| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 514, 1 July 2013
Welcome to this year's 26th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Peppermint OS is an interesting distribution that combines the light nature of Lubuntu with user-friendly additions from Linux Mint, and it even adds a handful of cloud-released features. The recently-released version Four is the culmination of the project's three years of hard work; DistroWatch's Jesse Smith takes a look at the achievements. In the news section, Fedora developers give "Schrödinger's Cat" a green light for release on Tuesday and Ubuntu continues to integrate the Mir display server into the upcoming release of its flagship distribution, although Kubuntu and Lubuntu leaders resist the switch. Also in this issue, a brief roundup of Mandriva forks and their current states, an interview with ThinkPenguin's Christopher Waid about "libre" hardware, and the usual regular sections, including an introduction to a useful Lubuntu-based distribution called LXLE. Happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (21MB) and MP3 (38MB) formats
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
First look at Peppermint OS Four
Peppermint OS is a project based on Lubuntu with sprinklings of Linux Mint tossed into the mix. The Peppermint project attempts to create a user friendly, fast and lightweight distribution. The project is focused on bringing web applications and services to the desktop without relying exclusively on Internet connectivity for basic functions. This makes Peppermint a bit of a hybrid, mixing the traditional desktop platform with cloud services. While Peppermint ships with a minimalist collection of packages and a LXDE desktop the project offers several software bundles to allow users to build a fully featured operating system using the Peppermint base. The latest release of Peppermint, version 4, is based on Lubuntu 13.04 and is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit builds.
The Peppermint OS ISO image is approximately 590 MB in size. Booting from this media we are presented with a menu asking if we would like to run Peppermint's live desktop from the disc, install the distribution or check the integrity of the media. I decided to try the live environment first and the distribution quickly brought me to a LXDE desktop. The background was a pepperminty red and the application menu and task switcher sat at the bottom of the display. On the desktop was a single icon for launching the system installer. After confirming the system was running smoothly I launched the installer. One of the first pages of the installer asks if we would like to add third-party software (such as Flash) and whether we want to fetch security updates during installation. I opted to grab third-party software and tried to proceed to the next page.
At this point the installer locked up and would neither proceed, nor quit. I rebooted the machine and chose to launch the system installer directly from Peppermint's boot menu. Once again I tried to fetch updates and third-party software during the installation and, again, the installer froze. The third time I booted from the Peppermint disc I decided to run the installer without downloading any addition packages. This time the installer proceeded smoothly. Peppermint uses the Ubuntu system installer and it does a nice job of walking us through disk partitioning, confirming our time zone and creating a user account. The installer completed its work quickly and, upon rebooting the computer, I was brought to a simple graphical login screen powered by Peppermint.
Peppermint OS Four - system installer and default desktop
(full image size: 416kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
Back at the LXDE desktop again one of the first things to catch my attention was that Peppermint ships with a few desktop visual effects turned on. Nothing flashy, just little things like shadowing windows that are not active. It gives the desktop a more dynamic appearance. A minute later a notification appeared letting me know software updates were available in the project's repositories. Peppermint uses a small, graphical application for managing updates. It's a simple tool which shows us a list of packages which can be downloaded. We select which ones we want from the list (the default is to download them all) and then the updater goes to work. The first day I ran Peppermint there were approximately 40 MB of updates waiting and only a few more trickled in during the week. I found the updates downloaded and installed cleanly and I ran into no problems during the week. One thing I did find interesting was that Flash was one of the available updates and, as previously mentioned, I hadn't opted to download Flash or codecs during my successful installation of Peppermint. A quick check showed that Flash and multimedia codecs were installed on the system by default, whether we specifically ask for them or not.
Peppermint OS Four comes with two graphical package managers, Synaptic and Software Manager. The former is a fast, venerable package manager which encourages us to deal with software on the individual package level and allows us to manipulate packages in batches. Software Manager has more of a web interface feel to it. We navigate applications using big, bright icons and clicking on a program brings up a detailed description of the software. We can see screen shots of the software and read user reviews on applications. Installing or removing a program is initiated by a single click and actions are processed in the background while we continue to use Software Manager. Both graphical front ends worked well for me and they provide users with a remarkable 40,000 packages.
One feature I was happy to find is that Software Manager gives us access to Peppermint bundles. These bundles are meta packages of software that allow us to grab several popular applications with a single click. For instance, one of the bundles, Office, contains LibreOffice and document manipulation software. There is an Entertainment bundle for games and educational programs and there is a Development bundle with software creation utilities and libraries. There are additional bundles, each with a particular theme. These bundles are a small matter, but I like that they exist. It shows that while the developers try to maintain a small distro with a small ISO they are supportive of users building more complex desktop systems and are making the process easier for people.
Peppermint OS Four - two package managers
(full image size: 270kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
While Peppermint OS Four comes with a fairly small collection of software by default we do start off with a handful of useful tools. In the application menu we find the Chromium web browser, the Transmission BitTorrent client, the XChat IRC client and the Dropbox file synchronization tool. We're given a document viewer, a GNOME front end to MPlayer, a text editor and an archive manager. Peppermint comes with a file manager, virtual calculator and a utility for adding and removing user accounts. There are links to web-based services, including Google Drive, Google Calendar, a simple image editor and several games. There are also links to Peppermint's user manual and user forum. To help us get on-line Network Manager is provided. In addition the distribution comes with Flash, popular multimedia codecs and the GNU Compiler Collection. In the background we find the Linux kernel, version 3.8. All of these programs worked well for me and I encountered no problems with the included software (and on-line services) during the week.
I'd like to mention two Peppermint OS features called Site Specific Browsers (SSBs) and Ice. An SSB basically allows the user to open a web-based application on their desktop and treat it like a locally installed program. An SSB is a little like a web browser tab, but without all of the web browser's controls and menus, making for a cleaner, less cluttered interface. This gives the illusion the web app is really just another application running on the desktop. Ice is a utility which allows us to create new SSBs and integrate them into Peppermint's application menu. We provide Ice with a web app's address and give it a nickname. The website's icon then appears in the application menu and we can launch it the same way we would any other application. If you have a fast Internet connection the combination of Ice and SSBs makes remote services look and act almost like local services, just with a slightly longer load time.
I ran Peppermint on a laptop machine (dual-core 2 GHz CPU, 4 GB of RAM, Intel video card, Intel wireless card) and in a virtual machine powered by VirtualBox. I found the distribution ran smoothly on the laptop. My screen was set to its maximum resolution, sound worked out of the box and wireless networking functioned without any problems. The distribution booted quickly and performance was excellent. The LXDE desktop, even with visual effects enabled, was light and responsive. The lightweight distribution only used approximately 100 MB of RAM while sitting idle at the desktop. While running Peppermint inside VirtualBox I had the same experience, everything ran smoothly and quickly. It felt good to find a distribution which is both light on resources and also looks good. Many projects trade eye candy and user friendly tools for performance and I like that Peppermint manages to provide both.
Peppermint OS Four - web applications and local programs working side-by-side
(full image size: 245kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
It's not easy to sell me on the idea of a web-focused or hybrid operating system. I tend to resist hitching my work flow to cloud-based solutions for three reasons. The first is reliability. The region in which I live is not known for its network stability and it is not uncommon to be knocked off-line. As a result anything considered important doesn't get stored remotely. The second issue is performance. There are many scenarios in which cloud computing and remote storage make sense, but a desktop application usually isn't one of them. Launching and running a web app on the desktop is almost always going to be slower than running local applications. The final reason is control. Cloud-based applications are ideal for system administrators because it allows for software to be patched in one central location and updates don't have to be applied to every workstation. The flip side to that is if I, as a user, prefer version 2 of a program over 3 then staying with version 2 isn't usually an option when using web apps. But it is an option when running local programs, we have that control and flexibility when working with locally installed software.
I mention my resistance to cloud solutions because I want to be clear that, going into this review, I was biased against what Peppermint was trying to do. Mixing local apps with web apps and putting them more or less on equal footing does not appeal to me. That being said, while Peppermint didn't sell me on cloud-based solutions, I am impressed with the work the developers have done. Peppermint is a very responsive, lightweight distribution which loads and runs quickly. The LXDE interface provides a good mixture of features and performance and Peppermint has a nice, clean feel to it. It's fairly easy to get Peppermint up and running, I like having two package managers, one friendly manager for new users and Synaptic for performance and flexibility. The desktop configuration tools are simple and straight forward. The Ice utility is helpful and makes setting up menu short-cuts to web-based solutions easy. I may not be on board with moving my work flow to the cloud, but for people interested in moving in that direction Peppermint is certainly the best cloud-focused platform I've used to date.
I feel it is also worth acknowledging that Peppermint doesn't need to be set up as a web-focused operating system. The distribution's small footprint and its software bundles make it easy to set up Peppermint to be used as a desktop/laptop operating system. I would imagine it would be ideal for low-resource equipment which might otherwise be facing retirement. That's what I really like about Peppermint, it might be a gateway to the cloud, but it isn't really reliant on the cloud the way some new operating systems are. This is a strong point in Peppermint's favour when compared with other cloud-focused solutions.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
Green light for Fedora 19, Kubuntu and Lubuntu display server decisions, Ubuntu's Mir plans, Mandriva forks roundup
Good news for those users who are eagerly awaiting the brand-new release of Fedora 19. After so many disappointments of delayed Fedora final releases, this time it's a "go": "At the Fedora 19 final go/no-go meeting that just occurred, it was agreed to go with the Fedora 19 by Fedora QA, development, release engineering and FPM. Fedora 19 will be publicly available on Tuesday, July 2, 2013. Thank you everyone for heroic effort on this release!" For those wishing to upgrade from Fedora 18, be aware of the distribution's well publicised switch from MySQL to MariaDB. Fedora Infrastructure Lead Kevin Fenzi shares his upgrade experience: "After rebooting I was hard pressed to find any problems, but finally did manage to find one: all my MySQL-using applications were no longer able to connect to the database. Digging into logs showed me that it was a password format change between the old Fedora 18 MySQL and new Fedora 19 MariaDB. I simply had to go in and set the passwords for those users again and it updated to the new hash setup and started working. Not sure if this is something that could be fixed in a MariaDB update or noted in release notes, but it's easy enough to fix up. So far that's it. Everything else is working just fine, no problems at all. I think Fedora 19 is going to be a very good release, hope everyone enjoys it."
Fedora 19 - the default GNOME desktop
(full image size: 1,477kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
* * * * *
The Ubuntu project's (yet another) controversial decision, the incorporation of the Mir display server into the main distribution, has incited a small rebellion within several of the official Ubuntu derivatives. First it was Kubuntu's Jonathan Riddell who announced last week that Kubuntu won't be switching to Mir or XMir: "A few months ago Canonical announced their new graphics system for Ubuntu, Mir. It's a shame the Linux desktop market hasn't taken off as we all hoped at the turn of the millennium and they feel the need to follow a more Apple or Android style of approach making an OS which works in isolation rather than as part of a community development method. Here at Kubuntu we still want to work as part of the community development, taking the fine software from KDE and other upstream projects and putting it on computers worldwide. So when Ubuntu desktop gets switched to Mir we won't be following. We'll be staying with X on the images for our 13.10 release now in development and the 14.04 LTS release next year. After that we hope to switch to Wayland which is what KDE and every other Linux distro hopes to do." Similarly, Lubuntu's Julien Lavergne has also distanced himself from Mir, at least for the next two stable releases.
* * * * *
In the meantime, the Ubuntu developers continue to work on the integration of Mir as the default graphics subsystem in Ubuntu 13.10. Last week Community Manager Jono Bacon clarified the distribution's Mir plans: "As many of you are probably aware, we are working on the Mir display server that is designed to provide a fast, efficient, and extensible display server across phone, tablet, desktop, and TV. Our ultimate goal is a fully converged Unity 8 running on top of Mir ready for the next LTS time frame, and in 13.10 we plan on making our first step in that direction. For 13.10 we plan on delivering Mir by default in Ubuntu Desktop with XMir (an implementation of X running on Mir) and our current Unity 7 code base (the same Unity code base that is currently in the 'Saucy' development release). This will be enabled for graphics hardware with Open Source drivers supported by Mir (primarily Intel, Nouveau and Radeon). For binary graphics drivers (e.g. many NVIDIA and ATI cards) that don't support Mir yet, we will fallback to the normal X server that we usually ship. This will mean that all users are well served in Ubuntu 13.10 and everyone will get the standard Unity 7 experience with feature parity with X (e.g. multi-monitor support). This fallback will be removed for Ubuntu 14.04."
* * * * *
Mandriva Linux, once the most popular desktop Linux distribution by some distance, has probably disappeared from most users' hard disks in recent years. Still, many of the project's open-source by-products, such as the Mandriva Control Centre, the urpmi package manager or the msec security utility, continue to live in other distributions that were recently forked or derived from Mandriva. But which of them would the best replacement? Datamation's Matt Hartley has written a brief comparative review of Mageia, PCLinuxOS and OpenMandriva to help Mandriva fans decide. The conclusion? "In this article I shared some history about Mandriva and the forked distributions inspired by it. After understanding a bit more about these Mandriva forks, I then explained the differences between these distros by comparing the benefits of PCLinuxOS's rolling release model and how Mageia has the mainline Mandriva-style upgrade approach. The big takeaway is that the two distributions worth checking out are quite different despite both being descended from Mandriva. I remain convinced that for those seeking stability, PCLinuxOS is where it's at and those who want a more cutting edge experience will be happy with Mageia. I remain unclear as to where OpenMandriva will fit into all of this. After all, it's brand new, and unless it offers something drastically different from Mageia, I honestly don't see why anyone is going to bother with it."
|Interview (by Jesse Smith)
Libre hardware for libre software
Following my review of Trisquel GNU/Linux 6.0 two weeks ago there were several comments posted with regards to finding suitable hardware for free software operating systems. It can be difficult to find hardware that will work without relying on non-free drivers or binary blobs. Even if a distribution certifies a particular model of computer that doesn't guarantee the equipment is supported by free drivers. A desktop that has been certified to work may still rely on proprietary drivers. To make matters more complicated the same model of laptop can ship with different network or video cards. This makes it difficult to know what equipment will not only work with Linux, but will also continue to work following a kernel upgrade.
Over the years a few companies have stepped forward to offer solutions. System76, for instance, has made a business out of bundling equipment with the Ubuntu operating system. Which is great if you like Ubuntu, but what if we want something that is devoted strictly to free software, regardless of which operating system we are running? In that case ThinkPenguin has us covered. The ThinkPenguin website states: "Our products are freedom-compatible, meaning they will work with just about any free software operating system. This is made possible by selling products with free software compatible chipsets. Free software is a set of principles that ensure end-users retain full control over their computer. Free software can be used, studied, and modified without restriction." The founder and CEO of ThinkPenguin, Christopher Waid, kindly agreed to talk with us about how ThinkPenguin got started, free software and the challenges facing people questing for solutions which respect their rights.
* * * * *
DW: To start, would you please share how ThinkPenguin came about? What was the company's genesis?
The story starts off with an internship I did for a desktop distribution in 2005. This distribution was trying to bring desktop GNU/Linux to the masses. While working for them I realized that it had no chance of success without there being a complete solution for consumers. While the distribution itself largely worked well, the lack of hardware support was a major problem. The first bad idea the company implemented to solve this problem was to include every possible driver and create a hardware database that users could use to purchase compatible hardware. One of the problems with this approach is that proprietary drivers and compatibility layers don't work. While things often appear to work at first, they inevitably break. With every update there is a significant chance of failure. All it takes for the hardware to stop working is for the company supporting it to stop. This most often happens when a product is discontinued and given how often hardware manufacturers discontinue hardware it creates a nightmare scenario for most users.
Keeping it simple that means a user who purchases a "Linux compatible" device from a hardware database is taking a risk that their device will 1. not work from the start or 2. may not work in the next release. With releases for most distributions ranging from six months to two years it becomes a financially unfeasible solution for most people as they would be forced to purchase a new computer/component as often as every six months.
Now there are other problems with hardware databases for other reasons. These impact users of 100% free distributions like Trisquel and Parabola
GNU/Linux too. Model numbers that identify a piece of hardware don't necessarily match a specific set of components or chipset(s). That means that a model which shipped and worked yesterday might not actually be the same product that is shipping today. A different product means it may not have support for free software or it may not have support for GNU/Linux, period.
In 2007/2008 I graduated with a Computer Science degree and had to make a decision. That decision was to take a job at a company my gut said would ultimately fail (I had predicted 6 - 12 months) or start a company where I might have the opportunity to fix the underlying problems. I chose the latter and that's how ThinkPenguin got started.
DW: As I understand it ThinkPenguin doesn't only sell hardware which works with Linux, but also takes care to make sure the hardware can be used with the Linux-libre kernel which contains no binary blobs. Does this have a large impact on which hardware you can run, or are binary blobs only required for a small number of devices?
Binary blobs and proprietary software are everywhere. The problems created by binary blobs and proprietary software are the leading reasons people seek us out. They've come to the same conclusion we have and most of these users are not on a 100% free distribution or even aware of what free software is or means. They're on distributions which include lots of proprietary components. While in theory they should have better hardware support the reality is that it creates more headaches than it's worth. There is one thing I'd like to see from the community. More demand for GNU/Linux distributions to remove these components and find better solutions to the problems. Whether it's non-free Java, Flash, or a driver issue we need to start thinking bigger.
Let's develop companies to replace the major sites that rely on these components. The more people who refuse to use them the harder it gets for companies who don't care about GNU/Linux or free software. I'm not going to tell anybody they can't install non-free software although I will encourage them to avoid it at all costs. I'm not perfect, ThinkPenguin isn't perfect, and neither is any free software advocate. All systems today ship with at least some non-free pieces. Fortunately there has been some progress made in getting rid of the binary blobs in major distributions. Debian
's latest release does not ship with binary blobs and I believe openSUSE
doesn't either. Even though neither distribution meets the Free Software Foundation guidelines these actions are still highly commendable.
DW: I understand ThinkPenguin sponsors the Trisquel project. Do you ship systems with Trisquel pre-installed on your computers?
For better or worse most users are not ready to completely ditch non-free software. They're just getting into GNU/Linux and are dependent on some non-free components. They may not have the money or the time to replace hardware that is hostile to users' freedoms. This prevents us from defaulting to a completely free distribution such as Trisquel on the main site. However, we do encourage sites advocating free software to link to libre.thinkpenguin.com
as this site will not show compatibility or support information for distributions that include non-free software. If you are on a distribution which includes non-free software we would also suggest removing such components. You may find that you're not as dependent on them as you thought. Trisquel receives 25% of the profits through this URL too.
The reason we contribute significantly to Trisquel is because it is one of the few 100% free distributions that are relatively easy to use. We also work with other distributions and projects that are centered around free software although not necessarily compliant with strict Free Software Foundation's standards. There are a lot of distributions developing 100% free software for example that include third party non-free components.
DW: Some hardware makers don't provide open-source drivers or even specifications for driver developers to use. Have you had any success getting hardware makers to open up their documentation or contribute free drivers?
Absolutely. There had been no modern free software friendly USB N adapters until recently. Thanks to the cooperation of the free software community, Atheros and others we were able to release two new USB N adapters
DW: Why do you think some hardware makers still do not support Linux? Is it simply a market share issue or are they afraid of losing a competitive edge, or is it an inertia problem?
CW: Proper support for GNU/Linux takes a lot of work that many companies aren't willing to commit to a change in their business strategies. They see GNU/Linux merely as a feature on their marketing checklist. More companies and projects need to add software freedom to their list of requirements for the situation to change. Companies need to see "supporting" GNU/Linux as being more than just a public relations stunt. Right now there are a number of companies who release some code for certain components. Unfortunately they continue to fail at coming up with a real solution to the problem. They do things like wrap binary components inside a free driver. That's not acceptable. It's not good enough.
DW: Is there anything the community can do to help to encourage device markers to support open source operating systems?
Users need to demand free software compatibility and not just ask for Linux or "open source". This tells companies they can get away with pulling a public relations stunt. And we don't want that. We want real change. Real support. Hardware and software that really work. Demand Respect Your Freedom certification
. This ensures that 100% of the code is released and that there will be no problems getting support down the line. Even after the product is discontinued the community can continue to develop and support it.
DW: ThinkPenguin is based in the USA, do you ship internationally?
CW: We are based out of the United States (New Jersey) with some operations in the UK. Customers can purchase most of the items in our catalog from either our UK warehouse or the United States. We ship laptops and desktops from the United States internationally via DHL and USPS Express Mail (depending on the destination).
DW: At the moment your products appear to be focused on the desktop/laptop market. Are there any plans to get into the server, mobile or NAS business?
CW: We are committed to fixing issues that hold people back from adopting GNU/Linux on the desktop and laptop.
Our thanks to Mr Waid for his time and ongoing work in bringing libre solutions to the world.
|Released Last Week
Dalton Miller has announced the availability of Bridge Linux 2013.06, an Arch-based Linux distribution available in four separate flavours (with Xfce, GNOME, KDE and LXDE desktops) and now also featuring Pacaur, a simple and powerful package management wrapper for Arch Linux packages: "Announcing Bridge Linux 2013.06. This update was mostly just a re-package, but there were a few changes still. Update overview: switched from Packer to Pacaur (don't worry, it's aliased in ~/.bashrc for a while); removed LXMed due to Java dependency; switched to official font packages, no more recompiling the AUR version." Here is the brief release announcement.
Dick MacInnis has announced the release of DreamStudio 12.04.3, the latest update of the project's Ubuntu-based distribution with a collection of applications for music production, video editing and graphics design: "We're proud to announce the official release of DreamStudio Unity 12.04.3. Now with over 100,000 downloads, our latest release makes this the best open source software suite for graphics, audio, and especially video editing. Here are some of the latest features: the long-awaited Lightworks for Linux beta is included in a special 64-bit installation ISO image; CinePaint 1.0; Ardour 3.2 includes not only MIDI recording, editing, and plugins, but also a new video track; Cinelerra 4.4 - the original professional-grade editing and compositing software for Linux; SlowMoVideo 0.3 - the latest version of this excellent software no longer requires NVIDIA hardware and makes incredibly fluid videos...." Continue to the full release announcement for more features.
Klaus Knopper has announced the release of KNOPPIX 7.2.0, a new version of the Debian-based live CD/DVD with LXDE as the default desktop. What's new? "Version 7.2.0 of KNOPPIX is based on the usual picks from Debian stable ('Wheezy') and newer desktop packages from Debian testing ('Jessie') and Debian unstable. It uses the Linux kernel 3.9.6 and X.Org 7.7 (X.Org Server 1.12.4) for supporting current computer hardware; optional 64-bit kernel via the 'knoppix64' boot option, supporting systems with more than 4 GB of RAM and chroot to 64-bit installations for system rescue tasks; LibreOffice 4.0.3, GIMP 2.8, Chromium 27.0.1453.110 and Iceweasel 21.0 with AdBlock Plus 2.2.4 and NoScript 220.127.116.11; LXDE (default) with the PCManFM 1.1 file manager, KDE 4.8.4, GNOME 3.4.2; WINE 1.5 for integration of Windows-based programs; VirtualBox 4.2.10...." Read the detailed release notes for more information.
KNOPPIX 7.2.0 - a brand-new release of the Debian-based live CD/DVD with LXDE as the default desktop
(full image size: 1,054kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Eric Turgeon has announced the release of GhostBSD 3.1, an updated version of the project's desktop-oriented operating system based on FreeBSD, with a choice of GNOME 2, LXDE and Openbox desktop user interfaces: "GhostBSD 3.1 is now available. This release is a respin of 3.0, including many bug fixes. GhostBSD 3.1 does not include any updated package or new features; it only fixes issues that some users have found. Changes: update FreeBSD 9.1 to FreeBSD 9.1-p4; improvements in the X.Org auto-configuration; the NVIDIA drivers have bean removed to fix issues with older cards; numerous bug fixes to GhostBSD-related utilities; Openbox and LXDE amd64 ISO images fit on CD again; the package manager and pkg_add are functional again." Here is the brief release announcement.
Jean-Michel Philippe has announced the release of DoudouLinux 2.0, a major new release of the project's Debian-based distribution designed for children between 2 - 12 years of age: "We are very pleased to announce the release of DoudouLinux 2.0, with many long-awaited new features. Now you can discover for yourself, all the great new features of this major version of DoudouLinux. We believe this is an important release: all of the advanced activities have been deeply redesigned; the DoudouLinux graphic design has been replaced with a less 'baby-looking' environment; better Internet experience thanks to new user privacy tools; easier localization (new tools to set language, keyboard layout, date, time and time zone); around 30 new applications to draw, learn music, have fun; now available in 43 languages instead of 28 formerly; a totally new, real installer to install DoudouLinux on dedicated computers." Read the release announcement and visit the what's new page to find out more.
DoudouLinux 2.0 - an Ubuntu-based distribution from small children
(full image size: 299kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to database|
* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list
- Sonar GNU/Linux. Sonar GNU/Linux is an Ubuntu-based distribution with pre-configured accessibility software. It is designed for users with disabilities that might affect their interaction with personal computers.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 8 July 2013. 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 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|
|• Issue 724 (2017-08-07): SwagArch 2017.06, Myths about Unity, Mir and Ubuntu Touch, Manjaro OpenRC becomes its own distro, Debian debates future of live ISOs|
|• Issue 723 (2017-07-31): UBOS 11, transferring packages between systems, Ubuntu MATE's HUD, GNUstep releases first update in seven years|
|• Issue 722 (2017-07-24): Calculate Linux 17.6, logging sudo usage, Remix OS discontinued, interview with Chris Lamb, Debian 9.1 released|
|• Issue 721 (2017-07-17): Fedora 26, finding source based distributions, installing DragonFly BSD using Orca, Yunit packages ported to Ubuntu 16.04|
|• Issue 720 (2017-07-10): Peppermint OS 8, gathering system information with osquery, new features coming to openSUSE, Tails fixes networking bug|
|• Issue 719 (2017-07-03): Manjaro 17.0.2, tracking ISO files, Ubuntu MATE unveils new features, Qubes tests Admin API, Fedora's Atomic Host gets new life cycle|
|• Issue 718 (2017-06-26): Debian 9, support for older hardware, Debian updates live media, Ubuntu's new networking tool, openSUSE gains MP3 support|
|• Issue 717 (2017-06-19): SharkLinux, combining commands in the shell, Debian 9 flavours released, OpenBSD improving kernel security, UBports releases first OTA update|
|• Issue 716 (2017-06-12): Slackel 7.0, Ubuntu working with GNOME on HiDPI, openSUSE 42.3 using rolling development model, exploring kernel blobs|
|• Issue 715 (2017-06-05): Devuan 1.0.0, answering questions on systemd, Linux Mint plans 18.2 beta, Yunit/Unity 8 ported to Debian|
|• Issue 714 (2017-05-29): Void, enabling Wake-on-LAN, Solus packages KDE, Debian 9 release date, Ubuntu automated bug reports|
|• Issue 713 (2017-05-22): ROSA Fresh R9, Fedora's new networking features, FreeBSD's Quarterly Report, UBports opens app store, Parsix to shut down, SELinux overview|
|• Issue 712 (2017-05-15): NixOS 17.03, Alpha Litebook running elementary OS, Canonical considers going public, Solus improves Bluetooth support|
|• Issue 711 (2017-05-08): 4MLinux 21.0, checking file system fragmentation, new Mint and Haiku features, pfSense roadmap, OpenBSD offers first syspatch updates|
|• Issue 710 (2017-05-01): TrueOS 2017-02-22, Debian ported to RISC-V, Halium to unify mobile GNU/Linux, Anbox runs Android apps on GNU/Linux, using ZFS on the root file system|
|• Issue 709 (2017-04-24): Ubuntu 17.04, Korora testing new software manager, Ubuntu migrates to Wayland, running Nix package manager on alternative distributions|
|• Issue 708 (2017-04-17): Maui Linux 17.03, Snaps run on Fedora, Void adopts Flatpak, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, Debian elects Project Leader|
|• Issue 707 (2017-04-10): PCLinuxOS 2017.03, Canonical stops Unity development, OpenBSD on a Raspberry Pi, setting up a VPN for privacy|
|• Issue 706 (2017-04-03): Super Grub2 Disk, Snap packages of deepin applications, Subgraph OS routes network traffic for one application, announcements from Linux Mint|
|• Issue 705 (2017-03-27): Minimal Linux Live, sharing control of the operating system, new KaOS features, Uplos32 provides 32-bit fork of PCLinuxOS|
|• Issue 704 (2017-03-20): ToarusOS 1.0.4, Linux Mint's security record, Debian starts Project Leader election, Ubuntu 12.04 reaches end-of-life|
|• Issue 703 (2017-03-13): SolydXK 201701, CloudReady, Solus announces new features, KDE Connect sends text messages from desktop, openSUSE's YaST module for Let's Encrypt|
|• Issue 702 (2017-03-06): Fatdog64 Linux, elementary OS bundled with new netbook, Haiku announces new features, security and the size of a distro's development team|
|• Issue 701 (2017-02-27): OBRevenge 2017.02, Mageia 6 delays, NetBSD reproducible builds, questions about swap space, trying to steam video on a Raspberry Pi|
|• Issue 700 (2017-02-20): RaspBSD, Debian replaces Icedove with Thunderbird, Fedora's licensing guidlines, tips for switching shells, finding battery charge, getting IP address and killing processes|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
Snowlinux was a set of Linux distributions based on Debian's latest stable release and featuring four different desktop environments - GNOME, KDE, LXDE and Xfce. It aims to be user-friendly, incorporating many useful tweaks and carefully selected software applications. The project also develops a separate, Ubuntu-based edition featuring the MATE (a GNOME 2 fork) desktop.