| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 575, 8 September 2014
Welcome to this year's 36th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! In the open-source community there are many different developers and distributions with a variety of goals. Some projects want to build something secure, others desire speed, some want stability and others focus on portability. This week we give a nod to diverse goals and focus on some specific examples of projects striving to meet these goals. We begin with a review of the Porteus distribution, a project focused on lightning fast speed. Be sure to check out our feature review to find out what else Porteus brings to the party. In our News section this week we report on the Fedora project adopting the Icecat web browser, a fork of Firefox which strives to improve privacy and security. We also talk about Docker containers and how Red Hat is working to make these software containers more secure. Another project which is working on its security is FreeBSD, the project is introducing added protection against memory layout based attacks. Plus we share Linux Mint's roadmap for their Debian Edition. Our Questions and Answers column this week deals with systemd, what the technology is and which distributions are migrating to it and which distributions are avoiding systemd. Plus we share distribution releases from the past week and look ahead to fun new developments to come. We wish you all a terrific week and happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (32MB) and MP3 (36MB) formats
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Exploring Porteus 3.0.1
The Porteus website tells us: "Porteus is a complete Linux operating system that is optimized to run from CD, USB flash drive, hard drive, or other bootable storage media. It's small (under 300 MB) and insanely fast which allows you to start up and get online while most other operating systems are left spitting dust." It is a bold claim from the Slackware-based distribution which ships in two main flavours, Kiosk or Desktop. The Desktop flavour of Porteus can further be broken into several desktop editions, including KDE, LXDE, MATE, Razor-qt and Xfce. Each of these different flavours can be downloaded in 32-bit or 64-bit x86 builds. However, what really makes Porteus stand out is the project's custom ISO builder. This web-based build system allows visitors to create custom ISO images. Using the build tool we can choose which hardware architecture, desktop environment, web browser, word processor and video driver we want. There are other options too which deal with whether we want printing, a VoIP client or developer tools included in our download.
I decided to download two copies of Porteus. The first was the pre-built Razor-qt edition of the distribution. The other was a custom LXDE build I put together using the ISO builder. The Razor-qt image was a mere 220MB download while the custom LXDE build was approximately 430 MB in size and featured virtually every extra package available. I experimented with both the pre-built image and my custom image and found both worked approximately the same way and carried similar applications. For the purposes of this review I'm going to focus on my experiences with the pre-built Razor-qt flavour of Porteus.
Booting from the Porteus media brings us to a menu where we can decide how to run the Porteus distribution. Our options include running Porteus with a live desktop environment, loading the entire distribution into RAM and then running the live desktop, running Porteus with a command line interface only or using Porteus as a PXE network server. The default option brings us to the distribution's desktop environment, Razor-qt in my case, where we find the interface has been arranged in the classic manner. At the bottom of the screen we find the application menu, task switcher ad system tray. The default wallpaper shows us a seascape with a sailing ship. I soon found that I was logged into a guest account on the live media and any administrative tasks required I enter a password. This password wasn't immediately obvious, but I found "toor" was the password required to access administrative functions.
Porteus 3.0.1 - the Razor-qt desktop
(full image size: 726kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
The Porteus system installer is a graphical application which includes very few steps. The installer offers to place the operating system on either a USB drive or hard drive. The installer requires we have a destination partition prepared ahead of time. On the chance we do not have a waiting partition for Porteus, the distribution's system installer will assist us by launching the GParted partition manager. I had to use GParted to reformat a suitable partition and found the Porteus system installer could not see the destination partition. Rebooting the machine and re-launching the distribution's system installer caused the newly formatted partition to appear in the list of possible destinations. Once we select our desired partition from a list we are asked to confirm the selected partition may be overwritten. We are also given the chance to install a boot loader on our computer's hard drive. The Porteus installer copies its files to the selected partition and then we are asked to reboot the computer. When we reboot the machine we are shown the same boot options we saw when running from the live media. Taking the default boot option brings us quickly back to the Razor-qt desktop where we are automatically logged in under the guest account.
I tried running Porteus in two environments, a physical desktop machine and a VirtualBox virtual machine. I found getting Porteus to run on the physical computer took some doing. Most distributions will work on physical hardware if their image is simply copied to a USB thumb drive and we can then boot from the thumb drive. Porteus has a rather roundabout method where we need to format a thumb drive, extract files from the ISO image we downloaded and then run a script. I tried this and found the instructions on the Porteus website worked and I was able to get the distribution running on a USB drive. Once running from the USB drive the distribution correctly detected my hardware, set my screen to its maximum resolution and audio worked without any problems. Porteus worked well (and without extra steps) in the VirtualBox environment. In both environments the Razor-qt edition of Porteus required approximately 200MB of memory to run.
Porteus 3.0.1 - running various desktop applications
(full image size: 541kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Porteus ships with a powerful collection of applications. Digging through the application menu we find the Firefox web browser with the Adobe Flash plugin. The distribution ships with the Pidgin messaging client, the Transmission bittorrent client and the Qwit Twitter client. The distribution offer us the TigerVNC remote desktop software, the Trojita e-mail client, the uGet download client and the gFTP file transfer utility. There is a document viewer and the Leafpad text editor. Porteus ships with several multimedia applications including the VLC media player, the WinFF multimedia format converter and the Qmmp audio player. There is an application labelled as SMplayer which lets us browse YouTube videos. The distribution supplies popular media codecs letting us play a range of formats.
Porteus provides us with a disc burning application, a screen recorder, the GNU Image Manipulation Program, an image viewer, a calculator and an archive manager. There is an application for gathering information about our computer's hardware and a settings panel for making minor adjustments to the desktop environment. Browsing further through the application menu turns up the Grsync file synchronization utility, the GParted partition manager and Network Manager to help us get on-line. The pre-built Razor-qt image contained no compiler and no instances of Java. In the background I found the Linux kernel, version 3.14.
A few of the default applications stood out. The first was the Qwit Twitter client. Despite its many attractive options and filters I found I was unable to get Qwit to connect to my Twitter account. The second application that stood out was the software labelled SMplayer, which turned out to be a YouTube client. Clicking on videos in the application's window in an attempt to watch them caused the VLC player to launch and then stall, apparently unable to connect to the desired video. The YouTube client did feature an option where I could right-click on an item and choose to watch a video in my web browser. The web browser option worked, but this basically meant I was using the YouTube client merely as a complicated launcher for my web browser. It was much easier to simply open Firefox and visit YouTube directly. Finally, a third application deserves mention. There was one item called VirtualBox Builder. This application offers to build, from source, either the VirtualBox application or the VirtualBox Guest Additions module. While I was running Porteus inside a VirtualBox virtual machine I tried building the Guest module and found it worked flawlessly. I like to see distributions offer virtual machine support and this feature was welcome.
Porteus 3.0.1 - managing packages and changing desktop settings
(full image size: 578kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Porteus features an unusual package manager. The graphical application, called simply "USM", starts off by showing us a message letting us know we need to manually download repository information. We can do this by going into one of USM's menus and selecting one of the update options. Once repository information has been downloaded we can type searches for packages or libraries. There is no option to let us browse all available software and there are no category filters, we can only find software by searching for its specific name. Searches return lists of packages with names matching our keywords. We then highlight the package we want and click a Download button. This downloads the package (and its dependencies) into a directory on our computer, the software is not installed for us. Installing packages requires another trip to the menu and selecting the install option. We can then browse to the directory containing our packages and opt to install them, either all at once or one at a time. I attempted to install four different packages and, while USM claimed all its operations were successful, none of the installed items showed up in my user's path, nor in standard locations such as /usr/bin or /usr/local/bin. This made USM one of the most complex and least useful package managers I have used to date.
Were I to evaluate Porteus as a general purpose operating system the distribution would fail to gain good marks in most areas. Porteus does not play well with USB thumb drives, the installer really doesn't give us much flexibility, we are given one default user account, no practical security and no meaningful way to acquire additional software. The two areas where Porteus does shine are speed and default applications. Porteus boots very quickly, taking just a few seconds to come on-line. The distribution's memory footprint is small and its performance is top notch on the desktop. Porteus ships with a good collection of default software, giving us a wide range of functionality. The Porteus custom ISO builder is a nice touch as it gives us more flexibility. By default the Porteus download image is quite small and the custom builder lets us flesh out the ISO, adding more items we might need.
What I'm coming around to is that Porteus might not be a good general purpose distribution, but it is a decent live CD. Since we can customize the ISO and the distribution has low resource requirements and is fast at everything it does, the operating system is ideal as a travel companion. Often times I find myself wanting to fire up a live CD to test something or quickly access an on-line resource. Booting a mainstream distribution from a live CD is usually slow as there are a lot of items to load into memory. Porteus does a nice job of getting to the desktop quickly and giving us a handful of basic tools to get work done.
Porteus, in some ways, bears a resemblance to Puppy Linux. Both are quick to boot, both are lightweight, both are fast and make it easy to get on-line to browse the web or check messages. Porteus may not be quite as beginner friendly as Puppy, but I feel it serves well in the same role of being a travelling companion and Porteus ships with more mainstream software. The ability to customize the Porteus experience before we even download the distribution is a nice bonus.
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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)
Fedora gains Icecat packages and introduces new partition manager, Red Hat works to secure Docker containers, FreeBSD gains ASLR, Mint plans roadmap for LMDE
Users of the Fedora distribution will soon have a new open-source web browser to utilize. The GNU Icecat browser is based on Mozilla's Firefox browser and includes some extra security and privacy features. GNU Icecat also adheres to a strict free software policy, avoiding the use of non-free add-ons. Fedora's package of Icecat will include the Privacy Extension and the HTTPS Everywhere add-on, enforcing the browser's use of encrypted connections to supporting websites.
In separate news, Fedora has also announced an introduction of a new graphical partition manager called blivet-gui. It will replace GParted, which, according to the announcement by Fedora developer Vratislav Podzimek, does not support modern storage technologies. Arun Prakash Jana reports at the ./themukt website: "Developer Vratislav Podzimek announced the next-gen partition manager for Fedora, blivet-gui. It is eventually going to replace GParted, the most popular GUI based partition manager found in all major distros. The new tool is named blivet-gui as it is based on the blivet python library (originally Anaconda's storage management and configuration tool). The need of a new partition manager is roots from the fact that none of the existing GUI partitioning tools supports all the modern storage technologies. Fedora's Anaconda base supports all and is hence chosen as the back-end for this new intuitive tool. The application is only a few months old but is already looking nice and useful. Features like RAID and Btrfs support are being worked on."
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Docker containers are quickly becoming a popular way to develop, share and run software, especially on Linux servers. People like using Docker because it provides a transferable environment that should work across multiple distributions. There is also the assumption that Docker's containers will provide a layer of security between contained processes and the rest of the operating system. But is Docker really secure? Daniel Walsh suggests Docker lacks the security gained by using virtual machines, in part because services run inside a Docker container still talk to the host kernel. He writes: "In order to have a privilege escalation out of a VM, the process has to subvert the VM's kernel, find a vulnerability in the HyperVisor, break through SELinux Controls (sVirt), which are very tight on a VM, and finally attack the host's kernel. When you run in a container you have already gotten to the point where you are talking to the host kernel." He goes on to write, in a second post, that he and others at Docker and Red Hat are working to make containers more secure: "Docker, Red Hat, and the open-source community are working together to make Docker more secure. When I look at security containers, I am looking to protect the host from the processes within the container, and I'm also looking to protect containers from each other."
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Address space layout randomization (ASLR) is a form of security which protects against certain types of memory related attacks. ASLR shifts the location of data around in the computer's memory to make it harder for attackers to locate specific items. The FreeBSD operating system is one of the few mainstream operating systems to not yet enable ASLR. That will be changing soon as a patch for FreeBSD in under review and will soon enable ASLR, making FreeBSD more resilient to memory-based attacks.
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Back in August we reported the Linux Mint project had plans to migrate their Debian Edition branch from Debian's Testing repositories to Debian's Stable repositories. The move to get Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) migrated from one base to another is in progress with the release of the new LMDE expected in November. The Linux Mint project's lead developer, Clem, posted, "The upcoming release of LMDE will be version 2, codename "Betsy" and it will use a Debian "Jessie" package base. The team is currently adapting to the new LMDE, setting up its repositories and porting various packages onto it. The target for a stable release is estimated for this November, along with an official upgrade path from UP8 to Betsy."
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Distributions not adopting systemd
Avoiding-systemd asks: Would it be possible to provide some analysis on distros that refuse to implement systemd and its friends? Many people, including myself, believe systemd is taking Linux in the wrong direction. It abandons simplicity and embraces a model of opacity and centralized control, while increasing dependencies and reducing freedom and choice. Being a dedicated Debian user for 20 years, I'm extremely saddened and disappointed that Debian has succumbed to systemd, and that I must now leave Debian to find a new simple yet elegant distro solution that does not implement systemd, and specifically, will never implement systemd as a philosophical decision.
DistroWatch answers: When systemd first appeared on the scene as an alternative init system I was optimistic. There was a lot of talk about starting services in parallel and improving dependency resolution during start up and greatly improving boot times. While systemd seemed a bit more complicated than other init technologies, I think most system administrators (and developers) could agree that older init systems could be improved upon.
Over the past few years the systemd project has expanded, absorbing other low-level components and adding large amounts of unwanted complexity. Despite the fact many popular distributions (including Fedora, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, openSUSE, Debian, Arch and Ubuntu) have decided to adopt systemd in favour of SysV or Upstart, some users have opposed the spread of systemd. The Boycott systemd website features a list of reasons as to why many believe systemd is poorly designed and implemented.
In an effort to be fair to systemd I did a web search for "benefits of systemd" which returned two relevant results. One was the systemd website with its mission statement and the other was the Don't Boycott systemd website which simply stated: "systemd is [a] symbol of big changes in Linux world. Many people talks [sic] about how bad they are. And that's all." Which isn't a compelling argument. Instead, for comments about the advantages and disadvantages of systemd we might look at the recent debate by Debian developers as to whether they should adopt systemd or not.
On to the question of who is not currently using systemd and who will not be adopting it in the future. At the moment Ubuntu and most of the Ubuntu community projects have not adopted systemd, though they plan to migrate to systemd in the future. The PCLinuxOS distribution has not adopted systemd and, so far as I know, has no plans to migrate to the new init software. Slackware Linux, CRUX and Gentoo Linux are all Linux distributions which are unlikely to adopt systemd as their default init system for philosophical reasons. (Gentoo does offer systemd as an alternative init technology for those who want it.)
Most open-source operating systems which are strictly opposed to adopting systemd are not Linux distributions, but rather flavours of BSD. The systemd project intentionally targets Linux exclusively and this makes it highly unlikely systemd will be ported to FreeBSD, PC-BSD, OpenBSD or NetBSD. In fact, the OpenBSD Foundation began work on software which will allow the operating system to avoid running systemd, but will enable OpenBSD to run applications which depend on systemd. However, since the original poster mentioned running the Debian distribution, I have a potential solution that might avoid any big changes. The Debian project maintains an official port that marries the FreeBSD kernel with GNU libraries and Debian's package manager. I have run this branch of Debian in the past in test environments and if you can get it running on your hardware it will offer the Debian experience as far as the installer and package managing are concerned and the kFreeBSD port of Debian is unlikely to adopt systemd.
While systemd has stirred up a lot of strong opinions, both in favour and against the new init system, I suspect most people running Linux desktop systems will not notice the difference when they switch to systemd. I run a different distribution each week and haven't noticed any practical difference between running a desktop distribution that features Upstart, SysV or systemd. The various distributions typically boot at about the same rate, tend to be stable and desktop users rarely need to interact directly with the init process. The only time I interact with systemd is when I'm running it on a server, something the majority of people don't do.
|Released Last Week
John Martinson has announced the release of Robolinux 7.6.2, the latest update of the distribution that features a pre-configured VirtualBox for running Windows seamlessly alongside Robolinux: "We are pleased to announce Robolinux Xfce and GNOME version 7.6.2 with several improvements and enhancements. The fast as greased-lightning Robolinux Xfce version 7.6.2 details - we have added remote desktop sharing, NTP time sync and a calculator, plus 11 new Intel WiFi drivers, 1 new BCM WiFi driver and 2 new Brother printer drivers. The 3D Robolinux GNOME version 7.6.2 details - we have added 'Auto Upgrade Robolinux Version' and 'Create Root User' applications, 1 new Intel WiFi driver, 1 new BCM WiFi driver and 2 new Brother printer drivers. Plus a new kernel and all Debian upstream security updates. The Robolinux development team is also building two new editions - Robolinux LXDE and Robolinux KDE." Visit the project's SourceForge page to read the full release announcement.
Patrick d'Emmabuntüs has announced the release of Emmabuntüs 3, a Xubuntu-based distribution designed for refurbished computers that are destined for humanitarian organisations: "The Emmabuntüs team is pleased to announce for September 1st 2014, the new Emmabuntüs 3 release 1.00, based on Xubuntu 14.04.1. Our goals: facilitate the work of reconditioning the computers given to humanitarian associations; continue to collaborate with Emmaüs communities; promote the discovery of GNU/Linux by beginners; limit the electronic devices waste to reduce the over consumption of raw materials; continue to collaborate with our friends from JerryClan in France and Africa (Ivory Coast, Togo, Cameroon, Chad, Benin and Senegal) who develop locally innovative uses. Emmabuntüs 3 contains some innovations, particularly: added Startpage and HTTPS_Everywhere extensions; added Svox Pico voice syntheses tool in 5 languages; added OOo4Kids in 6 languages...." Here is the full release announcement.
Emmabuntüs 3-1.00 - the project's first release based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS
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Version 1.1.1 of Tails, a Debian-based specialist distribution and live CD designed for anonymous web browsing, is out and ready for download: "Tails, The Amnesic Incognito Live System, version 1.1.1, is out. All users must upgrade as soon as possible - this release fixes numerous security issues. Notable user-visible changes include: upgrade the web browser to 24.8.0esr (Firefox 24.8.0esr + Iceweasel patches + Torbrowser patches); add an I2P boot parameter, without adding 'i2p' to the kernel command line, I2P will not be accessible for the Live user; I2P was upgraded to 0.9.14.1 and stricter firewall rules are applied to it, among other security enhancements; upgrade Tor to 0.2.4.23 (fixes CVE-2014-5117); upgrade Linux kernel to 3.14.15 (fixes CVE-2014-3534, CVE-2014-4667 and CVE-2014-4943); prevent dhclient from sending the hostname over the network; override the hostname provided by the DHCP server...." Continue to the release announcement for full details.
Gentoo Linux 20140826
Fernando Orocu has announced the release of Gentoo Linux 20140826, a live DVD featuring several desktop environments and many popular up-to-date applications: "Gentoo Linux is proud to announce the availability of a new live DVD to celebrate the continued collaboration between Gentoo users and developers. The live DVD features a superb list of packages: Linux kernel 3.15.6, X.Org 1.16.0, KDE 4.13.3, GNOME 3.12.2, Xfce 4.10, Fluxbox 1.3.5, LXQt desktop 0.7.0, i3 desktop 2.8, Firefox 31.0, LibreOffice 4.2.5, GIMP 2.8.10, Blender 2.71, Amarok 2.8.0, Chromium 37.0.2062.35 and much more. The live DVD is available in two flavors - a hybrid x86/x86_64 edition and an x86_64 multilib edition. The x86-amd64-32ul edition will work on 32-bit x86 or 64-bit x86_64. If your CPU architecture is x86, then boot with the default Gentoo kernel. If your architecture is amd64, boot with the gentoo64 kernel. The amd64-multilib edition is for x86_64 only." Read the full release announcement for further details.
Gentoo Linux 20140826 - a new live DVD featuring a number of popular desktops
(full image size: 357kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Calculate Linux 14
Alexander Tratsevskiy has announced the release of Calculate Linux 14, a major new update of the project's Gentoo-based distribution with separate editions for desktops (KDE or Xfce), servers and media centres: "We are happy to announce the release of Calculate Linux 14. Major changes: a user-friendly update tool that features automatic updates checkup and notifications in the system tray and on the command line; both GUI and CLI interfaces for the cl-update utility, providing remote update, comprehensive localisaton for the package manager including package descriptions, full update cycle beginning with synchronising repositories; an advanced approach to profiles which makes creating and storing modified profiles much easier...." See the release announcement for a complete list of changes and screenshots.
Calculate Linux 14 - a major update of the Gentoo-based distribution with a new update tool
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SparkyLinux 3.5 "LXDE", "Razor-qt", "E18", "E19-dev"
Paweł Pijanowski has announced the release of SparkyLinux 3.5, a set of Debian-based distributions that come with a choice of LXDE, Razor-qt or Enlightenment desktops: "SparkyLinux 3.5 'Annagerman' LXDE, Razor-qt, CLI, Enlightenment 18 & 19-dev is out. New live/install ISO images provide up-to-date packages and a few changes. All packages have been synchronized with Debian 'testing' repositories as of 2014-09-02. The system runs on Linux kernel 3.14.15. This time the Enlightenment edition is available in two variants: E18 - the stable line; E19-dev (0.19.0.18850) - development packages compiled from the git repository as of 2014-09-02. New application, Custom ISO Builder, lets you rebuild ISO images of SparkyLinux and some other images similar to SparkyLinux. New tool, Sparky-APTus-Extra, lets you quickly install additional applications from the SparkyLinux repository." 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
New distributions added to database|
- Sonar GNU/Linux. Sonar GNU/Linux aims to be an accessible GNU/Linux distribution to people of all needs. The project's goal is to bring awareness of free accessible software to people that depend on assistive technology. It is based on Manjaro Linux.
Sonar GNU/Linux 2014.1 - a Manjaro-based distribution for those who depend on assistive technologies
(full image size: 98kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
- Neptune. Neptune (formerly an edition of ZevenOS) is a GNU/Linux distribution for desktops. It is based on Debian's stable branch, except for a newer kernel, some drivers and newer versions of popular applications, such as LibreOffice. It also ships with the latest version of the KDE desktop. The distribution's main goals are to provide a good-looking general-purpose desktop with pre-configured multimedia playback and to offer an easy-to-use USB installer with a persistence option.
Neptune 4.1 - a distribution featuring the latest KDE desktop
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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, 15 September 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 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|
|• Issue 788 (2018-11-05): Clu Linux Live 6.0, examining RAM consumpion, finding support for older CPUs, more Steam support for running Windows games on Linux, update from Solus team|
|• Issue 787 (2018-10-29): Lubuntu 18.10, limiting application access to specific users, Haiku hardware compatibility list, IBM purchasing Red Hat|
|• Issue 786 (2018-10-22): elementary OS 5.0, why init keeps running, DragonFly BSD enables virtual machine memory resizing, KDE neon plans to drop older base|
|• Issue 785 (2018-10-15): Reborn OS 2018.09, Nitrux 1.0.15, swapping hard drives between computers, feren OS tries KDE spin, power savings coming to Linux|
|• Issue 784 (2018-10-08): Hamara 2.1, improving manual pages, UBports gets VoIP app, Fedora testing power saving feature|
|• Issue 783 (2018-10-01): Quirky 8.6, setting up dual booting with Ubuntu and FreeBSD, Lubuntu switching to LXQt, Mint works on performance improvements|
|• Issue 782 (2018-09-24): Bodhi Linux 5.0.0, Elive 3.0.0, Solus publishes ISO refresh, UBports invites feedback, Linux Torvalds plans temporary vacation|
|• Issue 781 (2018-09-17): Linux Mint 3 "Debian Edition", file systems for SSDs, MX makes installing Flatpaks easier, Arch team answers questions, Mageia reaches EOL|
|• Issue 780 (2018-09-10): Netrunner 2018.08 Rolling, Fedora improves language support, how to customize Kali Linux, finding the right video drivers|
|• Issue 779 (2018-09-03): Redcore 1806, keeping ISO downloads safe from tampering, Lubuntu makes Calamares more flexible, Ubuntu improves GNOME performance|
|• Issue 778 (2018-08-27): GuixSD 0.15.0, ReactOS 0.4.9, Steam supports Windows games on Linux, Haiku plans for beta, merging disk partitions|
|• Issue 777 (2018-08-20): YunoHost 18.104.22.168, limiting process resource usage, converting file systems on Fedora, Debian turns 25, Lubuntu migrating to Wayland|
|• Issue 776 (2018-08-13): NomadBSD 1.1, Maximum storage limits on Linux, openSUSE extends life for 42.3, updates to the Librem 5 phone interface|
|• Issue 775 (2018-08-06): Secure-K OS 18.5, Linux is about choice, Korora tests community spin, elementary OS hires developer, ReactOS boots on Btrfs|
|• Issue 774 (2018-07-30): Ubuntu MATE & Ubuntu Budgie 18.04, upgrading software from source, Lubuntu shifts focus, NetBSD changes support policy|
|• Issue 773 (2018-07-23): Peppermint OS 9, types of security used by different projects, Mint reacts to bugs in core packages, Slackware turns 25|
|• Issue 772 (2018-07-16): Hyperbola GNU/Linux-libre 0.2.4, UBports running desktop applications, OpenBSD auto-joins wi-fi networks, boot environments and zedenv|
|• Issue 771 (2018-07-09): Linux Lite 4.0, checking CPUs for bugs, configuring GRUB, Mint upgrade instructions, SUSE acquired by EQT|
|• Issue 770 (2018-07-02): Linux Mint 19, Solus polishes desktop experience, MintBox Mini 2, changes to Fedora's installer|
|• Issue 769 (2018-06-25): BunsenLabs Helium, counting Ubuntu users, UBports upgrading to 16.04, Fedora CoreOS, FreeBSD turns 25|
|• Issue 768 (2018-06-18): Devuan 2.0.0, using pkgsrc to manage software, the NOVA filesystem, OpenBSD handles successful cron output|
|• Issue 767 (2018-06-11): Android-x86 7.1-r1, transferring files over OpenSSH with pipes, LFS with Debian package management, Haiku ports LibreOffice|
|• Issue 766 (2018-06-04): openSUSE 15, overview of file system links, Manjaro updates Pamac, ReactOS builds itself, Bodhi closes forums|
|• Issue 765 (2018-05-28): Pop!_OS 18.04, gathering system information, Haiku unifying ARM builds, Solus resumes control of Budgie|
|• Issue 764 (2018-05-21): DragonFly BSD 5.2.0, Tails works on persistent packages, Ubuntu plans new features, finding services affected by an update|
|• 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 or Linux Mint pre-installed with many more distributions supported. Visit Star Labs for information, to buy and get support.
|Random Distribution |
BitKey is a Debian-based live distribution containing specialist utilities to perform highly secure air-gapped Bitcoin transactions. It contains a swiss army knife of handy Bitcoin tools that support a wide range of usage models, including a few very secure ones which would otherwise be difficult to perform. The system boots into one of the three available modes: "cold-offline" - for creating a wallet and signing transactions; "cold-online" - for watching the wallet and preparing transactions; "hot-online" - standard usage but less secure as the private keys are known to the computer which is connected to the internet. BitKey also provides tools for generating "brainwallets", for the most paranoid of Bitcoin users. The live CD provides a simple desktop based on the Metacity window manager with quick links to the Bitcoin tools and Chromium for web browsing.