| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 627, 14 September 2015
Welcome to this year's 37th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
As much as we enjoy exploring interesting new features and debating merits of one technical design over another, at the end of the day, what matters to most people is whether their computer performs the functions they want it to perform. Most people want their operating system to be easy to use and to run a specific set of applications. This week we turn a practical eye to friendly, desktop distributions and applications. We begin with a look at Mageia, a desktop distribution designed to be easy for newcomers to use. In our Questions and Answers column we talk about the common concern of creating accessible document archives in an office environment. In the news last week we heard from Mark Shuttleworth as he discussed Ubuntu's new Snappy package manager and how it relates to Debian packages. Speaking of Debian, the project released updated media for Debian Jessie last week and we share the details. Plus, we talk about efforts by the Antergos developers to create a new, application-focused package manager. As usual, we cover the distribution releases of the past week and provide a list of the torrents we are seeding. In our Opinion Poll this week we would like to know whether our readers prefer to use one operating system for everything or to install different distributions for different tasks. We wish you all a wonderful week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Exploring the magic of Mageia 5
Mageia, a community distribution forked from the now-discontinued Mandriva project, released Mageia 5 a few weeks ago. The new version of Mageia ships with updated software packages and UEFI support. (Secure Boot is not supported at this time.) The development team provided a good deal of documentation with the new version, supplying release notes, a summarizing release announcement and errata to guide us through potential problems. The Mageia distribution is available in many different builds and editions. There are plain installation discs, live discs (offered in GNOME and KDE editions) and discs for network installations. Each of the download options is available in 32-bit and 64-bit x86 builds.
I decided to try the project's live KDE DVD which is a 1.7GB download. Booting from the live media brings up a boot menu where we are asked if we would like to experiment with the distribution's live desktop or if we would like to launch the project's system installer. Regardless of which option we select, a graphical configuration wizard appears and asks us to select our preferred language from a list, confirm our time zone and then confirm our keyboard's layout. If we opt to try the live environment we will next find ourselves looking at the KDE 4.14 desktop environment. The interface is presented with the application menu, task switcher and system tray placed at the bottom of the screen. If we instead choose to install Mageia from the boot menu, a graphical system installer is launched.
Mageia's system installer begins by asking if we would like to manually partition our hard drive or if we would prefer a guided experience. I decided to try my hand at manual partitioning and found the partition manager is both easy to navigate and flexible. The installer shows us a visual representation of our disk and we can click on sections we wish to change or click buttons to create new partitions of various types. Mageia's installer supports working with LVM volumes, Btrfs, ext3, ext4, JFS and XFS. RAID configurations are supported and partitions can be encrypted. I chose to set up my copy of Mageia on a Btrfs volume. One aspect of the partition manager I quite like is that the controls are simple by default, giving us just the necessary basics. However, there is an "Expert" button we can click that makes it possible to access additional disk manipulation features such as resizing and labelling partitions. Once we have partitioned our hard drive, the installer offers to remove packages from the distribution we may not need. These packages include localization files and hardware drivers and we can choose to keep these extras if we think we will need them at a later time. The installer then copies its files to our hard drive. Later, we are asked if we wish Mageia to install the GRUB boot loader and, if so, where GRUB should be installed. We can optionally set a password on GRUB to protect our boot settings. At this point the installer reports it is finished and we can reboot the computer. However, we still have some remaining configuration steps to walk through. The first time we boot our new copy of Mageia the system downloads a collection of files. Though we are not given details on these fetched files, I believe they contain information about Mageia's software repositories. Once these files finish downloading we are asked to create a password for the root account and we are asked to create a user account for ourselves. With these steps completed, we are presented with a graphical login screen.
Mageia 5 -- The welcome screen
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The first time we sign into our user account a welcome screen appears. This welcome screen is divided into two tabs. In the first tab we find links to Mageia's documentation, wiki, support forums, release notes and support chat room. There are also links in this first tab for opening Mageia's Control Centre and package manager. Clicking the second tab brings up a simplified software manager. On the left side of the page we find categories of software and on the right there are short lists of popular applications from those categories. From the welcome screen's application tab we can install a handful of popular programs, multimedia codecs and Flash. Each item can be installed with a single click and the interface is easy to navigate.
Upon dismissing the welcome screen we find ourselves exploring version 4.14 of the KDE desktop environment. The application menu, I was surprised to note, is arranged as a classic tree menu rather than the newer launcher style menu most distributions use with their KDE desktops. Looking through the list of installed applications we find a broad collection of open source programs. The Firefox and Konqueror web browsers are installed for us along with the Konversation IRC client. Mageia ships with a program called Network Centre to help us get on-line. For people who need to connect to the Internet through a dial-up system, Mageia includes the KPPP dial-up software. The LibreOffice productivity software is installed for us as is the Okular document viewer. I was pleased to discover two links to documentation, one which opens the KDE Help documents and another which provides documentation for the powerful Mageia Control Centre (more on the Control Centre in a bit). Mageia ships with the GNU Image Manipulation Program, the Amarok music player, Dragon Player, the KsCD audio disc player and TVtime. I also found the distribution provides us with an archive manager, a calculator and the KWrite text editor. Mageia provides us with the K3b disc burning software, the Dolphin file manager and the systemd init software (version 217). I found Java installed on the system and version 3.19 of the Linux kernel. In the background we find the OpenSSH secure shell service is running.
Mageia 5 -- Installing software from the welcome screen's Applications tab
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By default, Mageia does not ship with any compilers, multimedia codecs or Flash. It is possible to install these extras through the package manager or through the distribution's welcome screen. In practice, I found most codecs (and Flash) installed and worked well, but there were a few exceptions. For example, once the codec bundles were installed I was able to play audio files. I could also open video files and see the visuals, but I could not get sound to work when playing videos. Through the Mageia Control Centre I was able to gain access to additional repositories, including the distribution's "Tainted" repository where non-free packages are stored. I then attempted to add more codecs and tried installing a variety of media players (VLC, Dragon Player and SMPlayer). VLC and Dragon would play videos without sound while SMPlayer would simply crash when asked to play a video file. I had similar poor luck with the TVtime application which would always crash on start-up.
Apart from these set backs with playing video files, the applications which shipped with Mageia worked well. I generally found I could perform most tasks I wanted to with the default applications. Mageia provides an up to date collection of software and the default applications perform quickly and offer a good deal of functionality.
I tried running Mageia in two test environments. When running on a physical desktop machine I found Mageia performed well. The distribution booted quickly, the desktop was responsive and all of my hardware was properly detected. When running in a VirtualBox virtual machine Mageia worked well. I found the distribution was responsive and integrated into VirtualBox so that I could get full screen resolution from Mageia without any effort on my part. In either environment, Mageia used approximately 380MB of RAM when logged into the KDE desktop.
Mageia 5 -- Running various desktop applications
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While I was using Mageia I did not see any notifications letting me know when security updates were available. A few times during the week I ventured into the Control Centre and checked for software updates using the update manager module. During my trial only one package update (for Flash) was made available and it installed without any problems.
On the subject of package management, Mageia ships with a software manager which can be accessed as either a stand alone application or as a Control Centre module. The software manager has a nice layout which I found easy to navigate. On the left side of the window we find categories of software we can explore. Individual packages in the selected category are shown on the right. We can click a box next to each package we wish to install or remove. One aspect of the software manager I found interesting was that the application allows us to filter packages in a number of ways. For instance, we can order the software manager to show us packages for desktop applications exclusively. We can also narrow our search results to show software updates, security updates, only packages which have already been installed or which are not yet installed. The list of filters goes on and the filters make it quite easy to narrow down our search results. One characteristic of the software manager I liked less was that it would, by default, display both 32-bit and 64-bit packages. This essentially doubled the length of search results and the number of packages in a selected category. I found it was possible to weed out the 32-bit packages by disabling 32-bit repositories in the "Configure Media Sources" Control Centre module.
Since I have mentioned the Control Centre a few times, I feel it deserves more attention. The Control Centre is divided into eight screens or categories. These screens provide us with configuration modules we can use to manage the operating system. The Control Centre provides us with modules for installing and removing packages, configuring repositories and installing software upgrades. There are modules for configuring sound, visual effects, our monitor resolution, the keyboard and the mouse pointer. Other modules will assist us in setting up printers, configuring the network, sharing files and setting up proxy services. We can manage system services, adjust the system clock and enable snapshots. I also found modules for managing user accounts, importing settings from a Windows partition and exploring network shares. There is a Security category where we can set up the firewall, audit the system and enable parental controls.
Mageia 5 -- The Control Center and KDE System Settings panel
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Generally speaking, the Control Centre modules worked very well for me. The modules tend to be presented with simple layouts and with clearly labelled controls. I greatly appreciate how easy it is to administer a Mageia system through one central panel and I wish other distributions would adopt a similar configuration interface. I ran into just two minor issues while using the Control Centre. The first was that there is an option to enable periodic file snapshots, but there does not appear to be any way to schedule these snapshots or to take a snapshot immediately. In fact, the Snapshots module does not tell us when snapshots will be taken. Another problem I ran into came about when I tried to enable log monitoring. The operating system downloaded the extra packages it needed to monitor logs and then displayed an error saying the log files it was going to monitor could not be found in my /var/log directory. Later in the week I noticed log monitoring had started working without any effort on my part to resolve the situation.
Mageia 5 -- Configuring the firewall
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Generally speaking I liked exploring Mageia and I particularly like that this distribution has stayed with KDE 4.14 rather than upgrading to KDE's Plasma 5. While Plasma 5 has good characteristics, it does not yet feel as polished and complete as KDE 4. The desktop provides a responsive and highly customizable interface. For the most part I enjoyed the defaults the Mageia developers had selected, with one exception. I found that hovering the mouse pointer over an icon on the task switcher caused all other windows to disappear. This meant when I was typing and the mouse drifted toward the bottom of my screen my web browser or word processor would suddenly disappear. Fortunately, it is easy to change this behaviour in the task switcher's settings and gain a less dynamic desktop experience.
Mageia 5 has a lot to recommend it. The distribution has plenty of installation and live disc options, including all-in-one DVDs and small net-install discs. The graphical system installer is easy to use and gets the job done. I found Mageia handled my hardware well, the system was responsive and I like the way the KDE edition was set up. I also like the project's welcome screen which not only provides links to documentation, but makes it easy to install popular open source programs.
Mageia's primary selling point is probably the flexible and newcomer friendly Control Centre. The modules in the Control Centre allow the administrator to adjust almost any aspect of the operating system without requiring any interaction with the command line. I found Mageia ships with a good default selection of applications and there are plenty of additional programs in the distribution's repositories.
One of my few complaints when it came to running Mageia was that my videos did not have sound and some media players crashed. The multimedia experience aside, the distribution was stable, functional and nice to look at. Mageia tends not to get as much attention as a newcomer friendly distribution as it (and its parent Mandriva) used to. Mageia tends not to receive as much attention as Ubuntu or Linux Mint these days. I think that might be about to change, and perhaps it should change, based on my experiences this past week. Mageia is a solid distribution, easy to install and pleasant to use. I definitely think it should be recommended for novice Linux users more than it is.
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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)
Mark Shuttleworth explains Snappy packages, Debian releases Jessie update and Antergos unveils a new software manager
The Ubuntu developers have been working for a while now on Snappy, a new package manager that will offer more secure packages and the ability to rollback software upgrades. Since Snappy was announced there have been people questioning whether Ubuntu will drop Debian (deb) package files, if deb packages and Snappy will co-exist and what their relationship will be. Mark Shuttleworth appears in a video in which he tries to clear up the relationship between deb packages and Snappy. ServerWatch has a summary and a link to the video. "Shuttleworth explained that it's not an either/or situation with using deb or Snappy packages. For example, Shuttleworth said that if there is a security vulnerability, like a Heartbleed flaw, the way Ubuntu fixes the issue is with a deb package. `We build Snappy out of the built deb, so we can't build Snappy unless we first build the deb,' Shuttleworth said. Going forward, Shuttleworth said that Ubuntu users will still get access to an archive of deb packages. That said, for users of a Snappy Ubuntu-based system, the apt-get command no longer applies. However, Shuttleworth explained that on a Snappy-based system there will be a container that contains all the deb packages. `The nice thing about Snappy is that it's completely worry-free updates,' Shuttleworth said."
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The Debian project released its second update to its Stable (aka "Jessie") branch last week. The new installation media does not indicate a new version of Debian, but rather is an updated spin of Debian Jessie with fixes for known bugs. A post on the Debian website reads, "The Debian project is pleased to announce the second update of its stable distribution Debian 8 (codename `Jessie'). This update mainly adds corrections for security problems to the stable release, along with a few adjustments for serious problems. Security advisories were published separately and are referenced where applicable. Please note that this update does not constitute a new version of Debian 8 but only updates some of the packages included. There is no need to throw away old `Jessie' CDs or DVDs, but only to update via an up-to-date Debian mirror after an installation, to cause any out of date packages to be updated. Those who frequently install updates from security.debian.org won't have to update many packages and most updates from security.debian.org are included in this update." The new installation media carries the version number 8.2 and can be downloaded from Debian's mirrors.
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|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Creating PDF/A documents on Linux
Working as a lawyer, I'm often in the need to produce documents that have to be readable by clients, courts, etc., no matter their system of preference. Therefore, we (as lawyers) use lots of PDF files.
However, in some scenarios, we have to produce a PDF "type A" file or "PDF/A". This type of PDF ensures that the document will be readable for a very long time, being perfect for long time archiving.
Nowadays, most (not to say all) Linux distros have a built-in feature to print files directly to PDF. However, this feature does not support the creation of PDF/A files. For that, I have to turn to LibreOffice and use the "Export to PDF" function. Although most of the time this function works well, it limits the use of PDF/A to using LibreOffice. Sometimes I just wish I could print directly from my browser to a PDF/A file.
So, my questions for you are:
- Is there any Linux distro with built-in support for PDF/A files creation?
- Is there any way to add this support to the built-in feature of printing to PDF files?
- Can this topic be discussed or appear at DistroWatch Weekly for further comments, suggestions and discussion?
DistroWatch answers: In brief, I do not think there are any Linux distributions which ship with the capability to create PDF/A files through a virtual printer. At least not with the default configuration. Linux distributions can produce plain PDF files using the CUPS PDF package. This package creates a virtual printer on the system which, when documents are sent to it, creates a copy of the document as a PDF file. However, these are not PDF/A documents, just plain PDF files. So far as I could find, there is no option or CUPS add-on that will produce PDF/A files.
The good news is there are a number of solutions and, if you already have a copy of LibreOffice on your computer, then there is a command line solution for creating batches of PDF/A files from any number of document formats. One of the programs which ships with LibreOffice is lowriter and one of the things this program does is convert any document LibreOffice can open into another format, such as PDF or PDF/A.
To utilize this program, first open LibreOffice, go to the File menu and select "Export As PDF..." In the options window that pops-up, make sure the "PDF/A-1a" box is checked. Then click "Export". This will save your PDF exporting settings, telling LibreOffice that we always wish to use PDF/A as the default format for future PDF files.
From now on, whenever we want to convert a document to PDF/A format, we can open a terminal and run lowriter and tell it to convert our document (or multiple documents) to PDF/A format. As an example, here we convert all Microsoft Word documents in the current directory to PDF/A format:
lowriter --convert-to pdf *.doc
In this next example we convert one OpenDocument file to a PDF/A file.
lowriter --convert-to pdf myfile.odt
While the command line is not exactly a nice point-n-click interface, this does allow us to convert hundreds of documents at a time, if we need to do so. One important thing to note is that the lowriter program does not work if LibreOffice is already open. On my computer running lowriter while LibreOffice is open simply causes the LibreOffice window to gain focus. I had to close LibreOffice before I could convert documents using lowriter.
There are other options. For instance, I found this on-line document converter which claims to support converting a wide range of files to PDF/A format. While useful, on-line options are probably not considered suitable where confidential documents (especially legal documents) are concerned.
There are some Windows-based applications which can create PDF/A files. For instance, one could use Adobe Acrobat in a virtual machine or through WINE to convert existing documents to PDF/A format. There is also a utility called PDFCreator which runs exclusively on Windows, but is open source (licensed under the AGPL). According to the product's features page, PDFCreator will convert documents to PDF/A format. Since the software is open source, hopefully someone will port it to Linux. For now, PDFCreator could be run using WINE or a virtual machine.
Those were the best options I was able to find up to this point. If any of our readers know of a better native Linux solution for creating PDF/A files, please leave us a note in the comments.
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Past Questions and Answers columns can be found in our Q&A Archive.
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 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. 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: 109
- Total downloads completed: 50,444
- Total data uploaded: 13.0TB
|Released Last Week
Peppermint OS 6-20150904
Mark Greaves has announced the release of an updated build of Peppermint OS 6, a lightweight Linux distribution based on Ubuntu 14.04 and featuring the Xfwm window manager with the LXDE desktop environment: "Team Peppermint is pleased to announce a respin of our latest operating system, Peppermint 6, with full UEFI, GPT and Secure Boot support (64-bit edition only), and a new version of Ice (our in-house site-specific browser framework) that now supports the Firefox web browser as well as Chromium and Chrome. We've fixed a few minor bugs and tweaked the Peppermix-Dark theme a little in line with user feedback. And all updates to the original Peppermint 6 respin are also included in the respin. The Peppermint 6 feedback we've received so far has been overwhelmingly positive, so we've not made any major software or UX changes this time around, we hope the UEFI support opens up Peppermint 6 to a whole group of users and we'd love to hear from you at the Peppermint forum." Read the rest of the release announcement for a more detailed list of changes and improvements.
The 4MLinux project, which creates a minimal rescue and utility distribution, has released 4MLinux 13.1. The new release ships with the GTK+ 3 libraries and the X display server has been rebuilt to provide better 3-D support. "I am happy to announce that the stable version of 4MLinux 13.1 is ready for download. Four major changes in this release: the Linux 3.18 LTS kernel series is now included in the core of the system, the GTK+ 3.x series has been added, Mesa and Xorg have been totally rebuilt to ensure full 3D support for modern video cards, and so called Legacy Installer (which makes it possible to install 4MLinux on old computers) has been included in the 4MLinux installation CD (see: the 4MLinux Blog for details)." Information on the new release can be found in the project's release announcement.
Ultimate Edition 4.6 "Gamers"
TheeMahn, the developer of the Ubuntu-based Ultimate Edition distribution, has once again produced a special "Gamers" edition of the product. This is a 4GB live DVD with a nice collection of games, as well as the XBMC (now called Kodi) media centre software, PlayOnLinux and the Steam client: "It is the ultimate entertainment system. It has a list of games that just scrolls by on the screen even on a 4K monitor. It does not stop there - XBMC has been pre-injected and set up into the system with over a million channels and streams to cut the cable TV bill on 69 networks, and the ability to add more. Compiz is back and rocking right off the live disk. Productivity? The entire LibreOffice suite is also included. Wine and PlayOnLinux are pre-installed to allow you to play your Windows games, not to mention Steam. This one fits on a DVD. I want to break down this for the gamers - I can play more games in this OS than on any Windows OS." See the release announcement for more information.
Pinguy OS 14.04.3
The developers of Pinguy OS, a desktop distribution based on Ubuntu, have announced the release of a minor update to the distribution 14.04 series. The new release, version 14.04.3, offers users a number of enhancements, including support for booting on EFI-enabled computers. This release also includes Firefox 40 and Pepper Flash has replaced Adobe Flash. "This is just a real quick update. All images of Pinguy OS 14.04.3 have now got EFI Support. Apart from that very little changes. All packages are up-to-date as of September 11 2015. Some Info: Nemo updated to 2.6.7, running kernel 3.13.0-64, Firefox 40.0.3, using Pepper Flash in Firefox instead of Adobe Flash, added the H.265/HEVC Codec for VLC, desktop wallpaper changer disabled by default (open Variety to enable)." The release announcement goes on to mention that the Firefox web browser will download the Silverlight plugin the first time it is launched.
Pinguy OS 14.04.3 -- Running a customized GNOME desktop
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Eric Turgeon has announced the final release of GhostBSD 10.1, the latest stable version of the project's FreeBSD-based operating system with a choice of MATE or Xfce desktop environments: "After a year of development, testing and debugging we are pleased to announce the release of GhostBSD 10.1 MATE and Xfce which are available from SourceForge for the amd64 and i386 architectures. What's new? GhostBSD ISO image is hybrid and it can be burnt on DVD or USB sticks; Xfce is back; users can choose to install the BSD boot manager, the GRUB boot manager or no boot manager; Station Tweak, a fork of MATE Tweak; OctoPkg GUI frontend for pkgng written in Qt; Station Update Manager to update FreeBSD base system and third party software; software from pkg or ports can be installed in the live DVD/USB session; VT Console by default; instant verification for user and root to know if the password is strong and it it matches the one in the system installer..." Read the rest of the release announcement for more details.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Selecting distributions for different tasks
When setting up a new laptop, desktop, NAS or server one of the first choices we need to make is which operating system to install on the new device. Some of us like to stick with tools we already have in our toolbox and will try to use the same operating system in multiple situations. Others will try to pick the best tool for each separate task, using different distributions for each situation.
This week we would like to know if you prefer to install the same operating system across all your devices (laptop, workstation and server), or do you prefer to select different distributions for different tasks?
For instance, do you slap Debian or Arch on everything and customize them to suit your needs, or would you rather run Fedora on your workstation, Mint on a laptop and FreeNAS on your backup server? Leave us a comment below with your thoughts.
You can see the results of last week's poll on running non-native software here. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
When selecting distros for different tasks I...
|Prefer to use the same distro everywhere: ||737 (45%)|
| Use different distros for different tasks: ||409 (25%)|
| Evaluate each situation case by case: ||457 (28%)|
| Have no preference: ||42 (3%)|
Distributions added to the database
OPNsense is a FreeBSD-based specialist operating systems (and a fork of pfSense) designed for firewalls and routers. It is developed by Deciso B.V. in the Netherlands. Some of the features of OPNsense include forward caching proxy, traffic shaping, intrusion detection and easy OpenVPN client setup. The project's focus on security brings a number of unique features, such as the option to use LibreSSL instead of OpenSSL (selectable in the GUI) and a custom build based on HardenedBSD. OPNsense also includes an update mechanism that delivers important security updates in a timely fashion.
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Distributions added to waiting list
- Apricity OS. Apricity OS is a lightweight, Arch-based distribution that features the GNOME desktop environment. Apricity OS ships with ICE, allowing the user to access websites and web apps as though they were local applications.
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DistroWatch database summary
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This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 21 September 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 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 |
SparkyLinux is a lightweight, fast and simple Linux distribution designed for both old and new computers featuring customised Enlightenment and LXDE desktops. It has been built on the "testing" branch of Debian GNU/Linux.