| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 761, 30 April 2018
Welcome to this year's 18th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
This week we witnessed the release of Ubuntu 18.04 and its many community flavours. The 18.04 launch is a long term support (LTS) release for most of the Ubuntu editions and therefore will be around for several years. The 18.04 release will also form the base for many related projects for years to come. We begin this week's issue with a look at Ubuntu 18.04 and its customized GNOME desktop from Joshua Allen Holm. In our News section we talk about work being done to get UBports (the community continuation of Ubuntu Touch) running on the Librem 5 phone. Plus we discuss Slackware's efforts to make PulseAudio an optional component and link to a series of educational drawings for people who want to learn about how Linux works. In our Questions and Answers column we talk about how to access a ZFS snapshot which was created on another computer. Plus we are pleased to provide a list of last week's releases and share the torrents we are seeding. In our Opinion Poll we ask if our readers preferred Ubuntu running the Unity desktop or the new default GNOME Shell interface. Let us know what you think of the change in the comments. We wish you all a fantastic week and happy reading!
- Review: Ubuntu 18.04 LTS
- News: UBports to run on Librem 5, Slackware makes PulseAudio optional, educational Linux comics
- Questions and answers: Accessing ZFS snapshots
- Released last week: Ubuntu 18.04, Kubuntu 18.04, Xubuntu 18.04
- Torrent corner: Kubuntu, Lubuntu, OpenIndiana, Pisi, SwagArch, Ubuntu, Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu Kylin, Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Studio, Voyager, Xubuntu
- Upcoming releases: Fedora 28
- Opinion poll: Ubuntu running GNOME Shell versus Unity
- New distributions: Manjaro WebDad, Alien-OS
- Reader comments
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (23MB) and MP3 (30MB) formats.
|Feature Story (by Joshua Allen Holm)
Ubuntu 18.04 LTS
Ubuntu 18.04 LTS is the latest long term support release of Ubuntu. While LTS releases are traditionally fairly conservative, Ubuntu 18.04 LTS represents a major change for the distribution, especially for users who only use LTS releases. Starting with Ubuntu 17.10, the Unity desktop has been replaced with a slightly tweaked version of GNOME. With only one non-LTS release to develop the new GNOME experience, there are reasons to be cautious about such a radical change, but Ubuntu's GNOME desktop, while different from Unity and standard GNOME, provides a functional desktop environment with a few good points and, admittedly, a few minor things that could be improved. Below, I take Ubuntu 18.04 LTS for a trial run and share my thoughts about Ubuntu's GNOME desktop and some of the other new features.
Ubuntu 18.04 -- The default GNOME desktop
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The installation process is largely unchanged from recent Ubuntu releases. Boot from a DVD or flash drive, choose Install, and walk through the various steps. Any user upgrading from either Ubuntu 17.10 or Ubuntu 16.04 LTS by doing a fresh installation of 18.04 LTS should be familiar with the process. However, there are two significant changes worth mentioning - a minimal installation option has been added and the encrypt home folder option has been removed.
Ubuntu 18.04 -- The Ubiquity installer
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I first installed Ubuntu 18.04 LTS when it was still in development and the process was already very smooth. Installing using Ubiquity is always a good experience on my testing machine. I had no issues when I installed the pre-release version, and starting over with a fresh install once the final media came out was also incident free. I made selections when prompted, filled in information when requested, and rebooted my laptop when the process was complete. The process, both times, was completely unexciting.
Overall, there is not much to say about the Ubuntu installation experience. Ubiquity works very well, so there is no reason to make major changes to the process. The minimal installation mode is a welcome addition, but the only change to the installation process is the addition a radio button, so it really does not alter the familiar Ubiquity experience. Granted, the home folder encryption option being removed since the previous LTS is a pretty major change for some users, but full disk encryption is still an option.
Rebooting my system after installation, I logged in and was greeted with a modified GNOME desktop that has an always-visible dock instead of the usual dash. A first-run welcome screen popped up and introduced the new Ubuntu experience. The first screen explained that "Ubuntu 18.04 works differently from older versions." However, the screen only provided a single image highlighting the basics of the new GNOME environment. The image is okay, but it could have provided more details about how things work. The next screen provides an option to enable a new Livepatch feature, which can apply updates that usually require a restart without needing to restart the system, but the feature requires an Ubuntu Single Sign-On account. After that, the user can "help improve Ubuntu" by sending some system information to Canonical. Finally, the welcome screen explains that "Software" can be used to install apps with several applications shown as examples and a button to "Open Software now."
Ubuntu 18.04 -- Welcome to Ubuntu
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Like most modern Linux distributions, the default software selection includes some of the most common applications. Firefox 59 is the web browser. Thunderbird 52 is the e-mail program. LibreOffice 6.0, except for LibreOffice Base, is installed for editing documents, presentations, and spreadsheets. Rhythmbox and Videos serve as the default music and video players respectively. The rest of the default software is mostly the standard GNOME and Ubuntu utilities, plus a few games: AisleRiot Solitaire, Mahjongg, Mines, and Sudoku.
Users of Ubuntu 17.10 should not expect many changes when updating to Ubuntu 18.04 beyond newer versions of applications. Most of the GNOME applications have been updated to their 3.28 releases, but the upgrade to 3.28 bring mostly polish, not major change. However, unlike Ubuntu 17.10, Xorg is the default display software instead of Wayland. Since, Ubuntu 18.04 is an LTS release, it makes sense to be a little more conservative, but a Wayland session is still available for those who prefer it.
At one point there was talk about switching to a new graphical theme, but that did not happen for 18.04 LTS. While this is understandable, even the current, supposedly mature, theme has some problems. The default applications are fine, but there were a few instances of dark text appearing on a dark background and light text appearing on a light background when I installed some other applications. Some apps I had slight problems with were GNOME Boxes and the Enigmail plugin for Thunderbird. Most of these issues were minor, but there were still noticeable. Hopefully, they will get cleaned up before 18.04.1 comes out, if the issues have not already been fixed by the time this review is published.
As someone who typically uses standard GNOME, I found that Ubuntu 18.04's GNOME experience has some nice things and a few annoyances. At first I though I would find the dash annoying because my laptop's screen is only 1366x768, but after using it for some time, I came to like it. It was nice having simple, clear indicators for how many windows I had open for an application, file transfers, and unread messages. It was also nice that the dock was polished enough to always have the "Show applications" button visible. No matter how many applications I had running, I could always click on "Show applications." The other icons scrolled automatically if I moved the cursor over the top or bottom of the dock. I could also scroll though the applications using my touchpad when the cursor was over the dock. However, unlike the Unity dock, there is no trash can. Instead the trash can is on the desktop, which is handled by Files. Because GNOME Files 3.28 removed the code to handle desktop icons, Ubuntu uses GNOME Files 3.26, which means some new features are not available just so Ubuntu can have a trash can on the desktop. While some might dislike the removal of the desktop icon feature from Files 3.28, I found the desktop icons to be so broken that I would rather be required to open Files to handle the trash and mounted media. Every single time I mounted or remove a drive flash drive, I had to right click on the desktop and select "Organize desktop by name" because all the icons would stack on top of each other or not resort themselves to remove blank spaces after a drive was removed. Even worse, if I selected the option to hide the dock in the dock settings panel, the trash can and other icons end up being shifted so they appear half under the dock, which does not count the desktop as a window for hiding purposes.
Software installation in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS is done using Ubuntu Software. While not as "power user" friendly as Synaptic or using apt on the command line, Software is functional. It does a good job of presenting a well organized selection of applications. However, I really dislike how many proprietary applications appear as "Editor's Picks" and "Recommended Applications." Yes, I am more Stallman-esque than most, but I would very much prefer the promotion of applications that are open source over Slack, Skype, and some of the other "Editor's Picks."
Ubuntu 18.04 -- Ubuntu Software
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The proprietary applications are all snaps, which is fine in itself, but there is no quick and easy way to disable proprietary snaps or stop all snaps from showing up in Ubuntu Software. The Software & Updates application provides a tool for disabling various repositories (in 18.04 LTS it even has a new option for enabling the Livepatch feature), but there is no graphical way to stop snaps from showing up in Software. Removing the gnome-software-plugin-snap package using apt on the command line is an option, but more robust GUI options are really needed. As is, I could disable all package repositories except for "main" and the "security" and "updates" options and end up with a selection of snap applications in Software that would not conform to my desire to not run things that are proprietary or that have legal issues. I am certainly not opposed to the concept of snaps, but it would be nice to have a little more control over what kinds of apps appear as options to install on my computer. The current option is all or none, and none requires using apt to remove a package, which I can do, but is not as new user friendly as a checkbox in Software & Updates.
Ubuntu 18.04 LTS comes with four utilities as snaps: Calculator, Characters, Logs, and System Monitor. These four applications work just fine as snaps, but I found it odd that an LTS release was used as a testing ground for switching that many apps over to snaps. Granted, should a user not want to run these applications as snaps, they are also available as standard packages. I have left the snap versions installed, but I dislike the fact that I have a visible folder named snap in my home directory. Maybe having a visible directory is useful for other applications, but for the four default applications, I have never needed to browse the snap folder.
I also tried a few other snaps and the experience was somewhat mixed. Some applications ran perfectly, but others had some issues. When I tested out the Atom and Visual Studio Code snaps they worked great. The SuperTuxKart snap also worked wonderfully. However, I did have some issues with the ScummVM snap. ScummVM worked for the most part, but I could not set it to use OpenGL graphics. Whenever I tried to set the graphics to OpenGL, ScummVM would crash. The ScummVM snap appears to have the same OpenGL snap permissions as SuperTuxKart, but I could never get it to work right.
One of the other snaps I tried was the communitheme snap, which is a community developed new theme for Ubuntu. While it is still a work in progress, and I fully understand the need to be more conservative with LTS releases, I really like the theme and wish it could have been the default in 18.04 LTS. As I write this, it still has some issues with working with snap applications, but those should be fixed soon enough. The theme provides a very nice look, and it appears as a separate session on the login screen, so be sure to try it out, if you want something a little different.
Before I finish, I want to touch briefly on the new minimal installation option that provides a way to start with a smaller selection of packages. It removes everything from the default installation except for Firefox and the standard utilities. If you are setting up an computer lab where the everything the users do will be based in a browser, the minimal installation is a great way to easily set that up. It also provides a way for users who want different applications to customize their systems without having to take the time to remove a large number of unwanted packages. I find the minimal installation too minimal for my personal tastes (I find the standard installation's software selection to be just about perfect), but I am glad the option was added in and hope other users find it useful.
Ubuntu 18.04 -- Minimal installation applications
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Ubuntu 18.04 LTS is not perfect, but it is very good. Users who are super conservative about change might want to stick to 16.04 LTS with Unity for now, but 18.04 LTS is a good desktop distribution that provides an excellent selection of default software for doing general tasks like checking e-mail and writing documents, and there is plenty of other software in the repositories for users who want to do more advanced things. There are a few rough edges that may, or may not, get cleaned up by the time 18.04.1 comes out, but none of them are bad enough to make Ubuntu 18.04 LTS unusable. At worst, the issues are minor annoyances. I realize that GNOME may not be for everyone, and may in itself be a reason to look elsewhere, but I do like Ubuntu's implementation of GNOME with the exception of the various issues with handling desktop icons. However, if GNOME is not for you, Ubuntu 18.04 LTS's other flavors provide the same Ubuntu base with other desktop environments, so check out those if GNOME is not to your liking.
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Hardware used in this review
My physical test equipment for this review was a Lenovo Ideapad 100-15IBD laptop with the following specifications:
- Processor: 2.2GHz Intel Core i3-5020U CPU
- Storage: Seagate 500GB 5400 RPM hard drive
- Memory: 4GB of RAM
- Networking: Realtek RTL8723BE 802.11n Wireless Network Adapter
- Display: Intel HD Graphics 5500
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Visitor supplied rating
Ubuntu has a visitor supplied average rating of: 7.6/10 from 480 review(s).
Have you used Ubuntu? You can leave your own review of the project on our ratings page.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
UBports to run on Librem 5, Slackware makes PulseAudio optional, educational Linux comics
Purism is an organization working to develop a smart phone which will run a completely free and open source operating system, specifically PureOS. The Purism team have announced that they are working with the UBports team to get the modern version of Ubuntu Touch running on the phone's hardware: "Purism and UBports are partnering to offer Ubuntu Touch as a supported operating system on Purism’s Librem 5 smartphone. Being able to work with Purism and focus on the Librem 5 hardware platform ensures that the Ubuntu Touch mobile operating system developed by UBports will be well supported, tightly integrated, and that future compatibility will remain. When the Librem 5 is delivered to pre-order customers, it will become one of just a few smartphones that support the free and open source operating system." This means when the Librem 5 phone launches in 2019 it should be able to run PureOS with GNOME or KDE's Plasma Mobile desktop, or run UBports with the Unity 8 interface. The Purism blog has more details.
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Slackware is often conservative in adopting new technologies, waiting until upstream projects have time to mature before packaging them for inclusion in the distribution. One component Slackware was especially slow to adopt was PulseAudio, a sound system that most mainstream Linux distributions have been using for about a decade. Still, while PulseAudio is now available in Slackware, the developers are making it optional. The Slackware ChageLog states: "Don't like PulseAudio? Well... I hear you. Personally, it works for me, and it makes it easier to switch between multiple audio inputs and outputs compared to using plain ALSA. PulseAudio got off to a rocky start in the Linux world, where it found itself adopted before it was ready (it was even billed on its own website at the time as "the software that currently breaks your audio"). It's my opinion that the reputation that PulseAudio acquired due to problems back then isn't deserved any longer. If your hardware supports the sampling rate of the audio data you're trying to play, PulseAudio will not resample it (and if your hardware doesn't support that rate, resampling can hardly be avoided). The increased latency has not been an issue here. Nevertheless, I recognize that there are use cases where PulseAudio is still a detriment. While I don't generally recommend removing PulseAudio, I'm not going to cram it down your throat. So, if you'd like to be rid of PulseAudio, head over to the new extra/pure-alsa-system directory and follow the instructions in the README file there, and you'll have a PulseAudio-free pure ALSA system."
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We are always on the lookout for new resources which will help people get into and explore Linux. This week we would like to share a great series of web comics drawn by Julia Evans. The comics quickly provide overviews to such technical topics as file permissions, virtual memory, BASH scripting, task scheduling and using pipes. The comics provide readers with very quick, practical summaries of Linux-related topics and the illustrations assist in showing how components relate. The entire collection of comics is freely available on a page called Julia's Drawings.
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Accessing ZFS snapshots
Looking-inside-the-snapshot asks: I'm creating backups by taking a ZFS snapshot, creating a tarball out of it and copying it to a remote server for safe keeping. Can I check, on the server, that my snapshot is intact? I don't have enough hard drive space to create a new partition for a ZFS pool on the server. So I was thinking maybe I could mount the snapshot directly and browse through the files? How would I go about mounting a ZFS snapshot file?
DistroWatch answers: The tricky part of verifying a ZFS snapshot is, as far as I know, a ZFS snapshot is not made up of just raw data like an image (or clone) of an ext4 or UFS file system would be. The ZFS snapshot will include instructions or other meta data which means it cannot (based on my experience) be mounted directly as a loopback device.
The good news is you do not need a separate partition acting as a dedicated ZFS volume in order to access your ZFS snapshot. It is possible to create a new ZFS volume from a file inside your existing file system. This allows you to create a new ZFS volume which essentially acts as a loopback device. Then you can import your snapshot into your temporary ZFS volume. As long as you have enough disk space to hold a copy of the data in your snapshot, you should be fine.
Let's walk through an example. Here we assume you are logged into an account on the backup server. The first thing we need to do is create a file that is big enough to hold all the data in your snapshot. Here we create a 100MB file to hold our ZFS loopback system, adjust the size up to match your snapshot's size:
dd if=/dev/zero of=zfsloopback count=100000 bs=1000
Next, we turn this loopback file, called zfsloopback, into a ZFS volume. The volume will be called backups. This assumes you already have ZFS support installed and enabled on the remote server.
zpool create backups /path/to/zfsloopback
We now have a ZFS volume called backups which exists inside the empty zfsloopback file. At this point we can import the data from your backup archive into the ZFS volume.
cat my-backup-archive | zfs receive /backups/mybackup
In your backups ZFS volume you should now find all the files from your original ZFS snapshot. When you are done verifying the snapshot's contents, you can delete the temporary ZFS storage pool and remove the loopback file.
zfs umount backups
This is not as straight forward as mounting a loopback file directly, but it can be done fairly quickly and does not require the use of a separate partition or disk drive. As long as you have enough space to hold another copy of your archived files (the snapshot) there should not be any trouble in using this approach.
zpool destroy backups
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More answers can be found in our Questions and Answers archive.
|Released Last Week
Adam Conrad has announced the availability of Ubuntu 18.04 "Bionic Beaver". The new version is a long term support (LTS) release featuring the GNOME Shell desktop and version 4.15 of the Linux kernel. "The Ubuntu team is very pleased to announce our seventh long-term support release, Ubuntu 18.04 LTS for Desktop, Server, Cloud, and Core. Codenamed "Bionic Beaver", 18.04 LTS continues Ubuntu's proud tradition of integrating the latest and greatest open source technologies into a high-quality, easy-to-use Linux distribution. The team has been hard at work through this cycle, introducing new features and fixing bugs. The Ubuntu kernel has been updated to the 4.15 based Linux kernel, with additional support for Linux security module stacking, signing of POWER host and NV kernels, and improved support for IBM and Intel hardware enablement from Linux 4.16. Ubuntu Desktop 18.04 LTS brings a fresh look with the GNOME desktop environment. GNOME Shell on Ubuntu is designed to be easy to use for people upgrading from 16.04 LTS and presents a familiar user interface. New features for users upgrading from 16.04 LTS include assistance with logging in to public Wifi hotspots and the Night Light feature to reduce eye strain in the evenings." Further details can be found in the release announcement and in the release notes.
Ubuntu 18.04 -- Running GNOME Shell
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Ubuntu MATE 18.04
Martin Wimpress has announced the release of Ubuntu MATE 18.04, the latest version of the popular Ubuntu variant featuring the MATE desktop environment. This new version comes with the new MATE 1.20.1: "The MATE Desktop has transitioned from the GTK+ 2.24-based MATE 1.12 to the very latest MATE 1.20.1 based on GTK+ 3.22. This migration has been several years in the making, and most of 2016 and 2017 was spent refining the GTK+ 3 implementation. The move to GTK+ 3 has made it possible to introduce many of the new features you'll read about below. Support for libinput has been added and is now the default input handler for mouse and touchpad, which has resulted in much improved responsiveness and support for multi-finger touch gestures. Thanks to our friends at Hypra.fr, accessibility support (particularly for visually impaired users) has seen continued development and improvement. MATE Desktop is proud to provide visually impaired users the most accessible open-source desktop environment. MATE Desktop 1.20 supports HiDPI displays and if you have one then Ubuntu MATE will automatically enable pixel scaling, presenting you with a super crisp desktop and applications." See the detailed release announcement for further information and screenshots.
Ubuntu Budgie 18.04
David Mohammed has announced the release of Ubuntu Budgie 18.04, a desktop Linux distribution featuring the refreshingly simple Budgie desktop that aims to provide a "familiar, modern and functional experience": "We are pleased to announce the release of a new version of our distribution, the third as an official flavor of the Ubuntu family and our very first LTS. The LTS version is supported for 3 years while the regular releases are supported for 9 months. Based on 17.10 experiences, feedback and suggestions we have received from our users, the new release comes with a lot of new features, fixes and optimizations. Here is what you can expect with the new release: more customisation options via Budgie Welcome; lots more Budgie applets available to be installed; dynamic workspaces, hot-corners and Window shuffler; brand-new GTK+ theme called Pocillo; new applets as standard in the panel or available to be added via Budgie Settings." Here is the short release announcement with links to much more detailed release notes and screenshots.
Kubuntu 18.04, an official Ubuntu flavour that features the powerful and customisable KDE Plasma 5 desktop, has been released. The new version introduces a number of notable changes, such as an updated theme, new video and music players, and extensive software upgrades throughout the system: "The Kubuntu Team is happy to announce that Kubuntu 18.04 LTS has been released, featuring the beautiful KDE Plasma 5.12 LTS - simple by default, powerful when needed. The team has been hard at work through this cycle, introducing new features and fixing bugs. Under the hood, there have been updates to many core packages, including a new 4.15-based kernel, KDE Frameworks 5.44, Plasma 5.12 LTS and KDE Applications 17.12.3. We've made some notable changes since 16.04 LTS. VLC is the default media player and Cantata Qt5 the default music player. Muon is now shipped by default for those who prefer a package manager as an alternative to the Plasma Discover software store. See the release announcement and release notes for additional details.
Version 18.04 of Xubuntu, an Ubuntu variant that ships with the popular Xfce desktop, is now ready for download: "The Xubuntu team is happy to announce the immediate release of Xubuntu 18.04. Xubuntu 18.04 is a long-term support (LTS) release and will be supported for 3 years, until April 2021. Highlights: some GNOME applications are replaced with corresponding MATE applications for improved consistency with almost identical set of features; the Sound Indicator plugin is replaced with the Xfce PulseAudio plugin in the panel, improving the control of volume and multimedia applications from the panel; the new xfce4-notifyd panel plugin is included, allowing users to easily toggle 'do not disturb' mode for notifications as well as view missed notifications; significantly improved menu editing with a new MenuLibre version; better support for HiDPI screens, better consistency and other improvements from the Greybird GTK+ theme." Read the release announcement and release notes for a detailed list of changes and known issues.
Xubuntu 18.04 -- Running the Xfce desktop
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Ubuntu Studio 18.04
The Ubuntu Studio team has published version 18.04 of their distribution. While Ubuntu Studio shares packages with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, this release is not a long term support (LTS) version and offers support for nine months. The distribution's release announcement states: "We are happy to announce the release of our latest version, Ubuntu Studio 18.04 Bionic Beaver! Unlike the other Ubuntu flavors, this release of Ubuntu Studio is not a Long-Term Support (LTS) release. As a regular release, it will be supported for 9 months. Although it is not a Long-Term Support release, it is still based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS which means the components will be supported as usual for a LTS release. Since it's just out, you may experience some issues, so you might want to wait a bit before upgrading. Please see the release notes for a complete list of changes and known issues." Further details can be found in the project's release notes.
Ubuntu Kylin 18.04
Ubuntu Kylin is a community edition of Ubuntu developed for Chinese users. The project has released a new version, Ubuntu Kylin 18.04, which ships with the Kylin Video media player, Kylin Assistant to help configure the operating system and Burner, a customized version of the Brasero disc burning software. "Ubuntu Kylin Software Store includes Ubuntu Kylin Software Centre, Ubuntu Kylin Developer Platform and Ubuntu Kylin Repository. Its interface is simple but with powerful functions and it supports both Ubuntu and Ubuntu Kylin repositories. It is especially convenient for quick installation of Chinese characteristic software developed by Ubuntu Kylin team. Kylin Assistant, a system management and configuration tool we developed for Linux users, could show system information, clean up system garbage and beautify system. It makes your desktop more smooth, more user-friendly, and enriched with personality. In this release, we optimize the framework to reduce the resource usage, add file shredder, UD SSO, Spanish supporting and configuration for Cinnamon, and improve the task manager." The release announcement (Chinese, English) offers more information.
Simon Quigley has announced the release of Lubuntu 18.04, a desktop distribution featuring the Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment (LXDE). The release of the "Lubuntu Next" variant, with the Qt-based LXQt desktop instead of LXDE, was once again postponed. "Thanks to all the hard work from our contributors, Lubuntu 18.04 LTS has been released. With the code name of 'Bionic Beaver', Lubuntu 18.04 LTS is the 14th release of Lubuntu, with support until April 2021. New features: Ubuntu 18.04 ships with a version 4.15-based Linux kernel, enabling the latest hardware and peripherals available from IBM, Intel and others; OpenJDK 10 is the default JRE/JDK, once OpenJDK 11 reaches general availability in September 2018, it will become the default in 18.04; GCC is now set to default to compile applications as position independent executables (PIE) as well as with immediate binding, to make more effective use of Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR)." Read the release announcement and release notes for more details.
Lubuntu 18.04 -- Running LXDE
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Alexander Pyhalov has announced the release of a new version of OpenIndiana, an open source operating system which is a continuation of OpenSolaris. The new version, OpenIndiana 2018.04, features a rebuilt userland using version 6 of the GNU Compiler Collection. The GNOME 2 desktop has been removed in favour of MATE. The release announcement reads: "We have released a new OpenIndiana Hipster snapshot 2018.04. The noticeable changes: Userland software is rebuilt with GCC 6. KPTI was enabled to mitigate recent security issues in Intel CPUs. Support of GNOME 2 desktop was removed. Linked images now support zoneproxy service. MATE desktop applications are delivered as 64-bit-only. Upower support was integrated. IIIM was removed." Further information can be found in the project's release notes. The operating system is available in three editions: Graphical (GUI), Text and Minimal.
Voyager Live 18.04
Voyager Live is an Xubuntu-based distribution and live DVD showcasing the Xfce desktop environment for French users. The project latest release, Voyager Live 18.04, is a long term support release offering three years of support. An English translation of the original French release announcement reads: "I present you with Voyager 18.04 LTS with three years of long-term support (LTS), until April 2021. A variant based on Xubuntu 18.04 (Bionic Beaver) with the Xfce desktop and version 4.15 of the Linux kernel. This project is done by a team who I wish to thank for their valuable work. Attention, Voyager is only a pushed variant of Xubuntu. The entire internal structure of Xubuntu 18.04 LTS is left by default to avoid any security issues and packages. All updates come from official Ubuntu. Voyager 18.04 LTS is multi-profile and multitasking in an aesthetic and immersive environment as much as possible and this, since the origins of Voyager, is so that the time spent on your machine is more enjoyable."
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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: 826
- Total data uploaded: 19.2TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Ubuntu running GNOME Shell versus Unity
This week Canonical launched the first long term support (LTS) version of Ubuntu using the GNOME Shell desktop as the default graphical interface. Previously Ubuntu has used the Unity 7 desktop and, before that, GNOME 2. This week we would like to hear what you think of this change. Do you think cooperating with GNOME makes for a better experience, do you miss Unity, or would you like to see Ubuntu using another option?
You can see the results of our previous poll on dual booting versus virtual machines in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Ubuntu running GNOME Shell versus Unity
|I like the change to GNOME Shell: ||427 (25%)|
| I preferred Unity: ||248 (15%)|
| I preferred GNOME 2/MATE: ||495 (30%)|
| I would like them to use another option: ||318 (19%)|
| No preference: ||189 (11%)|
Distributions added to waiting list
- Manjaro WebDad. Manjaro WebDad is an unofficial re-spin of Manjaro Linux featuring the Just Another Desktop Environment (JADE) made with Web technologies.
- Alien-OS. Alien-OS is a Linux distribution based on Kubuntu for German users.
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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, 7 May 2018. Past articles and reviews can be found through our Article Search page. To contact the authors please send e-mail to:
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 840 (2019-11-11): Fedora 31, monitoring user activity, Fedora working to improve Python performance, FreeBSD gets faster networking|
|• Issue 839 (2019-11-04): MX 19, manipulating PDFs, Ubuntu plans features for 20.04, Fedora 29 nears EOL, Netrunner drops Manjaro-based edition|
|• Issue 838 (2019-10-28): Xubuntu 19.10, how init and service managers work together, DragonFly BSD provides emergency mode for HAMMER, Xfce team plans 4.16|
|• Issue 837 (2019-10-21): CentOS 8.0-1905, Trident finds a new base, Debian plans firewall changes, 15 years of Fedora, how to merge directories|
|• Issue 836 (2019-10-14): Archman 2019.09, Haiku improves ARM support, Project Trident shifting base OS, Unix turns 50|
|• Issue 835 (2019-10-07): Isotop, Mazon OS and, KduxOS, examples of using the find command, Mint's System Reports becomes proactive, Solus updates its desktops|
|• Issue 834 (2019-09-30): FreedomBox "Buster", CentOS gains a rolling release, Librem 5 phones shipping, Redcore updates its package manager|
|• Issue 833 (2019-09-23): Redcore Linux 1908, why Linux distros are free, Ubuntu making list of 32-bit software to keep, Richard M Stallman steps down from FSF leadership|
|• Issue 832 (2019-09-16): BlackWeb 1.2, checking for Wayland session and applications, Fedora to use nftables in firewalld, OpenBSD disables DoH in Firefox|
|• Issue 831 (2019-09-09): Adélie Linux 1.0 beta, using ffmpeg, awk and renice, Mint and elementary improvements, PureOS and Manjaro updates|
|• Issue 930 (2019-09-02): deepin 15.11, working with AppArmor profiles, elementary OS gets new greeter, exFAT support coming to Linux kernel|
|• Issue 829 (2019-08-26): EndeavourOS 2019.07.15, Drauger OS 7.4.1, finding the licenses of kernel modules, NetBSD gets Wayland application, GhostBSD changes base repo|
|• Issue 828 (2019-08-19): AcademiX 2.2, concerns with non-free firmware, UBports working on Unity8, Fedora unveils new EPEL channel, FreeBSD phasing out GCC|
|• Issue 827 (2019-08-12): Q4OS, finding files on the disk, Ubuntu works on ZFS, Haiku improves performance, OSDisc shutting down|
|• Issue 826 (2019-08-05): Quick looks at Resilient, PrimeOS, and BlueLight, flagship distros for desktops,Manjaro introduces new package manager|
|• Issue 825 (2019-07-29): Endless OS 3.6, UBports 16.04, gNewSense maintainer stepping down, Fedora developrs discuss optimizations, Project Trident launches stable branch|
|• Issue 824 (2019-07-22): Hexagon OS 1.0, Mageia publishes updated media, Fedora unveils Fedora CoreOS, managing disk usage with quotas|
|• Issue 823 (2019-07-15): Debian 10, finding 32-bit packages on a 64-bit system, Will Cooke discusses Ubuntu's desktop, IBM finalizes purchase of Red Hat|
|• Issue 822 (2019-07-08): Mageia 7, running development branches of distros, Mint team considers Snap, UBports to address Google account access|
|• Issue 821 (2019-07-01): OpenMandriva 4.0, Ubuntu's plan for 32-bit packages, Fedora Workstation improvements, DragonFly BSD's smaller kernel memory|
|• Issue 820 (2019-06-24): Clear Linux and Guix System 1.0.1, running Android applications using Anbox, Zorin partners with Star Labs, Red Hat explains networking bug, Ubuntu considers no longer updating 32-bit packages|
|• Issue 819 (2019-06-17): OS108 and Venom, renaming multiple files, checking live USB integrity, working with Fedora's Modularity, Ubuntu replacing Chromium package with snap|
|• Issue 818 (2019-06-10): openSUSE 15.1, improving boot times, FreeBSD's status report, DragonFly BSD reduces install media size|
|• Issue 817 (2019-06-03): Manjaro 18.0.4, Ubuntu Security Podcast, new Linux laptops from Dell and System76, Entroware Apollo|
|• Issue 816 (2019-05-27): Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, creating firewall rules, Antergos shuts down, Matthew Miller answers questions about Fedora|
|• Issue 815 (2019-05-20): Sabayon 19.03, Clear Linux's developer features, Red Hat explains MDS flaws, an overview of mobile distro options|
|• Issue 814 (2019-05-13): Fedora 30, distributions publish Firefox fixes, CentOS publishes roadmap to 8.0, Debian plans to use Wayland by default|
|• Issue 813 (2019-05-06): ROSA R11, MX seeks help with systemd-shim, FreeBSD tests unified package management, interview with Gael Duval|
|• Issue 812 (2019-04-29): Ubuntu MATE 19.04, setting up a SOCKS web proxy, Scientific Linux discontinued, Red Hat takes over Java LTS support|
|• Issue 811 (2019-04-22): Alpine 3.9.2, rsync examples, Ubuntu working on ZFS support, Debian elects new Project Leader, Obarun releases S6 tools|
|• Issue 810 (2019-04-15): SolydXK 201902, Bedrock Linux 0.7.2, Fedora phasing out Python 2, NetBSD gets virtual machine monitor|
|• Issue 809 (2019-04-08): PCLinuxOS 2019.02, installing Falkon and problems with portable packages, Mint offers daily build previews, Ubuntu speeds up Snap packages|
|• Issue 808 (2019-04-01): Solus 4.0, security benefits and drawbacks to using a live distro, Gentoo gets GNOME ports working without systemd, Redox OS update|
|• Issue 807 (2019-03-25): Pardus 17.5, finding out which user changed a file, new Budgie features, a tool for browsing FreeBSD's sysctl values|
|• Issue 806 (2019-03-18): Kubuntu vs KDE neon, Nitrux's znx, notes on Debian's election, SUSE becomes an independent entity|
|• Issue 805 (2019-03-11): EasyOS 1.0, managing background services, Devuan team debates machine ID file, Ubuntu Studio works to remain an Ubuntu Community Edition|
|• Issue 804 (2019-03-04): Condres OS 19.02, securely erasing hard drives, new UBports devices coming in 2019, Devuan to host first conference|
|• Issue 803 (2019-02-25): Septor 2019, preventing windows from stealing focus, NetBSD and Nitrux experiment with virtual machines, pfSense upgrading to FreeBSD 12 base|
|• Issue 802 (2019-02-18): Slontoo 18.07.1, NetBSD tests newer compiler, Fedora packaging Deepin desktop, changes in Ubuntu Studio|
|• Issue 801 (2019-02-11): Project Trident 18.12, the meaning of status symbols in top, FreeBSD Foundation lists ongoing projects, Plasma Mobile team answers questions|
|• Issue 800 (2019-02-04): FreeNAS 11.2, using Ubuntu Studio software as an add-on, Nitrux developing znx, matching operating systems to file systems|
|• Issue 799 (2019-01-28): KaOS 2018.12, Linux Basics For Hackers, Debian 10 enters freeze, Ubuntu publishes new version for IoT devices|
|• Issue 798 (2019-01-21): Sculpt OS 18.09, picking a location for swap space, Solus team plans ahead, Fedora trying to get a better user count|
|• Issue 797 (2019-01-14): Reborn OS 2018.11.28, TinyPaw-Linux 1.3, dealing with processes which make the desktop unresponsive, Debian testing Secure Boot support|
|• Issue 796 (2019-01-07): FreeBSD 12.0, Peppermint releases ISO update, picking the best distro of 2018, roundtable interview with Debian, Fedora and elementary developers|
|• Issue 795 (2018-12-24): Running a Pinebook, interview with Bedrock founder, Alpine being ported to RISC-V, Librem 5 dev-kits shipped|
|• Issue 794 (2018-12-17): Void 20181111, avoiding software bloat, improvements to HAMMER2, getting application overview in GNOME Shell|
|• Issue 793 (2018-12-10): openSUSE Tumbleweed, finding non-free packages, Debian migrates to usrmerge, Hyperbola gets FSF approval|
|• Issue 792 (2018-1203): GhostBSD 18.10, when to use swap space, DragonFly BSD's wireless support, Fedora planning to pause development schedule|
|• Issue 791 (2018-11-26): Haiku R1 Beta1, default passwords on live media, Slax and Kodachi update their media, dual booting DragonFly BSD on EFI|
|• Issue 790 (2018-11-19): NetBSD 8.0, Bash tips and short-cuts, Fedora's networking benchmarked with FreeBSD, Ubuntu 18.04 to get ten years of support|
|• Issue 789 (2018-11-12): Fedora 29 Workstation and Silverblue, Haiku recovering from server outage, Fedora turns 15, Debian publishes updated media|
|• Issue 788 (2018-11-05): Clu Linux Live 6.0, examining RAM consumpion, finding support for older CPUs, more Steam support for running Windows games on Linux, update from Solus team|
|• Full list of all issues|
Star Labs - Laptops built for Linux.
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CrunchBang Linux was an Debian-based distribution featuring the light-weight Openbox window manager and GTK+ applications. The distribution has been built from a minimal Debian system and customised to offer a good balance of speed and functionality. CrunchBang Linux was currently available as a live CD; however, the best performance was achieved by installing it to a hard disk.