| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 585, 17 November 2014
Welcome to this year's 46th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! At the start of November the openSUSE project launched their latest release. The new version of openSUSE promises a new and improved user interface, faster administrative tools and automatic file system snapshots. In our feature story this week we explore this latest offering from openSUSE and report on its perks and problems. Our News section this week covers a range of new and experimental developments. The PC-BSD project is experimenting with Roles, a way to pre-select groups of packages at install time. Over in the Debian community there is a vote in progress that will determine the distribution's approach to init software. The OpenBSD team has announced their operating system now supports USB 3.0 devices and Mint reports they will ship a MATE desktop with Compiz support when Mint 17.1 launches. Plus the Mageia developers push out a long awaited beta and explain why the development release was delayed. In our Questions and Answers column this week we discuss software management and cached packages, why packages are cached and how long they should be kept on the system. As usual, we look back over the distribution releases of the past week and turn our eyes forward in anticipation of new developments to come. We wish you all a fantastic week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Meeting the green lizard of openSUSE 13.2
In the first week of November the openSUSE team launched the latest version of its operating system. The project's release announcement highlights such new features as faster boot times, KDE 4.14, GNOME 3.14 and a technical preview of KDE's Plasma 5.1 desktop. The new version of openSUSE has undergone some visual changes and presents us with new artwork and a more streamlined system installer. The distribution also offers updated versions of Linux containers and Docker. The project's configuration panel, YaST, underwent a major re-write last year and should now be faster. The project claims better integration with systemd too. Prior to installing or upgrading to openSUSE 13.2 I recommend reading the project's release notes where we can find a list of known problems and workarounds.
The new openSUSE release is available in several editions, including a full DVD installation disc, a minimal net-install disc, a live GNOME DVD and a KDE live DVD. There is also a small rescue disc. The distribution is available for 32-bit and 64-bit x86 machines as well as the ARM architecture. I opted to download the KDE edition of openSUSE which is 909MB in size. Booting from this live media brings up a menu where we are asked if we want to check the disc's integrity, launch the live environment or start the distribution's system installer.
Launching the system installer brings up a graphical application that shows us the distribution's license agreement. On this page we can set our preferred language and adjust our keyboard's layout. The next page of the installer lets us select our time zone from a map of the world. The system installer next asks us to partition our hard drive or allow the installer to automatically set up its own disk layout. By default, the system installer will create a root partition with Btrfs, a separate /home partition formatted with XFS and a swap partition. We can give the installer hints, directing it to use different file systems and to drop the separate /home partition. We can also choose whether to automatically create Btrfs snapshots when the operating system changes in some fashion.
We then create a user account for ourselves and we can choose to give this user account administrative access. We can also tell the installer to automatically log this user in at boot time. The installer then shows us a list of actions it will take. Next to each action is a link that allows us to change the installer's configuration. For instance, we can change the location of our boot loader and we can choose whether to boot to a text console or graphical interface. The installer then copies its files to our hard drive and, when it is finished, we are asked to reboot the computer.
openSUSE 13.2 - the software update widget
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When we boot the computer we are briefly shown the GRUB boot loader menu. This menu allows us to boot into openSUSE normally or we can browse through past Btrfs snapshots of the operating system and load read-only versions of the distribution. This allows us to boot into previous configurations and restore them, rolling back our operating system to a working state. Loading openSUSE in the normal fashion brings us to a graphical login screen decorated in bright green. The first time a user logs into their account the distribution displays a welcome screen. This screen provides a brief summary of the project along with links to openSUSE's documentation. When we dismiss the welcome screen we see the KDE desktop. Our application menu, task switcher and system tray sit at the bottom of the display. Icons on the desktop enable us to launch the Firefox web browser, the LibreOffice productivity suite and a hardware information browser. There is also an icon that opens openSUSE's on-line support portal.
Shortly after I signed into my account a notification appeared in my system tray letting me know software updates were available. I clicked on the notification and a small widget appeared giving me the option of updating the two new packages. I opted to proceed and noticed these updates were for Flash and audio codecs. Choosing to update these packages would draw in four more packages as dependencies. Since I wanted multimedia support I went ahead and agreed to download all six packages. At this point the update widget stalled, unable to proceed, reporting it was waiting on other tasks. I experienced something similar all through my rolling release trial and so I terminated the PackageKit process. This unblocked the package manager, but also crashed the update widget. In short, PackageKit prevents the update widget from working, but the widget won't run without PackageKit. After fiddling with PackageKit and the update widget for a few more minutes, I switched to a terminal and ran the zypper command line package manager. The zypper program will run without PackageKit and it smoothly downloaded the waiting updates and installed them without any problems.
openSUSE 13.2 - KDE desktop settings and the Zypper package manager
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The openSUSE distribution ships with a large and helpful collection of software. We are given the Firefox web browser (along with a Flash plugin), the Konqueror web browser, the KMail e-mail client and the LibreOffice productivity suite. The application menu includes the KTorrent bittorrent software, the Choqok micro-blogging client, the Konservation IRC client and the Kopete instant messaging software. The distribution includes the Amarok music player, the k3b disc burning software and the digiKam camera manager. The Dolphin and Midnight Commander file managers are installed along with a remote desktop client and the GParted partition manager.
Accessibility tools are available, including the KMag screen magnifier, a virtual keyboard and the KMouseTool. I found a text editor, calculator, archive manager and the Grsync file synchronization software. KGpg and Kleopatra are available for managing security keys and encrypting files. I found openSUSE ships with the KDE System Settings panel to help us manage the look and feel of the desktop. Java is available on the system and the Network Manager software is there to help us get on-line. In the background openSUSE runs a mail service and the OpenSSH secure shell software. Behind the scenes we find the Linux kernel, version 3.16.
By default, I found there were no video players and no video codecs included in openSUSE. When attempting to play a video file the distribution would offer to search for appropriate software to display the media. Automated searches failed to find any suitable software, but I was granted the chance to manually add software repositories that would help me play multimedia files. I added the appropriate repositories (including the popular Packman repository) through YaST, manually installed a video player and tried accessing a video again. Once more openSUSE was unable to play the file and unable to locate suitable media codecs. I manually installed all the media codecs I could find and tried again. This time openSUSE played the video, but only in some applications. I found, for example, the VLC multimedia player could not play videos until I had added yet another package (vlc-codecs), but the MPlayer software could make use of general purpose codec packages. On the other hand, music files played without any problems.
openSUSE 13.2 - playing media files
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I ran openSUSE in two environments, on a physical desktop machine and in a virtual machine provided by VirtualBox. In both environments openSUSE ran smoothly. My display was set to its maximum resolution, sound worked out of the box and I was automatically connected to the Internet. The distribution booted quickly and the desktop was always responsive. When running inside VirtualBox, the distribution integrated well with the virtual environment and automatically made use of VirtualBox's guest additions. What surprised me about openSUSE was how little RAM the distribution used. When logged into KDE openSUSE required a mere 240MB of RAM. Less was required when I disabled desktop search, the mail server and secure shell. That makes openSUSE's memory footprint about half that of other mainstream distributions I have run recently with the KDE desktop.
openSUSE 13.2 - the YaST configuration panel
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One of central features of openSUSE is the YaST configuration centre. The YaST utility went through a big re-write recently and the new version is supposed to be faster and more streamlined, making it easier for newcomers to navigate. For the most part I found YaST was indeed faster than it was before and the YaST modules appear to either be the same visually as before or slightly less cluttered. In short, people who were familiar with YaST before should feel right at home while newcomers should find YaST to be fairly user friendly. Using the YaST control centre we can work with software updates, manage software repositories and install new software. We can work with the boot loader settings, change the date & time and work with disk partitions. We can monitor and enable/disable system services, set up a mail server and configure network time synchronization. Using YaST we can set up Samba shares, join a Windows domain and work with AppArmor security profiles. YaST also helps us work with the firewall, the sudo utility and managing user accounts. YaST has a log viewer and a module for working with Snapper, the Btrfs snapshot manager.
There are a few aspects to YaST and openSUSE's configuration in general that I feel should be mentioned. For instance, when trying to manage software packages through the YaST utility, I ran into a strange bug. Whenever I attempted to install a new package through YaST, the package manager would also pull in dozens of unrelated software. For example, when I attempted to install the GNU Image Manipulation Program the graphical package manager insisted it also needed to install 32-bit compatibility libraries, Samba, extra LibreOffice-related programs, a PDF viewer and a telnet client. Trying to install Rhythmbox caused the "screen" command line utility to be installed too. When I attempted to install these same programs from the command line using zypper none of these unnecessary extras were even mentioned let alone downloaded.
Another configuration module which exhibited strange behaviour was the system services utility. The system services module shows us which services are running and which ones will be enabled at boot time. We can enable/disable services with a click and start/stop services by clicking a second button. I found the enable/disable feature worked. I could order services to either be enabled or disabled at boot time. When I tried to start/stop services the system services panel would show the service had indeed been started (or stopped) as requested. However, if I manually checked if the service was running I would find the system services utility had not done anything. I tried stopping several services and none of them responded to the system services module. On the topic of running services, I found openSUSE ships with secure shell running by default and remote users can login as the root user. The distribution's firewall is disabled by default. I feel this combination of settings, no firewall and remote root logins, should be considered a security issue.
Another YaST module which did not work for me was the system log viewer. Attempting to run this module would result in a cryptic error being displayed and then the log viewer module would close. One module which did work very well for me was the Snapper utility. Using Snapper we can browse through Btrfs snapshots and quickly see which files have been changed. With just a few clicks of the mouse we can restore files from old snapshots, delete new files that have been created since the last snapshot and compare changes to files between two snapshots. This last feature is especially useful when dealing with configuration files which have changed in subtle ways, Snapper will highlight the differences between old and current versions of the configuration for us.
openSUSE 13.2 - browsing the application menu
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Running openSUSE 13.2 these past few days has been a mixed bag. On the one hand, hardware support and virtual machine integration have worked well for me. The distribution ships with lots of great software, offers good performance and has a surprisingly small memory footprint. The system installer has received a few minor updates, making it slightly easier to navigate and I think it is a little faster now than it was in previous versions. The YaST control panel, for the most part, worked really well with just the few exceptions listed above. I found openSUSE to generally be a solid release and I really appreciate that this distribution is taking the lead on integrating Btrfs and boot environment snapshots. In fact, I think openSUSE is the only mainstream distribution that really makes use of Btrfs and the file system's advanced features. Several other distributions allow users to install on Btrfs, but do not make use of the many features Btrfs provides.
There were a number of problems I ran into with this release. The graphical package manager and the graphical upgrade utility simply did not work in any meaningful way. This appears to be partly PackageKit's doing, but I don't think PackageKit is responsible for the package manager trying to download dozens of unnecessary packages whenever I tried to add new software to the system. By contrast, the zypper command line package manager worked perfectly, operating quickly and installing, removing or upgrading exactly as excepted.
Multimedia support was hit or miss. I like that openSUSE has made it easier to get audio codecs onto the system, but video support (and video player applications) still pose a problem. I can accept openSUSE may be concerned about the legal problems with providing video codecs. However, that doesn't explain why the automated search for codecs fails after the necessary third-party software repositories have been enabled. New users should not need to manually add extra repositories and then run a command line package manager just to watch a video.
I want to say that I am happy with the new system installer and most of the various YaST configuration tools. YaST went through a big re-write and a re-write can cause a great deal of problems. The developers also tried to adjust the user interface. The YaST re-write reminded me a lot of Fedora's plans to overhaul the Anaconda installer and the vast user interface changes that project created. But where the Fedora project completely changed their installer's interface, disorienting veteran users, I found openSUSE took a different approach. The YaST installer may be built using new technology, but the interface has remained mostly the same, just operating a little faster and with a little less clutter. People who have used openSUSE before should feel right at home with the new version of YaST, and the system installer, as the changes (while big in the background) look minor from the user's point of view.
While I was playing with openSUSE, noting what worked beautifully and what did not, I found myself noticing what might be a pattern. Command line utilities, file system snapshots and command line package management all functioned well for me. Graphical front ends to those same functions tended not to work as well. This made me wonder if there might be a lack of novice users in the openSUSE community. Developers and experienced users often spend a lot of time on the command line and may, through habit, stick to command line tools. Newcomers often stick to graphical interfaces and these utilities are where the bulk of my problems seemed to be. This makes me wonder if perhaps the distribution needs more novice users fiddling with the tools and reporting on their experiences.
In the end, I was mostly happy with openSUSE's latest release. A few problems with package management and service management aside, the distribution performed well. It ships with useful software, it's fast, openSUSE is far ahead other Linux distributions when it comes to utilizing Btrfs and the distribution requires a remarkably small amount of memory.
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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)
PC-BSD experiments with roles, Debian votes on init coupling, Mint rolls out new desktop features, OpenBSD adds USB 3 support, Mageia shares progress report
The PC-BSD project has announced they will begin experimenting with a new feature called "Roles": "We are considering a new way to install a more customized PC-BSD experience called 'Roles'. Roles would be an installation experience for PC-BSD that would allow more flexibility and a more focused package installation based on what you need or want for your role. If you are a web developer maybe you need an IDE or packages specifically focused on that. If you are wanting the best desktop workstation experience maybe you would get an installation with LibreOffice and some other productivity apps." Essentially, a role will allow users to tell the PC-BSD installer what function their desktop or server will perform and the installer will automatically select a group of packages to provide the desired functionality. People who would like to get more information about PC-BSD roles, or suggest new roles the installer should understand, can join in the discussion on the PC-BSD forum.
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The Debian GNU/Linux project is currently voting on a general resolution (GR) put forward by Ian Jackson which would prevent packages included in Debian from depending on one specific init system. If the resolution passes then Debian users will be able to swap out their default init system for another without worrying about broken packages. However, if the resolution does not pass then applications that rely on a specific init technology will be accepted into Debian and changing init systems may break other packages on the operating system. The vote on the general resolution concludes November 18th and the results will be posted on Debian's website.
On a related note, The Debian Technical Committee has released an update on bug #746578, reported in May 2014, which compromises the safety of upgrades from "Wheezy" to "Jessie" by changing the existing init system. Don Armstrong reports on the debian-devel-announce mailing list: "The technical committee was asked in #746578 to override the ordering of the alternative dependencies on systemd-sysv and systemd-shim to prefer the installation of systemd-shim in cases where sysvinit-core was already installed. Currently libpam-systemd (which is pulled in by quite a few dependency chains) Depends on 'systemd-sysv | systemd-shim (>= 8-2)'. The effect of this is that installing some packages which depend (directly or indirectly) on libpam-systemd can cause a user's init system to be switched to systemd, even on systems where a user has deliberately chosen not to use the default init system, and even when the switch is unnecessary. Swapping the order of these dependencies would avoid that and has no harmful effect."
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The Linux Mint team posted their monthly report on Friday and the announcement provided a glimpse into new features the project is working on. One key feature coming to Mint 17.1 is MATE working with the Compiz window manager out of the box: "The MATE edition sports out of the box support for the Compiz window-manager (which comes pre-installed, pre-configured and which you can switch to with a click of a button). The Cinnamon edition features the new Cinnamon 2.4 desktop." The Debian Edition of Mint is also being actively developed. "On the LMDE side, work is continuing on Betsy. Debian Jessie is getting ever more stable, Cinnamon 2.4 is being ported to it and adapted to components which Linux Mint doesn't use (GTK+ 3.14, Upower 0.99 and systemd)."
Although security support for Microsoft's Windows XP was terminated in April 2014, many users continue to use the operating system (as of November 2014, 3.9% of visitors to DistroWatch.com still browse this site with Windows XP), exposing their computers to ever higher risks of being compromised and infested with malware. But what are their options? Der Spiegel, one of Europe's most influential magazines, recommends that users switch to Linux Mint (article in German). While the story does mention other popular Linux distributions, it concludes that, in terms of ease of use, Linux Mint beats the competition thanks to excellent multimedia support and availability of applications familiar to Windows users (e.g. Skype) that can be installed from Linux Mint's software centre. Furthermore, asserts the article in Der Spiegel, those running older computer systems will be pleased with the smooth video playback under Linux Mint, contrary to what the authors experienced after trying Windows 7 on the same machine.
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The OpenBSD operating system is famous for its tight security, proactive code audits and up-to-date documentation. The security-oriented project has another feature to add to the list: USB 3.0 support. An announcement was made on November 10th letting everyone know that initial USB 3.0 support had arrived and asking people to test and report any issues with the new feature: "For those of you who missed it on Friday, Martin Pieuchot (mpi@) enabled USB 3.0 support in OpenBSD. Not everyone missed it, of course, with problem reports and fixes being seen over the weekend. For those of you who'd been looking forward to using those blue USB ports of yours, now's the time to plug in as many 3.0 devices as you can find!" People who still have older USB 1.x devices can continue to use them in USB 3.0 ports on systems running OpenBSD.
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Fans of the Mageia distribution have been waiting for a beta release for a while now and the project, along with releasing the delayed beta, has posted an explanation for the delay. It seems the problems started when Mageia upgraded their version of the RPM package manager. "The new RPM version introduced changes that were significant enough to break a lot of core packages during the mass rebuild, and lots of packages failed to build in a chain reaction. It took a couple of weeks to fix and we were already long past the planned deadline for Mageia 5 Beta 1." Further problems appeared with the installer and the freshly updated GNU C Library. However, all bugs have been resolved and the first beta made available for testers. Mageia currently plans to publish their next stable release at the end of January 2015.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Cleaning up the package cache
Cleaning-house asks: Having come relatively recently to rolling releases, I can see a number of issues related to caches: From a user perspective, when should caches be purged? Should the rolling releases automate the process in some way (as perhaps Debian has)? What are the advantages and disadvantages of maintaining a (fairly large) cache?
DistroWatch answers: Regarding when you should clean out cache and when you should keep packages, there is a balancing act there. Unless you are pressed for hard drive space I would urge you to leave your package cache alone. Packages usually don't use up a lot of room (I ran into space constraints in my rolling release trial because I was using virtual machines with small virtual drives). You may be able to leave your cache, letting it grow, for as long as you continue to use your distribution.
The benefit to keeping packages in cache is that there is a backup there in case you want to re-install a package. If an existing piece of software is corrupted or needs to be rolled back due to a conflict then you can use an old version of the software from the cache to re-install it. The package may be removed from your distribution's repository (or you may be off-line), but if you still have a copy locally then that can re-install at your convenience.
Cleaning the cache really only helps to free up hard drive space, so if you have plenty of space left on the drive there isn't much motivation to wipe your cache. For this reason I don't think I know of any distribution that automatically wipes the package manager's cache.
If you do decide to clean out your cache, I recommend waiting until you A) perform a successful series of upgrades and B) you take time to make sure your system can still boot and your critical applications still work. The time you usually want a package in your cache if right after an upgrade if something breaks. Once you know the update completed properly and everything on your system still works, that is the ideal time (in my opinion) to wipe your package cache clean.
|Released Last Week
John Martinson has announced the release of Robolinux 7.7.1, a new update of the beginner-friendly, Debian-based distribution with a pre-configured VirtualBox that can run Windows seamlessly alongside Robolinux: "The Robolinux development team is very excited to announce our new Robolinux Xfce and GNOME versions 7.7.1. Now you can enjoy watching thousands of live streaming TV shows and movies instantly on your PC or laptop. You can even Chromecast them directly to your TV. We added Popcorn Time which requires the newest Debian 2.19 glibc libraries. We also added Xarchiver, so it is easier for our users to create archive files in dozens of formats, DNS utilities for system administrators and two more custom BCM WiFi drivers. Plus all Debian upstream security updates along with the latest new and improved Debian stable version 7.7 kernel and the newest Oracle VirtualBox version." See the project's SourceForge page to read the rest of the release announcement.
Q4OS 0.5.20, a lightweight and minimalist desktop Linux distribution featuring the Trinity desktop (a fork of KDE 3.5) and based on Debian GNU/Linux 7, has been released: "Significant update 0.5.20 of Q4OS is out. The essential new feature is the KDE 4 desktop integration into Q4OS system. It is comprised of two Plasma themes, converted crystalsvg icons, splash theme and original Q4OS desktop look and feel configuration. A single-command script (kde4-install) for easy automatic installation is included. If users want to set up a complete KDE 4 desktop alongside the standard Q4OS desktop, they will need to run the 'kde4-install' script from the terminal. They will be able to choose the 'KDE Plasma Workspace' session type option from the KDM login screen and experience the brand-new environment. They will be able to select the classical Q4OS desktop too, of course. This Q4OS release brings many more improvements, notably new desktop cursor theme...." Read the full release announcement for more details.
Univention Corporate Server 3.2-4
Nico Gulden has announced the availability of a new point release of Univention Corporate Server 3.2, a Debian-based server distribution featuring an intuitive web-based server management panel: "We are pleased to announce the availability of UCS 3.2-4, the fourth point release of Univention Corporate Server (UCS). It includes all errata updates issued for UCS 3.2-3 and comprises the following highlights: improvement for the operation of UCS in Microsoft Windows Active Directory domains; improvement for the migration of Active Directory to UCS; increased security in UCS by activating perfect forward secrecy by default and using SHA256 as default hash. A detailed list about the changes can be found in the release notes. Questions can be asked in the Univention forum in the UCS section." Here is the brief release announcement.
Chakra GNU/Linux 2014.11
Neophytos Kolokotronis has announced the release of Chakra GNU/Linux 2014.11, the project's latest update featuring KDE 4.14.2, the Pacman package manager and a custom installer called Tribe: "The Chakra team is happy to announce the second release of the Chakra 'Euler' series, which follows the KDE Applications and Platform 4.14 releases. The main reason for providing this new ISO image, in addition to providing a new KDE release, is that Chakra has now implemented the /usr merge changes. If you already have Chakra installed on your system manual intervention is needed, so please follow the instructions on how to properly update. For new installations using this ISO image, this is of course not needed. Core packages: Linux kernel 3.16.4, X.Org Server 1.15.2, systemd 216." Read the rest of the release announcement for further information and an important link to update instructions.
Scientific Linux 6.6
Pat Riehecky has announced the release of Scientific Linux 6.6, the latest update of the distribution built from source package for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.6, with additional software meant for use in scientific and academic environments: "Scientific Linux 6.6 i386/x86_64. Major differences from SL6.5: OpenAFS has been updated to version 1.6.10 from openafs.org; X.Org Server features a new ABI. Users of proprietary drivers may experience issues with the X server loading due to changes between X.Org Server 1.13 and 1.15. Users of the 32-bit iSCSI utilities on x86_64 systems may experience multilib complaints. The 32-bit iSCSI utilities are not provided by upstream on x86_64 platforms. We have removed them from 6.6 to follow their behavior." Here is the brief release announcement, with further details available in the release notes.
FreeBSD 10.1 has been released: "The FreeBSD Release Engineering team is pleased to announce the availability of FreeBSD 10.1-RELEASE. This is the second release of the stable/10 branch, which improves on the stability of FreeBSD 10.0-RELEASE and introduces some new features. Some of the highlights: the new console driver, vt(4), has been added; support for FreeBSD/i386 guests has been added to bhyve(4); the bhyve(4) hypervisor now supports booting from a zfs(8) file system; support for SMP was added to the armv6 kernels and enabled by default in the configuration files for all platforms that contain multi-core CPUs; initial support for UEFI boot has been added for the FreeBSD/amd64 architecture...." See the release announcement and the release notes for a full list of changes.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Distributions added to waiting list|
- JuJu. JuJu is a small and portable GNU/Linux distribution based on Arch Linux. It allows user to have an isolated GNU/Linux environment inside their home directory, without the need to have root privileges, that is accessible via chroot and run on another Linux distribution.
- DRUMS. DRUMS is an operating system for the Raspberry Pi microcomputer which will turn the Raspberry Pi into a music server.
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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, 24 November 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 836 (2019-10-14): Archman 2019.09, Haiku improves ARM support, Project Trident shifting base OS, Unix turns 50|
|• Issue 835 (2019-10-07): Isotop, Mazon OS and, KduxOS, examples of using the find command, Mint's System Reports becomes proactive, Solus updates its desktops|
|• Issue 834 (2019-09-30): FreedomBox "Buster", CentOS gains a rolling release, Librem 5 phones shipping, Redcore updates its package manager|
|• Issue 833 (2019-09-23): Redcore Linux 1908, why Linux distros are free, Ubuntu making list of 32-bit software to keep, Richard M Stallman steps down from FSF leadership|
|• Issue 832 (2019-09-16): BlackWeb 1.2, checking for Wayland session and applications, Fedora to use nftables in firewalld, OpenBSD disables DoH in Firefox|
|• Issue 831 (2019-09-09): Adélie Linux 1.0 beta, using ffmpeg, awk and renice, Mint and elementary improvements, PureOS and Manjaro updates|
|• Issue 930 (2019-09-02): deepin 15.11, working with AppArmor profiles, elementary OS gets new greeter, exFAT support coming to Linux kernel|
|• Issue 829 (2019-08-26): EndeavourOS 2019.07.15, Drauger OS 7.4.1, finding the licenses of kernel modules, NetBSD gets Wayland application, GhostBSD changes base repo|
|• Issue 828 (2019-08-19): AcademiX 2.2, concerns with non-free firmware, UBports working on Unity8, Fedora unveils new EPEL channel, FreeBSD phasing out GCC|
|• Issue 827 (2019-08-12): Q4OS, finding files on the disk, Ubuntu works on ZFS, Haiku improves performance, OSDisc shutting down|
|• Issue 826 (2019-08-05): Quick looks at Resilient, PrimeOS, and BlueLight, flagship distros for desktops,Manjaro introduces new package manager|
|• Issue 825 (2019-07-29): Endless OS 3.6, UBports 16.04, gNewSense maintainer stepping down, Fedora developrs discuss optimizations, Project Trident launches stable branch|
|• Issue 824 (2019-07-22): Hexagon OS 1.0, Mageia publishes updated media, Fedora unveils Fedora CoreOS, managing disk usage with quotas|
|• Issue 823 (2019-07-15): Debian 10, finding 32-bit packages on a 64-bit system, Will Cooke discusses Ubuntu's desktop, IBM finalizes purchase of Red Hat|
|• Issue 822 (2019-07-08): Mageia 7, running development branches of distros, Mint team considers Snap, UBports to address Google account access|
|• Issue 821 (2019-07-01): OpenMandriva 4.0, Ubuntu's plan for 32-bit packages, Fedora Workstation improvements, DragonFly BSD's smaller kernel memory|
|• Issue 820 (2019-06-24): Clear Linux and Guix System 1.0.1, running Android applications using Anbox, Zorin partners with Star Labs, Red Hat explains networking bug, Ubuntu considers no longer updating 32-bit packages|
|• Issue 819 (2019-06-17): OS108 and Venom, renaming multiple files, checking live USB integrity, working with Fedora's Modularity, Ubuntu replacing Chromium package with snap|
|• Issue 818 (2019-06-10): openSUSE 15.1, improving boot times, FreeBSD's status report, DragonFly BSD reduces install media size|
|• Issue 817 (2019-06-03): Manjaro 18.0.4, Ubuntu Security Podcast, new Linux laptops from Dell and System76, Entroware Apollo|
|• Issue 816 (2019-05-27): Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, creating firewall rules, Antergos shuts down, Matthew Miller answers questions about Fedora|
|• Issue 815 (2019-05-20): Sabayon 19.03, Clear Linux's developer features, Red Hat explains MDS flaws, an overview of mobile distro options|
|• Issue 814 (2019-05-13): Fedora 30, distributions publish Firefox fixes, CentOS publishes roadmap to 8.0, Debian plans to use Wayland by default|
|• Issue 813 (2019-05-06): ROSA R11, MX seeks help with systemd-shim, FreeBSD tests unified package management, interview with Gael Duval|
|• Issue 812 (2019-04-29): Ubuntu MATE 19.04, setting up a SOCKS web proxy, Scientific Linux discontinued, Red Hat takes over Java LTS support|
|• Issue 811 (2019-04-22): Alpine 3.9.2, rsync examples, Ubuntu working on ZFS support, Debian elects new Project Leader, Obarun releases S6 tools|
|• Issue 810 (2019-04-15): SolydXK 201902, Bedrock Linux 0.7.2, Fedora phasing out Python 2, NetBSD gets virtual machine monitor|
|• Issue 809 (2019-04-08): PCLinuxOS 2019.02, installing Falkon and problems with portable packages, Mint offers daily build previews, Ubuntu speeds up Snap packages|
|• Issue 808 (2019-04-01): Solus 4.0, security benefits and drawbacks to using a live distro, Gentoo gets GNOME ports working without systemd, Redox OS update|
|• Issue 807 (2019-03-25): Pardus 17.5, finding out which user changed a file, new Budgie features, a tool for browsing FreeBSD's sysctl values|
|• Issue 806 (2019-03-18): Kubuntu vs KDE neon, Nitrux's znx, notes on Debian's election, SUSE becomes an independent entity|
|• Issue 805 (2019-03-11): EasyOS 1.0, managing background services, Devuan team debates machine ID file, Ubuntu Studio works to remain an Ubuntu Community Edition|
|• Issue 804 (2019-03-04): Condres OS 19.02, securely erasing hard drives, new UBports devices coming in 2019, Devuan to host first conference|
|• Issue 803 (2019-02-25): Septor 2019, preventing windows from stealing focus, NetBSD and Nitrux experiment with virtual machines, pfSense upgrading to FreeBSD 12 base|
|• Issue 802 (2019-02-18): Slontoo 18.07.1, NetBSD tests newer compiler, Fedora packaging Deepin desktop, changes in Ubuntu Studio|
|• Issue 801 (2019-02-11): Project Trident 18.12, the meaning of status symbols in top, FreeBSD Foundation lists ongoing projects, Plasma Mobile team answers questions|
|• Issue 800 (2019-02-04): FreeNAS 11.2, using Ubuntu Studio software as an add-on, Nitrux developing znx, matching operating systems to file systems|
|• Issue 799 (2019-01-28): KaOS 2018.12, Linux Basics For Hackers, Debian 10 enters freeze, Ubuntu publishes new version for IoT devices|
|• Issue 798 (2019-01-21): Sculpt OS 18.09, picking a location for swap space, Solus team plans ahead, Fedora trying to get a better user count|
|• Issue 797 (2019-01-14): Reborn OS 2018.11.28, TinyPaw-Linux 1.3, dealing with processes which make the desktop unresponsive, Debian testing Secure Boot support|
|• Issue 796 (2019-01-07): FreeBSD 12.0, Peppermint releases ISO update, picking the best distro of 2018, roundtable interview with Debian, Fedora and elementary developers|
|• Issue 795 (2018-12-24): Running a Pinebook, interview with Bedrock founder, Alpine being ported to RISC-V, Librem 5 dev-kits shipped|
|• Issue 794 (2018-12-17): Void 20181111, avoiding software bloat, improvements to HAMMER2, getting application overview in GNOME Shell|
|• Issue 793 (2018-12-10): openSUSE Tumbleweed, finding non-free packages, Debian migrates to usrmerge, Hyperbola gets FSF approval|
|• Issue 792 (2018-1203): GhostBSD 18.10, when to use swap space, DragonFly BSD's wireless support, Fedora planning to pause development schedule|
|• Issue 791 (2018-11-26): Haiku R1 Beta1, default passwords on live media, Slax and Kodachi update their media, dual booting DragonFly BSD on EFI|
|• Issue 790 (2018-11-19): NetBSD 8.0, Bash tips and short-cuts, Fedora's networking benchmarked with FreeBSD, Ubuntu 18.04 to get ten years of support|
|• Issue 789 (2018-11-12): Fedora 29 Workstation and Silverblue, Haiku recovering from server outage, Fedora turns 15, Debian publishes updated media|
|• 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|
|• Full list of all issues|
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|Random Distribution |
Boston University Linux
Boston University Linux (or BU Linux for short) was a CentOS-based distribution specifically tailored for the Boston University environments. Among the more interesting enhancements are network installation, Kerberos authentication, tight default security, automatic security updates, OpenAFS file system, and extra software applications.