| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 556, 28 April 2014
Welcome to this year's 17th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! A lot has been happening in the open source community lately. A little over a week ago Canonical launched Ubuntu 14.04 and a deluge of community projects has been following in Ubuntu's footsteps. This week our feature is a review of Canonical's desktop distribution. Read on to find out how one of the most popular Linux distributions performed in our tests. This past month the technology community has been abuzz with talk about security and a vulnerability in the OpenSSL library. This week we discuss two projects which have been created to deal with bugs in OpenSSL and other critical open source projects. Red Hat announced a new product branch which will ship with the upcoming Enterprise Linux 7 and we share the details in our news section. Last week PC-BSD announced that its team is working on a new desktop environment which will natively support the FreeBSD-based operating system while the FreeBSD team released their quarterly report, detailing developments of the past three months. Also in this issue, read our exclusive interview with Wang Yong, the project leader at Deepin which is rapidly emerging as the most interesting Linux distribution and free software project in China, and join the discussion about alternative technologies for people looking for replacements to discontinued services, such as Ubuntu One. Finally, we are pleased to announce that the recipient of the March 2014 DistroWatch.com donation is the GNU MediaGoblin project. We wish you all a great week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
First impressions of Ubuntu 14.04
On April 17 we saw the release of the latest version of Canonical's popular Ubuntu operating system. Along with the Ubuntu distribution itself (in its many forms and editions) there were several community editions released at the same time. These community spins draw from the same software repositories while offering different desktop environments or a focus on a specific function. This week I would like to share my first impressions of Ubuntu and, next week, I will be discussing the Xubuntu community distribution.
Looking over the release notes we see several new and interesting changes. The distribution now features improved ARM support and includes ARM multiplatform support where one kernel can be loaded on multiple ARM platforms. The default input/output scheduler has been changed from CFQ to Deadline and there is more fine-grained AppArmor support for people who need mandatory access controls. Improvements have been added to Linux containers. The distribution still ships with the Upstart init system, though a switch to systemd is planned for future releases. On the desktop, Unity search scopes can be filtered from within the dash and application menus can be made to appear inside application windows, rather than having them pinned to the top of the screen. This version of Ubuntu features several software upgrades, including LibreOffice 4.2 and version 3.13 of the Linux kernel. Ubuntu 14.04 is a long term support release and will feature five years of security updates and support.
Ubuntu 14.04 - the default Unity desktop and release notes
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Installation and first impressions
The latest version of Ubuntu is available in several editions, including Desktop and Server flavours and a few architectures are supported, including ARM, 32-bit x86 and 64-bit x86. I opted to download the 32-bit Desktop edition of the operating system. The ISO for this edition is 970 MB in size. Booting from the ISO brings up a graphical window where we are asked if we would like to try the distribution's live desktop environment from the disc or begin an installation. This screen also allows us to select our preferred language and open a link to Ubuntu's release notes.
I opted to jump straight into the graphical system installer. The first page of the installer asks if we would like to download security updates during the installation and whether we would also like to acquire third-party multimedia support. This third-party support will allow us to play Flash content and multimedia formats, such as mp3 audio files. The next page of the installer asks us how we would like to approach partitioning. We can erase our entire hard drive and install Ubuntu, we can set up LVM volumes, use available free space on the disk or choose to manually partition the drive. I tried both the automated installation and manual partitioning. Ubuntu's installer features very smooth and intuitive partitioning management. It also supports a wide variety of file systems, including ext2/3/4, Btrfs, JFS and XFS. I experimented with ext4 and Btrfs, both of which worked smoothly during my week with Ubuntu. Once we divide up the hard disk we are asked to confirm our time zone and our keyboard's layout. The last page of the installer asks us to create a user account and we are given the option of encrypting our personal directories.
Once the installation completes the computer reboots and brings us to a graphical login screen. From this screen we can sign in with our regular user account or we can login under a guest account. The guest account features no password and is wiped clean after each use. Ubuntu ships with Unity as its default desktop environment. Unity is arranged with the application menu (called the dash) in the upper-left corner of the screen. Quick-launch buttons and the icons for focusing windows are displayed down the left side of the screen. The menu bar for desktop applications and the desktop's notification centre are displayed along the top of the screen. Something which has bothered me about the last three releases of Ubuntu has been that the Unity desktop tended to be slow. On physical hardware with default hardware drivers the desktop would be uncomfortably sluggish, in a virtual machine Unity would be downright glacier. One of the first things I noticed about Unity when I installed Ubuntu 14.04 was that performance has greatly improved. When running in a VirtualBox environment I found Unity had fairly good performance. At times the dash could be sluggish while searches were being performed, but otherwise Unity was responsive. When running on physical hardware, even with the default open source drivers installed, Unity was quite snappy and the graphical environment remained responsive.
Ubuntu 14.04 - the Unity dash
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Software and package updates
Poking around the system I found that the Unity dash has undergone some changes. The dash still shows on-line search results by default, but this feature can be disabled in the settings panel. The dash is divided into several scopes. These scopes allow us to search for applications, music, videos and the content of social media accounts. What I like about the various scopes is it is possible to filter the results. For instance, in the application scope we can filter search results so we see just locally installed software or software available in the Ubuntu software repositories. We can also filter applications by category so we only see office or multimedia programs. The dash feels more responsive in this release than it has in the past, especially once on-line searches have been disabled.
Shortly after installing Ubuntu I launched the distribution's update manager. This compact application displays a summary of available package updates. On launch day a mere 21 MB of new packages were available. These updates downloaded and were applied to the system without any problems. Future updates likewise applied without any issues. Also on the topic of managing packages, Ubuntu comes with a graphical package manager called Software Centre. The Software Centre application allows us to browse categories of software in a pleasant, intuitive interface. Clicking on a package allows us to install (or remove) the package or we can bring up a screen with more detailed information on the software. The information page typically includes a description of the software package, a screen shot and reviews from other users. When we select a package for installation or removal the action is processed in the background while we continue to browse other packages. When we install new desktop software its icon is added to the Unity launch bar. This version of Software Centre feels faster than previous versions, certainly faster than the version of Software Centre which shipped with Ubuntu's previous long term support release.
Ubuntu 14.04 - package management with the Software Centre
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Ubuntu comes with a useful collection of software in the default installation. We are given the Firefox web browser, the Thunderbird e-mail client, the Transmission bittorrent client and the Empathy messaging software. The LibreOffice productivity suite is installed for us along with a document viewer and the Shotwell photo manager. There are a few small games, the Totem video player and the Rhythmbox audio player. The Brasero disc burning software is included along with the Cheese webcam manager, a text editor, an archive manager and a calculator app. Ubuntu ships with a simple backup utility and a hardware test suite. Network Manager is provided to help us connect to the Internet. I found the GNU Compiler Collection is installed for us and, in the background, Ubuntu ships with the Linux kernel, version 3.13. At install time we have the option of adding third-party multimedia support, including Adobe Flash and a range of multimedia codecs. Should we decide not to acquire these codecs at install time, the system will offer to install the necessary codecs whenever we attempt to play unsupported media formats. I tried this on-demand style of playing multimedia formats and found Ubuntu properly located and installed the required codecs for me.
Most of the software which ships with Ubuntu 14.04 worked well for me, but a few items did not. There is an application called "Browser" in the Internet category of software. Whenever I attempted to launch this software it immediately crashed. A few days after I started using Ubuntu an update for this package was made available and, after the update, the Browser software still crashed when I tried to launch it. The Empathy application claims to support several communications networks, including Facebook. I tried to tie Empathy to Facebook to see if it would notify me of incoming messages, but Empathy reported it was unable to access my on-line information. I also noticed the Totem video player tended to crash fairly frequently. I installed the VLC multimedia player to take the place of Totem and found VLC to be a stable and suitable replacement. Speaking of software crashes, whenever an application crashed a window would appear on the desktop and offer to send an error report and, optionally, to re-launch the application. I think this is a nice feature and I hope that the automated bug reports will help developers find and fix problems.
I tried running the latest Ubuntu release on a desktop computer and inside a VirtualBox virtual machine. I found that most times I signed into Unity within the virtual environment I would typically be greeted by a crashing application or service. Once this initial crash had been dealt with (and a report filed) the rest of the experience would be smooth. The dash was sometimes sluggish when performing searches, but otherwise the Unity environment was responsive. When signing into Unity on physical hardware I encountered no problems and the graphical environment was quick to respond. When I first started playing with Ubuntu inside VirtualBox I found the screen resolution was very low (640x480 pixels). Upgrading my host's copy of VirtualBox from version 4.2 to 4.3 and adding VirtualBox's guest add-ons fixed the resolution issue. I also found I couldn't take screen shots of Unity when I was running in the virtual environment, but resolution and screen shots worked flawlessly on physical hardware. In either test environment Ubuntu and the Unity desktop used approximately 390MB of memory, more than I would usually expect from other graphical desktop environments.
Ubuntu 14.04 - settings and alternative hardware drivers
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Conclusions and recommendations
In the past, when Ubuntu introduced its HUD, a method of finding menu items by typing the name of a function rather than browsing through the application's menu, some people felt it was distracting. Personally, I tend not to notice the HUD at all, if not invoked it simply doesn't appear. In the past, my only complaint about the HUD was that it seemed to work for small applications where it was already easy to find the functionality I wanted in a program. Larger applications, such as LibreOffice, seemed to not support the HUD's type-to-find functionality. I am happy to report this has changed. LibreOffice now works with the HUD, making it much easier to find program options. The HUD supports not only GTK applications, but also works with KDE programs such as Konsole. People do not need to use the HUD, it only appears when its short-cut key is pressed, but for those of us who know what we want to do, but not where the function is located in a nested menu, the HUD is a nice feature to have. Another change, one I feel is a loss for Ubuntu users, is the removal of Ubuntu One. The Ubuntu One service allowed users to synchronize files between machines through Canonical's file storage servers. The One service has been discontinued, leaving users to search for other means of keeping their files in sync across multiple devices.
Some people, myself included, often feel migrating to Unity from another desktop environment is a jarring experience. In my case I believe most of my issues with Unity come from twenty years of habit. I am accustomed to having window control buttons on the right-hand side of a window, not the left. I am accustomed to having the application menu at the bottom of the screen, not the top. These little differences mean I regularly find myself moving my mouse pointer in the wrong direction as habit is causing me to move to the wrong part of the screen. It tends to take around a week for me to break this habit.
In order to get a fresh perspective on Unity I asked someone who had never used it before to sit down and try the controversial desktop environment. This person had mostly used Windows and had spent a little time with LXDE and Android, but had not used any other GNU/Linux-based desktops. Their first reaction was, "It's upside down," referring to the application menu and system tray being at the top of the screen. However, in short order they had launched some programs, found the settings panel and the Logout button and discovered how to install software through the Software Centre. All of this was without prompting or help. After five minutes they declared Unity attractive and easy to use. Oddly enough they did not use (or even notice) the Unity dash, thinking the button for opening the dash was part of the background decoration. Once I showed them the basics of how the dash worked, they said it seemed easy enough to utilize and soon felt at home with the dash interface.
When I first sat down and started playing with the latest version of Ubuntu I was a touch wary. Though the installation had completed flawlessly, my early experiences with using Unity in a virtual environment were met with low resolution and some software crashes. However, once I upgraded VirtualBox to its latest release and started using Ubuntu on physical hardware I found the experience was quite pleasant. This version of Ubuntu seems much more responsive than previous versions. The dash feels more polished and flexible, the Software Centre performed faster and everything felt like it fit together well. There is a polish to the latest version of Unity which was, I feel, missing before.
Despite a few application crashes, most notably with Totem, most of my experiences with Ubuntu 14.04 were positive. This feels like a faster, more flexible version of Unity and there are lots of modern software packages in the repositories. I do miss Ubuntu One and I would prefer Ubuntu ship with on-line dash searches disabled by default. However, I will admit there are plenty of other on-line file synchronization services out there and it is easy enough to disabled on-line searches for those of us concerned about privacy. Unity is heavier than most other desktops, such as Xfce, MATE or LXDE and so I probably wouldn't recommend Ubuntu for people using older hardware. For people with fairly modern systems though, capable of 3-D video support, I think Ubuntu 14.04 is a really good desktop system. I think it is easy enough to discover that it will appeal to newcomers and it is probably powerful enough (and configurable enough) to appeal to more experienced users.
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Hardware used in this review
My physical test equipment for this review was a desktop HP Pavilon p6 Series with the following specifications:
- Processor: Dual-core 2.8GHz AMD A4-3420 CPU
- Storage: 500 GB Hitachi hard drive
- Memory: 6 GB of RAM
- Networking: Realtek RTL8111 wired network card
- Display: AMD Radeon HD 6410D video card
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith and Ladislav Bodnar)
OpenBSD's LibreSSL, Core Infrastructure Initiative, Red Hat's Atomic Host, PC-BSD and GhostBSD desktop updates, FreeBSD sums up recent developments, Debian removes SPARC from "Jessie"
Last week we reported that a group of OpenBSD developers had started work on cleaning up the OpenSSL cryptography library. OpenSSL has come under a lot of scrutiny following the revelation of the Heartbleed bug. The OpenBSD developers have decided to take things one step further by forking the OpenSSL code base and creating a new, stripped down cryptography library. The new project has been named LibreSSL and features a smaller code base, with much cross-platform compatibility code being removed. The developers behind the LibreSSL fork say they will work on making the new library work on multiple operating systems (not just OpenBSD) if they gain enough funding.
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The OpenBSD team is not the only group to seek a solution to problems in critical open source projects. Many big name technology companies, including IBM, Intel, Amazon, Google, Facebook and Microsoft have joined with The Linux Foundation to form the Core Infrastructure Initiative. The Initiative will work to identify open source projects which are used in critical infrastructure. Those projects may then receive additional funding, developer support or code audits to improve code quality and remove potential security flaws. According to The Linux Foundation's website: "The first project under consideration to receive funds from the Initiative will be OpenSSL, which could receive fellowship funding for key developers as well as other resources to assist the project in improving its security, enabling outside reviews, and improving responsiveness to patch requests." As with the OpenBSD team, the Core Infrastructure Initiative is also accepting donations to assist in their work.
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Last week Red Hat announced their release candidate for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7. The release candidate is available in a few different editions, including Client, Server and Workstation flavours. Along with the announcement for the release candidate there was another bit of interesting news: "Red Hat plans to introduce Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host as a new addition to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux family. Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host couples the flexible, lightweight and modular capabilities of Linux Containers with the reliability and security of Red Hat Enterprise Linux in a reduced image size that will enable easy movement of Red Hat Enterprise Linux-certified applications across bare metal systems, virtual machines and private and public clouds." This is good news for system administrators and developers who want to be able to develop, test and deploy software in a lightweight container where the configuration of the environment is known and consistent. More on Red Hat's software container technology can be found on the company's website.
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The latest weekly update from the PC-BSD project contained an interesting bit of trivia. A post on the PC-BSD blog announced a new desktop environment that is being developed specifically for the PC-BSD operating system: "There is an early alpha version of the Lumina desktop environment that has been committed to ports/packages. Lumina is a lightweight, stable, fast-running desktop environment that has been developed by Ken Moore specifically for PC-BSD. Currently it builds and runs, but lacks many other features as it is still in very early development." The new desktop environment uses Fluxbox as the default window manager and the rest of the environment is put together using the Qt toolkit. Further information on Lumina can be found in a separate blog post.
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Perhaps as a reaction to the above development, the developers of the "other" desktop BSD project, GhostBSD, have also made a radical rethink of the their desktop environment strategy. Going forward, MATE will be the sole supported desktop in GhostBSD: "When I started this project, GhostBSD was about having the best GNOME desktop experience. GNOME 3 had not seen any ports yet, because it was basically made for GNU/Linux. I had made a critical decision lately with the rest of the team to abandon all desktops in favour of MATE, which is the most suitable solution for GhostBSD as a workstation. The MATE desktop environment is the continuation of GNOME 2 desktop environment with huge improvements. MATE has been one of the most interesting projects since GNOME switched to a new desktop design." This announcement won't come as a surprise to those who have been testing the current alpha series of GhostBSD 4.0 where MATE is already the only available desktop.
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The first three months of 2014 were a busy time for the FreeBSD project and its developers. The venerable server operating system gained numerous features in a variety of areas, including ARM architecture support, virtualization, driver improvements and Linux compatibility: "The first quarter of 2014 was, again, a hectic and productive time for FreeBSD. The Ports team released their landmark first quarterly stable branch. FreeBSD continues to grow on the ARM architecture, now running on an ARM-based ChromeBook. SMP is now possible on multi-core ARM systems...." The quarterly report also mentions initial support for booting on UEFI-enabled computers.
* * * * *
Finally, a quick note for those who run Debian GNU/Linux on the SPARC machines: this architecture has been removed from "Jessie", Debian's current "testing" branch and might also be dropped from "unstable". Philipp Kern explains the reasons in this mailing list post: "As of tonight, there is no more SPARC in testing. The main reasons were lack of porter commitments, problems with the toolchain and continued stability issues with our machines. The fate of SPARC in unstable has not been decided yet. It might get removed unless people commit to working on it. Discussion about this should take place on #745938. SPARC support was officially introduced in a released version of Debian with Slink (2.1) back in March 1999 and was featured in eight releases."
|Interviews (by Zhu Wen Tao)
Interview with Deepin project leader Wang Yong
In July 2013 DistroWatch reviewed Linux Deepin 12.12. This distribution was also mentioned in the news section of DistroWatch Weekly in early 2012. In this issue of DistroWatch Weekly we'll take a closer look at the Deepin project. In the middle of this month, the Deepin development team announced the initial alpha build of Deepin 2014, which will soon become a major release of the desktop-oriented distribution. DistroWatch contributor Dr. Zhu Wen Tao took this opportunity and contacted the Deepin team. With the assistance of Li Hong Wu (李洪武), the project leader Wang Yong (王勇) accepted the interview from DistroWatch, in which he tells the readers about some interesting stories behind what is possibly the most popular Linux distribution in China at the moment.
* * * * *
DistroWatch: Could you first tell us something about yourself? For example, what is your role in the Deepin project?
DW: The project changed its name in late November 2009, right? We have noticed significant changes in the naming/numbering style of recent releases, for example, from "Hiweed Linux 2.0" released in 2008, to "Linux Deepin 12.12" released in middle 2013, to the very recent "Linux Deepin 2013", to the upcoming "Deepin 2014". Can you explain the motivation behind these changes?
We then slightly changed the project's name again, this time to Deepin, for the most recent development release, as we've noticed that many Chinese people don't know how to pronounce the word "Linux" correctly; actually, we shortened the name for easier communication. Our intention is just to make the name easier to spread. Note that the project hasn't changed its open-source nature; the whole distribution is strictly licensed under GPLv3.
The "numbering" style for Deepin's releases correlates much with its release cycle. Initially, Hiweed Linux employed an incremental version number. Then, as to the Linux Deepin project, we replaced Hiweed's version style with Ubuntu's, so we had versions like 9.12, 10.06, 10.12, 11.06, and so on, which imply new releases of our distribution in June and December every year. This release cycle/numbering worked fine at first, but proved unsuitable in the last two years.
DW: So what are the new features in the upcoming Deepin 2014? Do you have a detailed release schedule, or a rough release plan?
The new Deepin Control Center (the successor of the previous Deepin System Settings) is designed with QML. The layout for all options has been rearranged. We aspire to ensure simplicity while offering the most customization options possible. Deepin Media Player 3.0 comes with a fancier interface and provides more options, like those for subtitle settings. Deepin Translator is a lightweight translation tool utilizing OCR technologies; it is possibly the first application on Linux to translate words captured on the computer screen, even from images! We would like its interactive experience to be as simple as Deepin Screenshot, which is an extremely easy screen capture tool shipped with Deepin by default.
DW: What is the relationship between Deepin and other distribution like Ubuntu or Debian GNU/Linux? For what kind of users Deepin might be a more preferred choice?
DW: Another question more or less related to Ubuntu: Are there any "long-term support" policies or plans with existent or upcoming releases of Deepin?
DW: An anecdote we would like to share with you is that as early as in 2010, when Deepin was a Chinese desktop distribution, the DistroWatch team received an enquiry from United States asking whether the project offered an English edition. Now, four years later, it is reported that Deepin 2014 will support as many as 15 languages, which sounds quite inviting for international users. Deepin recently has also set up many download mirrors world-wide. So could you tell us more details about Deepin's efforts on internationalization?
We are doing localization on Transifex, an excellent localization platform. Many Deepin fans have volunteered to help with the translations. For example, our Spanish translation team completed the localization within one week, and we were amazed at such efficiency. Translation is now merged automatically from Transifex to our GitHub repositories on a daily basis.
We know that many universities and companies around the world have kindly mirrored some of the most popular Linux distributions. Therefore, we first did a research on the mirrors for distributions like Ubuntu, Debian, Gentoo, and ArchLinux, and then mailed identified mirror maintainers one by one. They turned out to be friendly and generous. Some even set up a Deepin mirror for us upon the day they received our request.
DW: Currently how many people are there in the Deepin development team? Are they purely technical engineers doing programming and testing work?
DW: Red Flag Linux, once upon a time a well-known Linux distribution from China, recently closed doors, presumably due to financial obstacles. Can you tell us something about the daily operation of the Deepin project? Is there any commercial side to Deepin?
DW: What about the Deepin user community? Do you have any estimation on the user scale, based on, say, statistics on downloads or forum access?
DW: Thank you very much for your time and we wish all the best to Deepin!
|Tips and Tricks (by Jesse Smith)
Services come and go
This month we have seen a couple of useful services reach their end of life. Canonical announced the closure of their Ubuntu One file synchronization and storage service. Dyn.com likewise announced the end of their free dynamic DNS services. Both of these free services were quite useful, especially for people on the go as dynamic DNS allows for easy access to one's home network from afar and Ubuntu One does a nice job of synchronizing files across multiple devices. However, useful or not, it is in the nature of technology to change. In the past few weeks several people have asked what products out there might best replace Ubuntu One and Dyn.com and here are my suggestions.
For each type of service, dynamic DNS and on-line file storage, I have narrowed my suggestions down to two options. One option which is free/open and may require more technical expertise to implement. The second option will be less open, but probably easier for most people to get set up.
Under the category of dynamic DNS, I recommend FreeDNS. As the name implies, FreeDNS costs no money (though the project accepts donations) and the website has a very open approach. With FreeDNS we do not need any special client software to keep our dynamic IP address tied to our hostname, FreeDNS supplies example shell scripts and cron jobs to help us keep our domain up to date. Further, FreeDNS offers free (and fast) technical support and the service is run on FreeBSD.
My second suggestion to people looking for dynamic DNS services is No-IP. No-IP offers free dynamic DNS services and further offers several paid services, including domain name registration and hosted e-mail solutions. Our domain name can be updated with our dynamic IP address using the INADYN client, which is open source and available in the software repositories of many Linux distributions.
For remote file storage and data synchronization, I like ownCloud. The ownCloud server software allows anyone with a spare machine to host their own cloud-style file storage service. This means there is no reliance on a third-party service provider and our data is as private as we wish to make it. The ownCloud software runs on most platforms and is very flexible. Some distributions even package ownCloud, making it very easy to set up. Apart from the ownCloud server software, there are also desktop and mobile clients available for accessing data stored on ownCloud servers. All of this software is available at no cost and the server software (and some clients) are open source. I find ownCloud is an excellent solution for people who need to support multiple platforms and who wish to have full control over their data.
Dropbox is another cloud file storage and synchronization solution. Dropbox is designed to be simple and convenient, taking the management of cloud storage out of our hands. Dropbox offers a small amount of on-line storage free of charge with the ability to purchase additional storage as it is required. Client applications are available for most major desktop and mobile platforms and there are pre-built clients for a few Linux distributions.
|Released Last Week
Arne Exton has announced the release of ExTiX 14.1, an Ubuntu-based distribution with a customised GNOME 3.10 desktop environment: "ExTiX 14.1 64-bit is based on Ubuntu 14.04. The original system includes the Unity desktop. After removing Unity I have installed GNOME 3.10 and GNOME Classic 3.10 (a perfect replacement for Cinnamon). The system language is English. The ExTiX ISO image is now a hybrid image, which means that it can be very easily transferred to a USB pen drive. You can then run ExTiX from the USB stick and save all your system changes on the stick. Another big improvement is that ExTiX 14.1 can run from RAM. Use boot option 3 (Copy to RAM). When the system has booted up you can remove the disc or the USB stick. You'll need at least 2 GB of RAM to run ExTiX that way." Read the rest of the release announcement as published on the project's home page.
Parsix GNU/Linux 6.0
Alan Baghumian has announced the release of Parsix GNU/Linux 6.0, a distribution based on Debian GNU/Linux 7.0 and featuring the GNOME 3.10 desktop: "We are happy to announce the immediate availability of Parsix GNU/Linux, 6.0r0 code name Trev. This version ships with GNOME Shell 3.10.3, and Linux 3.12.17 kernel built on top of rock solid Debian Wheezy (7.0) platform. All base packages have been synchronized with Debian 'Wheezy' repositories as of April 17, 2014. This version comes with a systemd-based live boot mode. Highlights: X.Org 7.7, GRUB 2, GNU Iceweasel (Firefox) 28.0, GParted 0.12.1, Empathy 3.10.1, LibreOffice 3.5.4, VirtualBox 4.3.10 and a brand new kernel based on Linux 3.12.17 with TuxOnIce 3.3, BFS and other extra patches. The live DVD has been compressed using Squashfs and xz." Read the release announcement and release notes for detailed information about the new release.
Voyager Live 14.04
Rodolphe Bachelart has announced the release of Voyager Live 14.04, a Xubuntu-based distribution with a customised Xfce 4.11 desktop and a large number of usability improvements designed for power users and multimedia fans. Some of the new features of this release include: new light and dark themes, as well as a new icon set; Bluetooth and print services are now disabled by default; workspace switch by mouse action; Impulse screenlets for music integrated in panel; tightly integrated and automated music application trio - Clementine, Covergloobus and Impulse; detachable SMTube for viewing YouTube videos; a panel applet for graphical measurement of Internet traffic; a modified Whisker menu with additional configuration options... There are many more improvements as documented in the detailed release announcement (in French) with screenshots. Although the project's website is in French only, the live DVD image boots, by default, into an English user interface.
Voyager Live 14.04 - the default Xfce desktop
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
March 2014 DistroWatch.com donation: MediaGoblin|
We are pleased to announce that the recipient of the March 2014 DistroWatch.com donation is MediaGoblin, a free software media publishing platform. The project receives US$350.00 in cash.
The recommendation for this donation has come from the developers of the PiTiVi video editor, who drew our attention to this GNU project. But what exactly is MediaGoblin? Wikipedia gives a good description: "GNU MediaGoblin is a free, decentralized web platform (server software) for hosting and sharing many forms of digital media. It strives to provide an extensible, federated, and freedom-respectful software alternative to major media publishing services such as Flickr, deviantArt, and YouTube."
The project's own documentation gives us a bit of history behind MediaGoblin: "In 2008, a number of free software developers and activists gathered at the FSF to attempt to answer the question: 'What should software freedom look like on the participatory web?' Their answer, the Franklin Street Statement has lead to the development of autonomo.us community, and free software projects including Identi.ca and Libre.fm. Identi.ca and Libre.fm address the need for micro-blogging and music sharing services and software that respect users’ freedom and autonomy. GNU MediaGoblin emerges from this milieu to create a platform for us to share photos, video and other media in an environment that respects our freedom and independence. In the future MediaGoblin will provide tools to facilitate collaboration on media projects." Visit the project's tour page to learn about MediaGoblin in more graphical detail.
Launched in 2004, this monthly donations programme is a DistroWatch initiative to support free and open-source software projects and operating systems with cash contributions. Readers are welcome to nominate their favourite project for future donations. Those readers who wish to contribute towards these donations, please use our advertising page to make a payment (PayPal, credit cards, Yandex Money and Bitcoins are accepted). Here is the list of the projects that have received a DistroWatch donation since the launch of the programme (figures in US dollars):
Since the launch of the Donations Program in March 2004, DistroWatch has donated a total of US$39,135 to various open-source software projects.
- 2004: GnuCash ($250), Quanta Plus ($200), PCLinuxOS ($300), The GIMP ($300), Vidalinux ($200), Fluxbox ($200), K3b ($350), Arch Linux ($300), Kile KDE LaTeX Editor ($100) and UNICEF - Tsunami Relief Operation ($340)
- 2005: Vim ($250), AbiWord ($220), BitTorrent ($300), NDISwrapper ($250), Audacity ($250), Debian GNU/Linux ($420), GNOME ($425), Enlightenment ($250), MPlayer ($400), Amarok ($300), KANOTIX ($250) and Cacti ($375)
- 2006: Gambas ($250), Krusader ($250), FreeBSD Foundation ($450), GParted ($360), Doxygen ($260), LilyPond ($250), Lua ($250), Gentoo Linux ($500), Blender ($500), Puppy Linux ($350), Inkscape ($350), Cape Linux Users Group ($130), Mandriva Linux ($405, a Powerpack competition), Digikam ($408) and Sabayon Linux ($450)
- 2007: GQview ($250), Kaffeine ($250), sidux ($350), CentOS ($400), LyX ($350), VectorLinux ($350), KTorrent ($400), FreeNAS ($350), lighttpd ($400), Damn Small Linux ($350), NimbleX ($450), MEPIS Linux ($300), Zenwalk Linux ($300)
- 2008: VLC ($350), Frugalware Linux ($340), cURL ($300), GSPCA ($400), FileZilla ($400), MythDora ($500), Linux Mint ($400), Parsix GNU/Linux ($300), Miro ($300), GoblinX ($250), Dillo ($150), LXDE ($250)
- 2009: Openbox ($250), Wolvix GNU/Linux ($200), smxi ($200), Python ($300), SliTaz GNU/Linux ($200), LiVES ($300), Osmo ($300), LMMS ($250), KompoZer ($360), OpenSSH ($350), Parted Magic ($350) and Krita ($285)
- 2010: Qimo 4 Kids ($250), Squid ($250), Libre Graphics Meeting ($300), Bacula ($250), FileZilla ($300), GCompris ($352), Xiph.org ($250), Clonezilla ($250), Debian Multimedia ($280), Geany ($300), Mageia ($470), gtkpod ($300)
- 2011: CGSecurity ($300), OpenShot ($300), Imagination ($250), Calibre ($300), RIPLinuX ($300), Midori ($310), vsftpd ($300), OpenShot ($350), Trinity Desktop Environment ($300), LibreCAD ($300), LiVES ($300), Transmission ($250)
- 2012: GnuPG ($350), ImageMagick ($350), GNU ddrescue ($350), Slackware Linux ($500), MATE ($250), LibreCAD ($250), BleachBit ($350), cherrytree ($260), Zim ($335), nginx ($250), LFTP ($250), Remastersys ($300)
- 2013: MariaDB ($300), Linux From Scratch ($350), GhostBSD ($340), DHCP ($300), DOSBox ($250), awesome ($300), DVDStyler ($280), Tor ($350), Tiny Tiny RSS ($350), FreeType ($300), GNU Octave ($300), Linux Voice ($510)
- 2014: QupZilla ($250), Pitivi ($370), MediaGoblin ($350)
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 5 May 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)
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 841 (2019-11-18): Emmabuntus DE3-1.00, changing keys in a keyboard layout, Debian phasing out Python 2 and voting on init diversity, Slackware gets unofficial updated live media|
|• Issue 840 (2019-11-11): Fedora 31, monitoring user activity, Fedora working to improve Python performance, FreeBSD gets faster networking|
|• Issue 839 (2019-11-04): MX 19, manipulating PDFs, Ubuntu plans features for 20.04, Fedora 29 nears EOL, Netrunner drops Manjaro-based edition|
|• Issue 838 (2019-10-28): Xubuntu 19.10, how init and service managers work together, DragonFly BSD provides emergency mode for HAMMER, Xfce team plans 4.16|
|• Issue 837 (2019-10-21): CentOS 8.0-1905, Trident finds a new base, Debian plans firewall changes, 15 years of Fedora, how to merge directories|
|• Issue 836 (2019-10-14): Archman 2019.09, Haiku improves ARM support, Project Trident shifting base OS, Unix turns 50|
|• Issue 835 (2019-10-07): Isotop, Mazon OS and, KduxOS, examples of using the find command, Mint's System Reports becomes proactive, Solus updates its desktops|
|• Issue 834 (2019-09-30): FreedomBox "Buster", CentOS gains a rolling release, Librem 5 phones shipping, Redcore updates its package manager|
|• Issue 833 (2019-09-23): Redcore Linux 1908, why Linux distros are free, Ubuntu making list of 32-bit software to keep, Richard M Stallman steps down from FSF leadership|
|• Issue 832 (2019-09-16): BlackWeb 1.2, checking for Wayland session and applications, Fedora to use nftables in firewalld, OpenBSD disables DoH in Firefox|
|• Issue 831 (2019-09-09): Adélie Linux 1.0 beta, using ffmpeg, awk and renice, Mint and elementary improvements, PureOS and Manjaro updates|
|• Issue 930 (2019-09-02): deepin 15.11, working with AppArmor profiles, elementary OS gets new greeter, exFAT support coming to Linux kernel|
|• Issue 829 (2019-08-26): EndeavourOS 2019.07.15, Drauger OS 7.4.1, finding the licenses of kernel modules, NetBSD gets Wayland application, GhostBSD changes base repo|
|• Issue 828 (2019-08-19): AcademiX 2.2, concerns with non-free firmware, UBports working on Unity8, Fedora unveils new EPEL channel, FreeBSD phasing out GCC|
|• Issue 827 (2019-08-12): Q4OS, finding files on the disk, Ubuntu works on ZFS, Haiku improves performance, OSDisc shutting down|
|• Issue 826 (2019-08-05): Quick looks at Resilient, PrimeOS, and BlueLight, flagship distros for desktops,Manjaro introduces new package manager|
|• Issue 825 (2019-07-29): Endless OS 3.6, UBports 16.04, gNewSense maintainer stepping down, Fedora developrs discuss optimizations, Project Trident launches stable branch|
|• Issue 824 (2019-07-22): Hexagon OS 1.0, Mageia publishes updated media, Fedora unveils Fedora CoreOS, managing disk usage with quotas|
|• Issue 823 (2019-07-15): Debian 10, finding 32-bit packages on a 64-bit system, Will Cooke discusses Ubuntu's desktop, IBM finalizes purchase of Red Hat|
|• Issue 822 (2019-07-08): Mageia 7, running development branches of distros, Mint team considers Snap, UBports to address Google account access|
|• Issue 821 (2019-07-01): OpenMandriva 4.0, Ubuntu's plan for 32-bit packages, Fedora Workstation improvements, DragonFly BSD's smaller kernel memory|
|• Issue 820 (2019-06-24): Clear Linux and Guix System 1.0.1, running Android applications using Anbox, Zorin partners with Star Labs, Red Hat explains networking bug, Ubuntu considers no longer updating 32-bit packages|
|• Issue 819 (2019-06-17): OS108 and Venom, renaming multiple files, checking live USB integrity, working with Fedora's Modularity, Ubuntu replacing Chromium package with snap|
|• Issue 818 (2019-06-10): openSUSE 15.1, improving boot times, FreeBSD's status report, DragonFly BSD reduces install media size|
|• Issue 817 (2019-06-03): Manjaro 18.0.4, Ubuntu Security Podcast, new Linux laptops from Dell and System76, Entroware Apollo|
|• Issue 816 (2019-05-27): Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, creating firewall rules, Antergos shuts down, Matthew Miller answers questions about Fedora|
|• Issue 815 (2019-05-20): Sabayon 19.03, Clear Linux's developer features, Red Hat explains MDS flaws, an overview of mobile distro options|
|• Issue 814 (2019-05-13): Fedora 30, distributions publish Firefox fixes, CentOS publishes roadmap to 8.0, Debian plans to use Wayland by default|
|• Issue 813 (2019-05-06): ROSA R11, MX seeks help with systemd-shim, FreeBSD tests unified package management, interview with Gael Duval|
|• Issue 812 (2019-04-29): Ubuntu MATE 19.04, setting up a SOCKS web proxy, Scientific Linux discontinued, Red Hat takes over Java LTS support|
|• Issue 811 (2019-04-22): Alpine 3.9.2, rsync examples, Ubuntu working on ZFS support, Debian elects new Project Leader, Obarun releases S6 tools|
|• Issue 810 (2019-04-15): SolydXK 201902, Bedrock Linux 0.7.2, Fedora phasing out Python 2, NetBSD gets virtual machine monitor|
|• Issue 809 (2019-04-08): PCLinuxOS 2019.02, installing Falkon and problems with portable packages, Mint offers daily build previews, Ubuntu speeds up Snap packages|
|• Issue 808 (2019-04-01): Solus 4.0, security benefits and drawbacks to using a live distro, Gentoo gets GNOME ports working without systemd, Redox OS update|
|• Issue 807 (2019-03-25): Pardus 17.5, finding out which user changed a file, new Budgie features, a tool for browsing FreeBSD's sysctl values|
|• Issue 806 (2019-03-18): Kubuntu vs KDE neon, Nitrux's znx, notes on Debian's election, SUSE becomes an independent entity|
|• Issue 805 (2019-03-11): EasyOS 1.0, managing background services, Devuan team debates machine ID file, Ubuntu Studio works to remain an Ubuntu Community Edition|
|• Issue 804 (2019-03-04): Condres OS 19.02, securely erasing hard drives, new UBports devices coming in 2019, Devuan to host first conference|
|• Issue 803 (2019-02-25): Septor 2019, preventing windows from stealing focus, NetBSD and Nitrux experiment with virtual machines, pfSense upgrading to FreeBSD 12 base|
|• Issue 802 (2019-02-18): Slontoo 18.07.1, NetBSD tests newer compiler, Fedora packaging Deepin desktop, changes in Ubuntu Studio|
|• Issue 801 (2019-02-11): Project Trident 18.12, the meaning of status symbols in top, FreeBSD Foundation lists ongoing projects, Plasma Mobile team answers questions|
|• Issue 800 (2019-02-04): FreeNAS 11.2, using Ubuntu Studio software as an add-on, Nitrux developing znx, matching operating systems to file systems|
|• Issue 799 (2019-01-28): KaOS 2018.12, Linux Basics For Hackers, Debian 10 enters freeze, Ubuntu publishes new version for IoT devices|
|• Issue 798 (2019-01-21): Sculpt OS 18.09, picking a location for swap space, Solus team plans ahead, Fedora trying to get a better user count|
|• Issue 797 (2019-01-14): Reborn OS 2018.11.28, TinyPaw-Linux 1.3, dealing with processes which make the desktop unresponsive, Debian testing Secure Boot support|
|• Issue 796 (2019-01-07): FreeBSD 12.0, Peppermint releases ISO update, picking the best distro of 2018, roundtable interview with Debian, Fedora and elementary developers|
|• Issue 795 (2018-12-24): Running a Pinebook, interview with Bedrock founder, Alpine being ported to RISC-V, Librem 5 dev-kits shipped|
|• Issue 794 (2018-12-17): Void 20181111, avoiding software bloat, improvements to HAMMER2, getting application overview in GNOME Shell|
|• Issue 793 (2018-12-10): openSUSE Tumbleweed, finding non-free packages, Debian migrates to usrmerge, Hyperbola gets FSF approval|
|• Issue 792 (2018-1203): GhostBSD 18.10, when to use swap space, DragonFly BSD's wireless support, Fedora planning to pause development schedule|
|• Issue 791 (2018-11-26): Haiku R1 Beta1, default passwords on live media, Slax and Kodachi update their media, dual booting DragonFly BSD on EFI|
|• Issue 790 (2018-11-19): NetBSD 8.0, Bash tips and short-cuts, Fedora's networking benchmarked with FreeBSD, Ubuntu 18.04 to get ten years of support|
|• Issue 789 (2018-11-12): Fedora 29 Workstation and Silverblue, Haiku recovering from server outage, Fedora turns 15, Debian publishes updated media|
|• Full list of all issues|
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|Random Distribution |
Fermi Linux LTS (Long-Term Support) was a distribution based on Scientific Linux, which was in essence Red Hat Enterprise Linux, recompiled. It was Scientific Linux with Fermilab's security hardening and customised configurations to allow an administrator to install Fermi Linux and have the machine meet Fermilab's security requirements with little or no extra configuration. Since Fermi Linux LTS was based on Scientific Linux, it shares it's goal that if a program runs and was certified on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, then it will run on the corresponding Fermi Linux LTS release. Fermi Linux has since merged with the Scientific Linux project, becoming a special edition or add-on to Scientific Linux.