| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 460, 11 June 2012
Welcome to this year's 24th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Diversity is a key characteristic of open source software, not only in the code, but in the ideas and the people. People who work on Linux and BSD come from all around the world and bring with them a wide range of ideas, values and ways of looking at things. Users in open source communities
never need to settle for the "one size fits all" approach because there is always someone, somewhere, trying something new. This week we focus on that diversity by sharing the words of several developers and leaders from different projects.
In our news section we link to a podcast featuring PC-BSD's
Kris Moore, an article by Canonical's Chase Douglas on the subject of multitouch interfaces,
a blog post from Red Hat's Tim Burke who talks about secure booting and we link to an in-depth interview with Slackware's Patrick Volkerding on the origins and development model behind the world's oldest surviving Linux distribution.
Also in this issue we look at the latest release of the cutting-edge Fedora distribution and find out what new technologies are coming out of the Red Hat backed community project. Then Jesse Smith takes us on a brief tour of two other, lesser known projects readers have asked about and reports on his findings. As usual we round out the issue with a list of distributions released last week and a schedule of exciting new releases to come. We here at DistroWatch wish you a pleasant week and
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (32MB) and MP3 (28MB) formats
Join us at irc.freenode.net #distrowatch
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
A Look At A New Hat -- Fedora 17
Fedora 17, the "Beefy Miracle", was released on May 29 and, as usual, was presented in a number of different flavours and builds. Besides the default GNOME spin there are also custom spins for KDE, Xfce and LXDE enthusiasts. There are other, more specialized spins too, including a Games spin and a Security spin. Each of the various flavours is available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds. Faced with so many options I asked DistroWatch readers to vote on which edition should be featured in this review and the result was close with the KDE spin narrowly beating out Xfce's for first place.
While waiting for my KDE live CD to finish downloading I took some time to read through the project's detailed release notes. There is a good deal of information to be found in the Fedora documentation and I'd like to just touch on some of the highlights for this release. Despite its appearance in the previous Fedora release, the Btrfs file system is not available at install time for Fedora 17, but we're assured it can be added post-install. (Btrfs is expected to return as an install-time option in Fedora 18.) Also in regards to file systems the ext4 file system should now work with partitions up to 100TB in size. New containers have been added, providing separate sandboxes for services, allowing multiple versions or configurations of the same service to be run. The systemd init system has been improved and now allows processes started at boot time to have their own private temporary (tmp) spaces, providing improved security and isolation. A feature has been added to SELinux which will optionally prevent users from running debugging tools to read the memory of processes. The GNOME packages in Fedora have been updated to GNOME 3.4 and the desktop now supports integrated application menus. The KDE edition comes with a new service called KSecretService, which will allow non-KDE applications to access (with our permission) stored passwords. Additionally Fedora gives pluggable media its own directory with exclusive user access, ensuring the user plugging in removable devices has control over their data. Last, but not least, Fedora has improved support for multi-seat configurations, allowing multiple users to use one computer by attaching additional docking stations.
The live disc weighs in at a little under 700MB and booting from the CD brings us to a KDE 4.8 desktop. The background is decorated with fireworks and a folder view widget sits on the desktop, containing an icon for the system installer. At the bottom of the screen we find the application menu, task switcher and system tray.
Fedora 17 -- The system installer.
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The Fedora installer, Anaconda, hasn't changed a whole lot over the years. It runs us through the usual steps, asking us to confirm our keyboard layout, set a hostname, confirm our time zone and create a password for the root account. In the partitioning section we're given a good deal of options. Anaconda can use free space on the disk, shrink existing partitions and use the resulting space, overwrite an existing install or we can choose to manually set up our partitions. The manual option is fairly well laid out and, again, comes with many options. We can opt to set up RAID or LVM, we can encrypt partitions and we can choose to create new ext2, ext3, ext4 and XFS partitions. The last time I installed Fedora it insisted on having a special BIOS boot partition, and I was pleased to find this is no longer a requirement with Fedora 17. However, the installer does still insist on the root partition being formatted with the ext4 file system. Our last step with Anaconda is to confirm we want to install a boot loader (GRUB 2) and then the system goes to work copying over the required files to the hard drive. The only hiccup I encountered with the install process was when I first started using the live CD I accidentally launched the installer before I was ready and opted to close the installer's window, at which point the system rebooted, rather than just close Anaconda. That surprise reboot aside, the process of testing the live CD and installing Fedora was smooth.
When we boot into Fedora for the first time we're presented with a wizard which asks us to configure a few key points of the system. We are shown licensing information and then asked to create a regular user account. We're then asked to set the current date & time or, alternatively, enable network time syncing. The last screen of the wizard invites us to send a hardware profile to the Fedora project to let the developers know what hardware needs to be supported.
Once the wizard is finished we are shown a pleasant blue graphical login screen. Logging in displays the KDE 4.8 desktop. It's a fairly laid back presentation. There are no pop-ups, no welcome messages, just some icons on the desktop for browsing the file system. The first time I logged in I found the desktop environment to be quite sluggish. Some investigation revealed this lack of performance was caused by a combination of several things happening at once. The operating system was running prelinking, indexing my files & folders, checking for updates and desktop effects were enabled. Once I turned off effects and indexing and gave the updating and prelinking processes a chance to finish, Fedora became quite responsive. This initial sluggishness only happened the first time I logged in and performance remained high as the week progressed.
In Fedora's application menu we find a variety of software, much of it sticking to the KDE theme of the spin. We're provided with the Konqueror web browser, KMail, the Blogilo blogging client, the Konversation IRC client, desktop sharing applications and KTorrent. Network connections are managed by the Network Manager service. The Calligra office suite is available, as are KThesaurus, Amarok for playing music, the k3b disc burner and the Dragon multimedia player. The KDE system settings utility lets us adjust the graphical environment and we are provided with the KDE user documentation. There is a tool for transferring ISO images to USB thumb drives and the usual minor apps for editing text files, managing archives and running simple calculations. The KGpg and Kleopatra privacy tools are included along with a few small games. Fedora comes with a collection of system administration programs for configuring user authentication, managing the system's firewall, enabling/disabling services, managing the clock and handling user accounts. There's no Flash plugin in the default install, nor popular multimedia codecs, nor compiler. Attempting to play a media file would cause the multimedia application to offer to hunt down the proper codecs for us. Sometimes it was successful, but in most cases it came up empty. Fedora's repositories do not include many codecs and no proprietary software, such as Flash. The Fedora documentation suggests we visit third-party repositories to find these items and provides a link to RPMFusion. After enabling the free and non-free RPMFusion repositories (and the Adobe repository) I found the media players were still unable to find the codecs I wanted and I had to manually select the required packages from the distro's package manager. Looking under the hood we find Fedora comes with version 3.3 of the Linux kernel.
A few minutes after logging into my Fedora account a small notification appeared letting me know updated packages were available. The day after Fedora 17 was released there were 93 updates waiting to be applied. The Apper application handles updates, displaying a list of available packages and letting us check off any we do not want. As the week progressed I found all of the Fedora updates (around 160 or so in total) applied quickly and cleanly. Package management is also handled by the Apper application. The manager displays software categories in one large display area and we can click on a category's icon to browse the software present in that category. Items can also be found by searching for them by name. We can queue packages to be added or removed with the click of a button and, when we're ready, all of our actions are processed at once, locking the package manager. I found Apper provided a good front-end for package management. It was fairly responsive and I found its interface to be simple and straight forward. Sometimes Apper was a little slow when refreshing its repository information, but otherwise using it was a positive experience. For users who prefer working from a terminal, Fedora comes with the YUM package manager. I found YUM worked quickly and without any problems. I especially like that the package manager supports delta RPMs, which means when applying updates we only download the pieces of packages which have changed, rather than downloading the entire package again. This greatly reduces the amount of bandwidth used when downloading new versions of packages.
Fedora 17 -- Updating software packages.
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I ran Fedora 17 on my HP laptop (dual-core 2GHz CPU, 3GB of RAM, Intel video card) and observed that it performed well with my hardware. Boot times were good, the desktop was responsive and all of my devices, including my Intel wireless card, were picked up and worked without any problems. Sound worked out of the box and my screen was automatically set to its maximum resolution. Logging in and sitting at the KDE desktop without running any additional applications used approximately 230MB of memory.
During the week I also tried Fedora's latest release in a VirtualBox environment and experienced similar results. The only drawback to using the virtual environment was that the desktop effects, when enabled, slowed down the desktop's responsiveness. When effects were disabled Fedora ran smoothing in the virtual machine.
Most of my impressions of the KDE spin of Fedora's latest release have been positive. The desktop environment is quick and stable, the Apper package manager worked smoothly and quickly. As usual, Fedora's administrative tools were useful and problem free. The admin utilities may not be as pretty as Mageia's or Ubuntu's configuration tools, but they are quite powerful and system administers should feel right at home. The documentation provided is detailed and it's good to see minor improvements to security, such as removable media mounting and new SELinux features. I noticed the problems I'd experienced with the system installer in previous versions, such as stalling and cryptic error messages, were not present in this release and it was good to see the venerable Anaconda receiving some polish.
Fedora 17 -- Adjusting system settings.
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There were a few issues I ran into, not bugs for the most part, but design choices that didn't suit me. As I've mentioned before the Fedora installer doesn't allow users to choose their root file system, something most other distributions (including Sabayon, which also uses the Anaconda installer) support. Getting third-party repositories is a bit more of a run around in Fedora compared to distributions like Mageia, Debian or Ubuntu. However, my big concern with regards to this spin is that in trying to be a pure KDE platform the distribution sacrifices a good deal of functionality to maintain its purity. It is the same concern, really, as I had when running Chakra. Fedora's KDE spin contains applications for most tasks, but they're probably not the applications users will want. Konqueror, Amarok, the Calligra office suite, Dragon Player and KolourPaint all have basic functionality, but not on the same level as Firefox, Rhythmbox, LibreOffice, VLC and the GNU Image Manipulation Program. I realize swapping these applications would taint the KDE spin, but I think the added functionality would be welcome. If memory serves, the other Fedora spins are similarly faithful to their particular desktop environments and I think it would be nice to see a more practical live CD spin, one that was a bit more general purpose and a little less dedicated to one environment.
What my experience this week really boiled down to was I spent a lot of time up front getting Fedora arranged the way I wanted it -- after the initial install, I applied over 90 updates, turned off various effects, disabled indexing and workspace features, tracked down three third-party repositories and spent a few hours downloading all of the pieces of software and codecs I wanted. In short, it's a more involved process than the install-and-go experience I usually have with big name distributions. However, once everything was in place I found Fedora to be a solid, cutting-edge distribution with useful tools, good documentation and an active forum community. The administration tools in particular are quite good, Apper provided a better package management experience than I usually have on RPM-based distributions and the security improvements (as provided by SELinux and systemd) didn't get in the way. It may take a little while to get Fedora 17 to a point where it feels comfortable, but it's a good platform once the furniture is rearranged.
Interviews with PC-BSD and Slackware leaders, the ongoing secure boot saga and the status of multitouch on Linux
PC-BSD, the desktop-oriented operating system based on FreeBSD, is gearing up for a new stable release. Version 9.1 of PC-BSD is currently in development and will come with a number of improvements. Some of the new features will include better ZFS support, including ZFS mirror creation during installation, management of software jails via the graphical interface and a PC-BSD server option which includes PBI utilities. Project leader Kris Moore recently gave an interview with BSDTalk and the podcast can be downloaded from BSDTalk's website.
* * * * *
The developers at Canonical, the commercial entity behind the Ubuntu distribution, have a tendency to experiment. One of their on-going projects is to bring advanced touch interfaces to the Linux desktop, whether those interfaces take the form of touch screens or trackpads. Canonical's project, uTouch, builds on top of the work done by the X.org project to detect and support touch devices. Chase Douglas, a developer with Canonical, suggests, "Soon we will be carrying around multitouch tablets with a traditional Linux desktop or similar foundation. In order to provide a high-quality and rich experience we must fully exploit multitouch gestures. The uTouch stack developed by Canonical aims to provide a foundation for gestures on the Linux desktop." When combined with Canonical's work with Android phones the future looks promising for people who wish to run Linux on their mobile devices.
* * * * *
Last week we linked to a blog post from Matthew Garrett, an employee at Red Hat, who talked about secure boot and how the Fedora team was planning to handle it. As one of the options being explored involves working with Microsoft the reactions which rippled through the Linux community were predictable. In an effort to clear up any misunderstanding Tim Burke, VP of Linux Engineering at Red Hat, has posted a blog of his own addressing the secure boot and signing key issue. The explanation contains some good news, "In the interest of freedom of choice, some users may not want to utilize this secure boot capability. In the UEFI system menu, they are able to disable the feature and things should operate like they do currently." There's some less pleasant news too. Mr Burke also suggests people wishing to "Take Fedora and rebuild custom variants to meet personal interest or experiment in new innovations... can also participate by simply enrolling in the $99 one time fee to license." And he concludes on the hopeful note: "Suffice it to say that Red Hat would not have endorsed this model if we were not comfortable that it is a good-faith initiative."
Up to this point we have heard from Red Hat employees and Fedora developers on the subject of supporting secure boot, but what do developers of distributions derived from Fedora think of the move to support secure booting? Chris Smart, the man behind the Kororaa distribution, summed up his thoughts in an e-mail as, "For me, it's sort of like this: If Fedora does not support secure boot, then neither Fedora nor remixes like Kororaa can boot on computers with secure boot enabled
(that's obvious). If Fedora does support secure boot however, then remixes still can't
boot on computers with secure boot enabled (loosely speaking). So actually, there's isn't really any freedom lost to Kororaa. We couldn't run on secure boot machines anyway, whether Fedora
supported secure boot or not. The only advantage is that Fedora can (and
we could too, if we got a key)." Mr Smart goes on to say, "Kororaa will probably require users to disable secure boot if they want to run version 18, that's at least until we can get a clearer picture of what's happening... I think it's important to realise too, that this only affects brand new computers (and those with secure boot enabled by default) -- that's going
to be a small percentage of the user-base who are installing Linux in
the short to medium term."
* * * * *
Patrick Volkerding is the Founder and Benevolent Dictator For Life of the Slackware project, the oldest surviving Linux distribution. In an
interview with LinuxQuestions.org, Patrick Volkerding
discusses how he got involved with Linux and open source two decades ago. He also goes into the succession plan for Slackware, the Slackware development model, his opinion on the current trends in desktop environments, potentially disruptive changes to Linux such as systemd, his favorite beer and the question he wishes interviewers would ask him. Throughout the interview Mr Volkerding displays his characteristic sense of humour and emphasizes his interest in adopting technologies which work and which solve problems, rather than embracing change for change's sake.
* * * * *
Despite the fact Linux's market share has continued to grow over the years it's not all that often we see desktop machines being shipped with Linux as the default operating system. The Mint team recently partnered with CompuLab to create the mintBox, a small, portable computer specifically designed to work with the Linux Mint distribution. The mintBox is compact and comes with a network port, wireless networking and Bluetooth. The tiny computer features several USB ports (and supports USB 3 connections), HDMI video output, 4GB+ RAM, a 250GB hard drive and a dual-core CPU. According to a blog post from Clement Lefebvre, "Going forward, the mintBox is likely to come pre-installed with Linux Mint 13. Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon is fully functional, with 3D effects, and without the need for ATI drivers on both the mintBox basic and pro models." More details on the mintBox can be found on the Linux Mint website.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
A tale of two projects
Occasionally I get requests to review open source projects and, while I have time to look them over, I find I don't always have enough to say about the experience to warrant a full review. With that in mind this week's column is dedicated to two requests I received to review projects which looked promising. Though both projects appeared to have a lot to offer going in I found my trials to be short and so ended up with two mini-reviews...
About a month ago when I mentioned doing a series of reviews on open source NAS projects one of the requests I received was to try Openfiler, a product which can be downloaded for free and is backed by commercial support. Looking over the website gave an initial positive impression. The website includes a documentation section, a forum, a link to the project's IRC channel and a number of paid support options are showcased. The Openfiler NAS is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit builds with an ISO image that weighs in at about 315MB.
Booting off the CD brings up a menu asking if we'd like to run a graphical installer or a text installer. I opted for the graphical option. Then we're asked if we'd like to perform a media test on our CD. For a brief moment a screen pops up saying "Welcome to rPath Linux" and then the Anaconda installer launches. The version of Anaconda which comes with Openfiler looks to be a few years old and was probably current around the time Fedora Core 6 was launched. Still, despite its apparent age, the installer does a fine job of walking us through the required screens and features helpful tips down the left side of the window.
The installer asks us to choose our keyboard layout, then we can opt between automatic and manual partitioning. Going with the automatic option allows the user to review and edit the installer's choices, providing us with a safe path through the partitioning process. Anaconda supports LVM layouts, RAID, the ext2 and ext3 file systems as well as ReiserFS and XFS. Newer file systems such as ext4 and Btrfs are not in evidence. We can then choose which, if any, network devices are enabled at boot time and manually configure them. We then select our location and time zone and conclude by setting a password for the root account. The whole process was fairly straight forward and the installer copied over the required files quickly.
Booting from the local hard disk brings us to a text screen. We're shown links to the project's forum, commercial support options and license. We're also given a link to connect with the NAS web interface. Openfiler runs a web server on port 446 and allows HTTPS connections only. While at the NAS's terminal we have the option of logging in as the root user.
Earlier I mentioned the version of Anaconda which is used to install Openfiler appears to be several years old. The more we explore the Openfiler system the more we find old, some might say out of date, software. The boot loader is GRUB Legacy, the kernel is version 2.6.26 and is marked as having been compiled using the GNU Compiler Collection version 3.4 back in 2009. Further exploration reveals no common package management tools, no manual pages and no compilers. The nmap port scanner is available as are common GNU command line utilities. Aside from the web server we also find a secure shell server and Sendmail running on the default install.
Switching over to the web interface we're greeted with a login screen. Here we can use the root username/password to login or, if we have created a regular user account from the command line interface, we can alternatively login with another account. Logging into the web interface shows us the current system load at the top of the screen and a list of hyperlinks. These links are for logging out, showing more status information on the NAS, checking for updates and shutting down the NAS. Clicking on the Status and Update links I found didn't produce any effect.
In the middle of the web portal screen we see an alert box warning us our account will expire in 15 days (This warning displays regardless of which account we use to login.) The web interface contains no controls for adding volumes to the NAS, no account management options aside from changing our password, no way to manage services, no detailed status information.... We can bring up a panel which will let us set quota limits on existing volumes, but that appears to be the web portal's only NAS-related feature. A quick look at the screen shots provided on the project's website show menus for performing additional tasks, but these menus didn't appear in my interface, regardless of which web browser I used. Further browsing of the Openfiler website shows there are articles on performing an install of the NAS, but no documents dealing with operating Openfiler post-install. No tutorials are provided for adding or managing volumes. I did find a link to purchase the project's Administrator Guide, which costs 40 Euros to download.
Openfiler 2.3 -- Web interface
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At this point I got the strong impression Openfiler was a zombie, a project which had started off with a nice website and goals of commercial success, but that had faded away a few years ago and no one had bothered to mention it on the website. I did find the community forum to be semi-active and there are announcements about upcoming versions still being posted (though no evidence new stable versions have been released) and there was a notice about the project's bug tracker moving to Launchpad, but following the link shows the Launchpad account doesn't exist. I also noted most of the recent posts were spam. If Openfiler is an active or useful project the developers are doing a very good job of hiding it.
So far in the past two months I've experimented with three open source NAS solutions and, while each had its strong points, each one also had noticeable gaps in its features or functionality. Putting aside Openfiler, where the current stable release is outdated and doesn't appear to do anything (at least not without paying out unusually large sums of money), I previously looked at FreeNAS (a FreeBSD-based option) and OpenMediaVault (a Debian GNU/Linux option). The former was solid and had some nice features and great ZFS support, but I felt it lacked flexibility and its web portal could have been touched up a bit. OpenMediaVault has a great interface and is quite flexible, but I found updating and changing features through the web interface was a hit-or-miss experience. While both are basically good and I'm sure these NAS projects will improve over time, I think there is still room in the open source NAS market for a flexible, secure, user-friendly solution. Working as a developer on NAS operating systems might not have the immediate appeal of creating desktop distributions, but we have hundreds of open source desktop distributions. We have very few NAS solutions and it is a niche which still has room for growth and refinement.
FuguIta (Blowfish Disk) 5.0
I'd now like to talk briefly about another project. One of our readers wrote in and asked if I'd cover one of the live CDs based off the OpenBSD project. The project from their list of suggestions which seemed to be the most promising, that is the one which still appeared to have active developers, was FuguIta. The name, according to the project's website, means "blowfish disk". FuguIta is designed to provide users with a working install of OpenBSD which runs entirely from a CD. Apart from the base OpenBSD platform, FuguIta includes a graphical window manager (IceWM), an e-mail client, web browser and media player.
The downloadable ISO for FuguIta is compressed and about 300MB in size. Once the file has been downloaded and uncompressed it expands to nearly 700MB. I'm sorry to say this is where I hit a wall. I tried booting from the CD in a couple of machines and couldn't get it to progress as far as the configuration screen, a surprise as plain OpenBSD will start on this same equipment. Still, despite my poor luck with the disc, if you can get it to run the documentation and screen shots provided by the FuguIta project look promising. It could be a good way to test the waters of OpenBSD.
|Released Last Week
Snowlinux 2 "Cinnamon"
Lars Torben Kremer has announced the release of Snowlinux 2 "Cinnamon" edition, an Ubuntu-based desktop Linux distribution: "The team is proud to announce the release of Snowlinux 2 'Cream' 'Cinnamon'. Snowlinux 2 'Cream' is based upon the LTS edition Ubuntu 12.04 and is supported for 5 years until April 2017. New features: Linux kernel 3.2; Cinnamon 1.4-UP3; GNOME 3.4; Chromium browser 18; Thunderbird 13 and Firefox 13; Cinnamon themes; terminal colors; open as administrator; open in terminal; better software selection; improved speed and response; new look and feel; system improvements." Read the rest of the release announcement for additional information.
2X OS 7.1
2X Software has announced the release of 2X OS 7.1, a specialist Linux-based operating system for thin clients: "2X Software today announced the release of 2X OS 7.1 featuring a light, straightforward, efficient and visually pleasing Linux operating system offering a variety of connectivity clients including 2X RDP, Citrix ICA, VMware View, VNC and Linux NX and HTML. The new 2X OS v7.1 offers both simple and advanced desktop implementation depending on the user experience, requirements and hardware capacities. The Simple Desktop Manager for compact installations between 1 GB and 1.5 GB enables a full operating system to run on older hardware. This implementation has very little memory usage and is also suitable for very low specification thin clients. The Advanced Desktop Manager features local applications such as a media player, text editor, task manager, calculator and file manager." See the press release for further details.
Sabayon Linux 9
Fabio Erculiani has announced the release of Sabayon Linux 9, a Gentoo-based distribution for desktops and servers: "We're once again here to announce the immediate availability of Sabayon 9 in all of its tier 1 flavours. If you really enjoyed Sabayon 8, this is just another step towards world domination. There you have it, shining at full bright, for your home computer, your laptop and your home server. Linux kernel 3.4, GNOME 3.2.3, KDE 4.8.3, Xfce 4.10, LibreOffice 3.5.3 are just some of the things you will find inside the box. Gentoo Hardened features, Rigo -- a new way of browsing applications, ZFS tech-preview, and PAE kernel for x86 editions." Here is the full release announcement.
SystemRescueCd 2.8.0, a Gentoo-based live CD with specialist utilities for data rescue and disk management tasks, has been released. What's new? "Updated standard kernels to long-term supported Linux 3.2.19 (rescuecd + rescue64); updated alternative kernels to latest stable Linux 3.4.2 (altker32 + altker64); fixed USB installer script for Linux: usb_inst.sh; updated GPT fdisk to 0.8.5 (fdisk utility for GPT partition tables); updated FSArchiver to 0.6.15 to support recent features in Btrfs and ext4 file systems; updated firmware files in the initramfs from Linux firmware 20120502; Updated DBAN to 2.2.6 (hard drive disk wipe and data clearing program); updated GRUB 2 bootloader to 2.00beta6 (GRUB 0.97 is also provided); updated list of kernel modules to put in the initramfs (storage and network); do not attempt to find sysrcd.dat on extended partitions." Here is the complete changelog.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
DistroWatch database summary|
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 18 June 2012. To contact the authors please send email to:
- Jesse Smith (feedback, questions and suggestions: distribution reviews, questions and answers, tips and tricks)
- Ladislav Bodnar (feedback, questions, suggestions and corrections: news, donations, distribution submissions, comments)
- Bruce Patterson (feedback and suggestions: podcast edition)
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
(Tips this week: 0, value: US$0.00)
|Linux Foundation Training
|• 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 126.96.36.199, 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|
|• 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|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
Slax is a minimalist desktop live CD based on Debian's "stable" branch. It boots into a simple desktop using the Fluxbox window manager which offers a small collection of applications, including the Chromium web browser, a text editor and a calculator. Prior to version 9.x, Slax was a Slackware-based live CD featuring the KDE desktop and a wide collection of pre-installed software for daily use together with useful recovery tools for system administrators.