| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 379, 8 November 2010
Welcome to this year's 45th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! With the two big 4th quarter releases (Ubuntu 10.10 and Fedora 14) now behind us, it's time to enjoy the fruit of the hard work the two distro's developers have done over the past several months. But which of the two big distributions should you choose? Jesse Smith interviews Jared Smith, the current Fedora project leader, before examining the latest version of the Red Hat-sponsored distribution - read on for some suggestions and recommendations. The world of free operating system never sleeps though, so this week also brings information about some interesting developments in the world of Ubuntu (with news of an eventual transformation to Wayland as the distro's preferred display system), PC-BSD (with a new snapshot release that includes a choice of KDE, GNOME, Xfce and LXDE desktops) and Mageia (with a roadmap targeting March 2011 as the time of the project's first release). Also in this issue, don't miss the Q&A section which gives hints on blocking access to inappropriate websites and the new distro sections with an arrival of the newest operating system designed for older computers - CTKArchLive, based on Arch Linux. Happy reading!
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|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Trying on a new Fedora|
When it comes to reviewing distributions, I find that the most difficult one to write about is Fedora. Not for technical reasons -- setting up a new install of Fedora is as easy as falling off a bicycle and typically less painful. The aspect I find difficult is personal and comes from familiarity. I have used Fedora (and Red Hat Linux before that) on a regular basis for about a decade. I find that using anything for that amount of time results in either becoming accustomed and comfortable with a product's quirks, or overly irritated by them. In my relationship with Fedora, I find I've experienced both. Once every six months I find myself impressed with the wonderful new features put forward by the Fedora team and, at the same time, I find that little rough patches irk me more than they should. At any rate, I bring this up because I really wanted Fedora to have an objective evaluation and, despite my human nature, I hope I have done that. Please excuse any evidence of rose-tinted glasses.
First off, I think it's worth mentioning that the Fedora Project has a new website. What was previously a fairly plain white and blue affair is now a bright and colourful presentation. Personally, I find the new look appealing and easier to navigate than the old site. There seems to be more focus on the community aspect of the project now than on just its technical characteristics. I think this gives Fedora a more open, friendly face. I especially enjoy the group photo on the front page which features a person wearing FreeBSD's daemon horns, it shows the team has a sense of humour.
Before the launch of Fedora 14, I had a chance to run some questions by Fedora's new Project Leader, Jared Smith...
* * * * *
DW: Jared, as memory serves, this will be your first Fedora release as Project Leader. Have there been any surprises in your new role?
JS: There haven't been many surprises. The Fedora Project is very open and transparent about the work it does, so I had a very good idea of what to expect when I took on this new role. That being said, I must admit that I was a bit surprised that we only needed to build one release candidate for the final release of Fedora 14. I was very pleased with how smooth the release engineering for the Fedora 14 release worked out.
DW: Looking at the feature list for Fedora 14 it seems that a lot of work is going toward keeping the project on the bleeding edge, especially where developer tools are concerned. Is there any specific feature that you feel really stands out?
JS: I don't think there's one feature that's head and shoulders above the others -- this release has a lot of great new features in many different areas of Fedora, from systems administration to development to end-user applications.
DW: One of the items on the feature list is OpenSCAP. For people who haven't used this technology before, could you please explain how it works?
DW: The Fedora Project is offering the latest release on Amazon's EC2 cloud. Does this provide feedback, usage statistics or benchmarking you can use?
JS: No, not really. There's nothing different on the feedback mechanisms in the EC2 image than in a regular Fedora installation. As you might imagine, we take user privacy very seriously, and we don't collect user information without the user opting in. (For example, you can opt-in to using the Smolt application to report limited system information.) We also get some very general feedback from our mirrors about how many systems check for system updates, but other than that, we have no other methods for tracking installations.
DW: You said a few months back that you want to help users become open-source contributors. Have you seen progress on that front?
JS: Absolutely. I think we're starting to do a better job of highlighting ways that users can contribute back to Fedora and collaborate with the greater open-source community. There's still a lot of work to do, but we're certainly improving the way we help mentor new collaborators within the project. Our design team, for example, has put out some design bounties as a way of encouraging new contributors to join the design team. The bounties have also served as a tool to help showcase the tools and methods that the design team uses to do their work, so that others can learn from their experience.
DW: Fedora is a cutting-edge distro that has a lot to offer developers. Is the project also working to attract newcomers to the Linux community?
JS: Of course! One of our main goals for the redesign of the new fedoraproject.org website was to better introduce Fedora to those people who might be new to Linux. Based on some very early feedback, it appears that the new website design is having a positive effect in that regard.
DW: You've been doing a lot of travelling in your new role. Where do you see Linux and FOSS making the most headway, geographically?
JS: It's a bit difficult to name just one location, so I'll have to make some generalizations. I'm seeing Linux and FOSS make a lot of headway in various areas of the world, but especially in countries where there is a prevailing attitude of openness to FOSS within the government. Several Latin American countries, for example, have strong commitments to FOSS within the government, and that has really helped with FOSS adoption within the private sector as well. I'm very excited to see the growth of Linux and FOSS in emerging economies such as Brazil, India and China.
DW: Is there anything you'd like to add, about Fedora, Red Hat or open source in general?
JS: I'd be remiss if I didn't give thanks to all the various teams within the Fedora Project that have helped with the Fedora 14 release. My thanks go out to the packagers, the release engineers, the testers, the designers, the translators, the writers, the ambassadors, the marketing team, and everyone else who played a hand in making Fedora 14 a success.
* * * * *
For my experiment with Fedora 14, I used the 32-bit GNOME edition. Fedora also provides a KDE flavour and both desktop options come in 32-bit and 64-bit editions. Additionally there is an install DVD with a more complete collection of packages. For people on fast networks, the distribution provides BFO, a minimal boot environment which runs over the network. Recently the project has also encouraged other spins, which allow community members to put together a variety of flavours, including LXDE and Xfce editions.
The Fedora CD launches into a GRUB menu which allows the user to boot into a desktop, either with the project's defaults or with failsafe video settings. The system loads fairly quickly and presents the user with a graphical login screen. At this point the system waits for a few seconds and, if it isn't interrupted, will log in to the distro's guest account. The desktop environment is GNOME 2.32, which has an intense new wallpaper and the design brings to mind a glass window breaking in hyperspace. I like the new look, though I find my eyes sometimes straying to the shards on the right. As usual, the application menu and system tray are located on a menu bar at the top of the screen and the application switcher is located along the bottom. On the desktop are two icons, one for exploring the computer's file system and the other launches Fedora's installer.
Fedora 14 - working with the distribution's administrator tools
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The application menu is loaded with a fairly standard set of programs. There we can find Firefox (version 3.6.10), Evolution, an instant messaging client and a remote desktop client. There are disc burners, CD rippers, a music player and video player. There is the Shotwell photo manager, a small collection of games, and the usual group of little programs for editing text, managing archives and a calculator. GNOME is also equipped with a good collection of programs for changing user preferences, such as the look & feel of the desktop, mouse behaviour and preferred language. A little experimentation shows that, by default, Fedora does not come with codecs for playing popular media formats. Nor does the distribution come with Flash (or the open source Gnash player). These extras can be found in the RPMFusion add-on repository.
One of Fedora's strengths, in my opinion, has always been their collection of administrative tools. That tradition continues in Fedora 14 and we find programs for creating SELinux policies and trouble-shooting SELinux conflicts. There's a flexible firewall manager, a simple (yet effective) package upgrade utility, a user-friendly services manager and network configuration tools. During my trial I found that all of these worked smoothly.
The distribution's system installer hasn't changed much over the years and it doesn't need to. Fedora's installer provides a nice GUI for walking the user through choosing a keyboard layout, storage media type, the local time zone and setting a root password. Partition management is easy and Fedora provides a powerful set of options for resizing, creating and deleting partitions. After partitions and mount points have been configured, the installer confirms the boot loader's settings and goes to work copying over the necessary files. My only complaint regarding the whole process comes from setting up a root (/) partition. When installing from a live CD, the user must format their root partition with the ext4 file system, a restriction not found in most other distributions. After the system is rebooted, Fedora runs a configuration wizard which informs the user of the project's licensing. The user is then asked to create a non-root account, set the current date & time and (optionally) send a hardware profile to the Fedora Project. A few seconds later, a graphical login screen is displayed.
Fedora 14 - the system installer
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Fedora didn't do badly with my hardware. When running on my HP laptop (dual-core 2 GHz CPU, 3 GB of RAM, Intel video card) my screen was set to a suitable resolution, audio worked out of the box and my webcam was picked up, though it required a little tweaking to get it working smoothly. Unfortunately my Intel wireless card was not detected. As with previous releases, my touchpad worked, but didn't treat taps as mouse clicks. The mouse behaviour can easily be changed in the system settings. I'm happy to report that the video card issues I experience with Fedora 13, where my laptop would slow to a crawl, have been resolved and performance this time around was good. Running the latest Fedora release in a virtual machine showed that Fedora would boot and run smoothly with 512 MB of memory -- less than that would cause sluggish performance. I was pleased to discover that this release integrates well with VirtualBox and running Fedora as a guest OS was a seamless experience.
The Fedora project has gone through a handful of graphical package managers over the years. The distro's current front-end to package management is called Add/Remove Software. It's an interesting beast in that it's a little different from other mainstream package managers, but it has bits and pieces which are familiar. For instance, the layout comes across as a simplified Synaptic with a nice icon set. Software categories are listed down the left side of the window, specific packages are shown on the top-right and a description of the currently highlighted package is shown at the bottom. The categories and package selection work much the same as Ubuntu's Software Center, and a simple click marks the package for installation or removal. The application is also equipped with various filters, which reminded me of YaST's package handler.
After a new piece of software was installed, the system would offer to run it for me, which I thought was a nice touch and saves users from hunting through the menu to find a new item. Unfortunately, I found the Add/Remove Software tool to be slow to respond to my input. Clicking on a software category would cause the application to take a few seconds to process my request. I also found that the application would request my root password again for each new package (or groups of packages) I wanted to install. For example, if I installed GIMP it would prompt me for my password, if I then tried to install a game, the prompt would appear again. Perhaps this is intended as a security feature, but it's a restriction I don't usually see in package managers. Underneath the GUI is YUM, the command line package manager. Running from a terminal, I found YUM to be fast and smooth. The Presto plugin, which downloads delta updates rather than entire updated packages, is enabled by default. On average, I found that this reduced my bandwidth usage by about two-thirds when performing updates.
For people who want to install updates from a GUI, there is a small update utility available. I only used it twice, but I found that it did a good job balancing information with a tidy interface. It worked well and I didn't encounter any problems. I would have liked to see more progress information as packages were installed, as very little is shown to the user after the update process is kicked off. One last note on package management: when a user tries to run a program from the command line which is currently not installed, the system will check its repository information and, if a match is available, will offer to install the missing program. This is very convenient and I found that my occasional typo didn't slow down the system much while it checked for a match... most of the time. Making a typo while a software update was in progress would bring my command-line work to a sudden halt.
During my trial I found most aspects of Fedora to be secure. Most network services were turned off by default, SELinux is running out-of-the-box and the Fedora team maintains their good track record of staying on top of security updates. The one thing which stood out as a sore point is that if secure shell is enabled then any regular (non-root) user can login and remotely shut down the machine. For home users this probably won't be a big deal, since if another user is logged in a non-root account is blocked from performing the shutdown, but this could provide an unpleasant surprise for people running test servers. I'm curious as to why this characteristic is in place since, as far as I know, other distributions don't allow regular users perform remote shutdowns. The big new change in this release is OpenSCAP and I took a look at the pieces currently available. At the moment it's very much in the early stages and my first impression is that of a toolbox where sysadmin tools will soon be placed. Hopefully we will see more of this technology and its documentation in Fedora 15.
For the most part my time with the latest Fedora release was pleasant. I think a good deal of polish has gone into Fedora 14 and I have enjoyed using it quite a bit more than I did version 13. I only encountered one notable bug and that was immediately after completing the install. Upon reboot, I forgot to remove the live CD and so was brought to the CD's boot menu. I selected "Boot from local drive" and was told the system wasn't able to boot. Removing the CD and letting the machine boot normally from the hard drive worked. It's a bug I normally wouldn't have found, but it struck me as odd that the CD wasn't able to turn control over to the local disk. Otherwise, once my system was up and running, my impression of Fedora 14 is that it's solid and performs well.
Fedora 14 - performing a backup and working with SELinux
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There are a few specific items for which I believe Fedora deserves praise. For instance, in recent releases I've found myself wrestling with SELinux and, often as not, disabling it to get rid of the warnings. To date I haven't had any problems with SELinux in Fedora 14. I'm also happy to see Deja Dup, the easy-to-use backup tool, is prominently featured in the application menu. It's a great program which combines flexibility with an intuitive interface and it's nice to see Deja Dup on display. I also had a chance to test drive a Fedora 14 USB Flash drive this week, thanks to Ms Schiltz at Red Hat. For the most part the USB edition worked just like the CD edition, with the exception that the USB drive comes with OpenOffice.org pre-installed and the CD does not.
In the end the impression I get from Fedora is that it is more a development and testing platform than it is a desktop for your average home user. There is very little multimedia support, no Flash, and (on the live CD) no office suite installed by default and the project maintains a short support cycle (about thirteen months). The project has a more friendly feel to it now than it did six months ago, but it is still targeting the more technically inclined members of the community who don't mind working around the occasional quirk. If you like to stay on the cutting edge without being cut, or if you want to keep up with the technology going into Red Hat, then Fedora 14 is an excellent choice.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
Ubuntu embraces Wayland, PC-BSD launches first 9.0 snapshot, Mageia announces roadmap, MeeGo's growing pains
There is never a dull moment in the world of Ubuntu. After the previous week's announcement about Unity becoming the default desktop in the project's upcoming release, last week brought another radical change: Wayland, an OpenGL-based display management system, is to (eventually) become the distro's default display system. Although this is unlikely to happen before the release of Ubuntu 11.10 in October 2011, Mark Shuttleworth argues that the move will be great for those manufacturers (and users) who have good open-source drivers for their graphics hardware: "The next major transition for Unity will be to deliver it on Wayland, the OpenGL-based display management system. We'd like to embrace Wayland early, as much of the work we're doing on uTouch and other input systems will be relevant for Wayland and it's an area we can make a useful contribution to the project. We're confident we'll be able to retain the ability to run X applications in a compatibility mode, so this is not a transition that needs to reset the world of desktop free software. Nor is it a transition everyone needs to make at the same time: for the same reason we'll keep investing in the 2D experience on Ubuntu despite also believing that Unity, with all its GL dependencies, is the best interface for the desktop. We'll help GNOME and KDE with the transition, there's no reason for them not to be there on day one either." The blog post has already generated nearly 200 reader comments some of which are also worth the read.
* * * * *
The developers of PC-BSD, an easy-to-use FreeBSD-based operating system targeting desktop users, have announced the start of a new development cycle, leading towards version 9.0. Kris Moore, the project's founder and lead developer, revealed some of the upcoming improvements and additions in his "9 Current Snapshot Available" mailing list post. It includes plenty of good news for the (long-neglected) users of the GNOME, Xfce and LXDE desktops: "I'm pleased to make available our first 9-Current alpha snapshot for you to begin playing with. This testing snapshot contains MANY new features and improvements that we plan on including in the eventual release of 9.0. However, by no means is this snapshot 'feature complete' or to be considered stable. Expect to find bugs and things to change over the coming months as we refine features. Here's a short list of some of the major changes from the 8.x series: ability to select system meta-pkgs at install / post-install time, with various desktops such as KDE, GNOME, Xfce, and LXDE; new PC-BSD Control Panel; PBI format has been completely overhauled and reimplemented as CLI." Testing installation and live DVD images for i386 and amd64 architectures are available for download from the project's FTP server.
* * * * *
The Mageia project, created by the former employees of Mandriva Linux, has published a rough roadmap of its inaugural release, scheduled for the end of March 2011. The final build will be preceded by two alpha versions, the first of which is expected as early as next month (December). Other Mageia news from the just-published "Mageia: under construction!" blog post by Anne Nicolas include creation of a build system, mirror setup, Wiki documentation, logo submission deadline and distro specifications: "After the installation of the servers, hard work has started on the build system installation and configuration. The system administration team is basing the new infrastructure on Mandriva Linux One, adding lots of cleaning and improvements. Puppet is the main software used to centralize the administration and Misc is working on writing all the needed script for the Mageia environment. Together with lots of bug fixes and improvements, Iurt is now installed on build nodes. Iurt is a recompilation bot which monitors lists of packages of different architectures and recompiles each package in a separate clean chroot each time it is needed."
* * * * *
Finally, a link to an interesting article about MeeGo, an Intel/Nokia-sponsored Linux operating system for mobile devices. Although the project has released its second major update in recent weeks, some tension is starting to emerge between the main protagonists of the distribution. David Neary writes in "The MeeGo Progress Report: A+ or D-?": "The project has had some teething problems. Troubled Nokia has changed CEO, and the founding father of the Maemo project, Ari Jaaksi, has been among a number of high-level software executives to leave the company, leading some to ask whether Nokia might have a change of heart about the platform. The first MeeGo device for Nokia, originally expected at the end of 2010, will now appear in 2011, according to recent comments from new CEO Stephen Elop, as Nokia strive to ensure a good first impression for its first MeeGo device. There are some early public signs of friction in the working relationship of the stakeholders in the project, also." The article focuses on the yet-to-be-released MeeGo for handhelds (rather than the already available netbook edition), but it does give an interesting insight into the current situation within the project.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Blocking access to inappropriate websites
A little while ago one of our readers posted this question in the comments section of DistroWatch Weekly: "There seem to be plenty of programs to block Internet pornography from kids for Windows or Mac, but not many available for Linux. Can someone recommend a suitable program to block access to pornography in Linux?" There weren't many responses so I'd like to offer some options.
The best solution for the job will depend on a few factors -- specifically your comfort level with configuring Linux software, whether you're trying to prevent your kids from accidentally stumbling across pornography or forcefully blocking it, and if you have specific sites in mind or general topics.
For instance, let's assume that you would like to keep your children from accidentally clicking on a link that takes them to a pornographic website. And we will also assume that they're not actively trying to find such sites. The easiest solution is to have them use Firefox and install a filtering extension such as ProCon. You can install this extension from within Firefox with just a few mouse clicks and it will block most obvious pornographic material by default. It can be configured to filter specific material too via a simple GUI interface. While this solution is easy to implement, it is also easy to disable, so you have to assume the computer user is okay with being restricted to certain sites. The extension doesn't actually block your machine from connecting to the unwanted website, it simply prevents Firefox from displaying it.
On the other hand, if you're planning to block a small list of specific websites and want to forcefully lock things down, some distributions provide tools for the job. Mandriva, if I recall correctly, has an easy point-n-click interface in its Control Center. The Mint distribution also comes with a simple domain blocker. The downside to this approach is that the filter requires that you type in each forbidden domain name and there are a lot of pornographic sites out there.
Another option is to allow access to specific websites only. This is handy if you have a dedicated computer just for the children. You can make a list of sites you want to them access and stop traffic to all other sites. The Firestarter application (available in most distributions' package repositories) is a really good point-n-click tool for this sort of setup. I find it's an easy program to work with and recommend this approach if you want to really lock down the net. The main drawback of this solution is that if adults are using the machine, then the restrictive filter gets in the way.
A fourth approach will allow you to block pornographic sites based on content and makes it difficult to disable the filter. This requires that you create a web proxy on your machine with a filter that will search out and block keywords. All web traffic is redirected through the filter regardless of which browser is used, making it more difficult to by-pass. Joe Bolin wrote a tutorial on setting up one of these filters in his article A parent's guide to Linux web filtering and I think it is a good read. The downside is that this is the most complex solution to put in place.
Of course, these are all technical solutions for your own computer. Sooner or later your children will have Internet access at school or at a friend's house and those computers might not be as protected as your own. For that matter, they may stumble across the more traditional forbidden magazine. It's probably best to address that possibility before it happens.
|Released Last Week
Theo de Raadt has announced the release of OpenBSD 4.8. Some of the more interesting improvements in hardware support and software updates of this release include: "ACPI-based suspend/resume works on most machines with Intel/ATI video, machines using NVIDIA graphics will not resume the graphics; OpenSSH 5.6 with many new features and bug fixes; Mandoc 1.10.5, a utility used to build all manuals in the base system and in Xenocara from mdoc and man sources; over 6,400 ports, major robustness and speed improvements in package tools; package highlights - GNOME 2.30.2, KDE 3.5.10, Xfce 4.6.2, MySQL 5.1.48, PostgreSQL 8.4.4, Postfix 2.7.1, Mozilla Firefox 3.6.8 and 3.5.11, OpenOffice.org 3.2.1, PHP 5.2.13, major components - Xenocara (based on X.Org 7.5 with X.Org Server 1.8 + patches, FreeType 2.3.12), GCC 2.95.3, 3.3.5 and 4.2.1 + patches, Perl 5.10.1, our improved and secured version of Apache 1.3, with SSL/TLS and DSO support...." See the OpenBSD 4.8 release page for more details.
Fedora 14, a new version of the leading edge, free and open-source operating system with many innovative features, has been released: "Fedora 14, code name 'Laughlin', is now available for download. What's new? Load and save images faster with libjpeg-turbo; Spice (Simple Protocol for Independent Computing Environments) with an enhanced remote desktop experience; support for D, a systems programming language combining the power and high performance of C and C++ with the programmer productivity of modern languages such as Ruby and Python; GNUStep, a GUI framework based of the Objective-C programming language; easy migration of Xen virtual machines to KVM virtual machines with virt-v2v...." More information can be found in the press release, release announcement and release notes.
Mehdi Magnon has announced the release of Sabily 10.10, an Ubuntu-based distribution with a collection of Islamic software and a web-filtering utility: "The Sabily team is proud to announce the release of the new version of Sabily 10.10, code name 'Al-Quds'. What's new: new 'Al-Quds' pictures and wallpapers, new Plymouth and GDM themes; new screensaver pictures; new Sabily logo; Zekr 1.0.0; new software - Alfanous - Quranic search engine. New from Ubuntu 10.10: new Ubuntu Software Center; the Ubiquity installer has been redesigned to be easier to use as well as to install drivers and download updates during installation; GNOME 2.32; Evolution 2.30, much faster; Shotwell has replaced F-Spot as the default photo manager." Here is the brief release announcement.
Sabily 10.10 - an Ubuntu-based distribution with a collection of Islamic software
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Alpine Linux 2.1.0
Jeff Bilyk has announced the release of Alpine Linux 2.1.0, a distribution designed for x86 routers, firewalls, VPNs, VoIP boxes and servers: "Alpine Linux 2.1.x brings several new features: Linux kernel 2.6.35.x kernel, GCC 4.5, Perl 5.12, Asterisk 1.8, PostgreSQL 9.0, Dovecot 2.0; PHP/Apache 2 support; initial support for udev as alternative to BusyBox mdev; X.Org Server 1.9 (with udev and hotplug support); GTK+ 2.22; Kamailio 3.1. Some of the minor fixes include: ping as normal user works; the package alpine-base ships /etc/alpine-release; 'lbu package -' should work even if there are pre/post scripts to lbu; less verbose Alpine init, only show error if any; no info message about not starting mounting modloop; encrypted apkovls should work again." Here are the complete release notes.
Sabayon Linux 5.4 "Experimental Spins"
Fabio Erculiani has announced the release of five new "spins" of Sabayon Linux 5.4: "Our crew, is happy to announce the immediate availability of E17, Xfce, LXDE, SpinBase/OpenVZ, ServerBase Sabayon 5.4 'spins' built on top of Sabayon 'SpinBase' ISO images. Under the 'experimental spins' umbrella, the Sabayon developers are going to experiment with new stable releases with different package compositions. The E17 Spin contains the Enlightenment 17 desktop environment. Xfce and LXDE contain the respective desktop environments, while SpinBase/OpenVZ contains an OpenVZ template ready to go." Read the rest of the release announcement for a summary of features of each spin.
Kai Hendry announced the release of Webconverger 7.0, a Debian-based live "kiosk" distribution that boots into the Firefox web browser. The biggest change of this release is the base system update from Debian "Lenny" to Debian "Squeeze": "Webconverger 7.0 marks a huge milestone for the Webconverger browser-only operating system, since the Debian base system has upgraded from 'Lenny' to Squeeze'. The 6.2 to 7.0 changelog has several highlights such as: upgrade from Mozilla Firefox 3.5.8 to 3.6.12; switch from Splashy boot animation to Plymouth; upgrade from Adobe Flash 10.1 to Flash 10.2; faster booting thanks to Debian Live's live-boot and live-config. There has been a community discussed privacy change whereby Webconverger 7 reports its version to a ping service." Here is the brief release announcement with a screenshot and some relevant links.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to waiting list
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 15 November 2010.
Jesse Smith and Ladislav Bodnar
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|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 746 (2018-01-15): deepin 15.5, openSUSE's YaST improvements, new Ubuntu 17.10 media, details on Spectre and Meltdown bugs|
|• Issue 745 (2018-01-08): GhostBSD 11.1, Linspire and Freespire return, wide-spread CPU bugs patched, adding AppImage launchers to the application menu|
|• Issue 744 (2018-01-01): MX Linux 17, Ubuntu pulls media over BIOS bug, PureOS gets endorsed by the FSF, openSUSE plays with kernel boot splash screens|
|• Issue 743 (2017-12-18): Daphile 17.09, tools for rescuing files, Fedora Modular Server delayed, Sparky adds ARM support, Slax to better support wireless networking|
|• Issue 742 (2017-12-11): heads 0.3.1, improvements coming to Tails, Void tutorials, Ubuntu phasing out Python 2, manipulating images from the command line|
|• Issue 741 (2017-12-04): Pop!_OS 17.10, openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots, installing Q4OS on a Windows partition, using the at command|
|• Issue 740 (2017-11-27): Artix Linux, Unity spin of Ubuntu, Nitrux swaps Snaps for AppImage, getting better battery life on Linux|
|• Issue 739 (2017-11-20): Fedora 27, cross-distro software ports, Ubuntu on Samsung phones, Red Hat supports ARM, Parabola continues 32-bit support|
|• Issue 738 (2017-11-13): SparkyLinux 5.1, rumours about spyware, Slax considers init software, Arch drops 32-bit packages, overview of LineageOS|
|• Issue 737 (2017-11-06): BeeFree OS 18.1.2, quick tips to fix common problems, Slax returning, Solus plans MATE and software management improvements|
|• Issue 736 (2017-10-30): Ubuntu 17.10, "what if" security questions, Linux Mint to support Flatpak, NetBSD kernel memory protection|
|• Issue 735 (2017-10-23): ArchLabs Minimo, building software with Ravenports, WPA security patch, Parabola creates OpenRC spin|
|• Issue 734 (2017-10-16): Star 1.0.1, running the Linux-libre kernel, Ubuntu MATE experiments with snaps, Debian releases new install media, Purism reaches funding goal|
|• Issue 733 (2017-10-09): KaOS 2017.09, 32-bit prematurely obsoleted, Qubes security features, IPFire updates Apache|
|• Issue 732 (2017-10-02): ClonOS, reducing Snap package size, Ubuntu dropping 32-bit Desktop, partitioning disks for ZFS|
|• Issue 731 (2017-09-25): BackSlash Linux Olaf, W3C adding DRM to web standards, Wayland support arrives in Mir, Debian experimenting with AppArmor|
|• Issue 730 (2017-09-18): Mageia 6, running a completely free OS, HAMMER2 file system in DragonFly BSD's installer, Manjaro to ship pre-installed on laptops|
|• Issue 729 (2017-09-11): Parabola GNU/Linux-libre, running Plex Media Server on a Raspberry Pi, Tails feature roadmap, a cross-platform ports build system|
|• Issue 728 (2017-09-04): Nitrux 1.0.2, SUSE creates new community repository, remote desktop tools for GNOME on Wayland, using Void source packages|
|• Issue 727 (2017-08-28): Cucumber Linux 1.0, using Flatpak vs Snap, GNOME previews Settings panel, SUSE reaffirms commitment to Btrfs|
|• Issue 726 (2017-08-21): Redcore Linux 1706, Solus adds Snap support, KaOS getting hardened kernel, rolling releases and BSD|
|• Issue 725 (2017-08-14): openSUSE 42.3, Debian considers Flatpak for backports, changes coming to Ubuntu 17.10, the state of gaming on Linux|
|• Issue 724 (2017-08-07): SwagArch 2017.06, Myths about Unity, Mir and Ubuntu Touch, Manjaro OpenRC becomes its own distro, Debian debates future of live ISOs|
|• Issue 723 (2017-07-31): UBOS 11, transferring packages between systems, Ubuntu MATE's HUD, GNUstep releases first update in seven years|
|• Issue 722 (2017-07-24): Calculate Linux 17.6, logging sudo usage, Remix OS discontinued, interview with Chris Lamb, Debian 9.1 released|
|• Issue 721 (2017-07-17): Fedora 26, finding source based distributions, installing DragonFly BSD using Orca, Yunit packages ported to Ubuntu 16.04|
|• Issue 720 (2017-07-10): Peppermint OS 8, gathering system information with osquery, new features coming to openSUSE, Tails fixes networking bug|
|• Issue 719 (2017-07-03): Manjaro 17.0.2, tracking ISO files, Ubuntu MATE unveils new features, Qubes tests Admin API, Fedora's Atomic Host gets new life cycle|
|• Issue 718 (2017-06-26): Debian 9, support for older hardware, Debian updates live media, Ubuntu's new networking tool, openSUSE gains MP3 support|
|• Issue 717 (2017-06-19): SharkLinux, combining commands in the shell, Debian 9 flavours released, OpenBSD improving kernel security, UBports releases first OTA update|
|• Issue 716 (2017-06-12): Slackel 7.0, Ubuntu working with GNOME on HiDPI, openSUSE 42.3 using rolling development model, exploring kernel blobs|
|• Issue 715 (2017-06-05): Devuan 1.0.0, answering questions on systemd, Linux Mint plans 18.2 beta, Yunit/Unity 8 ported to Debian|
|• Issue 714 (2017-05-29): Void, enabling Wake-on-LAN, Solus packages KDE, Debian 9 release date, Ubuntu automated bug reports|
|• Issue 713 (2017-05-22): ROSA Fresh R9, Fedora's new networking features, FreeBSD's Quarterly Report, UBports opens app store, Parsix to shut down, SELinux overview|
|• Issue 712 (2017-05-15): NixOS 17.03, Alpha Litebook running elementary OS, Canonical considers going public, Solus improves Bluetooth support|
|• Issue 711 (2017-05-08): 4MLinux 21.0, checking file system fragmentation, new Mint and Haiku features, pfSense roadmap, OpenBSD offers first syspatch updates|
|• Issue 710 (2017-05-01): TrueOS 2017-02-22, Debian ported to RISC-V, Halium to unify mobile GNU/Linux, Anbox runs Android apps on GNU/Linux, using ZFS on the root file system|
|• Issue 709 (2017-04-24): Ubuntu 17.04, Korora testing new software manager, Ubuntu migrates to Wayland, running Nix package manager on alternative distributions|
|• Issue 708 (2017-04-17): Maui Linux 17.03, Snaps run on Fedora, Void adopts Flatpak, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, Debian elects Project Leader|
|• Issue 707 (2017-04-10): PCLinuxOS 2017.03, Canonical stops Unity development, OpenBSD on a Raspberry Pi, setting up a VPN for privacy|
|• Issue 706 (2017-04-03): Super Grub2 Disk, Snap packages of deepin applications, Subgraph OS routes network traffic for one application, announcements from Linux Mint|
|• Issue 705 (2017-03-27): Minimal Linux Live, sharing control of the operating system, new KaOS features, Uplos32 provides 32-bit fork of PCLinuxOS|
|• Issue 704 (2017-03-20): ToarusOS 1.0.4, Linux Mint's security record, Debian starts Project Leader election, Ubuntu 12.04 reaches end-of-life|
|• Issue 703 (2017-03-13): SolydXK 201701, CloudReady, Solus announces new features, KDE Connect sends text messages from desktop, openSUSE's YaST module for Let's Encrypt|
|• Issue 702 (2017-03-06): Fatdog64 Linux, elementary OS bundled with new netbook, Haiku announces new features, security and the size of a distro's development team|
|• Issue 701 (2017-02-27): OBRevenge 2017.02, Mageia 6 delays, NetBSD reproducible builds, questions about swap space, trying to steam video on a Raspberry Pi|
|• Issue 700 (2017-02-20): RaspBSD, Debian replaces Icedove with Thunderbird, Fedora's licensing guidlines, tips for switching shells, finding battery charge, getting IP address and killing processes|
|• Issue 699 (2017-02-13): Clear Linux, GhostBSD network utility ported to FreeBSD, Ubuntu coming to Fairphone, elementary OS crowd funding an app store|
|• Issue 698 (2017-02-06): Solus 2017.01.01, comparing containers with portable applicatins, Tails dropping 32-bit support, Debian Stretch enters freeze|
|• Issue 697 (2017-01-30): Subgraph OS 2016.12.30, running Ubuntu on an Android phone, Arch Linux phasing out 32-bit support, Linux Mint testing updated LMDE media|
|• Issue 696 (2017-01-23): GoboLinux 016, remotely running desktop applications, Solus adopting Flatpak, KDE neon using Calamares, TrueOS tests OpenRC|
|• Issue 695 (2017-01-16): Zorin OS 12, Peppermint team fixes installer bug, Debian refreshes Jessie media, Ubuntu improves low graphics mode, Exciting things coming in 2017|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
TA-Linux was a free Linux distribution that targets Linux power users. Its main goal was to have a small base installation that the end-users can expand to include the software they need. The secondary goal was to support as many different architectures as possible, at this time x86 was fully supported with Alpha, Sparc, PPC and PA-RISC around the corner. Extra software not included in the base was handled using a system resembling the *BSD ports system, called Collection, which handles installation, upgrading and dependencies. The primary way of installing new software was to download the source, compile and install it (totaly automatic). The user can also choose to install already built binary packages, also automaticaly using the Collection system.