| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 539, 23 December 2013
Welcome to this year's final issue of DistroWatch Weekly! In the process of designing a distribution a lot of questions need to be answered. Some of these questions will concern the issues of stability versus cutting-edge software, which desktop environment to use as the default, whether features or efficiency is more important and so on. This week we take a look at Centrych OS, a distribution designed to take the middle road on issues, finding a balance between contending views. Read Jesse Smith's review below to find out how this middle-of-the-road philosophy works for Centrych OS. This past week saw a new release from the Fedora Project and we talk about new features presented by the Red Hat-sponsored distribution. In other news we talk about automated bug reporting coming to Kubuntu and exciting new document support coming to ownCloud. In this week's Questions and Answers column we discuss making multi-disc archives and how to deal with large amounts of data spread across several discs. As usual, we will talk about the many interesting launches of the past week and look forward to upcoming scheduled releases to come. Next week DistroWatch Weekly will be on holiday, but we will return on January 6th and we hope you will join us again then. We wish you all a wonderful week and happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (17MB) and MP3 (38MB) formats
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Taking the middle road with Centrych OS 12.04.3
Centrych OS is an Ubuntu-based project which is developed with the philosophy that the best solution is a middle ground between two contending views. Take, for example, the problem as to whether a distribution should ship with modern, cutting-edge software or with conservative, tried-and-true software. Some people will value the stability and familiarity of older packages while others will value new features. As another example, consider desktop environments. Some people enjoy the appearance, flexible and power of KDE. Others prefer a desktop environment which uses fewer resources, a desktop that is light and responsive, such as Xfce.
Centrych OS is put together with the idea that everyone can enjoy the best of both worlds. We can have a stable core operating system while running brand new desktop applications, giving us both reliability (where it counts) and new features (in applications where they will be noticed). Centrych ships with the Xfce desktop, but the default theme and layout make the interface look and act as though we were running KDE. This gives the user a great deal of flexibility and a nice, traditional desktop interface while reducing resource usage. I decided to take the latest release of Centrych, version 12.04.3, for a spin to see how this philosophy of moderation would work. Centrych's most recent release is built upon Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. The project is available in 32-bit and 64-bit x86 builds and the ISO available for download is 1.3GB in size. Apart from the design goals listed above, Centrych ships with a Linux kernel optimized for desktop use and the project enables TRIM support for solid state drives which should improve disk access times over the life time of the drive.
Centrych OS 12.04.3 - running Firefox and a virtual terminal
(full image size: 286kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
Booting from Centrych's live disc brings us to an Xfce desktop which is themed to look similar to KDE. The desktop is laid out in a classic fashion with the application menu, task switcher and system tray placed along the bottom of the display. Icons sit on the desktop, inviting us to launch the system installer or browse the local file system. The application menu is arranged in a way which resembles a cross between the modern KDE menu and a classic menu-tree. All in all, the menu feels backward, with categories of software placed on the right and individual applications in those categories placed on the left. The desktop features a few visual effects, though nothing particularly flashy.
Centrych OS ships with a modified version of Kubuntu's system installer. The installer runs us through the usual steps of selecting our preferred language, partitioning the hard disk, confirming our time zone and creating a user account. Centrych's installer differs from Kubuntu's by adding a few extra screens which give the user an unusual amount of control over low-level options. For instance, one screen asks us what sort of computer we will be using (desktop, laptop or virtual machine). Based on our selection the installer will recommend certain kernel configurations. We have the ability to override these recommendations. Some of the options we can choose from include running a kernel with PAE support, the BFS process scheduler, an alternative I/O scheduler and we can choose whether to enable dynamic kernel ticks.
There are other options presented to us, such as whether to enable SSD support, whether to place our /tmp folder in RAM and there are a few swap/cache optimizations. We can also choose whether to make use of mount options such as noatime. All of this seems strangely detailed (and probably confusing for most users) and it stands out in a big way. Even distributions aimed at experienced users such as Slackware don't encourage this level of customization and it feels out of place when compared against the otherwise novice-friendly approach taken by Centrych. One thing I do appreciate about the installer is it allows us to choose whether to use a root account for system administration or we can assign sudo rights to regular user accounts. Once the installer has finished asking questions and copying its files we are prompted to reboot the machine.
Centrych OS 12.04.3 - default application menu and KDE's System Settings panel
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Launching Centrych OS from the local hard drive we are brought to a graphical login screen. Here we have the ability to login to one of two desktop session types. The first is the default session which is essentially Xfce mimicking the KDE desktop (as we saw on the live disc). The second session option presents Xfce looking like, well, like Xfce does on most distributions. Specifically, I believe this second session is modeled after Xubuntu's default user interface. Aside from logging in to confirm the second interface worked, I spent most of my time using the default, KDE-style interface. Logging in I found Centrych provides a few desktop effects by default, nothing too distracting, mostly just some colour highlights around the application windows. Shortly after logging in I noticed an icon on the system tray indicating software updates were available for the system and this is where I ran into my one serious bug with the distribution.
At first things went well enough. Clicking the update notification icon brought up a window which gave a summary of the available updates and a button I could click to start the upgrade process. Clicking the button caused the update manager to lock-up and its progress bar indicated it was "waiting". After several minutes I canceled the upgrade process, then tried opening the update manager again. Once more the update manager got stuck "waiting". I rebooted the computer and tried once more, this time I was told some packages could be downloaded, but not all. I accepted this partial upgrade, but then, when the update finished, I was told no more packages were available. This seemed suspect as a partial upgrade should have left some software still in the queue. Eventually I found myself on the command line, trouble-shooting a corrupt package database. After some fiddling with APT and then the underlying dpkg utility I found myself with a working update manager and package management tools. I'm not sure if this problem with package management was just bad luck or something specific to Centrych. It is very rare that I have trouble with APT-based package management (this is probably the third time in over eight years) so it was certainly unexpected.
Centrych comes with a collection of popular software. Digging through the application menu we find the Firefox web browser (with Flash enabled), the Thunderbird e-mail client and the LibreOffice productivity suite. The Kopete instant messaging software is included alongside the Quassel IRC client. The Audex audio CD ripper is installed for us as is the k3b disc burning software. Centrych comes with the Clementine music player, the VLC multimedia player and a full range of media codecs. We are given a screen-capture video recorder, a web cam utility called Kamoso, a document viewer and the GNU Image Manipulation Program. The distribution comes with two settings panels, the KDE System Settings centre and Xfce's settings panel. I found making use of these control centres worked during a session, but sometimes configuration options seemed to be forgotten between sessions. Centrych comes with a third-party driver manager and the Zim desktop wiki software. The distribution ships with a helpful manual which covers basic desktop usage. There are a few administration tools too, including utilities for working with printers, user accounts, the system clock and the computer's firewall. Centrych ships with Java, the GNU Compiler Collection and, in the background, the Linux kernel, version 3.2.
Centrych OS 12.04.3 - the project's documentation
(full image size: 261kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
I tried running Centrych OS in two environments, on my laptop (dual-core 2 GHz CPU, 4 GB of RAM, Intel wireless card and Intel video card) and in a virtual machine provided by VirtualBox. In the virtual machine I found Centrych ran unusually slow. The distribution took over a minute to boot and any actions taken on the desktop (launching applications, opening menus, etc) were met with several seconds of delay. On physical hardware Centrych performed better, though I still encountered periodic lag, typically when launching applications. This lack of performance surprised me as typically Ubuntu-based distributions perform fairly well in these same environments. When running on the laptop, the distribution detected and made use of all of my hardware without any problems. Wireless networking, the built-in webcam and my display were all handled well. The distribution has a memory footprint of approximately 165MB when logged into the desktop. The memory usage might be considered very good for KDE or quite poor for Xfce, depending on whether you are a glass is half-empty or half-full sort of person.
Centrych OS 12.04.3 - package management and Xfce's settings panel
(full image size: 541kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
Centrych OS comes with two graphical package managers. The first is Synaptic, a tried-and-true software manager which allows users to create batches of actions to perform on packages. Synaptic takes a package-oriented approach, letting users deal with the gritty details of software management. Synaptic, while it does not have a particularly friendly interface, does work quickly and gets the job done without fuss. The other package manager is the heavier, slower and more user-friendly Ubuntu Software Centre. The Software Centre presents us with colourful icons, screenshots, detailed information and one-click installs of software. The Software Centre also allows us to continue browsing the software archives while items are being downloaded, installed or removed in the background. Apart from the trouble I had early on when attempting to apply updates, I encountered no problems while using either of these two package managers.
I usually appreciate the philosophy of moderation, of finding a working middle ground and so I was cautiously optimistic going into this review. Unfortunately, for me, Centrych delivered an experience which felt awkward. On paper the design looks good -- modern desktop software on a proven core, powerful desktop features carried by lightweight technology -- and yet what was meant to be a combination of strengths came across as cumbersome. I felt like I was dealing with KDE's weight while limited to Xfce's technology. I felt like I was dealing with bleeding-edge stability on top of an aging core. The menu seemed cluttered with utilities from both the Xfce and KDE projects with no clear indication of which tool was the right one for the job.
In short, what started as a good approach on paper felt to me to be a sort of Frankenstein's monster of operating systems. Yes, it does carry modern software on a tested kernel and, yes, Centrych does feature a sort of KDE-style user interface using Xfce's lighter technology. But the weaknesses of both approaches stand out just as much as the strengths of both approaches. The distribution did not feel unified to me. Perhaps, in fairness, this is because I am accustomed to using Xfce and KDE separately. Perhaps it is because I'm used to either all shiny new technology or conservative software versions and having these combinations goes against my habits. Maybe it is my habits alone which makes Centrych feel awkward. Still, I feel as though this approach, while an attractive idea, needs more polish before I am comfortable recommending it.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith and Ladislav Bodnar)
Fedora 20 arrives, Kubuntu gets automated crash reporting, collaborative document editing comes to ownCloud, Enlightenment 0.18
The Fedora project launched its third release of 2013 last week. Fedora 20, which carries the code name "Heisenbug", carries a collection of cutting-edge software and several positive new developments. The latest Fedora release ships with GNOME 3.10, KDE 4.11 and an upgraded Network Manager that will make it easier to get on-line using a command-line interface. Other highlights include using the systemd journal in place of traditional logging utilities and improved support for ARM devices. A full list of changes and features can be found in the release notes.
Fedora 20 - GNOME Shell's Activity menu
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One pleasing aspect of a Fedora release is the instant availability of many specialist Fedora "spins". One of them, a variant that includes software for scientific computing and appropriately named Fedora Scientific, was also released last week: "Fedora 20 is now released, which also means the newest release of Fedora Scientific along with other spins are also available. The notable additions in this release are: Sage, along with Sage notebook; SymPy, the Python library for symbolic mathematics; the Python 3 versions for scipy, numpy, matplotlib libraries and IPython (including IPython notebook); Commons math, a Java library for numerical computing." Fedora Scientific ships with the KDE desktop and includes many popular applications and libraries, including "the GNU Scientific library, the SciPy libraries, tools like Octave and xfig to typesetting tools like Kile and graphics programs such as Inkscape."
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Applications crash, it is an unfortunate fact of life. All too often the steps required to report a bug are time consuming and inconvenient, especially for new users. In an effort to make reporting bugs to developers easier so that software can get fixed faster, some distributions include an application which will automatically report bugs when an application crashes. According to The World According to Harald blog, it looks as though Kubuntu will soon introduce automated crash reporting, sending bug reports to the project's developers when something goes wrong. The blog features a series of screen shots with the caption, "Next in Kubuntu: Allowing you to give us viable information on a crash even if you don't feel like reporting a lengthy bug report over at bugs.kde.org."
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Typically, up until now, when people wanted to collaboratively edit Open Document Format (ODF) documents they needed a third-party tool like Google Docs or an expensive proprietary technology. Now, with the launch of ownCloud 6, it is possible to collaboratively edit ODF word processing documents using a private server. The founder of ownCloud, Frank Karlitschek, writes, "This feature is implemented in an app called "ownCloud Documents" and will be part of ownCloud 6. People can view and edit their ODF text documents directly in the browser, inside your ownCloud. Another cool thing is that you can invite users from the same ownCloud to work collaboratively on the same document with you. Or you can send invitation links by email to people outside your server to collaborate with you on the document. Several people can navigate in the same document with different cursors at the same time and you can see the changes that are done by the different users in different colors." This new development makes it easy to share and work on documents with a team while using free and open source software that is available at no cost.
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Following one year after the release of Enlightenment 0.17, the development team behind this highly customizable window manager announced the availability of Enlightenment 0.18. The latest version of the lightweight graphical interface features better systemd support, several bug fixes which should prevent crashes, Wayland display server support and improved compositing. The release announcement contains more details and download links for people wishing to try out Enlightenment for themselves. There is also a list of changes in point form for people wishing to see the more technical details behind the work done since the 0.17 release.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Dividing an archive across multiple discs
Burning-files-to-disc asks: I haven't found a DVD burning program that can automatically burn and split, for example, a 20 GB directory across five DVDs. How can I spread large archives across multiple discs?
DistroWatch answers: I am not certain if any graphical applications for disc burning on Linux will handle spreading archives automatically across multiple discs. Juggling files of varying sizes and placing them into multi-part archives can be a complex process. It's hard for the burning software to know how to divide files, especially if one of the source files is larger than the destination. For this reason it may be easier to divide the archive into DVD-sized pieces prior to beginning the burning process. Creating a multi-disc archive and restoring it is a six step process.
First we want to create an archive of all our files to be burned to disc. This can be done with any graphical archive utility, or we can make use of the tar command line tool:
tar czf large-archive.tar.gz SourceDirectory1 SourceDirectory2 SourceDirectory3
Our next step is to break this one massive archive into disc-sized pieces. We can do this using the split command:
split -b 4G large-archive.tar.gz archive
The split command will create multiple files which will be named archiveaa, archiveab, archiveac and so on. We can then burn these files to a series of DVDs using any disc burning software. Once we have our files stored on multiple DVDs we can copy the archive files from the discs onto another computer, storing each archive file in the same directory. To get back all of our files we first need to combine the individual files into one giant archive. The cat command does this for us:
cat archiveaa archiveab archiveac > new-large-archive.tar.gz
Finally, we unpack the large archive file, restoring our data:
tar xzf new-large-archive.tar.gz
All of this being said, rather than trying to manually squeeze files onto DVDs or creating separate archive files like this, I would suggest backing up/transferring data in another manner. These days USB thumb drives are inexpensive and have a fairly large storage capacity. External hard drives are also fairly inexpensive for the amount of data they can hold and, in the long run, both will probably provide a less expensive (and less cumbersome) method of storing data.
|Released Last Week
Barry Kauler has announced the release of Quirky 6.0, a minimalist distribution (and a fork of Puppy Linux) that attempts to explore new avenues and implement unusual ideas: "Quirky is my fun project to explore new ideas for Linux. I started Quirky Linux in 2009 as a venue to explore new concepts, and I am continuing this. Quirky 6 is the 6.x version series, with a raft of new ideas that I want to try out. It has turned out well, I like it and use Quirky as my every-day Linux distribution. In a nutshell, Quirky 6 is intended to be as small as possible (hence compiled from source in T2), very fast, very simple, and optimised to run on Flash memory media. I also aimed for simplicity, and Quirky is arguably simpler to use than Puppy Linux. There are other extended ideas that are in the pipeline. Quirky 6.0 is deployed as a compressed image for an 8 GB Flash drive." Read the release notes for more information.
José Antonio Calvo has announced the release of Zentyal 3.3, an updated version of the project's Ubuntu-based distribution for small business servers: "The Zentyal development team proudly announces the release of Zentyal Server 3.3, a new version of the Linux alternative to Windows Small Business Server and Microsoft Exchange Server. The most significant benefit it introduces is the option to configure Zentyal as a native Microsoft Exchange replacement. Thanks to the OpenChange integration, it is possible to configure Zentyal Server as an on-premise Microsoft Exchange Server replacement with only two clicks and assign users the most common Microsoft Exchange services just as easily. Users can access these services through a web interface, or continue to use Microsoft Outlook clients as usual without having to install any additional software or plug-in on their computers." Read the full press release for more details and a brief feature list.
Kai Hendry has announced the release of Webconverger 23.0, an updated stable version of the Debian-based distribution with Firefox as the only application and designed primarily for web kiosks: "This 23.0 release is probably our last snapshot for 2013, one that should help turn your PCs into web kiosks or web digital signs. What's new? Linux 3.10 kernel for increased hardware compatibility; Firefox 26 and Flash updates; a change to make installed version upgrades and downgrades more bandwidth efficient; when using a non-English locale, accept language headers are properly set so for some web applications, pages will be automatically in your language. Some of these changes were previously announced on the mailing list, so thanks to all who helped test this release. Please download the latest release and we would love to hear from you." Here is the brief release announcement.
Fedora 20, code-named "Heisenbug" and dedicated to well-known Fedora contributor Seth Vidal who passed away in July, has been released: "We can say with great certainty the Fedora Project is pleased to announce the release of Fedora 20 ('Heisenbug'), which coincides with the 10th anniversary of the creation of the Fedora Project. Fedora 20 comes with GNOME 3.10, which has several new applications and features that will please GNOME lovers. This release includes a new music application, a new maps application, a revamp for the system status menu, and Zimbra support in Evolution. In keeping with Fedora's commitment to innovation, the Fedora community has been pushing to make ARM a primary architecture." See the release announcement and release notes for further details.
SparkyLinux 3.2 "E17", "MATE", "CLI"
Paweł Pijanowski has announced the release of SparkyLinux 3.2 "E17", "MATE" and "CLI" editions, a set of Debian-based distributions with Enlightenment, MATE or command-line only user interfaces: "SparkyLinux 3.2 'Annagerman' Enlightenment, MATE & CLI is out. The new live/install media of SparkyLinux 3.2 E17, MATE and CLI feature: Linux kernel 3.11.10; all packages have been upgraded from Debian's testing repositories as of 2013-12-15; MATE 1.6; Enlightenment 0.17.3; PCManFM 1.1.2 (E17 desktop); added support for installing 32-bit applications on 64-bit systems; added the 32-bit WINE package on 64-bit systems; added the cURL package – it's a missing dependency for PlayOnLinux; sparky-aptus has been updated up to version 0.1.6 – added new option 'Fix Broken DPKG'." Here is the brief release announcement.
openSUSE 13.1 "Education Li-f-e"
Lars Vogdt has announced the release of openSUSE 13.1 "Education Li-f-e" edition, an openSUSE flavour designed specifically for schools and other educational institutions: "openSUSE Education community is proud to bring you openSUSE Education Li-f-e. It is based on the recently released openSUSE 13.1 with all the official online updates applied. We have put together a nice set of tools for everyone, including teachers, students, parents and IT administrators. It covers quite a lot of territory: from chemistry, mathematics to astronomy and geography. Whether you are into software development or just someone looking for a Linux distribution that comes with everything working out of the box, your search ends here. Let's briefly go through some of the thing you may find in this release." Continue to the release announcement to learn more.
Cecil Watson has announced the release of LinHES 8.1, an Arch-based distribution for set-top boxes featuring the MythTV home entertainment application: "The LinHES Dev team is pleased to announce the release of LinHES R8.1. This builds upon R8.0 and is the first LinHES release using MythTV 0.27. Special notes: because MythTV is not compatible with older versions, all installs should be updated at the same time; If a system is not updated it will not be able to communicate with the other systems until after it is updated. Special upgrade notes: for people with remote frontends or slave backends the order of upgrade matters - first upgrade the master backend then slave backends, finally remote frontends may be upgraded; it is not possible to update to this release with versions older than R8.0. Changes: MythTV 0.27 with fixes; removal of classic local website. New stuff: Xymon alerts will appear on the console as well as via OSD; new default LinHES theme." Read the release announcement and release notes for further information.
Sabayon Linux 14.01
Fabio Erculiani has announced the release of Sabayon Linux 14.01, a Gentoo-based distribution with a choice several popular desktop environments: "Sabayon 14.01 is a modern and easy-to-use Linux distribution based on Gentoo, following an extreme, yet reliable, rolling-release model. This is a monthly release generated, tested and published to mirrors by our build servers containing the latest and greatest collection of software available in the Entropy repositories. Linux Kernel 3.12.5 with BFQ iosched, updated external ZFS file system support, GNOME 3.10.3, KDE 4.11.4, Xfce 4.10, LibreOffice 4.1.3, UEFI SecureBoot support for 64-bit images (with bundled UEFI shell), systemd as default init system, a greatly improved version of the Entropy package manager supporting concurrent activities...." Read the rest of the release announcement for further information.
Sabayon Linux 14.01 - the KDE desktop variant
(full image size: 482kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
ClearOS 6.5.0 "Community"
Peter Baldwin has announced the release of ClearOS 6.5.0 "Community" edition, a CentOS-based distribution for cloud-connected servers and gateways designed for homes, hobbyists and small organisations: "ClearOS Community 6.5.0 is now available. Along with the usual round of bug fixes and enhancements, the 6.5.0 release introduces QoS, marketplace enhancements, a network detail report, an administrators application, official Amazon EC2 support, a software RAID manager, a network map tool, UPnP support, an updated web server application, as well as new reporting features. Under the hood, some changes were made to support OwnCloud as well as web-based applications (Tiki Wiki, WordPress, Joomla, etc.). For businesses and organizations, ClearOS Professional 6.5.0 also includes: network map for business; Samba 4 and Samba Directory (beta)." See the release announcement and release notes for further information and upgrade instructions.
Yann Le Doaré has announced the release of LinuxConsole 2.0, a major new version of the project's Linux distribution designed primarily for game consoles: "LinuxConsole 2.0 is ready. Features: fast boot; should run on old and new video cards (Intel, NVIDIA, ATI); live CD and live USB; can be installed as a dual-boot system with Windows. Games list: OpenTTD, Tux Paint, 2H4U, BZFlag, Cultivation, ETR, Neverball, XMoto, Frozen Bubble, Danger from the deep, Do'SSi Zo'la, fooBillard, Freecraft, Supertuxkart, Teeworlds. What is new: LinuxConsole is now built from Dibab; the code has been rewritten from scratch; it is very simple to build it, you don't need root access; you can install DEB packages, all binaries are built, but there is great compatibility with the Debian ones. What is inside: BusyBox 1.21.1, Linux kernel 3.12.5, Mesa 9.1.6, X.Org 1.14.3, NetworkManager 0.9.8.6, LXDE (git release), Firefox 26.0 (with a tool that downloads it from Internet)." Here is the brief release announcement.
Jordan Hubbard has announced the release of FreeNAS 9.2.0, a FreeBSD-based operating system that enables the users to build networked storage: "After one early beta and two release candidates, it gives us great pleasure to announce the full and final release of FreeNAS 9.2.0. As implied from the series of pre-releases, this release has benefitted substantially from a great deal of public testing as well as several months of 'living on' testing we ourselves have done on a wide variety of hardware. This is, without a doubt, the best release of FreeNAS yet. Since 9.1.1 was released, we have fixed 268 bugs in the bug tracker, as well as countless others that were found and fixed independently of the bug tracking system. We have also made a number of enhancements to the UI and generally done our best to bring more polish to the FreeNAS system, both in usability and performance." Continue to the release announcement to find out more.
Linux Mint 16 "KDE", "Xfce"
Clement Lefebvre has announced the final release of Linux Mint 16 "KDE" and "Xfce" editions: "The team is proud to announce the release of Linux Mint 16 'Petra' KDE. KDE is a vibrant, innovative, advanced, modern looking and full-featured desktop environment. This edition features all the improvements from the latest Linux Mint release on top of KDE 4.11. ... The team is proud to announce the release of Linux Mint 16 'Petra' Xfce. Xfce is a lightweight desktop environment which aims to be fast and low on system resources, while still being visually appealing and user friendly. This edition features all the improvements from the latest Linux Mint release on top of an Xfce 4.10 desktop." For additional information, screenshots and feature lists please visit the following links: KDE edition announcement, KDE edition what's new, Xfce edition announcement, Xfce edition what's new.
Distribution Release: IPFire 2.13 Core 74
Michael Tremer has announced the release of IPFire 2.13 Core 74, an updated version of the Linux-based, security-hardened distribution for firewalls: "IPFire 2.13 Core Update 74 released. It comes with a bunch of minor updates and fixes some minor bugs. Update to Squid 3.3.11. The latest maintenance update of the Squid web proxy package has been applied. The maximum number of file descriptors has again been increased to 1,048,576 and the issue which made it was impossible for the Squid daemon to set the desired configuration value has been fixed. The OpenVPN package has been updated to version 2.3.2. strongSwan, the package responsible for IPsec VPN connections, has been updated to version 5.1.1. The HTTPS key and certificate that are used for communicating with our IPFire web user interface has been increased to 4,096 bits. This follows the general advice by various authorities. New installations will automatically generate a longer key." Read the release announcement for further details.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
DistroWatch database summary|
* * * * *
This is the last issue of DistroWatch Weekly in 2013. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 6 January 2013. To all our faithful readers we'd like to wish you happy end-of-the-year holidays and see you all in 2014!
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 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|
|• Issue 788 (2018-11-05): Clu Linux Live 6.0, examining RAM consumpion, finding support for older CPUs, more Steam support for running Windows games on Linux, update from Solus team|
|• Issue 787 (2018-10-29): Lubuntu 18.10, limiting application access to specific users, Haiku hardware compatibility list, IBM purchasing Red Hat|
|• Issue 786 (2018-10-22): elementary OS 5.0, why init keeps running, DragonFly BSD enables virtual machine memory resizing, KDE neon plans to drop older base|
|• Issue 785 (2018-10-15): Reborn OS 2018.09, Nitrux 1.0.15, swapping hard drives between computers, feren OS tries KDE spin, power savings coming to Linux|
|• Issue 784 (2018-10-08): Hamara 2.1, improving manual pages, UBports gets VoIP app, Fedora testing power saving feature|
|• Issue 783 (2018-10-01): Quirky 8.6, setting up dual booting with Ubuntu and FreeBSD, Lubuntu switching to LXQt, Mint works on performance improvements|
|• Issue 782 (2018-09-24): Bodhi Linux 5.0.0, Elive 3.0.0, Solus publishes ISO refresh, UBports invites feedback, Linux Torvalds plans temporary vacation|
|• Issue 781 (2018-09-17): Linux Mint 3 "Debian Edition", file systems for SSDs, MX makes installing Flatpaks easier, Arch team answers questions, Mageia reaches EOL|
|• Issue 780 (2018-09-10): Netrunner 2018.08 Rolling, Fedora improves language support, how to customize Kali Linux, finding the right video drivers|
|• Issue 779 (2018-09-03): Redcore 1806, keeping ISO downloads safe from tampering, Lubuntu makes Calamares more flexible, Ubuntu improves GNOME performance|
|• Issue 778 (2018-08-27): GuixSD 0.15.0, ReactOS 0.4.9, Steam supports Windows games on Linux, Haiku plans for beta, merging disk partitions|
|• Issue 777 (2018-08-20): YunoHost 22.214.171.124, limiting process resource usage, converting file systems on Fedora, Debian turns 25, Lubuntu migrating to Wayland|
|• Issue 776 (2018-08-13): NomadBSD 1.1, Maximum storage limits on Linux, openSUSE extends life for 42.3, updates to the Librem 5 phone interface|
|• Issue 775 (2018-08-06): Secure-K OS 18.5, Linux is about choice, Korora tests community spin, elementary OS hires developer, ReactOS boots on Btrfs|
|• Issue 774 (2018-07-30): Ubuntu MATE & Ubuntu Budgie 18.04, upgrading software from source, Lubuntu shifts focus, NetBSD changes support policy|
|• 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|
|• 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 or Linux Mint pre-installed with many more distributions supported. Visit Star Labs for information, to buy and get support.
|Random Distribution |
Superb Mini Server
Superb Mini Server (SMS) is a Slackware-based server distribution with web, DNS, DHCP, file, print and fax servers, iptables firewall, mail server with spam filter and anti-virus scanner, and BitTorrent station. It also includes Webmin, a web-based administration tool, but no graphical desktop. SMS, which comes with Slackware's text-mode system installer, is built using Linux-Live scripts (from Slax) and can be used as a live CD for testing purposes.
|Tips, Tricks, Myths and Q&As |
|Questions and answers: System freezing while deleting files|
|Tips and tricks: Command line weather, ionice, rename files, video preview snapshot, calednar, ls colour settings|
|Tips and tricks: Creating bootable USB drives with UNetbootin|
|Questions and answers: Merging partitions, an alternative to Tails, the differences between su, su - and sudo|
|Questions and answers: On PC-BSD's licence, development team and hardware support|
|Myths and misunderstandings: sudo|
|Tips and tricks: Fix filenames, manage networks from the command line and more command line tips|
|Questions and answers: Forcing applications to run from RAM|
|Tips and tricks: Building software with Ravenports|
|Tips and tricks: Running Android applications on GNU/Linux with Anbox|
|More Tips & Tricks and Questions & Answers|