| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 834, 30 September 2019
Welcome to this year's 39th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
One of the great things about open source software is it is usually developed with the primary intention of benefiting the end-user. Profit, data mining and lock-in are usually not the goals with free and open source software - instead programs are created to empower the user. This week we begin with a look at FreedomBox, a Debian-based distribution intended to be used on home servers. FreedomBox makes it easy to set up a home or small office server and includes a web-based interface for managing services. We have more details on FreedomBox in our Feature Story. In our News section we talk about popular Snap packages and why users of different distributions may be making use of different snaps. Let us know why you use portable packages in our Opinion Poll. Plus we report on DragonFly BSD getting a new filesystem checking utility, UBports publishing new apps, and CentOS publishing a new, rolling release edition called CentOS Stream. We also report on Purism shipping its first batch of Librem 5 smartphones and a fix for the Redcore package manager. Then we talk about how often distributions publish new ISO media and why new updates are not published every week. We are also pleased to share the torrents we are seeding and the releases of the past week. We wish you all a wonderful week and happy reading!
- Review: FreedomBox 2019-07-10 "Buster"
- News: Ubuntu publishes list of popular snaps, DragonFly BSD gains filesystem checks for HAMMER2, UBports updates available apps, CentOS publishes new rolling edition, Librem 5 phones shipping, Redcore updates its package manager
- Questions and answers: Refreshed ISO files versus on-line updates
- Released last week: CentOS 8.0.1905, Univention Corporate Server 4.4-2, ReactOS 0.4.12
- Torrent corner: Bluestar, CentOS, Hyperbola, Q4OS, ReactOS, SmartOS, SolydXK, Volumio
- Upcoming releases: FreeBSD 12.1-BETA3
- Opinion poll: Why do you use portable packages?
- Reader comments
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (19MB) and MP3 (14MB) formats.
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
FreedomBox 2019-07-10 "Buster"
FreedomBox is the most recent distribution to be added to the DistroWatch database. What is FreedomBox? According to the project's website:
FreedomBox is designed to be your own inexpensive server at home. It runs free software and offers an increasing number of services ranging from a calendar or Jabber server to a wiki or VPN. Our web interface allows you to easily install and configure your apps.
On the technical side, FreedomBox is based on Debian. The latest version is based on Debian 10 "Buster". Unlike some Debian projects, FreedomBox is a "pure blend" which means all the packages it uses, or develops, can be found in the Debian repositories. This keeps FreedomBox close to upstream and completely compatible with Debian.
FreedomBox can be purchased bundled with hardware running an ARM CPU or downloaded as a compressed disk image to be installed on existing hardware. The distribution has disk images that run on 32-bit (x86), 64-bit (x86_64) and several flavours of ARM-powered boards. These flavours are available in Stable, Testing and Daily branches, depending if we want a fixed or rolling release operating system. I decided to try the Stable version for 64-bit machines.
The 64-bit image file is a 386MB download which unpacks to 3.8GB when uncompressed. This image file can be written to an SD card or USB thumb drive. By default, FreedomBox runs from the thumb drive or SD card rather than having a typical install process where packages are written to a hard drive. People who wish to perform a customized hard drive install can install Debian first and then add the FreedomBox software on top with a few commands.
FreedomBox boots to a text console with a login prompt. At first I tried a few common default passwords, then checked the documentation and discovered there are no default login credentials. Instead we should access FreedomBox through its web portal and we will be asked to create an account. The documentation goes on to explain we can usually access the new server by browsing to the URL http://freedombox.local/, assuming we are on the same LAN. Alternatively, we may need to use a tool like nmap or check our router's access log to find the new FreedomBox's IP address.
FreedomBox 2019-07-10 -- The welcome screen when we first connect to the web portal
(full image size: 335kB, resolution: 1237x1024 pixels)
Opening a web browser and connecting to the new FreedomBox server brings up a page which greets us. Then we are asked to make up a username and password. The account credentials we create will not only give us access to the web interface, they will also grant us remote login permission using tools like OpenSSH. The next screen of the web portal gives us the chance to change our network settings. Then we are presented with a list of web applications and services and asked which ones we want to install. Clicking an application's icon brings up a brief description of the software. We can then click an Install button to download the desired module.
When I first started using FreedomBox I tried to install two services, the Transmission bittorrent software and a simple RSS feed reader. Clicking either package's Install button brought up an error which read: "Error installing application: Error during installation E: Release file for http://deb.debian.org/debian/dists/stable-updates/InRelease is not valid yet (invalid for another 18min 43s). Updates for this repository will not be applied."
I waited the specified 18 minutes, then tried again. That that time, both applications downloaded and installed successfully.
The FreedomBox web interface is pleasantly streamlined and easy to navigate. Across the top of the screen there are four main buttons. Home, Apps, System, and a user button that allows us to sign out of our account or change our password. We can also reboot or shutdown the server through the user menu.
The Apps screen shows us a list of available applications modules we can install. There were 24 of these available at the time of writing. Applications are run in the web browser and cover a range of features. There are wiki, blogging and torrent client packages. There is a feed reader, a few proxy tools, such as Tor and a SOCKS proxy. There is a VPN client, and a handful of chat servers and clients. I was hoping to spot an e-mail server for home-based hosting, but did not find one.
FreedomBox 2019-07-10 -- Browsing available web applications
(full image size: 652kB, resolution: 1237x1024 pixels)
We can click on an application's icon to display a description of the software. We can then install the selected item with a single click. Again, the interface is pleasantly uncluttered and I found it easy to identify what each module did and the handful I tried all installed successfully.
The Home screen shows a list of applications we have installed. Clicking on an application opens it, taking over the browser's tab. For this reason I started right-clicking on applications and opening them in a new tab to make it easier to get back to the FreedomBox interface. The Home screen is basically just a full screen launcher for the programs we have installed.
The System page acts as a control panel, and lists modules we can use to trouble-shoot, examine, and configure our server. There is a system module for creating backups, a few modules for changing DNS settings and networking. There is a Diagnostics module that will list installed services and whether they are responding over their network ports. One module lets us enable automatic updates, or manually update the operating system. Another module enables Let's Encrypt certificates, if we have given our server a domain name.
FreedomBox 2019-07-10 -- Accessing configuration modules
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Additional modules list available storage, and data usage. Another helps us create and manage filesystem snapshots. There is a tool for enabling and disabling the OpenSSH service. A Security module allows us to toggle the Fail2Ban service on/off to guard against brute force network attacks. It also allows us to restrict which users can sign in remotely to the OpenSSH console.
FreedomBox runs the OpenSSH service by default, giving us a second method (along with the web portal) to access and manage the system. By default, only users in the Admin group can use OpenSSH to remotely sign in. The first user we create has Admin rights and, optionally, we can add other users to the Admin group later. In the Security module we can allow all users to sign in via OpenSSH should we wish to make the server more accessible without granting people Admin rights.
FreedomBox is one of the few Linux distributions I have used which sets up Btrfs as the default filesystem. This is useful for two reasons. The first is we can create additional filesystems and add new physical storage devices to the filesystems as we need more space. Btrfs can be grown dynamically without taking the operating system off-line which is a nice feature to have. There is no method for adding new storage devices through the web interface, but it takes just one command using the btrfs utility on the console interface.
FreedomBox 2019-07-10 -- Using the RSS feed reader application
(full image size: 271kB, resolution: 1237x1024 pixels)
The second perk to running Btrfs by default is we can revert changes to the system's packages and configuration with a few mouse clicks. There is a settings module in the web portal for creating and rolling back filesystem snapshots. This means if we make a configuration mistake or if an update breaks the system, we can roll back to the previous snapshot and everything goes back to its earlier, working condition. I tested this feature and it worked perfectly.
It is pleasantly easy to set up sharing files over HTTP. One of FreedomBox's modules lets us share a directory over a URL we make up. For instance, I can create a folder in my user's home directory called Public and set it to be accessible to anyone who visits http://freedombox.local/share/Public on my LAN. (Or I can set up port forwarding on my router to my server and give people the IP address.) People can then easily download files from my system just by clicking the link I send them. When combined with other modules, like the Transmission bittorrent client, it means we can download files and share them with other computers on the home network with very little effort.
The distribution does not require many resources. A fresh install used less than 4GB of space on the SD card. Even with half a dozen modules installed and the web interface running, FreedomBox only used about 260MB of RAM. The distribution is designed to run in minimal environments, like Raspberry Pi single board computers, and it can do this with room to spare.
FreedomBox 2019-07-10 -- Managing a user account's permissions
(full image size: 378kB, resolution: 1237x1024 pixels)
For the most part, FreedomBox and its web applications worked really well for me. There were just a few exceptions with modules that caused me problems. The first was that Transmission crashed once after trying to download a file. This on its own was not a big deal, but I struggled to come up with a user-friendly way to restart the service. An administrator can login through secure shell and restart the transmission-daemon service, but I could not find a way to force Transmission to restart through the web interface. At least not using any of the friendly, point-n-click tools. The Diagnostics module would show Transmission was not responding, but it does not offer any solutions.
My next thought was to install the Cockpit application module as Cockpit is a powerful web-based tool for managing servers. The Cockpit module installed, and when I launched the application I was taken to Cockpit's login screen. After entering my username and password, I was shown a blank page. I think Cockpit was the only application which did not work properly during my trial. I tried using Cockpit in a few different browsers and each produced the same blank page after I had successfully signed into the module.
I feel that I don't get to say this about many projects: FreedomBox impressed me. I was not sure what to expect when my trial started. I was not sure if I was getting Debian with some extra convenience packages pre-installed, or something like Debian running Cockpit, or an appliance distribution like TurnKey Linux. What I got was a distribution that did not need to be installed, I could just unpack the download to a thumb drive and start using it. FreedomBox requires virtually no configuration, the web apps are all point-n-click add-ons, and most of them are quite easy to use.
The control panel especially was nice to use. Often times when distributions add a web-based control panel it either just duplicates tasks a user might perform on the console (with similar readouts and controls) or the interface is complex and crowded with too many options. FreedomBox manages to be sleek and minimal while making the administrator's life noticeably easier. This is one of the few times when I've found myself preferring to use the web interface over the command line when working on a server, and I'm pretty sure I could hand this system to less technical users and they would be able to explore and use the web interface.
There were a few minor problems which stood out. It would have been nice to have a system module for restarting services, or an option to automatically restart crashed services. My only other wish-list item would be to make it easier to add disks to a storage pool. The FreedomBox storage module lets users see existing storage pools and which devices are in them, but I cannot take an unformatted device and add it to a Btrfs pool without using the command line. Otherwise, FreedomBox was polished, easy to use, and it manages to provide useful features I feel most people will want without overloading the interface with features most people don't need.
In short: the distribution provides a surprisingly polished experience with almost no work required to set it up and start using a home server. I'm hoping the next version manages to fix the Cockpit module and maybe adds an e-mail service, but the project needs very little else. In fact, I think it benefits from maintaining a narrow focus and doing just a few things well without getting bogged down with extra services, monitoring functions, and add-on containers. This is an excellent way to get up and running with a home server where people want to plug it in and just start sharing files, chatting or blogging.
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Visitor supplied rating
FreedomBox has a visitor supplied average rating of: 8.7/10 from 3 review(s).
Have you used FreedomBox? You can leave your own review of the project on our ratings page.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Ubuntu publishes list of popular snaps, DragonFly BSD gains filesystem checks for HAMMER2, UBports updates available apps, CentOS publishes new rolling edition, Librem 5 phones shipping, Redcore updates its package manager
Many people use portable package formats, such as Flatpak, AppImage, and Snap, for different reasons. Igor Ljubuncic has published a post on the Ubuntu blog which shows the top five most popular Snap applications on different distributions. "From a distance, Linux is one big, confusing ball of passionate users and hardcore technical jargon. But as you zoom in, you can start seeing patterns - and differences. Indeed, the individual and vastly varied choice of a favorite distribution has played a major part in shaping the community conversation in the Linux space. But does this also reflect on the application usage patterns? We wanted to have a look at how users on different distributions consume snaps. So we crunched some numbers and checked the top five snaps for Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, CentOS, Arch Linux, and Manjaro users." Looking at the provided table comparing Snap usage on various distributions we can get a sense of why different users turn to portable package formats. For instance, on Arch Linux and Manjaro where software is usually up to date, snaps appear to be used mostly to install proprietary software. However, on Debian, which is a more conservative distribution, Snap packages appear to be used to keep open source applications up to date with their upstream releases.
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The DragonFly BSD operating system uses an advanced, copy-on-write filesystem called HAMMER2. The filesystem's copy-on-write feature means that changes written files on the disk are created in copies of the data, meaning updates to the disk are atomic and should not suffer from sudden interruption, like a power outage or system crash. This means filesystem checks usually are not needed, but a filesystem check (fsck) tool has been created anyway to verify the integrity of the filesystem's content. DragonFly BSD Digest has a post which reads: "HAMMER2 is copy on write, meaning changes are made to copies of existing data. This means operations are generally atomic and can survive a power outage, etc. (You should read up on it!) However, there's now a fsck command, useful if you want a report of data validity rather than any manual repair process."
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The UBports team has published notes on work the developers are doing to improve the performance and portability of their mobile operating system. The team has made progress in making UBports run smoothly on the upcoming PinePhone. Some other changes are becoming available, including PureMaps, a map browsing and navigation app; and Ghostcloud, an app for accessing Nextcloud instances. "In the past fortnight there have been updates to some notable apps. The new version of OpenStore asks if you want to contribute a donation to the developer of the app you are about to download, if the developer has added that prompt. We put this at the top of the bill purposely! PureMaps was created originally for Sailfish but has now been ported to UT. It includes a whole range of features from Mapbox and soon it is expected that offline maps will be working. The developer, Jonatan Hatakeyama Zeidler who led on this doesn't even have a UT device but very generously agreed to help port it, supported by others. The app works beautifully. Apart from that, a reminder that Alfred has a Ghostcloud app for accessing Nextcloud." More updates and information can be found in the UBports team's blog post.
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When CentOS 8.0-1905 was released this past week, one feature stood out: CentOS Stream. The new edition of CentOS was described as a rolling release distribution which would provide a middle ground between the fast moving Fedora project and Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). Matthew Miller of the Fedora project has published a statement about what CentOS Stream is and how it fits into the Fedora/Red Hat ecosystem. "Fedora will remain the first upstream of RHEL. It's where every RHEL came from, and is where RHEL 9 will come from, too. But after RHEL branches off, CentOS will be upstream for ongoing work on those RHEL versions. I like to call it 'the midstream', but the marketing folks somehow don't, so that's going to be called CentOS Stream. We - Fedora, CentOS, and Red Hat - still need to work out all of the technical details, but the idea is that these branches will live in the same package source repository."
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Fans of mobile devices running GNU/Linux operating systems received some good news this week: the first Librem 5 smartphones have been manufactured and are shipping. The phone runs a Debian-based distribution by default and uses a GNOME-based interface. A port of UBports is also expected to run on the Librem 5. The device features hardware switches to disable components which might invade user privacy. "Everyone who pre-ordered the Librem 5 smartphone will be receiving an email letting them know which shipping batch - and what shipping date window - they are scheduled for, before we prepare each batch for shipment. You can find more details in the batch shipping announcement and the FAQ."
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Earlier this month we reviewed Redcore Linux, a Gentoo-based, desktop distribution. The review mentioned problems with the distribution's Sisyphus graphical package manager, which the Redcore developers looked into: "I'm sure many of you already noticed, but unfortunately the latest release of Redcore Linux shipped with a partially broken package manager. While Portage (emerge) worked awesome as always, Sisyphus had some serious issues. Under certain circumstances, Sisyphus was unable to perform system upgrades, it may compile packages from source instead of using binary repository, and it may even downgrade packages instead of upgrading them. Many reviewers of the distribution caught these flaws, which made me wonder what is going wrong, and take another close look at the code..." The Redcore blog post includes instructions for upgrading Sisyphus to the fixed version and refreshing its package information.
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Refreshed ISO files versus on-line updates
Getting-updates-after-install asks: I have a simple question. Why is it that when I download a distro I have several MB, if not GB, of updates that need to be performed? You would think that the developers would load fresh ISO updates when they become available.
Take for instance Manjaro, their updates are 1.2GB and with a slow repo, it can take 30 minutes or more to receive updates. What are your thoughts?
DistroWatch answers: My thoughts are that it is not really practical, from a developer's point of view, to constantly publish refreshed media every time there is a new large batch of updates. It can take days to properly build and test new ISO files for multiple editions and architectures. And the developers would need to do that almost every week. They wouldn't have time to do anything else if they were always refreshing media.
Even fast-moving projects like Arch Linux that only support one architecture, relatively few core features, and a minimal package base only publish new media once a month. Technically it is possible to rebuild ISO files after each batch of patch updates, but doing so takes hours. Then, once the ISO files are built, they need to be tested and then sent out to mirrors. Doing the mirror sync will take hours or days and a lot of bandwidth for the project. This is why most projects publish new media a few times a year rather than weekly.
Personally, I think spending 30 minutes installing updates usually is not a problem. You can keep using the system while it is updating as the package manager usually does not interfere with the desktop environment. I often check e-mails or watch videos while my systems are updating without any problems.
With that being said, if you are running a system where the package manager's disk usage (or the bandwidth required to install the first wave of updates) are prohibitive, there are some things you can do to make the situation better.
For instance, if bandwidth is at a premium you can download distributions which offer a network install option. That way you get the latest available packages during the install process. The network install ISO is usually smaller than other install media, since fewer packages need to be included, and you will not need to install any updates once the installer is finished. Manjaro is one of many projects which support network installs.
Another thing you can do, if the package manager is causing your desktop to be less responsive, is to set the nice and ionice levels of the package manager. The nice and ionice programs tell a process to stay out of the way of other processes. This means that when your program wants to use the CPU or disk, it will be polite and only use resources while other programs are not busy. In the following example, I use these two commands to make sure the Pacman package manager has a minimal impact on my system:
nice -n 19 ionice -c 3 pacman -Syu
The nice program sets a niceness level of 19 (the most nice, lowest priority available) and ionice sets its priority at 3 (the lowest for disk usage). Now, no matter how long the upgrade process takes, it should have minimal impact on the performance of the operating system.
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Additional answers can be found in our Questions and Answers archive.
|Released Last Week
Colin Finck has announced the release of ReactOS 0.4.12, a new version of the project's open-source, built-from-scratch operating system intended to be binary-compatible with computer programs and device drivers made for Microsoft Windows. The new version delivers various usability improvements, including window snapping and better font rendering, as well as support for the Intel e1000 NIC driver: "The ReactOS team is pleased to announce the release of version 0.4.12. As always, a multitude of improvements have been made to all parts of the OS, though userland components saw special emphasis this time around. Filesystem drivers require a great deal of support to function correctly, and there is arguably no truer test of ReactOS' FS infrastructure than being able to run Microsoft's own FS drivers. While the project is not quite there yet, driving towards this goal saw considerable improvements been made. Pierre Schweitzer and Thomas Faber paid particular attention to the common cache, a module with deep ties to the memory manager and which traditionally has been a very troublesome component." Read the rest of the release announcement for further details.
Hyperbola GNU/Linux-libre 0.3
André Silva has announced the release of Hyperbola GNU/Linux-libre 0.3, a major update of the project's Arch-based, free (as in freedom) Linux distribution that meets the GNU Free System Distribution Guidelines (GNU FSDG). This version introduces Xenocara as the default X window display server: "After several months of development, we are happy to announce a new release of Hyperbola GNU/Linux-libre. This is a major milestone and we have fixed many bugs, so that this release is now stable. It includes Xenocara as the default display server for the X Window System and LibreSSL as the default provider of SSL and TLS protocols. Additionally, all packages adhere to the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard. Since it is a major change, there is a migration guide available for users that come from Milky Way 0.2. It is no longer recommended to migrate from any Arch-based distro, but users who wish to try should make adequate backups may refer to the Arch Migration article on our wiki." See the release announcement for more information. The project provides a dual-architecture (i686/x86_64) installation and rescue image (text mode only) similar to Arch Linux to install the system.
The CentOS project, a 100% compatible rebuild of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux, in full compliance with Red Hat's redistribution requirements, has published a new version: CentOS 8.0.1905. The new version is based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0 sources. There are two main editions of CentOS, depending on your needs, CentOS Linux and CentOS Steam: "You now have two ways to consume the CentOS platform, CentOS Linux and CentOS Stream. CentOS Linux is a rebuild of the freely available sources for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). CentOS Stream is a midstream distribution that provides a cleared-path for participation in creating the next version of RHEL. Read more in the CentOS Stream release notes." CentOS Stream is a rolling release distribution that acts as a middle ground between the cutting edge packages in Fedora and the stable, long-term packages available in Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Both editions of CentOS are available in off-line and net-install (boot) editions. Additional information can be found in the release announcement and in the release notes (CentOS Linux and CentOS Stream).
CentOS 8.0.1905 -- Running the GNOME desktop
(full image size: 204kB, resolution: 1920x1080 pixels)
Univention Corporate Server 4.4-2
Univention Corporate Server (UCS) is an enterprise-class distribution based on Debian GNU/Linux. The project's latest release is an update to the distribution's 4.4 series: 4.4-2. "We've just published the second point release for UCS 4.4. Apart from some bug fixes and corrections, we've also implemented some new features and, of course, we've put some work into numerous apps. Final Version of the UDM REST API: Looking back at the first point release (UCS 4.4-1 in June 2019), our REST API for the Univention Directory Manager was still in beta stadium. Good news: the interface for accessing the directory service is stable now. The API connects applications to the UCS directory service; access is granted via a web service using HTTPS, and data is exchanged JSON format. So, the REST API offers the same functionality as the udm command line tool. For example, it simplifies the maintenance of user properties or computer objects from connected systems. Developers of applications offered in the Univention App Center also benefit from the new, standardized access because they are no longer limited to the UDM Python interface." Additional information can be found in the distribution's release announcement.
SolydXK is a Debian-based desktop distribution which is available in two main editions: Xfce and KDE Plasma. The project's latest release builds on technology from Debian Buster and fixes a number of bugs. "The SolydXK Team has worked long and hard to create yet another solid release. We are proud to announce SolydXK 10 based on Debian Buster! Highlights: Based on Debian Buster 10.1 release with the latest kernel version 4.19. Live ISO can now be booted with localisation support. New GRUB2 theme. The USB Creator was rebuilt from scratch to improve stability, speed and maintainability. Many bugs were resolved and we changed the SolydXK Firefox settings even further to improve user privacy. This is done in the firefox-solydxk-adjustments package which can be purged if you don't need it. We thouroughly cleaned up the ISOs removing any packages that are not strictly needed without compromising system stability and safety." The Raspberry Pi 3 image has been dropped from this release due to apparent lack of interest.
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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: 1,632
- Total data uploaded: 28.3TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|Opinion Poll (by Jesse Smith)
Why do you use portable packages?
In this week's News section we linked to a post which explores which Snap packages are used the most on five popular distributions. The information appears to show users on different distributions use portable packages for different reasons. We would like to hear why you use portable packages.
You can see the results of our previous poll on DNS over HTTPS in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Why do you use portable packages?
|To run the latest versions of software: ||181 (11%)|
| To run commercial/proprietary software: ||88 (6%)|
| To run older versions of software: ||17 (1%)|
| I find it easier to manage: ||54 (3%)|
| So I can use the same package across distros: ||59 (4%)|
| A combination of the above: ||236 (15%)|
| Another reason: ||77 (5%)|
| I do not use portable packages: ||885 (55%)|
|Website News (by Jesse Smith)
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 October 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 843 (2019-12-02): Obarun 2019.11.02, Bluestar 5.3.6, using special characters on the command line, Fedora plans to disable empty passwords, FreeBSD's quarterly status report|
|• Issue 842 (2019-11-25): SolydXK 10, System Adminstration Ethics book review, Debian continues init diversity debate, Google upstreaming Android kernel patches|
|• Issue 841 (2019-11-18): Emmabuntus DE3-1.00, changing keys in a keyboard layout, Debian phasing out Python 2 and voting on init diversity, Slackware gets unofficial updated live media|
|• 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|
|• Full list of all issues|
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FreePBX (formerly AsteriskNOW) is a Linux distribution with an open-source, web-based graphical user interface that controls and manages Asterisk (PBX), an open source communication server. FreePBX is licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL). FreePBX can be installed manually or as part of the pre-configured FreePBX distribution that includes the operating system, Asterisk, FreePBX GUI and assorted dependencies. FreePBX is based on the CentOS distribution while maintaining its own software repositories. The distribution is free to download and install with support offered through a paid subscription.