| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 629, 28 September 2015
Welcome to this year's 39th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Following the success of touch screens on mobile devices, more laptop computers have been shipping with touch interfaces. This has resulted in several of our readers asking which open source desktop environments work best with touch screens. This week we experiment with using open source desktops with a touch interface and report on the results. In our Questions and Answers column we discuss locking down user accounts so that a user can only access the files in their home directory. In the news last week we saw Mageia launch a new and useful tool for transferring ISO images to USB thumb drives. We also learned OpenMandriva is making it easier to run games on Linux and Rebellin Linux is changing the way their users receive support. Plus we provide a list of the torrents we are seeding and share the distribution releases of the past week. In our Opinion Poll we ask whether you use Linux for gaming and, if so, where you find new games. We wish you all a great week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Reach out and touch a desktop
A little while back one of our readers e-mailed me and asked if I would experiment with the commonly used Linux desktops and report on how well they worked with touch interfaces. This is unusual territory for me. I generally do not like using touch interfaces, though I have worked with them on and off for over a decade. I tend to find navigating by swipes and finger presses cumbersome and unpleasant. I suspect part of the problem is my fingers are somewhat large, the buttons I am aiming at are often small (by comparison) and I dislike seeing finger prints on my screens.
Still, I own a laptop that features a touch screen and so I loaded up several desktops on the device and experimented with each one in turn. The laptop is a de-branded HP with Intel video drivers and an approximately 15-inch screen. During most of this trial the laptop was running Linux Mint Debian Edition 2 (LMDE 2), which is based on Debian "Jessie". Prior to starting this trial I had the Cinnamon, KDE 4 and Lumina desktop environments on this laptop. I added LXDE, MATE and Xfce. I attempted to install GNOME Shell as well, but ran into dependency conflicts, which I suspect relate to already having Cinnamon on the device. To work around this I downloaded a copy of Fedora and ran GNOME Shell from the live environment. Since Unity is not available in the software repositories of Linux Mint Debian Edition I downloaded a recent release of Ubuntu and used Ubuntu's live environment to test Unity 7.
There is one other thing I would like to touch upon (please excuse the pun) before talking about the differences between each desktop environment. Specifically, it is that I have encountered several people asking if one desktop or another "works with touch". Technically, just about any desktop is going to, on a base level, work with touch devices. So long as the hardware supports touch interactions and the proper device drivers are in place, the operating system should recognize taps as clicks and a finger moving across the screen as some sort of gesture (highlighting, dragging or scrolling). I want to make it clear up front that any open source desktop should work (to some degree) with touch interfaces, so long as the right drivers are in place and playing nicely with the hardware. The question I'm addressing here is how well suited (or unsuited) a desktop environment is when it comes to running on devices with touch screens. To answer that question I will be looking at how easy it is to perform common tasks such as launching applications, moving and resizing windows, switching between tasks and scrolling.
Let's begin with a look at Cinnamon. It was the default desktop to ship with my copy of Linux Mint Debian Edition and so it was what I was using while other desktop environments were being installed. Cinnamon, as it turned out, was pretty much in the middle of the pack when it came to touch interaction. On the one hand, Cinnamon's spacious application menu was easy to navigate using touch and the desktop icons were nice and large, making them easy targets for my radio tower style fingers. On the other hand, resizing windows was a bit difficult as the corners of application windows had only a small area to touch and grab to resize the window. Scroll bars were small in Cinnamon too, making it tricky to browse through documents. On the positive side of things, window controls (the minimize, maximize and close buttons) were spaced apart and fairly easy to press. On the whole, I would give Cinnamon a 3/5 star rating when it comes to running on devices with touch screens.
GNOME Shell 3.16
GNOME Shell running on Fedora came next. I have mentioned in the past that GNOME Shell is a technology I find frustrating to use because of the way interface controls are spread out. The controls are represented by large icons, are spread out over a wide space and the environment is very dynamic. These aspects of GNOME Shell may drive me slightly batty when using a keyboard and mouse, but these same characteristics make GNOME Shell easily the best environment for touch devices.
GNOME's large, widely spaced icons are perfectly sized and arranged for my fingers. The scroll bars are easy to locate and use and the title bars at the tops of windows are unusually large which facilitates moving applications around the screen. GNOME Shell's sparse controls are very well suited for touch interfaces.
GNOME 3.16 -- Large and well spaced desktop elements
(full image size: 340kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
The real ace up GNOME Shell's sleeve though is its virtual keyboard. GNOME was the only desktop to detect I was touching my screen and to automatically pop-up an on-screen keyboard when a text entry box had focus. This was done without any prompting or configuring on my part and it meant I never had to touch a keyboard or mouse during my time navigating GNOME.
One aspect of using GNOME I found weird, at least when comparing the environment to other desktops during this trial, was resizing windows. I could resize application windows, but GNOME required I resize windows by dragging the upper-left corner of the window rather than the lower-right, as other desktop environments did. This threw me off for a few minutes, but I slowly got used to resizing windows using the title bar rather than the bottom-right corner of an application's window.
The one problem I did run into was, at one point, GNOME simply stopped responding to taps and gestures. It was as though the screen had stopped being sensitive to touch. I could still move the mouse and type via the keyboard, but the touch interface was effectively dead. This continued for about a minute until the problem suddenly corrected itself and GNOME resumed taking input from the touch screen. The temporary interruption may have been a GNOME issue, but I suspect it is more likely a problem with a hardware driver. In any event, I gave GNOME Shell 5/5 stars.
The KDE 4.14 desktop was next in line and I think, of the desktop environments I tried, KDE performed better than most. The KDE environment is populated by large icons and the default Kickoff application menu is very easy to browse when using a touch interface. (The KDE Classic application menu is less suited to touch, but it is not the default option.) The window controls are of medium size and fairly easy to tap. I found the scroll bars in KDE were easy to manipulate, but difficult to see with LMDE's default theme as the scroll bars were grey-on-grey.
KDE 4.14 -- Working with widgets
(full image size: 496kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
Perhaps the feature which most stood out while I was using KDE was how well suited the widgets and widget controls were to touch screens. It is very easy for the user to access the KDE cashew button, bring up a panel of widgets and drag them with one's finger onto the desktop. The widget controls for moving, resizing and rotating are large and easy to manipulate with a finger.
My one serious complaint when using KDE was that it was nearly impossible to resize a window while using the default theme. I could grab a side or corner of a window in order to resize it about one out of every eight tries and that was very frustrating. Window resizing aside, KDE performed well and I gave it 4/5 stars.
Next up was Lumina. In many respects, Lumina worked well for me. The application menu is fairly easy to explore using a touch interface. The scroll bars on windows are nice and wide, making it easy to browse documents. Lumina has a relatively large spot in the lower-right corner of application windows that makes resizing the windows straight forward.
I did run into two problems with Lumina. The first was the default window controls were too small and too close together to access easily. I found I was as likely to close a window as I was to maximize it. The second problem I ran into was I could not switch between open windows using the task switcher bar on the panel unless (and this is strange) the application menu was open. Simply tapping on a minimized window's icon produced no result. However, if I opened the application menu first and then tapped on an icon, the appropriate window would be brought into focus.
In short, working with one window on Lumina was very pleasant, but moving between two or more applications was cumbersome and I gave Lumina 3/5 stars.
Lumina 0.8.6 -- Exploring the application menu
(full image size: 291kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
Next on my list was LXDE. The LXDE interface is designed with traditional desktops in mind and I was not expecting a lot from this desktop environment. This was just as well as LXDE did not work well with my touch screen. While technically the controls worked, almost everything on the screen was too small to access effectively by touch. Window controls, application menu items and the buttons on the panel were all too small for me to use. I was not able to resize application windows, again because window borders were too small for me to touch.
The one area where LXDE did well was with scroll bars. The scroll bars in LXDE were big and bright, easy to find and move. This earned LXDE 1/5 stars.
The MATE desktop was next on my list of interfaces to try. MATE offered me another middle of the road experience. On the negative side, the MATE menus are fairly small, window controls are too close together to be used safely and scroll bars were hard to see with the default theme. However, on the positive side, windows had fairly large and easy to "grab" title bars, making MATE windows easy to move. The MATE panel has nice, big buttons that facilitated switching between windows.
MATE, while it offers a fairly traditional layout and small menus, was not difficult to navigate and so I gave it 3/5 stars.
I expected good things from Unity 7 since, like GNOME Shell, Unity's large controls and gaps between screen elements lends its environment to touch. On the whole I found Unity did generally work well with my laptop's touch screen. The large icons are easy to select, window controls are widely spaced and windows have thick title bars to facilitate moving applications around the screen.
My one serious issue with Unity was that I could not resize application windows. I could easily maximize and minimize windows, but setting them to a specific size was not possible. I had hoped Unity, like GNOME, would pop-up an on-screen keyboard when I was entering text, but this did not happen. I had to switch between touching the screen and using my laptop's keyboard.
One quirk of Unity, and I think this is a bad thing, is the way we scroll through documents. All of the other desktop environments I tried utilized scroll bars to navigate documents. When using Unity, some applications have scroll bars and these work just as they do in other desktop environments. However, many applications do not have scroll bars. In an application which has no visible scroll bar we browse documents by swiping up or down the screen. In other words, about half the applications I ran on Ubuntu acted like smart phone apps while the other half acted like traditional desktop applications. I wouldn't mind one or the other, but switching between the two was jarring. In the end, I assigned Unity 3/5 stars.
The last desktop on my list was Xfce and I found Xfce 4.10 offered me the least pleasant experience of the bunch. Icons and menu items were small, window controls were placed close together and did not respond at all to taps. The resize area in the lower-right corner of application windows was large enough to easily see, but often did not respond to being touched.
Early on I thought Xfce desktop icons were not responding to touch at all, but I eventually discovered I had to tap on the text under a desktop icon in order to launch a program, tapping on the picture (the icon itself) produced no result. Xfce has a bottom panel with quick-launch buttons and these worked and were easy to access.
Of all the desktop environments I tried, Xfce was the only one in which I could not move windows by tapping on the window's title bar and dragging it around. In this way Xfce was unique. One of Xfce's few good qualities where touch was concerned was that scroll bars were clearly visible and worked smoothly. I gave Xfce 1/5 stars.
Xfce 4.10 -- Exploring the desktop with touch
(full image size: 321kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
On the whole, I don't think there were a lot of surprises in this trial. The older, traditional desktops (LXDE, MATE, Xfce) appear to be much more interested in saving screen space than being touch friendly. More modern desktops like KDE 4, GNOME Shell and Unity appear to be making an effort to use large, touch accessible controls. No desktop environment worked with touch perfectly, but GNOME certainly stood out as being made with touch screens in mind.
Something I noticed while exploring each desktop environment was there did not appear to be a way to right-click on anything. When using an Android phone, pressing down for an extended period usually causes a context menu to appear. This does not seem to be true of any of the desktop environments I used this week. I think this is a shame as hold-to-right-click probably would have made several tasks easier. I also found most desktops have not addressed scrolling. Unity tries to allow us to swipe to scroll, but it only works about half the time. The other desktops are all still stuck with traditional scroll bars which feel a little out of place when using a touch device.
In the end, I was quite happy to return to using a mouse instead of my finger. It is nice to be able to right-click on controls again and select items with a higher degree of accuracy. But if I do need to, in the future, use an open source desktop on a touch device, I hope it is GNOME Shell.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Mageia makes transferring ISOs safer, OpenMandriva creates new gaming documentation and Rebellin replaces their support forum
Many of us test and install distributions from USB thumb drives. These external, pluggable drives offer a portable and fast way to transfer an operating system to a new computer. There is one important drawback to using USB drives though and that is getting a distribution's ISO image onto the thumb drive can be dangerous. When using most image transferring tools or the dd command, the user is often one typo away from wiping their hard drive. The Mageia developers have created a utility, called ISOdumper, which will transfer an ISO file onto a USB drive, automatically handling most of the steps which could potentially go wrong. ISOdumper also verifies the data on the USB drive, confirming the ISO file has been transferred correctly. The Mageia blog has more details: "Several programs are available for dumping ISO boot images to USB sticks - for installing the operating system. Doing this by hand is hazardous: a mistake can overwrite a disc partition. Mageia has its own package, ISOdumper, which does a lot more than the basic task. It is available from normal repositories, you can install it through the Mageia Control Center or Add/Remove software. The latest release is 0.42. It is a GUI program which requires, and solicits, root privileges. In every case you must choose in the `Device' list the USB stick you wish to use." Further information can be found on the application's wiki page.
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The OpenMandriva team is making it easier to find and run games on their distribution. In a blog post the team explains how they are lowering the bar to running popular games on their distribution: "Our talented and very much playing members created a portal to help you to install and execute most popular Windows games and game platforms - now - in your OpenMandriva Lx!
We used all community forces (WINE, PlayOnLinux and our knowledge) to provide [the] best and easy way to install all of them. We started from most popular games and platforms. Forget dark commands with a lot of parameters and codes and configurations, you will install simply and quick, using basic Linux commands, but most of the time you will need just your mouse." Getting many games running with WINE or other compatibility technologies can be overwhelming and the new OpenMandriva games page addresses this. Supported games are presented with step-by-step instructions and screen shots to show users how to install popular game titles.
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The Rebellin Linux distribution is changing the way users access community support. The project plans to do away with community forums and, as a replacement, transition to using a Questions-Answers site similar to AskUbuntu. A post on the Rebellin Linux website explains: "I'll be completely getting rid of the forums. Question-Answers will the be the only form of community support for Rebellin Linux henceforth. I feel such a support mechanism is much better and efficient than forums. Forums will be removed at the time of Rebellin v3 Launch - 2nd November, 2015. It's my request to all users not to post any new queries in the forums."
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Containing user accounts
Locking-down-user-accounts asks: Is it possible to lock users into their home directories? I want to prevent users from being able to access anything outside their home.
DistroWatch answers: It is possible to jail user accounts into a specific directory and the methods will vary depending on what kind of access the users have to your system. For example, most FTP servers (such as vsftp) have an option to limit remote access to one corner of the file system, such as a home directory. The OpenSSH software also makes it fairly straight forward to restrict users into only accessing their own files when they connect to your server using the secure file transfer protocol program (sftp).
Restricting users who have remote shell access via OpenSSH's secure shell (ssh) application is trickier, but it can be done. In theory you could probably force local users into jailed environments so they could not access the bulk of the file system, but that would create many more problems than it solves since each user would need copies of large portions of the file system in their jail in order to get anything done.
Often times when people ask for a way to lock down user accounts, particularly local accounts, it is an indication that they are concerned with what another user can access or modify. The good news is, if accounts are properly set up and file system permissions have not been changed from their defaults, users typically cannot change or damage anything on the system. A normal user account can only modify the contents of their own home directory (and their files in the /tmp directory) and their ability to read programs or data on the rest of the system is generally not a threat.
Usually, the only concern faced when dealing with what users can see on the system is with regards to other users' home directories and system-wide configuration files. A lot of distributions default to allowing users to read the contents of other users' files. This is usually done for convenience, but it can pose a threat if someone stores sensitive data in their directory without securing it with encryption. Luckily it is easy to fix this, setting the permissions on a user's home directory to being accessible only to that user takes care of the problem. As for system-wide configuration files, such as those stored in /etc, so long as root is the only user who can edit those files and no passwords are carelessly added to the configuration files, there generally is no reason to block users from reading the files.
What it really comes down to is Linux is designed in a way which allows users to have read access to most of the file system while still being secure. The one thing you should be careful about is making sure any sensitive data or files containing passwords are not readable by everyone on the system. Usually this can be accomplished by running "chmod o-r my-secret-file" on the sensitive file.
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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: 114
- Total data uploaded: 14.6TB
|Released Last Week
Linux Mangaka Mou
The Animesoft development team, the group behind the Ubuntu-based Linux Mangaka distribution, have announced a new release of their desktop operating system. According to the developers the new release, Linux Mangaka Mou, will work on both x86 and PowerPC 64-bit architectures. The Mou version ships with a lightly customized MATE desktop and multimedia support. "Today the whole Animesoft team are proud to be able to announce the final stage of Mou which is based on Ubuntu with the lightweight MATE desktop containing Aooke® and IBM® PowerPC 64-bit architecture scripts. As any other Mangaka release (except One) you will be able to run on any 64-bit PC and enjoy a out-of-box fast and complete Linux for Anime & Manga multimedia viewing and editing purposes." Further details on Linux Mangaka Mou, and a screen shot of the distribution in action, can be found in the project's release announcement.
The developers of Tails, a privacy oriented live distribution based on Debian, have released Tails 1.6. The new release mostly contains minor software upgrades and security fixes. "Tails, The Amnesic Incognito Live System, version 1.6, is out. This release fixes numerous security issues and all users must upgrade as soon as possible. Upgrades and changes: Upgrade Tor Browser to version 5.0.3 (based on Firefox 38.3.0 ESR). Upgrade I2P to version 0.9.22 and enable its AppArmor profile. There are numerous other changes that might not be apparent in the daily operation of a typical user. Technical details of all the changes are listed in the Changelog. Fixed problems: Fix several issues related to MAC address spoofing..." The project has also provided a list of known issues users should be aware of in order to remain anonymous when on-line. The project's release announcement has further details on Tails 1.6.
Tails 1.6 -- Running the GNOME desktop
(full image size: 132kB, resolution: 1280x960 pixels)
Absolute Linux 14.12
Paul Sherman has announced the release of Absolute Linux 14.12. Absolute Linux is a Slackware-based distribution featuring the lightweight IceWM window manager as the default desktop. This release is based on Slackware's latest development tree: "Absolute 14.12 released. This release is based upon Slackware Current (prior to 14.2 release). Many of the same applications and features, but recompiled nearly everything due to newer libraries (especially the PNG libraries). Python 3, and GTK+ 3 transitions have begun, I suppose, as both are now available. Extra support packages will be needed by applications that do use them." This version is built on top of Linux kernel 4.1.6. Some other notable updates in the changelog include: "AbiWord 3.0.1, MESA 11.0.0, glibc 2.22, IceWM 18.104.22.168, PulseAudio 6.0, GCC 4.9.3...." Visit the distribution's home page to read the brief release announcement.
Kai Hendry has announced the release of Webconverger 32.0, the latest stable release of the specialist Linux distribution for web kiosks - now with Firefox 41.0 and improved web browser privacy features: "Webconverger 32 release. Prompted by the disturbing privacy defaults in Windows 10 and an enquiry whether Webconverger leaked any intranet information, we reviewed Firefox defaults. This review was accomplished with Wireshark, a tool that allows us to analyse every packet leaving and entering a Webconverger instance. We did notice a lot of network noise chatter caused by safe browsing, location services and a media codec download. We reduced this chatter by turning off these automatic Firefox services. Finally, an upgrade process on an install was packet sniffed. Strictly speaking, these Firefox defaults don't leak any private information and elements like safe browsing should give an extra layer of malware protection, but in practice the network noise generated by these services are too risky for security." Continue to the release announcement for full details.
Manjaro Linux 15.09
Philip Müller has announced a new release of Manjaro Linux, an Arch-based distribution designed to be easy to install and use. The new release features a date-based version number, 15.09, along with a new graphical system installer, called Calamares. Manjaro Linux 15.09 also includes Firefox 41 and updated kernel packages. "I'm happy to announce Manjaro 15.09 (Bellatrix)! Since June we are working on this release. First thing you will notice, this release was not tagged 0.9.0 as we would have normal done. Well, we had a discussion with all developers and decided to go for date tags from now on. Also new is: we ship with Calamares as an alternative graphical installer. It is now stable enough to be used on productive systems. You can still use Thus. Also our terminal installer got some small improvements." Manjaro Linux 15.09 is available in three official favour's (Xfce, KDE and Net) along with several community spins. More details are available in the project's release announcement.
Manjaro Linux 15.09 -- Running the Xfce desktop
(full image size: 552kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Steam and gaming on Linux
Earlier this month, Ars Technica ran a story which observed there are currently over 1,500 game titles in Valve's on-line Steam store. The article states, "Anecdotal evidence supporting Steam's Linux gaming growth looks rosy as well. The five most popular Linux titles for Steam include major developer offerings like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (the rest of the top five according to Phoronix includes ARK: Survival Evolved, Team Fortress 2, and Dota 2). And this summer, a small indie game called Don't Be Patchman even became the first Linux-exclusive launch on Steam." Linux is increasingly becoming a platform for games, even for big titles.
This week we would like to know if you use Linux to run games and, if so, do you play exclusively open source games which can generally be found in a distribution's official repositories, or do you use third-party sources like GOG and Steam?
You can see the results of last week's poll on using disk encryption here. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Gaming on Linux
|I do not play games on Linux: ||665 (37%)|
| I play open source Linux games exclusively: ||275 (15%)|
| I play games from third-party platforms (Steam/GOG): ||342 (19%)|
| I play games from a variety of sources: ||522 (29%)|
Distributions added to waiting list
- Cubuntu. Cubuntu is a Linux distribution based on Ubuntu. The distribution ships with the Cinnamon and MATE desktop environments.
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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, 5 October 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 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|
|• Issue 788 (2018-11-05): Clu Linux Live 6.0, examining RAM consumpion, finding support for older CPUs, more Steam support for running Windows games on Linux, update from Solus team|
|• Issue 787 (2018-10-29): Lubuntu 18.10, limiting application access to specific users, Haiku hardware compatibility list, IBM purchasing Red Hat|
|• Issue 786 (2018-10-22): elementary OS 5.0, why init keeps running, DragonFly BSD enables virtual machine memory resizing, KDE neon plans to drop older base|
|• Issue 785 (2018-10-15): Reborn OS 2018.09, Nitrux 1.0.15, swapping hard drives between computers, feren OS tries KDE spin, power savings coming to Linux|
|• Issue 784 (2018-10-08): Hamara 2.1, improving manual pages, UBports gets VoIP app, Fedora testing power saving feature|
|• Issue 783 (2018-10-01): Quirky 8.6, setting up dual booting with Ubuntu and FreeBSD, Lubuntu switching to LXQt, Mint works on performance improvements|
|• Issue 782 (2018-09-24): Bodhi Linux 5.0.0, Elive 3.0.0, Solus publishes ISO refresh, UBports invites feedback, Linux Torvalds plans temporary vacation|
|• Issue 781 (2018-09-17): Linux Mint 3 "Debian Edition", file systems for SSDs, MX makes installing Flatpaks easier, Arch team answers questions, Mageia reaches EOL|
|• Issue 780 (2018-09-10): Netrunner 2018.08 Rolling, Fedora improves language support, how to customize Kali Linux, finding the right video drivers|
|• Issue 779 (2018-09-03): Redcore 1806, keeping ISO downloads safe from tampering, Lubuntu makes Calamares more flexible, Ubuntu improves GNOME performance|
|• Issue 778 (2018-08-27): GuixSD 0.15.0, ReactOS 0.4.9, Steam supports Windows games on Linux, Haiku plans for beta, merging disk partitions|
|• 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 |
Bioknoppix was a customised distribution of the KNOPPIX live CD. With this distribution you just boot from the CD and you have a fully functional Linux OS with open source applications targeted at the molecular biologist. Besides using some RAM, Bioknoppix doesn't touch the host computer, being ideal for demonstrations, molecular biology students, workshops, etc.