| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 724, 7 August 2017
Welcome to this year's 32nd issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Arch Linux is a popular rolling release distribution which maintains a simple design. Arch's do-it-yourself approach and constantly updated repository of software have made it an attractive operating system for many people. However, getting started with Arch Linux takes an investment in time and effort. This has given rise to a large number of Arch-based distributions which automate much of the installation and initial configuration. One such project is SwagArch, an Arch-based distribution featuring the Xfce desktop environment and graphical installer. Our Feature Story this week explores SwagArch and reports on the project's features. In our News section we talk about Fedora 24 approaching the end of its supported life, Manjaro's OpenRC community spins branching off to become a separate distribution and Red Hat planning to drop support for the advanced Btr file system. We also link to a discussion on whether Debian will continue to create live desktop ISO images. Plus we attempt to clear up common misunderstandings about the Unity desktop, Ubuntu Touch and related technologies in our Myths and Misunderstandings column. The Unity desktop's future is the subject of our Opinion Poll and we hope you will share your thoughts on Unity with us. We are pleased to bring you the project releases of the past week and the list of torrents we are seeding. Plus this week we added a new project to our database, Nitrux, which features the custom Nomad desktop. Finally, we are happy to donate funds to the Krita project which develops powerful drawing and painting software. We wish you all a wonderful week and happy reading!
- Review: SwagArch GNU/Linux 2017.06
- News: Manjaro's OpenRC spin becomes its own distro, Fedora 24 approaching its EOL, Red Hat plans to drop Btrfs support, Debian discusses future of live desktop images
- Myths and misunderstandings: Myths and misunderstandings: Unity, Mir and Ubuntu Touch
- Released last week: Ubuntu 16.04.3, DragonFly Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.4, BSD 4.8.1
- Torrent corner: 4MLinux, Antergos, AUSTRUMI, Bluestar, DragonFly BSD, Lliurex, NethServer, OPNsense, SmartOS, Ubuntu, Ubuntu Budgie
- Upcoming releases: Tails 3.1
- Opinion poll: The Unity 7 desktop environment
- DistroWatch.com donation: Krita
- New additions: Nitrux
- New distributions: Artix Linux, AmorodLinux
- Reader comments
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
SwagArch GNU/Linux 2017.06
SwagArch GNU/Linux is a relatively new addition to the DistroWatch database. The distribution is based on Arch Linux and is developed for 64-bit x86 computers exclusively. Like its parent, SwagArch is a rolling release distribution. Unlike its parent, SwagArch's installation media ships with a live desktop environment and a graphical system installer which should make it a lot easier to set up the distribution quickly.
I downloaded the distribution's sole edition which is available as a 1.1GB download. Booting from the downloaded image launches the Xfce desktop environment. The desktop is arranged with a panel at the top of the screen which holds an application menu and system tray. At the bottom of the screen is a panel containing quick-launch buttons and icons representing open windows. Once the Xfce desktop finishes loading, the distribution automatically launches the Calamares system installer to assist us in setting up our new copy of SwagArch.
Calamares is a graphical installer which has been increasingly popular among Arch-based distributions recently. The installer is quite friendly and streamlined, reminding me a lot of Ubuntu's Ubiquity installer. We are walked through the usual steps of selecting our preferred language, our time zone and providing our keyboard's layout. Calamares offers both automated and manual disk partitioning options. I mostly used the manual options during my trial and found the manual options to be both flexible and easy to navigate. We conclude by creating a username and password for a new user account and then wait while Calamares sets up the operating system.
SwagArch 2017.06 -- The Calamares installer
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The first time I went through the installation process, Calamares locked up 83% of the way through its work. The status bar in the installer indicated it froze while "Running mrpacman operation". I left the system running to see if it would sort out the problem, but after two hours I gave in and started over. The second time through I switched from manual to automated partitioning to see if a default disk layout would help. This time Calamares crashed almost immediately after I created a user account.
The third time I went through the installation process, Calamares again froze at the 83% completion mark. I opened a terminal and did some looking at the running processes. I discovered a number of package management processes were running, including pacman (specifically the "pacman -Syyu --noconfirm" command) and the Pamac daemon process. Forcing these two processes to terminate unlocked Calamares and the installer completed its work successfully.
Once Calamares finished its work, I rebooted the computer and SwagArch presented me with a graphical login screen. Signing in brought me back to the Xfce desktop environment. I explored running SwagArch in two environments, a VirtualBox virtual machine and a desktop computer. When running in VirtualBox SwagArch worked smoothly. The distribution was responsive, stable and automatically integrated with the virtual environment. I had a fairly positive experience with SwagArch on my desktop computer too. The system was quick to boot, Xfce was responsive and the operating system worked well with my computer's hardware. In either test environment SwagArch required about 330MB of memory when sitting idle at the desktop.
I had just two minor complaints related to hardware during my trial. The first was SwagArch's printer manager was unable to properly set up my HP printer as the distribution does not include the necessary driver. This could be worked around if one is willing to hunt down additional drivers, but most Linux distributions can automatically set up my printer without extra steps. The other item which bothered me was clicking the logout button in Xfce would cause my computer's internal speaker to beep. Most distributions do not (thankfully) make any use of my computer's internal speaker and it was an unwelcome feature.
SwagArch ships with a small collection of desktop software. Looking through the application menu we can find Firefox is installed for us. Flash is not available by default, but we can install Adobe's Flash plugin from the distribution's repositories. Network Manager is present to help us get on-line. The GNU Image Manipulation Program and the Risteretto image viewer are present to help us view and edit image files. The VLC multimedia player and the Rhythmbox audio player are included along with a full range of media codecs. The Xfburn application assists us in burning optical media. SwagArch also features a text editor, the Thunar file manager, an archive manager and document viewer. There is a tool for renaming files in bulk and the KeePassX password manager is included to store account credentials for us. In the background we find the systemd init software, version 4.11 of the Linux kernel and version 7.1 of the GNU Compiler Collection.
One application which stood out was GNOME Encfs Manager. This utility creates, manages and mounts/unmounts encrypted volumes. With a few mouse clicks we can create a new encrypted storage space and select a folder where our encrypted files should be stored. Files saved in this folder are automatically encrypted (as are their file names) and stored in a hidden directory. We can mount or unmount this encrypted volume with a mouse click. When attempting to create or mount an encrypted volume we are prompted to provide a password. GNOME Encfs Manager is probably the easiest encrypted volume manager I have had the pleasure of using and it worked for me without any problems. I definitely recommend it for people who want a lightweight security option for casual encryption.
SwagArch 2017.06 --The GNOME Encfs Manager application
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There were some other features of SwagArch which stood out. For example, there is an icon in the system tray that, when clicked, opens a window where we can search for files by name. This gives us quick access to files not only in our home directory, but anywhere on the operating system. The search feature works very quickly and has a simple interface.
Another characteristic I noticed is the distribution's default command line prompt is unusually long and colourful. The prompt is spread over two lines and contains six distinct colours. I found this loud and long prompt distracting and chose to change it, but I can see how the various colours could help a person quickly find a piece of information such as the current time, directory or username.
Unlike most Linux distributions, SwagArch does not feature a desktop task manager in the usual sense. There is a panel at the bottom of the screen which displays quick-launch buttons and icons for open windows. However, this panel is often covered by the windows of running applications. We if wish we can add a classic task manager to Xfce's top panel with a few mouse clicks.
One surprise the distribution gave me was the OpenSSH client software (including ssh, sftp and scp) is not present by default. It is an unusual omission and the OpenSSH software can be installed from the distribution's software repositories.
When software updates are available for the distribution a red icon is displayed in the system tray. Clicking on this icon opens a graphical update manager. The update manager shows a list of new packages along with a comparison of the old vs new package versions and the size of each new package. We can click a box next to each entry in the list to select or dequeue a package.
SwagArch 2017.06 -- The update manager
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The first day I was using SwagArch there were 101 updates totalling 148MB in size. When I attempted to install all the available updates a warning was displayed letting me know the package manager had detected a dependency loop. Choosing to proceed anyway initiated a download process which almost immediately stalled. After waiting for several minutes, I paused the download and restarted it. This caused the update manager to completely lock up and it failed to proceed. Re-launching the update manager and attempting to install new packages a third time began okay, but I found my download speed was limited to 2kB/s.
The underlying package manager used by SwagArch is pacman and I found its default repository mirrors included a server in China. Removing this mirror (along with other distant mirrors) from the list of available servers greatly improved the update manager's speed, increasing my download speed to about 20MB/s.
I continued to receive a fairly steady supply of updates during the week, usually around ten a day. Most of these installed quietly without issue. One update caused a warning to be displayed letting me know the update had changed the permission settings on my sudoers file, the file which dictates which users on the system can perform administrative actions. I then checked the file, but found its permission were the same as they had been before and secure, so I'm unsure why the update manager reported an issue.
Apart from the update manager, SwagArch includes a graphical package manager called Pamac. This simple package manager displays a list of available packages. We can click a box next to each package to mark it for installation or removal. We can search for software by name or we can filter software using pre-defined groups. These groups tend to have technical names such as "vim-plugins" or "qtcurve" rather than "Office" or "Internet" and probably will not help newcomers.
SwagArch 2017.06 -- The Pamac software manager
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Pamac worked quickly and was pretty easy to navigate. However, I did run into one problem which I think is a bug. If the user selects a package to remove then the package is removed along with any other packages which depend on it. This happens without any warning being displayed to let us know other packages will be removed. In other words, if we remove a library we do not think will be needed any longer, Pamac will quietly remove the library and other software that uses the library, which may be an application, a game or even the desktop environment.
SwagArch features a settings panel which is very similar to the control panel found in Manjaro's Xfce edition. The settings panel provides simple configuration modules which help us change the look of the desktop, tweak the window manager, change the keyboard's layout, set up the firewall and adjust the display settings. Like Manjaro, SwagArch's settings panel features an icon which launches a second control panel that features modules for managing users, language support and changing the system clock. I am not a fan of having one small control panel hidden inside another and I hope both distributions unify their settings into one panel in the future.
SwagArch 2017.06 -- The settings panels
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My time with SwagArch got off to a rough beginning. While the live environment worked well enough, the Calamares installer ran into a conflict with the pacman package manager and it took a while to sort out which processes were preventing the distribution from installing. Once the distribution was installed, things mostly went smoothly. SwagArch worked well with my hardware and with the test environment. However, package management was consistently a sore point during my week. I ran into a dependency loop, a false warning about sudoers permissions and the default pacman repositories left me with very slow software downloads. It was possible to work around these issues, but requiring the user to trouble-shoot package management and adjust the default repositories does a lot to negate the benefits of using a distribution like SwagArch over plain Arch Linux.
Apart from the package management issues I encountered, SwagArch generally offered me a positive experience. The distribution provides us with a small, yet useful, collection of default applications. The distribution offers good performance and, during my week with the project, the distribution was stable.
Perhaps my favourite feature was the encrypted volume management tool which makes setting up encrypted storage space very straight forward. For people who want simple point-n-click encryption of local files, GNOME Encfs Manager is a good option.
SwagArch has a slightly macOS style feel. The bottom panel with its bouncy icons and the spinning "beach ball" mouse pointer being the most obvious examples of macOS-like customizations. Personally, I'm not a fan of the macOS desktop, but I can see how someone coming from a macOS background would feel more at home with SwagArch as a result of these little touches.
This distribution appears to be fairly young and there are a number of little issues to work out, but nothing major that can't be fixed for the next snapshot. I think the minimal application set along with the responsive Xfce desktop and easy to use system installer will appeal to people who like the philosophy of Arch Linux while also wanting a distribution that can be set up with a handful of mouse clicks.
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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
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Visitor supplied rating
SwagArch has a visitor supplied average rating of: 8.9/10 from 36 review(s).
Have you used SwagArch? You can leave your own review of the project on our ratings page.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Manjaro's OpenRC spin becomes its own distro, Fedora 24 approaching its EOL, Red Hat plans to drop Btrfs support, Debian discusses future of live desktop images
A post on the Manjaro Linux forum indicates that the distribution will no longer feature community editions offering the OpenRC init software. Manjaro primarily uses systemd for its init implementation, but has also provided community spins which run OpenRC. These community editions are being discontinued and the OpenRC flavour is becoming a new distribution, called Artix Linux. "I am sad to inform you that Manjaro OpenRC will be discontinued, won't receive updates any longer. You might think that is bad news, but it really isn't, since OpenRC and non-systemd moved to its own distro called Artix Linux. More details to come, we are currently working on a home page, and transition instructions to convert your Manjaro into Artix." Further discussion on this topic can be found in this forum thread.
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A post on Fedora Magazine reminds readers that Fedora 24 will reach the end of its supported life on August 8, 2017. "With the recent release of Fedora 26, Fedora 24 officially enters End Of Life (EOL) status on August 8th, 2017. After August 8th, all packages in the Fedora 24 repositories no longer receive security, bugfix, or enhancement updates. Furthermore, no new packages will be added to the Fedora 24 collection. Upgrading to Fedora 25 or Fedora 26 before August 8th 2017 is highly recommended for all users still running Fedora 24." The post includes links to articles explaining how to upgrade Fedora 24 to more recent versions of the distribution.
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Red Hat announced a new version of their Red Hat Enterprise Linux distribution on August 1st. The new release, version 7.4, contains mostly minor updates and a few security improvements. Old and vulnerable cryptography functions were removed and file system improvements were introduced. One of the more popular additions to Red Hat's product may be the real-time kernel which will be useful for systems with timing consistency requirements. One announcement that caused some surprise was the plan to remove the advanced Btr file system from future releases: "The Btrfs file system has been in Technology Preview state since the initial release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6. Red Hat will not be moving Btrfs to a fully supported feature and it will be removed in a future major release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The Btrfs file system did receive numerous updates from the upstream in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.4 and will remain available in the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 series. However, this is the last planned update to this feature."
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Paul Wise has echoed a concern by Steve McIntyre about Debian's live desktop images. During the release of Debian 9 "Stretch" it was discovered that the live images included a flaw which prevented people from installing the operating system. This same bug was not included in the standard installation media. The existence of this bug at the time of release suggests live images are not being tested thoroughly and the Debian team is wondering whether it is worth keeping the live images if they are not receiving enough attention. Wise wrote: "Steve McIntyre is questioning if Debian Live has a future and calling for help with testing and developing the Debian Live images. If people do not show up to help, then he will disable building live images altogether and the only option for using Debian will be to install it before using it." McIntyre's original message about maintaining live images and the ongoing discussion can be found on the Debian Live mailing list.
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Myths and Misunderstandings (by Jesse Smith)
Unity, Mir and Ubuntu Touch
When Canonical announced in April that the company, which supports the development of the Ubuntu distribution, would cease work on the Unity desktop environment and its Ubuntu Touch technologies, it created a good deal of confusion. Over the past few months I have encountered many people who are unclear on what this change means, particularly for Ubuntu desktop users and the Ubuntu GNOME project. There are also unanswered questions about the current status of Unity 7, Unity 8, Mir and the mobile version of Ubuntu. In this column I will try to clear up some of the common misunderstandings about these technologies and their futures.
What is Ubuntu's new desktop environment?
Let us begin with the Desktop edition of Ubuntu. What technologies will future versions of Ubuntu run if the Unity desktop is no longer being developed? Future versions of Ubuntu, beginning with version 17.10, will feature the GNOME desktop. At this point in time there is some debate as to whether Ubuntu 17.10 will run GNOME with the X display server or using Wayland. The developers appear to want to move toward Wayland (and that is the likely course of action), but there are some issues to deal with before GNOME running on Wayland offers an experience on par with GNOME on X.
Is Unity 7 dead?
Unity 7 was the default desktop environment for Ubuntu users for the past several years. While new development on Unity 7 has ceased, existing versions of the desktop are still being supported. Unity 7 shipped with Ubuntu 16.04 and will continue to receive security fixes through to the year 2021. This means if you were already running Unity 7, you can continue to do so for about four more years.
What happened to Unity 8?
While Canonical has stopped work on the Unity 8 desktop for mobile devices and desktops, the open source community continues to work on the desktop. A team has launched Yunit, a community run fork of Unity 8. The Yunit project has brought the Unity 8 desktop experience to Debian (and its derivatives) along with packages for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and its derivatives.
There has been some debate over whether Yunit will remove Mir support and create their own implementation of the Wayland protocol, or work to add Wayland support to the Mir display software which Yunit currently uses.
The question as to whether Yunit should use Wayland or Mir in the future has caused some confusion, in large part because of misunderstandings about these two technologies. Wayland is a protocol which can be implemented by desktop developers. This is why KDE, GNOME and other desktops each have their own development efforts to support the Wayland protocol through their individual window managers. Mir, on the other hand, is a display server. It is not just a protocol, it is an implementation. The Mir software could, in theory at least, implement the Wayland protocol.
Wasn't Mir discontinued too?
While Canonical is no longer working on the Unity 8 desktop environment, the display software Unity 8 was running on, Mir, is proving to be useful in other areas and Canonical is still working on it.
The MATE and Yunit projects may benefit from ongoing work on Mir as both desktop environments want to implement the Wayland protocol, but have limited resources with which to implement Wayland support. Using Mir as a common component and adding Wayland support to Mir would allow these desktop environments to share resources and gain Wayland support without needing to write it from scratch.
One way or another, Yunit should work with the Wayland protocol in the future, but whether this is achieved by adapting Mir to support Wayland, or whether Yunit will develop its own Wayland implementation remains to be seen.
What about Ubuntu GNOME?
With the main edition of Ubuntu switching to the GNOME desktop, what does this mean for Ubuntu GNOME and its users? The community edition Ubuntu GNOME is going to be discontinued. The Ubuntu GNOME project's resources and efforts are going to be shifted to help with Ubuntu's Desktop edition. People who are currently running Ubuntu GNOME should be able to upgrade to future versions of Ubuntu using the system's update manger.
Is the Ubuntu Phone dead?
Canonical has stopped working on the Ubuntu Touch operating system for mobile devices. However, a community project called UBports has taken over development of the mobile operating system. UBports is supplying updates to devices which already run the Ubuntu Touch operating system. The project is also expanding support to new devices.
At the moment no retailers are selling Ubuntu phones in stores, but it is possible to purchase a supported Android phone and install UBports, or to ask someone familiar with UBports to install the operating system on your phone.
The UBports project is upgrading their software to use Ubuntu 16.04 LTS as a base and pairing with the Yunit project to maintain the mobile operating system's touch interface.
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More commonly misunderstood topics can be found in our article archive.
|Released Last Week
Robert van Papeveld has announced the release of a new version of OPNsense, a FreeBSD-based operating system for firewalls and routers. The new version, OPNsense 17.7, features SafeStack hardening, many updated language translations and an updated Realtek driver which should improve network stability. "We are writing to you today to announce the final release of version 17.7 'Free Fox', which, over the course of the last 6 months, includes highlights such as SafeStack application hardening, the Realtek re driver for better network stability, a Quagga plugin with broad routing protocol support and the Unbound resolver as the new default. Additionally, translations for Czech, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese and German have been completed for the first time during this development cycle. Focus in OPNsense has shifted to improving and streamlining its various systems and providing continuous updates, which amounts to over 300 individual changes made since 17.1 so far. The plugin infrastructure is growing as well thanks to our awesome contributors Frank Wall, Frank Brendel, Fabian Franz and Michael Muenz. And we, last but not least, have been working more closely than ever with HardenedBSD by unifying our ports infrastructure." More information is available in the project's release announcement.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.4
Red Hat has announced the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7.4, the latest update of the company's enterprise-class Linux distribution. This version focuses heavily on mitigating current IT infrastructure threats: "Red Hat, Inc. today announced the general availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.4, the latest version of the world's leading enterprise Linux platform. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.4 offers new automation capabilities designed to limit IT complexity while enhancing workload security and performance. This provides a powerful, flexible operating system backbone to address enterprise IT needs across physical servers, virtual machines and hybrid, public and multi-cloud footprints. As threats to IT infrastructure evolve, enterprises require more security innovation in their software stack to help prevent breaches and more proactively manage vulnerabilities. This innovation starts at the operating system level, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.4 brings to bear new and enhanced features." See the official press release and the technical release notes for further information.
DragonFly BSD 4.8.1
Justin Sherrill has announced the availability of a new update to the DragonFly BSD operating system. The new release, version 4.8.1, includes a number of kernel performance improvements, better Intel video driver support, and installing in UEFI environments with GPT disk layouts is now supported. "The installer can now create an EFI or legacy installation. Numerous adjustments have been made to userland utilities and the kernel to support EFI as a mainstream boot environment. The /boot file system may now be placed either in its own GPT slice, or in a DragonFly disklabel inside a GPT slice. DragonFly, by default, creates a GPT slice for all of DragonFly and places a DragonFly disklabel inside it with all the standard DFly partitions, such that the disk names are roughly the same as they would be in a legacy system. The i915 driver has been updated to match the version found with the Linux 4.6 kernel. (Linux 4.7 in the DragonFly 4.8.1 release.) Broadwell and Skylake processor users will see improvements." Further information can be found in the project's release announcement. Download: dfly-x86_64-4.8.1_REL.iso.bz2 (245MB, MD5, pkglist).
Adam Conrad has announced the release of a new maintenance update for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and the Ubuntu Community Edition projects. The new version, Ubuntu 16.04.3, provides fresh installation media with bug fixes and minor updates, but does not represent a new version of the open source operating system. "Like previous LTS series, 16.04.3 includes hardware enablement stacks for use on newer hardware. This support is offered on all architectures except for 32-bit powerpc, and is installed by default when using one of the desktop images. Ubuntu Server defaults to installing the GA kernel, however you may select the HWE kernel from the installer bootloader. As usual, this point release includes many updates, and updated installation media has been provided so that fewer updates will need to be downloaded after installation. These include security updates and corrections for other high-impact bugs, with a focus on maintaining stability and compatibility with Ubuntu 16.04 LTS." Additional information can be found in the release announcement and in the change summary.
Ubuntu 16.04.3 -- Running the Unity desktop
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
The table below provides a list of torrents DistroWatch is currently seeding. If you do not 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 in our Torrent Archive. We also maintain a Torrents RSS feed for people who wish to have open source torrents delivered to them. To share your own open source torrents of Linux and BSD projects, please visit our Upload Torrents page.
Torrent Corner statistics:
- Total torrents seeded: 521
- Total data uploaded: 14.9TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
The Unity 7 desktop environment
Earlier this year Canonical announced they will no longer put new development efforts into the Unity 7 & 8 desktop environments. Some open source developers have forked Unity 8, the experimental convergence desktop, into a project called Yunit and picked up development where Canonical stopped. While Unity 8 lives on in Yunit, no equivalent team has stepped forward to keep Unity 7 development going, despite the fact Unity 7 was the default desktop environment for millions of Ubuntu users. Some people have put forward the question whether the community should fork and maintain the Unity 7 desktop for laptop and workstations.
What do you think? Is it worthwhile for the open source community to keep Unity 7 running, or should Unity 7 fade away and be replaced by other desktop environments?
You can see the results of our previous poll on transferring packages to a different operating system in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
The Unity 7 desktop environment
|I want to see Unity 7 continue: ||419 (19%)|
| Let Unity 7 die: ||1160 (53%)|
| No opinion: ||603 (28%)|
July 2017 DistroWatch.com donation: Krita
We are pleased to announce the recipient of the July 2017 DistroWatch.com donation is Krita. The project receives US$250.00 in cash.
Krita is a free and open source drawing and painting application. It is often used to make digital concept art, illustrations and comics. The Krita software is cross-platform and releases are made available through AppImage packages so users do not need to wait for new versions to appear in their distributions' repositories. Recently the Krita Foundation received a large and unexpected tax bill and the project is raising funds to continue to pay the developers.
Launched in 2004, this monthly donations programme is a DistroWatch initiative to support free and open-source software projects and operating systems with cash contributions. Readers are welcome to nominate their favourite project for future donations. Those readers who wish to contribute towards these donations, please use our advertising page to make a payment (PayPal, credit cards, Yandex Money and crypto currencies are accepted). Here is the list of the projects that have received a DistroWatch donation since the launch of the programme (figures in US dollars):
Since the launch of the Donations Program in March 2004, DistroWatch has made 149 donations for a total of US$47,339 to various open-source software projects.
- 2004: GnuCash ($250), Quanta Plus ($200), PCLinuxOS ($300), The GIMP ($300), Vidalinux ($200), Fluxbox ($200), K3b ($350), Arch Linux ($300), Kile KDE LaTeX Editor ($100) and UNICEF - Tsunami Relief Operation ($340)
- 2005: Vim ($250), AbiWord ($220), BitTorrent ($300), NDISwrapper ($250), Audacity ($250), Debian GNU/Linux ($420), GNOME ($425), Enlightenment ($250), MPlayer ($400), Amarok ($300), KANOTIX ($250) and Cacti ($375)
- 2006: Gambas ($250), Krusader ($250), FreeBSD Foundation ($450), GParted ($360), Doxygen ($260), LilyPond ($250), Lua ($250), Gentoo Linux ($500), Blender ($500), Puppy Linux ($350), Inkscape ($350), Cape Linux Users Group ($130), Mandriva Linux ($405, a Powerpack competition), Digikam ($408) and Sabayon Linux ($450)
- 2007: GQview ($250), Kaffeine ($250), sidux ($350), CentOS ($400), LyX ($350), VectorLinux ($350), KTorrent ($400), FreeNAS ($350), lighttpd ($400), Damn Small Linux ($350), NimbleX ($450), MEPIS Linux ($300), Zenwalk Linux ($300)
- 2008: VLC ($350), Frugalware Linux ($340), cURL ($300), GSPCA ($400), FileZilla ($400), MythDora ($500), Linux Mint ($400), Parsix GNU/Linux ($300), Miro ($300), GoblinX ($250), Dillo ($150), LXDE ($250)
- 2009: Openbox ($250), Wolvix GNU/Linux ($200), smxi ($200), Python ($300), SliTaz GNU/Linux ($200), LiVES ($300), Osmo ($300), LMMS ($250), KompoZer ($360), OpenSSH ($350), Parted Magic ($350) and Krita ($285)
- 2010: Qimo 4 Kids ($250), Squid ($250), Libre Graphics Meeting ($300), Bacula ($250), FileZilla ($300), GCompris ($352), Xiph.org ($250), Clonezilla ($250), Debian Multimedia ($280), Geany ($300), Mageia ($470), gtkpod ($300)
- 2011: CGSecurity ($300), OpenShot ($300), Imagination ($250), Calibre ($300), RIPLinuX ($300), Midori ($310), vsftpd ($300), OpenShot ($350), Trinity Desktop Environment ($300), LibreCAD ($300), LiVES ($300), Transmission ($250)
- 2012: GnuPG ($350), ImageMagick ($350), GNU ddrescue ($350), Slackware Linux ($500), MATE ($250), LibreCAD ($250), BleachBit ($350), cherrytree ($260), Zim ($335), nginx ($250), LFTP ($250), Remastersys ($300)
- 2013: MariaDB ($300), Linux From Scratch ($350), GhostBSD ($340), DHCP ($300), DOSBox ($250), awesome ($300), DVDStyler ($280), Tor ($350), Tiny Tiny RSS ($350), FreeType ($300), GNU Octave ($300), Linux Voice ($510)
- 2014: QupZilla ($250), Pitivi ($370), MediaGoblin ($350), TrueCrypt ($300), Krita ($340), SME Server ($350), OpenStreetMap ($350), iTALC ($350), KDE ($400), The Document Foundation ($400), Tails ($350)
- 2015: AWStats ($300), Haiku ($300), Xiph.Org ($300), GIMP ($350), Kodi ($300), Devuan ($300), hdparm ($350), HardenedBSD ($400), TestDisk ($450)
- 2016: KeePass ($400), Slackware Live Edition ($406), Devil-Linux ($400), FFmpeg ($300), UBports ($300)
- 2017: Armbian ($308),
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New projects added to database
Nitrux is an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution focusing on portable universal app formats, using the Nomad desktop environment, built on top of KDE Plasma 5 and Qt. Nitrux features the Babe music player and the Nomad Firewall utility.
Nitrux 1.0.2 -- The default Nomad desktop and application menu
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Distributions added to waiting list
- Artix Linux. Artix Linux is a rolling release distribution in the Arch Linux/Manjaro family. It features the OpenRC init software and the LXQt desktop environment.
- AmorodLinux. AmorodLinux is a Debian-based distribution used for system maintenance. AmorodLinux is built using packages from Debian's Unstable (Sid) branch and includes anti-virus, disk partitioning and partitioning imaging tools. The default desktop environment is Xfce.
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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, 14 August 2017. Past articles and reviews can be found through our Article Search page. 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)
|Linux Foundation Training
|• 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|
|• Issue 777 (2018-08-20): YunoHost 18.104.22.168, limiting process resource usage, converting file systems on Fedora, Debian turns 25, Lubuntu migrating to Wayland|
|• Issue 776 (2018-08-13): NomadBSD 1.1, Maximum storage limits on Linux, openSUSE extends life for 42.3, updates to the Librem 5 phone interface|
|• Issue 775 (2018-08-06): Secure-K OS 18.5, Linux is about choice, Korora tests community spin, elementary OS hires developer, ReactOS boots on Btrfs|
|• Issue 774 (2018-07-30): Ubuntu MATE & Ubuntu Budgie 18.04, upgrading software from source, Lubuntu shifts focus, NetBSD changes support policy|
|• Issue 773 (2018-07-23): Peppermint OS 9, types of security used by different projects, Mint reacts to bugs in core packages, Slackware turns 25|
|• Issue 772 (2018-07-16): Hyperbola GNU/Linux-libre 0.2.4, UBports running desktop applications, OpenBSD auto-joins wi-fi networks, boot environments and zedenv|
|• Issue 771 (2018-07-09): Linux Lite 4.0, checking CPUs for bugs, configuring GRUB, Mint upgrade instructions, SUSE acquired by EQT|
|• Issue 770 (2018-07-02): Linux Mint 19, Solus polishes desktop experience, MintBox Mini 2, changes to Fedora's installer|
|• Issue 769 (2018-06-25): BunsenLabs Helium, counting Ubuntu users, UBports upgrading to 16.04, Fedora CoreOS, FreeBSD turns 25|
|• Issue 768 (2018-06-18): Devuan 2.0.0, using pkgsrc to manage software, the NOVA filesystem, OpenBSD handles successful cron output|
|• Issue 767 (2018-06-11): Android-x86 7.1-r1, transferring files over OpenSSH with pipes, LFS with Debian package management, Haiku ports LibreOffice|
|• Issue 766 (2018-06-04): openSUSE 15, overview of file system links, Manjaro updates Pamac, ReactOS builds itself, Bodhi closes forums|
|• Issue 765 (2018-05-28): Pop!_OS 18.04, gathering system information, Haiku unifying ARM builds, Solus resumes control of Budgie|
|• Issue 764 (2018-05-21): DragonFly BSD 5.2.0, Tails works on persistent packages, Ubuntu plans new features, finding services affected by an update|
|• Issue 763 (2018-05-14): Fedora 28, Debian compatibility coming to Chrome OS, malware found in some Snaps, Debian's many flavours|
|• Issue 762 (2018-05-07): TrueOS 18.03, live upgrading Raspbian, Mint plans future releases, HardenedBSD to switch back to OpenSSL|
|• Issue 761 (2018-04-30): Ubuntu 18.04, accessing ZFS snapshots, UBports to run on Librem 5 phones, Slackware makes PulseAudio optional|
|• Issue 760 (2018-04-23): Chakra 2017.10, using systemd to hide files, Netrunner's ARM edition, Debian 10 roadmap, Microsoft develops Linux-based OS|
|• Issue 759 (2018-04-16): Neptune 5.0, building containers with Red Hat, antiX introduces Sid edition, fixing filenames on the command line|
|• Issue 758 (2018-04-09): Sortix 1.0, openSUSE's Transactional Updates, Fedora phasing out Python 2, locating portable packages|
|• Issue 757 (2018-04-02): Gatter Linux 0.8, the UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook, Red Hat turns 25, super long term support kernels|
|• Issue 756 (2018-03-26): NuTyX 10.0, Neptune supplies Debian users with Plasma 5.12, SolydXK on a Raspberry Pi, SysV init development|
|• Issue 755 (2018-03-19): Learning with ArchMerge and Linux Academy, Librem 5 runs Plasma Mobile, Cinnamon gets performance boost|
|• 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|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
White Box Enterprise Linux
What was the goal for White Box Linux? To provide an unencumbered RPM-based Linux distribution that retains enough compatibility with Red Hat Linux to allow easy upgrades and to retain compatibility with their errata SRPMs. Being based off of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 3.0 means that a machine should be able to avoid the upgrade treadmill until October 2008 since RHEL promises errata availability for 5 years from date of initial release. Or more briefly, to fill the gap between Fedora and RHEL. Why was White Box Linux created? Its initial creation was sponsored by the Beauregard Parish Public Library in DeRidder, USA out of self interest. We have several servers and over 50 workstations running Red Hat Linux and were left high and dry by Red Hat's recent shift in business plan. Our choices were a difficult migration to another distribution or paying Red Hat an annual fee greater than the amortized value of our hardware. So we chose a third path, made possible by the power of open source.... White Box Linux.