| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 418, 15 August 2011
Welcome to this year's 33rd issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Although "libre" distributions are unlikely to gain much mainstream following in the foreseeable future, they play an important role in the Linux distro ecosystem. One of the projects, recognised by the Free Software Foundation (FSF) as an operating system built in its entirety from free software components is Kongoni GNU/Linux, a Slackware-based distribution made in South Africa. Jesse Smith takes the project's latest version for a quick spin to see if it meets its release goals. In the news section, Gentoo's new live DVD attracts conflicting reports, Fedora postpones the switch to Btrfs as the default file system, Ubuntu's recent Unity changes draw more criticism, and Unity Linux developers reduce their packaging workload by turning to Mandriva repositories. Finally, don't miss the Questions and Answers section, which discusses the ways and pitfalls of mixing RPM packages made for different distributions. Happy reading!
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|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
From a philosophical point of view it's nice to see some distributions work at making a completely free (libre) operating system. One of the projects trying to promote freedom, as defined by the Free Software Foundation, is Kongoni. This distro has an African theme to it, which we'll touch on later, and their website says they name all of their releases after famous philosophers. I decided to take their latest version, Firefly, for a test run.
The Kongoni distribution comes on a live CD, which weighs in at 677MB. The distro is only available as a 32-bit x86 edition and, according to their download page, the project recommends using Pentium II machines (or newer) with 512 MB or more RAM. After downloading and burning the Firefly release to a CD I booted into the distro's live environment. The graphical boot screen is a pleasant outdoor image depicting, I suspect, the African plains. Upon booting we're turned over to a KDE 4.6 desktop with a soft blue background. The application menu and task switcher are placed at the bottom of the screen and several icons are placed in a widget on the desktop. These icons give us access to the Amarok music player, the Dolphin file manager, the Choqok microblogger, IceCat (a re-branded Firefox), the system installer and the K3b disc burner. We are also given access to a system configuration tool, called KISS, a virtual terminal, the Kopete instant messenger, KTorrent and the KDE System Settings panel.
Kongoni GNU/Linux 2011 - desktop and system settings
(full image size: 501kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
Right away it becomes apparent KDE has been set up with all the extra features enabled. Desktop effects, such as window highlighting and transparency, are turned on. The result is a sluggish environment, even on fairly modern hardware. Despite the interface's sluggishness, the included software appears to work well. That is, I was able to run programs, adjust settings and browse the web without any issues. However, some of my laptop's hardware wasn't picked up. My touchpad was handled properly, but audio and my Intel wireless card did not work, the latter due to the lack of non-free firmware in the distribution.
According to Kongoni's website their system installer is unique to the distribution. For the most part the installer uses text-based menus and leads users through simple steps, similar in style to Slackware's installer. We hit an exception to this rule early on when the installer launches the KDE Partition Manager to help us divide up the hard disk. However, with partitions created, we're then back to the text interface where we can format partitions and assign them file systems (ext3, ext4, ReiserFS, Reiser4, Btrfs, XFS and JFS are supported). Next we pick our time zone from a list and the installer begins copying files to the disk. Unfortunately here I hit a wall. The installer doesn't give any indication of progress, but I assumed a distribution on a single CD should take 20-40 minutes to complete its install. After an hour I stopped the process and tried again on my other test machine, a desktop box (2.5 GHz CPU, 2 GB of RAM, NVIDIA video card).
On the desktop machine things were once again a bit sluggish, but I found all my hardware was supported out of the box. I kicked off the installer, went through the partitioning and waited while files were (allegedly) copied to my local hard drive. After an hour and a half without any indication of progress, I terminated the installer. At time of writing I'm not certain if my fruitless install attempts (I made another, also unsuccessful, try in a virtual machine) were due to a bug or if the installer is just so slow it requires more time. Without feedback from the installer it's hard to tell.
Kongoni GNU/Linux 2011 - testing the Gnash plugin
(full image size: 313kB, screen resolution 1024x768 pixels)
The rest of my time with Kongoni was spent using the live disc. The CD contains a good supply of desktop software. Included are IceCat 5, KMail, the KPPP dialer, the Konqueror web browser and Kopete for instant messaging. Dragon Player is available for watching videos, Juk is included for listening to music (as is Amarok). There's no office software on the CD. We do find a CD ripper and several privacy & encryption tools, such as Kleopatra, KGpg and the GNU Privacy Assistant. Kongoni features the Back in Time backup program, a document viewer, and Ark for handling archives. Kongoni tries to accommodate people looking for multimedia support out of the box -- the distro features codecs for playing MP3s and popular video formats. Though Adobe Flash isn't included, the Gnash plugin is and it handled most pages I threw at it. The GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) is on the CD and, under it all, is the 2.6.37 release of the Linux kernel.
Kongoni's primary method of handling packages is to use a ports system. This means the operating system's package manager will download the source code for software and compile it locally. The hope is the resulting executable file will be more efficient than a pre-compiled package. The ports manager, called the Ports Installation GUI (PIG), has a similar layout to Gslapt. Action buttons are placed across the top of the PIG window and a list of available software is shown in the middle. We can filter items by their status and search for items by name. It's fairly straight forward and, despite the wait for ports to compile, the process is smooth and intuitive. The project also claims to be compatible with packages built for Slackware, though I haven't tried performing installs from Slackware repositories.
Kongoni GNU/Linux 2011 - ports installation GUI
(full image size: 327kB, screen resolution 1024x768 pixels)
Overall I was disappointed with Kongoni. Granted, the project has its good points. The distro comes with a good range of functionality considering it uses only FSF-approved software. But one big problem was my issue with the installer. I never did get Kongoni to install and I think it's important the user be kept informed of what's going on so we know if a process has stalled or is just slow. But my main complaint against Kongoni is the apparent gap between what the project states is their focus and the distribution they provide. Take the following statement from the project's About page: "Ports mean that the programs are downloaded as source and packages are then built automatically (no user knowledge required). This means smaller bandwidth requirements (a big concern in Africa)."
I question this statement for two reasons, one is that source packages, even compressed, are usually as large or larger than binary packages. It isn't always true, there are examples of smaller source packages too, but my point is that the benefit from a bandwidth point of view will probably be non-existent. Second, the user's machine will be required to compile the ports which, for larger packages, can take hours. For a project which claims to be trying to save bandwidth and targeting lower-end machines, providing software through source doesn't make sense. The bandwidth cost will be about the same and the machines will spend hours compiling updates.
On a similar note, if you were targeting low-end machines (the website mentions Pentium II with 512 MB of RAM) which desktop environment would you use? I'm a big fan of the KDE project, but it is a large desktop environment, perhaps the heaviest available in the open-source world right now. And Kongoni ships KDE with all the desktop effects and features enabled, causing even my fairly modern laptop to drag under the load. In a virtual environment with the project's recommended 1 GB of RAM the desktop becomes nearly unusable as applications can take several seconds to a minute to launch.
I'm not saying Kongoni is a bad project, if their About page had said the distro was aimed at higher-end machines and people who liked building software from source and their releases all carried science-fiction names I probably would have given Kongoni a passing grade. As it stands, the Kongoni team seems to have forgotten their stated goals and it made for a poor experience.
* * * * *
I'd like to shift gears now from a distro which didn't install to a distro which isn't designed to be installed. Most projects these days provide a live CD, but for the system administrator on the go those CDs are often slow and resource hungry. For people who just want to boot into a command line environment with a collection of utilities there's Finnix. The Finnix distribution has been around for some time, but because of its sparse nature the distro rarely makes headlines. Finnix doesn't feature a desktop or sound support, but does come in x86 and PowerPC editions.
I downloaded the latest Finnix release and gave it a try on my test machines. Though light on features, the CD boots quickly and has the usual collection of disk mounting and file system checking programs. According to the project's website, Finnix should work on i486 machines and has a very small memory footprint (using around 25 MB during my tests).
Finnix is based on Debian GNU/Linux and includes the APT package management tools, allowing the user to install and upgrade software from Debian's repositories. I gave installing software in the live environment a whirl and it worked well for me. I was also happy to see the distro will automatically detect and mount local swap partitions, giving the user more memory to play with, helpful on lower-end machines. Though the Finnix boot menu lists FreeDOS as a possible boot option I found neither of my machines were able to boot into DOS, both of them locked-up directly after selecting the alternative operating system. Unfortunately my 90s games will continue to rely on DOSBox.
Finnix is not a distro for most people, but for gurus comfortable on the command line who find themselves doing a lot of damage control, it's a useful tool to carry with you.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
Gentoo for crickets and laptops, Fedora delays Btrfs introduction, Ubuntu Unity changes, new direction for Unity Linux
A new Gentoo Linux live DVD was released just over a week ago, the second such product of the year. As with any other rolling-release, source-based distribution, a publication of this kind doesn't represent a particularly big event on the distro's calendar, serving primarily to facilitate new installations and to showcase the latest Gentoo technologies. No wonder interest remains low and Susan Linton even argues that the new version of the Gentoo live DVD was actually released to crickets: "Ah, Gentoo. Gentoo was once one of the most popular distributions going. But somewhere along the line it declined. It has become a fringe distro that, even with dedicated developers and loyal users, can't seem to get its mojo back. I used Gentoo for several years and perhaps the reasons I moved on might be the same others did as well. In 2002 Gentoo was sitting at number three on the DistroWatch page hit ranking. It has been falling down that list every year since. This year it's at 18."
Naturally, most die-hard Gentoo users won't care about what this website's page hit ranking statistics say about their preferred distro. But even new Gentoo users, especially those not afraid of following the project's reputed documentation, can benefit from installing and using this technical operating system. As an example, Techgage's Rob Williams decided to give Gentoo Linux a partition on his laptop just last week, with a rather positive result: "Aside from the wireless issue, another reason I never wanted to use Gentoo on a laptop is because A) software must be compiled and B) it can be difficult to update at times. I can honestly say though, that with more recent updates made to Gentoo's software repository, Portage, updating and getting bleeding-edge software installed is easier than ever (especially thanks to the introduction of an autounmask-write command). With this install working as well as it is, I am glad I decided to give Gentoo another shot on a notebook, and I can't see me moving off it any time soon."
* * * * *
A widely reported news item from the development of Fedora: the projected switch to Btrfs, a journaled file system that was expected to replace ext4 as the default data organising method in the upcoming Fedora 16 release, won't happen until Fedora 17. The reason? Btrfs has yet to meet the stipulated criteria: "Developer Josef Bacik, who contributes to Fedora and Btrfs for Red Hat, has announced that the experimental Btrfs won't become Fedora 16's default file system. In early June, the Linux distribution's Engineering Steering Committee had decided to switch from ext4 to Btrfs, but also vaguely stipulated various requirements Btrfs was to meet before the switch; the requirements were only specified later on. Recently, it became apparent that Btrfs has not met the stipulated criteria. The main reason for this continues to be the still ongoing development of a decent program for testing and repairing Btrfs file systems."
* * * * *
It's fair to say that Ubuntu's Unity user interface has not been universally applauded. Radical design changes and lack of configurability are often cited as the main reasons for the criticism, so many Ubuntu users have been hoping that the distribution's upcoming release will address the shortcomings. Unfortunately, some of the recent Unity changes are now attracting even more severe objections than the original design. Justin Stories explains: "The Unity shell and the top panel was always a design headache for those behind the development. The design in its current form itself was criticized by many and was one of the reasons why many people hated Unity. The daily builds of Unity 2D had a new iteration of the design apparently trying to solve some of the issues associated with the desktop shell. The new design is now causing far more criticism than the current version. The current version has too many things going on the left-hand top corner of the screen. There is the Ubuntu button with Ubuntu logo, the global menu, the application title and the window controls for maximized applications are all crammed into that little space there." The blog post is accompanied by a number of screenshots and a lively discussion.
* * * * *
Much less known (and "hated") is another Unity, a Linux distribution that came into existence long before Ubuntu decided to use the word to name its desktop. The project, created by former contributors to PCLinuxOS and now based on Mandriva Linux, has been somewhat sleepy in recent months, but last week, Unity developer "devnet" stirred the user community with a post entitled "A new direction": "Effective immediately I am moving us to using Mandriva repositories. We will continue to have a 'Unity Only' and 'Branding' repository and repository for our custom packages and various branches (if they have their own), but Mandriva will be our complete source for packages. Now, this decision was made a long time ago as some of you who attended the last developer meeting know that during this meeting we discussed the eventual use of Mandriva's repositories for replacement of ours. No clear steps to get us there were outlined and it was decided that this would happen later rather than sooner."
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Mixing RPM packages made for different distributions
Caught-between-a-rock-and-a-package-place asks: For the last four months I have been testing versions of PCLinuxOS, Mageia and Mandriva. I can not decide which one to replace my present Mandriva 2005. Each one has a different repository and not one has all the programs I need. The problem is that with the present installation methods one, apparently, can not grab the RPM file itself. Thus I am not able to grab a program from one distribution and install it on another. I would appreciate an article on the download aspect of package management and perhaps a solution to the above problem. A related problem is knowing when you can take RPMs from older CDs and use them with newer distributions.
DistroWatch answers: First, let's look at some possible solutions to the missing package problem. If you're testing out three different distributions which almost fit your needs, but each one is missing a particular package I recommend taking the following steps:
What about mixing and matching packages from other repositories? It's a possibility, but it's rarely a workable solution, even among distributions which are closely related, such as Mageia and Mandriva. Packages often look for specific libraries and transporting packages to systems other than the one they were built for usually leads to dependency issues. That being said, if you want to try it, you can generally find a distribution's repository and download the RPM (or other archive type) directly from the repository. Mageia maintains a list of repository mirrors and you can find specific packages under the mirror's "distrib/1/i586/media/" directory. Likewise, Mandriva keeps a list of mirrors where you can find RPM packages. Once you've downloaded the package file you want, you can attempt to install it using the RPM command, for example:
- Join the developer mailing list for each project and request your required package be added to their repositories. It could be no one has asked for the package you need and they may add it for you.
- Depending on how comfortable you are with building software, you might consider grabbing the source code for the application and try building it yourself. This isn't as convenient as having a package prepared for you in the repository, but if you really need the program it's one way to go.
- You're testing three different distributions now, consider testing a forth. You may find there is another user-friendly distro out there which suits you and includes the package you require. Mint and openSUSE, for example, I find are comparable to Mandriva and both have large package repositories.
rpm -i mypackage-1.0-i586.rpm
If the command returns errors you can try to force the issue (though I don't recommend doing so) with
rpm -i --force --nodeps mypackage-1.0-i586.rpm
I don't recommend trying to install packages from other distributions or even different versions of the same distribution unless you've tried all the other options without success. Pulling from unsupported sources is a dirty workaround and it's a much better idea to attempt building your application from its source code. That way if you get stuck or have questions, the upstream project developers should be able to assist you.
|Released Last Week
Dimitris Papadatos has announced the release of Monomaxos 6.0, an Ubuntu-based distribution with out-of-the-box support for popular media formats and other user-friendly enhancements: "Monomaxos Greek Linux operating system 2011 version 6.0 (based on Ubuntu 11.04). This is the sixth release of Monomaxos localized in the Greek language that comes as a live DVD. It supports playback of every kind of multimedia material (including HD video) and any kind of Internet content out of the box. It can also be used for setting up a standalone media center. It contains LibreOffice 3.3 in the Greek language with enabled functional spell check. In this release a local Monomaxos repository is used; it includes software chosen by the fans of the project and all the latest ATI and NVIDIA graphic cards drivers." Visit the project's English home page to read the full release announcement.
Monomaxos 6.0 - an Ubuntu-based desktop distribution with a custom user interface
(full image size: 620kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Plop Linux 4.1.2
Elmar Hanlhofer has announced the release of Plop Linux 4.1.2, a small utility live CD (now also with Fluxbox and GNOME options) designed to rescue data from a damaged system, backup and restore operating systems and automate common tasks. From the changelog: "Plop Linux 4.1.2 released. Updated Linux kernel 3.0.1, Nmap 5.51, NTFS-3G 2011.4.12AR.4, OpenSSH 5.8p2, OpenSSL 1.0.0d, Samba 3.5.9, Squashfs 4.2, udev 171, Plop boot manager 5.0.13; setupavg - environment variables set automatically when the user logs in; fpupdate - alias is set to avoid 'Out of memory problem' when running without full path; default kernel compiled for i586 with PAE enabled additional kernel with i486 settings compiled; possible resolv.conf conflict during network boot fixed."
Plop Linux 4.1.2 - a utility live CD with tools for data backup and rescue
(full image size: 620kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Network Security Toolkit 2.15.0
Paul Blankenbaker has announced the release of Network Security Toolkit (NST) 2.15.0, a Fedora-based live DVD featuring a collection of best-of-breed open-source network security applications: "We are pleased to announce the latest NST release, version 2.15.0. This release is based on Fedora 15 using Linux kernel 2.6.40, re-based from latest Linux kernel 3.0. Here are some of the highlights for this release: developed a new interactive dynamic SVG/AJAX enabled network interface bandwidth monitor application that is integrated into the NST WUI for monitoring pseudo real-time network bandwidth rates; added NST RPM packages and NST WUI integration for the Open Vulnerability Assessment Scanner (OpenVAS) and Greenbone security tools; added an NST RPM package for IPv6 network security investigation...." Continue reading the release announcement for a complete list of improvements.
Toorox 08.2011 "Xfce", "Lite"
Jörn Lindau has announced the availability of two new editions of Toorox, a Gentoo-based desktop distribution: "A new version of Toorox has been finished - but this time there are two new variants. The 'Xfce' edition with the lightweight and fast Xfce desktop 4.8.0. The desktop environment needs fewer resources and runs well on older hardware, or lightning-fast with new hardware. The installed applications are the same as of the 'KDE' or 'GNOME' editions. The 'Lite' edition - also with Xfce 4.8.0 - but this one has been shrunk. All of the huge applications have been either removed or replaced by smaller alternatives. Removed Ardour, Cinelerra, GIMP, Samba, IcedTea, Wine, kernel sources. Replaced LibreOffice with AbiWord, IceCat with Midori, Thunderbird with Claws-Mail." Read the rest of the release announcement for further details.
Henry Jensen has announced the release of ConnochaetOS 0.9.0, a lightweight desktop distribution, formerly known as DeLi Linux, designed for old and low-resource computers (Pentium I, 64 MB of RAM): "I am pleased to announce the release of ConnochaetOS 0.9.0. After one year of development and after three years after the last release of its predecessor, DeLi Linux, this is the first stable release of ConnochaetOS. In the last weeks since RC1 we simplified the installer once again, fixed some more bugs and updated the kernel, the web browser XXXTerm and other packages, and produced some documentation. ConnochaetOS 0.9.0 provides: kernel Linux-Libre 184.108.40.206, the IceWM desktop 1.3.7, a lightweight WebKit-based web browser - XXXTerm, GOffice...." See the release announcement for more information.
ConnochaetOS 0.9.0 - a lightweight distro made to run smoothly on old computers
(full image size: 1,425kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Pinguy OS 10.04.3
Antoni Norman has announced the release of Pinguy OS 10.04.3, the third update of the Ubuntu-based desktop distribution with long-term support: "I am proud to announce the release of Pinguy OS 10.04.3 LTS, the third maintenance update to Pinguy OS 10.04 LTS release. This release includes installation DVDs for the i386 and amd64 architectures. Numerous updates have been integrated and updated installation media have been provided so that fewer updates will need to be downloaded after installation. This will be the final point release for 10.04. Linux kernel 2.6.32, LibreOffice 3.3.2, Firefox 5.0, Flash 10.3, Java 6u26, VLC 1.1.7. VirtualBox 4.1, Wine 1.2.3." Here is the release announcement as published on the distribution's user forum.
Rocks Cluster Distribution 5.4.3
Philip Papadopoulos has announced the release of Rocks Cluster Distribution 5.4.3, an updated release of the CentOS-based operating system designed for real and virtual clusters: "The production version of Rocks 5.4.3 is now available. New features: the root password supplied during the front-end installation is now used only for the root password of the front-end; to set the root passwords for individual back-end nodes, the user can now use command-line tool. The rationale behind setting random root passwords for all back-end nodes is that, if by some means, an attacker gained access to the root account of a back-end node, and then the adversary could ran an offline attack against the encrypted version of the root password, none of the other nodes would be compromised." See the brief release announcement and the detailed release notes for further information.
Ultimate Edition 3.0 "Gamers"
Ultimate Edition 3.0 "Gamers", an Ubuntu-based live DVD with a collection of Linux games, has been released: "I would like to announce the release of Ultimate Edition 3.0 'Gamers'. Ultimate Edition 3.0 'Gamers' is the first 'Gamers' release built from the 'Lite' edition. This allowed us to add more games while maintaining a fine selection of applications for everyday use. 'Gamers' not only comes with over 30 games that rock out of the box, it includes emulators allowing access to virtually thousands of additional games. Still not happy? WINE, winetricks and PlayOnLinux is also pre-installed, allowing you to play your Windows games. Ultimate Edition Gamers 3.0 has the most games pre-installed of any release to-date." See the release announcement and release notes for a complete list of included games and some screenshots.
Ultimate Edition 3.0 "Gamers" - a live DVD packed with games
(full image size: 712kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Puppy Linux 5.1.3 "Wary"
Barry Kauler has announced the release of Puppy Linux 5.1.3 "Wary" edition, a mini-distribution targeting old and low-resource computers: "Wary is our flavour of Puppy that targets older hardware. Version 5.1.3 is mostly bug fixes and minor upgrades to 5.1.2. There have been some significant improvements at the Woof level, such as a close-box on desktop drive icons and faster boot-up. New applications: Default Applications Chooser, Urxvtset. New utilities: picscale, pngoverlay, yad. I decided to stay with SeaMonkey 1.1.18, as 2.2 has a badly broken Composer module. Also, 1.1.18 is smaller and better suited to older hardware -- FlashBlock and AddBlock plugins are included to suit those on dial-up. A couple of projects that have been upgraded in Wary and are worthy of special mention: BaCon and gtkdialog. BaCon is a superb BASIC compiler, and gtkdialog provides sophisticated GUIs for shell scripts." The release announcement.
Another lightweight Linux distribution designed to be as economical on resources as possible is the Ubuntu-based wattOS. Version R4 was released yesterday: "I am pleased to announce the release of wattOS R4. This version has a load of new changes: lightweight Linux running LXDE and updated clean simple interface and smooth new look; new included control panel user interface for simple configuration of the system in a familiar format; wattOS now also has a PPA on launchpad so this application can be updated automatically as well as new wattOS-specific packages will be published here; new music player changed to Audacious with plugin for music stream searching; changed to VLC for video player; changed to lightweight mail client Sylpheed by default; updated version of Fotoxx photo editor; KeePassX password manager; changed from Firefox to Chromium web browser, Flash support included." Here is the brief release announcement.
wattOS R4 - an Ubuntu-based distribution with focus on minimising the energy footprint
(full image size: 792kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Zorin OS 5 "Educational"
Artyom Zorin has announced the release of Zorin OS 5 "Educational", an Ubuntu-based distribution for schools: "The Zorin OS team is proud to release Zorin OS 5 Educational, the educational version of our operating system designed for Windows users. This new version of Zorin OS Educational is based on Zorin OS 5 Core and uses the GNOME Classic 2.32 desktop environment. Zorin OS 5 Educational includes dozens of educational programs for primary, secondary and tertiary education students. We have included new features, such as an installer welcome video, a new theme and updated artwork, simplified application names, updated software and many program changes to improve the user experience. We have also included our other exclusive programs such as the Zorin Look Changer and Internet Browser Manager." The release announcement.
Frugalware Linux 1.5
Frugalware Linux 1.5, a general-purpose distribution designed for intermediate Linux users, has been released: "The Frugalware developer team is pleased to announce the immediate availability of Frugalware 1.5, our fifteenth stable release. No new features have been added since 1.5rc2, but 86 changes have been made to fix minor bugs. If you didn't follow the changes during the pre-releases, here are the most important changes since 1.4 in no particular order: updated packages - Linux kernel 220.127.116.11, X.Org Server 1.10.3, GNOME 3, KDE SC 4.6.5, Xfce 4, LibreOffice 3.4.2, Mozilla Firefox 5.0.1 to name a few major components; new version of Pacman-g2 bringing some nice features; systemd is now the default init system; initial ARM port; The boot splash is now provided by Plymouth; i686 and x86_64 kernels can now boot from EFI...." Read the full release announcement for more details.
Frugalware Linux 1.5 - the project's 15th stable release
(full image size: 747kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Parsix GNU/Linux 3.7
Alan Baghumian has announced the release of Parsix GNU/Linux 3.7, an updated version of the desktop-oriented distribution and live DVD based on Debian's testing branch: "Parsix GNU/Linux 3.7 brings tons of updated packages, faster live boot and quality new features. This version has been synchronized with Debian testing repositories as of Feb 7, 2010 and brings lots of updated packages. The Parsix DVD images are compiled using Squashfs 4.0 with LZMA compression. Our brand new Linux 18.104.22.168 based kernel with improved configuration is patched using TuxOnIce 3.2 suspension and hibernation, Kon Kolivas's BFS and extra hardware support patches. For the first time we are including certain drivers from kernel's staging tree, including the new experimental nouveau graphics diver for NVIDIA chips." Consult the detailed release notes for a list of new features and major software components.
Parsix GNU/Linux 3.7 - a new release of a Debian "testing"-based live DVD with GNOME
(full image size: 2,054kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to waiting list
- Arc-live Linux. Arc-live Linux is a Brazilian Debian-based live distribution with automatic hardware detection and the Debian installer.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 22 August 2011.
Jesse Smith and Ladislav Bodnar
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|Linux Foundation Training
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|• 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|
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|• 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|
|• Issue 754 (2018-03-12): Reviewing Sabayon and Antergos, the growing Linux kernel, BSDs getting CPU bug fixes, Manjaro builds for ARM devices|
|• Issue 753 (2018-03-05): Enso OS 0.2, KDE Plasma 5.12 features, MX Linux prepares new features, interview with MidnightBSD's founder|
|• Issue 752 (2018-02-26): OviOS 2.31, performing off-line upgrades, elementary OS's new installer, UBports gets test devices, Redcore team improves security|
|• Issue 751 (2018-02-19): DietPi 6.1, testing KDE's Plasma Mobile, Nitrux packages AppImage in default install, Solus experiments with Wayland|
|• Issue 750 (2018-02-12): Solus 3, getting Deb packages upstream to Debian, NetBSD security update, elementary OS explores AppCentre changes|
|• Issue 749 (2018-02-05): Freespire 3 and Linspire 7.0, misunderstandings about Wayland, Xorg and Mir, Korora slows release schedule, Red Hat purchases CoreOS|
|• Issue 748 (2018-01-29): siduction 2018.1.0, SolydXK 32-bit editions, building an Ubuntu robot, desktop-friendly Debian options|
|• Issue 747 (2018-01-22): Ubuntu MATE 17.10, recovering open files, creating a new distribution, KDE focusing on Wayland features|
|• 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|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
VAST (VIPER Assessment Security Tools)
VAST was a Linux-based security distribution specifically designed for penetration testing VoIP and UC networks. It enables security professionals and UC administrators to rapidly perform VoIP security assessments and enumerate vulnerabilities in IP Phones or IP PBX servers in a lab environment. With VAST, a security consultant has every tool necessary to carry out a successful on-site or remote penetration test or vulnerability assessment against a UC network. VAST was built on Linux Mint and includes all of the open source VIPER Lab tools, in addition to some other network penetration testing tools.