| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 645, 25 January 2016
Welcome to this year's 4th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Different Linux distributions are created with different goals in mind. Some want to be useful in all sorts of situations, others strive to be newcomer friendly desktop operating systems, others try to be extremely efficient, still others focus on security. This week we talk about several projects, each with its own aims. We begin with a look at Linux Mint 17.3, a distribution that works to be easy to use, especially for Linux novices. In our News section we discuss Chromixium's name change, an announcement that Ubuntu will soon be shipping on tablets and the GNOME team's desire to help users avoid being tracked. In our Questions and Answers column we discuss some of the differences and similarities between Linux distributions and the BSDs. Then we share the torrents we are seeding and provide a list of the distributions released last week. In our Opinion Poll we ask what tasks our readers perform with live discs and thank Hossein for expanding our Persian language support. We wish you all a wonderful week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Linux Mint 17.3 "Xfce"
Linux Mint is arguably one of the more popular distributions in the open source ecosystem. The project takes packages from the Ubuntu repositories and uses them, along with custom Mint utilities, to build a user friendly operating system. The Mint project has gained a reputation over the years for delivering a practical desktop operating system that offers users a familiar desktop environment with multimedia support.
The latest release of Linux Mint, version 17.3, is based on Ubuntu 14.04, a long term support release which will continue to receive security updates through to the year 2019. Linux Mint 17.3 is available in MATE, Cinnamon, Xfce and KDE editions. I decided to try the Xfce community edition. The release notes for the Xfce edition mention a number of new features. For example, users will be able to switch Xfce's underlying window manager without logging out of their desktop session. In addition, new command line tools have been added to detect which window manager is running. Mint's software manager has been updated to detect nearby (and faster) repository mirrors. The software manager now also detects if a package mirror is out of date or the repository data has been corrupted. These changes should make installing security patches faster and less risky. Mint's driver manager now sorts drivers by status and indicates whether a driver is open source or proprietary. The release notes mention LibreOffice has been updated to version 5, the Orca screen reader is now included by default and OpenVPN support is installed by default too. All in all, it seems as though Mint is focusing on performance and security with version 17.3.
The Xfce edition of Linux Mint is available as a 1.4GB download. Booting from the media quickly brings up the Xfce desktop environment. The application menu, task switcher and system tray are positioned at the bottom of the screen. The background is mostly silver and carries Mint's brand. Icons for launching a file manager and the system installer sit on the desktop.
Launching Linux Mint's graphical installer brings up a window where we are asked to select our preferred language from a list. This first screen provides us with a link that, when clicked, opens a web browser to show us an on-line copy of the project's release notes. The next screen the installer shows us asks if we would like to manually partition our hard drive or have the installer do it for us. I chose to use manual partitioning and I very much like the layout of Mint's partition manager. We are shown a visual representation of our hard drive and it is fairly easy to create or remove partitions. Mint's installer supports working with JFS, XFS and the ext2/3/4 family of file systems. The advanced Btr file system was not presented as an option. Mint's partitioning screen gives us the chance to select where our boot loader should be installed. Once we finish partitioning our hard drive, the installer begins copying its files to our disk while we are walked through additional configuration steps. We are asked to select our time zone from a map of the world, confirm our keyboard's layout and create a user account. The user account creation screen gives us the option of encrypting our user's data. Once the system installer has finished copying its files to our drive we are given the choice of rebooting the computer or returning to the live desktop environment.
Our new copy of Linux Mint boots to a graphical login screen where we can sign into the account we created during the installation process. Signing into our account brings up a welcome window. This window contains links to Mint's forums, IRC chat room, the project's on-line documentation, and release notes. There is also a button for launching the distribution's driver manager if we need to get more functionality out of our hardware. Once we dismiss the welcome screen we can begin exploring the distribution.
The application menu that ships with Linux Mint's Xfce edition is arranged with two main sections. On the left side of the menu we find categories of applications. The right side lists specific applications available in a given category and we can scroll through these items. At the top of the menu we find quick-launch buttons for opening the distribution's Settings panel, locking the desktop session and logging out. At the bottom of the menu we find a search box which helps us locate applications based on their name or description.
Linux Mint 17.3 -- The application menu
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Looking through the application menu we find a useful collection of software. Mint ships with the Firefox web browser with support for Flash. We also find the Thunderbird e-mail application, the HexChat IRC client, the Pidgin instant messaging software and the Transmission bittorrent application. Network Manager is available to help us get on-line. Mint ships with a document viewer and the LibreOffice productivity suite. The distribution offers users the Totem and VLC multimedia players, the Xfburn disc burning software, the Banshee audio player and a full range of media codecs. Mint ships with the GNU Image Manipulation Program and a simple image viewer. Users are also given a file renaming utility, an archive manager, a calculator and a text editor. We can find a screen reader, backup utility and task manager in the application menu too. In the background, we find Java is installed for us and Mint ships with a copy of the GNU Compiler Collection. Linux Mint uses Upstart as the default init software and ships with version 3.19 of the Linux kernel.
Linux Mint offers a central control panel for managing the Xfce desktop and a number of other features. The control centre contains modules for adjusting the look and feel of the desktop, the style and placement of notifications and enabling start-up services. I also found modules for working with power management, hardware drivers, software sources and package updates. I experimented with the option to switch window managers while Xfce is running and found it worked as advertised. I did find it odd that the option for switching window managers is included in the Desktop Settings module rather than the Window Manager module, but once the proper option was located it worked well.
Linux Mint 17.3 -- The Settings panel
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I tested Linux Mint 17.3 in two environments, a laptop computer and a VirtualBox virtual machine. Mint ran smoothly on the laptop, properly utilizing my wireless card and setting my screen to its full resolution. Sound worked out of the box and the distribution was quick to boot and respond to input. When running as a VirtualBox guest, Mint integrated with VirtualBox and was able to make use of the host computer's full screen resolution. The distribution was quick to respond in the virtual environment and ran smoothly. In either environment, Mint used relatively small amounts of memory, requiring approximately 260MB of RAM when sitting idle in an Xfce session.
After exploring Linux Mint for a while, an icon in the system tray let me know there were software updates available in the distribution's repositories. Clicking the icon brings up Mint's update manager. The update manager is a graphical application which lists available software updates. Each update includes the name of the package, the version number of the new package in the repositories and a safety rating. Software updates which are considered very safe are given a safety rating of 1, most updates have a rating of 3 and risky updates and updates known to cause problems are given a rating of 5. We can filter which updates we see based on the package's safety rating. At the start of my trial there were 34 updates available (with ratings of 1 through 3) which totalled 66MB in size. These updates, and those which followed during the week, were downloaded and installed without any problems.
At one point, I was using the update manager when a message appeared at the top of the window and offered to help me find faster repository mirrors. Clicking a button brings up the Software Sources utility. This graphical tool provides us with a number of options, including which repository servers we want to use. We can select repository mirrors based on their location, with nearby mirrors given priority for faster performance. The Software Sources window includes some other handy features, such as enabling Mint's Backports repository for accessing newer versions of applications. We can also enable and disable personal package archives (PPAs) which are often used to provide access to third-party software or newer versions of applications. I like Mint's Software Sources application as I find it easier to navigate than Ubuntu's equivalent and I feel the options are explained more clearly.
Linux Mint 17.3 -- Configuring software repositories and installing packages
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Mint provides two applications for dealing with software packages. The first one is Mint's Software Manager, a graphical application that divides applications into twelve categories. These categories are represented by large icons and selecting a category brings up a list of applications in the given category. Programs are listed with their name, an icon, a short description and a user-supplied rating. Clicking on an item brings up a full page description of the selected program with screen shots and user reviews. From the description page, the software can be installed or removed with a single click. The Software Manager application processes new installations in the background while we can continue to search for additional software. If we wish, we can skip browsing for applications and instead search for programs by name using a search box at the top of the Software Manager window.
The second graphical package manager is Synaptic, a venerable program that displays software in a simple list and allows us to apply filters to the list of available packages. Items can be added or removed by clicking a box next to the package's name. Synaptic processes actions on packages in batches, locking the interface while it works. Both package managers, and Mint's APT command line package manager, give us access to over 73,000 packages.
Linux Mint 17.3 -- Switching window managers
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In my experience, Linux Mint usually delivers a pleasant, friendly experience that is likely to appeal to a wide, audience, including Linux newcomers. The Xfce community edition of Linux Mint 17.3 is, in my opinion, no exception. The distribution is easy to set up, it worked flawlessly on my hardware, supported a wide range of multimedia out of the box and performed very quickly. The installer is pleasantly easy to use, as are the many Mint tools for working with software, blocking domains and sharing files. I like that Mint provides users with detailed release notes, getting started documentation and, when we first login, shows us links to supports forums and chat rooms.
While no distribution is a perfect fit for everyone, I have to say I was very impressed with how smoothly Mint's Xfce edition performed. I did not encounter any bugs during my trial, no crashes or quirks. Everything worked as expected and the system was both stable and responsive. It is very rare I have such a pleasant experience with an operating system, but Mint was an ideal fit for me this week, finding a comfortable balance between friendliness and staying out of my way.
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Hardware used in this review
My physical test equipment for this review was a de-branded HP laptop with the following
- Processor: Intel i3 2.5GHz CPU
- Display: Intel integrated video
- Storage: Western Digital 700GB hard drive
- Memory: 6GB of RAM
- Wired network device: Realtek RTL8101E/RTL8102E PCI Express Fast
- Wireless network device: Realtek RTL8188EE Wireless network card
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Chromixium changes its name, Ubuntu tablets coming soon, Network Manager to offer tracking protection
Last week the Chromixium project announced that the distribution will be changing its name to Cub Linux. The (formally) Chromixium project reports it received notice from Google saying that "Chromixium" was too close to their own product trademarks and asking the project to change its name. A blog post on the project's website carries further details: "I decided not to take on the might of Google (well, the finances of Google) in a court of law, and after some very constructive exchanges with Google's trademark lawyer, we agreed that the Chromixium mark would cease to be used by 1 April 2016. This includes this domain, GitHub, Chromixium social media presences including Google+ and YouTube." The first version of Cub Linux to be released under the new name is expected to arrive in May 2016 and will be based on Ubuntu 16.04.
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People who want to run GNU/Linux distributions on tablets received some good news recently. Bq, a Spanish company that sells Ubuntu-powered phones, have announced they will be demonstrating 10-inch tablets running Ubuntu later this year. The OMG Ubuntu website shares some details. "Bq confirm that an Ubuntu tablet will be demoed next month at Mobile World Congress 2016, and that it will feature convergence. That's just about the sum total of info the tech company teases in their press gambit - but we can tell you an incy bit more. Bq Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition is the model being readied behind the scenes. It's a powerful 10-inch tablet with 64-bit ARM CPU, 2GB RAM and a high-resolution screen. It works not only as a great little (or not so little, given the size) Ubuntu tablet, but will converge into a desktop PC when a keyboard, mouse or external monitor is attached." Further details can be found in the OMG Ubuntu article.
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When scanning for mobile networks and connecting to wi-fi networks, our devices (phones, tablets and laptops) transmit a unique hardware identification code, called a MAC address. These addresses, being unique to each device, can be used to track the device (and its owner). Lubomir Rintel, a Network Manager developer, wants to help people be more anonymous on-line and has put forward a plan to randomize MAC addresses, at least during scans for connection points. "How to anonymize you? An obvious solution would be to randomize the address. There are several problems to consider. The MAC address identifies your hardware to the access point. If you change it while you’re associated the access point no longer knows who you are. You lose connectivity. Also, the MAC address is often used (or abused) for media-layer filtering. Some access points hijack your traffic until you authorize yourself in a captive portal. Change your MAC address and you’re unknown and unauthorized again. And there’s the uniqueness problem. If you generated the MAC address, there’s no way to ensure someone else isn’t using it. What seems like a viable option is randomizing the MAC address while scanning, changing it every now and then, but still use the hard-wired MAC address for association and actual connectivity." While not a perfect solution, it does offer travellers some protection against tracking. The full write-up is available in Lubomir Rintel's blog post.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Comparing Linux and BSD
Comparing-apples-to-penguins asks: What are the key differences between Linux and BSD? If I switch, what sort of things will I need to do differently?
DistroWatch answers: First, let us consider the differences between Linux distributions. GNU/Linux is not really an operating system, but rather a family of closely related operating systems. Looking at a pair of mainstream Linux distributions, such as Ubuntu and Fedora, we will see they feature different system installers, different package managers, different versions of packages, offer different documentation, put some files in different places and support third-party software differently. While Fedora and Ubuntu share a lot of similarities, such as the Linux kernel, GNU userland utilities and the software we can run on these systems, there are dozens of little differences.
In the big family of operating systems, Fedora and Ubuntu are close relatives. So what happens when we look at another operating system, such as one of the BSDs? The BSDs are, again, a family of closely related operating systems, each with their own documentation, kernels, package managers and system installers. Comparing any Linux distribution to any flavour of BSD is going to turn up a lot of little differences.
In fact, while the BSDs and Linux distributions may look the same at first glance, almost everything will be a bit different, from the system installer and the file systems supported, to the documentation and the software licenses, to the package manager and the hardware drivers. Some things most GNU/Linux distributions have in common with their BSD cousins include the general file system layout, names of command line programs and the list of software each operating system can run. Most popular open source applications, such as LibreOffice, VLC and Firefox, will run on the BSDs as well as Linux.
Put another way, running a desktop environment on a flavour of BSD will provide a similar experience to running the same desktop environment on Linux. On the surface, to the end user, one will work about the same as the other. The same applications can be run and files will mostly be stored in directories sharing the same names. However, when you install, update or otherwise maintain the operating system you will begin to notice lots of small differences. The closer you look and the more you explore, the more little differences you will begin to notice.
In the end, I think the best way to discover the similarities and differences is to install one of the easier to use BSDs, such as PC-BSD or GhostBSD, in a virtual machine and explore it. I think you will find the experience akin to travelling from the United States of America to the United Kingdom. The languages and customs are mostly similar, but you need to get used to hearing a different accent and driving on the other side of the road.
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Past Questions and Answers columns can be found in our Q&A Archive
Bittorrent is a great way to transfer large files, particularly open source operating system images, from one place to another. Most bittorrent clients recover from dropped connections automatically, check the integrity of files and can re-download corrupted bits of data without starting a download over from scratch. These characteristics make bittorrent well suited for distributing open source operating systems, particularly to regions where Internet connections are slow or unstable.
Many Linux and BSD projects offer bittorrent as a download option, partly for the reasons listed above and partly because bittorrent's peer-to-peer nature takes some of the strain off the project's servers. However, some projects do not offer bittorrent as a download option. There can be several reasons for excluding bittorrent as an option. Some projects do not have enough time or volunteers, some may be restricted by their web host provider's terms of service. Whatever the reason, the lack of a bittorrent option puts more strain on a distribution's bandwidth and may prevent some people from downloading their preferred open source operating system.
With this in mind, DistroWatch plans to give back to the open source community by hosting and seeding bittorrent files. For now, we are hosting a small number of distribution torrents, listed below. The list of torrents offered will be updated each week and we invite readers to e-mail us with suggestions as to which distributions we should be hosting. When you message us, please place the word "Torrent" in the subject line, make sure to include a link to the ISO file you want us to seed. To help us maintain and grow this free service, please consider making a donation.
The table below provides a list of torrents we currently host. If you do not currently 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 here. All torrents we make available here are also listed on the very useful Linux Tracker website. Thanks to Linux Tracker we are able to share the following torrent statistics.
Torrent Corner statistics:
- Total torrents seeded: 155
- Total data uploaded: 26.5TB
|Released Last Week
Arne Exton has announced the launch of a new version of the ExTiX distribution. ExTiX is based on packages from the Ubuntu repositories and offers alternative desktop environments, such as LXQt. The latest version, ExTiX 16.1, features LXQt 0.10.0, the Google Chrome web browser and the recently released Linux 4.4 kernel. "ExTiX LXQt is based on Ubuntu 15.10 Wily Werewolf. LXQt 0.10.0 (not in Ubuntu’s repositories) is used as the desktop environment. All packages have been updated to the latest version by 16-01-20. Kernel 4.4.0-0-exton is used (kernel.org's kernel 4.4). Ubuntu 15.10 uses kernel 4.2. Google Chrome is used as web browser, which makes it possible to watch Netflix movies. It is not possible in Firefox (in Linux). I have also installed BlueGriffon web editor. BlueGriffon is a new WYSIWYG content editor for the World Wide Web. Powered by Gecko, the rendering engine of Firefox, it's a modern and robust solution to edit web pages in conformance to the latest web standards...." Further information is available in the project's release announcement.
ExTiX 16.1 -- Running the LXQt desktop environment
(full image size: 1.1MB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
GParted Live 0.25.0-1
Curtis Gedak has announced the availability of GParted Live 0.25.0-1, the latest stable version of the project's Debian-based live CD with a collection of disk management and data rescue utilities: "The GParted team is proud to announce a new stable release of GParted Live. This live image contains GParted 0.25.0 which adds fine progress indicators for checking and resizing ext2/3/4 partitions and for resizing NTFS partitions. Also included is improved Linux Software RAID member detection and file system clearing. Items of note include: based on the Debian 'Sid' repository as of 2016-01-19; replaced i586 live image with i686 (due to change in Debian repository); Linux kernel updated to 4.3.3-5. This release of GParted Live has been successfully tested on VirtualBox, VMware, BIOS, UEFI, and physical computers with AMD/ATI, NVidia, and Intel graphics. Note: if mouse cursor is not visible when GParted is running, then use the menu key to open a new terminal window. The mouse cursor should be visible again." Here is the brief release announcement.
Kwort Linux 4.3.1
The Kwort Linux project, which develops a CRUX-based distribution that strives to maintain a minimal operating system, has released an update to its 4.3 series. The new version, Kwort Linux 4.3.1, includes a number of security fixes and improvements to the bootloader installation process. "This is minor fix of Kwort 4.3, involving some security upgrades and some improvements in our bootloaders' installation. If you want to upgrade from Kwort 4.3 to this new release, you can simply run: kpkg update && kpkg upgrade. Our bootloaders' installation has improved significantly as well as the ISO bootup. For bootloaders, we have the traditional bootloader LILO and GRUB2 with and without UEFI support, all of them with LVM support if needed as well. For those wanting to use GRUB2 there's a tool now called kwort-grub-installer that will automatically configure and install the GRUB2 bootloader for you." Further information and support options can be found on the project's home page.
Kali Linux 2016.1
Kali Linux is a Debian-based distribution that ships with a collection of security and forensics utilities. The distribution recently shifted from issuing fixed releases to a rolling release model. The project has announced the launch of Kali Linux 2016.1, the first version of the distribution's new rolling release series. "Today marks an important milestone for us with the first public release of our Kali Linux rolling distribution. Kali switched to a rolling release model back when we hit version 2.0 (codename `sana'), however the rolling release was only available via an upgrade from 2.0 to kali-rolling for a select brave group. After five months of testing our rolling distribution (and its supporting infrastructure), we're confident in its reliability - giving our users the best of all worlds - the stability of Debian, together with the latest versions of the many outstanding penetration testing tools created and shared by the information security community." Additional information and screen shots are available in the project's release announcement.
Kali Linux 2016.1 -- Running the GNOME desktop
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Suman Chakravartula has announced the release of Rockstor 3.8-11, a new stable version of the CentOS-based specialist Linux distribution designed for Network Attached Storage (NAS): "I am happy to announce the release of Rockstor 3.8-11. There are two significant changes I'd like to highlight. We made several improvements to the Rock-Ons system, including making it easy for users and add their own custom Rock-Ons and 3rd party contributors to submit theirs for wider community. We added new Rock-Ons including Discoure and Jenkins. We also made the system significantly more robust and simpler. Expect more changes in the next cycle, but a lot of heavy lifting was done in this one. The second significant change is to the inner workings of the Web-UI. We've revamped templating and overhauled existing templates using Handlebars. As a result, the UI is leaner, and faster and the code is a lot more readable and simpler. There are many other improvements and bug fixes to S.M.A.R.T, NUT and SSL certificate management, to name a few." Continue to the release announcement for a further details and a list of bug fixes.
The Android-x86 project develops and distributes a port of the Android operating system for 32-bit and 64-bit x86 processors. This allows users to run the Android operating system on consumer desktop and laptop computers. The Android-x86 project has announced a new release in the Android-x86 4.4 series. The new version, Android-x86 4.4-r4, is likely to be the last in the 4.4 series. "The Android-x86 4.4-r4 is based on the 4.4-r3 release. It mainly addresses the hazy fonts issue of Mesa 10.5.9 found in some GPUs. Besides, the EFI ISO support is back-ported to this release. That means the ISO is bootable from a UEFI device. Therefore we only provide one ISO file in this release. The kernel is updated to 4.0.9 with patches to support more peripherals like MS Surface series. The obsolete 2GB limitation of data.img (created when installed to NTFS or VFAT) is also removed. Note VFAT still suffers from the 4GB limitation of the file system." Further information can be found in the project's release notes.
The developers of HandyLinux have released a new version of their beginner-friendly, French language distribution. The new release of HandyLinux, version 2.3, is based on Debian "Jessie" and features a number of updates and improvements. The Handy menu will now provide users with a list of recently accessed documents. The distribution ships with HandySoft, a simplified package manager that replaces GNOME's default software manager. Handylinux 2.3 also offers users an assistant program that helps users in finding solutions to problems along with tutorials for common tasks. This release ships with Iceweasel 43, a re-branded version of the Firefox web browser. This release carries the code name "Ian" in memory of Debian's founder, Ian Murdock. Additional information and screen shots of the new utilities can be found in the project's release announcement for HandyLinux 2.3.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Using live discs
These days, most Linux distributions provide live disc images. These discs equip the user with a way to run their operating system from a CD, DVD or USB drive without installing it on a computer's hard drive. Often times these live environments are used to test a distribution's compatibility with the user's hardware or demo new features. Other distributions provide live discs that are designed to be used in data recovery, communication or for security purposes.
This week we are curious as to whether our readers use live discs and, if so, for what? Do you travel with a live distribution in order to always have a copy of your favourite operating system? Do you use live discs to recover data or perform other rescue operations? Do you run your main operating system from a live disc so each time the computer boots it is with a pristine environment? Please leave us a comment with your use cases.
You can see the results of our previous poll on using Tor here. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Using live discs
|I use live discs for testing new distros: ||660 (29%)|
| I use live discs for data rescue/repair: ||377 (17%)|
| I use live discs when traveling: ||15 (1%)|
| I use a live disc as my primary operating system: ||39 (2%)|
| I use live discs for other things: ||42 (2%)|
| Some or all of the above: ||996 (44%)|
| I do not use live discs: ||117 (5%)|
Persian language translation
One of our very generous readers, Hossein, was kind enough to go through the "About" information for 78 of of our more popular distributions and translate this information into Persian. We greatly appreciate his efforts to make our website more accessible to more people around the world.
Anyone else who would like to help us by translating DistroWatch to additional languages, please consider translating either the "About" information on each distribution's summary page or translate this file which contains phrases commonly used around the website. Even partial translations can help others around the world gain better access to information on open source software.
We have also made some improvements to our Compare Packages page which allows visitors to do a side-by-side comparison of the software available in two distributions. The page now includes a link to load and display full package lists for both distributions being compared, which is helpful for people who want to compare more obscure packages. Plus, we have added links which will take visitors to the summary pages of the distributions being compared.
Links to the Compare Packages page can be found on every distribution's summary page, right above the Features and Packages table. A link to the Compare Packages page is also available at the top of the Packages page.
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Distributions added to waiting list
- OviOS Linux. OviOS Linux is an enterprise storage operating system which combines open source technologies to provide an easy to use, performance oriented storage system. It is built on top of the Linux kernel and is an appliance-like OS, meaning there are no online repositories.
- MorpheusArch Linux. MorpheusArch Linux is based on Arch Linux and ships with the Xfce desktop environment and several desktop applications pre-installed.
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DistroWatch database summary
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This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 1 February 2016. To contact the authors please send email to:
- Jesse Smith (feedback, questions and suggestions: distribution reviews/submissions, questions and answers, tips and tricks)
- Ladislav Bodnar (feedback, questions, donations, comments)
|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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|Random Distribution |
Refracta is a Linux distribution based on Devuan GNU+Linux (a systemd-free fork of Debian), designed primarily for home computer users and also for use as a system rescue and recovery disk. It provides a simple and familiar layout using the Xfce desktop. Other desktop environments and additional software packages are available from the Devuan package repository. Besides providing a Linux distribution on a live CD, the project also develops useful tools, such as refractainstaller, refractasnapshot and refracta2usb which allow users to customize the installation and create custom live CD or live USB images.