| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 571, 11 August 2014
Welcome to this year's 32nd issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Most of us want our computers to be easy to use and we also want our computers to be secure. Unfortunately convenience and security are typically in opposition to each other. Making a system both secure and easy to use is often a juggling act involving compromise. This week we turn our attention to projects which want to provide stable, secure and easy to use operating systems. We begin with a review of HandyLinux, a project which is designed for new computer users. In our News section we discuss Ubuntu's push to improve the distribution's documentation, a tutorial on securing FreeBSD and a recommendation from the EFF for people maintaining many complex passwords across multiple computers. In addition, we discuss Linux Mint's plans for the project's "Debian" edition. Plus, in our Questions and Answers section, we talk about what to do when running out of disk space on an advanced file system such as Btrfs or ZFS. We also discuss software back doors and rumours of compromised open source projects. We wrap up this week by covering recent distribution releases and looking ahead to fun new developments to come. We wish you all an amazing week and happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (32MB) and MP3 (37MB) formats
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
HandyLinux 1.6 - a handy distribution to have
The HandyLinux distribution is a desktop operating system based on packages from the Debian project. HandyLinux is, according to the project's website, designed for "absolute beginners" and it appears as though the developers mean both Linux beginners and newcomers to desktop computers in general. The latest release of HandyLinux, version 1.6, is available in two 32-bit x86 builds, one with PAE support and one without. The project's website and the distribution itself primarily support the French and English languages. I downloaded the PAE-enabled edition of HandyLinux and found the ISO for this build is 1.2 GB in size.
Booting from the HandyLinux media brings up a menu where we are asked if we would like to try running HandyLinux in a live environment or if we would like to launch the project's system installer. This boot menu provides each of its options twice, once in French and once in English. Assuming we decide to try the live desktop environment first we are asked to choose our keyboard's layout from a list and then we are brought to a welcome screen. This welcome screen tells us how to access the project's documentation and the application menu. It also explains how to shutdown the computer and offers to show us a tutorial outlining basic controls. I found the tutorial covers such computer basics as how to click on buttons and controls, how to open files, how to play media and how to select, copy and paste text.
HandyLinux 1.6 - the welcome screen
(full image size: 305kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
HandyLinux runs the Xfce desktop environment (version 4.8), an interface which is fast and light on resources. The default theme is flat and comprised of soft colours. Most of the desktop's features, such as the application menu button, task switcher and system tray, are placed at the bottom of the screen. Clicking the application menu button brings up a window in the middle of the display. This window is divided into a handful of tabs. Each tab contains a small collection of software or folders. For instance, one tab features a web browser and e-mail software, another tab contains commonly accessed folders in our home directory. Anther tab contains productivity software, another features games and another features system administration utilities. These tabs each feature only a few application launchers and most include a Help button which opens a web browser and shows us documentation on the available software in the current tab.
There are three things I like in particular about this unusual menu system. One is that it is not at all crowded. The icons and text are big, the categories are few and well presented. Second, there is a documentation button in each software tab explaining what each program does and some basics on how to get started using it. Finally, HandyLinux has not only focused on one-application-per-task, the developers have also placed some of the most popular software in this menu. It is certainly possible to access more software, but for complete beginners the developers have exclusively presented popular software in an easy-to-access fashion.
HandyLinux 1.6 - default application menu and settings panel
(full image size: 500kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
I did not find a system installer in the main menu of the live environment and so I rebooted the computer and opted to run the HandyLinux system installer in English from the boot menu. HandyLinux uses the Debian graphical system installer. The installer walks us through selecting our preferred language, the region of the world where we live and our keyboard's layout. Next we are asked to create a name for our computer and then we are asked to create a user account for ourselves. Partitioning is probably the only potentially difficult part of the installer to navigate. We have the option of either manually dividing up our hard disk or, alternatively, we can simply let HandyLinux take over our disk. Assuming we take the automatic ("guided") partitioning option, HandyLinux sets us up with a swap partition and a root partition, with the latter formatted using the ext4 file system. HandyLinux then copies its files to our hard drive. When the installer is finished we reboot the computer and are presented with a simple, graphical login screen.
Signing into our account for the first time brings up the same welcome screen we saw when using the live environment. When we dismiss the welcome screen another window appears asking if we would like check for software updates. I agreed to perform the update check and was soon shown a simple software updating application. This program basically just shows us a list of available updates and offers us two buttons. One button checks again for more updates and the other downloads available packages. When I installed HandyLinux there were just two updated packages waiting for me and these totalled less than 1 MB in size. These updates downloaded and installed without any problems. In the future, when new updates were available, a small icon would appear in the system tray. Clicking on the update notification icon would launch the software updating application.
HandyLinux 1.6 - updating software packages and alternative application menu
(full image size: 681kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
I tried running HandyLinux in two environments, on a physical desktop computer and in a virtual machine provided by VirtualBox. In both instances HandyLinux ran smoothly. My desktop's display was set to its maximum resolution, sound worked out of the box and my Internet connection was automatically configured. In both environments the Xfce interface was highly responsive. HandyLinux was quick to boot and performed tasks without delay. I found that logging into my account used approximately 140MB of memory, a relatively low amount for a modern Linux desktop distribution.
At first it appears as thought HandyLinux does not feature many applications. The main application menu provides us with some important items such as the Chromium web browser with Flash and AdBlock enabled. We are given the Icedove (Thunderbird) e-mail client, the Skype software phone and LibreOffice. The Minitube YouTube client is installed for us along with the VLC multimedia player, the Quod Libet music player and popular multimedia codecs. We are also given the Xfburn disc burning application, the Shotwell photo manager, a scanning tool, a few games, a calculator and text editor. Finally, we find the Xfce settings panel and the Software Centre package manager. At first this may seem to be the full array of installed software, however one of the icons in the application menu opens a window that provides us with a list of all the installed desktop applications. This list can be searched using keywords and categories of software to help us find more programs.
I also found it was easy to add a traditional application menu to the Xfce panel, giving the user a way to access Handy's full catalogue of software. Some of the other programs available include configuration utilities for handling printers, network connections and user accounts. TeamViewer is available as are an audio disc ripper and the Cheese webcam utility. I also found a PDF viewer, the Synaptic package manager and the GParted partition manager. Java is installed for us, Network Manager helps us get on-line and there is an app for enabling/disabling system services. Behind the scenes, HandyLinux runs on the Linux kernel, version 3.2
HandyLinux 1.6 - Software Centre and application finder
(full image size: 523kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
HandyLinux ships with two graphical package managers, Synaptic and Software Centre. These package managers pull software from the Debian Stable repository with a few items coming from Handy's custom repository. We also connect to a VideoLAN repository which I suspect supplies up to date versions of the VLC multimedia player. Software Centre is the primary package manager and it provides users with a pleasant, friendly interface. We can browse through categories of software or perform searches using keywords. While browsing through items we can click on a package to gain detailed information about the selected software. Installing or removing a program happens with a single button click and we can continue to use Software Centre while it is adding or removing packages.
Synaptic is quite different in its approach. Synaptic presents us with a plain, alphabetical list of available packages. We can filter the list using various controls and search for items. Synaptic allows us to create batches of actions to perform and then locks the interface while these actions are completed. Synaptic is quite fast and flexible, but has a more business-like interface. I mostly used Software Centre during my time with HandyLinux and found it worked well, performing new installations and removing unwanted programs without any problems.
I try to evaluate distributions based upon their stated goals and so my views on HandyLinux are quite straight forward. The HandyLinux project claims they want their distribution to be easy to use, that they want to appeal to beginners. The HandyLinux project is, at times, described as "Debian without the headaches". With regards to this stated goal I must say HandyLinux does very well. The distribution is fairly easy to install, especially if we take the guided partitioning option. HandyLinux has a very simple desktop environment that is virtually void of clutter and very easy to navigate. The distribution has some nice tutorials and a friendly welcome screen to help newcomers get started. HandyLinux ships with some of the greatest gems of the open source community and makes these applications easy to access. The project's documentation is easy to find and helpful. In short, the only way I believe HandyLinux could be easier to work with is if the developers came over to the user's home and operated the computer for them.
HandyLinux 1.6 - the browser's start page with search options
(full image size: 136kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
While HandyLinux is quite easy to use, I feel the distribution avoids falling into two common traps. Often "beginner friendly" distributions either make it harder to perform certain tasks or they enable too much eye candy in order to look appealing. HandyLinux gets around both problems by shipping with the Xfce desktop and disabling visual effects. This leaves us with a clean, responsive desktop environment. Customizing Xfce to add in a traditional application menu is straight forward. Likewise, adjusting the layout of the desktop or changing the appearance is fairly easy. Under the hood, HandyLinux is Debian Stable with very few adjustments. This means we have access to the huge catalogue of software in the Debian repositories and can access all the tools and command-line power provided by the Debian distribution.
What my time with HandyLinux really boiled down to was the distribution was very easy to use while the novice-friendly features did not get in my way. HandyLinux assumes we have no experience with computers, going so far as to explain copy/pasting text in a tutorial and telling us how to use the video player. However, the flexibility and power of Debian is always under the surface, always a click or two away. The distribution is very fast, ships with a great default collection of software and is one of the easiest to use operating systems I've had the pleasure to try. Plus, HandyLinux will be supported for about another two years or more, making it a good, stable option for friends or family members who call on you for tech support.
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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
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith and Ladislav Bodnar)
Ubuntu seeks documentation writers, FreeBSD releases updated package manager, Mint's Debian edition to be based on Debian "Stable", Debian re-opens default desktop discussion, EFF recommends new password manager
A very common complaint about open source software, or indeed any software, is the lack of proper and complete documentation. Both new and experienced users benefit greatly from correct and detailed documentation. With that in mind, the Ubuntu project is putting out a call for volunteers to help polish and extend the project's documentation. If you would like to give back to the open source community and have been looking for a way to help, you can visit the Ubuntu wiki and join in the documentation writing process.
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We want our computers and operating systems to remain just that: ours. We do not want our computers giving away our secrets or becoming spam-spewing bots under the control of someone else. For this reason security is important and the twisteddaemon blog has some good tips for keeping systems secure. These steps mainly focus on FreeBSD, but most of the tips can be applied to Linux distributions as well: "I like the warm and fuzzy feeling of snug blankets and a secure computer. So all of these suggestions are related to security. I would recommend these to anyone that is playing around with a FreeBSD install which will connect to the internet."
In other FreeBSD news, the team which develops the FreeBSD package manager, pkg, has released a fresh version of the powerful application. The new package manager includes new options, better dependency resolution and the ability to install software packages from local files while resolving dependencies using remote repositories.
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Last month we reported the Linux Mint distribution was considering re-basing Linux Mint "Debian" edition from Debian Testing to Debian Stable. This would make Linux Mint "Debian" a more conservative, more stable platform and move the distribution from a rolling release base to a fixed base. Last week a new post on the Linux Mint blog confirmed that, after careful consideration, Linux Mint Debian Edition will be based on Debian "Stable": "After a long reflection and many discussions the decision was made to switch Linux Mint 'Debian' edition (LMDE) from its current snapshot cycle to a Debian 'Stable' package base. The transition from Update Pack 8 to Debian 'Jessie' should be smooth and similar to a traditional UP upgrade, in sync with the upstream 'Jessie' freeze planned for November this year." The distribution's lead developer, Clem, further explained how the new edition will work, stating: "On top of 'Jessie', we'll be doing something similar to what we're doing with 'Trusty' i.e. you'll get security updates and bug fixes from upstream on an ongoing basis with the same filter/policy as in Mint Update and we'll backport popular apps, DEs and Mint tools."
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When hundreds of developers work on a large project it's only natural that consensus is sometimes hard to reach. The Debian project has seen a fair share of heated debates over the years and it looks like a new one is beginning to brew once again. This time it's about the default desktop environment in the upcoming release. For various reasons, Debian has switched from GNOME to Xfce during the current development cycle, but there are developers who would like to see the decision reversed. One of them is Jordi Mallach, the maintainer of a number of GNOME packages, whose blog post published last week provides some interesting reasons: "In short, we think defaulting to GNOME is the best option for the Debian release, and in contrast, shipping Xfce as the default desktop could mean delivering a desktop experience that has some incomplete or rough edges, and not on par with Debian quality standards for a stable release. We believe tasksel should again revert the change and be uploaded as soon as possible, in order to get people testing images with GNOME the sooner the better, with the freeze only two months away."
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Password managers are applications which securely store collections of passwords. This allows people to maintain large numbers of user name and complex password combinations without needing to remember them all. Password managers typically store credentials in an encrypted file for security purposes, but this can cause problems when we want to access our passwords from multiple computers or hand held devices. The Electronic Frontier Foundation posted a solution which offers people the security of password managers with the flexibility to access passwords from multiple locations. The solution is a cloud-oriented password manager called Mitro: "Mitro is distinctive amongst free/open source password managers in that it's architected around cloud storage. For security, the online password databases are encrypted with client-side keys derived from your master password. For availability, they are mirrored across three cloud storage providers." More information on Mitro and how it works can be found on the project's website
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Running out of disk space and software back doors
Out-of-room asks: I ran into a problem yesterday where my NAS, running ZFS, warned me it was out of disk space. I tried deleting a bunch of files, 30 GB worth, but the system still complained it was out of space. Rebooting and checking available space still showed no disk space free. Is my ZFS install broken or is there something special I need to do to free up space? Do I need to re-install?
DistroWatch answers: Since you rebooted your computer and gave the file system a chance to sync, I suspect the reason your operating system is reporting it is out of space is that there are file system snapshots taking up room on the disk. With modern file systems, such as Btrfs and ZFS, creating a snapshot is a good way to maintain older versions of files. A snapshot makes it easy to restore a corrupted or deleted file and it can restore an operating system should a package update prevent the system from booting. When a snapshot is initially created it does not require additional disk space, more disk space is used only when the current file system is changed, diverging from the created snapshot.
What may have happened is your file system ran out of space and you then deleted a bunch of files without deleting the snapshots of those files. The deleted files may still exist in a snapshot (or multiple snapshots) and so they are still taking up space on your hard drive. Another way to think of it is this: Imagine deleting a file from your computer, causing the file to be moved into your operating system's trash can. This gets the file out of the way, but disk space will not be freed until you also empty the operating system's trash can. Likewise, you will need to remove existing snapshots of your file system to completely erase all copies of the files you deleted.
The Oracle documentation has a good explanation on running out of disk space with ZFS and a tutorial for working with file system snapshots. For people running on Btrfs who run into similar problems, the Btrfs wiki documentation has tips for dealing with disks running out of space.
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Checking-for-security-holes asks: I read your review on Deepin in the Weekly of July 28th and the (earlier) interview with the lead Deepin developer. Hardware, phones and distributions from China sometimes raise questions about involvement of the China government in having back doors installed. Strangely these questions aren't raised with US or UK hardware, phones and distributions. Is this an aspect you take in consideration while testing new distributions? Do you, not being in the security business I suppose, hear of such rumours?
DistroWatch answers: I am aware of the rumours that circulate about various computer products and, especially those originating from China. Regarding the distributions I choose to review and what I write about them, I can tell you the primary country of origin of a software product has no impact on whether I will review it. Open source software is, by its nature, international. All Linux distributions contain code from multiple countries and I see no reason to be biased for or against a distribution just because the many components are assembled in one country or another.
I can tell you that my reviews contain only my observations, facts I can gather and my opinions on the experiences I have. I see no reason to consider rumours about which products may or may not include malware without proof. Almost all governments use spy tools and find ways to introduce back doors into operating systems. Those which do not make their own software back doors purchase such tools from companies in other countries. People who point fingers solely at Chinese products and complain about intentional back doors are either ignorant of other governments' actions or simply bigoted. I think it is worth noting that China has been restricting sales of selected closed source products because their government is just as concerned about American technologies as American organizations are concerned about products made in China.
There are always people spreading rumours about governments slipping malicious code into open source projects. When SELinux first arrived on the scene a lot of people pointed fingers at the Linux kernel and the Fedora distribution and suggested these projects were compromised by the NSA. A little while ago rumours circulated that OpenBSD might contain a back door introduced by the FBI. So far as I know, no proof has ever surfaced that the Linux kernel, Fedora, OpenBSD or Deepin contain back doors. Should evidence be found I will report it, but without proof such rumours are idle speculation and should not be used in any decision making process.
|Released Last Week
Jay Flood has announced the release of Porteus 3.0.1, a set of lightweight Slackware-based distributions and live CDs in five editions (with KDE, LXDE, MATE, Razor-qt or Xfce): "The Porteus community is elated to announce the release of Porteus Desktop edition 3.0.1, as well as Porteus Kiosk edition 3.1.1. As usual we have available pre-packaged modules for Google Chrome, Opera, LibreOffice, AbiWord, Skype and printing/scanning software, which can be dropped in place to get out-of-the-box functionality. The 'Development' module will now need to be downloaded as a stand-alone module if you wish to compile additional software in Porteus. Changes in this release include: upgraded to latest LTS kernel - Linux 3.14.15; kernel configuration - added ecryptfs, ipv6 iptables and aloop kernel modules." See the release announcement for a complete list of changes.
Klaus Knopper has released version 7.4.0 of KNOPPIX, a Debian-based live CD/DVD with a choice of LXDE (default), GNOME 3.12 and KDE 4.13.3 desktops: "Version 7.4.0 of KNOPPIX is based on the usual picks from Debian 'Stable' and newer desktop packages from Debian 'Testing' and 'Unstable'. It uses Linux kernel 3.15.6 and X.Org 7.7 (X.Org Server 1.16.0) for supporting current computer hardware. In addition to the 32-bit standard kernel, the 64-bit edition of the same kernel is installed on the DVD edition, supporting systems with more than 4 GB of RAM and chroot to 64-bit installations for system rescue tasks. In the DVD edition, the bootloader will start the 64-bit kernel automatically if a 64-bit capable CPU is detected (unless manually specified otherwise). New, experimental version of 3D window manager Compiz 0.9.11.1. Partial integration of systemd...." Continue to the release notes for further details.
Stéphane Graber has announced the release of Ubuntu 12.04.5, a new set of live and installation images that include all recent security and bug-fix updates for the project's older LTS (long-term support) release, supported until April 2017. From the release announcement: "The Ubuntu team is pleased to announce the release of Ubuntu 12.04.5 LTS for its Desktop, Server, Cloud and Core products, as well as other flavours of Ubuntu with long-term support. As with 12.04.4, 12.04.5 contains an updated kernel and X stack for new installations on x86 architectures. 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. Kubuntu 12.04.5 LTS, Edubuntu 12.04.5 LTS, and Ubuntu Studio 12.04.5 LTS are also now available."
Chih-Wei Huang has announced the release of Android-x86 4.4, an unofficial port of Google's Android mobile operating system to Intel and AMD x86 processors: "Android-x86.org is glad to announce the 4.4-r1 release to public. This is the first stable release Android-x86 4.4 (KitKat-x86). The 4.4-r1 release is based on the Android 4.4.2 (KitKat-MR1) release. We have fixed and added x86-specific code to let the system run smoothly on x86 platforms, especially on tablets and netbooks. The key features include: integrate FFmpeg as the stagefright plugin to support more multimedia files; use the latest long-term stable kernel, version 3.10.52, with more drivers enabled, most netbooks can run Android-x86 in the native resolution; OpenGL ES hardware acceleration for AMD Radeon and Intel chipsets; enhance the installer to support upgrade from previous versions...." Read the full release notes for more information and known issues.
Android-x86 4.4 -- the app launcher screen
(full image size: 951kB, screen resolution 1221x1000 pixels)
Slackel 1.0 "Fluxbox Live"
Dimitris Tzemos has announced the release of Slackel 1.0 "Fluxbox Live" edition, a Slackware-based live CD featuring the lightweight Fluxbox window manager: "Slackel 1.0 Live Fluxbox includes the latest 3.14.13 kernel and the latest updates from Slackware's 'Current' tree. Slackel is based on Slackware Linux and Salix. The project is distributed as two live hybrid CD images, one for each of the supported hardware platforms (64-bit and 32-bit). They can be easily burned onto CD discs, as well as written on USB sticks of 1 GB of larger. As mentioned, the graphical session is powered by the lightweight and minimal Fluxbox window manager, which is comprised of a single, transparent panel located on the bottom edge of the screen. From this bottom taskbar, users can easily and quickly access the main menu, launch applications, interact with running programs and the system tray area, as well as to switch between virtual workspaces." Read the complete release announcement for further information.
DEFT Linux 8.2
Stefano Fratepietro has announced the release of DEFT Linux 8.2, an updated build of the project's Lubuntu-based distribution featuring a collection of open-source utilities for digital forensics and penetration testing: "Hello, it's hot here in Italy as well as in other countries, and a lot of people are on vacation, but only now – I'm sorry for that – I found the time to fix the known issues of DEFT 8.1. DEFT 8.2 is the latest release of DEFT 8. What has been fixed? Fixed a bug that under some conditions prevented the system to be installed; fixed the DNS bug in resolv.conf; fixed a bug in the apt-get sources.list; improved device recognition in live mode; updated all packages to the latest Ubuntu release available for 'Quantal'. The next release, DEFT 10, celebrating the first decade of the DEFT project, will be presented during the fourth edition of DEFTCON. Enjoy your holidays! Enjoy DEFT!" Here is the brief release announcement.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
DistroWatch database summary|
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This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 18 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 850 (2020-01-27): FuryBSD 12.0, Fedora's CoreOS, Kubuntu's official laptop, Ubuntu dropping Amazon launcher, live distro performance|
|• Issue 849 (2020-01-20): Zorin OS 15.1, elementary OS team plans future features, PhinePhone now shipping, Peppermint team says good-bye to Mark Greaves|
|• Issue 848 (2020-01-13): elementary OS 5.1, accessing USB ports directly, NetBSD expanding Wayland support, Fedora phasing out old Python packages|
|• Issue 847 (2020-01-06): Android-x86 9.0, Hypberbola switching to BSD base, Debian votes on init diversity, slow adoption of Wayland and delta packages|
|• Issue 846 (2019-12-23): NomadBSD 1.3, Tails publishes boot fix, Arch update requires intervention, Purism launches server lineup, password protecting files|
|• Issue 845 (2019-12-16): OpenIndiana 2019.10, BunsenLabs' "Lithium" preview, MX-Fluxbox, 10 years of Tails, installing local packages|
|• Issue 844 (2019-12-09): Project Trident Void alpha, alpha installer for "Bullseye", SparkyLinux portable edition, dealing with large log files|
|• Issue 843 (2019-12-02): Obarun 2019.11.02, Bluestar 5.3.6, using special characters on 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 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 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 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 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 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, 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 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|
|• Full list of all issues|
Star Labs - Laptops built for Linux.
View our range including the Star Lite, Star LabTop and more. Available with a choice of Ubuntu, Linux Mint or Zorin OS pre-installed with many more distributions supported. Visit Star Labs for information, to buy and get support.
|Random Distribution |
Superb Mini Server
Superb Mini Server (SMS) is a Slackware-based server distribution with web, DNS, DHCP, file, print and fax servers, iptables firewall, mail server with spam filter and anti-virus scanner, and BitTorrent station. It also includes Webmin, a web-based administration tool, but no graphical desktop. SMS, which comes with Slackware's text-mode system installer, is built using Linux-Live scripts (from Slax) and can be used as a live CD for testing purposes.