| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 796, 7 January 2019
Welcome to this year's 1st issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
We are happy to be back after being on holiday last week and are pleased to see the open source community has continued to develop new and interesting software while we were away. In our News section this week we talk about an update to Peppermint OS which fixes some issues with the distribution's live disc. We also link to Dedoimedo's favourite distributions of 2018 and share a roundtable interview with developers from Debian, elementary OS and Fedora. First though we kick off the new year with a review of FreeBSD 12.0, the project's latest release which offers robust and powerful technology under the hood. Plus we take a longer view of some major distributions, commenting on impressions projects can give after years of use. In our Opinion Poll we continue to think long-term and would like to find out what is the longest time you have used a single distribution. We are also happy to welcome the Septor distribution to our database and, following requests from some readers, we have set up a new Patreon account for people who would like to help us keep things running. As usual we share a list of recent releases and provide links to the torrents we are seeding. We wish you all a a wonderful new year and happy reading!
- Review: FreeBSD 12.0
- News: Peppermint releases ISO update, the best distro of 2018, roundtable interview with Debian, elementary OS and Fedora leaders
- Opinion: Musings on distros after prolonged use (2019)
- Released last week: antiX 17.3, KaOS 2018.12, Calculate 18.12
- Torrent corner: antiX, CAELinux, Calculate, Chakra, GhostBSD, Grml, KaOS, Nitrux, OLPC, OviOS, Peppermint, Q4OS, RancherOS, Septor, Slackel, SwagArch
- Opinion poll: Longest use of a single Linux distro
- DistroWatch.com news: Patreon account for donations, searching for distros that run from RAM
- New additions: Septor
- New distributions: EmuTOS, FluXuan Linux, Skywave Linux
- Reader comments
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (28MB) and MP3 (21MB) formats.
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
FreeBSD is a member of the UNIX family of operating systems and probably the most widely used member of the major BSD flavours. FreeBSD offers a famously stable and high performance core which has resulted in the operating system being used by Netflix to stream content and by Sony as a basis for their PlayStation operating system. FreeBSD tends to be especially popular on servers where long term reliability is required. Though FreeBSD can function as a desktop operating system, its market share on the desktop remains low and people who want to run a FreeBSD-based desktop are likely to use a related project such as GhostBSD where the graphical configuration has been done for us.
FreeBSD 12.0 was released in the middle of December and the new version contains mostly a series of updates (such as to the Clang compiler, OpenSSH and OpenSSL components) and performance improvements (the vt driver is reportedly four to six times faster). TRIM support was improved on the UFS file system and a few tools, such as the bhyve hypervisor and pf firewall, can now be used from inside FreeBSD jails. One major change which was expected in FreeBSD 12.0 was the consolidation of package managers. In the past FreeBSD used separate tools to manage updates in the core operating system and third-party software, and it was thought FreeBSD would shift to updating all components through pkg, the manager for third-party packages. This change did not happen in 12.0, but may appear in a future release.
FreeBSD runs on several architectures, including 32-bit and 64-bit x86, Sparc64, ARMv6, ARMv7, ARM64, PowerPC and PowerPC64. This allows FreeBSD to run on many devices, from Raspberry Pi computers, to workstations, to a variety of servers. It is worth noting that the project offers different downloads for USB thumb drives and optical media, like DVDs. The optical media file does not gracefully transfer to a USB drive the way most Linux install media does. I downloaded the ISO for 64-bit x86 machines which was 851MB and the USB thumb drive image which was 930MB. There are other download options, including a full DVD-sized ISO and a compressed USB image - the FreeBSD project has download flavours for all occasions.
Booting from the FreeBSD media brings up a menu asking if we would like to run the system installer, access a shell or use the Live CD. The Live CD option just drops us to a command line where we can sign in as the root user.
The installer is presented as a series of text-based menus. We are walked through selecting a keymap and which packages we wish to install. The list of packages is short and offers such big-picture items as: kernel debugging, the ports framework, 32-bit compatibility, and source code for the operating system. Next we can choose an approach to disk partitioning. The installer will handle automatically setting up UFS or ZFS volumes, or we can manually partition the disk. I went with the guided ZFS option. This let me select which disk (or disks) would be used and gave me the chance to enable RAID, set swap size and enable encryption. We can also encrypt swap space.
The installer then copied its files to my hard drive and continued with a few more questions. We are asked to create a password for the root account and enable networking with optional IPv4, IPv6 and DHCP support. Then we can select our time zone from a list. The next screen asks which services we would like to enable, with the list including such items as OpenSSH and network time synchronization. Another screen gives us access to optional security features. These include clearing /tmp at boot time, hiding processes from other users, using random process IDs and disabling the Sendmail e-mail service. We are given the chance to create a non-root account for ourselves and then the installer offers to reboot the computer. The whole process, while it involves a lot of screens, goes quickly and took about ten minutes.
FreeBSD boots to a text console where we can sign in to the root account or our regular user account, assuming we created one during the install process. By default there is no graphical environment. In fact, by default, FreeBSD is minimal. We have access to common UNIX command line tools, manual pages, and the Clang compiler, but little more. The operating system is very light, running about 15 processes and using 18MB of Active memory (and 250MB of Wired memory with ZFS enabled). The entire operating system takes up about 500MB of disk space. By design, FreeBSD gives us a base to build on, but leaves the shaping and customization of the operating system entirely in our hands. For this reason I highly recommend reading the FreeBSD Handbook to people who are new to the project.
FreeBSD 12.0 -- Reading the FreeBSD Handbook in Falkon
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FreeBSD worked well for me when run in VirtualBox. The system ran quickly and smoothly without any serious issues. By default, FreeBSD does not integrate with the virtual environment and cannot make full use of the host's screen resolution. VirtualBox guest modules are available through FreeBSD's package manager and, once those are installed, the system can use the full range of display resolutions.
Usually, in the past, FreeBSD has not worked with my desktop computer's hardware. Either the system would not boot at all, or would boot with restricted video resolution. This time around I was pleased to discover FreeBSD 12.0 could boot on my workstation, in both UEFI and legacy BIOS modes. FreeBSD played well with my physical hardware and my only limitation was that the operating system could not detect either of the USB wireless devices I plugged into the system.
This is definitely a step forward for FreeBSD where my test hardware is concerned and reflects the recent success I had with the related GhostBSD project.
FreeBSD 12.0 -- Adjusting the look of the desktop with the Xfce settings panel
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Since FreeBSD is a minimal operating system, to do almost anything useful with the platform we will need to install additional software. There are two approaches to installing third-party packages on FreeBSD. Most users will likely want to use the binary package manager, called pkg. The pkg program is a command line utility which works a lot like APT on the Debian family of distributions or DNF on Fedora, and the syntax is similar across all three package managers. By default no packages are installed.
Another approach people can use is to build software from source code using the FreeBSD ports framework. The ports collection gives us access to the same software pkg does, but allows for build-time customizations and patching if we have special requirements. Building software from source code is slower, but does offer some flexibility for people who want to further customize their systems.
FreeBSD 12.0 -- Running Thunar and LibreOffice
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FreeBSD treats the core of the operating system as separate from software developed by third-parties. While pkg and the ports collection deal with third-party software, updates from the official FreeBSD team can be installed using another tool called freebsd-update. Running this tool will fetch and, optionally, install updates for the core system. Using freebsd-update we can also upgrade to future versions of the operating system, transitioning from 12.0 to 12.1 or to a future 13.0 release.
One tool that is useful to have when performing upgrades is boot environments. When FreeBSD is installed on a ZFS volume, it automatically includes support for booting from ZFS snapshots of the operating system. This means we can use a tool such as beadm to take a snapshot of the operating system prior to making any big changes. Then, if anything goes wrong, such as an upgrade breaking the system, we can reboot and select an older environment from the boot menu. I tested boot environments a couple of times during my week with FreeBSD and found they worked as expected and I like that beadm can create, delete and list snapshots instantly.
One nice benefit to working with boot environments is the operating system is kept separate from the data in users' home directories. This means, if the administrator needs to rollback a change, our data files and personal settings are not affected. It is also possible to snapshot user files for recovery purposes, but these snapshots are separate from boot environments.
FreeBSD 12.0 -- Listing boot environments with beadm
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FreeBSD with a desktop environment
By default, FreeBSD does not include any desktop environment or graphical tools. This allows the system to be lean and is well suited to FreeBSD's popular role as a server operating system. Still, I wanted to see how much effort it would take to make plain FreeBSD operate the way GhostBSD did when I tried it last year.
The project's Handbook has a section dedicated to installing the X display software, enabling a login screen and installing one of three desktop environments: GNOME, KDE and Xfce. I decided to go with Xfce. The whole process went quickly, taking just a few minutes and required the editing of three configuration files.
The resulting graphical user interface was functional, though not particularly polished. Installing Xfce gave me the desktop, its default panel and menus, a virtual terminal and the Thunar file manager, but little else. For the most part I did not mind installing additional applications, such as a web browser, LibreOffice and other common tools. However, there were issues I did need to work around. For example, my user could not reboot or shutdown the system from within the desktop environment, I could only logout. There was no volume control and I soon found that media (both streaming and local files) would not play. YouTube videos, for example, would not play in any of my web browsers. VLC and MPV were both unable to play either video or audio files and would simply freeze when opening a file.
These problems were, on their own, relatively minor things and there are workarounds, but it highlights the difference between using a desktop-oriented member of the FreeBSD family, like GhostBSD, versus setting up FreeBSD from scratch following the steps in the Handbook.
Earlier I mentioned the system uses about 500MB of disk with a fresh install. But each major collection of software I added downloaded around another gigabyte of packages. After setting up Xfce, LibreOffice, and a web browser over 3GB had been consumed. Once I was finished installing common desktop programs, I was using about 5GB of disk space. Memory usage when running Xfce 4.12 took about 140MB Active and 250MB Wired memory, about 120MB more than when running the minimal command line environment.
By default, any users we create on the system cannot perform administrator actions. We can perform admin actions by logging in as the root user directly, or we can add a user to the wheel group to give them the ability to switch (su) to the root user account. Alternatively we can install either the sudo or doas utilities which grant specified users special access.
Compared to most Linux distributions, FreeBSD takes a passive role. The system rarely volunteers information or help. There is no "first-run" wizard or welcome screen. I saw perhaps one notification during my time running Xfce. FreeBSD offers us a bare platform and we are expected to read the Handbook if we need help or, if that fails, proactively visit the project's forum. The operating system itself tries to remain minimal and out of the way.
Something I tended to find, after a few days of setting up and tinkering with FreeBSD to get it running the way I wanted, was that I was becoming more productive. Not because the system was particularly fast (though it was fast) or efficient (though the environment was nicely streamlined), but because the applications I use for work all functioned well while entertainment programs did not. On FreeBSD I could easily install and use Firefox, LibreOffice, Thunderbird, text editors, the GNU Image Manipulation Program and command line tools. However, I struggled to get multimedia programs working, Steam doesn't run natively on FreeBSD, Netflix won't play on the platform, and performance for native 3-D games was poor. Basically, FreeBSD gently forced me to use my computer for work instead of for play. It didn't always make me happy, but it did make me productive.
Playing with FreeBSD with past week I don't feel as though there were any big surprises or changes in this release compared to FreeBSD 11. In typical FreeBSD fashion, progress tends to be evolutionary rather than revolutionary, and this release feels like a polished and improved incremental step forward. I like that the installer handles both UFS and ZFS guided partitioning now and in a friendly manner. In the past I had trouble getting FreeBSD's boot menu to work with boot environments, but that has been fixed for this release.
I like the security options in the installer too. These are not new, but I think worth mentioning. FreeBSD, unlike most Linux distributions, offers several low-level security options (like hiding other users' processes and randomizing PIDs) and I like having these presented at install time. It's harder for people to attack what they cannot see, or predict, and FreeBSD optionally makes these little adjustment for us.
Something which stands out about FreeBSD, compared to most Linux distributions I run, is that FreeBSD rarely holds the user's hand, but also rarely surprises the user. This means there is more reading to do up front and new users may struggle to get used to editing configuration files in a text editor. But FreeBSD rarely does anything unless told to do it. Updates rarely change the system's behaviour, working technology rarely gets swapped out for something new, the system and its applications never crashed during my trial. Everything was rock solid. The operating system may seem like a minimal, blank slate to new users, but it's wonderfully dependable and predictable in my experience.
I probably wouldn't recommend FreeBSD for desktop use. It's close relative, GhostBSD, ships with a friendly desktop and does special work to make end user applications run smoothly. But for people who want to run servers, possible for years without change or issues, FreeBSD is a great option. It's also an attractive choice, in my opinion, for people who like to build their system from the ground up, like you would with Debian's server install or Arch Linux. Apart from the base tools and documentation, there is nothing on a FreeBSD system apart from what we put on it.
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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
FreeBSD has a visitor supplied average rating of: 9/10 from 81 review(s).
Have you used FreeBSD? You can leave your own review of the project on our ratings page.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Peppermint releases ISO update, the best distro of 2018, roundtable interview with Debian, elementary OS and Fedora leaders
The Peppermint OS team has released an updated ISO for the distribution's version 9 release. This refreshed ISO contains a few important fixes for install time issues found in project's last update in December: "Peppermint 9 Respin-2 (Peppermint-9-20190102) bug fixes: Fixed an issue where 64-bit UEFI installs would fail to properly install the signed GRUB boot loader without an active Internet connection. Fixed missing Chinese / Japanese / Korean fonts in the installer. Fixed the 'OEM Install' option. All other changes remain the same as those for the original Peppermint 9 Respin, which can be seen here." The project's blog offers further details.
* * * * *
Linux Journal has an interesting look at the current status of multiple distributions as we conclude 2018 and head into 2019. The Journal looks at a number of statistics for a handful of distributions, including download size, RAM usage, longevity and supported architectures. The article then interviews Chris Lamb (Debian's Project Leader), Daniel Fore (elementary's Founder) and Matthew Miller (Fedora's Project Leader). When asked how many Linux distributions would be "too many", Lamb responded: "If I may be so bold as to interpret this more widely, whilst it might look like we have 'too many' distributions, I fear this might be misunderstanding the reasons why people are creating these newer offerings in the first place. Apart from the aforementioned distros created for technical experimentation, someone spinning up their own distribution might be (subconsciously!) doing it for the delight and satisfaction in building something themselves and having their name attached to it - something entirely reasonable and justifiable IMHO. To then read this creation through a lens of not being ideal for new users or even some silly 'Linux worldwide domination' metric could therefore even be missing the point and some of the sheer delight of free software to begin with. Besides, the 'market' for distributions seems to be doing a pretty good job of correcting itself." The rest of the roundtable interview can be found in the Linux Journal article.
* * * * *
Many people have opinions on which distribution is the best and there are almost as many answers to this question as there are Linux distributions. Dedoimedo took a look back at the releases of 2018 and presented some thoughts on which projects offered the best desktop experience. Interestingly enough, Kubuntu made the list twice: "You are probably surprised that I've not nudged Bionic to the first place. After all, it is my new production Linux operating system. I rarely make big changes in my serious, big-pants environment, and when I do, the changes have to last. Hence, a lot of deliberation, and finally, the choice to go forth with Kubuntu 18.04 as the first candidate for my Slimbook Pro2 adventure. That ought to qualify, right? Well, yes and no. Imagine for a second you aren't me, and you're only testing a system. That first impression has to count. It took a handful of months for Bionic to get rid of its early woes and become really usable, and I can't ignore those when writing this end-of-the-year manifesto."
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Opinion (by Jesse Smith)
Musings on distros after prolonged use (2019)
One of the side effects of writing weekly reviews is I only get to share my thoughts on the first week of using a distribution. After that, I'm off to the next project on my list and it typically prevents me from experiencing (and sharing) what it is like to run a distribution long-term. The first week of using an operating system will reveal a lot about a project - its strengths, some weaknesses, a few weird quirks - but it does not let the user know what benefits or drawbacks will be experienced after a year, or two years.
That being said, there are some projects which I do end up using on a more long-term basis. Sometimes for work, sometimes out of curiosity, sometimes because I have friends & family who run Linux distributions and they ask me to answer questions or help them with upgrades. For all sorts of reasons, there are some distributions I end up using on a longer time-line and I would like to share my opinions on what strengths and problems these operating systems have demonstrated after running continuously for a few years.
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Debian, or projects very closely related to Debian like Raspbian, tend to be the ones I use at home the most these days. If I get my hands on a Raspberry Pi, or need to set up a web server in a hurry, Debian is typically my go-to choice. One of the main reasons for this is Debian doesn't change much, either during one release's life time or from one version to the next. Debian's LTS support gives server administrators five pleasantly boring years between versions. Debian has a slow release cycle and its software is always outdated in the Stable branch, but it is well worth it when running a server you just want to set up and forget about.
In my opinion, vanilla Debian is not all that well geared toward desktop usage. It takes an unusually long series of steps to set up, the software is out of date and there are a bunch of configuration steps to get through to get Debian really working well as a workstation operating system. I think that is one reason why there are so many Debian-based desktop projects: they take Debian's excellent base and add the polish and little tweaks to make Debian desktop-friendly.
Debian 9 -- Running the GNOME desktop
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Upgrades from one version to another have typically gone well for me on Debian. I can only remember one upgrade across versions not going smoothly. Otherwise, at least on servers, I have found Debian version upgrades to be pleasantly straight forward. And, as I mentioned before, upgrades only need to happen about once every five years.
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Fedora probably holds the distinction of being the distribution I have run for the longest period of time. The distribution deserves a reward for being the one this distro-hopper has stuck with across so many versions. On the other hand, running a distribution for so long reveals a lot of its quirks and little annoyances - there is some truth in the old saying "familiarity breeds contempt."
On the positive side, Fedora is always trying something new. If you want to experience the latest technology, whether it is compilers, init software, desktop environments or Wayland, chances are Fedora has it. The Fedora team does an excellent job of packaging new software, documenting it and making it available in the next stable release.
Fedora 28 -- Running the GNOME desktop
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Fedora's cutting edge nature and fast pace is also one of my biggest issues with the distribution. Fedora typically publishes new releases twice per year and, while support duration changes occasionally, each release tends to be supported for around just one year. This makes for a rapid upgrade cycle. When we add into the mix the range of new technologies often presented in new versions, it means our Fedora install is going to look, and possibly act, different about every six months. It's an upgrade pace not for the faint of heart.
Up until fairly recently I found Fedora upgrades rarely went well. This has changed in recent years with new upgrade tools making the process smoother, but I still find Fedora tends to need a little sorting out after each upgrade. I am more inclined to get a list of software I have on the system and perform a fresh install to avoid surprises.
Fedora does not package software that has a restrictive license or that may be patent encumbered. This means desktop users usually need to pull in software from third-party repositories and this can introduce complications during upgrades too, as the third-party repositories might not be up to speed when a new Fedora version launches.
I will say Fedora has a few additional strong points in its favour. One is it tends to be stable. Despite its cutting edge nature, applications packaged for Fedora tend to be well tested by release day. Also, Fedora, because of its close ties with Red Hat, tends to be supported by third-party software vendors. It has not been uncommon for me to encounter vendors who claim to only support the Red Hat and Fedora platforms.
* * * * *
FreeBSD is probably my favourite server-oriented operating system, mostly because it never surprises me. FreeBSD tends to do what you tell it to do, and just do what you tell it to do. It doesn't do much hand holding, it doesn't do much automatically, it pretty much only does what the administrator commands. This may make FreeBSD less newcomer friendly, but it means I always have a very smooth, trouble-free ride with the operating system.
FreeBSD is a pleasantly easy system to install and upgrade software on, it is fairly easy to enable new services (though there is some manual work) and most common tasks are covered in the project's handbook.
I have never used plain FreeBSD for any significant amount of time in a desktop role, it does not seem geared to such an environment, but it is my preferred operating system for work servers when I need to set up a web, audio streaming or e-mail platform.
One of the points both in FreeBSD's favour and against it is upgrading across versions. FreeBSD maintains a small, separate base which is quite stable and fairly easy to upgrade. I don't think I've ever had FreeBSD fail to upgrade cross major versions because the base is compact and separate from the rest of the services on the system. However, while FreeBSD offers five years of support for major versions (10.x or 11.x, for example) what administrators should know is they need to perform minor upgrades within the major series. For example, the administrator will probably need to upgrade around once a year from 11.0 to 11.1, and from 11.1 to 11.2. These are fairly minor updates, but ones which need to be performed carefully (and probably with backups).
Ultimately, FreeBSD has required the most hands-on work to set up and maintain since it automates very little. However, it also gives me the fewest issues of the operating systems I use regularly.
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Over the years I have used both of Linux Mint's major options (its Ubuntu-based and Debian-based branches). While I enjoyed both and generally found Mint to be one of the most easy and user friendly desktop distribution to use, I would say that the Ubuntu-based branch was generally a better experience.
Linux Mint 19 -- Running the Cinnamon desktop
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The Debian branch of Mint (Linux Mint Debian Edition) was relatively light and fast, but it has some problems. Specifically its software is older, it can't use personal package archives (PPAs), its installer (while good) is not as polished, and it cannot run Ubuntu-specific software that has not been ported back to Debian.
However, with that being said, both branches of Mint are, in my opinion, very well put together. I've used multiple versions of each branch and generally found Mint offers the most capable out of the box experience, it is probably the easiest desktop distribution for Linux beginners, and I like how straight forward a lot of its tools (like the software centre and update manager) are. Mint's new focus on Timeshift is also welcome in my opinion as it makes it easier to rollback potential problems.
The only real problem I have run into with Mint is some friends have found the Cinnamon desktop becomes unstable if run for longer periods of time. I don't think this problem comes up when running the MATE desktop, but occasional lock-ups in Cinnamon seem to be the one complaint I hear from the friends I support who run Mint.
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MX Linux is the desktop distribution I have been using the most lately. It has a nice, reliable base provided by Debian Stable. The distribution does a good job of finding a sweet spot between having useful features and offering good performance. The MX distribution is very forgiving when run on older hardware, but still manages to look nice and ship with lots of convenient tools.
For the most part, MX Linux can be described as pleasantly boring and I like that it rarely surprises me and, to my memory, has never crashed or become unusable due to a software update. I'm not sure I'd recommend MX to a complete Linux newcomer, some of its tools are geared more toward technical users, but I think it's excellent for people with a little Linux experience who want a system that they can install and forget about for several years.
MX Linux 17.1 -- Running the Xfce desktop
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One point I think worth noting is that MX Linux will sometimes backport desktop applications. Some software, such as LibreOffice, gets updated to new major versions. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, it provides users with the latest stable versions of desktop software without impacting the core operating system. On the other hand, people accustomed to a more conservative approach may not want to see new versions of tools and applications get introduced to an otherwise fixed release.
For me, I like running MX as it perhaps best suits my desire for new applications and a fixed core OS, along with my want to for a lightweight system with a lot of conveniences.
* * * * *
Red Hat Enterprise Linux / CentOS
The Red Hat and CentOS distributions are platforms which I rarely encounter in my personal life, but usually find in offices where someone else has set up the servers. Red Hat seems to find its way onto many business' web, e-mail and accounting servers. And with good reason. Red Hat servers get commercial support and are probably the most reliable, stable platforms available in the Linux ecosystem. A Red Hat or CentOS server can be set up and run for around ten years without maintenance.
Red Hat systems are, in my experience, just about fault proof, but if you want to run them on workstations then you will probably need to add third-party software repositories in order to fill in functionality gaps or introduce modern software packages. Like Fedora, Red Hat avoids shipping non-free software and (unlike Fedora) its repositories hold older versions of packages.
One of my only concerns when dealing with Red Hat systems is more of a procedural issue than anything to do with the distribution itself. Since there are several years between major releases and organizations tend to run Red Hat versions for up to ten years, it means software can change quite a bit between releases. The administrator will want to test new versions and see what configuration changes will be required prior to putting an upgrade into production.
* * * * *
TrueOS (aka PC-BSD)
TrueOS, which was previously called PC-BSD, is a platform I have run on both servers and on workstations. The project basically acts like an add-on, or friendly layer, for FreeBSD. This gives the user a friendly installer, a pre-configured desktop environment and some nice administrator tools on top of a stable FreeBSD base.
What I like about TrueOS is that it puts a friendly face on FreeBSD. Managing jails, performing network configuration and setting up ZFS pools are typically point-n-click experiences on TrueOS and that lowers the bar to experimenting with these technologies. TrueOS also gave birth to the Lumina desktop, a highly portable desktop that runs on most BSD and Linux flavours with few dependencies, and I like having that consistent desktop experience as I bounce between open source operating systems.
TrueOS 18.03 -- Running the Lumina desktop
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My main complaint about TrueOS is that the project changes rapidly and what it introduces in one version may not carry over to future versions, so it is best not to get invested in any specific tools. The project's Push Button Installer (PBI) packages, focus on KDE, 32-bit support, Warden tools, and even name have come and gone over the past decade. These days TrueOS is based on FreeBSD's development (CURRENT) branch which, in my experience, makes upgrades risky as a driver or package change can introduce new issues.
TrueOS is going to be the basis for Project Trident and future versions of GhostBSD. I am hoping this means TrueOS will become an experimental workshop and the projects based on it will provide a more stable, fixed base.
* * * * *
Ubuntu & its community editions
I have spent a lot of the past ten years using Ubuntu and its many community editions. Sometimes I've been running Ubuntu on my own machines, other times I have been supporting it on other people's computers, as Ubuntu seems to be a popular choice for people running Linux at home.
On the positive side, I think Ubuntu does a better job than almost any other distribution when it comes to being beginner friendly. A new user can nearly perform a fresh install of Ubuntu with their eyes closed. I also appreciate how much work the people behind Ubuntu have done to get their distribution working with (and certified on) a wide range of hardware. It is not only possible to run Ubuntu on most computers, it is also fairly easy to discover which servers, workstations and laptops are known to work with the distribution.
When I have been running the distribution I have appreciated that users can switch between getting the latest features (through a six-month release cycle) or take a more conservative route with the project's long term support releases that receive five years of support. This lets me try out the latest and greatest features while the people I support can stay on LTS versions.
Ubuntu 18.04 -- Running the GNOME desktop
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My main issue with using Ubuntu on an ongoing basis is the same issue I have faced with TrueOS: features are introduced and disappear quickly. Off the top of my head, the sub-projects I have tried and enjoyed on Ubuntu in the past eight years that were soon dropped include: Unity 2D, Unity 7 & 8, Ubuntu One Storage, Ubuntu Touch for mobile devices (now maintained by UBports), the Ubuntu One music streaming service, Click packages, and Upstart. I will give the Ubuntu team credit for their willingness to experiment, but it does not pay to get too attached to the technologies they produce.
I think where the Ubuntu community tends to shine is in the community editions, such as Ubuntu MATE and Kubuntu. These distributions have the same support cycles and benefit from the same core technologies and hardware compatibility, but tend to experiment (and change) less, making them a more stable platform, ideal for less technical users.
In my experience upgrading Ubuntu has been a bit risky, perhaps because of the churn in features. I prefer to perform fresh installs of the Ubuntu family of distributions to avoid any potential complications.
* * * * *
Those are my thoughts on the open source operating systems I have used over the span of multiple years and have become familiar with. What are some projects you have used for multiple years and feel you know well, both the good parts and the bad? Please share your hard-won wisdom in the comments.
|Released Last Week
antiX is a fast, lightweight and easy-to-install Linux live CD distribution based on Debian's "Stable" branch for x86 systems. The project's latest release is antiX 17.3 which includes new kernel fixes. "This is primarily a point-release upgrade of antiX-17.2 'Helen Keller' with a newer L1TF/Foreshadow and Meltdown/Spectre patched kernel, a few bug fixes, updated translations and some upgraded and new packages. The major change is that we now offer options for LUKS encrypted root, home, and swap partition at installation. So what has changed since antiX 17.2 release? New 4.9.146 kernel patched for L1TF/Foreshadow and Meltdown/Spectre exploits; all packages upgraded to Debian 9.6; LUKS encryption options on GUI installer (not yet available on the cli-installer); Firefox ESR upgraded to 60.4 (Quantum); removal of PulseAudio and Pavucontrol; Newsboat replaces Newsbeute; improved localization of applications; a few more languages were added to the F2 live boot menu." The distribution is available in four editions (Full, Base, Core and Net) with the first two offering graphical environments and the latter two providing command line interfaces. The release announcement offers further details.
A new version of KaOS, a rolling-release Linux distribution with KDE Plasma as the preferred desktop environment, has been released. Version 2018.12 comes with the very latest that the KDE and Qt projects have on offer, including Plasma 5.14.4, KDE Applications 18.12.0 and Qt 5.12.0: " KaOS is proud to announce the December release of a new stable ISO image. Two years after initially starting the move to OpenSSL 1.1 has this update become possible. All downstream libraries and applications have caught up, so the move was now smooth, without the need to have a mix of OpenSSL versions in the repositories. This move required a very large rebuild and combined with a move to Perl 5.28.1, FFmpeg 4.1, LLVM/Clang 7.0.1 and Qt 5.12.0, it is clear a new ISO was needed. The artwork saw an update to the Midna SDDM theme, gone are the QML sliding effects, instead a cleaner and simpler layout with the addition of several warnings when numlock or capslock are activated. Online Package Viewer has undergone a complete rewrite; the backend is now a very modern Go-based API, with JSON files getting the needed output, thus all loads much faster. This include the mirror status page." Read the detailed release announcement for further information.
Calculate Linux 18.12
Alexander Tratsevskiy has announced the release of Calculate Linux 18.12, an updated build of the project's Gentoo-based distribution for desktops and servers. This release updates the Linux kernel to version 4.19.9 and it also brings a new "Education" edition: "Calculate Linux 18.12 released. We have a bunch of news for this final 2018 release. We have added support for installation on Btrfs with zstd compression. All server editions have been optimized for size. Software can now be transferred when re-installing the system. Our ISO images are packed in the zstd format to speed up the start-up times for the live image, applications and system installation. Software: 32-bit and 64-bit builds moved to Linux kernel 4.19.9, KDE Applications updated to 18.08.3, KDE Plasma updated to 5.14.3, Cinnamon updated to 4.0.3. We also released a new Calculate flavour for educational purposes (Calculate Linux Desktop Xfce Education, or CLDXE for short)." Read the rest of the release announcement for more details.
Nitrux Latinoamericana S.C. has announced the release of Nitrux 1.1.2, an Ubuntu-based desktop Linux distribution featuring the "Nomad" desktop which is developed in-house and which extends KDE's Plasma with a mix of aesthetics and functionality: "We are pleased to announce the launch of Nitrux 1.1.2. This new version brings together the latest software updates, bug fixes, performance improvements and ready-to-use hardware support. What's new? The third release of Nitrux 1.1.x series; updated Linux kernel to mainline version 4.20; updated Plasma 5 (5.14.4), KDE Applications (18.12.0), KF5 (5.54.0). Updated znx: don't add the menu entry if no images were found; test if URL points to a local file before trying to copy it; append the release type to the file name; fixed file name for upload; use print for writing to stdout; fixed list command; for the sake of brevity, cd to/during the clean command; use %s when printing user-provided positional parameters. Update MauiKit, Index, Pix, Buho, VVave; added Nota text editor; updated Chromium and LibreOffice AppImages; updated NVIDIA binary X.Org driver...." Read the rest of the release announcement for further information.
Nitrux 1.1.2 -- Running the Nomad desktop
(full image size: 869kB, resolution: 1920x1080 pixels)
Rancher Labs has published the release of RancherOS 1.5.0, an updated build of the company's minimalist Linux distribution designed for running Docker containers. This release brings a large number of new features, as well as bug fixes: "Release 1.5.0. Versions: Linux 4.14.85, Buildroot 2018.02.7, Docker 18.06.1-ce by default, RPi64 - Linux 4.9.80; Console - Alpine 3.8, CentOS 7.5.1804, Debian 9, Fedora 28, Ubuntu 18.04. Major features and enhancements: support for LUKS; support for WiFi and 4G/LTE; support for custom rootfs of os initrd; support for Hyper-V; support for VMDK images; support for disabling access to the system from the console - added the ability to disable auto-login, added the ability to ignore rancher.password; support for multiple user-docker daemons; support for ARM server (experimental); support for built-in other consoles; support for vSphere network protocol profiles; enhancements for faster boot speed and lower memory footprint - disabled repeated system image loading, added the ability to disable cloud-init, used gzip compression initrd instead of xz; enhancement for consoles - docker top is now available for all consoles, scp is now available for CentOS and Fedora consoles...." Continue to the full press release notes for a complete changelog.
OLPC OS 13.2.10
James Cameron has announced the release of OLPC OS 13.2.10, an updated build of the project's specialist distribution developed under the initiative of the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project to provide children in developing countries with low-cost laptops. This version, still based on Fedora 18, is mostly a bug-fix release with updated "activities": "We're pleased to announce the release of OLPC OS 13.2.10 for XO-1, XO-1.5, XO-1.75 and XO-4. It is Sugar 0.112 on Fedora 18, with updated activities Clock-20, GetBooks-18.1, ImageViewer-64, Implode-19, Jukebox-34, Log-39, Maze-28, Memorize-55, Paint-68, Physics-34, Pippy-72, Record-103, StopWatch-20.1, Terminal-45.4, TurtleBlocks-218 and Write-99.1. Fixes: activity journal title - save on enter, clear selection and close toolbar on enter; fix Gtk.SpinButton styling; update the favourite icon when there is only one journal object; fix copy-from-journal utility - undefined name error, DBusGMainLoop; fix for activities that do not properly stop; increase icon LRU cache sizes; new translations. Clock-20: ticking clock and accurate second hand; improve documentation; simplify time translation; declare license metadata, GPLv3+ and Public Domain; update POT file...." Here is the brief release announcement, with much more details provided in the release notes.
Slackel 7.1 "Openbox"
Dimitris Tzemos has announced the release of Slackel 7.1 "Openbox", the latest version of this distribution based on Slackware and Salix. The new version is available in 64-bit builds only and features several application updates and a new icon theme. Persistent file encryption is also supported: "Persistent file encryption is supported. Running the above script you will be asked if you want to encrypt the persistent file. Then just boot with persistent option from menus. System will understand that the persistent file is encrypted and ask to type the encrypt passphrase to unlock it. You can use the persistent file "persistent" for /home encryption. You can use this feature by changing the parameter changes=persistent to home=persistent You can rename the persistent file "persistent" to "whatever_you_like" and use it by changing the parameter changes=whatever_you_like or home=whatever_you_like. Tip: You can create a persistent file (its name is always persistent). Then rename it to e.g. home. Create again a persistent file for whole system. So you can boot with persistent option from menus to have persistent encryption for whole system or boot by changing the parameter changes=persistent to home=home to have only /home encryption." Further information, including default passwords, can be found in the project's release announcement.
Q4OS is a Debian-based desktop distribution featuring the Trinity desktop, a lightweight environment forked from KDE 3. The project's latest stable release is Q4OS 2.7 which improves scaling for high resolution screens. The release announcement states: "A significant update to the Q4OS 2 Scorpion stable LTS is immediately available for download. The new 2.7 series brings some important improvements for the Trinity desktop. An essential change is much improved scaling ability for hi-dpi screens, making this operating system better adapted for modern computers. Desktop profiler, Software centre, Welcome screen, Setup utility, and other Q4OS specific tools have been updated to be rendered correctly for higher screen resolutions. Apart from the scaling capabilities, Q4OS 2.7 brings numerous improvements and fixes, for example better GTK3 themes integration, fixes to XDG standard implementation and others. Current users only need to perform regular update of their systems to activate scaling capabilities, however we recommend for new users to download and make a fresh Q4OS 2.7 installation. Other changes include Q4OS installer improvements, Firefox 64 and LibreOffice 6.1.3 installers, important security and bug fixes as well as cumulative upgrade covering all changes since the previous Q4OS 2 Scorpion stable release."
OviOS Linux 3.00
OviOS Linux is a storage operating systems based on the Linux kernel, with open-source software needed to create a fully functional, high-performance storage server. A major new update, version 3.00 (code name 'Arcturus'), was released yesterday: "OviOS Linux 3 comes with a few package upgrades, bug fixes and new features. Upgrades: Linux kernel 4.9.144, NFS Utils 2.3.3, Samba 4.9.3, glibc 2.28, GCC 8.2.0, iSCSI Target 1.0.74, ZFS on Linux 0.7.12, ovios-shell 3.00. New features: smbjoindc is now smbovios and has new features, to join, get info and leave a domain controller, usage - smbovios --info | --join | --unjoin; new option exclude.pools - this allows the administrator to specify one or more storage pools that will not be started or stopped by ovios (HA cluster included), this is useful for the docker image where an admin can decide to manage some pools outside of the ovios environment and use ovios for some pools; nfs_export and smb_export have been enhanced to provide better logging in ovilogs; documentation has been improved; HA cluster hardened, use the HA Cluster guide from the documentation page...." Read the release notes for further details and some basic getting-started information.
Michael Prokop has announced the release of Grml 2018.12, a new version of the project's Debian-based Linux distribution focusing on the needs of system administrators: "So we did it again - we just released Grml 2018.12 'Gnackwatschn'. This Grml release provides fresh software packages from Debian 'Testing' which will be released as a stable Debian 'Buster' in 2019. As usual, it also incorporates current hardware support and fixes known bugs from previous Grml releases. Important changes: when using the 'ssh' boot option, Grml automatically starts haveged, a userspace entropy daemon which uses HAVEGE (HArdware Volatile Entropy Gathering and Expansion); the cpufrequtils package with its loadcpufreq handling has been dropped. New features: netcardconfig - added support for VLAN configuration + non-interactive mode; grml-chroot - mount /dev/pts as devpts inside chroot; grml2usb - added support for Secure Boot...." Read the release announcement and release notes for a full list of new features.
Grml 2018.12 -- Running the Fluxbox window manager
(full image size: 95kB, resolution: 1920x1080 pixels)
GhostBSD is a rolling release desktop operating system which is based on TrueOS, which is in turn based on FreeBSD's development (-CURRENT) branch. The project has published an update to GhostBSD 18.10, GhostBSD 18.12, which includes a number of updates and replaces the graphical software manager. "GhostBSD 18.12 is an updated ISO of GhostBSD 18.10 with some little changes to the live DVD/USB and with updated packages. What has changed since 18.10: Removed default call of kernel modules for AMD and Intel. Replaced Octopkg by Software-Station. Added back gop hacks to the live system. Added ghostbsd-drivers and ghostbsd-utils. We updated the packages to the latest build." The project's release announcement offers upgrade instructions for existing users along with screenshots of the operating system's MATE desktop environment.
The first announcement of the year 2019 comes courtesy of Septor, a new distribution in the DistroWatch database. It is part of the growing number of projects that focus on preserving the anonymity and privacy of the user while browsing the Internet. Septor is based on Debian's "Testing" branch and it uses KDE Plasma as the default desktop environment. The latest release, version 2019, was announced yesterday (here is the release announcement in Serbian, with screenshots); it comes with Linux kernel 4.19.12, KDE Plasma 5.14.3, LibreOffice 6.1.3, GIMP 2.10.8, VLC 3.0.5, as well as several privacy-enhancing software applications, such as a launcher for downloading the latest Tor Browser, OnionShare 1.3.2 (an anonymous file sharing utility) and Ricochet 1.1.4 (an instant messaging client developed by the Invisible.im group). Thunderbird 60.3.1, HexChat 2.14.2 and QuiteRSS 0.18.12 are all pre-configured to connect to the Internet via the Tor network. The distribution can be used in "live" mode or it can be installed to hard disk via the standard Debian installer. Please visit the project's home page for further information.
Joël Cugnoni has announced the release of CAELinux 2018, a new version of the project's Xubuntu-based Linux distribution with a collection of tools designed for computer-aided engineering: "We are proud to announce the new release of CAELinux 2018, which is based on Xubuntu 16.04 and which contains a full suite of open-source simulation tools for FEA, CFD or multi-physics simulation, but also a large panel of other engineering software for CAD-CAM and 3D printing, electronics, mathematics and programming. CAELinux 2018 represents a complete rebuild of the distribution that started in 2017 with up-to-date software and we hope that you will enjoy it. This release is available as usual in the form of an live DVD image for AMD/Intel 64-bit CPUs that can be burned on a DVD or installed on a USB key for 'mobile' use and testing and then installed on hard-disk for best performance. Features: CAD/CAM and 3D printing - Freecad, OpenSCAD, LibreCad, Pycam, Camotics, dxf2gcode and Slic3r; FEA, CFD and multi-physic simulation - Code-Aster, Code-Saturne, OpenFOAM, Elmer FEM, Calculix, Impact FEM, MBDyn...." Read the rest of the release announcement for more details.
* * * * *
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: 1,192
- Total data uploaded: 23.1TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Longest use of a single Linux distro
This week we talked about running various operating systems for longer periods of time and impressions from those extended experiences. We would like to hear what is the longest you have used a single distribution and, from that time, what are some lasting impressions you had, good or bad? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
You can see the results of our previous poll on using a Pinebook in the previous edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Longest use of a single Linux distro
|Less than six months: ||122 (3%)|
| Six months to a year: ||201 (5%)|
| One to two years: ||385 (10%)|
| Between two and five years: ||2282 (57%)|
| Between five and ten years: ||590 (15%)|
| More than ten years: ||394 (10%)|
Patreon account for donations, searching for distros that run from RAM
Following requests from some of our readers, we have set up a Patreon account to receive monthly donations from people who would generously like to help us keep DistroWatch running. The link to our Patreon account will appear at the bottom of each Weekly and can be found on our Donations page. Thank you to everyone who continues to support us, either through translations, writing articles, financially or advising us of new developments. We appreciate all of your contributions and encouragement.
Funds hat we receive from tips or Patreon donations will help us pay guest writers, cover hosting costs and make it easier for us to dedicate time to working on the website.
A feature we introduced during the break is the ability to search for distributions which are designed to be run from RAM. The new Distribution Category flag is called From RAM and will list projects we know of that have a boot option to load the operating system into RAM.
Did we miss a distribution with a boot option to run from RAM? If so, please let us know.
* * * * *
New projects added to database
Septor is a Linux distribution which provides users with a pre-configured computing environment for surfing the Internet anonymously. It is based on Debian's "Testing" branch and it uses Privoxy, a privacy-enhancing proxy, together with the Tor anonymity network to modify web page data and HTTP headers before the page is rendered by the browser. The distribution uses KDE Plasma as the preferred desktop environment and it also includes a launcher for downloading the latest Tor Browser, OnionShare for anonymous file sharing, and Ricochet for anonymous instant messaging.
Septor 2019 -- Running the KDE Plasma desktop
(full image size: 1.2MB, resolution: 1920x1080 pixels)
* * * * *
Distributions added to waiting list
- EmuTOS. EmuTOS is a free operating system for computers based on Motorola 68000 or ColdFire microprocessors. It features functionality similar to TOS, which powered the Atari ST and its successors between 1985 and 1994. EmuTOS can run on real hardware, either as ROM replacement or from floppy.
- FluXuan Linux. FluXuan Linux is a lightweight distribution based on Devuan and featuring the Fluxbox window manager.
- Skywave Linux. Skywave Linux is a 64-bit live system based on Ubuntu which provides installed and configured software for accessing software defined radio servers locally and on the Internet. With this operating system, a person may tune shortwave broadcasts, amateur radio, aeronautical, maritime, or other signals received at remote servers around the world. SDR software is configured for popular devices, such as the RTL-SDR dongles, Softrocks, Hermes, and other radios.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 14 January 2019. 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 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|
|• 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|
|• Full list of all issues|
Star Labs - Laptops built for Linux.
View our range including the Star Lite, Star LabTop and more. Available with a choice of Ubuntu, Linux Mint or Zorin OS pre-installed with many more distributions supported. Visit Star Labs for information, to buy and get support.
|Random Distribution |
Robolinux is a user-friendly and intuitive operating system based on the latest long term support release of Ubuntu. One of the project's more interesting features is the availability of a pre-configured virtual machine support pack with Windows XP or Windows 7 - a VirtualBox setup which allows the user to install and run the Windows operating system seamlessly alongside Robolinux. This is an optional add-on that must be downloaded from the project's online store.