| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 680, 26 September 2016
Welcome to this year's 39th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Free and open source software is not just a development model which allows for the sharing of code, it is also a security feature. Being able to audit and change the code running on a computer gives users an advantage when it comes to security. Fixes can be applied more quickly and it is harder for errors or back doors to hide in the code. This week we talk about one distribution which strives to maintain a completely open and auditable system, Uruk GNU/Linux. Uruk ships with free and open source packages exclusively and we explore the distribution in our Feature Story. In our News section we talk about a new device shipping the Snappy Ubuntu Core operating system and a new solution for streaming video services using an open source web browser. We also cover a recent controversy involving Lenovo laptops which will block Linux installations. In this week's Questions and Answers column we discuss blocking applications from accessing the Internet. Plus we offer a list of the distributions released last week and share the torrents we are seeding. In our Opinion Poll we discuss where people use Linux and we share a graphic featuring the names of popular open source operating systems. We wish you all wonderful week and happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (25MB) and MP3 (35MB) formats
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Uruk GNU/Linux 1.0
One of the more recent additions to the DistroWatch database is Uruk GNU/Linux (or simply Uruk as I will refer to it). According to the distribution's website, Uruk can be described as follows:
Uruk GNU/Linux is a distribution of the GNU operating system, with the Linux-libre kernel. It comes ready for home and office use, and programs are easy to find and install. Uruk GNU/Linux is currently based on the Trisquel GNU/Linux core.
Uruk ships with MATE as the default desktop environment and includes free software only. Uruk uses Trisquel as a base. Trisquel is, in turn, based on Ubuntu. In this case, Uruk is indirectly based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and is binary compatible with its grandparent distribution. The Uruk website claims the distribution can work with .rpm package files and can install software directly from source code. The website also mentions Uruk may be able to work with other package formats besides .deb and .rpm, but I was unable to find any documentation to indicate how this feature works.
Uruk version 1.0 is available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds for the x86 architecture. I downloaded the ISO file for the 64-bit build which is 1.2GB in size. Booting from this media brings up the MATE desktop. At the upper-left corner of the screen we find a single application menu. A clock sits at top-centre and the system tray is present in the upper-right corner. At the bottom of the screen is a launch panel with a handful of application quick-launch buttons. I found moving open windows toward the bottom of the screen would push the launch panel down and off the display. Raising the window toward the top of the screen would pull the panel back up. This action feels surprisingly nature and I like how the panel quietly gets out of the way when we need the extra screen space. On the desktop we find icons which open the file manager and launch the system installer.
A feature I found unhelpful was the way the month part of dates would always display in Arabic. The clock and the available calendar application displayed month names in Arabic while all other applications and menus displayed text in English. This quirk continued after I had installed Uruk on my hard drive and only the calendar application and clock were affected.
Uruk uses the Ubiquity system installer which people who have worked with Ubuntu or Trisquel will find familiar. The graphical installer begins by asking us to select our preferred language from a list. We are given a link to the project's on-line release notes, but this link was broken at the time of writing. Ubiquity's next screen offers to download updates during the installation process. Since Uruk supplies free software exclusively, there is no option in the installer to download third-party items such as proprietary drivers or Adobe's Flash player. The installer then asks if we would like to make use of guided or manual partitioning. The manual option supports working with Btrfs, JFS, XFS and the ext2/3/4 file systems. I found partitioning to be pleasantly straight forward. The next few screens get us to confirm our time zone, select a keyboard layout and create a user account for ourselves. We can, during the account creation process, opt to encrypt our user's home folder. The installer then finishes copying its files to our hard drive and offers to reboot the computer or return us to the live MATE desktop.
Something I noticed while proceeding through the installer was that it used a theme that made borders difficult to see. Most of the time this was not an issue, but on any screen that involved check boxes or radio buttons the interactive elements were invisible. The only indication I had the boxes were available was the indentation of the text next to where the buttons should appear.
Uruk GNU/Linux 1.0 -- Running the MATE desktop
(full image size: 292kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
The locally installed copy of Uruk boots to a graphical login screen. There are two session options available: MATE and Trisquel Mini. Selecting either session signs us into the MATE desktop. I tried running Uruk in two test environments, one was a VirtualBox instance and the other was a desktop computer. Uruk worked well on the physical desktop machine, correctly piping sound through my speakers, setting up a network connection and setting my display to its full resolution. I found Uruk needed about 350MB of memory to login to the MATE desktop. The distribution also ran smoothly in the VirtualBox environment and was stable. However, Uruk did not integrate with VirtualBox and was unable to make use of my host computer's full screen resolution when running in the virtual environment. To make matters worse, Uruk does not feature VirtualBox modules in the distribution's software repositories. This means our best solution for working with Uruk in a VirtualBox environment is to get the necessary modules from the VirtualBox website or Ubuntu's repositories.
Shortly after signing into Uruk, I noticed an icon in the system tray which let me know there were software updates available. Clicking on this icon brings up the Linux Mint update manager. The update manager displays a list of available software updates and assigns a safety rating to each package. Packages with a rating of 1, 2 or 3 are marked as being safe to install while ratings of 4 or 5 indicate packages which may break system functionality if they are installed. The first day I was using Uruk there were six updates listed, totalling 55MB in size. These updates were downloaded from Trisquel's software repositories and they installed without any problems.
Once I had installed the first round of updates, it occurred to me that six updates was a fairly small number and checked the update manager's settings. I found that while packages given a rating of 1, 2 and 3 are all considered to be safe (with most security updates being assigned a rating of 3), only packages with a rating of 1 or 2 were displayed by default. While this means the updates we install are almost guaranteed to be completely stable, Uruk's update manager filters out the majority of software updates, even ones which should be stable. I enabled level 3 updates and found there were another 79 updates available, totalling 198MB in size. These were also downloaded and installed without any problems.
On the topic of software packages, Uruk provides users with a software manager (labelled Add/Remove Applications in the application menu). The first time I opened the software manager a message appeared and reported the repository information I had was out of date and I was asked if it was okay for the software manager to update its information. The software manager window is divided into two main sections. On the left are several software categories, such as Internet and Office. On the right we find a list of applications in the selected category. Each application entry includes the package's name, a brief description and many entries include an icon. We can select packages we wish to install or remove.
Uruk GNU/Linux 1.0 -- The graphical software manager
(full image size: 241kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
Most of the time the software manager worked well for me, but I did run into an unusual bug. Sometimes when trying to download a new package, the software manager would report it had run into an error. The error message said the selected package could not be removed because it was a dependency of another package. This struck me as strange since I was installing a new package, not removing an existing item. Switching to the command line and using the apt-get command line package manager worked around the issue.
Uruk ships with quite a useful collection of free and open source applications. The Abrowser web browser is featured. This is essentially a de-branded version of Firefox. Flash support is provided in Abrowser via the Gnash free software implementation of Flash. The Icedove (Thunderbird) e-mail application is featured too. The Deluge bittorrent client is included along with the Liferea RSS reader and the Pidgin messaging software. LibreOffice is installed for us along with a dictionary, a calendar application and the Atril document viewer. The GNU Image Manipulation Program and the Eye of MATE image viewer are featured too. Uruk ships with a media file converter, the VLC multimedia player and the Xfburn disc burning software. I found the distribution would play most video and audio files. Uruk ships with a calculator, archive manager and the Rose Crypt file encryption software. Network Manager is available to help us set up an Internet connection. The distribution provides users with Java and the GNU Compiler Collection. Upstart 1.12 is the distribution's default init software and, in the background, we find version 4.2.0 of the Linux kernel.
Uruk GNU/Linux 1.0 -- Running various desktop applications
(full image size: 518kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
I like the application menu Uruk uses. I'm not keen on the usual three-menu approach used by MATE and I like that this distribution is using a different menu style. It is pleasantly straight forward to rearrange the menu's Favourites area, and we can add or remove favourite items by right-clicking on a menu entry.
One application which stood out was the Rose Crypt program. I do not recall using Rose Crypt before, it is a simple desktop application with just a File menu to control its actions. Rose Crypt will let us encrypt or decrypt a file using a password. The original files are kept, making the encryption method relatively safe. While I like it when developers provide an easy way to work with encryption, I have two concerns when it comes to Rose Crypt. The first is the user's password is displayed on the screen as it is typed. There does not appear to be any way to replace the plain-text password with stars or simply not show any characters. The other issue I had was encrypted files are the same size as the originals, which suggests me to Rose Crypt probably does not pad data, possibly making it more vulnerable to attack.
Uruk ships with lots of configuration tools and it is probably easiest to access them through the control panel. We can open the control panel from the launch bar at the bottom of the screen or by pressing the Power button in the upper-right corner of the desktop. The control panel is more or less divided into two parts. The first group of modules, at the top of the panel, deal with tweaking the look and behaviour of the desktop. Modules toward the bottom of the panel deal with software updates, power management, partitioning disks, enabling background services and creating user accounts. The control panel is nicely laid out and features a search function to help us find what we need. I found all the modules worked well, with the exception of the Software & Updates module. For some reason this module failed to launch. All other modules worked quickly and I found them easy to navigate.
Uruk GNU/Linux 1.0 -- Desktop and system settings
(full image size: 217kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
One of the key features of the distribution, as described by the project's website, is the handling of .rpm and source archives. There are two command line tools, u-src and u-rpmi, for installing source archives and .rpm packages. I gave these a try, starting with u-src. The u-src utility is actually just a small shell script. The u-src script unpacks a given .tar.gz archive and runs the commands "sudo configure", "make" and "sudo make install". Then the script attempts (and fails) to clean up the unpacked directory. The script fails the clean-up process because configure is run with root privileges, making the resulting output owned by root, which our regular user cannot delete.
In some circumstances u-src can successfully install software from source code. Assuming the source code is in a tar archive compressed with gzip and the archive contains source code which can be built using configure and make and assuming we already have all the necessary dependencies installed on our operating system, then u-src can work. The resulting software does not get packaged or work with our software manager, but it will be installed on our system. However, if we are dealing with a different type of archive, or software that uses qmake or cmake or Java or if we do not have the necessary dependencies installed, then u-src will fail.
I next tried u-rpmi with less favourable results. Like u-src, u-rpmi is a small shell script which simply runs a tool called alien to install the given package. The alien utility tries to convert a .rpm archive into a .deb archive so we can install it. The alien tool can work in some situations, but doesn't do well with more complex archives. However, the big hurdle here is the alien package is not installed on Uruk by default. Running u-rpmi simply produces an error saying "alien: command not found". Of course we can install the alien software and that will allow us to install some .rpm archives, but we may need to hunt down dependencies ourselves as .rpm files tend to name dependencies differently than .deb files. In the end, I did not find either u-rpmi or u-src to be useful as there is a ways to go before they live up to their expected behaviour.
Uruk GNU/Linux appears to be a fairly young project with some lofty goals, but some rough edges and unusual characteristics. I applaud the developers' attempts to provide a pure free software distribution, particularly their use of Gnash to provide a pretty good stand-in for Adobe's Flash player. Gnash is not perfect, but it should work well enough for most people.
On the other hand, Uruk does not appear to offer much above and beyond what Trisquel provides. Uruk uses Trisquel's repositories and maintains the same free software only stance, but does not appear to provide a lot that Trisquel on its own does not already offer. Uruk does feature some add-ons from Linux Mint, like the update manager. However, this tends to work against the distribution as the update manager hides most security updates by default while Mint usually shows all updates, minus just the ones known to cause problems with stability.
As I mentioned above, the package compatibility tools talked about on the Uruk website do not really deliver and are hampered by the missing alien package in the default installation. The build-from-source u-src tool may be handy in some limited cases, but it only works in very simple scenarios with specific archive types and build processes. Hopefully these package compatibility tools will be expanded for future releases.
Right now I'm not sure Uruk provides much above what Trisquel 7.0 provided two years ago. The project is still young and may grow in time. This is a 1.0 release and I would hold off trying the distribution until it has time to build toward its goals.
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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)
Snappy Ubuntu Core finds a home on Nextcloud Box, Linux users have more video streaming options, Lenovo controversy
The Nextcloud Box is a storage and file synchronization appliance which ships with a 1TB hard drive, Nextcloud 10 and a microSD card with Ubuntu pre-installed. Specifically, the device runs Snappy Ubuntu Core and may be the first such device to ship with the Snappy edition of the Ubuntu operating system. The one thing which is missing from the Box is a single-board computer, such as a Raspberry Pi or similar small computing device to make the whole thing run. "'We have always believed that collaboration brings out the best in communities and companies alike,' said Jane Silber, CEO at Canonical. 'Together with WDLabs and Nextcloud we are able to bring the first Ubuntu Core-enabled device, as an app-enabled IoT gateway, to the market and to people's homes.'" More information on the Nextcloud box can be found on the OMG Ubuntu and Nextcloud websites.
* * * * *
Linux users who wish to participate in video streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Video will be happy to know these services will soon be available to people running the open source Firefox web browser. Previously, Linux users typically had to run a closed source browser, such as Chrome, or perform technical workarounds to access these services. Firefox 49 introduces a new plugin which provides the code necessary to stream videos from Netflix and Amazon. The Ghacks website reports: "Firefox 49 on Linux will support plug-in free playback on Netflix and Amazon video. This is done through the integration of Google Widevine CDM for Linux. This means that Linux users don't need Adobe Flash or a Silverlight alternative for that anymore." At the time of writing, it may still be necessary to change Firefox's user agent identification text in order to access streaming services.
Last week a story made the rounds which talked about certain Lenovo laptops blocking the installation of Linux-based operating systems. While it is true Linux cannot be installed on a particular Lenovo laptop model, the problem appears to be more of an issue with missing drivers and questionable firmware settings than a deliberate attempt to prevent Linux from running on the computer. Matthew Garrett has a nice summary of the situation: "There's a story going round that Lenovo have signed an agreement with Microsoft that prevents installing free operating systems. This is sensationalist, untrue and distracts from a genuine problem. The background is straightforward. Intel platforms allow the storage to be configured in two different ways - "standard" (normal AHCI on SATA systems, normal NVMe on NVMe systems) or "RAID". "RAID" mode is typically just changing the PCI IDs so that the normal drivers won't bind, ensuring that drivers that support the software RAID mode are used. Intel have not submitted any patches to Linux to support the "RAID" mode. In this specific case, Lenovo's firmware defaults to "RAID" mode and doesn't allow you to change that. Since Linux has no support for the hardware when configured this way, you can't install Linux (distribution installers will boot, but won't find any storage device to install the OS to)." Further explanation can be found in Garrett's blog post.
* * * * *
These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Blocking applications at the firewall
Blocking-apps asks: All the default firewall apps on Linux block ports and IP addresses, but not specific applications. Is there a firewall app that will let me block programs instead of port numbers? Preferably something simple and with a GUI.
DistroWatch answers: There are a few programs for Linux which will block an application, regardless of which ports it uses, rather than filtering specific service ports. The Douane and Leopard Flower utilities are designed with this situation in mind. That is the good news. The bad news is not many distributions have packaged these utilities yet, so you may need to follow the documentation to build your own copy from the provided source code for the two aforementioned programs.
Another way to go would be to isolate your untrusted applications, cutting them off from the network. This can be accomplished by setting up a virtual machine and installing the untrusted program in the virtual environment. Once the virtual environment has been set up, the virtual machine's network interface can be disabled, cutting the application off from the Internet.
For people who do not like the idea of running a full virtual machine with all the extra overhead, there is another option. The Firejail sandboxing software is very lightweight and can be used to cut off an application's network connection. For example, if we wanted to run the Rhythmbox audio player and block its network access we could run
firejail --net=none rhytmbox
Using sandboxes and virtual machines gives us the added bonus of isolating untrusted applications not only from the network, but also from interacting with other programs or files on our computer.
* * * * *
For more questions and answers, visit our Questions and Answers 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: 240
- Total data uploaded: 44.8TB
|Released Last Week
Absolute Linux 14.2
Paul Sherman has announced the release of Absolute Linux 14.2, a new version of the project's Slackware-based distribution featuring the lightweight IceWM window manager as the default desktop user interface: "Absolute Linux 14.2 released, based on Slackware 14.2. It comes in a 32-bit and a 64-bit variants. Same basic functionality, but most everything updated under the hood. No longer fits on a single CD - the usual installation method is a USB stick. With this size-constraint removed, larger applications like LibreOffice and Calibre are now included in the base installation. Both installers have an 'Autoinstall' option, which partitions and formats your drive. The 64-bit edition will make GPT partitions if you are booting EFI. But just as with Slackware, you need to turn off Secure Boot in the BIOS if it is set. The applications and development libraries are more extensive than previous releases." Visit the distribution's home page to read the full release announcement and see also the changelog for minute details.
Absolute Linux 14.2 -- Default desktop environment
(full image size: 620kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
The Amnesic Incognito Live System (Tails) project has released a new version of the Debian-based privacy oriented distribution. Tails allows the user to direct network traffic through the Tor anonymizing network and provides a number of privacy utilities. The latest release, Tails 2.6, includes such security features as memory address randomization and higher entropy for generating random numbers. The Tor software has been updated to version 0.2.8.7 and the Tor Browser has been updated to version 6.0.5. "New features: We enabled address space layout randomization in the Linux kernel (kASLR) to improve protection from buffer overflow attacks. We installed rngd to improve the entropy of the random numbers generated on computers that have a hardware random number generator." A problem with setting up GMail accounts has been fixed and the "disable all networking" option has been improved. Additional information on Tails 2.6 along with known issues can be found in the project's release announcement.
Robolinux is a Debian-based desktop distribution which features many security and entertainment packages. The Robolinux project has released an update to the distribution's 8.x series: Robolinux 8.6. The new version is available in four editions (Cinnamon, LXDE, MATE and Xfce) and can be run on 32-bit and 64bit x86 processors. "As usual all four of the upgraded 32-bit & 64-bit Robolinux Raptor version 8.6 operating system editions come with over 120 custom built wifi, video & printer drivers and can run Windows XP, 7 & 10 virus free inside. Every version is loaded with many popular one-click installer applications such as the Tor browser, I2P, several very popular multimedia apps, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Skype & VirtualBox, plus 12 incredibly powerful security and privacy apps to keep our users safe!" Some older (pre-2008) video cards are no longer supported. The release announcement contain further information.
Apricity OS 09.2016
Alex Gajewski has announced the availability of a new release of the Apricity OS Linux distribution. The new version, Apricity OS 09.2016, includes a few new features. This release includes builds for 64-bit and 32-bit computers. The new 32-bit builds use Firefox as the default web browser and all editions include various EFI fixes. "We're very excited to announce the very first release of Apricity OS that includes a (development) 32-bit version, labelled i686 in the downloads section of this site. We're also trying out in the 32-bit versions a switch to Firefox as the default browser, a very frequently requested change. This month the Calamares installer has been updated to version 2.4.1 (from 2.3), bringing many bug fixes, improved timezone and partition interfaces, and a couple EFI fixes." The full announcement can be found in the project's blog post.
Apricity OS 09.2016 -- Running the Cinnamon desktop
(full image size: 968kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Where do you use Linux?
Linux-based operating systems are all around us. Linux runs on many of our phones, laptops, servers and even appliances around the home. Linux distributions power Raspberry Pis, TiVo boxes and super computers.
Still, not all of us run Linux all the time. Some of us might run Linux on servers at work, but not at home. Or perhaps you use Linux at home, but need to use company computers running a different operating system for work. This week we would like to know where do you use Linux?
You can see the results of our previous poll on open source project names here. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Where do you use Linux?
|I run Linux on my home PCs or devices: ||1728 (63%)|
| I run Linux on work PCs or servers: ||67 (2%)|
| I run Linux at home and at work: ||858 (31%)|
| I run Linux in another environment: ||30 (1%)|
| I do not currently run Linux: ||70 (3%)|
Top 100 most visited projects on DistroWatch
The DistroWatch page hit ranking (PHR) statistics keep track of the number of people who visit a distribution's information page each day. While not a direct measure of popularity, the PHR statistics can provide visitors to this site with an idea of which distributions are attracting attention at the moment.
This past week the Denholm's Dead website published a poster which features the names of the top 100 ranked projects on DistroWatch. The names are arranged in and around a heart shape, reflecting our feelings toward the open source community. We are sharing a copy of the image here with permission from the author.
Top 100 PHR poster
(full image size: 2.7MB, resolution: 4,000x5,658 pixels)
Distributions added to waiting list
- Smart Enterprise Linux Desktop. Smart Enterprise Linux Desktop is a Linux distribution based on openSUSE Leap which uses the KDE desktop by default.
- ClonOS. ClonOS is a minimal FreeBSD-based operating system for working with virtual hosts and appliances.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 3 October 2016. To contact the authors please send e-mail to:
- Jesse Smith (feedback, questions and suggestions: distribution reviews/submissions, questions and answers, tips and tricks)
- Ladislav Bodnar (feedback, questions, donations, comments)
- Bruce Patterson (podcast)
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
(Tips this week: 2, value: US$30.00)
|Linux Foundation Training
|• 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|
|• Issue 702 (2017-03-06): Fatdog64 Linux, elementary OS bundled with new netbook, Haiku announces new features, security and the size of a distro's development team|
|• Issue 701 (2017-02-27): OBRevenge 2017.02, Mageia 6 delays, NetBSD reproducible builds, questions about swap space, trying to steam video on a Raspberry Pi|
|• Issue 700 (2017-02-20): RaspBSD, Debian replaces Icedove with Thunderbird, Fedora's licensing guidlines, tips for switching shells, finding battery charge, getting IP address and killing processes|
|• Issue 699 (2017-02-13): Clear Linux, GhostBSD network utility ported to FreeBSD, Ubuntu coming to Fairphone, elementary OS crowd funding an app store|
|• Issue 698 (2017-02-06): Solus 2017.01.01, comparing containers with portable applicatins, Tails dropping 32-bit support, Debian Stretch enters freeze|
|• Issue 697 (2017-01-30): Subgraph OS 2016.12.30, running Ubuntu on an Android phone, Arch Linux phasing out 32-bit support, Linux Mint testing updated LMDE media|
|• Issue 696 (2017-01-23): GoboLinux 016, remotely running desktop applications, Solus adopting Flatpak, KDE neon using Calamares, TrueOS tests OpenRC|
|• Issue 695 (2017-01-16): Zorin OS 12, Peppermint team fixes installer bug, Debian refreshes Jessie media, Ubuntu improves low graphics mode, Exciting things coming in 2017|
|• Issue 694 (2017-01-09): MX Linux 16, Fedora considers systemd security features, DragonFly BSD to support massive swap space, Ubuntu Touch roadmap, Puppy's newsletter, sudo's password prompt|
|• Issue 693 (2017-01-02): Comparing small distros, fig language, video driver comparsion, Debian+PIXEL, Wayland on FreeBSD|
|• Issue 692 (2016-12-19): Bodhi Linux 4.0.0, Cappsule containers, Calculate's new Utilities package, Solus and Ubuntu MATE build new application menu|
|• Issue 691 (2016-12-12): SalentOS 1.0, openSUSE improves YaST, Fedora considers slower release cycle, KDE neon gets LTS branch|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
DRBL (Diskless Remote Boot in Linux) is server software to boot and operate remote desktop clients. The DRBL software allows client machines to run as stateless, thin-client style computers which are managed by the DRBL server. DRBL Live is a Debian-based, live disc distribution of the DRBL server software which can be run from a USB drive or CD/DVD. It includes a desktop environment to assist users in configuring the server.