| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 600, 9 March 2015
Welcome to this year's 10th (and our all-time 600th) issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
A big part of the open source ecosystem is collaboration. People from all around the world come together to work on projects in an effort to scratch an itch, contribute to society or to earn a living. This week we focus on developers collaborating and developing new features on top of existing technology. We begin with a review of Korora, a Fedora-based distribution which attempts to make the Fedora platform more appealing to desktop users. In our News section we discuss FreeBSD being ported to the POWER8 architecture, the many projects participating in this year's Summer of Code and new security features coming to PC-BSD. The OpenMandriva distribution now has a special edition for the Raspberry Pi computer and we link to the project's announcement. Plus we talk about work being done to integrate systemd into Ubuntu and share details on how well the new Ubuntu phone performs. In our Questions and Answers column this week we discuss the large number of Linux distributions and whether it is a good thing so many exist. Plus we share the torrents we are seeding this week in our Torrent Corner. As usual, we share the distribution releases of the past week and look ahead to new developments to come. We wish you a wonderful week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
First impressions of Korora 21
Last week I downloaded the latest release of the Korora distribution. The distribution's goals are well defined on the project's website: "Korora is a Fedora remix, meaning it ships packages from the default Fedora repositories but also a number of other packages (often ones that Fedora cannot ship directly). We also make changes to the default system, whereas Fedora generally sticks to upstream. For new users, Fedora can be tricky because it doesn't include many of the extras that users often need, things like media codecs and some proprietary software. This is one area where Korora can help." The Korora website has more details with regards to the distribution's features.
The Korora distribution is available in four editions -- Cinnamon, GNOME, KDE and Xfce. There was previously a MATE edition, but at the time of writing that flavour of Korora appears to have been discontinued. Each edition of Korora is available for 32-bit and 64-bit x86 machines. Since I tried the default GNOME edition of Fedora a few months ago I decided to get some variety by installing Korora's KDE edition. The download for Korora's KDE flavour is 2.5GB in size.
Booting from the Korora live disc brings up the KDE desktop. The wallpaper is soft blue and the application menu, task switcher and system tray rest at the bottom of the screen. On the desktop we find a single icon for launching the project's system installer. Upon arriving at the live desktop a welcome window appears. The welcome screen provides us with links to documentation and on-line support and there is a button for launching the distribution's installer.
Korora uses the same installer Fedora does and I talked about it back in December. In brief, the system installer is primarily divided into two hub screens and a language selection screen. Once we choose our preferred language from a list we are brought to the first hub where we can partition the disk, set our computer's hostname, change our keyboard's layout and select our time zone. On the second hub screen there are just two modules, one for creating a password for the administrator account and another for creating a user account for ourselves. While I found navigating the installer's partition manager a bit cumbersome, all the modules worked for me. The only problem I noticed was that once all modules had been configured and the installer was copying its files to my hard drive, the installer consistently reported (for about twenty minutes) that it was 3% finished and the progress bar was always at the halfway point. This meant I could not tell how long the installer would take to finish. Once the installer completed its work, I was returned to the KDE desktop where I could continue to experiment with the live environment.
Korora 21 -- KDE System Settings and the Apper package manager
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When we boot our new copy of Korora we are brought to a graphical login screen. The login screen is fairly minimal and decorated with a light blue background. Logging into our account brings up the KDE desktop and, the first time we sign in, the welcome screen appears, guiding us to support resources. Shortly after I signed in an icon appeared in the system tray which let me know 38 new software upgrades were available. Clicking the appropriate icon brings up a list of these updates where we can click boxes next to the name of each of the updates to select them. Then we click a button labelled "Install" to begin downloading new packages. A moment later a window appeared and asked for permission to download a few extra packages to fulfil dependencies and I granted it permission. A second later a pop-up appeared with an error saying a new kernel package could not be downloaded and all mirrors had been tried. I tried performing the upgrade again and immediately was shown the same error message.
It seemed unlikely that all repository mirrors could have been checked in under a second so I fired up one of Korora's graphical package managers, Apper. The Apper software manager has a nice interface with colourful icons to help us browse categories of software. Apper also has an update screen we can use to acquire software upgrades. Apper's update module listed 34 available package upgrades (rather than the 38 promised by the update widget). When I told Apper to install the waiting upgrades I immediately received an error message saying the "icd" package could not be downloaded and all mirrors had been tried. At this point I gave up using a graphical tool to install software upgrades and turned to the command line. There I ran the YUM software manager which identified 38 new packages it could download. YUM quickly downloaded the available 38 packages (totalling 74MB in size) and installed them. Actually, YUM uses delta updates which means it does not always download entire packages, sometimes YUM is able to download smaller packages containing just the changes between two software versions. In downloading delta updates when it can, YUM saves us some bandwidth. This bandwidth reduction is good as Korora moves quickly. Over the one week I ran the distribution I downloaded approximately 200 updates, totalling about 450MB in size.
Korora 21 -- Accessing software updates via YUM
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A short time later, I returned to the Apper software manager in the hope of installing new applications. When attempting to browse categories of software I was shown an error saying "SearchGroups not supported by backend". What this meant was all categories of software in Apper appeared to be empty. I could still search for specific packages by name, but I was unable to browse through lists of software available in the project's repositories. A short time later I discovered Korora ships with a second graphical package manager, Yum Extender (YumEx). The YumEx software manager has more filters and options than Apper and displays lists of available (or installed) software in long alphabetized lists. I found YumEx would work, allowing me to find, install and upgrade packages. However, there were two problems that kept me from using YumEx on a regular basis. One was that YumEx was very slow. Switching between filters or reloading the package list could take well over a minute. Second, YumEx shows most packages in the repositories twice, once for 32-bit packages and again for 64-bit packages. This greatly pads the length of software lists and means the user must be careful to choose the correct package for their hardware architecture.
Korora ships with a large collection of desktop software. Scanning through the application menu we find the Firefox web browser with Flash enabled. We also find the KMail e-mail client, the Konqueror web browser, the Konversation IRC client and the KTorrent bittorrent software. Korora ships with the Linphone software phone, a remote desktop client and Sieve Editor. The distribution provides the LibreOffice productivity suite, the Calibre e-book manager and the KOrganizer personal organizer. Korora provides users with several multimedia applications, including the Amarok music player, the Audacity audio editor, the Handbrake transcoding software and the k3b disc burning application. The KAudioCreator audio disc ripper is included along with the Kdenlive video editor, a desktop recorder and the VLC multimedia player. The distribution provides us with a full range of media codecs, allowing us to play and edit just about any media file. Korora ships with the GNU Image Manipulation Program the Gwenview image viewer and Inkscape. We are also treated to the Okular document viewer, the ShowFoto photo viewer and the KolourPaint drawing program. Korora provides us with several system administration utilities including one for changing user authentication methods, the Back In Time backup tool, a utility for configuring the firewall, a program for setting up Samba network shares, a SELinux policy manager, two services managers and a utility for managing user accounts. We further have a hardware device driver manager, the KDE System Settings control panel, KInfoCenter for browsing hardware information, the GParted disk partition manager and the Dolphin file manager. Korora offers a handful of accessibility utilities, including a virtual keyboard, a screen magnifier and a text-to-speech reader. Plus we find Jovie, an archive manager, a calculator and the KWrite text editor. Rounding out the available software we find the KRename file renaming utility, the KGpg security key and encryption tool and the ownCloud client software. Network Manager is available to help us get on-line and Korora ships with Java. We also find the GNU Compiler Collection present for developers and Korora runs the OpenSSH secure shell service in the background. Korora offers users version 3.18 of the Linux kernel.
Korora 21 -- The Back In Time backup manager
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As I was going through Korora's massive collection of software I encountered a handful of applications I had not used before or that I felt deserved special mention. One of these is the Cloud Storage Manager, an application designed to connect our computer to one or more on-line storage accounts. Cloud Storage Manager supports a handful of services, including Dropbox, Google Drive, Box and WebDAV (WebDAV is used by ownCloud along with other on-line services). I tried to add both a Dropbox and an ownCloud account to the Cloud Storage Manager. The application was unable to successfully connect to either on-line account, reporting errors with authentication tokens.
One application I did not recognize in Korora's application menu was Sieve Editor. I launched it, the application repeatedly asked for my wallet password (I didn't have a wallet password set up yet) and, once I had clicked "Cancel" several times I was brought to a screen where we can configure accounts. Clicking the button to add an account again brought up several more prompts for my wallet password. Then I was asked to put in my e-mail credentials and the address of an IMAP server. At this point I still had not discovered what Sieve Editor is or what it does. I went into the application's help manual and all the manual said, in its entirety, was: "Sieve Editor is a sieve script editor." As that was the only information available and I wasn't sure what the application might do to my e-mail once I granted it access to my server, I moved on. (For those who are curious, sieve scripts are used to filter e-mail messages.)
On a positive note, the Pharlap application, despite its somewhat cryptic name, turned out to be a welcome feature. Pharlap is a device driver manager. When we open the application it locates devices attached to our computer and tries to match appropriate drivers to the device. We can click a box to assign an available driver to a given device. Pharlap was very slow to load, requiring a few minutes to locate all the potential drivers and devices, but once it was ready I found the application worked quite well.
Jovie provided some disappointment. This application did not run for me and I couldn't find any local information on what Jovie was supposed to do. A quick on-line search revealed Jovie is a text-to-speech reader associated with the KDE project.
One program I was happy to see was the systemd settings module located in the KDE System Settings panel. Using this configuration module we can enable/disable system services (units, in systemd terms). We can also configure logging and core dumps. The systemd module worked well for me and it is probably one of the best systemd front-ends I have seen to date. I especially like that the module allows us to adjust what is logged by systemd and to where. The only problem I encountered while working with the systemd module was that it would allow me to enable/disable services, but I could not find a way to start/stop services. In other words, I could disable a service and reboot for the change to take effect, but I couldn't simply stop a service if I no longer needed it.
Korora 21 -- configuring systemd
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The Systemadm utility in the Korora application menu also deals with background services. Systemadm has a smaller selection of options when compared against the System Settings module. Using Systemadm we can view the status of available services. I found I could not, however, start or stop services. Any attempt to manipulate a service caused an error to appear saying I did not have the required permissions to manipulate the service.
There is a third services manager included in Korora. Opening the Services application displays a list of services available on the operating system. For some reason, opening the Services program caused systemd to start using 100% of my CPU's resources and this continued for as long as the Services program remained open. This effectively locked up the Services interface and brought all other desktop activity to a halt until I forced the Services window to close. Once Services was terminated, desktop responsiveness gradually returned to normal and systemd stopped gobbling up my CPU cycles.
One aspect of Korora I found interesting was that, when working from the command line, if I tried to run a program not available on the system a prompt would appear asking if I wanted to download the missing software from the project's repositories. I found this feature worked quickly and it worked well. One thing I noticed while the distribution was installing missing software for me was that I had not been prompted for a password before the software was installed. I did a little experimenting and found the user account I had created at install time was part of the "wheel" group. Any users who were members of this group could install software using Apper or command line tools without providing further credentials. Users not added to the wheel group needed to have the root user's password in order to install new software packages. Personally, I found this approach to software management convenient, especially early on when I would sometimes want to run applications I had not yet installed.
I ran Korora in two environments during my trial, a VirtualBox virtual machine and a physical desktop computer. Korora detected all my hardware and used it properly. My network connection was automatically enabled, sound worked out of the box and my screen was set to its maximum resolution. The distribution required approximately 390MB of memory when sitting idle at the KDE desktop. Most of the time I found Korora worked smoothly and the graphical interface was responsive. Occasionally the operating system would become very sluggish for brief periods of time. I eventually discovered this temporary sluggishness was caused by the systemd-coredump program using up 70-90% of the available CPU resources. Presumably systemd-coredump was running due to a background process crashing and its process information being dumped. Once I had disabled systemd's core dump handling via the System Settings panel, these temporary moments of sluggishness ceased and Korora ran smoothly.
Approximately three months ago I experimented with Fedora 21, the distribution which serves as a base for Korora 21. I encountered a number of problems with Fedora, but my issues basically boiled down to three things: 1. Fedora is taking a minimal approach and the default Workstation branch of the project ships with very little software. 2. The Fedora software repositories are missing several popular packages, meaning users need to manually hunt down and enable third-party repositories. 3. The default software manager in Fedora was buggy and only displayed desktop applications.
Korora, in its attempt to be more user friendly and desktop ready, does a nice job of tackling the first two issues. Korora ships with a lot of software in the default installation. Some of the programs didn't work for me, or didn't work well, but most of the applications Korora provides out of the box are powerful and useful. I think Korora deserves credit for fleshing out the base distribution with a wide assortment of desktop applications, system administration tools and multimedia support. On a similar note, Korora enables several third-party software repositories by default. This gives us access to a wide array of additional software not available to Fedora users under the default configuration. However, the third issue, graphical package managers, is still very much a problem in Korora. The distribution ships with two graphical front-ends for package management, plus an update widget. Apper and the update widget were unable to download software upgrades and Apper was unable to browse software categories, limiting the package manager's usefulness. Yum Extender is a capable tool, but it ran so slowly in my test environments I cannot imagine users coming from other distributions being willing to sit through using it. Despite the problems I encountered with the graphical package managers, the YUM command line package manager worked well. Using YUM, I was able to download new packages, remove unwanted software and acquire software upgrades, all without any problems.
I admire the amount of work that has gone into Korora to transform Fedora into a more user friendly, desktop oriented distribution. Fedora, on its own, supplies a fairly bare (some might prefer the term sleek) Workstation product. Korora's developers have done well as far as expanding Fedora's core offering, adding many desired applications, codecs and providing alternative (if imperfect) graphical package managers. While most of the software shipping with Korora works and works well, I feel my main issue with Korora is the quality of some of the applications provided. Some applications simply did not launch for me, others (especially those relating to systemd's configuration) tended to be buggy or cause unusually high CPU usage and some, like the cloud storage management software, did not provide the desired functionality.
All in all, I think Korora does provide a better desktop solution than its base. I think Korora is a step, nay two steps, in the right direction as far as being user friendly in concerned. There are still some rough patches to iron out and it is my hope that Korora 22 will manage to improve on package management and configuring systemd.
* * * * *
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)
FreeBSD running on POWER8, projects approved for GSoC, PC-BSD unveils new privacy software, OpenMandriva on the Raspberry Pi, systemd coming to Ubuntu and Ubuntu running on phones
The POWER8 architecture is a family of processors based on the Power CPU architecture. POWER8 is a relatively young design suited for multi-threaded tasks. Work is currently being done to port FreeBSD to the POWER8 architecture. The FreeBSD News site reports on the work being done: "A post to freebsd-ppc from a couple of months ago asked if we had support for POWER8 and offered to provide remote access to anyone interested in working on it. I was sufficiently intrigued that I approached the FreeBSD powerpc hackers to ask about it, and was informed that it'd be nice, but we didn't have hardware. After a bit of wrangling of hardware logistics and with the FreeBSD Foundation purchasing a box, a Tyan POWER8 evaluation server appeared. Nathan Whitehorn started poking at it and managed to get a basic "hello world" going." There is still work to be done, but the new port is nearing the point where FreeBSD will soon be able to run directly on machines running POWER8 processors.
* * * * *
Google's Summer of Code is an annual event where students are sponsored by Google to work on open source projects. Each year interested projects offer to mentor students who wish to get hands-on experience with real world, open source software. The OpenBSD Foundation is one of the many organizations to announce their participation and a list of tasks waiting for students can be found on the Foundation's website. OpenBSD is far from the only open source project to be involved in Google's Summer of Code. The list of participating open source organizations and their waiting tasks can be found on the Summer of Code website.
* * * * *
Security and personal privacy are increasingly hot topics in today's world. The PC-BSD team recognizes that many users want to be able to protect their data and browse the web with some degree of anonymity. With this in mind, the PC-BSD project has unveiled five new security features that will be available in the project's next release. These features include PersonaCrypt, a method of storing a user's home directory on removable, encrypted media; Tor Mode, a tool to force all network connections to pass through the Tor network; Stealth Mode, a way to login to a system using an encrypted guest session; a move to use LibreSSL over OpenSSL and sending encrypted backups to a remote server.
* * * * *
The Raspberry Pi is a minimal, inexpensive computer that is popular with hobbyists and frequently used in classrooms to teach students about computers and programming. A few Linux distributions will run on the Raspberry Pi's minimal ARM processor, though support tends to be limited. In a blog post last week, the OpenMandriva team announced they have released an edition of OpenMandriva for the Raspberry Pi. The blog post includes instructions for transferring the provided image to a SD card. The new OpenMandriva image offers users a command line interface only.
* * * * *
The Ubuntu distribution will follow in the steps of its parent, Debian, in adopting the systemd init software later this year. According to this ticket on Launchpad, most of Canonical's product lines will adopt systemd, probably in time for the release of Ubuntu 15.04 next month. "We are a few days past feature freeze now, Steve and I discussed last week and we still want to aim for switching the default [init] in Vivid. To be clear, this will affect Ubuntu desktop/server/cloud and the flavours like Kubuntu, but not Ubuntu Touch. Migration to systemd is blocked on Touch."
We usually do not talk much about mobile operating systems such as Android or Ubuntu Touch, but having Ubuntu ship on dedicated phones last month was a milestone and it received a lot of attention. Having a GNU/Linux operating system running on modern smart phone hardware is an attractive idea, but how well does it work in practice? Sujeevan Vijayakumaran shared some impressions of the Ubuntu phone, how it works, the quality of the hardware and Ubuntu's unusual user interface. "The hardware isn't too bad, even if the display doesn't have a high resolution. You'll get a device for 170€ from BQ with a quite good build quality. The device and the system do have a few bugs, hick-ups and lags. Anyway, I personally wouldn't recommend this device for end users because there are still many apps and scopes missing, to have a nice smart phone operating system. This phone is mainly targeted for early-adopters, Ubuntu enthusiasts and developers."
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
The number and diversity of Linux distributions
It seems to me that we have too many distros out there, some of them very close to each other. I understand that there are enough people and enough tastes out there to have probably seven billion different distros, but my main concern is about resources.
What drives the Linux development is, more than anything, passion. Of course money has its share, but still, there is a lot of passion. Not only to Linux, but to free software.
I would say that we evolved a lot in the past ten years, but my question is:
Wouldn't it be better to focus all this effort, these resources into fewer areas? Or do you think that, as we have enough tastes out there we also have enough developers?
I think there are some areas that could be evolved a lot more which would allow a better penetration of Linux (or BSD, etc.). To give one example, the LibreOffice project.
Going back to the CrunchBang story, I was a user of this distro for a long time, until I realized (like Phillip [Newborough]) that there is no point in using it instead of Debian. I would really appreciate to see your comments on that.
First, allow me to talk about open source and finite resources, as the person asking the question seems primarily interested in the limited number of people available to work on open source software. I think it is important to keep in mind a few things when talking about which projects should (or could) benefit from having more contributors. One thing to remember is that not all technical skills are interchangeable. For example, someone who can build packages may not be able to work on productivity software and someone who develops a web browser might not have the skills required to contribute to the kernel. My point is: the skills required to re-spin a distribution are not the same skills required to improve LibreOffice. Many people have both skills, but we should not assume someone making a new distribution could be contributing to upstream projects.
Another thing to keep in mind is a lot of re-spins and forks happen because upstream projects are either uninterested in accepting new volunteers or they have a specific vision in mind and that vision is not compatible with the ideas of potential new developers. Over the years I have approached over a dozen projects (including five distributions) and volunteered services, code, bug fixes or documentation. Most of these offers have been ignored or rejected. As a result, I usually ended up volunteering my time elsewhere or forking the project so I could form the software into the shape I wanted. Many popular software projects, including the GNU compiler, the C library sitting at the heart of most Linux distributions and LibreOffice exist in their present form today because differences in vision or politics caused a fork. A fork that turned out to be beneficial in the long run.
My point is that many developers create a fork or a re-spin because the original project rejected their input, not because the new developer doesn't want to help the original project. Many people see creating a re-spin or fork of a distribution as a waste of resources or as a selfish action. However, let us not forget many developers will try to work within the existing project first and end up leaving because of politics or a lack of interest on the part of the original developers.
Maybe it would sometimes be better to focus more effort into fewer projects, but for that to happen existing projects would need to be more welcoming. It also means in instances where two visions are not compatible, one developer must give up their plans to work on another's. Take, for example, the recent concerns over Debian adopting systemd. Some people welcome the change, some people do not like it, but are willing to continue working with Debian, and some dislike the change enough to switch to a different project. These big changes (and varying reactions) happen a lot in the open source community. The competition is usually good, in the long run, for the end users.
While it might sometimes be best for developers to group together and focus their efforts, there are times when I think it is beneficial to have more forks and more competing projects. People tend to think focusing all effort into one project is a good idea until they realize their favourite software probably would not exist if everyone contributed to a few core open source projects. For instance, having software developers focus on one desktop environment sounds nice until you try to get people to agree on which desktop environment we should all use. Should it be GNOME Shell, KDE, LXQt? It would be difficult to get a group of ten people to agree on such a restriction, let alone the millions of people who populate the open source community. One runs into a similar problem when it comes to restricting Linux distributions. Should we do away with all distributions except Slackware? Or maybe we should all use Red Hat Enterprise Linux or Ubuntu? Few people would be happy with such a restriction.
Personally, while I think the question of whether we should have fewer distributions is an interesting topic and while I think good points can be made for either side of the debate, ultimately any conclusions we might come to do not matter. A lot of the power in open source software comes from the freedom given to developers to create what they want. A developer may choose to add to an existing project or they may fork it and create a new vision. Open source gives developers the ability to stand on the shoulders of giants and create whatever they like. When that happens some developers will create things you like and some will not, some will wish to cooperate with other developers and some will not. Ultimately though, the freedom to choose is in the hands of the individual developers and it is a freedom that cannot (and should not) be taken away. Whatever conclusions we may come to in this debate do not matter as developers will continue to do as they wish.
Open source software is a lot like free speech. Society might be calmer and more focused if everyone held the same opinion on everything and we all worked in harmony, but wouldn't that be a dull place to live? So much of what makes the world interesting, fun and full of invention is the variety of opinions, the endless debates, the constant arguing back-and-forth trying to find answers to age old questions. The open source community, much like the world as a whole, is full of inventions and wonders because of differences in opinion and vision. Sure, sometimes someone has an unpleasant opinion and sometimes it might seem like we have too much conflict because of our differences. But, ultimately, I think free speech is more important, is more beneficial, than the alternative. Similarly, I think the freedom to develop and explore alternative projects is what makes the open source community vibrant and innovative. To my mind asking if we have too many distributions is akin to asking if we have too many novels or too many paintings. The practical benefits of these things to society might be questionable, but what a sad world we would live in without them.
The open source community is chaotic, full of debate and features an overwhelming amount of choice. However, when we compare the open source community as it is today against the stale, repressive alternatives of proprietary operating systems, I am very glad for the diversity we have. I wouldn't have it any other way.
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: 29
- Total downloads completed: 8,734
- Total data uploaded: 2.2TB
|Released Last Week
Porteus Kiosk 3.3.0
Tomasz Jokiel has announced the release of Porteus Kiosk 3.3.0, a lightweight Gentoo-based distribution designed for web kiosks: "I'm happy to announce Porteus Kiosk 3.3.0 which is now available for download. This is a major kiosk release which brings a number of new features, package upgrades and security fixes. The Linux kernel has been updated to 3.18.8 while Firefox sticks to the ESR channel which is intended for large organizations such as universities, governments and businesses and is numbered as 31.5.0. All packages from the userland which are living in the Gentoo stable branch are upgraded to the snapshot tagged on 20150301. Aside from the package upgrades, Porteus Kiosk 3.3.0 brings exciting new features which are implemented in the kiosk wizard and the ISO image itself. The most notable ones are: introduced central management function which allows to remotely control multiple kiosk PCs from single configuration file stored on your server..." Here is the complete release announcement.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1
Red Hat has announced the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7.1, the first point update in the distribution's latest stable branch: "Red Hat, Inc. today announced the general availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1, the first minor release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7, which launched in June 2014. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1 offers improved development and deployment tools, enhanced interoperability and manageability, and additional security and performance features. As with all releases of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, these enhancements are delivered over a stable, secure, 10-year lifecycle backed by Red Hat’s award-winning global support. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1 delivers significant functionality improvements for heterogeneous operating system environments, particularly for infrastructure that uses Active Directory. By integrating the Common Internet File System (CIFS) with SSSD, users can now gain native access to Microsoft Windows file and print services." See the release announcement and read through the detailed release notes for a full list of improvements. A 30-day evaluation edition si available for download from Red Hat's product pages.
Linux From Scratch 7.7
Bruce Dubbs has announced the launch of Linux From Scratch (LFS) and Beyond Linux From Scratch (BLFS), version 7.7. The latest copies of the freely available books come with several updates and walk the reader through assembling a Linux distribution from individual packages. "The Linux From Scratch community is pleased to announce the release of LFS Version 7.7 and BLFS Version 7.7. This release is a major update to both LFS and BLFS. The LFS release includes updates to glibc-2.21, binutils-2.25, and gcc-4.9.2. In total, 30 packages were updated, fixes made to bootscripts, and changes to text have been made throughout the book. The BLFS version includes approximately 750 packages beyond the base Linux From Scratch Version 7.7 book. This release has over 710 updates from the previous version including numerous text and formatting changes." The brief release announcement can be found on the project's website.
Tiny Core Linux 6.1
Tiny Core Linux 6.1 has been released. This is the latest stable build of the minimalist (15 MB to download) desktop Linux distribution built from scratch. From the release announcement: "Team Tiny Core is proud to announce the release of Core 6.1. Changelog: tce-load - remove extraneous ls check, apply awk patch, remove unused depi variable; tc-functions - getbasefile speedup; tce-audit, tce-load - ignore spaces in dep files; BusyBox 1.23.1 patched for modinfo, modprobe, wget and dc; BusyBox updated to 1.23.1; settime.sh - fix systems with default year not 1970; search.sh - awk patch and move common part to a function; tce-audit - awk patch. Also in conjunction with the above in Xprogs: apps - quote the search argument, reload the list on an empty search, set a minimum size to the window, nicer resize behaviour. Several elements of X.Org 7.7 were also updated between 6.0 and 6.1 so users should use the apps GUI to check for updates and check for changed deps after upgrading."
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Distributions added to the database|
Void is an independently-developed, general-purpose operating system based on the monolithic Linux kernel. It features a hybrid binary/source package management system which allows users to quickly install, update and remove software, or to build software directly from sources with the help of the XBPS source packages collection. Other features of the distribution include support for Raspberry Pi single-board computers (both armv6 and armv7), rolling-release development model with daily updates, integration of OpenBSD's LibreSSL software, and native init system called "runit".
Void 20150221 -- Running the MATE desktop environment
(full image size: 569kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
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Distributions added to waiting list
* * * * *
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 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)
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|Linux Foundation Training
|• 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|
|• Issue 716 (2017-06-12): Slackel 7.0, Ubuntu working with GNOME on HiDPI, openSUSE 42.3 using rolling development model, exploring kernel blobs|
|• Issue 715 (2017-06-05): Devuan 1.0.0, answering questions on systemd, Linux Mint plans 18.2 beta, Yunit/Unity 8 ported to Debian|
|• Issue 714 (2017-05-29): Void, enabling Wake-on-LAN, Solus packages KDE, Debian 9 release date, Ubuntu automated bug reports|
|• Issue 713 (2017-05-22): ROSA Fresh R9, Fedora's new networking features, FreeBSD's Quarterly Report, UBports opens app store, Parsix to shut down, SELinux overview|
|• Issue 712 (2017-05-15): NixOS 17.03, Alpha Litebook running elementary OS, Canonical considers going public, Solus improves Bluetooth support|
|• Issue 711 (2017-05-08): 4MLinux 21.0, checking file system fragmentation, new Mint and Haiku features, pfSense roadmap, OpenBSD offers first syspatch updates|
|• Issue 710 (2017-05-01): TrueOS 2017-02-22, Debian ported to RISC-V, Halium to unify mobile GNU/Linux, Anbox runs Android apps on GNU/Linux, using ZFS on the root file system|
|• Issue 709 (2017-04-24): Ubuntu 17.04, Korora testing new software manager, Ubuntu migrates to Wayland, running Nix package manager on alternative distributions|
|• Issue 708 (2017-04-17): Maui Linux 17.03, Snaps run on Fedora, Void adopts Flatpak, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, Debian elects Project Leader|
|• Issue 707 (2017-04-10): PCLinuxOS 2017.03, Canonical stops Unity development, OpenBSD on a Raspberry Pi, setting up a VPN for privacy|
|• Issue 706 (2017-04-03): Super Grub2 Disk, Snap packages of deepin applications, Subgraph OS routes network traffic for one application, announcements from Linux Mint|
|• Issue 705 (2017-03-27): Minimal Linux Live, sharing control of the operating system, new KaOS features, Uplos32 provides 32-bit fork of PCLinuxOS|
|• Issue 704 (2017-03-20): ToarusOS 1.0.4, Linux Mint's security record, Debian starts Project Leader election, Ubuntu 12.04 reaches end-of-life|
|• Issue 703 (2017-03-13): SolydXK 201701, CloudReady, Solus announces new features, KDE Connect sends text messages from desktop, openSUSE's YaST module for Let's Encrypt|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
Refracta is a Linux distribution based on Devuan GNU+Linux (a systemd-free fork of Debian), designed primarily for home computer users and also for use as a system rescue and recovery disk. It provides a simple and familiar layout using the Xfce desktop. Other desktop environments and additional software packages are available from the Devuan package repository. Besides providing a Linux distribution on a live CD, the project also develops useful tools, such as refractainstaller, refractasnapshot and refracta2usb which allow users to customize the installation and create custom live CD or live USB images.