| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 569, 28 July 2014
Welcome to this year's 30th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! We want a lot of things from our operating systems. A good operating system should be fast, reliable, secure and easy to use. One project which attempts to embody all these operating system virtues is Deepin, an Ubuntu-based distribution featuring a custom desktop environment and several unique applications. Read our feature review below to find out how well Deepin performs. In the News section this week we discuss the Fedora team's push to help users find answers to their technical questions and the interesting parts of FreeBSD's quarterly report. We also talk about using LibreSSL as a drop-in replacement to OpenSSL and the potential security risks involved with downloading packages over an unencrypted connection. Plus we cover the distribution releases of the past week and look ahead to fun, new 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 (34MB) and MP3 (40MB) formats
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
First impressions of Deepin 2014
The Deepin Linux distribution is based on the Ubuntu operating system and features several unique features and additions. The project's website states: "Deepin is a Linux distribution that aims to provide an elegant, user-friendly, safe and stable operating system for global users. Based on HTML5 technologies, [the] Deepin team has developed a series of new special software, such as Deepin Desktop Environment, Deepin Music Player, DPlayer, Deepin Software Center."
The distribution's latest release, version 2014, ships with some intriguing features, including a custom system installer, friendly software centre, custom control centre, UEFI support and the Deepin Desktop Environment (version 2.0). The project's release notes also mention that running Deepin in a virtual machine is not recommended: "Since Compiz is used as the window manager in Deepin 2014 and its performance is poor in a virtual machine, Deepin 2014 is strongly recommended to be installed directly in the real machine, so that the gorgeous effect of which can be truly experienced. To completely solve this problem, we have planned to develop a new window manager to replace Compiz in the future releases."
Deepin 2014 is available in 32-bit and 64-bit x86 builds. The download image for the distribution is approximately 1.5 GB in size. Booting from the project's live media brings up a menu we can navigate with either the keyboard or the mouse pointer. The menu asks us to select our preferred language from a list. Once our language has been selected the system boots to a desktop interface with a starry sky in the background. On the desktop we find an icon for launching the project's system installer. At the bottom of the screen we find a quick-launch bar filled with icons for commonly accessed applications. There are also buttons for bringing up the distribution's application menu and settings panel on this launch bar.
Deepin 2014 - application menu
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The Deepin system installer is one of the fastest and most simple to use installers I have encountered. When it starts up we are presented with a screen which asks us to create a user name and password for ourselves. We can also create a name for our computer on this screen. In the upper-right corner of this first screen is an icon for changing our keyboard's layout (my keyboard was properly set up without my help) and a second icon brings up a map of the world where we can set our time zone. Again, my time zone was properly detected so many users can probably ignore these two optional steps. The second screen of the installer asks where we would like to install Deepin and allows us to select a region of our hard disk. Should we wish to customize our installation there is an "Expert" button on this page which opens a partition manager which resembles the partition manager featured in Ubuntu's system installer. The Deepin installer supports Btrfs, JFS, XFS, ReiserFS and the ext2/3/4 file systems. The Expert screen further allows us to choose where to install Deepin's boot loader, the default location being the first hard drive. After these steps are completed the system installer copies its files to our local hard drive and, when it is finished, we are prompted to reboot the computer.
When Deepin boots we are shown an animated boot screen where the word "Deepin" fills with waves of water. Then we are brought to a login screen where the background is an animated star field. The first time we login we are greeted by a welcome screen which offers to show us some of the features of the Deepin Desktop Environment. The interactive tutorial walks us through how to access the desktop's full screen application menu, how to move icons around the menu and add program launchers to the desktop. We are also shown the interface's "hot corner" shortcuts and the distribution's control panel. I'll talk about these features more shortly, for now I just want to acknowledge the distribution's friendly tutorial - it's a nice introduction to a desktop environment I was not familiar with prior to this review.
As I mentioned above, the Deepin Desktop Environment features a full screen application menu. This menu contains a grid of icons we can scroll through. The icons are divided into categories of software rather than being placed in alphabetical order and navigation buttons on the left side of the menu let us jump to any software category. We can type search terms to help us find items faster. One aspect of the menu I appreciated was that we can move items we use frequently to the top of the menu (the Favourites area). We can also right-click on an application's icon and place it on our desktop. Having too many icons on the desktop can make for a cluttered work environment and Deepin allows us to group multiple icons into desktop containers, similar to the way the Android operating system lets users group app launchers. The desktop features hot corners and moving our mouse pointer to the corners of the desktop enables us to bring up the application menu, minimize all open windows and bring up the distribution's settings panel.
Deepin 2014 - settings panel
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The settings panel I feel deserves special mention. While most Linux distributions feature a control centre that can be opened in its own window, Deepin features a control panel that acts like a widget, growing out of the right side of the screen. All desktop settings can be accessed via this panel without opening new windows, the settings we are interested in simply expand and other categories of settings minimize. This makes navigating the system settings very quick and fluid.
I tried running Deepin on a desktop computer and, despite the warnings against virtual machines, I installed Deepin inside VirtualBox. On physical hardware the distribution performed very well. It booted quickly, the desktop was responsive and the system was stable. I found networking and sound worked out of the box and my screen was automatically set to its maximum resolution. When running in VirtualBox the experience was as the project's team warned. Deepin runs slowly in the virtual environment. The distribution does work inside VirtualBox and can be used, but the desktop is slow to respond. In both environments I found Deepin required approximately 400 MB of memory.
Deepin 2014 - the Deepin Store package manager
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The Deepin distribution has a multiple purpose package manager which has a similar look and feel to Ubuntu's Software Centre, though Deepin's graphical software manager seems to have a less cluttered interface. The package manager is divided into tabs which let us search for software, view installed items, see and install available package upgrades and watch actions in progress. While browsing for new software we can look through desktop applications that are arranged by category or we can search for items using key words. I used the package manager, called Deepin Store, to locate a few items and install them. I also used Deepin Store to download and install 25 software updates (totalling 64MB in size). These actions were all handled quickly and without any problems.
The distribution features a second application which acts a bit like a package manager. This second program, called Deepin Games, works in a similar fashion to Valve's Steam gaming portal. It allows us to browse and search for games. Clicking on a game's title causes the game to download and launch on our machine. So far as I can tell, the games are not installed locally the same way packages are installed (games do not appear in our application menu). Once we close a game we are returned to the Deepin Games application. Should we wish to return to games we have played before, Deepin Games keeps track of items we have launched before and these previously played games can be quickly located in a tab called "My Games". Though I did not spend much time with Deepin Games, the items I did play worked well and the games I tried were free to play. I feel Deepin Games is more or less equivalent to Steam or PlayOnLinux, though Deepin Games ran faster on my test machine.
Deepin ships with a useful collection of desktop software, much of it custom made for the distribution. We are given the Google Chrome web browser, the HexChat IRC client, the Pidgin instant messenger software and the Skype voice-over-IP client. Thunderbird is available for working with e-mail and a remote desktop client is included for us. The LibreOffice productivity suite is available along with an image viewer and PDF document viewer. Deepin ships with popular multimedia codecs and media players, specifically Deepin Movie for watching videos and Deepin Music for playing audio files. Flash is also available by default. The distribution provides the Brasero disc burning software, the ChmSee document viewer, a printer management app and a system process monitor.
Deepin provides an application for utilizing wireless drivers built for Windows, an archive manager, a text editor and a virtual calculator. We also find a program in the application menu called Deepin Translator which I assume translates lines of text. However, whenever I tried to launch Deepin Translator the program crashed and displayed an error regarding the D-Bus service. While using Deepin I found some additional features, such as pressing the F4 key would open a full screen terminal window. Pressing F4 again dismissed the terminal. The distribution ships with the GNU Compiler Collection and the Linux kernel, version 3.13. I found that trying to run an application in a virtual terminal when the application was not installed would cause a message to be displayed letting us know how to install the missing program.
Deepin 2014 - various desktop applications
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After a few days of using Deepin what really made an impression on me was how natural the experience felt. Going into this review I was not familiar with the Deepin Desktop Environment and, while I had briefly used Deepin in the past, it was long ago. I was not familiar with Deepin's current package manager, multimedia utilities, system installer, settings panel or other components. Yet, despite my ignorance concerning Deepin going into this review, there was virtually no learning curve. The Deepin utilities and desktop environment are very polished, stable and surprisingly intuitive.
I suspect I felt so immediately at home with Deepin because the distribution's interface appears to have taken the best aspects of other systems and improved upon them. For example, the application menu feels more responsive and has a nicer layout than ROSA's application menu or the GNOME Activities screen. The Deepin Desktop Environment carries some of the same features as Unity, yet feels more responsive and (during my time) was more stable than early releases of the Unity desktop. Deepin nicely combines the better aspects of the traditional desktop design (desktop icons, launch bar and window management) with mobile-style features such as the full screen launch menu and desktop icon containers.
Another aspect of Deepin I enjoyed was the way the distribution tended to keep things out of the way without restricting the user. For example, we can get through the system installer in just two screens, providing four pieces of information (user name, computer name, password and disk region we want to hand over to Deepin). That brevity is quite nice. At the same time, the system installer allows us to adjust settings and customize our installation in the same way Linux Mint or Mageia might, but we need only see those options if we want to access them. In a similar vein, the Deepin Store and settings panel are very nicely trimmed down and easy to navigate. Yet, while these components have been streamlined, they are not lacking any significant features so far as I can see. Likewise, not many desktop applications are installed for us by default, but there is a good deal of functionality present. Deepin's core theme appears to be giving us power without giving us clutter.
One further characteristic of Deepin I appreciated was that the distribution has some flare and eye candy when the user is idle, but the distribution is not distracting while we are using it. For instance, while booting, shutting down and waiting for a user to login, Deepin shows simple animations. It is a way to entertain the user while we sit and wait. However, once we get logged into our account, the pretty animations stop and Deepin removes distractions, giving us a clean work space. There are no wobbly icons in the launch tray, no flashy animations as windows close or slow fade-outs when we switch between tasks.
Finally, I want to acknowledge that I was worried going into this review that there might be a language barrier. Deepin, while based on Ubuntu, is developed in China and I had concerns that some Deepin-specific components might not display clear English. As it turns out, almost all of the English text I saw during my time with Deepin was clear and without error. Deepin may be native to China, but care has been taken to make the translations fluent. I think during my week with Deepin I saw only one line of text which did not appear to be written by a native English speaker and, even then, the meaning was quite clear.
What I took away from my time with Deepin is the distribution runs well, is stable, offers a good deal of functionality out of the box and is very user friendly. The developers have done a great job of mixing concepts from various desktop and mobile operating systems to create something which is paradoxically both unique and familiar. The Deepin Desktop Environment is quite stable and, on physical hardware, responsive. Deepin is easy to set up, easy to use, features a great deal of software through its repositories and, thanks to its Ubuntu base, should be able to run most third-party Linux software. I am impressed with what Deepin has to offer and recommend giving it a try.
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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 2.8 GHz AMD A4-3420 APU
- Storage: 500 GB Hitachi hard drive
- Memory: 6 GB of RAM
- Networking: Realtek RTL8111 wired network card
- Display: AMD Radeon HD 6410D video card
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Related story: Interview with Deepin project leader Wang Yong (DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 556, April 2014)
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith and Ladislav Bodnar)
Fedora Magazine encourages people to join Ask Fedora, Gentoo developer weighs in on using LibreSSL, FreeBSD team issues quarterly report, Ubuntu launches 8th edition of The Official Ubuntu Book
Many people, not just software developers, want to contribute to open source projects. However, for someone who does not code or have system administration skills it can be hard to know how to assist the larger community. The Fedora project is encouraging people of all skill sets and levels of ability to get involved on the Ask Fedora website. Ask Fedora functions in a similar manner to user discussion forums, but with a particular focus on asking questions and getting assistance. The Fedora Magazine has a post explaining how Ask Fedora works: "Ask Fedora is an instance of the Askbot Q&A website. It's similar to Stack Exchange if you've used it. The idea is for people to ask questions and for any one that can help to answer these questions. While asking and answering questions, you earn karma and badges, you vote on these questions and answers and as more and more people use the site and learn in the process, it becomes a self sustaining knowledge base -- new folks can look through existing questions for information." Voting on posts helps people find useful information as helpful posts gain more points and more attention.
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Following the fork of the OpenSSL encryption library and the creation of the LibreSSL project, many people in the open source community have been talking about migrating to the new (and potentially more secure) LibreSSL software. This raises a number of questions such as whether LibreSSL can serve as a drop-in replacement to OpenSSL, whether the two libraries can co-exist and whether people should be switching to LibreSSL right away. One Gentoo developer, Diego Elio Pettenò, addressed some of these questions in a blog post in which he discusses using LibreSSL as a drop-in replacement to OpenSSL. He gets right to the point, declaring: "Let me state this here, boldly: you should never, ever, for no reason, use shared objects from different major/minor OpenSSL versions or implementations (such as LibreSSL) as a drop-in replacement for one another." Most people will probably be best off waiting until distributions adopt and package LibreSSL before trying to use the new library.
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The FreeBSD project released its most recent quarterly report last week. Among the updated projects, Summer of Code reports and updates on the new PKG package manager were two pieces of especially good news for FreeBSD fans. The first is that FreeBSD releases will have an officially supported life cycle of five years: "In May, a new release policy was published and presented at the BSDCan developer conference by John Baldwin. The idea is that each major release branch (for example, 10.X) is guaranteed to be supported for at least five years, but individual point releases on each branch, like 10.0-RELEASE, will be issued at regular intervals and only the latest point release will be supported." The second bit of news is that FreeBSD is improving support for embedded devices and ARM boards such as the Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone. The FreeBSD developers are also working on cloud images that will be compatible with Amazon's EC2, Compute Engine and Azure. This will make it easier to set up cloud instances of FreeBSD on popular hosts.
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Besides providing a popular operating system for desktops and servers, the Ubuntu project has always been very keen on delivering great documentation - be it an online Wiki system or a regularly updated manual. The Official Ubuntu Book, now in its 8th edition and covering the new Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, was released last week. One of the authors, Elizabeth Krumbach Joseph, blogs about the event: "I had the great opportunity to work with Matthew Helmke, José Antonio Rey and Debra Williams of Pearson on the 8th edition of The Official Ubuntu Book. In addition to the obvious task of updating content, one of our most important tasks was working to 'future-proof' the book more by doing rewrites in a way that would make sure the content of the book was going to be useful until the next long-term support release, in 2016. This meant a fair amount of content refactoring, less specifics when it came to members of teams and lots of goodies for folks looking to become power users of Unity." The Official Ubuntu Book, 8th Edition is available from InformIT (US$31.99), Amazon (US$28.51, C$26.45, £23.54, €27.57) and other bookstores.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Encrypted package downloads
Not-tipping-my-hand asks: When I download packages in Ubuntu it shows that the connection is made over plain HTTP. Isn't it possible for people to snoop on my connection and see what packages I am installing? Could someone even alter a package I am installing, compromising my system? Why aren't packages installed over HTTPS? Are there any distributions which do use a secure connection?
DistroWatch answers: First, let us take a look at whether it is possible for someone to monitor your connection to your distribution's software repository. In theory, yes it is possible for someone to listen in and monitor HTTP connections, including those to your distribution's software repository. This means someone could potentially learn what software you are installing on your computer. As to whether someone could alter a package as you are downloading it, that is less likely. Most distributions digitally sign their packages. This means the package manager on your computer will examine the software you are downloading and check to see if it has been altered since it left the repository. The digital signature check means it is highly unlikely someone could substitute their own, compromised package for a legitimate package. However, it is, in theory, possible an attacker could cause you to download and install an older version of a legitimate package, one with known security problems. It would still, technically, be a package from your distribution, but one which was out of date and vulnerable to attack.
Knowing monitoring your connection is possible and some attacks are, in theory, possible, why do distributions offer plain HTTP connections instead of the more secure HTTPS variety? I suspect the answer basically boils down to three things. First, it is slightly faster to establish insecure connections. When you are rapidly connecting to multiple mirrors and downloading dozens of packages, making a speedy connection is a nice feature. Second, setting up security takes more time and resources and the package manager should have some way of identifying whether a server's security certificate can be trusted. All of this is more work for the repository maintainers and distribution developers. Finally, package signing prevents most attacks against packages in transit. The likelihood of someone attacking you with older versions of software are relatively low as there are many other, easier and faster methods of attack.
All that being said, package managers can typically make use of HTTPS connections so long as the package repository mirror it is connecting to also supports HTTPS connections. The popular APT and YUM package managers can connect to software repositories which feature HTTPS support. I tried enabling HTTPS connections in my package manager recently and quickly found that repository mirrors generally do not enable HTTPS support which means that while the package managers support HTTPS connections, the servers holding the packages do not. Most are unlikely to add support for HTTPS given the trade-off between the work required to enable this feature and the potential benefits.
Still, if you would like to push for more secure connections, you can get in contact with your distribution's mirror maintainers. Distributions often have a mailing list or IRC channel where you can get in touch with mirror administrators and the idea of improving HTTPS support can be discussed there.
|Released Last Week
Kali Linux 1.0.8
Mati Aharoni has announced the release of Kali Linux 1.0.8, a minor update of the project's Debian-based distribution with specialist tools for penetration testing and forensic analysis: "The long awaited Kali Linux USB EFI boot support feature has been added to our binary ISO builds, which has prompted this early Kali Linux 1.0.8 release. This new feature simplifies getting Kali installed and running on more recent hardware which requires EFI as well as various Apple MacBook Air and Retina models. Besides the addition of EFI support, there is a whole array of tool updates and fixes that have accumulated over the past couple of months. As this new release focuses almost entirely on the EFI capable ISO image, Offensive Security won't be releasing additional ARM or VMWare images with 1.0.8. As usual, you don't need to re-download Kali if you've got it installed, and apt-get update && apt-get dist-upgrade should do the job." Read the rest of the release announcement for further information.
An updated version of Tails, a Debian-based distribution known for its strong privacy features and pre-configured for anonymous web browsing, has been released: "Tails, The Amnesic Incognito Live System, version 1.1, is out. All users must upgrade as soon as possible - this release fixes numerous security issues. Notable user-visible changes include: re-base on Debian 7.0 'Wheezy'; upgrade thousands of packages; migrate to GNOME 3 'fallback' mode; install LibreOffice instead of OpenOffice.org; UEFI boot support, which should make it possible to boot Tails on modern hardware and Apple computers; replace the Windows XP camouflage with a Windows 8 camouflage; bring back VirtualBox guest modules, installed from Wheezy backports, full functionality is only available when using the 32-bit kernel. Fix write access to boot medium via udisks; upgrade the web browser to 24.7.0esr...." Here is the full release announcement with a list of known issues.br/>
Tails 1.1 - default desktop and Getting Started guide
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Oracle Linux 7.0
Oracle has announced the release of Oracle Linux 7.0, a distribution rebuilt from source code of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7, but featuring a custom "unbreakable" kernel: "Oracle is pleased to announce the general availability of Oracle Linux 7. Oracle Linux 7 offers the latest innovations and improvements to support customers and partners in developing and deploying business critical applications across the data center and into the cloud. Features include: Btrfs Oracle Linux 7; XFS; Linux Containers (LXC); DTrace; Ksplice for zero-downtime kernel security updates and bug fixes; Xen enhancements; Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel (UEK) 3; systemd, a new service and system manager; GRUB 2 as the default bootloader with support for additional firmware types, such as UEFI; support for in-place upgrades from Oracle Linux 6.5 to Oracle Linux 7." Read the release announcement, the official press release and the detailed release notes for further information.
Adam Conrad has announced the release of Ubuntu 14.04.1, the first maintenance update of the popular distribution's current stable release: "The Ubuntu team is pleased to announce the release of Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS (long-term support) for its Desktop, Server, Cloud, and Core products, as well as other flavours of Ubuntu with long-term support. As usual, this point release includes many updates, and updated installation media has been provided so that fewer updates will need to be downloaded after installation. These include security updates and corrections for other high-impact bugs, with a focus on maintaining stability and compatibility with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. Kubuntu 14.04.1 LTS, Edubuntu 14.04.1 LTS, Xubuntu 14.04.1 LTS, Mythbuntu 14.04.1 LTS, Ubuntu GNOME 14.04.1 LTS, Lubuntu 14.04.1 LTS, Ubuntu Kylin 14.04.1 LTS, and Ubuntu Studio 14.04.1 LTS are also now available." Read the release announcement for more details.
Alex Polvi has announced the release of CoreOS 367.1.0, the first stable release of the specialist Linux distribution for servers and clusters: "First off, happy sysadmin day. We think we have a pretty good sysadmin surprise in store for you today as we are announcing the CoreOS stable release channel. Starting today, you can begin running CoreOS in production. This version is the most tested, secure and reliable version available for users wanting to run CoreOS. This is a huge milestone for us. Since our first alpha release in August 2013: 191 releases have been tagged; tested on hundreds of thousands of servers on the alpha and beta channels; supported on 10+ platforms, ranging from bare metal to being primary images on Rackspace and Google. CoreOS 367.1.0 includes the following: Linux kernel 3.15.2; Docker 1.0.1; support on all major cloud providers, including Rackspace Cloud...." Read the release announcement and the quick start guide to learn more.
Salix 14.1 "Openbox"
George Vlahavas has announced the release of Salix 14.1 "Openbox" edition, a lightweight Slackware-based distribution featuring with Openbox as the default window manager: "Salix Openbox 14.1 brings the Openbox window manager, teamed with fbpanel and SpaceFM to create a fast and flexible desktop environment. This is the most lightweight edition we have so far among our 14.1 releases and everything has been tweaked to provide a desktop experience comparable to other Salix editions. The development of this edition involved a long and rigorous period of testing and the final release has evolved a lot since the first beta. This release comes in both 32-bit and 64-bit flavours, with both fitting comfortably within the size of a single CD. The 32-bit flavour is also our first 14.1 release that supports i486, non-PAE capable systems by using the respective kernel, although the default is still the i686 PAE SMP kernel." Here is the full release announcement.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|DistroWatch.com News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
DistroWatch.com visitor platform and browsers statistics|
A couple of months ago the OSNews.com website published their most recent platform and browser statistics. I thought it would be interesting to compare their figures with those of DistroWatch.com. OSNews is, of course, a more general technology news site than DistroWatch, covering all operating systems rather than focusing only on the free and open-source ones as we do. Nevertheless, it is likely visited by technical users interested in new technologies. The statistics at OSNews do indeed reflect this as more than 21% of the website's visitors use Linux to access it while only 47% of all visitors come with Windows. On DistroWatch.com, these figures are even more biased towards free and open-source operating systems, with Linux having over 46% and Windows less than 43%. This is a fairly recent change; up until 2013 the Windows-using visitors clearly topped the statistics.
Even more remarkable are this site's browsers statistics. When I started DistroWatch.com back in 2001, the MSIE-using visitors, who had a 92% market share, shunned any competing browsers. Today, the percentage of users who visit this website with Microsoft's flagship web browser stands at a whopping 2.7%! Yes, fewer than three of every 100 visitors of DistroWatch.com are here with MSIE! Mozilla's Firefox has a 55% share, with Google Chrome a distant second at just under 29%. This, again, is more dramatic than the OSNews figures where Firefox and Chrome run neck and neck at around 38% each and where Internet Explorer has a 5.5% market share.
Naturally, a widely-visited general website, such as Wikipedia, will have much more "correct" figures of OS and browser usage as it is visited by all interest groups. Here, the popular encyclopedia's visitor statistics for June 2014 show Windows user at just over 40% of the total, while those using Linux (including Android) had a 13% market share. When it comes to browsers, Chrome visitors dominate with nearly 25%. Those using Microsoft's browser were noticeably more prominent at Wikipedia than either at OSNews or DistroWatch - they had a market share of just over 9%.
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New distributions added to database
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New distributions added to waiting list
- DSLR. DSLR is a small, 64-bit "libre" Linux distribution in the spirit of Damn Small Linux, targeted at advanced users. It's a lightweight operating system that comes pre-loaded with many useful applications.
- Peach OSI. Peach OSI is an Ubuntu-based desktop Linux distribution with an OS X-like user interface.
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DistroWatch database summary
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This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 4 August 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 843 (2019-12-02): Obarun 2019.11.02, Bluestar 5.3.6, using special characters on the command line, Fedora plans to disable empty passwords, FreeBSD's quarterly status report|
|• Issue 842 (2019-11-25): SolydXK 10, System Adminstration Ethics book review, Debian continues init diversity debate, Google upstreaming Android kernel patches|
|• 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|
|• Full list of all issues|
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IPFire is a Linux distribution that focuses on easy setup, good handling and high level of security. It is operated via an intuitive web-based interface which offers many configuration options for beginning and experienced system administrators. IPFire is maintained by developers who are concerned about security and who update the product regularly to keep it secure. IPFire ships with a custom package manager called Pakfire and the system can be expanded with various add-ons.