| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 599, 2 March 2015
Welcome to this year's 9th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
One of the most amazing aspects of the open source community is its diversity. There is a wide selection of distributions, desktop environments, word processors and even compilers from which to choose. This week we cast a wide net, sampling bits of news and updates from all over the Linux landscape. We begin with a review of Sabayon, a Gentoo-based distribution that offers many editions and cutting edge software. In our News section this week we discuss the Debian project's plans to make it easy to verify that software installed on our computers has not been tampered with. We also discuss Linux Mint's upcoming launch of the new Linux Mint Debian Edition and provide links to test images for people wanting to try out the beta for themselves. Plus, we talk about new system administration modules coming to openSUSE via the YaST configuration panel and report on the Linux kernel's latest version bump. In our Tips and Tricks column this week we discuss selecting good passwords and then we share the torrents we are seeding this week in our Torrent Corner. Plus, we cover the distribution releases of the past week and welcome Ubuntu MATE as the latest distribution to be added to our database. We wish you all a fantastic week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
First look at Sabayon 15.02
Sabayon is a rolling release, Gentoo-based distribution. I hadn't looked at the project in a while and one of our readers asked if I would revisit this distribution that attempts to deliver cutting edge packages. According to the project's website, Sabayon tries to provide a reliable operating system with modern packages and multimedia support. "We aim to deliver the best "out of the box" user experience by providing the latest open source technologies in an elegant format. In Sabayon everything should just work. We offer a bleeding edge operating system that is both stable and reliable."
Sabayon offers four editions of the distribution -- GNOME, KDE, Xfce and Minimal. Each edition is available for 64-bit x86 machines exclusively. I opted to download the KDE image which is 2.2GB in size. Booting from the live media brings up a boot menu where we can choose to launch a live desktop environment, run the system installer, install a media centre edition of the distribution or install Steam Big Picture. We can also choose to launch a console only mode, handy for trouble-shooting problems. I will come back to the media centre and Steam interfaces a little later.
Choosing to load the live desktop presents us with the KDE desktop. The background is bright blue and the application menu, task panel and system tray sit at the bottom of the screen. On the desktop we find icons for visiting Sabayon's donation page and accessing on-line help. Clicking the on-line help icon opens the Chromium web browser and connects us to an IRC channel where we can get support. There is also an icon on the desktop for launching the project's system installer. I tried running the system installer and nothing happened. Opening a virtual terminal and manually launching the system installer displayed a series of errors and, ultimately, the installer didn't open. I rebooted Sabayon and tried running the system installer from the boot menu. The result was Sabayon came on-line and displayed the Fluxbox window manager. There was no sign of the system installer and, when I tried again to launch the installer from the command line, I merely got some cryptic error messages for my efforts.
Sabayon 15.02.1 -- KDE System Settings and application menu
(full image size: 512kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
Originally, I downloaded Sabayon 15.02 back in January and soon put the distribution aside when I ran into trouble with the installer. In February I noticed a minor update to Sabayon had been released, this new series of images carried the version number 15.02.1. I downloaded this new ISO and found it to be virtually identical to the 15.02 ISO. The key difference was I could launch the system installer from the new Sabayon media.
Sabayon uses the same graphical installer currently used by the Fedora distribution. The installer begins by asking us to select our preferred language and we can optionally select our keyboard's layout from this screen. We are then brought to a hub navigation screen where we can proceed through modules that will help us set the date & time, partition our hard disk, set our computer's hostname and adjust our keyboard's layout. For the most part these modules worked well. I found the partitioning module to be complex to navigate, but it did work. Using the partition manager we can set up either LVM or Btrfs volumes. Alternatively we can choose to work with standard partition types such as ext4. Once we have completed each module we can advance to the next hub screen while the installer begins copying its files in the background. The second hub screen presents us with modules for creating a user account for ourselves and setting a password on the root account. When the installer finishes setting up our local copy of Sabayon we are advised to restart the computer and then the installer exits. Though I found the installer's interface to be sluggish at times, it did successfully create a local copy of Sabayon on my computer.
The first time I installed Sabayon I did so by launching the system installer from the live disc's boot menu. Exiting the installer left me in the Fluxbox window manager interface. When I tried to close Fluxbox I was immediately logged back into the live user account and the installer was launched again. I found I had to open a virtual terminal and shut down the computer from the command line to terminate the running session.
Sabayon 15.02.1 -- Checking hardware information with KInfoCenter
(full image size: 438kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
Booting into our fresh copy of Sabayon brings us to a graphical login screen. From here we can sign into a range of environments, including the KDE desktop (version 4.14), the Fluxbox window manager, SteamBox and a media centre. Fluxbox is a fairly bare bones offering. I tried using it for a while and it works, but I think Fluxbox is meant to act as a fallback option in the event KDE breaks. The media centre option works, giving us access to a full screen media player. However, when I attempted to sign out of the media centre, my session froze and I ended up rebooting the machine to get back to a login screen. SteamBox is intended to give us a game console style interface, linking us to Valve's large array of games. This seems nice in theory, but when I tried to use SteamBox the Steam software downloaded and then refused to run. The Steam software verified its installation and no error message was provided, but SteamBox always crashed when I tried to launch it. This left me to use KDE during most of my Sabayon trial.
Logging into KDE I found the same bright blue wallpaper that was present on the live disc. The icons on the desktop were mostly the same, though a new icon for the Rigo package manager had been added and the system installer icon had been swapped out for a Steam launcher (probably because I had launched the SteamBox session earlier). I tried launching Steam from the KDE desktop and found Steam would open an invisible window and hang. The Steam process had to be terminated manually in order to remove Steam's entry from the task switcher.
Opening the Rigo application manager brings up a window where we can see a list of software categories and each category's associated icon. A message at the top of the window asks if our repository information should be refreshed. This seemed like a good idea and so I waited a for a minute while Rigo grabbed a fresh package list. Rigo then displayed a notice advising it had found project news I should read. Opting to view the news brings up a list of headlines. Clicking on a headline opens our web browser to display the full news post. One of the most recent news items indicated Sabayon had depreciated support for OpenRC in favour of the systemd init software.
Sabayon 15.02.1 -- The Rigo software manager
(full image size: 407kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
After reading the news posts, I clicked Rigo's Home button to clear away the news and show a list of actions the package manager can take. Rigo will show us available software, installed software and available kernels and will perform housekeeping tasks as well as attempt to find the fasted repository mirror. Browsing through lists of packages, we can click on an item to bring up two action buttons. Clicking one button installs the highlighted package, clicking the other button displays a full screen of information about the package. While most package managers display a summary of what the package does, Rigo provides technical information such as USE flags enabled during the building of the package, the size of the package and the license attached to the software. Once we click the button to install the available package, Rigo counts down from 10 to give us time to change our minds, then a prompt appears asking for the system's root password.
While using the Rigo software manager, I frequently saw notifications that the system could be upgraded. Confirming the upgrade should proceed usually caused Rigo to just sit, apparently doing nothing. Then the update notice would typically reappear. I found if I closed Rigo and relaunched the software manager, the update notification would not appear again until after I had installed or removed a package.
If it seems like I'm spending a lot of time talking about Sabayon's package manager, that's because the experience was so foreign to me when compared against other Linux software managers. I was never sure exactly what Rigo was doing, or if it was, in fact, doing anything. For example, a few times I tried to install a package and Rigo, once it received my root password, would just sit and apparently do nothing. The package manager wasn't accessing the disk nor my network connection. Other times packages would install immediately without any problems. In another instance I tried to install LibreOffice and was informed LibreOffice depended on several other, unrelated packages such as GNOME's virtual terminal, a TCP daemon, the QEMU virtual machine software, network configuration tools and a range of fonts (specifically Korean, Chinese and Japanese fonts). To get LibreOffice on my system I had to agree to installing all these other items too, which seems like an odd (and large) group of dependencies. LibreOffice did, in fact, install and work, but it caused my disk usage to balloon in the process.
Sabayon ships with an interesting collection of software. In the application menu we find the Chromium web browser (with Flash enabled), the Konqueror web browser, the VNCviewer application, the Konversation IRC client and the Kopete instant messaging software. The KPPP dial-up software and Network Manager are present to help us get on-line. The KOrganizer personal organizer is present along with the Okular document viewer. I didn't find any productivity suite in the default install, but LibreOffice and AbiWord are available in the project's software repositories. The distribution further ships with the Clementine audio player, the k3b disc burning software, the VLC multimedia player and the XBMC media centre software. Sabayon ships with media codecs out of the box. The application menu features the Gwenview image viewer, a small collection of games, the Dolphin file manager, the KDE Partition Manager and the KInfoCenter hardware browser. The KDE System Settings panel is available to help us customize the look and behaviour of the desktop environment. I also found the KUser account manager, the Ark archive manager, a calculator and the KWrite text editor. Some accessibility tools such as a screen magnifier and a screen reader are present. One section of the application menu includes links to key areas of the Sabayon project's website and documentation. Sabayon is unusual in that the distribution does not ship with the GNU Compiler Collection, as many Linux-based distributions do. Instead, Sabayon ships with the Clang compiler. Personally, I quite like Clang for its performance, clean optimizations and clear error messages so I was happy to see Sabayon ship this compiler as the default. The distribution provides version 3.18 of the Linux kernel.
While using Sabayon I noticed a few quirks. For example, when I opened the Chromium web browser after signing into my account, the KDE Wallet application would open and ask me to configure my wallet. I noticed something similar last week during my experiment with the Vivaldi web browser. Personally, I'd rather my web browser avoid such external dependencies as it gets annoying quickly. Something else that was less bothersome, but I found it interesting, is that the user account manager creates new user accounts with UIDs starting at 500 while the system installer begins creating users in the 1000 range. We can override the behaviour of the account manager and assign higher version numbers, which are becoming more common these days.
I tried running Sabayon on a desktop computer and in a VirtualBox virtual machine. In both environments the distribution performed well. The desktop was responsive, all my hardware was properly detected and my screen was set to its maximum resolution. Sabayon automatically integrated with VirtualBox when run in the virtual environment. I found that when logged into KDE the distribution used approximately 450MB of memory. The only serious issue I ran into while running Sabayon was that, occasionally, the operating system would not log me out of my account, nor shutdown the computer when I tried to leave my KDE session. The system wouldn't hang, I could continue working, but trying to log out or power off the machine sometimes produced no effect.
Sabayon 15.02.1 -- Managing user accounts
(full image size: 482kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
Were I to try to sum up my experience with the latest Sabayon snapshot in one word it would be: buggy. Putting aside for a moment my aborted attempt to install 15.02 and waiting until the 15.02.1 release was made available, there were several aspects of Sabayon that just did not work for me. The SteamBox console, Steam on the desktop and exiting the media centre were at the top of my list. Though it did not happen frequently, on a few occasions I was unable to logout of my account or shutdown the computer from within KDE. The Rigo package manager regularly nagged me to update packages, though there never seemed to be anything new to download. When I first installed Sabayon, the system installer finished and left me in the Fluxbox environment and any attempt to shutdown Fluxbox caused the installer to launch and start the installation over again.
My feelings toward Sabayon would be more positive if I felt the distribution was successfully bringing something new or special to the table in exchange for the headaches it caused. At first I had thought having a console-like Steam interface or media centre might be nice, but neither of these features worked for me. All in all, Sabayon provided me with a fairly average KDE desktop experience, with the occasional glitch and frustrating package management.
The Sabayon project claims to provide an experience that offers bleeding edge software on a reliable platform. However, my experiences from this past week suggest that the two characteristics are mutually exclusive. Reliable and bleeding edge do not go merrily hand-in-hand, sooner or later the cutting edge catches up with us and causes problems.
* * * * *
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)
Debian works toward reproducible builds, Linux Mint tests its upcoming Debian Edition, new YaST modules coming to openSUSE and the Linux kernel gets a version bump
Open source software allows interested parties to examine the source code of a library or application in order to determine that the software is safe to use. However, most Linux distributions provide binary packages for their users and it can be very difficult to confirm an executable file was created from the publicly available source code. There are a lot of variables that go into building a binary package from source code and people wishing to verify their binaries have not be tampered with need to very carefully reconstruct the original build environment. The Debian project hopes to soon provide a way for users to confirm the software they are running on their computers really did come from the publicly available source code. In a mailing list post Debian's Reproducible Builds team reports, "We have been making great progress recently; after more than a year of work, we are proud to announce that we found 83.5% of all source
packages in Sid Main can be rebuilt reproducibly!" For more information on verifying builds and why reproducible builds are important, please see the Reproducible Builds team's About page.
* * * * *
A new version of Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) is on the horizon. The new Debian Edition is reported to be based on Debian's next Stable release, code name "Jessie". According to a recent blog post on the Linux Mint website, there are now test images of LMDE available for curious users to try. These experimental ISO images are not yet considered stable or safe, but offer a preview into what the next version of LMDE will look like. For more information on the upcoming LMDE release and the issues that still need to be fixed, please refer to the project's roadmap.
* * * * *
YaST is the installation and configuration tool for openSUSE. YaST provides a single location where system administrators can access powerful configuration modules. Recently, the YaST developers have been attempting to make YaST more accessible and extendable. Previously, YaST was re-written, translating the software from YCP to the more popular Ruby language. Since then the YaST team has added more documentation and invited people to submit their own YaST modules. "The last months have seen the birth of several new YaST modules written in Ruby from scratch. The source code of all of them is available at GitHub and the modules themselves are all included and directly installable on openSUSE Tumbleweed." Some of the new modules available to openSUSE administrators include tools for working with fonts, accessing and filtering systemd journal logs and working with Docker containers.
* * * * *
The Linux kernel has been released using version numbers starting with "3" for nearly four years. Linus Torvalds, founder and leader of the Linux kernel project, announced last week he will increase the project's version number to "4". The decision was put to a vote and it appears people want to see the version number raised. In a kernel commit comment, Torvalds wrote, "`v4.0' beat out `v3.20' by a slimmer margin of 56-to-44%,
but with a total of 29,110 votes right now. Now, arguably, that vote spread is only about 3,200 votes, which is less than the almost six thousand votes that the "please ignore" poll got, so it could be considered noise. But hey, I asked, so I'll honour the votes."
|Tips and Tricks (by Jesse Smith)
Choosing good passwords
One question I get a lot from family, friends and clients is how they should go about choosing a good password. There is a lot of advice out there about how to create a good password and different websites and services have a lot of different requirements. This can make it confusing for people. Some websites insist on passwords being 12 characters or more, others complain if we make the password too long. Some websites insist on special characters and numbers in our passwords, others will allow just about anything we type. To make matters worse, some commentators are at odds as to whether strings of recognizable words or random characters (YouTube video) make better passwords. What makes the question even more complicated is most of us need to use a lot of passwords and we're constantly warned not to re-use passwords for different things, making it hard to remember them all. So what can we do to keep our data safe while making remembering our passwords easy?
I do agree it is a good idea to use different passwords for different services. After all, if someone guesses the password for our computer we do not want them to automatically also have access to our bank account. If one password is compromised it should, ideally, not affect other accounts. To keep track of our many passwords, I recommend getting a password manager such as KeyPass. A good password manager will securely store our many usernames, passwords and associated web addresses. Some password managers will also create random passwords of a given length, making it easier to create strong passwords for our on-line accounts.
Unfortunately there are a few places where password managers tend to let us down. For example, a password manager on our home computer will not help us remember the password to access our password manager. Nor will a password manager help us access our account where we access the password manager. Unless we have a password manager on a mobile device, we may need yet more passwords when we are out in the world. In these cases, how can we create strong passwords that are also easy to remember?
There are a lot of suggestions offered on how to select a strong password. While well meaning and potentially helpful where truly strong passwords are required, I find most suggestions offered by people focused on security are not particularly practical. Unless a person is being specifically targeted because they are in a position of power or a celebrity, chances are they do not need to have a truly strong password, they just need one that is not terrible.
When I look through my servers' logs I notice patterns in the attacks made against user accounts. Typically the attacking program tries a short list of common usernames and passwords before giving up and moving on to another potential target. There are a lot of people in the world and a lot of them choose very weak passwords. This means most attackers can simply try the most common username/password combinations on millions of computers and get good results. Generally, attackers are not going to waste time going through millions of passwords trying to find the right one unless they are specifically targeting one special person. I avoid being compromised by many attacks by simply not allowing remote root logins and not using account names like "admin", "ftpuser" and "www".
So my advice for selecting good passwords (good being defined here as easy to remember and difficult to guess) basically boils down to three things:
My advice is to use a few of these easy to remember, yet somewhat long phrases, as passwords on your computer and password manager. Then allow the password manager to do its job and create long, complex passwords for all your other accounts. Also try to remember to change your passwords on a regular basis. It can be easy to fall into the trap of letting passwords grow stale, but changing your passwords regularly protects you against more determined brute-force attacks.
- Do not select generic, short passwords such as "password", "secret", "password123" or "12345".
- Try to avoid using names or dates commonly associated with you. For example, do not use a pet's name, your name, your birth date, nicknames or the names of your close family members.
- Try to come up with a phrase that is easy to remember, but not likely to be guessed. "ILoveMyJob4Ever!" comes to mind or perhaps "1234Cha-cha-cha!" These are long enough a simple attack against common passwords is unlikely to guess it, but short and simple enough to be easy to remember. They're certainly easier to remember than "B4hg89ew76h42*$W"
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, make sure to include a link to the ISO file you want us to seed 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 are also 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: 27
- Total downloads completed: 6,775
- Total data uploaded: 1.9TB
|Released Last Week
Tails 1.3, a new version of the live distribution designed for anonymous Internet browsing via the Tor network, is out. Among the new features is the inclusion of Electrum, a lightweight Bitcoin client: "Tails, The Amnesic Incognito Live System, version 1.3, is out. This release fixes numerous security issues and all users must upgrade as soon as possible. New features: Electrum is an easy-to-use Bitcoin wallet, you can use the Bitcoin client persistence feature to store your Electrum configuration and wallet; the Tor Browser has additional operating system and data security, this security restricts reads and writes to a limited number of folders; the obfs4 pluggable transport is now available to connect to Tor bridges, pluggable transports transform the Tor traffic between the client and the bridge to help disguise Tor traffic from censors; Keyringer lets you manage and share secrets using OpenPGP and Git from the command line." Read the rest of the release announcement for further details.
Tails 1.3 -- Connected to the Tor network
(full image size: 81kB, resolution: 1280x960 pixels)
Anke Boersma has announced the release of KaOS 2015.02, a brand-new version of the project's rolling-release Linux distribution featuring the Plasma 5 desktop: "KaOS is very proud to announce the availability of the February release of a new stable ISO image. This release brings the end of KDE 4 as the default Desktop Environment for KaOS. Almost ten months ago work started to fully migrate to Frameworks 5, Plasma 5-based distribution and with the release of Plasma 5.2.1 this migration is now deemed ready to bring a better user experience then KDE 4. From the unset of this migration there was never a plan to mix the two environments. What you will see on this ISO is a pure Plasma 5-based environment. As many might have noted KDE Applications 14.12 did not contain more then a handful of Plasma 5 applications. Just about all applications that users have become used to seeing in a KDE 4 version are available as a Plasma 5 port. A few are not ready yet, and those will be missing from the KaOS repositories until their ports are ready for daily use." Here is the full release announcement with screenshots.
Vine Linux 6.3
Daisuke Suzuki has announced the release of Vine Linux 6.3, an updated version of the project's general-purpose Japanese Linux distribution (and one of the world's oldest one, with beginnings dating back to 1999) featuring GNOME 2.32 as the default desktop environment: "Vine Linux 6.3 (Malartic-Lagraviere). Vine Linux 6.3 has following features (highlights): update the software collection; update Linux kernel to 3.4.106 (latest LTS kernel 3.4.y); bundle newer software - Firefox 33.0, Thunderbird 24.0, Sylpheed 3.4.2, LibreOffice 4.3.5, OpenSSL 1.0.1; stability improvement; improvements of look and feel; newer hardware support; new user-friendly tools. Since this is not a commercial version (Vine Linux CR), non-free applications and fonts are not included on the CD/DVD. Instead of proprietary ATOX X/Wnn7/Wnn8/VJE Japanese inputs and Ricoh/Dynacomware fonts, this FTP edition contains Anthy and free TrueType fonts." Here is the brief release announcement (in Japanese), with further information provided in the release notes (in English).
Barry Kauler has announced the release of Quirky 7.0, a minimalist, experimental desktop Linux distribution originally forked from Puppy Linux - now also available for the x86_64 architecture: "I created Puppy Linux back in 2003, but there was never a toolchain for compiling Puppy completely from source. Instead, Puppy is built from binary packages of another distro, plus PET packages compiled natively. We did use the T2 system right back at Puppy v2. In early 2015, I tackled the formidable task of compiling everything in T2, and I had to introduce 105 new packages into T2. It took a couple of months, but I eventually was able to compile every package required for Quirky. T2 is able to compile for various CPU targets, and the proof of concept was when I compiled for an x86_64 CPU (all previous builds had been for i686). I was able to build a x86_64-based Quirky, and it works the same as the i686 build." See the release announcement and release notes for more details.
Quirky 7.0 -- Default desktop and setup configuration window
(full image size: 177kB, resolution: 1600x1200 pixels)
IPFire 2.17 Core 87
Michael Tremer has announced the release of IPFire 2.17 Core 87, a major new update of the the project's specialist distribution for firewalls, featuring an updated kernel and GRUB 2 bootloader: "This is the official release announcement for IPFire 2.17 - Core Update 87, a new major version of the IPFire firewall distribution coming with all sorts of new features and bug fixes. Most of the work has been done under the hood and in the Linux kernel. This has been updated to version 3.14 and brings better support for various hardware and stability fixes. Various device drivers have been backported from more recent versions of the Linux kernel to combine great stability with best hardware support. Stability for various ARM platforms has been improved and support for more has been added. Among the new devices are the Banana Pi and Banana Pro boards. Please check out the list of supported ARM boards on the IPFire wiki. The installer program that helps to install IPFire has been very much improved." Read the rest of the release announcement for a full changelog.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Distributions added to the database|
Ubuntu MATE is a desktop Linux distribution which aims to bring the simplicity and elegance of the Ubuntu operating system through a classic, traditional desktop environment - the MATE desktop.
Ubuntu MATE -- The default desktop environment
(full image size: 1.2MB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
* * * * *
Distributions added to waiting list
- SiNG. The SiNG distribution is based on the Ubuntu family of operating systems. SiNG ships with a custom window manager based on JWM designed for wide screen monitors.
- ezgo. ezgo is a Linux distribution containing a wealth of interactive educational software and teaching materials.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 9 March 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)
|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.
|Random Distribution |
Vital Data Forensic or Rescue Kit (FoRK)
The team at Vital Data have been in development to adapt the Knoppix live CD for use as a forensic imaging and previewing tool. They have previously been using the Penguin Sleuth Kit to obtain images in the field, but wanted something more user-friendly for their staff and colleagues to be able to use efficiently without requiring a high level of Linux knowledge.