| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 391, 7 February 2011
Welcome to this year's 6th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Last weekend will be forever remembered for the arrival of "Squeeze", a new stable version of Debian GNU/Linux. This is only the project's 11th stable release in 16.5 years of existence (Ubuntu has made more releases in just six years), so every new version provides an opportunity for a party. Congratulations to the hundreds of developers that build the world's largest Linux-based operating system! Besides covering Debian's release, this week's news section also looks at the killer features in the upcoming Ubuntu 11.04, investigates the reasons behind release delays of CentOS and Mageia, links to an article that explains the process of upgrading a Mandriva installation to the latest "Cooker", and suggests an easy way to test GNOME 3 with a special openSUSE live CD. This week's feature story is a first-look review of Saline OS, a new Debian-based distribution that uses the Xfce desktop, while the Questions and Answers section examines a way of keeping a laptop's temperature down with the cpufreqd utility. Happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (35MB) and MP3 (30MB) formats
Join us at irc.freenode.net #distrowatch
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
First impressions of Saline OS 1.0|
Saline is a fairly new distribution to the Linux scene, having just reached the 1.0 mark in January. The distro is based off Debian Squeeze which, at the time of writing, is due to become the official Debian Stable branch any day. The Saline website is small at this point, featuring some information on the distribution, support forums and screenshots. The ISO for the 1.0 download weighs in at 886 MB, pushing it into DVD-size territory. Given the large download it may be surprising to learn Saline's live disc boots into the light Xfce desktop environment. I found the appearance of the desktop very appealing. The quick-launch bar at the bottom of the screen and the application switcher at the top are done in dark colours with a pleasant high-contrast. The wallpaper is a blue underwater view and there are a few icons lining the left side of the screen. The icons include links to browse Saline's file system, an installer and a user's manual.
I feel the manual deserves special mention as it's nicely put together. It's presented as a PDF document and covers available software in the live environment, how to install Saline to the local hard drive, restricted multimedia codecs and proprietary video drivers. There's also a section on WINE for people who need to run Windows applications. There is a short section on LAMP servers and the manual concludes with a list of common command-line programs with a brief description of what each one does. Each section is short, but covers the basics and will be a handy aid to Linux newcomers.
Saline OS 1.0 - visiting the project's website
(full image size: 278kB, resolution 1024x768 pixels)
The system installer is one I haven't seen before. It takes a simplistic approach, asking for one piece of input on each screen. The installer starts off asking which drive we'd like to use for the installation and then hands us over to GParted to carve up the disk. Once GParted exits, we're asked which partition we want to use for swap space, which partition we'd like to mount as the root directory and whether we'd like to format the root partition as ext3 or ext4 -- those are our only two file system options. Additionally we're asked if we'd like to assign the /home mount point to its own partition or place it on the root partition. From there we're asked to set a root password and create a regular user account. We set our machine's hostname and pick where we want to install GRUB. Then the GUI installer disappears and we're shown a small terminal window which asks us to choose our time zone from a list. Once a time zone is selected, the terminal window disappears and the GUI pops up again. At this point the installer goes to work copying over its files and configuring our system, but we're not shown any indications of progress. It's a matter of crossing our fingers and waiting for about fifteen minutes to see what happens. In my case the installer completed successfully and I was able to boot into my local copy of Saline.
Saline OS 1.0 - running updates in a virtual machine
(full image size: 519kB, resolution 800x600 pixels)
The user's manual mentions two icons in the upper-right corner of the desktop. One of these is labelled "Clean" and will wipe the user's browser history, cache and Flash cookies. It's a quick way to clean up after ourselves. The other button is the Update button. The Update icon isn't animated, so there isn't any way for us to tell if new packages are available without clicking it. Launching the updater causes a terminal window to open and we get to watch the Debian package tools at work as they check for updates and then proceed to download and install any and all available packages. There's no prompt to confirm and, given the cryptic nature of the output, it's likely to be off-putting to novice users. For that matter, I found it unpleasant and I knew what the output meant.
My displeasure with the update tool continued when, a few days later, I ran the updater again and it paused, telling me a package available for updating was considered unsafe. I was then prompted to type "yes" to continue or "no" to abort. Typing "no" does abort, but causes all other available updates to also be ignored. Typing "yes" caused the update script to hang each time I tried it. Fortunately Saline comes with Synaptic, providing an easy avenue for straightening out such issues. Synaptic, of course, not only handles updates, but also smoothly assists the user in adding and removing software, and there is a lot of software. Saline, being based on Debian, has access to a large supply of software and, chances are, if you're looking for open source software, you can find it here.
Saline comes with most of the software one would expect from a desktop Linux distro, including the Chromium web browser, Icedove (also known as Thunderbird), Pidgin for instant messaging and Transmission. OpenOffice is included, along with a PDF viewer, a calendar app, a backup tool and a partition manager. The GIMP is included in the application menu, as is Rhythmbox, the Cheese webcam utility, a multimedia player and CD burner. Saline additionally comes equipped with the standard Xfce apps to adjust look & feel settings and codecs for playing audio files. While audio worked well, I found video files would not play, nor did the system come with Flash pre-installed. In the background we have access to the GNU Compiler Collection and Java.
One thing I felt Saline was missing was a good GUI firewall tool. The system runs a mail service without any firewall in place to block remote connections. While it can be handy to have a mail system for reporting events, I think the average desktop user can do without it and would benefit from having an easy-to-use firewall utility.
Saline OS 1.0 - multimedia and image editing on Saline OS
(full image size: 127kB, resolution 1024x768 pixels)
I started my experiment with Saline on my HP laptop (dual-core 2 GHz CPU, 3 GB of RAM, Intel video card) and found the performance to be fair. My desktop was set to an appropriate resolution and sound worked out of the box. My touchpad worked, but didn't respond to taps as mouse clicks and my Intel wireless card was not detected. Moving to my generic desktop box (2.5 GHz CPU, 2 GB of RAM, NVIDIA video card) I found Saline to be more in its element. Performance felt smoother, snappier, and all my hardware was handled properly. Saline can run with a fairly small amount of memory and would perform in a VirtualBox environment with as little as 128MB of RAM. On each of my machines, and in the virtual environment, I found Saline made heavy use of window transparency. Personally I'm not a big fan of the effect, especially if I'm working with terminal windows, but some will appreciate the eye candy. For those of us who don't want to see what's behind our windows, the Xfce settings apps make it easy to change the default appearance.
At the end of the day, Saline reminds me of a young ballerina: flexible, light on her feet and pretty. But every so often, as with the installer's shift to temporary text mode or the update tool spamming my console screen with cryptic messages for fifteen minutes, the ballerina slips and falls on her face. Yes, she gets up again and continues with an otherwise good performance, but there's a jarring break in the flow. There are other little bits of polish missing in the multimedia department. For instance, Saline would play mp3 files without any problems, but when I tried to open videos, I would get audio without visuals. This would have been a good time to pop up a dialogue box letting people know there was a solution in the user's manual, or launch a codec buddy. Aside from these few stumbles, Saline performed quite well and it does okay for being a new distribution. Specifically I found performance to be above average, the desktop was always responsive and the operating system uses RAM sparingly. I like the easy availability (and readability) of the project's manual and there was a good selection of software presented out of the box.
While the project is off to a good start, I do find myself wondering what it is trying to be. The Saline website seems a bit vague on the point of where the distro fits. It doesn't feel user-friendly enough to compete with the Ubuntu & Mandriva families. The distribution comes on a DVD, so it's not targeting old hardware, and it's based on Debian "Squeeze", which means it's not catering to the latest-and-greatest crowd. Maybe it's too soon to tell, but I don't feel Saline has a firm identity yet. The best label I can come up with for it is a simplified (from the end-user's perspective) Debian.
* * * * *
When I began this review Saline 1.0 had just been released and, as I concluded my trial, I noticed Saline 1.1 was already available. I haven't tried it yet, at least not from scratch (I have applied all pending updates), but the release announcement claims fixes have been made to the Update script, which will hopefully fix my biggest complaint. Saline is a pretty good Xfce distro; it's fast and comes backed with a large collection of software on a stable Debian base.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
Debian 6.0 coverage, Ubuntu 11.04 killer features, CentOS and Mageia release delays, upgrading to Mandriva "Cooker", testing GNOME 3
It is not every day, not even every year, that a new stable Debian gets released, so last weekend was a major event on any Linux user's calendar. "Squeeze", the code name of Debian GNU/Linux 6.0, started hitting the download mirrors on Saturday and although the live (and installable) variants were not immediately available, the classic installation DVDs and Blu-Ray discs for nine processor architectures were downloadable from dozens of mirrors worldwide. In the coming days and weeks we will no doubt see a flurry of reviews of the new Debian release, but for now we'll link to an interesting article by Bruce Byfield entitled "Debian 6.0: Stability and Power to the People": "Debian releases tend to matter less to users because, with the exception of system administrators or the security-conscious, few users stay with the Stable release. Most tend to pick and choose new features from the Testing or the Unstable repositories, which, despite their names, are generally stable enough for most purposes. For such users, stable releases are just another upgrade, interesting chiefly as a snapshot of Debian policy and development over the last few years -- and that is as true of Debian 6.0 as its predecessors."
Debian GNU/Linux 6.0 is also available as installable live DVDs with GNOME, KDE, LXDE or Xfce desktops
(full image size: 571kB, resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
* * * * *
Many distributions that depend on Debian GNU/Linux will be glad to see "Squeeze" released as this event means that the Debian unstable branch (also known as "Sid") will once again start receiving application updates. One of these Debian-dependent projects is the ever popular Ubuntu. As it stands now, the Ubuntu developers are already in the middle of their development cycle so any major movements in "Sid" will only be reflected in Ubuntu's October release, version 11.10. Nevertheless, there is plenty to get excited about Ubuntu's April release too. A website called HubPages summarises the "11 Killer Features That Make Ubuntu 11.04 Worth the Wait": "Ubuntu 11.04, dubbed 'Natty Narwhal', will bring some major changes to the traditional Ubuntu desktop. As the conventional desktop gets a major overhaul, the spanking new Unity interface is busy preparing itself to replace the time-honored GNOME interface. Furthermore, some well-known default applications are getting replaced by newer and more feature-laden ones. While many users have welcomed these changes with open arms, a few disapproving nods have raised doubts over their success. Nevertheless, Ubuntu 11.04, which releases on 28th April 2011, promises to bring a burst of freshness to the Linux desktop along with a slew of new users."
* * * * *
Debian stable releases are often considered as excellent free distributions for servers, with reliable and fast security update support. So are those of CentOS, a free clone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Unfortunately, both these free distributions suffer from the same flaw - due to the lack of a firm roadmap and the fact that they are entirely dependent on volunteer work, stable releases don't come as fast as many of us would like. The latest writer disenchanted by the slow progress in the release of CentOS 6 is Joe Brockmeier, in an article entitled "Send in the Clones: The Long Wait for CentOS 6": "Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6 was released in November of last year, but where's CentOS 6? Clone cousin Scientific Linux 6 is in beta now, but CentOS 6 is yet to be seen. If it seems like an unusually long time to wait for a CentOS release to follow RHEL, it is. The last major release (RHEL 5.0) came out March 14, 2007. It was quickly followed by a release of CentOS on April 12. Scientific Linux 5.0 came out on May 7th -- a bit slower, but Scientific isn't just a rebuild of RHEL, it also includes extra applications and customizations." The author concludes: "You do get what you pay for. And if you pay nothing, there’s little cause to complain. CentOS 6 will be out, but when is anybody’s guess at this point."
Perhaps as a result of the above-mentioned (and similar) articles, Karanbir Singh, one of the more visible CentOS developers, has agreed to answer a few questions for oneOpenSource. As expected, the most prominent among them was about the arrival of CentOS 6. Here is Singh's response: "CentOS 6 still needs a few weeks worth of work before its ready for release, so once 5.6 is released we will refocus on 6.0." He also explains the reasons behind the delay: "It's a new system compared to CentOS 5, so it's just the time taken to audit sources and workout individual package policy that takes time. Also CentOS 6 is going to have more packages than any other previous CentOS release, making things even slower. Having said that, we have had a few more people start contributing and there has been a general favourable turn in the passive user base. These things take time to evolve and I feel the next few months should see an even larger contributor base come together." Patience seems to be an important virtue for all those who eye CentOS 6, but it should be worth the wait: "There are quite a few interesting things coming up. A newer base kernel with some enhancements in performance and management tools, a newer virtualisation layer, newer Ruby and Python stacks with lots of developer-oriented features and packages. Overall more modern and much improved desktop experience."
* * * * *
Another distribution that keeps delaying a much-awaited release is Mageia, a project launched in September 2010 by some of the well-known former developers and contributors of Mandriva Linux. Originally the first alpha release was promised to arrive before the end of 2010, but later the date was changed to the end of January. This failed too, but according to the latest update, the inaugural alpha release should arrive on a mirror near you on February 15th. Susan Linton writes in "Where's My Mageia ISO?": "Last we heard from the Mageia project we were told to expect a test release by the end of January. Well, here it is February, where's our test release? What's going on? According to a new blog post, bootstrapping has been going on. As anyone who has ever built a Gentoo system knows, bootstrapping is building your new system so you can build your new system. In the case of Gentoo, users would download a pre-built build system, the package manager, and the Portage tree. Then one would use that to re-build each of packages needed to comprise the toolchain. Once GCC, make, and friends are built and installed anew, then one can begin building other packages such as the kernel, the X server, and so on. This is what's been happening at Mageia for the last month or so. Anne Nicolas said it's taken over 1,500 hours to bring the build system up to speed."
* * * * *
In the meantime the revamped Mandriva Linux has been working hard on its upcoming release, version 2011. The latest news is that the old "Free" (installation DVDs) and "One" (live CDs) editions will be merged into one universal CD/DVD image. To test the concept, the developers released an early "technology preview" of Mandriva Linux 2011, a live and installable DVD image, last week. For those who already run Mandriva and wish to upgrade it to "Cooker" (Mandriva's development branch), there is a way, but it differs slightly from the traditional upgrade process due to a switch to RPM 5. Fabrice Facorat "explains the process": "With the migration of Mandriva from RPM 4.6 to RPM 5.x, upgrading from a previous Mandriva release is not straightforward. ... If you have issues and error message like 'Unable to open /usr/lib/rpm/rpmrc for reading' then it means that perl-URPM have not been updated and the RPM database conversion is not complete. Indeed part of the conversion of the RPM database is handled by perl-URPM, so if the new version is not installed, then your database ends up not being completely converted. So to do this, you will have to download the latest perl-URPM version from the cooker repository, extract its content with rpm2cpio, and then initiate the conversion." See the above article for step-by-step instructions.
* * * * *
Finally, a reminder about another major event on the free software calendar, expected to take place this year - the release of GNOME 3. Although still in alpha, GNOME 3 is now available for testing, as a live CD, courtesy of openSUSE's SUSE Studio. Frederic Crozat has helped to build the CD/USB image: "To help as many people as possible to test the (not yet released) GNOME-Shell (and GNOME 3), I've been working on a test image, which can be easily burned on any CD or dumped on USB sticks, without the hassle of compiling the entire GNOME 3 stack with (the excellent) jhbuild. This image does not modify your system in any way. It is a persistent image - if you dump it on a USB stick, the first boot will be very long because the free space on the USB stick will be allocated to store the changes done on the running image. User name on the image is tux and password for this user and for root is linux. The initial version of this image was created with the excellent SUSE Studio appliance generator but starting with this version, I'm using Kiwi (which is also used by SUSE Studio) and OBS to generate the image directly on our build infrastructure." Interested alpha testers can download the CD/USB images from here: GNOME_3.i686-0.0.3-Build1.1.iso (414MB, SHA256), GNOME_3.x86_64-0.0.3-Build1.1.iso (418MB, SHA256)
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Keeping laptops cool with cpufreqd
Hot-under-the-collar asks: When I watch Flash videos my laptop gets warm. Is there a way to keep laptops and netbooks cool?
DistroWatch answers: I suppose one way would be to avoid using Flash, but that's not a particularly helpful answer. What you're probably looking for is cpufreqd, "A small daemon to adjust CPU speed and voltage (and not only) for kernels using any of the cpufreq drivers available." There are packages for cpufreqd in the Gentoo and Debian (and children of Debian) repositories. The daemon runs in the background and can adjust your CPU frequency based on your battery status, programs running and the computer's temperature. This can help you keep your computer cool and extend your battery life.
The cpufreqd program learns how to manage your CPU's frequency based on a set of rules found in the file /etc/cpufreqd.conf. This file is broken into three sections. The first section, called General, covers some basic information such as how often cpufreqd polls the system, its verbosity and its process ID file. We probably don't want to adjust these. The second section is the Profile area and this is where we tell cpufreqd what power profile we want to use and at what level we wish to set our CPU's frequency. This is the instruction part of the file where we tell cpufreq what to do. But, at this point, cpufreqd doesn't know when to apply these instructions. The "when" is handled in the third section, were we lay out our rules.
In the Rule area we tell cpufreqd what to look for on the system, such as our battery level, CPU temperature and running programs. Based on the status of each of these items cpufreqd then matches the system's current state with a profile (from the previous section). Once a profile matching our rules is found, cpufreqd makes the appropriate adjustments. Fortunately cpufreqd comes with an example configuration file, which lays out some basic rules and can be adjusted to suit our preferences. There are comments in the file explaining the rules a little, and that gives us a good starting point. There's also a manual page (man cpufreqd.conf) which briefly explains the sections and the available variables.
People running KDE will find a simple point-n-click option in their System Settings under the Advanced tab. There's an icon labelled Power Management and the Power Management config tool will help you set up basic CPU and screen settings for given power levels and situations. It's not quite as detailed as using cpufreqd, but it has a nice interface. Users of the GNOME desktop have a similar tool called the GNOME Power Manager. It will perform such power saving tasks as dimming the screen, reducing CPU frequency and switching off the hard drive. For further reading on the subject of reducing your power usage, and thus reducing your heat output, I recommend reading Reduce Linux Power Consumption by Jenifer Hopper.
|Released Last Week
IPFire 2.9 Core 45
Michael Tremmer has announced the release of IPFire 2.9 Core 45, an easy-to-use and secure firewall distribution: "Today we release core update 45 which is a bug-fix release and we strongly recommend to install this as soon as possible. List of changes: update of fireinfo to version 2.0.4; update of Squid to version 3.1.10 and fixed 'proxy unable to handle max download size correctly'; update of Snort to current stable 220.127.116.11 and disabled Snort decoder events; update of Memtest86+ (4.20); disabled geode_aes kernel module; fixed unattended restore of backupiso CD; improved vpn-watch; removed core-updates from pakfire cache; fcron - disable mails and fix some cron jobs; outgoing firewall rules now log with LOG prefix despite the drop rules; remove some httpd/cron error log entries. Additionally, there was a lot of clean-up work on the CGI pages of the web interface and lots of tools." Here is the full release announcement.
ArchBang Linux 2011.02
Willensky Aristide has announced the release of ArchBang Linux 2011.02, an Arch-based distribution featuring the lightweight Openbox window manager: "ArchBang 2011.02 is out in the wild! New Linux kernel 2.6.37; Thunar properly configured; look changed a bit; base-devel added; documentation updated; from now on there will be no code name, the format will simply be ArchBang-YYYY.MM. If you have Symbiosis fully updated with everything working perfectly, you don’t need to get this release. Future releases of ArchBang will pretty much have the same set of applications (unless there is a new breathtaking application available). Note: Some people experienced random kernel panic with the new 2.6.37 because they forgot to blacklist some modules that normally had to be disabled for their Broadcom wireless card." More details in the release announcement
ArchBang Linux 2011.02 - a minor bug-fix update
(full image size: 89kB, resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Salix OS 13.1.2 "Fluxbox"
George Vlahavas has announced the release of Salix OS 13.1.2 "Fluxbox Live" edition, a lightweight, Slackware-based live CD: "Salix Live Fluxbox 13.1.2 is now ready and completes the collection of Salix live CD 13.1.2 series. As in the Salix Fluxbox standard edition, the live CD edition offers a functional, reliable and responsive desktop environment that is fully equipped with modern and powerful tools, while its minimalistic window manager is designed to stay completely out of the way. Following the one-application-per-task rationale, Salix Live Fluxbox edition includes the full OpenOffice.org office suite and the powerful image editor, GIMP. As in all Salix editions, the installation of legally encumbered multimedia codecs is only a couple of clicks away by using the 'Install multimedia codecs' tool from the Multimedia section of the Fluxbox menu." Here is the full release announcement.
VENENUX GNU/Linux 0.8.2
A new version of VENENUX GNU/Linux, a 100% "libre" desktop distribution (with KDE 3.5.10) developed in Venezuela and based on Debian GNU/Linux 5.0, has been released. 0.8.2 is a "community" edition which was built from VENENUX 0.8 RC2 (the latest "official" release) and which was put together by the members of the distribution's user community. It includes various bug fixes and other changes for improved security. It also adds a complete VENENUX User Guide, the latest Gnash browser plugin, and several scientific applications (e.g. R, updated QGIS, Octave, Maxima, Gwyddion, WaveSurfer, Stellarium and Gebabbel). To maintain the "libre" nature of the distribution some programs, including Cinelerra and Avidemux, have been removed. Read the full release announcement (in Spanish) for additional details.
VENENUX GNU/Linux 0.8.2 - a Debian-based distribution from Venezuela
(full image size: 616kB, resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Debian GNU/Linux 6.0
Debian GNU/Linux 6.0, code name "Squeeze", has been released: "After 24 months of constant development, the Debian project is proud to present its new stable version 6.0 (code name 'Squeeze'). Debian 6.0 is a free operating system, coming for the first time in two flavours. Alongside Debian GNU/Linux, Debian GNU/kFreeBSD is introduced with this version as a 'technology preview'. Debian 6.0 includes the KDE Plasma Desktop and Applications, the GNOME, Xfce, and LXDE desktop environments as well as all kinds of server applications. It also features compatibility with the FHS v2.3 and software developed for version 3.2 of the LSB. Debian runs on computers ranging from palmtops and handheld systems to supercomputers, and on nearly everything in between. A total of nine architectures are supported by Debian GNU/Linux." Read the release announcement and release notes for details.
Debian GNU/Linux 6.0 - the default GNOME desktop
(full image size: 213kB, resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Stefan Lippers-Hollmann has announced the release of aptosid 2011-01, a desktop distribution (with KDE or Xfce) based on Debian's unstable branch: "Now that kernel 2.6.37 has entered the archive and Debian 6.0 'Squeeze' is in the process of being released, we have the pleasure to announce the immediate availability of the final aptosid 2011-01 'Geras'. New features are in particular kernel 2.6.37 and numerous integration and stabilization fixes after completing the transition to aptosid. Kernel 2.6.37 doesn't only improve and stabilise hardware support for newer devices, it also improves ext4 performance (lazy inode table initialization), implements the USB Attached SCSI Protocol (UASP) for USB 3.0 storage and adds support for Intel's new Sandy Bridge graphics cards." The detailed release notes provide comprehensive information about the release.
aptosid 2011-01 - the first release featuring Linux kernel 2.6.37
(full image size: 1,212kB, resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
- Mandriva Linux 2011-tp, the release announcement
- Foresight Linux 2.5.0-alpha2, the release announcement
- Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Edubuntu, Ubuntu Studio and Mythbuntu 11.04-alpha2, the release announcement
- FreeBSD 8.2-RC3, 7.4-RC3, the release announcement
- PC-BSD 8.2-rc3, the release announcement
- Clonezilla Live 1.2.7-7
- ALT Linux 6.0-beta
- NOVA 2011-beta2
- VectorLinux 7.0-alpha4.22
- BlankOn Linux 7.0-alpha1
- Openwall GNU/*/Linux Current-20110205
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
January 2011 DistroWatch.com donation: CGSecurity (TestDisk, PhotoRec)|
We are happy to announce that the recipient of the January 2011 DistroWatch.com donation is the CGSecurity project, the developer of the popular (and sometimes indispensable) data recovery utilities, such as TestDisk and PhotoRec. It receives €215.00 in cash.
It is usually a very unfortunate moment if you need to reach for either TestDisk or PhotoRec, but this is exactly where you need to look if your hard disk suffers from a disastrous crash (and you don't have a recent backup) or if your SD card containing precious photographs no longer shows signs of life. As the project's website explains, "TestDisk is powerful free data recovery software. It was primarily designed to help recover lost partitions and/or make non-booting disks bootable again when these symptoms are caused by faulty software, certain types of viruses or human error (such as accidentally deleting a partition table)." As for PhotoRec, it is "file data recovery software designed to recover lost files including video, documents and archives from hard disks, CD-ROMs, and lost pictures (thus the Photo Recovery name) from digital camera memory. PhotoRec ignores the file system and goes after the underlying data, so it will still work even if your media's file system has been severely damaged or reformatted." Both TestDisk and PhotoRec, released under the General Public Licence are extremely useful software programs that can save your data and files (and sometimes even your job)!
Launched in 2004, this monthly donations programme is a DistroWatch initiative to support free and open-source software projects and operating systems with cash contributions. Readers are welcome to nominate their favourite project for future donations. Those readers who wish to contribute towards these donations, please use our advertising page to make a payment (PayPal and credit cards are accepted). Here is the list of the projects that have received a DistroWatch donation since the launch of the programme (figures in US dollars):
Since the launch of the Donations Program in March 2004, DistroWatch has donated a total of US$26,930 to various open-source software projects.
- 2004: GnuCash ($250), Quanta Plus ($200), PCLinuxOS ($300), The GIMP ($300), Vidalinux ($200), Fluxbox ($200), K3b ($350), Arch Linux ($300), Kile KDE LaTeX Editor ($100) and UNICEF - Tsunami Relief Operation ($340)
- 2005: Vim ($250), AbiWord ($220), BitTorrent ($300), NDISwrapper ($250), Audacity ($250), Debian GNU/Linux ($420), GNOME ($425), Enlightenment ($250), MPlayer ($400), Amarok ($300), KANOTIX ($250) and Cacti ($375)
- 2006: Gambas ($250), Krusader ($250), FreeBSD Foundation ($450), GParted ($360), Doxygen ($260), LilyPond ($250), Lua ($250), Gentoo Linux ($500), Blender ($500), Puppy Linux ($350), Inkscape ($350), Cape Linux Users Group ($130), Mandriva Linux ($405, a Powerpack competition), Digikam ($408) and Sabayon Linux ($450)
- 2007: GQview ($250), Kaffeine ($250), sidux ($350), CentOS ($400), LyX ($350), VectorLinux ($350), KTorrent ($400), FreeNAS ($350), lighttpd ($400), Damn Small Linux ($350), NimbleX ($450), MEPIS Linux ($300), Zenwalk Linux ($300)
- 2008: VLC ($350), Frugalware Linux ($340), cURL ($300), GSPCA ($400), FileZilla ($400), MythDora ($500), Linux Mint ($400), Parsix GNU/Linux ($300), Miro ($300), GoblinX ($250), Dillo ($150), LXDE ($250)
- 2009: Openbox ($250), Wolvix GNU/Linux ($200), smxi ($200), Python ($300), SliTaz GNU/Linux ($200), LiVES ($300), Osmo ($300), LMMS ($250), KompoZer ($360), OpenSSH ($350), Parted Magic ($350) and Krita ($285)
- 2010: Qimo 4 Kids ($250), Squid ($250), Libre Graphics Meeting ($300), Bacula ($250), FileZilla ($300), GCompris ($352), Xiph.org ($250), Clonezilla ($250), Debian Multimedia ($280), Geany ($300), Mageia ($470), gtkpod ($300)
- 2011: CGSecurity ($300)
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 14 February 2011.
Jesse Smith and Ladislav Bodnar
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 806 (2019-03-18): Kubuntu vs KDE neon, Nitrux's znx, notes on Debian's election, SUSE becomes an independent entity|
|• Issue 805 (2019-03-11): EasyOS 1.0, managing background services, Devuan team debates machine ID file, Ubuntu Studio works to remain an Ubuntu Community Edition|
|• Issue 804 (2019-03-04): Condres OS 19.02, securely erasing hard drives, new UBports devices coming in 2019, Devuan to host first conference|
|• Issue 803 (2019-02-25): Septor 2019, preventing windows from stealing focus, NetBSD and Nitrux experiment with virtual machines, pfSense upgrading to FreeBSD 12 base|
|• Issue 802 (2019-02-18): Slontoo 18.07.1, NetBSD tests newer compiler, Fedora packaging Deepin desktop, changes in Ubuntu Studio|
|• Issue 801 (2019-02-11): Project Trident 18.12, the meaning of status symbols in top, FreeBSD Foundation lists ongoing projects, Plasma Mobile team answers questions|
|• Issue 800 (2019-02-04): FreeNAS 11.2, using Ubuntu Studio software as an add-on, Nitrux developing znx, matching operating systems to file systems|
|• Issue 799 (2019-01-28): KaOS 2018.12, Linux Basics For Hackers, Debian 10 enters freeze, Ubuntu publishes new version for IoT devices|
|• Issue 798 (2019-01-21): Sculpt OS 18.09, picking a location for swap space, Solus team plans ahead, Fedora trying to get a better user count|
|• Issue 797 (2019-01-14): Reborn OS 2018.11.28, TinyPaw-Linux 1.3, dealing with processes which make the desktop unresponsive, Debian testing Secure Boot support|
|• Issue 796 (2019-01-07): FreeBSD 12.0, Peppermint releases ISO update, picking the best distro of 2018, roundtable interview with Debian, Fedora and elementary developers|
|• Issue 795 (2018-12-24): Running a Pinebook, interview with Bedrock founder, Alpine being ported to RISC-V, Librem 5 dev-kits shipped|
|• Issue 794 (2018-12-17): Void 20181111, avoiding software bloat, improvements to HAMMER2, getting application overview in GNOME Shell|
|• Issue 793 (2018-12-10): openSUSE Tumbleweed, finding non-free packages, Debian migrates to usrmerge, Hyperbola gets FSF approval|
|• Issue 792 (2018-1203): GhostBSD 18.10, when to use swap space, DragonFly BSD's wireless support, Fedora planning to pause development schedule|
|• Issue 791 (2018-11-26): Haiku R1 Beta1, default passwords on live media, Slax and Kodachi update their media, dual booting DragonFly BSD on EFI|
|• Issue 790 (2018-11-19): NetBSD 8.0, Bash tips and short-cuts, Fedora's networking benchmarked with FreeBSD, Ubuntu 18.04 to get ten years of support|
|• Issue 789 (2018-11-12): Fedora 29 Workstation and Silverblue, Haiku recovering from server outage, Fedora turns 15, Debian publishes updated media|
|• Issue 788 (2018-11-05): Clu Linux Live 6.0, examining RAM consumpion, finding support for older CPUs, more Steam support for running Windows games on Linux, update from Solus team|
|• Issue 787 (2018-10-29): Lubuntu 18.10, limiting application access to specific users, Haiku hardware compatibility list, IBM purchasing Red Hat|
|• Issue 786 (2018-10-22): elementary OS 5.0, why init keeps running, DragonFly BSD enables virtual machine memory resizing, KDE neon plans to drop older base|
|• Issue 785 (2018-10-15): Reborn OS 2018.09, Nitrux 1.0.15, swapping hard drives between computers, feren OS tries KDE spin, power savings coming to Linux|
|• Issue 784 (2018-10-08): Hamara 2.1, improving manual pages, UBports gets VoIP app, Fedora testing power saving feature|
|• Issue 783 (2018-10-01): Quirky 8.6, setting up dual booting with Ubuntu and FreeBSD, Lubuntu switching to LXQt, Mint works on performance improvements|
|• Issue 782 (2018-09-24): Bodhi Linux 5.0.0, Elive 3.0.0, Solus publishes ISO refresh, UBports invites feedback, Linux Torvalds plans temporary vacation|
|• Issue 781 (2018-09-17): Linux Mint 3 "Debian Edition", file systems for SSDs, MX makes installing Flatpaks easier, Arch team answers questions, Mageia reaches EOL|
|• Issue 780 (2018-09-10): Netrunner 2018.08 Rolling, Fedora improves language support, how to customize Kali Linux, finding the right video drivers|
|• Issue 779 (2018-09-03): Redcore 1806, keeping ISO downloads safe from tampering, Lubuntu makes Calamares more flexible, Ubuntu improves GNOME performance|
|• Issue 778 (2018-08-27): GuixSD 0.15.0, ReactOS 0.4.9, Steam supports Windows games on Linux, Haiku plans for beta, merging disk partitions|
|• Issue 777 (2018-08-20): YunoHost 18.104.22.168, limiting process resource usage, converting file systems on Fedora, Debian turns 25, Lubuntu migrating to Wayland|
|• Issue 776 (2018-08-13): NomadBSD 1.1, Maximum storage limits on Linux, openSUSE extends life for 42.3, updates to the Librem 5 phone interface|
|• Issue 775 (2018-08-06): Secure-K OS 18.5, Linux is about choice, Korora tests community spin, elementary OS hires developer, ReactOS boots on Btrfs|
|• Issue 774 (2018-07-30): Ubuntu MATE & Ubuntu Budgie 18.04, upgrading software from source, Lubuntu shifts focus, NetBSD changes support policy|
|• Issue 773 (2018-07-23): Peppermint OS 9, types of security used by different projects, Mint reacts to bugs in core packages, Slackware turns 25|
|• Issue 772 (2018-07-16): Hyperbola GNU/Linux-libre 0.2.4, UBports running desktop applications, OpenBSD auto-joins wi-fi networks, boot environments and zedenv|
|• Issue 771 (2018-07-09): Linux Lite 4.0, checking CPUs for bugs, configuring GRUB, Mint upgrade instructions, SUSE acquired by EQT|
|• Issue 770 (2018-07-02): Linux Mint 19, Solus polishes desktop experience, MintBox Mini 2, changes to Fedora's installer|
|• Issue 769 (2018-06-25): BunsenLabs Helium, counting Ubuntu users, UBports upgrading to 16.04, Fedora CoreOS, FreeBSD turns 25|
|• Issue 768 (2018-06-18): Devuan 2.0.0, using pkgsrc to manage software, the NOVA filesystem, OpenBSD handles successful cron output|
|• Issue 767 (2018-06-11): Android-x86 7.1-r1, transferring files over OpenSSH with pipes, LFS with Debian package management, Haiku ports LibreOffice|
|• Issue 766 (2018-06-04): openSUSE 15, overview of file system links, Manjaro updates Pamac, ReactOS builds itself, Bodhi closes forums|
|• Issue 765 (2018-05-28): Pop!_OS 18.04, gathering system information, Haiku unifying ARM builds, Solus resumes control of Budgie|
|• Issue 764 (2018-05-21): DragonFly BSD 5.2.0, Tails works on persistent packages, Ubuntu plans new features, finding services affected by an update|
|• Issue 763 (2018-05-14): Fedora 28, Debian compatibility coming to Chrome OS, malware found in some Snaps, Debian's many flavours|
|• Issue 762 (2018-05-07): TrueOS 18.03, live upgrading Raspbian, Mint plans future releases, HardenedBSD to switch back to OpenSSL|
|• Issue 761 (2018-04-30): Ubuntu 18.04, accessing ZFS snapshots, UBports to run on Librem 5 phones, Slackware makes PulseAudio optional|
|• Issue 760 (2018-04-23): Chakra 2017.10, using systemd to hide files, Netrunner's ARM edition, Debian 10 roadmap, Microsoft develops Linux-based OS|
|• Issue 759 (2018-04-16): Neptune 5.0, building containers with Red Hat, antiX introduces Sid edition, fixing filenames on the command line|
|• Issue 758 (2018-04-09): Sortix 1.0, openSUSE's Transactional Updates, Fedora phasing out Python 2, locating portable packages|
|• Issue 757 (2018-04-02): Gatter Linux 0.8, the UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook, Red Hat turns 25, super long term support kernels|
|• Issue 756 (2018-03-26): NuTyX 10.0, Neptune supplies Debian users with Plasma 5.12, SolydXK on a Raspberry Pi, SysV init development|
|• Issue 755 (2018-03-19): Learning with ArchMerge and Linux Academy, Librem 5 runs Plasma Mobile, Cinnamon gets performance boost|
|• Full list of all issues|
Star Labs - Laptops built for Linux.
View our range including the Star Lite, Star LabTop and more. Available with a choice of Ubuntu or Linux Mint pre-installed with many more distributions supported. Visit Star Labs for information, to buy and get support.
|Random Distribution |
paldo is a hybrid (source and binary), Upkg-driven GNU/Linux distribution and live CD. Besides aiming to be simple, pure, up-to-date and standards-compliant, paldo offers automatic hardware detection, one application per task, and a standard GNOME desktop.
|Tips, Tricks, Myths and Q&As |
|Tips and tricks: Keep terminal programs running, using the at command, reverse OpenSSH connections|
|Questions and answers: Extending battery life|
|Questions and answers: Logging sudo usage|
|Tips and tricks: Basename, for loop, dirname, aliases, bash history, xsel clipboard|
|Tips and tricks: Basename, for loop, dirname, aliases, bash history, xsel clipboard|
|Tips and tricks: Hiding processes from other users, get geographical location of IP address|
|Questions and answers: Mounting infected disks|
|Questions and answers: Finding and removing non-free packages|
|Questions and answers: Running Android apps on a desktop Linux system|
|Myths and misunderstandings: Wayland, Xorg and Mir|
|More Tips & Tricks and Questions & Answers|