| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 541, 13 January 2014
Welcome to this year's 2nd issue of DistroWatch Weekly! This week kicks off with tales of cooperation in the open source community. Many people tend to view for-profit organizations and open source community projects as being at odds, yet often times they co-exist nicely and even compliment each other. This week brings us a series of examples, such as Red Hat choosing to sponsor the CentOS project. We also learn about Ubuntu improving its support for the increasingly popular nginx web server and the Debian project begins work on documenting Valve's SteamOS. Not all the news from this past week was positive as we learn openSUSE's user forums are off-line following a security breach. Be sure to get the details below. This week we continue our series on distributions suitable for home servers, exploring the capabilities of openSUSE and Zentyal. We also discuss a new learning resource for people wishing to become Linux system administrators. As usual, we cover the releases from the past week and look ahead to exciting developments to come. We wish you all a wonderful week and happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (22MB) and MP3 (37MB) formats
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Server showdown (part 2)
Last week we began a series of reviews that focus on distributions which can be used to run home and small office servers. Each of these distributions was installed in a virtual machine, given one CPU, 1GB of RAM and a network connection. Each distribution in the trial was set up to provide three services: act as a network file sharing platform via Samba, act as a backup server using OpenSSH and host a WordPress blog. The distributions are then evaluated based on how easy they are to install, how hard it is to get these services up and running, how efficiently the distribution performs, how stable it is, the quality of the project's documentation and the platform's support for advanced file systems. Last week we covered SME Server and Superb Mini Server. This week we will be taking a look at openSUSE and Zentyal, starting with the former.
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The openSUSE distribution has been around in one form or another for many years. The project is well known for its powerful system administration utilities provided through the YaST control panel. The distribution has one of the more flexible (and friendly) system installers available in the Linux community. The current release of openSUSE, version 13.1, is available in several editions. Most of the editions are desktop oriented, but there is an installation DVD that gives us more fine-tuned control over what gets installed on our computer and the role openSUSE will play. The current release of openSUSE comes with three years of security updates and support.
With openSUSE I faced an interesting choice that was not available with the other projects I looked at during this series on servers. The other projects typically had one edition, a one-size-fits-all approach. With openSUSE we have the choice of whether to install a plain, command line only "Minimal Server" or we can install a desktop environment. The latter choice means we will have a friendly interface and nice point-n-click administration tools. Going with the minimal install means starting off with a less friendly environment, but it gives us more control over what gets installed on our operating system and we reap the benefits of a leaner, more efficient system. I mentally flipped a coin and decided to go for the Minimal Server option. During the course of the review, please keep in mind I took the slightly less attractive road in deference to performance.
The openSUSE DVD is 4.1 GB in size. Booting from this disc brings up a graphical menu which allows us to check the install media's integrity, test our machine's firmware, perform a health check on our system's memory, begin a rescue of an existing operating system or kick off the installation of a fresh system. Taking the option to launch the system installer brings up a graphical application. We are then walked through selecting our preferred language from a drop-down list and confirming our keyboard's layout. We are shown the project's license agreement too on this first page. The next screen asks if we are performing a fresh installation or if we would like to upgrade an existing copy of openSUSE. We are given the chance to manually add third-party package repositories to the system's list of software sources and then we can select our time zone from a map of the world. The following screen lets us choose which desktop environment (if any) to install with the options including KDE, GNOME, Xfce, LXDE or just the X display server.
As mentioned above, I opted for just the plain command line interface. Partitioning the hard drive comes next. Here we can allow the installer to divide up the disk for us or we can manually slice up our hard drive. The guided option allows us to supply suggestions, such as whether to use LVM or Btrfs and whether to include a separate /home partition for user data. I decided to make use of Btrfs. The next screen asks us to create a user account and, if we wish, to give this user account administrative access to the system via sudo. The final screen shows us all of the actions the installer plans to take and lets us further customize the installation or jump back to a previous screen to make changes. The confirmation screen has some more advanced options available, such as whether to enable secure shell or enable the firewall. Once I gave the installer permission to proceed, formatting the hard drive and copying necessary files took a mere ten minutes, after which I was asked to reboot the computer.
The first time we boot into openSUSE we are told the system needs to auto-configure itself. We watch a few progress bars grow and then we are dropped to a text console and login prompt. Right away I noticed a few things about this bare bones version of openSUSE. One is that the operating system, prior to hosting any services, requires a mere 20 MB of memory. Even once I added some extra services memory usage tended to stay below 50 MB. The base system requires just 800 MB of disk space, which is fairly good for a modern Linux distribution. I found openSUSE boots quickly, going from boot menu to login prompt in under one minute. While idling, the openSUSE virtual machine used about 5% of my host operating system's CPU and this tended to rise to just 30% when openSUSE was serving up files or checking for updates. Rarely did my host's CPU usage climb above 50%. I also quickly found that the base operating system does not come with manual pages and runs virtually no services. There is no web administrative portal as with the other distributions I tried during this series. There is just us, a command line and a text version of the YaST control panel.
openSUSE 13.1 - YaST control panel in text mode
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The YaST control panel that comes with the Minimal Server installation is essentially a text-based menu system. Down the left side of the screen we see categories of system administration tasks. Down the right side we see specific modules we can access. For example, a broad category might be "Software" and specific modules might be "Software Management" and "Software Repositories". There are many modules in the default installation, letting us configure user accounts, the firewall, the boot loader, network settings and manage software packages. There is also a tool for working with the Btrfs file system and its snapshots. Should we wish to gain access to more options we can install additional YaST configuration modules using the zypper package manager (more on zypper in a moment). For example, installing the YaST Samba module gives us the ability to configure and enable network shares for our users. Actually, installing the Samba module resulted in some package conflicts on my system and I had to work with zypper a bit to get the dependency conflicts resolved, but eventually YaST gave me control over Samba shares, making enabling network file sharing quite easy.
One quirk I ran into while running openSUSE was that I could not run the YaST control panel as my regular user. Running "yast" or "sudo yast" did not work. Instead I had to login as the root user and, from the root prompt, run "yast". It is a minor issue, but one which doesn't appear to be mentioned in most tutorials or documentation.
Earlier I mentioned the distribution did not come with any manual pages by default. The standard man pages can be installed using openSUSE's package manager. Alternatively we can make use of the project's on-line documentation. The openSUSE project maintains a wiki with detailed documents and I found the provided information quite useful. One of the reasons the lack of local man pages stands out in my mind is openSUSE made a switch fairly recently from its old init system to the newer systemd init system. The operating system and its services are no longer controlled using classic scripts, but rather by the systemctl command. Personally, I'm not a fan of systemd for two reasons. The first is it seems to take an everything-and-the-kitchen-sink approach, and simply getting through systemctl's help summary takes a few minutes of reading. Second, systemctl does not give any feedback while it is working. If I wish to restart, for example, the Apache web service, systemctl will run without displaying any information. It requires a manual follow-up to tell whether a command has succeeded or not. In fact, even shutting down openSUSE using systemctl causes the operating system to appear to hang for about a minute before the computer simply turns off. There is no output to let us know what is happening and I find this, at best, unhelpful.
The openSUSE distribution makes use of the zypper command line package manager for handling software and updates. I found zypper to be a pleasant tool with which to work. The command line options are intuitive, the package manager works quickly and I encountered no problems while downloading and installing software upgrades. I liked that zypper can make use of delta updates, smaller packages that simply update modified parts of software. This saves us bandwidth and typically makes upgrades a faster process. One final aspect of zypper I greatly appreciate is the package manager will let us know when it has upgraded software that is currently running. This means if we upgrade our web server (or a component used by the web server) zypper will let us know and we can, if we wish, restart the affected service. Most package managers leave us to guess what they have changed or they suggest we reboot the entire system. I really like openSUSE's approach, letting us know which specific parts of our operating system are affected and letting us decide what course of action to take.
Earlier I mentioned the installer will let us enable the secure shell service and YaST will help us enable Samba shares. That left me to work on my third service, WordPress. I didn't find WordPress in openSUSE's software repositories and so I ended up installing the software manually from upstream sources. This also involved manually installing the Maria database software, installing Apache, manually opening a port in the firewall and configuring the software. In this respect the openSUSE documentation for dealing with LAMP servers came in quite handy.
For the most part I was pleased with openSUSE. The distribution gives administrators a classic server environment in which to work. We are basically handed a command line and YaST and left to create whatever we like from the ground up. This gives us a very efficient base from which to work and I found openSUSE to be very fast and light on resources. While newcomers may be intimidated by the command line interface, we do have quite a bit of documentation at our fingertips. The YaST control panel is helpful and, if we wanted to, we could have a nice lightweight graphical desktop too. I really like that openSUSE comes with Btrfs as an install-time option and we are given a utility, called snapper, that helps us create file system snapshots and perform file restores. This version of openSUSE gets a full three years of support and the installer comes with an upgrade option, mostly automating the upgrade process for us. I did run into a few minor issues getting new services installed, especially Samba with its package conflicts. However, despite these occasional hiccups, the underlying operating system was fast, stable and the tools provided were powerful. The openSUSE project provides us with powerful tools and it is up to us whether we build something wonderful with these tools or hammer our thumb flat.
- Advanced file systems (Btrfs/ZFS): 4
- Documentation: 4
- Ease of installation: 5
- Ease of maintaining/upgrading: 4
- Length of support for each release: 3
- Performance: 5
- Stability: 5
- Steps required to enable services: 2
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Zentyal is a distribution designed to be used as a home or office server. The project is based on Ubuntu and offers both a lightweight desktop interface and a full-featured web-based control centre. According to the Zentyal website the distribution offers tools which are compatible with Active Directory and Microsoft Exchange, making Zentyal a viable choice for administrators expanding their existing Microsoft-based networks.
The latest release of Zentyal, version 3.3, is available as a 630 MB download. Booting from the Zentyal disc we are shown a menu where we can choose to run the project's system installer, check the installation media for defects, launch the live disc in recovery mode or test the local machine's memory. Zentyal offers two install options, one which takes over the entire disk, saving us from the hassle of manually partitioning, the other version of the installer is referred to as Expert Mode and gives us additional flexibility. For the sake of expedience I went with the default option which automatically handles partitioning.
Regardless of which install option we take, Zentyal uses a text-based installer that is fairly friendly and streamlined. We are asked to confirm our preferred language and select which country or region we live in. We are asked to select our keyboard's layout from a list and there is an option to automatically detect our keyboard if we are not sure of the correct answer. The installer copies its files to our local disk and then asks some additional questions. The installer will attempt to automatically configure a network interface for us and, if it runs into problems, it will ask us to configure the network card (providing an IP address, netmask and Internet gateway). We are asked to create a user account and set a password for this account. The account we create at install time will be given administrator access to the machine post-installation. Zentyal will then ask us for our time zone. The whole process took approximately half an hour to complete on my system.
Zentyal 3.3 - initial configuration of service modules
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Booting into the locally installed version of Zentyal brings us to the LXDE desktop. We are automatically logged in with the user account we created at install time. In the future, after Zentyal has been configured, the account no longer automatically logs in, we are simply brought to a graphical login screen. The desktop is fairly empty, apart from the Firefox web browser which opens and automatically connects to the Zentyal web-admin console. We can login to the web console using our user account and password. Should we wish to use the web portal from a remote computer we can connect to our Zentyal server using the HTTPS protocol. For example, connecting to the web portal on a server named "calvin" on my network would require the URL https://calvin.
Whether we access the web control panel locally or from a remote machine, the interface walks us through a few configuration steps. We are asked which modules/roles the server should use. These modules include e-mail, web-mail, DNS services, web hosting, anti-virus, network file sharing and a list of other tasks. Installing these modules and having them run is as easy as clicking an icon for the service, causing it to light up, and then moving to the next page. We need to wait a few minutes while our modules are installed and an initial configuration is performed for us. From there we are brought to the Zentyal dashboard. The dashboard gives us an overview of what Zentyal is doing and the status of the underlying system. We are shown bandwidth statistics, current CPU usage, the status of network services and the availability of software updates.
From the dashboard we can also access other parts of the web-admin interface. The web portal gives us links to modules where we can configure existing services, install or remove additional Zentyal modules, upgrade software packages, manage user accounts, set up mail accounts and manage network shares. The interface is quite friendly and it is easy to get most services, such as file sharing and web-mail up and running with a few clicks. The only quirk I ran into was that, for our changes to modules to take effect, we need to remember to click a Save button at the top of the page, otherwise new settings are lost.
Configuring the services I wanted was beautifully straight forward with Zentyal. OpenSSH was running out of the box and configuring Samba to share files took a few mouse clicks. Zentyal is the only distribution I have covered so far in this series which provides a WordPress package in the default software repositories and this made setting up WordPress simple and easy via the command line. Further functionality was easily available through Zentyal's web interface, making Zentyal by far the easiest distribution of this series to extend.
Zentyal 3.3 - monitoring status with the dashboard
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Regarding support for the distribution, Zentyal comes with a great collection of documentation that is both detailed and accompanied by screen shots. As Zentyal is based upon Ubuntu, the Ubuntu community documentation can be used to trouble-shoot low-level problems with the operating system. Again, due to the underlying Ubuntu platform, Zentyal will receive security updates for approximately five years and upgrades should be near-seamless from one version to the next. This gives users a fairly long support cycle and a smooth transition from the current release to future versions.
The Zentyal distribution used approximately 1.6 GB of hard disk space when I first set it up and the operating system used approximately 140 MB of RAM when running both the web portal and the LXDE interface. CPU usage typically remained low. Around 5% of my host's CPU was used while Zentyal was idling, steady work would put the CPU usage up to around 40%. On rare occasions, such as when software updates were being installed, Zentyal would use a little more processing power. The distribution would boot to the graphical user interface in about one minute and, while it was running, both the desktop and the distribution's services remained responsive. The only time Zentyal gave me any trouble came shortly after I had set up Samba and performed a software upgrade. The distribution, upon its next restart, booted to the desktop and immediately started using 100% of the CPU without loading Firefox. All the local user could do was logout. Logging in via secure shell revealed that my user had been locked out of my home directory and this seemed to put the system in an endless loop where a lot of CPU cycles were being consumed and nothing was being done. Restoring the home directory's permissions back to their defaults fixed the problem.
By default I found Zentyal will set up most of its files on a combination of LVM and ext4 with a small /boot partition formatted with ext2. While the operating system, by default, uses LVM (which should be flexible enough for most cases) we do have other options. The distribution provides us with tools for managing Btrfs volumes too, though perhaps not with the level of support openSUSE offers. In addition, Zentyal carries software packages for working with ZFS (specifically ZFS-FUSE) in the distribution's software repositories. I played around with ZFS-FUSE and found it worked quite well and there is very little performance penalty from using the userland file system utilities. This combination of LVM, Btrfs and ZFS gives Zentyal a clear advantage when it comes to dealing with large amounts of data, file system snapshots and mirroring/RAID scenarios.
One last feature that works in Zentyal's favour is that Zentyal, while a distribution on its own, is also a collection of packages. The Zentyal software is, basically, a portable layer which runs on top of Ubuntu. The Zentyal team makes this special layer available via a PPA repository and administrators using any Ubuntu-based distribution can add Zentyal to their existing server installations. This is especially good news for people running hosted VPS services where Ubuntu Server may be supported, but the stand-alone Zentyal distribution is not. Also with regards to deployment, Zentyal offers a number of editions. The community edition, which I reviewed this past week, is free to use. Other editions are available with varying degrees of professional support for people wishing to deploy Zentyal in a work environment.
- Advanced file systems (Btrfs/ZFS): 4
- Documentation: 5
- Ease of installation: 5
- Ease of maintaining/upgrading: 4
- Length of support for each release: 4
- Performance: 4
- Stability: 4
- Steps required to enable services: 4
* * * * *
My experiences from this past week were quite a bit different from my experiences the previous week. Last week I tried two distributions with fairly conservative bases and web-based administration consoles. This week I got to try one very light, fast and powerful distribution (openSUSE) and one extremely friendly and easy to use distribution (Zentyal). Honestly, it was hard for me to pick a favourite this week. I really like how efficient openSUSE is, I like its text-based YaST control centre, I really like how powerful and helpful the zypper package manager is and I like that openSUSE has such great advanced file system support using Btrfs. The only drawback I found to using openSUSE was it took some effort to get new services up and running. The operating system is fairly bare, which is nice from a security perspective, but it means we need to hunt down and manually install the services we do want. Using command line tools to do this can be intimidating, especially for novice users. This is also one of the first times I've really given systemd a workout. I've used it a touch here or there in the past, but never really sat down and played with it properly before. I have to say I find it less appealing than the traditional init system or even Upstart. Using systemd felt like using a bulldozer to butter toast, slow and too much tool for the task at hand.
Zentyal takes quite a different approach. With Zentyal we get a minimal desktop environment, which is really nice for novice users. We also get a first-class web-based control panel. I have used Zentyal before and enjoyed the experience then. A few improvements and polish have come to Zentyal in the past year and I was very impressed with how pleasant the Zentyal modules are to use. Most tasks require just a few mouse clicks and are well explained in the interface, letting us skip most of Zentyal's high quality documentation. Zentyal performed well for me and, aside from a minor problem that followed in the wake of me accidentally sharing my home directory via Samba, I ran into no serious problems. In fact, Zentyal presented me with virtually no problems and many surprisingly easy solutions. I really like that Zentyal comes with five years of support, commercial support is available and upgrades should be easy. As a bonus, Zentyal has some basic support for Btrfs and ZFS is fairly well supported using FUSE.
While openSUSE offers great flexibility and performance, I think Zentyal offers the most user-friendly solution possible for small office and home network set ups. Both distributions are great in their own way, but I suspect Zentyal will appeal to a wider range of system administrators as the project has solutions for professionals and enthusiasts alike. It has a combination of ease, power and flexibility that is hard to beat.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith and Ladislav Bodnar)
Debian documents SteamOS, Ubuntu supports nginx, Red Hat sponsors CentOS, Bodhi for Chromebooks, openSUSE forums compromised
Debian GNU/Linux is the base for many projects and is the beloved parent (and grand-parent) of many GNU/Linux distributions. One of the most recent children of Debian is SteamOS which is used to power Valve's upcoming living room console. The Debian project has embraced its new child and a wiki has been set up on Debian's website for people interested in working with (or developing on) the console operating system.
* * * * *
In Ubuntu-related news, the next long term support release is coming soon and it will be providing full support for the nginx web server. The nginx project has been gaining popularity recently as an alternative to the venerable Apache web server. The nginx server is often praised for its speed and it is good to see this popular software make it into Ubuntu's upcoming LTS release. From developer Jorge Castro's blog: "This is excellent news for those of you using stacks that tend to use nginx; increasing our support of nginx has been something many Ubuntu Server users have been telling me they'd like to see and it's good to see us make some progress in this area."
* * * * *
Many companies and individuals want the power of an enterprise Linux operating system, but do not necessarily want commercial support for their distribution (or the price tag which comes with it). This has resulted in CentOS becoming a popular distribution, especially for web hosts, as the project makes Red Hat Enterprise Linux technology available at no cost. While CentOS and Red Hat have co-existed peacefully for several years, the two entities have generally not cooperated on an official level. That is now changing. A post on the CentOS mailing list outlines a plan for Red Hat and CentOS to work together. Red Hat will begin sponsoring some aspects of the CentOS project and a few developers from CentOS will be taking jobs with Red Hat. The post assures readers that CentOS will remain a separate project with its own governance: "The Red Hat Enterprise Linux to CentOS firewall will also remain. Members and contributors to the CentOS efforts are still isolated from the RHEL Groups inside Red Hat, with the only interface being SPRM/source path tracking, no sooner than is considered released. In summary: we retain an upstream." A corresponding post on Red Hat's Community blog confirms the upcoming cooperation between the two organizations.
* * * * *
Google's Chromebooks keep breaking new records in terms of sales, according to Amazon.com and other online retailers. However, for an average Linux geek the product's web-only user interface of Chrome OS can be a rather unpleasant limitation. Fortunately, more and more distributions provide scripts and documentation for installing a full-featured Linux-based operating system alongside Chrome OS. Last week, it was the lightweight and elegant Bodhi Linux (an Ubuntu-based distribution featuring the Enlightenment window manager) which released a special edition of Bodhi Linux for ARM-powered Chromebooks: "The battery recently died in my old ASUS Netbook which gave me some fire to finally get together a functional file system for the Samsung Chromebook I've had for a little over a year. The following instructions install a Debian-based armhf file system with the Bodhi-branded Enlightenment 0.17.6 desktop powered by the EFL 1.8.4 libraries."
* * * * *
Some bad news for openSUSE users hit this past week. The openSUSE forum was attacked and an exploit gave an attacker access to the forum's database. According to the openSUSE website, the attacker did not gain access to any account passwords which are stored on another service. The attacker did, however, gain access to forum users' e-mail addresses. At the moment the openSUSE support forums have been taken off-line while the project awaits a fix for the security vulnerability.
|Opinion (by Jesse Smith)
Linux System Administration LiveLessons
Over the holiday break the nice folks at Pearson sent me a gift, a copy of the new Linux System Administration LiveLessons, a collection of educational videos designed to teach new Linux system administrators. The nine video lessons feature approximately five hours of instruction in total and are put together by the talented (and knowledgeable) Ben Whaley. Mr Whaley is the co-author of the UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook, so this isn't his first time teaching. Mr Whaley has been managing Linux systems since 1999 and is a Red Hat Certified Engineer, indicating we can be pretty sure he knows his way around a Linux command line.
The talks, which are available for download from the InformIT website for $149.99, cover a wide range of system administration topics. Some of the subjects touched upon include using the BASH command line shell, writing scripts, managing user accounts, handling file permissions, basic network debugging, using virtual machines as test equipment and secure shell. The talks also dip into the history of the Linux kernel and some GNU/Linux distributions. We are also introduced to some security practices, start-up and shutdown procedures and shell shortcuts. It is quite a lot to cover in five hours.
There were several aspects of these lessons I enjoyed. The first is the presentation. The videos have a fairly high resolution, the video and audio quality is good and the flow of the videos is smooth. The presenter speaks clearly and slowly and manages to present the dry, technical information in a positive tone. Something else I liked was that when theory or higher-level concepts were being presented the camera watched the presenter. When practical material or examples were being covered we were shown a terminal screen where commands were being typed or output was being examined. I found this gave me a sense of being in a classroom with the added benefit of being able to look over the teacher's shoulder to see what was happening on their computer. Finally, the material is, in my opinion, both accurate and practical. While a lot is covered in the five hours, each topic is touched upon enough to give us a good beginning, a good foundation of skills upon which we can build. The videos sometimes mention other resources we can explore after the lesson should we wish to expand on a topic.
My only complaint with the material was a minor one. Early on I felt as though some topics may have been presented out of order or in an overly rapid manner. For example, we start off with some information for setting up Linux in virtual machines, then get into some basic Linux history and then we are told a little of how to use a command line. I worry that some viewers may get scared off talking about building virtual machines on the command line before we actually get introduced to the command line. A lot of topics are quickly mentioned in the introduction and this may seem overwhelming at first. If a viewer watches all the videos each topic gets handled well and is clearly explained, so there is no need to panic -- the first video or two just summarize greater things to come.
The videos, while educational for anyone interested in the inner workings of a Linux distribution, appear to be specifically targeting people who plan to become professional Linux administrators. I'm sure some people looking to break out from the GUI to explore the power of the command line will appreciate the material covered (especially the sections dedicated to scripting and shell shortcuts), but the lessons are designed with future administrators in mind. Going into the lessons a person should already have passing familiarity with Linux and a command line interface. Not necessarily the Linux command line, but a familiarity with any of the members of the UNIX family would help.
All in all, I think the talks are well done and make for a good resource for people looking to break into the field of Linux system administration. The videos are certainly less expensive and less time consuming than a college course and do a great job of compressing a lot of knowledge into a short time frame.
|Released During Last Two Weeks
Kali Linux 1.0.6
Mati Aharoni has announced the release of Kali Linux 1.0.6, an updated version of the project's Debian-based distribution with a large collection of tools for penetration testing and forensic analysis: "Kali Linux 1.0.6 released. It has been a while since our last minor release which makes 1.0.6 a more significant update than usual. With a new 3.12 kernel, a LUKS nuke feature, new Kali ARM build scripts, and Kali AMAZON AMI and Google Compute image generation scripts, not to mention numerous tool additions and updates – this release is really heavily laden with goodness. This new release brings with it the introduction of the Offensive Security Trusted ARM image scripts – a set of slowly growing scripts that are able to build Kali Linux images for various ARM devices." See the detailed release announcement for more information and useful links.
Ian Firns has announced the release of Korora 20, a set of Fedora-based desktop Linux distributions with a choice of Cinnamon, GNOME, KDE, MATE and Xfce desktops: "The Korora project is pleased to announce the stable release of version 20 (code name 'Peach') which is now available for download. This release brings with it a significant amount of work by the team and community to bring not two but five desktops that have been shaped for a genuine Korora experience. The additions of Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce represent the growth of our community and their contributions. A quick summary of the features: GNOME 3.10 represents another iteration to the new desktop which is also targeting native Wayland support; KDE Plasma Workspaces 4.11 brings a host of bug fixes, speed ups and improvements...." Read the full release announcement for further information.
Korora 20 - the default KDE desktop
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IPFire 2.13 Core 75
Michael Tremer has announced the release of IPFire 2.13 Core 75, an updated version of the project's specialist distribution for firewalls: "So it is a new year and here is the first update of 2014: IPFire 2.13 Core Update 75. It comes with urgent bug fixes that solve problems introduced in the previous update. Due to a change in OpenVPN 2.3, the common name of the certificate of the user that was connection was formatted in an other way than before. This led to that the certificate could not be properly validated because it was searched for one with a different name. This update ships a fixed version of the verify script that can work with both formats of the common name. Because of a related cause, the route configuration was not pushed to some clients when they connected. This issue that is filed under bug id #10323 and has been addressed in this update." See the release announcement for more information.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|DistroWatch.com News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
New distributions added to waiting list|
DistroWatch database summary
- Linux Educational. Linux Educational is a government-sponsored project based in Brazil. The distribution comes with educational tools and is designed for use in schools. The project's website is in Portuguese.
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 20 January 2014. 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 794 (2018-12-17): Void 20181111, avoiding software bloat, improvements to HAMMER2, getting application overview in GNOME Shell|
|• Issue 793 (2018-12-10): openSUSE Tumbleweed, finding non-free packages, Debian migrates to usrmerge, Hyperbola gets FSF approval|
|• Issue 792 (2018-1203): GhostBSD 18.10, when to use swap space, DragonFly BSD's wireless support, Fedora planning to pause development schedule|
|• Issue 791 (2018-11-26): Haiku R1 Beta1, default passwords on live media, Slax and Kodachi update their media, dual booting DragonFly BSD on EFI|
|• Issue 790 (2018-11-19): NetBSD 8.0, Bash tips and short-cuts, Fedora's networking benchmarked with FreeBSD, Ubuntu 18.04 to get ten years of support|
|• Issue 789 (2018-11-12): Fedora 29 Workstation and Silverblue, Haiku recovering from server outage, Fedora turns 15, Debian publishes updated media|
|• Issue 788 (2018-11-05): Clu Linux Live 6.0, examining RAM consumpion, finding support for older CPUs, more Steam support for running Windows games on Linux, update from Solus team|
|• Issue 787 (2018-10-29): Lubuntu 18.10, limiting application access to specific users, Haiku hardware compatibility list, IBM purchasing Red Hat|
|• Issue 786 (2018-10-22): elementary OS 5.0, why init keeps running, DragonFly BSD enables virtual machine memory resizing, KDE neon plans to drop older base|
|• Issue 785 (2018-10-15): Reborn OS 2018.09, Nitrux 1.0.15, swapping hard drives between computers, feren OS tries KDE spin, power savings coming to Linux|
|• Issue 784 (2018-10-08): Hamara 2.1, improving manual pages, UBports gets VoIP app, Fedora testing power saving feature|
|• Issue 783 (2018-10-01): Quirky 8.6, setting up dual booting with Ubuntu and FreeBSD, Lubuntu switching to LXQt, Mint works on performance improvements|
|• Issue 782 (2018-09-24): Bodhi Linux 5.0.0, Elive 3.0.0, Solus publishes ISO refresh, UBports invites feedback, Linux Torvalds plans temporary vacation|
|• Issue 781 (2018-09-17): Linux Mint 3 "Debian Edition", file systems for SSDs, MX makes installing Flatpaks easier, Arch team answers questions, Mageia reaches EOL|
|• Issue 780 (2018-09-10): Netrunner 2018.08 Rolling, Fedora improves language support, how to customize Kali Linux, finding the right video drivers|
|• Issue 779 (2018-09-03): Redcore 1806, keeping ISO downloads safe from tampering, Lubuntu makes Calamares more flexible, Ubuntu improves GNOME performance|
|• Issue 778 (2018-08-27): GuixSD 0.15.0, ReactOS 0.4.9, Steam supports Windows games on Linux, Haiku plans for beta, merging disk partitions|
|• Issue 777 (2018-08-20): YunoHost 188.8.131.52, 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|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
Build Your Own (BYO) Linux
Can you answer yes to any of these questions? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have a Linux distribution where you knew what every file or directory was for? Do you dislike downloading applications for your particular distribution? When you want to remove an rpm, do you find that you can't because it will break a dependency? Do you think Linux distributions, in general, have too much junk you won't ever use but you can't remove things because your distribution won't function without them? Do you want to learn to configure Linux without using vendor tools? Are you just plain curious how things work? If this sounds like you, you've came to the right place. Together, we'll create your own personal Linux distribution. You decide what goes in and what doesn't. We'll compile applications from the authors' original source code, not code tinkered with by a commercial distribution. Not only will you gain a much better understanding of how linux works and a little bit of programming knowledge on the side, you'll take pride in the fact that you did it yourself.