| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 596, 9 February 2015
Welcome to this year's 6th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Most operating systems have a life cycle. An operating system's life lasts from the time a company or project launches a product through to when security patches are no longer available. This week we talk about the life cycles of various open source projects. In our News section, we begin with a look at Fedora and statistics provided by the project that show patterns in how quickly new Fedora releases are adopted. Plus we look at FreeBSD's new support policy which should simplify tracking and maintaining FreeBSD releases. This week we say a fond good-bye to the CrunchBang distribution as openSUSE ceases support for openSUSE 12.3. Plus, we talk about new features coming to (and going from) systemd and share an announcement that Fedora and CentOS are working together to improve the Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux software repository. Our Feature story this week examines an unusual project, ArchBSD, which marries the pacman package manager with the FreeBSD operating system. Read on to find out how ArchBSD compares to plain FreeBSD. In our Questions and Answers column this week we discuss easy ways to encrypt e-mail messages and then we share distribution torrents we are seeding this week. Plus we are thrilled to publicly announce DistroWatch has a new sibling website, CryptoCoin.cc. Check out our introduction to CryptoCoin.cc below. As usual, we cover the distribution releases of the past week and look ahead to exciting new developments to come. We wish you all a wonderful week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
First impressions of ArchBSD 2014.09.04
I am always on the lookout for open source projects that are either doing something unusual or taking a new approach to an old problem. Projects such as Debian GNU/kFreeBSD are interesting to me because they mix technologies we usually do not get to see used together. The ArchBSD distribution is one such project which mixes software together in unusual ways. Discussions about ArchBSD have caught my attention a few times, but I had not tested the distribution until this past week.
According to the ArchBSD website, the project offers "a lightweight and flexible BSD distribution that tries to Keep It Simple." The project's wiki has more details. Essentially, ArchBSD is a combination of the FreeBSD operating system mixed with the pacman package manager. The pacman software manager is usually found in Arch Linux and its derivatives. ArchBSD provides potential users with a live disc that boots to a command line and, from there, instructions and scripts are provided to help users build a FreeBSD operating system from the ground up. Most of ArchBSD is vanilla FreeBSD, but with software handled by pacman. I thought this was an interesting approach. Package management on FreeBSD could be awkward until fairly recently and, though the FreeBSD pkg package manager has simplified working with software, building a custom FreeBSD system and handling software through pacman does hold a certain appeal in my mind.
I ran into a problem right away in my ArchBSD trial as there wasn't any download link on the project's Download page. Checking the mirror list showed there were no mirrors providing copies of ArchBSD. I later found a link to ArchBSD images in the project's installation guide. There were two download options for ArchBSD, a 580MB ISO image for optical media and a 700MB image for USB thumb drives. Both flavours of ArchBSD provide a live command line only interface and run exclusively on 64-bit x86 processors.
Booting from the live media brings us to a text console where we can login as the root user without a password. In the live environment we have access to basic UNIX command line utilities and the pacman package manager. There is no graphical desktop available. The ArchBSD project, though based on FreeBSD, does not use the usual FreeBSD system installer. People wishing to install ArchBSD should follow one of the project's installation guides. One guide covers the steps required to install the distribution on a traditional file system and another guide walks us through installing ArchBSD in a ZFS storage pool. A copy of the installation instructions are available locally in the root user's home directory on the live disc. I opted to take the first option and installed ArchBSD on a UFS partition. Though I had to make some small adjustments to the install instructions to make sure device and directory names matched those available to me in my test environments, I found the installation guide provided the necessary instructions to get a working copy of ArchBSD on my computer.
Booting into our fresh installation of ArchBSD brings us to a text console where we can login as root. When we first get started with the distribution we have access to basic command line utilities, the Clang compiler, manual pages and the pacman package manager. At first I found I did not have an active network connection. The ArchBSD wiki has a page on setting up networking, but I found it did not work for me and the command mentioned in the guide was not available in the distribution's default set of software. I worked around this by activating networking and obtaining an IP address through a start-up script.
ArchBSD uses the pacman package manager to install, update and remove software. The pacman utility works quickly and, I found, it did a good job of finding software, resolving dependencies and installing new packages. Though pacman uses a somewhat cryptic syntax, its manual page can guide new users through the basic commands. It appears to me as though ArchBSD pulls packages from a custom repository of software which, I suspect, is built using the FreeBSD ports collection, though I may be mistaken on how the binary packages are built.
ArchBSD appears to be developed with the idea the distribution will be set up as a server, or at least as an operating system that is accessed via the command line. I did not find much documentation about dealing with desktop environments or setting up a graphical interface. There are packages in the distribution's repository that provide the X display server and various desktop environments such as LXDE. I found these packages would install, but installing the X software, a display manager and desktop environment and enabling the login manager did not produce a working graphical environment. A little searching through the configuration files revealed that packages were sometimes installed in locations other than what configuration files expected. For example, a FreeBSD configuration file might look for software in the /usr/local/bin directory, but ArchBSD's package manager places the software in /usr/bin. This means some software will not work until the configuration settings are changed. After a while I gave up on the idea of running ArchBSD as a desktop operating system and focused on setting up network services.
Using pacman, I installed a few programs and services. I found pacman always performed well, finding and installing the software I wanted. However, I also found that sometimes pieces of packages I expected to find were missing. For example, when I installed the Apache web server, I could not locate the service's configuration files. Usually FreeBSD's Apache packages install minimal configuration files in locations such as /usr/local/etc or /etc. Though ArchBSD packages did not always provide the configuration framework I wanted, the distribution does include the FreeBSD pkg package manager and we can install FreeBSD packages using pkg. When I installed Apache using pkg the configuration files I wanted were placed in /usr/local/etc directory.
Something else I noticed while experimenting with ArchBSD was that some software available to us appears to be out of date. For instance, the ArchBSD repositories feature the Apache web server, version 2.2, while the FreeBSD package repository offers Apache 2.4. I also noticed ArchBSD provides us with a base platform consisting of the FreeBSD 10.0 operating system. At the time of writing FreeBSD 10.0 is nearing its end of life. Meanwhile, FreeBSD 10.1 has been available for a few months. At first I had hoped to upgrade my FreeBSD software using a tool called freebsd-update, but it appears as though ArchBSD does not include this software in the distribution. Instead we need to wait for ArchBSD to release an update to the base operating system or, possibly, update FreeBSD by building the project's source code and installing it ourselves. The lack of updated software in the base operating system made me wonder for a minute whether ArchBSD was still updating its packages. It appears the project is still actively putting out updated packages for FreeBSD ports. I will be interested in seeing whether ArchBSD updates its base operating system prior to FreeBSD 10.0 reaching its end of life at the end of February.
When running ArchBSD in a virtual machine I found the distribution performed well. The operating system booted quickly and was fast when performing tasks. Sound worked within the virtual environment and I was able to play music files. ArchBSD, when run in VirtualBox, required little of my host computer's CPU resources, making it a light virtual guest. When running on physical hardware I found ArchBSD ran quickly and networking worked for me. Sound, on the other hand, did not work out of the box. I found the operating system required approximately 12MB of active memory and 40MB of wired memory when I was working from the command line.
ArchBSD is a project that I find interesting, in an abstract way. I can see the appeal of putting a feature rich and capable package manager in a distribution of FreeBSD. Plus, I always like to see combinations of technology fitted together just to find out if it will work. However, I get the impression the ArchBSD project does not currently have enough volunteers to keep up with upstream development. With ArchBSD we get a more hands on installation process and we get a fast and powerful package manager and we end up with a working installation of FreeBSD. On the other hand, some software is lagging behind upstream and I ran into trouble when trying to turn my ArchBSD installation into a desktop environment. Plus, there seemed to be some conflict between where FreeBSD (the operating system) expected software to reside and where pacman (the package manager) wanted to place software.
Switching from using the pacman software manager to the pkg package manager fixed most problems I had relating to software. Using pkg I was able to set up a graphical user interface, install a modern version of the Apache web server and configuration files appeared in the places I expected to find them.
As I see it, the ArchBSD project appears to have three goals. The first one, providing a lightweight BSD operating system that keeps configuration simple, I feel has been achieved. The second, marrying FreeBSD and pacman, has also been accomplished, though with a few rough edges. The third, maintaining a cutting edge operating system, is more of a mixed situation. Some packages are very much up to date, other components lag behind.
From a practical point of view, I'm sure most people will stick with running either Arch Linux or vanilla FreeBSD. However, as an experiment into what is possible, ArchBSD does provide us with something interesting, something a little different. With some work to flesh out the documentation and more volunteers to keep the base operating system up to date, I think ArchBSD could be a viable server operating system.
* * * * *
Hardware used in this review
My physical test equipment for this review was a desktop HP Pavilon p6 Series with the following specifications:
- Processor: Dual-core 2.8GHz AMD A4-3420 APU
- Storage: 500GB Hitachi hard drive
- Memory: 6GB of RAM
- Networking: Realtek RTL8111 wired network card
- Display: AMD Radeon HD 6410D video card
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Fedora upgrade statistics and the EPEL package repository, new features planned for systemd, FreeBSD overhauls its support policies, CrunchBang discontinued and openSUSE 12.3 reaches its end of life
The Fedora distribution is well known as a cutting edge project, always on the front lines when it comes to adopting new technologies. But are Fedora users always quick to upgrade? Statistics provided by Fedora's software repositories suggest about a third of Fedora users upgrade early, hopping to new releases. Fedora Magazine provides more details: "There's a general third/third/third split in updating: when a new Fedora release comes out, a third of users update almost immediately, another third update by end-of-life when the "N+1" release is out, and the final third end up as a long tail which persists forever. The chart basically starts with Fedora 6, and as you can see, Fedora 8 was very, very popular. If you take F8 out, you see a general period of growth in the peaks from F6 onward, until we hit Fedora 15 (a release with a lot of change, including systemd and GNOME 3). Those users didn't leave, though -- they just didn't update, and F15 never exceeded F14 during its supported lifetime. Now, it's heartening to see Fedora 20 back up to the levels of earlier releases."
The Fedora Magazine goes on to talk about increased cooperation between Fedora's Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux (EPEL) and CentOS. The increased collaboration between the two projects will make it easier for CentOS developers to contribute to the EPEL and will make it easier for CentOS users to access and benefit from EPEL packages.
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System administrators running most Linux distributions can look forward to several new features coming to systemd later this year. Mattias Geniar shares his notes from Fosdem, including those taken during a presentation done by systemd's lead developer, Lennart Poettering. Some of the upcoming features which stand out include service oriented firewall support, incorporating network interface management into systemd, remote network support for the journald logging software over HTTP connections and new Secure Boot checks to insure the boot process has not been compromised. One feature being removed from systemd is read ahead, a process designed to decrease boot times by anticipating data needed during boot time. Poettering reports all systemd developers now use SSD disk drives rather than spinning disks, making it impractical to test the read ahead feature.
* * * * *
Matthew Seaman posted a detailed note last week with regards to changes in the FreeBSD support model. The new support model is designed to reduce the time it takes to respond to bugs and security issues as well as clarify which branches of FreeBSD will receive support and for how long. "These changes to the FreeBSD support policy will reduce turnaround time for security advisories and errata notices, provide binary package sets that are more closely aligned with the latest FreeBSD release from a given branch, and clearly define the minimum length of time that a branch will receive support." Starting with FreeBSD 11.0, product branches will be supported for a minimum of five years and new major releases/branches will be created, at most, every two years. These changes should make it easier for IT departments to plan FreeBSD upgrades and support cycles.
* * * * *
Philip Newborough posted some sad news on the CrunchBang forums last week, announcing he would cease working on the Debian-based distribution. "For anyone who has been involved with Linux for the past ten years or so, I'm sure they'll agree that things have moved on. Whilst some things have stayed exactly the same, others have changed beyond all recognition. It's called progress and, for the most part, progress is a good thing. That said, when progress happens, some things get left behind, and for me, CrunchBang is something that I need to leave behind. I'm leaving it behind because I honestly believe that it no longer holds any value, and whilst I could hold on to it for sentimental reasons, I don't believe that would be in the best interest of its users, who would benefit from using vanilla Debian." If you currently use CrunchBang what are your plans for the future? Leave us a comment below.
* * * * *
Last week Benjamin Brunner posted a note to the openSUSE Announce mailing list, reminding openSUSE consumers that the 12.3 release of the distribution has reached its end of life. "With the release of flash-player on January 29th, 2015 the SUSE sponsored maintenance of openSUSE 12.3 has ended. openSUSE 12.3 is now officially discontinued and out of support by SUSE. openSUSE 12.3 was released on March 13th 2013, making it [one year and] 11 months of security and bugfix support." The post goes on to share statistics relating to openSUSE 12.3 packages and security fixes provided over the life time of the release.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Working with encrypted e-mail
Securing-my-messages asks: I would like to secure my e-mail using encryption. Any tips for the best/easiest way to do that? I'm not a guru.
DistroWatch answers: There are two approaches I like to recommend to people who want to send and receive encrypted messages. If you are already using the Thunderbird e-mail client, then working with encrypted messages is surprisingly straight forward. All you will need is the Thunderbird Enigmail add-on. Once the Enigmail add-on is installed, either through Thunderbird or as a package from the Enigmail website, a new menu labelled Enigmail will appear in your Thunderbird window. Click the Enigmail menu and select the Setup Wizard option. The wizard will walk you through the process of generating a security key, including setting a password on the key so only you can use it. Once your security key has been created, each time you start writing a new e-mail an Enigmail button will appear at the top of your Thunderbird window. Clicking the Enigmail button will give you the option of encryption and/or signing your message.
Enigmail -- Encrypting an e-mail message
(full image size: 82kB, resolution: 726x466 pixels)
When you receive encrypted or signed messages the Enigmail add-on will prompt you for your security key password and then display the unencrypted message. A notification bar at the top of the window will let you know who the encrypted message is from and whether Enigmail thinks you trust the person who sent the e-mail.
The above approach works well if you use an e-mail client such as Thunderbird, but if you are more of a web-mail person then you will need to perform a different series of steps. One program I quite like for managing encrypted messages is KGpg. It is a graphical application that, like Enigmail, will walk us through the steps required to create a security key and set a password on the key. Once our key has been created, we can click on KGpg's File menu and then select Open Editor. The KGpg editor allows us to write a message and then sign and/or encrypt the message with the click of a button. We can then copy and paste the encrypted message into any e-mail we like and send it to someone else.
KGpg -- Editing text prior to encrypting a message
(full image size: 43kB, resolution: 904x404 pixels)
When we receive encrypted e-mails we can open KGpg, again go to the File menu and select Open Editor. Then we paste the encrypted message into the editor and click the Decrypt button. We will be prompted for our password and then the unscrambled message will be displayed.
While not quite as straight forward as using Enigmail, KGpg works in a wide variety of situations, not just e-mail. Really, anything involving security keys, signed messages or encryption can be handled via KGpg.
The most difficult challenge when it comes to securing e-mail messages, I find, is getting other people to also use encryption tools. The vast majority of people tend not to worry about whether their e-mails are private and so rarely give encryption a thought. However, if you do have the opportunity or the need to send scrambled messages then Enigmail and KGpg are the easiest solutions I have found to date.
Bittorrent is a great way to transfer large files, particularly open source operating system images, from one place to another. Most bittorrent clients recover from dropped connections automatically, check the integrity of files and can re-download corrupted bits of data without starting a download over from scratch. These characteristics make bittorrent well suited for distributing open source operating systems, particularly to regions where Internet connections are slow or unstable.
Many Linux and BSD projects offer bittorrent as a download option, partly for the reasons listed above and partly because bittorrent's peer-to-peer nature takes some of the strain off the project's servers. However, some projects do not offer bittorrent as a download option. There can be several reasons for excluding bittorrent as an option. Some projects do not have enough time or volunteers, some may be restricted by their web host provider's terms of service. Whatever the reason, the lack of a bittorrent option puts more strain on a distribution's bandwidth and may prevent some people from downloading their preferred open source operating system.
With this in mind, DistroWatch plans to give back to the open source community by hosting and seeding bittorrent files for distributions that do not offer a bittorrent option themselves. This is a feature we are experimenting with and we are open to feedback on how to improve upon the idea.
For now, we are hosting a small number of distribution torrents, listed below. The list of torrents offered will be updated each week and we invite readers to e-mail us with suggestions as to which distributions we should be hosting. When you message us, please place the word "Torrent" in the subject line and please make sure the project you are recommending does not already host its own torrents. We want to primarily help distributions and users who do not already have a torrent option. To help us maintain and grow this free service, please consider making a donation.
The table below provides a list of torrents we currently host. If you do not currently have a bittorrent client capable of handling the linked files, we suggest installing either the Transmission or KTorrent bittorrent clients.
Archives of our previously seeded torrents may be found here. All torrents we make available here will also be listed on the very useful Linux Tracker website. Thanks to Linux Tracker we are able to share the following torrent statistics.
Torrent Corner statistics:
- Total torrents seeded: 16
- Total downloads completed: 2213
- Total data uploaded: 937GB
|Released Last Week
Josh Smith has announced the availability of PC-BSD 10.1.1. The new release features improved management of software upgrades, better GPT support and all desktop utilities have been ported to Qt 5. "PC-BSD 10.1.1 notable changes: brand new system updater which supports automatic background updating of the system; many improvements to boot-environments and GRUB support for a wider variety of setups; support for installation to a specific GPT partition and GPT dual-booting improvements; conversion to Qt 5 for all desktop utilities; fixes to using dtrace when booted from GRUB; re-write of Mount Tray utility, improves mounting of external media." The release announcement has further details and instructions for upgrading from a previous version of PC-BSD.
Raspberry Pi, a much-loved single-board computer that sells for US$35, is evolving - with version 2 announced yesterday. With the hardware comes a new release of Raspbian (as well as NOOBS, a beginner-friendly compilation of several popular operating systems designed for Raspberry Pi). As Raspberry Pi 2 is built using the ARMv7 processor, the latest Raspbian now comes with a Linux kernel built for ARMv7: "Raspberry Pi 2 is available to buy today. Remember you'll need an updated NOOBS or Raspbian image including an ARMv7 kernel and modules from our downloads page. At launch, we are using the same ARMv6 Raspbian userland on both Raspberry Pi 1 and 2; over the next few months we will investigate whether we can obtain higher performance from regular ARMv7 Debian, or whether we can selectively replace a small number of libraries to get the best of both worlds. Now that we're using an ARMv7 core, we can also run Ubuntu."
Simplicity Linux 15.1
David Purse has announced the release of Simplicity Linux 15.1, a set of Puppy Linux-based distributions with LXDE as the preferred desktop and now also a separate 64-bit edition featuring the KDE 4.10.5 desktop: "The final release of Simplicity Linux 15.1 is finally available for download. Simplicity 15.1 is based on Slacko, and uses the LXDE desktop environment for Netbook and Desktop editions. Also, we are proud to announce the release of our first 64-bit edition: X. X 15.1 is a 64-bit only release and uses KDE as its desktop. Netbook and Desktop editions are our only 32-bit releases for this cycle. One thing we are particularly pleased to bring you this release cycle is the fact that Simplicity Linux can view Netflix content straight out the box. You do not need to update libraries, change agent strings, or anything else. Just use the shortcut or use Chrome to view Netflix content." Continue to the release announcement for more information.
Simplicity Linux 15.1 -- Default desktop and setup screen
(full image size: 2.4MB, resolution: 1600x1200 pixels)
The Q4OS team has announced the availability of Q4OS 0.5.25. The new release includes improved support for Broadcom wireless drivers and adds new software repository handling command line utilities. From the release announcement: "Firmware for many Broadcom wireless devices has been included, so Q4OS will automatically recognize and make ready most of the BCM43 and other wireless network cards. New command line tools 'qrepoadd', 'qreporm' and 'qrepolist' has been introduced to easily handle external repositories, for example 'sudo qrepoadd trinity' adds complete Trinity repository. Q4OS Development Pack is now able to create more comfortable password-less installers for privileged 'sudo' users. It will be used to update most of standard Q4OS application installers in the following weeks. A few another improvements and bug fixes is provided, particularly for alternative KDE4 desktop environment."
Phil Müller has announced the release of Manjaro Linux 0.8.12, a new stable release of the Arch Linux-based distribution with separate editions featuring Xfce and KDE desktops: "We're happy to announce the 0.8.12 release of Manjaro Linux installation media, including images for the Xfce and KDE 4 desktop environments, and our minimal 'Net' edition. Great progress is being made with our new 0.9 series installation media that uses the Calamares installer, along with our new KDE Plasma 5 installation media, but since neither is quite ready yet we're providing updated 0.8 series installation media that uses our legacy installer, Thus. This release is predominantly a maintenance release and includes very few changes to system defaults relative to the previous 0.8.11 ISO images, with some notable exceptions, such as out-of-the-box support for the exFAT file system and the change to Pacman 4.2." Continue to the release announcement for more details.
Chris Smart has announced the release of Korora 21, a set of user-friendly desktop Linux distributions, based on Fedora 21, with a choice of Cinnamon, GNOME, KDE and Xfce desktops: "It has taken a few weeks longer than we had hoped, but we're finally happy to announce that the final release of version 21 (code name 'Darla') is now available for download (we strongly recommend using BitTorrent). The 21 beta was quite successful and we were able to make some minor changes to help improve the overall experience. Users who are currently on the beta need not re-install, updates are provided via the package manager. Users who are on 20 may consider upgrading, however this is not necessary as version 20 is supported for another 6 months or so." Read the rest of the release announcement for a detailed introduction to the new release.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|Welcome to CryptoCoin.cc (by Ladislav Bodnar)
Welcome to CryptoCoin.cc
Some of our faithful readers have already noticed the inconspicuous link in the main navigation bar. Every day, a few dozens of curious visitors come to the new website and it looks like a few regulars have bookmarked it already. And, just last week, I received the first email with suggestions for improvements and words of encouragement. But this is the very first time I am announcing DistroWatch's brand-new sister project - CryptoCoin.cc!
Why start another Bitcoin/altcoin/cryptocoin website, you might ask. While there are indeed many sites about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on the Internet, most of them seem to focus on the financial and investment aspects of these revolutionary payment systems. In contrast, CryptoCoin.cc intends to present the technical angle of the software powering the ever increasing number of cryptocurrencies - by delivering information about special features and software innovation found in these projects. After all, Bitcoin is really just software, created by an incredibly brilliant mind and maintained by a small group of highly skilled developers. But it is not set in stone; on the contrary, it continues to evolve - it receives feature updates, security fixes and code enhancements.
The same holds true for most of the newer cryptocurrencies. Although some of them might be nothing more than a copy of Bitcoin with a few parameters changed (not unlike an Ubuntu remix with a new wallpaper and a different set of default applications), many cryptocurrency developers bring remarkably innovative ideas to the original software and often deliver dramatic improvements and exciting features. This I find very interesting to watch. While Bitcoin is clearly the dominant cryptocurrency at the moment, nobody knows what the future holds and which of these "altcoins" will gather enough momentum to challenge Bitcoin's dominance. After all, choice is good and nobody understands that better than us, the Linux distro hoppers who frequent this website ;-)
CryptoCoin.cc is just over two months young. As such, the content is rather limited - there is a front-page news section with announcements of recent cryptocurrency releases and a total of about 50 cryptocoins in the database. I re-used much of the PHP code and ideas behind DistroWatch to build the new project, so you'll find the old (and still controversial) favourites like the CryptoCoin.cc Page Hit Ranking statistics or the more useful Search Cryptocoins page, but there are some new sections, such as the expanding Terminology page to help with navigating the sometimes quirky language of "cryptotalk". I have also built a multi-lingual news page that aggregates many popular Bitcoin and altcoin-related news sites from around the world. Several new sections and further enhancements are in the planning stage.
For those of you interested in this exciting and potentially hugely disruptive phenomenon, please do check out CryptoCoin.cc and the dozens of cryptocurrencies already listed there. Who knows - you might find your personal favourite, join the project's forums, do some coin "mining" and maybe even help with the development. And if there are any crypto experts among the DistroWatch Weekly readers, I'd really appreciate your feedback and suggestions, especially for the search page, but also on the individual cryptocurrencies - please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Distributions added to waiting list|
- Guix System Distribution. Guix System Distribution is an operating system created by the GNU project to demonstrate the Guix package manager.
- Flambe.OS. Flambe.OS is a Linux distribution for 64-bit x86 computers. It ships with the E19 window manager.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
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This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 16 February 2015. 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)
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 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|
|• Issue 721 (2017-07-17): Fedora 26, finding source based distributions, installing DragonFly BSD using Orca, Yunit packages ported to Ubuntu 16.04|
|• Issue 720 (2017-07-10): Peppermint OS 8, gathering system information with osquery, new features coming to openSUSE, Tails fixes networking bug|
|• Issue 719 (2017-07-03): Manjaro 17.0.2, tracking ISO files, Ubuntu MATE unveils new features, Qubes tests Admin API, Fedora's Atomic Host gets new life cycle|
|• Issue 718 (2017-06-26): Debian 9, support for older hardware, Debian updates live media, Ubuntu's new networking tool, openSUSE gains MP3 support|
|• Issue 717 (2017-06-19): SharkLinux, combining commands in the shell, Debian 9 flavours released, OpenBSD improving kernel security, UBports releases first OTA update|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
Linux From Scratch
Linux From Scratch (LFS) is a project that provides you with the steps necessary to build your own custom Linux system. There are a lot of reasons why somebody would want to install an LFS system. The question most people raise is "why go through all the hassle of manually installing a Linux system from scratch when you can just download an existing distribution like Debian or Redhat". That is a valid question which I hope to answer for you. The most important reason for LFS's existence is teaching people how a Linux system works internally. Building an LFS system teaches you about all that makes Linux tick, how things work together, and depend on each other. And most importantly, how to customize it to your own taste and needs.