| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 743, 18 December 2017
Welcome to this year's 51st issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Most of the Linux distributions we review and discuss are general purpose desktop operating systems, designed to be run on workstations and laptops. This week however, we begin with a look at a very focused distribution. Daphile is a Linux distribution which turns a headless personal computer into an audio player and CD ripper which can be controlled remotely using a web browser. Read our Feature Story to learn more about this highly focused distribution. This week's Opinion Poll discusses setting aside a computer for playing media and we hope you will weigh in with details of your home media set up in the comments section. In the news last week we learned about the Slax distribution gearing up for a new release with improved wireless support. Plus we discuss a build of SparkyLinux for Raspberry Pi computers, a new cutting-edge spin of antiX and delays in the launch of Fedora's Modular Server edition. In our Tips and Tricks section we talk about rescuing operating systems and personal files, along with useful tools for performing rescue operations. We are happy to provide a list of last week's releases and share the torrents we are seeding. We conclude this week's newsletter with a donation to the PCLinuxOS distribution and a summary of statistics related to reader-submitted reviews we have received, torrents we have uploaded and announcements published to our front page. We will be on holiday next week, but DistroWatch Weekly will return on the 1st of January 2018. To those of you who celebrate, we wish you a wonderful holiday season. And, to everyone: happy reading!
- Review: Daphile 17.09
- News: Slax improves wireless support, a cutting-edge spin of antiX, SparkyLinux runs on Raspberry Pi computers, Fedora's Modular Server delayed
- Tips and tricks: Tools for rescuing the operating system and data files
- Released last week: FreeNAS 11.1, TrueOS 17.12, MX 17
- Torrent corner: antiX, Debian, Fedora, FreeNAS, LinHES, Mint, MX
- Upcoming releases: Black Lab Linux 10.1
- Opinion poll: Dedicated computer for media playing
- DistroWatch.com news: Visitor reviews and statistics
- DistroWatch.com donation: PCLinuxOS
- New distributions: Secure-K OS, Reborn OS
- Reader comments
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Daphile is a minimal Linux distribution which is designed to be run on a computer dedicated to playing music. Daphile can be run on headless machines and its media controls are managed through a web-based interface. Basically, Daphile is intended to be run on a computer we can stick in the corner of a room and use it as a media centre without worrying about managing software, tweaking settings or navigating desktop environments. Daphile can be run from a CD or USB thumb drive for maximum portability and does not need to be installed directly on a hard drive to work.
Daphile reportedly has the ability to rip audio CDs, play audio files from a local drive or stream music across network shares (Samba, NFS, FTP and OpenSSH services are supported). This gives us a pretty good range of media sources for our music collection.
Under the hood, Daphile has its roots in Gentoo, though the operating system is somewhat stripped down and we cannot use Gentoo's package management utilities. Daphile runs the Busybox userland tools and a light web server, and very little else. In fact, Daphile does not provide a login interface to allow us to tinker with the operating system. The operating system is dedicated entirely to the task of playing music and our sole access to the media controls are through its web interface.
The distribution is available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds and the ISO file we download for Daphile is 195MB in size. While Daphile is capable of running entirely without a screen, when we do boot from Daphile's media the distribution displays the distribution's IP address, which it obtains over DHCP. We can connect to the IP address using any modern web browser which automatically gives us access to Daphile's media controls, there is no user authentication built into the web interface.
Features and options
Daphile's web-based interface has six screens offering us storage options, network settings and player controls. There is the Audio Player screen where we can browse through our music collection, create playlists and play audio files. There is a CD Ripper page for copying audio from a music CD onto a local drive. The File Manager page helps us upload and download audio files. Uploading files can be achieved with dragging and dropping files into the web browser or using an upload dialogue to select specific files to send to the Daphile box.
Daphile 17.09 -- The distribution's audio player
(full image size: 513kB, resolution: 1240x1004 pixels)
The fourth screen is labeled Settings and handles a variety of options. Through the Settings page for can adjust networking settings and connect to remote file shares. The fifth page provides information on the operating system and its status. The sixth and final page controls shutting down and rebooting the computer where Daphile is running.
One characteristic of Daphile which I think is important is the distribution plays audio through the speakers of the computer it is running on. Some dedicated audio systems are set up to play audio through the web browser of a client machine, they're essentially streaming servers that send audio to our devices, wherever we are. Daphile plays its music locally, not through the client's web browser. Daphile is meant to be used as a livingroom entertainment centre rather than a streaming server.
Daphile 17.09 -- Uploading audio files from the File Manager screen
(full image size: 378kB, resolution: 1240x1024 pixels)
The biggest issue I had with Daphile was getting it to access my audio files. At first I intended to use the distribution's ability to access remote network shares to access my music collection stored on a separate device. However, I was unable to get Daphile to connect over Samba, FTP or OpenSSH connections. I suspect this is because Daphile would not accept new configuration changes. Whenever I tried to save new settings the distribution reported it was running from read-only media. This happened whether running Daphile from a CD or USB thumb drive. Since the distribution is not designed to be installed on a hard drive, I was surprised it could not write to its own USB drive. This is a very severe limitation and means we are restricted when it comes to changing settings or accessing any remote music collections.
I also ran into trouble trying to get Daphile to recognize music on my own, local hard drive. For some reason, the distribution failed to read folders on my laptop's internal drive. The only way I could get Daphile to recognize and play music was to use the File Manager screen's Upload function and upload files a few at a time.
I mostly played with Daphile on a laptop computer. When I first started using the laptop, Daphile booted, but of course could not connect to my wireless network as it did not know the password and I was using the laptop as if it were a headless box, just placed on a shelf in the livingroom. I was pleased to discover Daphile would automatically set up a wireless hotspot if it could not connect to a local network. This allows other computers in the area to connect to the laptop wirelessly using the laptop as its own access point. The only downside to this approach is connecting devices need to choose between connecting to Daphile's wireless hotspot or the regular LAN & Internet, or switch back and forth. The default hotspot password for Daphile can be found in the distribution's FAQ document.
Daphile 17.09 -- The system information screen
(full image size: 512kB, resolution: 1240x1024 pixels)
If we do not like the idea of using a wireless hotspot to work with Daphile, we can press the F1 key when booting the distribution and a configuration screen will appear. The distribution's configuration wizard lets us select our preferred language, select a wireless network to talk to and we can provide a wi-fi password. We will also be asked to provide our network's gateway address and the IP address of a DNS server, so it's best to have these on hand if we want to operate Daphile over a secured wireless connection.
When I first started using Daphile, I appreciated the project's focus. The distribution has one task in mind: playing music on a dedicated computer, and any tools, software or services which do not aid in that task have been stripped out of the operating system. Daphile is very lightweight and runs on 32-bit and 64-bit x86 computers, meaning we can turn an old PC collecting dust into a media player.
I really like the wireless hotspot feature mentioned above. Daphile goes out of its way to get us on-line and will work over a wired, wireless or hotspot connection. These options are explored automatically by the operating system at boot time and this flexibility is part of what lets Daphile work as a headless media box.
There were two problems I ran into during my trial. The first was I could not get Daphile to work with most of my existing media collections. I sort of expected problems when trying to access file shares on remote computers, but Daphile also failed to recognize local audio files on my laptop's hard drive. I think this problem arises from Daphile not being able to write new settings to its own USB thumb drive. This issue does not appear to be addressed in the project's FAQ or wiki.
Daphile 17.09 -- Trying to access network storage
(full image size: 454kB, resolution: 1240x1024 pixels)
I was able to work around the settings problem by simply uploading music through the distribution's web interface. This presented me with my second problem and that is I feel the Daphile audio player interface is overly complicated for what it does. Ideally, I think all music should be organized in one logical location with all songs (stored locally or remotely) in one location. But the web-based player separates remote and local files. Local files are further separated into hard drives and RAM storage. And then there are separate folders under these locations. To browse music I may need to go as many as four levels deep, if I don't have music further organized into sub-folders. This in itself isn't a big problem, browsing for music is not difficult, but it is an example of what I see as the overall problem with Daphile as a solution: it's too much solution for my problem.
From my point of view, if I already have a computer in the house which is capable of running a web browser, then it makes more sense to use that computer to play music directly. Using one computer to talk to another to play music on the second computer feels redundant and I have not come up with a scenario where having a second, audio-only box makes sense when it needs to be controlled from another computer's browser. If I want entertainment, it is easier for me set up my laptop on a table, login to its guest account and put Rhythmbox in its full screen “party mode”. Rhythmbox will show all my music on one page, offer the same search features, have an interface that is more familiar to guests, take less time to configure to see all my music and I won't even need a network connection. I won't need a separate computer to access the media controls either, I'll be able to work with volume and player controls directly on the machine.
Daphile does what it claims on the project's website - plays music, has a friendly web interface and can work over a variety of networks. This is all great and I am happy the project has achieved its goals. For me personally, the distribution's solution of turning a computer into a remotely managed audio player is more complicated than using that same computer to run a desktop operating system with an audio player.
* * * * *
Hardware used in this review
My physical test equipment for this review was a de-branded HP laptop with the following
- Processor: Intel i3 2.5GHz CPU
- Display: Intel integrated video
- Storage: Western Digital 700GB hard drive
- Memory: 6GB of RAM
- Wired network device: Realtek RTL8101E/RTL8102E PCI Express Fast
- Wireless network device: Realtek RTL8188EE Wireless network card
* * * * *
Visitor supplied rating
Daphile has a visitor supplied average rating of: 9.4/10 from 8 review(s).
Have you used Daphile? You can leave your own review of the project on our ratings page.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Slax improves wireless support, a cutting-edge spin of antiX, SparkyLinux runs on Raspberry Pi computers, Fedora's Modular Server delayed
Slax, which was formerly based on Slackware, is a Debian-based distribution and live CD. When the new Debian-based Slax was launched some users pointed out missing wireless support and a lack of non-free items. These missing components are being addressed in the next version of the Slax distribution. "I noticed that Debian has updated to 9.3.0 so it's time to update Slax too. I plan to release updates with each minor Debian release, if there are any bug fixes or changes (in Slax) at that moment. Currently I've implemented these changes: added wireless tools; added firmware (free and non-free); added contrib and non-free repositories; fixed apt-get alias parameters handling." More details and the project's to-do list can be found in the project's blog post.
* * * * *
The antiX project has released new network install ISO images based on Debian's Unstable (Sid) branch. A post on the project's News page reports: "For those of you that want to live on the wild side of Debian and basically start out from scratch, antiX has provided Sid-based net images for you. You will need a wired connection since no firmware is included. This is for experts or for those that want to learn and are prepared to search for solutions to any possible issues." The new net-install images carry the version number 17.1 and can be downloaded from SourceForge.
* * * * *
The Debian-based SparkyLinux distribution, famous for featuring a wide range of development branches and editions, is further expanding its download options. SparkyLinux's Stable branch is now available for Raspberry Pi computers. There are two editions of SparkyLinux's Raspberry Pi build, one which features the Openbox graphical interface and one which presents a command line only. The distribution's website states: "Sparky 4.7 armhf for Raspberry Pi is out now. Sparky of the 4.x line is based on the stable branch of Debian 9 'Stretch'. This release is available in two versions: Openbox - with a small set of applications and CLI - text based." Further details and login credentials for the default accounts can be found in the distribution's announcement.
* * * * *
Fedora 27 Workstation, and the Fedora Project's many other spins, were released back in November 2017. One edition of the distribution which was held back at the time was the new Fedora Modular Server. The Modular Server edition was designed to replace Fedora's classic Server edition and offered a significant new feature: "Once all of the planned content is in place, Modularity will allow users to choose different streams of runtimes and applications, allowing base operating system updates without disruption to workloads."
The Modular Server edition has run into setbacks however and is going back to the drawing board. In its place, a classic edition of Fedora 27 Server is being made available. "You may remember reading about plans for Fedora 27 Server. The working group decided not to release that at the same time as the general F27 release, and instead provided a beta of Fedora 27 Modular Server. Based on feedback from that beta, they decided to take a different approach, and the Modularity subproject is going back to the drawing board. Fortunately, there is a contingency plan: Fedora's release engineering team made a 'classic' version of Fedora 27 Server - very similar to F26 Server, but with F27's updated package set. The quality assurance [team] ran this version through validation testing, and it's being released." Fedora 27 Server can be downloaded from the Get Fedora Download page.
* * * * *
These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Tips and Tricks (by Jesse Smith)
Tools for rescuing the operating system and data files
There are a lot of open source tools available to help us when things go wrong and we suddenly need to rescue our personal files or even our computer's entire operating system. When a computer stops working correctly, one of the first problems we tend to face is it can be difficult to know which of the dozens of utilities is the right one for the current job. A utility which will help us boot our computer when the boot loader has been corrupted is great, but will not be much help when we want to recover a deleted file. Likewise, a program that rescues deleted files will not help us if what we want to do is clone a partition. This week we provide a quick overview of some useful recovery utilities and the situations where they can be of the most help.
Recovering deleted files
One of my favourite rescue utilities is PhotoRec. PhotoRec is often bundled as part of the TestDisk package in Linux distributions. The PhotoRec program can search through a disk or partition and find deleted files, saving those files to another location. PhotoRec recognizes most types of files and works with virtually every type of file system. The utility works across most major operating systems, including Linux distributions, the BSDs, Windows and macOS.
One of the features of PhotoRec I like most is the utility guides the user through the recovery steps. We just need to tell PhotoRec which partition to search for files and the program then guides us through answering a few questions about what we are searching for. At that point, chances are if any part of our missing file is still on the disk, PhotoRec will find it and create a copy in the folder of our choosing.
Cloning a hard drive or partition
When we have accidentally deleted a file or discovered our hard drive is dying, one of the best things we can do is stop using the disk. The more we use a hard drive once things start to go wrong, the worse things are likely to become. For this reason it helps to work with a copy (also called an image) of the drive or partition where things got messed up. There are many utilities which will clone a hard drive or disk partition for later examination, but my favourite of the bunch is Clonezilla Live. Clonezilla runs from a CD or USB thumb drive and uses a wizard to guide us through selecting which drive (or partition) to backup. Clonezilla will then save the selected partition to a variety of locations, including Samba shares, OpenSSH servers or another connected disk. Clonezilla is very flexible and its curses-based wizard is very straight forward to use.
Clonezilla Live can work in reverse too, restoring a clone of a hard drive back to its original location, or copying the disk/partition to a new device. When I am trying to recover files, one of the first tools I use is Clonezilla to get a snapshot of the partition I will be rescuing.
Managing disk partitions
Also on the subject of working with disk partitions, I like working with GParted Live. GParted Live is a minimal, live Linux distribution which basically exists to run the GParted graphical partition manager. If you need to create, delete, resize or re-format disk partitions, GParted is probably the easiest point-n-click tool for getting the job done.
Corrupted boot loader
One of my least favourite situations to try to recover from is rescuing a system where the boot loader is no longer working. Usually this can be fixed by booting a live disc, creating a chroot environment and re-installing the boot loader. However, there are several steps involved in this kind of rescue and sometimes our priority is to just get our main operating system back on-line quickly. For these situations there is Super Grub2 Disk. Super Grub2 Disk is a live CD which can be used to boot operating systems, even when the GRUB boot loader has been corrupted or overwritten. Super Grub2 Disk is not a full operating system, it just gives us the tools to boot our existing, on-disk operating system so we can start making repairs. This may be easier or faster than trying to repair the operating system from a separate, live disc environment.
System recovery and resetting passwords
A good, general purpose tool to have is Rescatux. While the other utilities on this list accomplish specific tasks, Rescatux is more of a general purpose utility. It can help recover a boot loader that has been over-written by Windows, reset passwords, repair a damaged sudoers authentication file and perform file system checks. Rescatux has a nice, graphical wizard to help us get started with these tasks.
The above tools are all great resources for when things have already gone wrong, but I also recommend taking proactive steps to make system recovery easier. Having regular and frequent file backups is always useful. We do not need to scramble to undelete an erased file if we have a daily backup of our important data. I also recommend using file systems or package managers which support snapshots. Btrfs and ZFS are file systems which support taking snapshots of the operating system and our data files, allowing us to recover from most scenarios short of hardware failure. The Nix package manager creates snapshots of packages in case an update breaks the operating system and we want to revert to an earlier set of packages. These tools can save us a lot of time and effort as a file is easier to get back through an on-disk snapshot than through a recovery tool.
* * * * *
More tips can be found in our Tips and Tricks archive.
|Released Last Week
Joon Lee has announced the release of FreeNAS 11.1, an updated release of the project's specialist FreeBSD-based operating system designed for computers providing Network-Attached Storage (NAS) services. This version updates the base system to FreeBSD 11.1: "The FreeNAS development team is excited and proud to present FreeNAS 11.1. FreeNAS 11.1 adds cloud integration, OpenZFS performance improvements, including the ability to prioritize re-silvering operations, and preliminary Docker support to the world's most popular software-defined storage operating system. This release includes an updated preview of the beta version of the new administrator graphical user interface, including the ability to select display themes. The base operating system has been updated to the STABLE version of FreeBSD 11.1, which adds new features, updated drivers, and the latest security fixes. Support for Intel Xeon Scalable Family processors, AMD Ryzen processors, and HBA 9400-91 has been added." See the full release announcement for more details and a screenshot of the improved administration interface.
TrueOS is an open source operating system based on FreeBSD's development branch. TrueOS provides a rolling release platform featuring the Lumina desktop environment and the OpenRC service manager. The project's latest snapshot, version 17.12, includes LibreSSL in the base system (replacing OpenSSL), Bhyve virtual machine support, and the latest drivers supplied by FreeBSD's 12.0-CURRENT branch. "Notable changes: Over 1,100 OpenRC services have been created for 3rd-party packages. This should unsure the functionality of nearly all available 3rd-party packages that install/use their own services. The OpenRC services for FreeBSD itself have been overhauled, resulting in significantly shorter boot times. Separate install images for desktops and servers (server image uses a text/console installer). Bhyve support for TrueOS Server install. FreeBSD base is synced with 12.0-CURRENT as of December 4th, 2017. FreeBSD ports tree is synced as of November 30th. Lumina Desktop has been updated/developed from 1.3.0 to 1.4.1. PCDM now supports multiple simultaneous graphical sessions." Additional changes and a list of key package versions can be found in the project's release announcement.
Linux Mint 18.3 "KDE", "Xfce"
The Linux Mint team has released two new editions of the project's Ubuntu-based series. The project's new offerings include editions for the KDE and Xfce desktop environments. Both new releases are part of the project's larger 18.3 release which already features Cinnamon and MATE editions. Along with support for Flatpak packages and a new snapshot tool called Timeshift, Linux Mint ships with a tool called System Reports which can gather key information to help trouble-shoot problems. "When a crash occurs, information is now gathered and a crash report is generated. The System Reports tool lists the crashes and is able to generate stack traces for them. When developers aren't able to reproduce a bug, that information is very useful. It's always been very difficult for non-experienced users to produce core dumps or stack traces. This tool helps a lot with that. In addition to crash reports, the tool is also able to show information reports. Unlike the release notes which show the same generic information to everybody, information reports are targeted at particular users, particular hardware, particular cases. Each report is able to detect its own relevance based on your environment, the desktop you're using, your CPU, your graphic cards, etc." These pieces of information can be forwarded to the project's developers to help them fix bugs. Further information on Linux Mint 18.3 can be found in the release announcements (KDE, Xfce).
MX Linux 17
The MX team has announced the release of MX Linux 17, a lightweight distribution based on Debian and featuring the Xfce desktop environment. The new release is based on Debian 9.3 and ships with Xfce 4.12. "This release feature the following: 4.13.0-1 kernels for both 32-bit and 64-bit ISOs (yes, we still have 32-bit!) The 32-bit ISO has a PAE kernel for RAM usage above 4GB. Easily change kernels, say to the latest Liquorix kernel or downgrade to Debian Stable kernel (4.9) with MX Package Installer. The latest updates from Debian (Stretch) 9.3 and Xfce 4.12.3. All the antiX live features, including persistence (up to 20GB) and remaster tools. Automatic selection of appropriate driver for most Broadcom chipsets (in most cases, no user intervention required)." Further details, an overview of the custom MX tools and key package versions can be found in the distribution's release announcement.
MX Linux 17 -- Running the Xfce desktop
(full image size: 780kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
* * * * *
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: 679
- Total data uploaded: 17.0TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Dedicated computer for media playing
In this week's Feature Story we talked about Daphile, a Linux distribution which turns a personal computer into a dedicated audio player. We would like to find out how many of our readers have personal computers dedicated exclusively to playing media, such as audio or video files. Do you have a workstation, laptop or Raspberry Pi set up to exclusively be a media box? Let us know about your setup in the comments.
You can see the results of our previous poll on using privacy-focused distributions in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Dedicated computer for media playing
|I have a dedicated media desktop/laptop: ||380 (22%)|
| I have a dedicated media console: ||87 (5%)|
| I use media appliances (CD/DVD/record player): ||207 (12%)|
| Other: ||102 (6%)|
| I do not have a dedicated media system: ||979 (56%)|
Visitor reviews and statistics
At the beginning of the year we introduced a new feature which invited DistroWatch's visitors to submit their own reviews of distributions. In the approximately 50 weeks since we first invited our readers to weigh in on their favourite (and least favourite) projects, we have received thousands of ratings & reviews and we would like to share some statistics with you from this experiment.
To date we have received 5,471 reviews, not including duplicates, spam links and support requests. The top five most frequently rated projects are currently Manjaro Linux (377 ratings), Linux Mint (346), Debian (266), Ubuntu (202) and Devuan (178). It would seem members of the Debian family tend to get the most attention as Manjaro is the only non-Debian member in the top five.
More ratings do not always mean higher ratings though. The top five highest ranking projects at the time of writing are Point Linux, IPFire, MX Linux, Slackware and SwagArch GNU/Linux. The more niche status of these projects seems to indicate fewer people experiment with these distributions, but those who do try them appreciate their non-mainstream approaches.
Some phrases or comments keep coming up when browsing the reviews. The term "rock solid" or "rock stable" shows up 165 times, the word "perfect" shows up 380 times, "crash" shows up 205 times and "unstable" was mentioned 88 times. The controversial subject of the systemd init software appears in 273 reviews with most reviewers seeking projects not including the technology. Other init systems came up now and again with 28 posts mentioning OpenRC, 24 reviewers talking about SysV init, 21 talking about runit (mostly with regards to the Void distribution) and 1 mentioning Upstart. Architecture was another common subject, with at least 127 reviewers commenting on 32-bit or 64-bit support.
Visitors rating distributions tended to either heap praise or pain on the projects they rated. Of the 5,471 reviews we have received, about half (2,870) offered a rating of 10/10 for the distribution being reviewed. Another 1,732 provided ratings of 9/10 or 8/10. A total of 189 reviews assigned a 1/10 rating to the project being reviewed. The least common ranking was 2/10 with only 65 reviews assigning this value.
We do not collect personal information on the people submitting reviews so we do not know how many of the people sharing their thoughts are repeat reviewers or first-timers. However, we do know from our web logs that 718 of our reviews came from people on IPv6 addresses with the other 4,753 coming from IPv4. This would suggest about 13% of our readers are using IPv6. That is approximately the same percentage of visitors to Google who were using IPv6 in the first half of 2017.
Thank you to all the people who submitted reviews and shared your thoughts on projects, whether they were good or bad. We hope this makes it easier for people to find distributions which suit their needs. At the moment there are still many projects, over 250 at the time of writing, which have only been reviewed once (or not at all), and we hope those projects will also get some attention from reviewers in 2018 to make it easier for people to find what they are looking for.
We have more statistics which may interest our readers. During the 2017 year we made a big effort to clean up our waiting list. Our queue of projects waiting to be evaluated was reduced from 137 down to 48. At the time of writing, no project awaiting evaluation has been in our queue for more than a year. During this calendar year we added 43 new distributions to our database, with several of these projects receiving reviews in DistroWatch Weekly.
Creative distribution makers were hard at work this year and we received 75 new submissions to our waiting list! Look for many of these projects to be discussed and added to our database in 2018. If you know of a project not in our database or on our waiting list, please submit it to us.
Rounding out the statistics for 2017, we uploaded and seeded 413 torrents and published 194 news stories on our Headlines page. In addition, we published 324 project releases on our front page, with 253 of those being stable/final releases. It has been a busy year and we are looking forward to more exciting open source developments in 2018.
* * * * *
December 2017 DistroWatch.com donation: PCLinuxOS
We are pleased to announce the recipient of the December 2017 DistroWatch.com donation is PCLinuxOS. The project receives US$150.00 in cash to help the distribution reach its 2017 funding goals.
PCLinuxOS is a user-friendly desktop distribution which combines a rolling release platform with a relatively conservative style. This approach provides users with a stable environment while offering up to date desktop applications.
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 donations 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 151 donations for a total of US$47,739 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),
* * * * *
Distributions added to waiting list
- Secure-K OS. Secure-K is a Debian-based live distribution which features the GNOME desktop and the Tor web browser.
- Reborn OS. Reborn OS is an Antergos-based distribution which offers the option of setting up one of nine desktop environments (and two window managers) at install time.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. We will be off next week and will return with the next instalment on Monday, 1 January 2018. 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 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|
|• 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|
|• 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 or Linux Mint pre-installed with many more distributions supported. Visit Star Labs for information, to buy and get support.
|Random Distribution |
StartOS was an independent Chinese Linux distribution with the GNOME desktop tweaked to resemble Microsoft Windows XP. In the beginning it was based on Ubuntu, but starting from version 4.0 it adopted custom package management (called YPK) and system installer, though the underlying live medium was still built using Ubuntu's Casper tool.