA Desktop Fresh R1. ROSA Desktop Fresh R1 is a new distribution based on the ROSA Fresh platform. The 'R' series is targeted at advanced users and enthusiasts who will appreciate rich functionality and freshness of distribution components without serious loss of quality. This series is developed by ROSA with significant help of community. Users of ROSA Desktop Fresh 2012 are able to update their systems to ROSA Desktop Fresh R1 using official update mechanisms. The new version has a set of important new features: Windows Azure and Hyper-V support; Steam support; font smoothing has been improved significantly...." Read the rest of the release announcement for a full list of improvements.
Point Linux 13.04.1
Peter Ryzhenkov has announced the release of Point Linux 13.04.1, an updated version of the project's Debian-based distribution featuring the MATE 1.4 desktop: "Point Linux 13.04.1 is out. While Point Linux 13.04.1 is a minor bug-fix release and it generally has the same specifications as Point Linux 13.04, it also offers some improvements: LibreOffice 4.0.3; Firefox 21.0; stable Debian 'Wheezy' packages; Debian repository moved to cdn.debian.net; Point Linux repository moved to cdn.pointlinux.org; FTP CLI utility added; MATE 1.6 migration simplified; installer downloads and installs iBus and input method packages when CJK languages are detected; installer removes VirtualBox guest additions in target system when VirtualBox is not detected; installer creates /media/cdrom and /media/usb folders in target system...." See the release announcement for more information.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|Around The Web
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DistroWatch database summary|
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This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 17 June 2013. 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)
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 841 (2019-11-18): Emmabuntus DE3-1.00, changing keys in a keyboard layout, Debian phasing out Python 2 and voting on init diversity, Slackware gets unofficial updated live media|
|• Issue 840 (2019-11-11): Fedora 31, monitoring user activity, Fedora working to improve Python performance, FreeBSD gets faster networking|
|• Issue 839 (2019-11-04): MX 19, manipulating PDFs, Ubuntu plans features for 20.04, Fedora 29 nears EOL, Netrunner drops Manjaro-based edition|
|• Issue 838 (2019-10-28): Xubuntu 19.10, how init and service managers work together, DragonFly BSD provides emergency mode for HAMMER, Xfce team plans 4.16|
|• Issue 837 (2019-10-21): CentOS 8.0-1905, Trident finds a new base, Debian plans firewall changes, 15 years of Fedora, how to merge directories|
|• Issue 836 (2019-10-14): Archman 2019.09, Haiku improves ARM support, Project Trident shifting base OS, Unix turns 50|
|• Issue 835 (2019-10-07): Isotop, Mazon OS and, KduxOS, examples of using the find command, Mint's System Reports becomes proactive, Solus updates its desktops|
|• Issue 834 (2019-09-30): FreedomBox "Buster", CentOS gains a rolling release, Librem 5 phones shipping, Redcore updates its package manager|
|• Issue 833 (2019-09-23): Redcore Linux 1908, why Linux distros are free, Ubuntu making list of 32-bit software to keep, Richard M Stallman steps down from FSF leadership|
|• Issue 832 (2019-09-16): BlackWeb 1.2, checking for Wayland session and applications, Fedora to use nftables in firewalld, OpenBSD disables DoH in Firefox|
|• Issue 831 (2019-09-09): Adélie Linux 1.0 beta, using ffmpeg, awk and renice, Mint and elementary improvements, PureOS and Manjaro updates|
|• Issue 930 (2019-09-02): deepin 15.11, working with AppArmor profiles, elementary OS gets new greeter, exFAT support coming to Linux kernel|
|• Issue 829 (2019-08-26): EndeavourOS 2019.07.15, Drauger OS 7.4.1, finding the licenses of kernel modules, NetBSD gets Wayland application, GhostBSD changes base repo|
|• Issue 828 (2019-08-19): AcademiX 2.2, concerns with non-free firmware, UBports working on Unity8, Fedora unveils new EPEL channel, FreeBSD phasing out GCC|
|• Issue 827 (2019-08-12): Q4OS, finding files on the disk, Ubuntu works on ZFS, Haiku improves performance, OSDisc shutting down|
|• Issue 826 (2019-08-05): Quick looks at Resilient, PrimeOS, and BlueLight, flagship distros for desktops,Manjaro introduces new package manager|
|• Issue 825 (2019-07-29): Endless OS 3.6, UBports 16.04, gNewSense maintainer stepping down, Fedora developrs discuss optimizations, Project Trident launches stable branch|
|• Issue 824 (2019-07-22): Hexagon OS 1.0, Mageia publishes updated media, Fedora unveils Fedora CoreOS, managing disk usage with quotas|
|• Issue 823 (2019-07-15): Debian 10, finding 32-bit packages on a 64-bit system, Will Cooke discusses Ubuntu's desktop, IBM finalizes purchase of Red Hat|
|• Issue 822 (2019-07-08): Mageia 7, running development branches of distros, Mint team considers Snap, UBports to address Google account access|
|• Issue 821 (2019-07-01): OpenMandriva 4.0, Ubuntu's plan for 32-bit packages, Fedora Workstation improvements, DragonFly BSD's smaller kernel memory|
|• Issue 820 (2019-06-24): Clear Linux and Guix System 1.0.1, running Android applications using Anbox, Zorin partners with Star Labs, Red Hat explains networking bug, Ubuntu considers no longer updating 32-bit packages|
|• Issue 819 (2019-06-17): OS108 and Venom, renaming multiple files, checking live USB integrity, working with Fedora's Modularity, Ubuntu replacing Chromium package with snap|
|• Issue 818 (2019-06-10): openSUSE 15.1, improving boot times, FreeBSD's status report, DragonFly BSD reduces install media size|
|• Issue 817 (2019-06-03): Manjaro 18.0.4, Ubuntu Security Podcast, new Linux laptops from Dell and System76, Entroware Apollo|
|• Issue 816 (2019-05-27): Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, creating firewall rules, Antergos shuts down, Matthew Miller answers questions about Fedora|
|• Issue 815 (2019-05-20): Sabayon 19.03, Clear Linux's developer features, Red Hat explains MDS flaws, an overview of mobile distro options|
|• Issue 814 (2019-05-13): Fedora 30, distributions publish Firefox fixes, CentOS publishes roadmap to 8.0, Debian plans to use Wayland by default|
|• Issue 813 (2019-05-06): ROSA R11, MX seeks help with systemd-shim, FreeBSD tests unified package management, interview with Gael Duval|
|• Issue 812 (2019-04-29): Ubuntu MATE 19.04, setting up a SOCKS web proxy, Scientific Linux discontinued, Red Hat takes over Java LTS support|
|• Issue 811 (2019-04-22): Alpine 3.9.2, rsync examples, Ubuntu working on ZFS support, Debian elects new Project Leader, Obarun releases S6 tools|
|• Issue 810 (2019-04-15): SolydXK 201902, Bedrock Linux 0.7.2, Fedora phasing out Python 2, NetBSD gets virtual machine monitor|
|• Issue 809 (2019-04-08): PCLinuxOS 2019.02, installing Falkon and problems with portable packages, Mint offers daily build previews, Ubuntu speeds up Snap packages|
|• Issue 808 (2019-04-01): Solus 4.0, security benefits and drawbacks to using a live distro, Gentoo gets GNOME ports working without systemd, Redox OS update|
|• Issue 807 (2019-03-25): Pardus 17.5, finding out which user changed a file, new Budgie features, a tool for browsing FreeBSD's sysctl values|
|• Issue 806 (2019-03-18): Kubuntu vs KDE neon, Nitrux's znx, notes on Debian's election, SUSE becomes an independent entity|
|• Issue 805 (2019-03-11): EasyOS 1.0, managing background services, Devuan team debates machine ID file, Ubuntu Studio works to remain an Ubuntu Community Edition|
|• Issue 804 (2019-03-04): Condres OS 19.02, securely erasing hard drives, new UBports devices coming in 2019, Devuan to host first conference|
|• Issue 803 (2019-02-25): Septor 2019, preventing windows from stealing focus, NetBSD and Nitrux experiment with virtual machines, pfSense upgrading to FreeBSD 12 base|
|• Issue 802 (2019-02-18): Slontoo 18.07.1, NetBSD tests newer compiler, Fedora packaging Deepin desktop, changes in Ubuntu Studio|
|• Issue 801 (2019-02-11): Project Trident 18.12, the meaning of status symbols in top, FreeBSD Foundation lists ongoing projects, Plasma Mobile team answers questions|
|• Issue 800 (2019-02-04): FreeNAS 11.2, using Ubuntu Studio software as an add-on, Nitrux developing znx, matching operating systems to file systems|
|• Issue 799 (2019-01-28): KaOS 2018.12, Linux Basics For Hackers, Debian 10 enters freeze, Ubuntu publishes new version for IoT devices|
|• Issue 798 (2019-01-21): Sculpt OS 18.09, picking a location for swap space, Solus team plans ahead, Fedora trying to get a better user count|
|• Issue 797 (2019-01-14): Reborn OS 2018.11.28, TinyPaw-Linux 1.3, dealing with processes which make the desktop unresponsive, Debian testing Secure Boot support|
|• Issue 796 (2019-01-07): FreeBSD 12.0, Peppermint releases ISO update, picking the best distro of 2018, roundtable interview with Debian, Fedora and elementary developers|
|• Issue 795 (2018-12-24): Running a Pinebook, interview with Bedrock founder, Alpine being ported to RISC-V, Librem 5 dev-kits shipped|
|• Issue 794 (2018-12-17): Void 20181111, avoiding software bloat, improvements to HAMMER2, getting application overview in GNOME Shell|
|• Issue 793 (2018-12-10): openSUSE Tumbleweed, finding non-free packages, Debian migrates to usrmerge, Hyperbola gets FSF approval|
|• Issue 792 (2018-1203): GhostBSD 18.10, when to use swap space, DragonFly BSD's wireless support, Fedora planning to pause development schedule|
|• Issue 791 (2018-11-26): Haiku R1 Beta1, default passwords on live media, Slax and Kodachi update their media, dual booting DragonFly BSD on EFI|
|• Issue 790 (2018-11-19): NetBSD 8.0, Bash tips and short-cuts, Fedora's networking benchmarked with FreeBSD, Ubuntu 18.04 to get ten years of support|
|• Issue 789 (2018-11-12): Fedora 29 Workstation and Silverblue, Haiku recovering from server outage, Fedora turns 15, Debian publishes updated media|
|• Full list of all issues|
Star Labs - Laptops built for Linux.
View our range including the Star Lite, Star LabTop and more. Available with a choice of Ubuntu, Linux Mint or Zorin OS pre-installed with many more distributions supported. Visit Star Labs for information, to buy and get support.
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The Knoppix 64 project provides a 64-bit development system with an up-to-date gcc 3.4 and with -march=k8 flag for AMD64 optimisations, 64-bit linker and debugger (gdb), and a very stable 2.4.21 Linux kernel. It was suitable for benchmarking 64-bit machines. It includes a fully functional KDE desktop.