| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 606, 20 April 2015
Welcome to this year's 16th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
This is an exciting time for open source enthusiasts as there are a lot of changes on the horizon. Our News section is packed this week with new features and ideas being shared, such as changes coming to Ubuntu's imminent 15.04 release and the Debian developers electing a new Project Leader. Debian recently received the green light to provide DVD and ZFS support and we talk about these upcoming changes. NetBSD 7.0 is just around the corner and the highly portable operating system has a lot of new features prepared, including new graphic capabilities. FreeBSD developers are considering a new method of maintaining the base of their operating system that has some wondering if FreeBSD is becoming more Linux-like. Plus we talk about GNU Hurd 0.6, changes coming to Xubuntu 15.10 and Evolve OS's name change. First though we start this week with a review of Linux Mint's new Debian Edition release, the first version of Linux Mint to be based on Debian's Stable repositories. In place of our usual Questions and Answers column this week we launch the first in a series of articles examining common misunderstandings in the open source community with this week's Myths and Misunderstandings tackling ZFS. Plus we hear from Fedora's Matthew Miller in our Ask A Leader column as Miller discusses security, touch screens and licensing. Then check out our Torrent Corner where we share the distribution torrents we are seeding. We wrap up this issue with the distribution releases of the past week and a donation to the GIMP project. We wish you all a fantastic week and happy reading!
- Review: Linux Mint 2 "Debian Edition"
- News: Features coming to Ubuntu 15.04, Debian elects new Project Leader and considers ZFS & DVD support, changes coming to NetBSD 7.0, using pkgng to manage FreeBSD's base system, GNU Hurd 0.6 released, Xubuntu changes productivity packages and Evolve OS undergoes a name change
- Myths and misunderstandings: ZFS
- Ask a leader: Matthew Miller of the Fedora Project
- Torrent corner: Antergos, Linux Mint, pfSense, Toutou
- Released last week: Scientific Linux 7.1, Toutou Linux 6.0 "SlaXen RCX", Hanthana Linux 21
- Upcoming releases: Ubuntu 15.04, Debian 8.0
- Donations: The GNU Image Manipulation Program receives $350
- Reader comments
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Linux Mint 2 "Debian Edition"
Linux Mint is one of the world's most popular Linux desktop distributions. Interest in the project has kept Linux Mint at the top of DistroWatch's page hit ranking charts for quite some time and the current trends suggest it will remain there. Mint's success seems to stem from the project's willingness to listen to user feedback and the developers' conservative approach when it comes to Mint's desktop interface. While other popular distributions such as Fedora and Ubuntu have radically changed their desktop environments in recent years, Mint has largely stayed consistent, introducing small, evolutionary changes. Mint, unlike some other mainstream distributions, provides Flash and multimedia support in the default install, further adding to the project's appeal.
The latest release to come out of the Linux Mint project is a special version. This new release is only the second version of Mint to be based on Debian rather than Ubuntu and the first version to be based on Debian's Stable repositories rather than Debian's Testing branch. Linux Mint Debian Edition (version 2) marks the creation of a new branch of Linux Mint and I was very interested to see how the new release, code named "Betsy", would perform.
Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) is based on packages from Debian "Jessie" and is available in 32-bit and 64-bit x86 builds. There are two flavours of LMDE, one ships with the Cinnamon desktop environment while the other ships with the MATE desktop. I decided to try the Cinnamon spin of LMDE and found the ISO for this spin to be about 1.5GB in size. Booting from the LMDE media presented me with the Cinnamon desktop. Cinnamon has a traditional layout with icons on the desktop and a panel placed at the bottom of the screen. The icons on the desktop can be used to open the distribution's file manager and launch the LMDE system installer. On the panel at the bottom of the display we can find the application menu, task switcher, a few quick-launch icons and the system tray.
Linux Mint 2 "Debian Edition" -- Running the backup utility
(full image size: 661kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
Mint uses a different system installer for its LMDE branch than it does for its Ubuntu-based editions. The installer is a graphical application which begins by asking us to select our preferred language from a list. We are then asked to select our time zone from a map of the world. The following screen asks us to confirm our keyboard's layout. The installer incorrectly assumed my keyboard was of French design, but I was able to select the correct "US" layout from a list of supported options. The next screen asks us to create a user account and to create a password for this account. Partitioning the hard drive comes next and we are shown a diagram of disk's current layout. We can click a button to launch the GParted partition manager from this page and, using GParted, change our partition layout. Once we have the partitions we want we can then return to the system installer and right-click on partitions to assign them mount points and file systems. Once our disk has been partitioned we are shown a summary of the actions the system installer will take and we are asked to confirm the installer's actions are correct before it will begin the installation process. For the most part I like the LMDE installer, I found it to be a lot faster and easier to navigate when compared next to Debian's system installer. However, I did run into two problems while installing LMDE.
The first issue came up while I was installing Mint in a virtual machine. The virtual machine had a pristine storage drive without any partitions on it. When I got to the partitioning screen, Mint's installer correctly identified that no partitions were present and offered to create a default layout. If I chose to accept the default partitioning layout (one swap partition and a single ext4 partition for the entire file system) then the installer would proceed normally. When I opted to manually partition my blank hard drive the installer would immediately crash. This happened multiple times, forcing me to accept the default partition layout. The second bug came about when I tried to install Mint on a partition formatted with Btrfs. While the system installer claims to support Btrfs, attempting to install LMDE on a partition formatted with Btrfs caused the installer to crash. I decided to fall back to using Mint's default file system, ext4, for all my installations.
Once Mint's installer finished copying its files to my hard drive, I rebooted the computer. The first thing I noticed about my fresh installation was that Mint's boot loader (GRUB) displays a list of boot options when we turn on the computer. Some distributions hide the boot loader if they are the only operating system available, but even in a fresh virtual machine, Mint's boot loader shows up, giving us access to extra options. I like this small touch that makes the distribution just a little more accessible. Mint proceeds to boot to a graphical login screen. The first time we sign into our user account we are shown a welcome screen. The welcome screen contains many links to Linux Mint resources. With a click of a button the welcome screen will connect us with a list of Mint's features, take us to the community forum, bring up a hardware compatibility database or open the package manager. Clicking one button will make sure multimedia support is installed on the distribution (multimedia support was already available in my case), clicking another button opens the distribution's package manager and yet another connects us with the distribution's on-line chat room where we can seek support. Other buttons launch Mint's backup utility and bring up the project's errata and donation pages.
Once the welcome screen has been dismissed we are presented with the Cinnamon desktop. During my time with LMDE I ran the distribution in two test environments, a desktop computer and a VirtualBox virtual machine. When running on the desktop computer LMDE ran flawlessly. My screen was set to its maximum resolution, networking and sound worked out of the box and the desktop was responsive. When running LMDE in a virtual machine the experience was generally good. Sound, networking and my display were all set up properly. I did find when I logged into Cinnamon while running LMDE in VirtualBox a notification would appear warning me Cinnamon was unable to use hardware rendering and the system was falling back on using software rendering. The user is warned software rendering may use more CPU, possibly making the desktop sluggish. I did find Cinnamon was a little slower to respond in the virtual machine, but not terribly so. A trip into the distribution's control panel allowed me to disable visual effects and shut down a few services I was not using. After that Cinnamon ran very well in the virtual environment and was pleasantly responsive. I hope in a future release the developers will automatically disable visual effects when Cinnamon in is software rendering mode, similar to the way KDE handles the situation. In either test environment LMDE used approximately 380MB of memory. With a few services turned off and visual effects disabled I found the distribution's memory footprint was reduced to 320MB.
Linux Mint 2 "Debian Edition" -- Installing software updates
(full image size: 767kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
In the Cinnamon system tray we find an icon which lets us know when software updates have become available. When the icon turns blue we can click it to open the distribution's update manager. The update manager displays a list of available package updates and each update is assigned a safety rating in the range of 1 through 5. A rating of 1 indicates the update has been tested and is considered safe while packages with ratings of 4 and 5 are filtered out by default as installing them may cause regressions. We can choose which safety levels the update manager should filter. The first day I ran LMDE there were six updates available, totalling 18MB in size. Through the week a few more package upgrades trickled in, each one installing cleanly and I did not encounter any problems from software upgrades.
Earlier I mentioned Mint's control panel and I feel it deserves some attention. Mint's control panel provides users with a central location where we can adjust desktop and system settings. The control panel is populated by modules that are represented by large, colourful icons. We can search through the control panel, using key words to find the settings we wish to adjust. Using the provided modules we can change Cinnamon's background, enable or disable visual effects, change the theme and adjust the fonts. There are modules for adding applets and extensions as well as modules for configuring the desktop's hot corners and there is a module for changing the style of notifications. Additional modules allow us to manage user accounts, configure our network settings, set up printers and manage software repositories. I did not find a module that would allow me to enable or disable background services, but there is a package in the repositories called "bum" that will provide a graphical service manager. I generally found the configuration modules to be easy to navigate and I encountered no problems while using them.
Linux Mint 2 "Debian Edition" -- System Settings panel
(full image size: 901kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
LMDE ships with two graphical software managers. The first is appropriately labelled "Software Manager" and shows us categories of software that are represented by large, colourful icons. Selecting a category of software brings up a list of applications in the given category. Each application is presented with its icon, a brief description and a user supplied rating. Clicking on a package brings up a page with a full description of the software, screen shots and reviews supplied by other users. We can install or remove a selected package with a single click. Software Manager performs new installations and package removals in the background, allowing us to continue browsing through lists of packages. I performed several installations and a few package removals using Software Manager and they all went well. I like that Software Manager allows us to search for items by name. While Software Manager focuses on desktop applications we can search for and locate command line software too.
Synaptic is the second graphical package manager. Synaptic shows us a simple list of packages available to us, sorted alphabetically. We can click on a package to install, remove or upgrade our selection. Using Synaptic we can create batches of install/upgrade/remove actions and the package manager then locks the interface while it works. LMDE pulls packages from a combination of Debian "Jessie" software repositories and its own, custom repositories. One aspect of LMDE I enjoyed was, after installing a new desktop application, a new entry would appear in the Cinnamon application menu, displayed in bold text. The bold text makes finding newly installed applications easier.
Linux Mint 2 "Debian Edition" -- Installing new applications
(full image size: 724kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
LMDE ships with a small, but very useful collection of desktop applications. We are presented with Firefox (with Flash enabled), the HexChat IRC client, the Pidgin messaging software, the Thunderbird e-mail client and the Transmission bittorrent utility. LibreOffice is available along with the GNU Image Manipulation Program, a document viewer and an image viewer. We are given the Banshee audio player, the Brasero disc burning software, the Totem video player and the VLC multimedia player. Mint ships with multimedia codecs, enabling us to play media files. The distribution ships with an archive manager, a calculator and a text editor along with a backup utility and a tool for blocking access to specified Internet domains. The Network Manager software is included to help us get on-line. In the background we find Java is installed for us, the GNU Compiler Collection is available and the distribution runs on the Linux kernel, version 3.16.
While experimenting with Mint I found all the software that shipped with the distribution worked as expected. I had wondered if LMDE might be missing some functionality available in Mint's Ubuntu-based products. For the most part, Mint's branches are very similar in functionality and I encountered no problems. LMDE may be missing a few things, such a PPA support, and I have yet to try out some corner cases such as mounting uncommon file systems, but so far LMDE appears to be almost exactly on par with Mint's Main edition.
One aspect of LMDE I found interesting is that it is perhaps the only mainstream Linux desktop distribution shipping this year without systemd as the default init software. While LMDE does include some systemd libraries, they are kept to a minimum. The distribution ships the older SysV init software rather than systemd (the default for Debian "Jessie") or Upstart (used by Mint's Main edition). I am not sure if the decision to ship with SysV init is a technical one or a political one, but it does make LMDE stand out from most other Linux distributions, including its own parent distribution.
Despite a few problems I ran into early on with the system installer, in the end I formed a very positive opinion of LMDE. The distribution offered quick boot times, a responsive desktop (even in a virtual machine), lots of functionality out of the box and a very friendly user interface. I found the control panel easy to navigate and the software managers were pleasant to use. I like the Cinnamon application menu and find it slightly easier to navigate and search when compared next to the Mint menu. Cinnamon proved itself to be a flexible desktop environment and I like that the developers mostly disabled flashy effects and hot corners in the default configuration. We can add eye candy and extensions later, but we start out with a clean and responsive interface.
Mint ships with multimedia codecs and Flash, plus a selection of some of the best (in my opinion) desktop applications currently available in the open source community. LMDE handled my hardware without any problems. In addition, the project has lots of great resources for new users, such as a hardware compatibility database, active forums and community chat room. These are nice extras to have and I appreciate that Mint makes these resources easy to find through the welcome screen.
Apart from the difficulty I faced trying to set up LMDE on the Btrfs advanced file system, I had only good experiences with the distribution and I think, despite the project's warnings that LMDE is not as "mainstream" or stable as Mint's Ubuntu-based editions, LMDE provides a newcomer friendly, useful and stable operating system. I definitely recommend giving it a try.
* * * * *
Hardware used in this review
My physical test equipment for this review was a desktop HP Pavilon p6 Series with the following specifications:
- Processor: Dual-core 2.8GHz AMD A4-3420 APU
- Storage: 500GB Hitachi hard drive
- Memory: 6GB of RAM
- Networking: Realtek RTL8111 wired network card
- Display: AMD Radeon HD 6410D video card
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Features coming to Ubuntu 15.04, Debian elects new Project Leader and considers ZFS & DVD support, changes coming to NetBSD 7.0, using pkgng to manage FreeBSD's base system, GNU Hurd 0.6 released, Xubuntu changes productivity packages and Evolve OS undergoes a name change
Very soon we expect to see a new release of Canonical's Ubuntu operating system along with the usual torrent of Ubuntu community distributions. An article on ZDNet sums up some of the more interesting features users can expect to see in Ubuntu 15.04. Chief among the changes coming to Ubuntu are local application menus, applications will contain their own menu rather than using a global menu bar at the top of the screen. Ubuntu 15.04 will also introduce systemd as the default init software. "Ubuntu's developers decided that, even though they were a few days past the feature release freeze date, they would switch 15.04's default to systemd. The change will affect `Ubuntu desktop/server/cloud and the flavors like Kubuntu, but not Ubuntu Touch.' Ubuntu Touch, Canonical's Ubuntu for smart phones and tablets, is sticking with Upstart because, `Migration to systemd is blocked on Touch (too old kernels, some unported jobs), and was not scheduled for Vivid.'"
* * * * *
Changes are coming to the Debian project. Not only is Debian 8.0 "Jessie" expected to arrive before the end of the month, the Debian developers have just finished electing their new Project Leader. The votes have been tallied and Neil McGovern has been elected as the new Debian Project Leader. Neil McGovern was elected on a platform which promotes the implementation of personal package archives (PPAs) which have been popular in the Ubuntu community for years. McGovern also said he will encourage people to contribute to Debian in ways other than creating packages. "I will promote and encourage engagement in non-packaging aspects of Debian contribution. We need to reach out more to people who aren't involved with these teams, and encourage them as an important part of producing the distribution. One method to help achieve this is via a mechanism we've had for a while - mentoring, but applying it to non-packaging work. I'd like to see this embedded into all of our processes."
Following the election, departing Debian Project Leader Lucas Nussbaum posted a note in which he summed up the state of some ongoing projects and conference plans. Two interesting points were raised in Nussbaum's note. The first was a link to an ITWire interview Nussbaum gave recently in which he discusses systemd and diversity in Debian. The other point was the announcement that Debian had been seeking legal advice regarding whether the project can include support for playing DVDs (via libdvdcss) and the ZFS advanced file system. The Software Freedom Law Center has given the go ahead for Debian to distribution both ZFS and libdvdcss packages and we should soon see these features appear in Debian's repositories.
* * * * *
The release of NetBSD 7.0 is expected to arrive soon. Youri Mouton recently posted a list of changes and new features coming to the highly portable operating system. NetBSD 7.0 will run on 39 different architectures, offer multi-processor support for many ARM cores, run on the Raspberry Pi mini computer, introduce Clang as an optional compiler and LibreSSL will be available as an alternative to OpenSSL. The post further talks about new video card support coming to NetBSD: "Taylor Campbell (@riadstradh) has been working hard on getting DRM/KMS, the kernel graphics drivers from Linux 3.15 ready. It supports many cards like the Intel, up through Haswell and many Radeons. He also imported Nouveau code, which would make recent NVIDIA cards work; it compiles and links, but it is very much a work in progress." More details on NetBSD 7.0 can be found in Youri Mouton's post.
* * * * *
Last week the BSD Now podcast conducted an interview with pkgng developer Baptiste Daroussin. In the interview it was revealed pkgng, the current package manager for FreeBSD, may soon be used to manage and update components of FreeBSD's base operating system. This would be a shift from the current model where the core of FreeBSD is treated more or less as one whole component while third-party software is treated as a collection of add-on packages. Breaking the base operating system into a collection of individual packages would make FreeBSD administration and patching more flexible. The proposed changes to pkgng would further make running and maintaining custom kernels on FreeBSD easier as the kernel would no longer be firmly tied to the rest of the platform.
* * * * *
GNU Hurd is the GNU project's microkernel which is designed to act as the underlying kernel to the GNU operating system. Though Hurd has never really gained popularity and wide-spread use the way the Linux kernel has, developers continue to work on Hurd. Hurd's microkernel design and focus on technical correctness make it an interesting project. GNU Hurd 0.6 was released last week, presenting some new features and a clean-up of the code. The Hurd kernel has been worked into some GNU distributions, perhaps the most functional being Debian's GNU/Hurd port.
* * * * *
The Xubuntu project recently held a vote over which image manipulation and productivity applications should be included in a default installation. The developers made the decision to drop AbiWord, Gnumeric and the GNU Image Manipulation Program in favour of including LibreOffice. Sean David, Xubuntu's Technical Lead stated bugs in AbiWord made LibreOffice a better choice for users who need productivity software. The changes to Xubuntu's default software will be made during the 15.10 development cycle and be shipped in October 2015.
* * * * *
The Evolve OS project is undergoing a name change to Solus. According to a blog post on the project's new website the change in brand comes about as a result of a trademark conflict. "Firstly we'd like to apologize for the downtime, confusion and general inconvenience of late. In short we've been involved in a naming dispute for the previously named `Evolve OS' project. On April 1st (yep, really) we were contacted regarding a naming dispute over the use of 'OS'. In the past the Evolve OS project had applied for a trademark in the name of `Evolve OS', which was going through a 2 month period in which those opposing the mark can file their objection. UK law requires the opposing party to first make contact before filing against a claim, which is what happened here. As our project is based in the UK (primarily due to my presence here, as its sole legal entity) I must of course oblige with UK law (UK trademark application)." Since Solus OS was created by the same developer as Evolve OS, changing the project's name to Solus takes the project back to its roots, in a fashion. Under any name, we wish the distribution the best of luck.
| Myths and Misunderstandings (by Jesse Smith)
Myths and Misunderstandings: ZFS
As someone who sets up, maintains and trouble-shoots computers, one of the most interesting (and often time consuming) aspects of my work is trying to understand and correct the misconceptions people have when it comes to technology. Calls to my phone and messages to my inbox frequently show that people carry with them a great deal of misinformation about what technology is and how it works. For instance, many people believe their computer cannot be infected with malware if they run anti-virus software. Many people use cloud synchronization software in place of backups, not realizing an accidental file deletion will remove the file from all their devices. Many people do not understand copyright and software licensing restrictions. I try, whenever possible, to clear up these misunderstandings in the hope of making computers less confusing to the people who use them. With this in mind, I present the first of a series of columns dedicated to common questions and misunderstandings I encounter on a regular basis, particularly in the open source community.
This week's subject is ZFS. ZFS is an advanced file system and storage management technology. Using ZFS it is easy to manage multiple storage devices (usually hard drives), create file system snapshots, work with RAID configurations and mirror disks. I probably run into more misinformation about ZFS than any other open source software, so I will try to tackle several aspects of ZFS quickly.
Perhaps the most common misunderstanding I run into is that ZFS is designed exclusively for enterprise level hardware, particularly machines with ECC RAM and a lot of memory. It is understandable many people believe this since many blogs and technical forums have kept the myth alive. However, there is very little truth behind the idea ZFS is resource hungry and there is no truth to the idea ZFS requires a specific type of RAM to run properly. The truth is I usually run ZFS storage pools on machines with very little RAM and there is no need to use a particular type of RAM.
So, if ZFS does not require a lot of memory or special hardware, such as ECC RAM, where do these ideas come from? The Z file system was developed with huge amounts of storage in mind and is often run in environments where accuracy is a top priority. While ZFS was designed with these environments in mind, the file system can be run just about anywhere, including on cheap consumer machines with less than 1GB of memory. The ZFS on Linux project has this to say about ZFS and ECC RAM:
Using ECC memory for ZFS is strongly recommended for enterprise environments where the strongest data integrity guarantees are required. Without ECC memory rare random bit flips caused by cosmic rays or by faulty memory can go undetected. If this were to occur ZFS (or any other file system) will write the damaged data to disk and be unable to automatically detect the corruption.
As you can see, the ECC RAM suggestion only applies to enterprise environments with strict integrity requirements. Also, it is important to note that data corruption can happen under any file system, there is nothing special about ZFS that would make it more vulnerable to corruption using non-ECC RAM.
As for the amount of memory ZFS requires, some people will throw out strange ideas like 8GB of RAM are recommended or that ZFS will not run properly on machines with less than 2GB of memory. This is completely false. The reason many people think ZFS needs a lot of memory is ZFS will aggressively cache data in memory using Adaptive Replacement Cache (ARC). Basically, a computer running ZFS will try to use up to 50% of the computer's memory (or all RAM, minus 1GB) for caching. On machines with 2GB of RAM, ZFS will use about 1GB. On machines with 16GB, ZFS might use 12GB. But, like any other file system, when the memory containing cached data is required for something else, ZFS frees the memory and gets out of the way, allowing the operating system to repossess the memory. When the operating system no longer needs the memory, ZFS will take it back. Further, ZFS can be tuned to use a smaller percentage of a computer's memory, so only 30% or 25% of memory will be used for cached data.
This behaviour of ZFS is very similar to the default behaviour of Linux and BSD operating systems. Any memory not being used, the wisdom goes, is being wasted. Linux and the BSDs will use all spare memory to cache files until such a time when memory is needed for something else, like an application. ZFS does the same thing. Unfortunately, people tend to see ZFS using a lot of otherwise unused memory and assume ZFS requires that much RAM, rather than realizing ZFS is only using that memory because the memory is not needed by any other processes.
Another common misunderstanding about ZFS is the idea that it cannot be legally shipped with Linux distributions due to licensing restrictions. This is not entirely correct. ZFS and the Linux kernel have licenses which are both open source, but not quite compatible. This means ZFS cannot be integrated into the Linux kernel, the source code of the two projects cannot be merged together and then distributed. However, there is nothing in either license preventing ZFS modules from being built for Linux and shipped with Linux distributions. Again, from the ZFS on Linux documentation:
ZFS is licensed under the Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL), and the Linux kernel is licensed under the GNU General Public License Version 2 (GPLv2). While both are free open source licenses they are restrictive licenses. The combination of them causes problems because it prevents using pieces of code exclusively available under one license with pieces of code exclusively available under the other in the same binary. In the case of the kernel, this prevents us from distributing ZFS as part of the kernel binary. However, there is nothing in either license that prevents distributing it in the form of a binary module or in the form of source code.
On a related note, I often hear people claim ZFS is not stable or ready for use on Linux. Usually, I hear this claim from people in the FreeBSD or Solaris communities. The truth is that while the Linux port of ZFS may not have all the features that are implemented on other operating systems, ZFS runs quite well on Linux. In fact, in a recent BSD Now podcast, two developers from the OpenZFS project confirm the Linux implementation of ZFS lags only a few months behind parity with other ZFS implementations.
Another comment I hear often is that ZFS, while suited for enterprise deployments, does not carry any benefit for people at home. This is more an opinion than a fact, but I want to address it anyway. I certainly agree some of the promoted features of ZFS are more suited to businesses than home users. Most people working at home do not need deduplication or multi-disk RAID configurations or mirroring. However, ZFS has some features that are very useful in home situations. The ability to quickly make snapshots of the file system is one such feature. Having automated daily or weekly snapshots makes it easy to recover a file (or entire directory) we have deleted by accident. I think most of us have erased a file by mistake and wanted to quickly recover it and ZFS excels in this scenario.
Boot environments (closely related to snapshots) are a great tool for people running rolling release distributions. Back when I was engaged in my rolling release trial I noted that the operating systems which broke the most also offered boot environments, allowing the user to instantly rollback any broken packages. In short, boot environments make the operating system virtually immune to upgrade issues which is ideal when running development or rolling distributions.
Finally, the ability to store multiple copies of files and automatically recover files that have become corrupted is a great feature to have. ZFS is very robust, generally heals itself automatically if something goes wrong and provides built in repair tools in the event the file system becomes corrupted. All of these features are helpful on any system, whether it is at home or in a data centre.
|Ask A Leader
Matthew Miller of the Fedora Project
Matthew Miller carries the weighty title of Fedora Project Leader. Fedora 21 was released during his watch and we should soon see Fedora 22 launch under his careful guidance. Mr Miller kindly agreed to answer questions our readers submitted and he offers us insight into the work that goes into developing an open source operating system. Here are the questions readers asked and Mr Miller's responses.
Question: Does the study of Heartbleed and Shell Shock et al improve developers quality assurance & security auditing ability? Has your project changed its approach to security or QA testing in the past year?
MM: I think there's something to be learned from every security flaw or incident, and it's always valuable to do a postmortem. These particular vulnerabilities were somewhat special in that they existed in widespread, long-standing, and crucial free software / open source programs, and that certainly caused some soul-searching in the technology world overall, including industry-funded code audits and foundations to better support these important projects.
Question: In my opinion, Unity and GNOME are, currently, the only desktop
environments to realize there are computers out there with touchscreens, and even some convertible laptops. However, I feel the support for touch inputs needs much more attention and development.
For Fedora in particular, one thing we're working on is the ability to push critical updates to our users more quickly -- our current process is optimized for daily updates, which is generally fine, but frustrating when there's a high-profile vulnerability being exploited in the wild and a fix actually already produced and tested, but not yet showing up to users.
We're also working on more automated QA and our Security Team has stepped up its efforts in helping packagers clean up lingering vulnerabilities -- however, these are really ongoing projects and not a particular response.
And, we're also working on increased user communication via Fedora Magazine, and that's been quite
well received -- see for example my article Shellshock: How does it actually work? Having this line of communication open helps when we need to explain important issues to our userbase -- to use another example from a different named-and-hyped vulnerability, Worried about GHOST? Don't be, on supported Fedora versions.
Unity makes a lot more sense in a touchscreen computer, although the
virtual keyboard is not always present (for example, when using my Dell
in "tablet" mode, I can't activate the virtual keyboard to unlock the
screen - and don't even get me started with special characters). As does
GNOME, but I've been using Unity recently.
So, I would like to know from all leaders, what is the roadmap to fully support touchscreens, so we'll all be able to use our favourite operating system exclusively in tablet mode?
Also, would the leaders please share their feelings about two
1) How they feel about Chromebooks, their fast adoption and ease of use.
I, for example, was sceptical until I got one and put some effort into
using it. I was amazed how it fulfilled my needs, how its battery lasted
and how fast it performed, considering all its shortcomings and price.
Is the way of ChromeOS doing things (web apps and cloud stuff) a trend?
Would you expect more distros to behave like that? Would you consider
ChromeOS something harmful for the adoption of more conventional
Linux/BSD distros by the general public?
2) What is their opinion on Unity and how Canonical seems to be shaping
an OS to support many different devices? How are other distros planning to follow the same path, if there are any plans to do so?
MM: It's an interesting segment and I wish the best of luck to those
working on bringing free software and open source there. It's also a
very hard area, where even big, well-established companies have a
hard time getting a foothold. So, while upstream GNOME and KDE are
working on touchscreen support and we'll certainly include that, the
tablet market isn't currently one of our main focuses.
Question: Collaboration between projects typically flows either from upstream to download (ie GNOME to Fedora) or from downstream back to upstream (ie
Fedora back to GNOME). Do any of your projects see collaboration between distributions? For example, does Bodhi share ideas or code with Mint or does PC-BSD cooperate with OpenBSD?
As for Chromebooks: unlike most readers of this site, the vast majority
of the consumer public has never really wanted general-purpose
computers. They want the things a computer lets them do: create
documents and edit photographs, communicate for work and home, and so
on -- and they put up with the horrible, confusing pain of a computer
to get them. Simplified user environments like that provided by
ChromeOS -- or Android or iOS -- promise the benefits without the pain,
and it's no wonder that they're taking off (now that the devices are
powerful enough under the hood, connectivity is ubiquitous, and the
utility-computing backends no longer just a nice idea).
But, there will always be a segment of people who need more than that --
who really want a general-purpose computer. This includes
programmers, sysadmins, tinkerers and creators -- not to mention those
of us who want to have ownership over our own devices and data. We
still want the slick convenience offered by modern operating systems,
of course, and here I think there's a lot of room for actual growth for
general-purpose Linux desktop distributions. We may be some single-digit
percent of the overall desktop market, but take a look at the 2015
Stack Overflow Developer Survey, where Linux is a respectable 20%. As the mass market goes more towards Chrome and phone/tablet OSes, I expect to see that grow.
MM: Some. I don't think anyone is opposed to this, but... we're often so
busy working on our own things, which requires a lot of effort around
communication and collaboration, that outside collaboration is hard
to add in. But we do try to collaborate when it makes sense. For
example, Debian is using our
fedmsg system, and we are working
on integrating openSUSE's openQA into
our test automation system.
Question: Richard Stallman recently advocated for free software projects to avoid working with open source software, indicating a strategic conflict
between the two (free software and open source software). Most Linux and
BSD OSes ship software distributed under a mix of licenses. Do you see
any conflict between free software, open source and other licensing
And, of course, with Red Hat's new friendly relationship with CentOS, we have some more opportunities for collaboration within our own ecosystem.
MM: I see them as different approaches, with different goals and values,
and certainly, that can cause some conflict. But Fedora is an
integration point, and in general we take a broad, inclusive view and
have a mission which includes the advancement of both free and open
source software. If you're interested in reading more about licensing
within Fedora, see our wiki page on
licensing, or read about our Freedom foundation.
Thank you, Matthew Miller, for your time and insight.
Bittorrent is a great way to transfer large files, particularly open source operating system images, from one place to another. Most bittorrent clients recover from dropped connections automatically, check the integrity of files and can re-download corrupted bits of data without starting a download over from scratch. These characteristics make bittorrent well suited for distributing open source operating systems, particularly to regions where Internet connections are slow or unstable.
Many Linux and BSD projects offer bittorrent as a download option, partly for the reasons listed above and partly because bittorrent's peer-to-peer nature takes some of the strain off the project's servers. However, some projects do not offer bittorrent as a download option. There can be several reasons for excluding bittorrent as an option. Some projects do not have enough time or volunteers, some may be restricted by their web host provider's terms of service. Whatever the reason, the lack of a bittorrent option puts more strain on a distribution's bandwidth and may prevent some people from downloading their preferred open source operating system.
With this in mind, DistroWatch plans to give back to the open source community by hosting and seeding bittorrent files for distributions that do not offer a bittorrent option themselves. For now, we are hosting a small number of distribution torrents, listed below. The list of torrents offered will be updated each week and we invite readers to e-mail us with suggestions as to which distributions we should be hosting. When you message us, please place the word "Torrent" in the subject line, make sure to include a link to the ISO file you want us to seed and please make sure the project you are recommending does not already host its own torrents. We want to primarily help distributions and users who do not already have a torrent option. To help us maintain and grow this free service, please consider making a donation.
The table below provides a list of torrents we currently host. If you do not currently have a bittorrent client capable of handling the linked files, we suggest installing either the Transmission or KTorrent bittorrent clients.
Please note: Two weeks ago we were seeding a torrent of Linux Lite 2.4. Over the weekend one of our readers pointed out the checksum on the file we were seeding and the checksum provided by the Linux Lite project did not match. After some investigation it was revealed the Linux Lite team replaced their original file, fixing an issue with the original ISO. We uploaded our torrent of Linux Lite 2.4 on March 31, 2015 while the current Linux Lite 2.4 ISO was uploaded on April 2, 2015, two days later. What this means is our original torrent was legitimate, but Linux Lite quietly updated their ISO and its checksum information while maintaining the same version number. This made it look like our file was corrupt when, in fact, it was merely an older build. The Linux Lite project has updated torrent and direct HTTP download options on their website. We have taken down our out of date torrent to avoid further confusion.
Archives of our previously seeded torrents may be found here. All torrents we make available here are also listed on the very useful Linux Tracker website. Thanks to Linux Tracker we are able to share the following torrent statistics.
Torrent Corner statistics:
- Total torrents seeded: 49
- Total downloads completed: 13,399
- Total data uploaded: 5.4TB
|Released Last Week
Scientific Linux 7.1
Pat Riehecky has announced the release of Scientific Linux 7.1, a distribution compiled from the source code for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1 and enhanced with extra scientific applications: "Scientific Linux 7.1 x86_64 released." This release delivers a number of changes, including: "abrt - removed the recommendation to open an upstream support case; Anaconda - modified the installclass library so that it correctly identifies Scientific Linux; DHCP - changed to remove upstream's bug report URL; GRUB - this package has been modified to recognize the Scientific Linux Secure Boot key; Apache httpd - changed the default index.html to remove upstream's branding; ipa - changed package requirements to remove upstream's branding; Linux kernel - this package has been modified to recognize the Scientific Linux Secure Boot key..." See the release announcement and release notes for further details.
Toutou Linux 6.0 "SlaXen RCX"
Toutou Linux is a lightweight operating system based on the Puppy distribution. Toutou is optimized for French speaking users and provides a friendly user interface based upon Openbox. The latest release of Toutou, SlaXen 6.0 RCX, offers users Openbox 3.5.2 and a new side panel for quickly launching new applications. Though SlaXen 6.0 does not offer a default web browser, there are six different browsers available to the user at install time. SlaXen 6.0 ships with mtPaint, Foxit Reader, AbiWord and Gnumeric. Additional software can be acquired from available PET packages. Further information on this release can be found in the brief release announcement and the project's README file (both in French).
Toutou 6.0 -- Default desktop
(full image size: 1.6MB, resolution: 1600x1200 pixels)
Hanthana Linux 21
Danishka Navin has announced the release of Hanthana Linux 21. The new release is based on Fedora 21 and is available in several desktop flavours. "This new release, Hanthana Linux 21, ships with several desktop environments such as GNOME, KDE, Xfce, Sugar, LXDE. There are several editions of Hanthana 21, for general usage (Hanthana 21 live DVD), educational purpose you can use Hanthana 21 Edu and Hanthana 21 Dev can be use for software development purposes. For those who just use office packages, you can download either Hanthana 21 Light) or Hanthana 21 Light2. Each of these editions comes with both i686 and x86_64 architectures and 10 ISO images are available for download. Hanthana 21 is named as "Sinharaja" (rain forest). This tropical rain forest was named as a World Heritage from the UNESCO in 1998. To inform the society about this world heritage, we named our latest Hanthana Linux distribution as 'Sinharaja'." Further information is available in the project's release announcement.
MakuluLinux 8.0 "LxFce"
Jacque Montague Raymer has announced the release of a new flavour of MakuluLinux which combines elements of both the LXDE and Xfce desktop environments. The new edition, called "LxFce", mixes technology and programs from the two desktops in order to create a hybrid which will hopefully supply the best of both environments. "MakuluLinux LxFce combines both LXDE and Xfce to bring a `best of both worlds' desktop environment to the end user, making use of the LXDE backend allows the system to run smooth and snappy no matter how much RAM is being used. Xfce frontend brings more user friendly front end applications to manage your system. The combination has been designed to compliment each environment offering strengths on both sides and none of the weaknesses." Further information can be found in the project's release announcement.
Chris Buechler has announced the release of pfSense 2.2.2, the latest update of the FreeBSD-based operating system made for firewalls and routers, providing several security fixes: "pfSense software version 2.2.2 release is now available, bringing a number of bug fixes and a couple low-risk security updates that don't apply to most users. This release includes two low-risk security updates. FreeBSD-SA-15:09.ipv6 - denial of Service with IPv6 router advertisements. Where a system is using DHCPv6 WAN type, devices on the same broadcast domain as that WAN can send crafted packets causing the system to lose IPv6 Internet connectivity. FreeBSD-SA-15:06.openssl - multiple OpenSSL vulnerabilities. Most aren't applicable, and the worst impact is denial of service. As always, you can upgrade from any previous version straight to 2.2.2. For those already running any 2.2x version, this is a low-risk upgrade. This is a high priority upgrade for those using IPsec on 2.2x versions." See the release announcement for full details.
Arne Exton has announced the launch of ExTiX 15.2, currently available in two editions, KDE and LXQt. The two editions are based on packages from the recently frozen Ubuntu 15.04 repositories and Debian "Jessie". "ExTiX Linux Live DVDs (64-bit) are based on Debian Jessie/Ubuntu 15.04. The original system includes the desktop environment Unity (Ubuntu). After removing Unity I have installed LXQt 0.9.0 (in ExTiX 15.2, build 150417) and KDE 4.14.6 together with KDE Frameworks 5.9.0 in an extra version also of 150417. LXQt is the Qt port and the upcoming version of LXDE, the lightweight desktop environment. It is the product of the merge between the LXDE-Qt and the Razor-qt projects: A lightweight, modular, blazing-fast and user-friendly desktop environment. And KDE Frameworks add 60 add-on libraries to Qt which provide a wide variety of commonly needed functionality in mature, peer reviewed and well tested libraries with friendly licensing terms." Further information can be found in the project's release announcement.
Anke Boersma has announced the release of KaOS 2015.04, the latest update of the project's rolling-release Linux distribution featuring KDE's Plasma 5 desktop: "A nice way of celebrating the second anniversary if this distribution is releasing KaOS 2015.04. The previous two releases were the result of some drastic and fundamental changes to this distribution (new desktop environment, new installer, move to UEFI). With this release it is finally back to a much more simple focus as always intended. Most attention has gone in updating and rebuilding well over 1,200 packages the last two months. As for the desktop this release brings all the latest of Plasma 5 (Frameworks 5.9.0, Plasma 5.2.95) and KDE Applications 15.04.0. All built on Qt 5.4.1. Many more applications are now fully ported to Qt 5 and Frameworks 5, among those re-added since their ports became available are Skrooge, Kid3, Choqok and Kgamma. New additions to the repositories includes applications very recently switching to Qt 5, examples are Wireshark, Frescobaldi and Musescore." Read the full release announcement for more information and screenshots.
KaOS 2015.04 -- Running the default KDE desktop
(full image size: 1.6MB, resoltuion: 1280x1024 pixels)
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
March 2015 DistroWatch.com donation: GIMP|
We are pleased to announce the recipient of the March 2015 DistroWatch.com donation is the GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP). It receives US$350.00 in cash.
The GIMP website explains the function of the application as follows: "GIMP is a multi-platform photo manipulation tool. GIMP is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program. The GIMP is suitable for a variety of image manipulation tasks, including photo retouching, image composition and image construction. GIMP has many capabilities. It can be used as a simple paint program, an expert quality photo retouching program, an online batch processing system, a mass production image renderer, an image format converter, etc." Many artists and photographers use GIMP on a daily basis to touch up photos, design logos and customize images. The application provides a huge number of features and a powerful toolbox of plug-ins.
Launched in 2004, this monthly donations programme is a DistroWatch initiative to support free and open-source software projects and operating systems with cash contributions. Readers are welcome to nominate their favourite project for future donations. Those readers who wish to contribute towards these donations, please use our advertising page to make a payment (PayPal, credit cards, Yandex Money and crypto currencies are accepted). Here is the list of the projects that have received a DistroWatch donation since the launch of the programme (figures in US dollars):
Since the launch of the Donations Program in March 2004, DistroWatch has donated a total of US$43,225 to various open-source software projects.
- 2004: GnuCash ($250), Quanta Plus ($200), PCLinuxOS ($300), The GIMP ($300), Vidalinux ($200), Fluxbox ($200), K3b ($350), Arch Linux ($300), Kile KDE LaTeX Editor ($100) and UNICEF - Tsunami Relief Operation ($340)
- 2005: Vim ($250), AbiWord ($220), BitTorrent ($300), NDISwrapper ($250), Audacity ($250), Debian GNU/Linux ($420), GNOME ($425), Enlightenment ($250), MPlayer ($400), Amarok ($300), KANOTIX ($250) and Cacti ($375)
- 2006: Gambas ($250), Krusader ($250), FreeBSD Foundation ($450), GParted ($360), Doxygen ($260), LilyPond ($250), Lua ($250), Gentoo Linux ($500), Blender ($500), Puppy Linux ($350), Inkscape ($350), Cape Linux Users Group ($130), Mandriva Linux ($405, a Powerpack competition), Digikam ($408) and Sabayon Linux ($450)
- 2007: GQview ($250), Kaffeine ($250), sidux ($350), CentOS ($400), LyX ($350), VectorLinux ($350), KTorrent ($400), FreeNAS ($350), lighttpd ($400), Damn Small Linux ($350), NimbleX ($450), MEPIS Linux ($300), Zenwalk Linux ($300)
- 2008: VLC ($350), Frugalware Linux ($340), cURL ($300), GSPCA ($400), FileZilla ($400), MythDora ($500), Linux Mint ($400), Parsix GNU/Linux ($300), Miro ($300), GoblinX ($250), Dillo ($150), LXDE ($250)
- 2009: Openbox ($250), Wolvix GNU/Linux ($200), smxi ($200), Python ($300), SliTaz GNU/Linux ($200), LiVES ($300), Osmo ($300), LMMS ($250), KompoZer ($360), OpenSSH ($350), Parted Magic ($350) and Krita ($285)
- 2010: Qimo 4 Kids ($250), Squid ($250), Libre Graphics Meeting ($300), Bacula ($250), FileZilla ($300), GCompris ($352), Xiph.org ($250), Clonezilla ($250), Debian Multimedia ($280), Geany ($300), Mageia ($470), gtkpod ($300)
- 2011: CGSecurity ($300), OpenShot ($300), Imagination ($250), Calibre ($300), RIPLinuX ($300), Midori ($310), vsftpd ($300), OpenShot ($350), Trinity Desktop Environment ($300), LibreCAD ($300), LiVES ($300), Transmission ($250)
- 2012: GnuPG ($350), ImageMagick ($350), GNU ddrescue ($350), Slackware Linux ($500), MATE ($250), LibreCAD ($250), BleachBit ($350), cherrytree ($260), Zim ($335), nginx ($250), LFTP ($250), Remastersys ($300)
- 2013: MariaDB ($300), Linux From Scratch ($350), GhostBSD ($340), DHCP ($300), DOSBox ($250), awesome ($300), DVDStyler ($280), Tor ($350), Tiny Tiny RSS ($350), FreeType ($300), GNU Octave ($300), Linux Voice ($510)
- 2014: QupZilla ($250), Pitivi ($370), MediaGoblin ($350), TrueCrypt ($300), Krita ($340), SME Server ($350), OpenStreetMap ($350), iTALC ($350), KDE ($400), The Document Foundation ($400), Tails ($350)
- 2015: AWStats ($300), Haiku ($300), Xiph.Org ($300), GIMP ($350)
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 27 April 2015. 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)
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
(Tips this week: 0, value: US$0.00)
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 777 (2018-08-20): YunoHost 184.108.40.206, 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|
|• Issue 763 (2018-05-14): Fedora 28, Debian compatibility coming to Chrome OS, malware found in some Snaps, Debian's many flavours|
|• Issue 762 (2018-05-07): TrueOS 18.03, live upgrading Raspbian, Mint plans future releases, HardenedBSD to switch back to OpenSSL|
|• Issue 761 (2018-04-30): Ubuntu 18.04, accessing ZFS snapshots, UBports to run on Librem 5 phones, Slackware makes PulseAudio optional|
|• Issue 760 (2018-04-23): Chakra 2017.10, using systemd to hide files, Netrunner's ARM edition, Debian 10 roadmap, Microsoft develops Linux-based OS|
|• Issue 759 (2018-04-16): Neptune 5.0, building containers with Red Hat, antiX introduces Sid edition, fixing filenames on the command line|
|• Issue 758 (2018-04-09): Sortix 1.0, openSUSE's Transactional Updates, Fedora phasing out Python 2, locating portable packages|
|• Issue 757 (2018-04-02): Gatter Linux 0.8, the UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook, Red Hat turns 25, super long term support kernels|
|• Issue 756 (2018-03-26): NuTyX 10.0, Neptune supplies Debian users with Plasma 5.12, SolydXK on a Raspberry Pi, SysV init development|
|• Issue 755 (2018-03-19): Learning with ArchMerge and Linux Academy, Librem 5 runs Plasma Mobile, Cinnamon gets performance boost|
|• Issue 754 (2018-03-12): Reviewing Sabayon and Antergos, the growing Linux kernel, BSDs getting CPU bug fixes, Manjaro builds for ARM devices|
|• Issue 753 (2018-03-05): Enso OS 0.2, KDE Plasma 5.12 features, MX Linux prepares new features, interview with MidnightBSD's founder|
|• Issue 752 (2018-02-26): OviOS 2.31, performing off-line upgrades, elementary OS's new installer, UBports gets test devices, Redcore team improves security|
|• Issue 751 (2018-02-19): DietPi 6.1, testing KDE's Plasma Mobile, Nitrux packages AppImage in default install, Solus experiments with Wayland|
|• Issue 750 (2018-02-12): Solus 3, getting Deb packages upstream to Debian, NetBSD security update, elementary OS explores AppCentre changes|
|• Issue 749 (2018-02-05): Freespire 3 and Linspire 7.0, misunderstandings about Wayland, Xorg and Mir, Korora slows release schedule, Red Hat purchases CoreOS|
|• Issue 748 (2018-01-29): siduction 2018.1.0, SolydXK 32-bit editions, building an Ubuntu robot, desktop-friendly Debian options|
|• Issue 747 (2018-01-22): Ubuntu MATE 17.10, recovering open files, creating a new distribution, KDE focusing on Wayland features|
|• Issue 746 (2018-01-15): deepin 15.5, openSUSE's YaST improvements, new Ubuntu 17.10 media, details on Spectre and Meltdown bugs|
|• Issue 745 (2018-01-08): GhostBSD 11.1, Linspire and Freespire return, wide-spread CPU bugs patched, adding AppImage launchers to the application menu|
|• Issue 744 (2018-01-01): MX Linux 17, Ubuntu pulls media over BIOS bug, PureOS gets endorsed by the FSF, openSUSE plays with kernel boot splash screens|
|• Issue 743 (2017-12-18): Daphile 17.09, tools for rescuing files, Fedora Modular Server delayed, Sparky adds ARM support, Slax to better support wireless networking|
|• Issue 742 (2017-12-11): heads 0.3.1, improvements coming to Tails, Void tutorials, Ubuntu phasing out Python 2, manipulating images from the command line|
|• Issue 741 (2017-12-04): Pop!_OS 17.10, openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots, installing Q4OS on a Windows partition, using the at command|
|• Issue 740 (2017-11-27): Artix Linux, Unity spin of Ubuntu, Nitrux swaps Snaps for AppImage, getting better battery life on Linux|
|• Issue 739 (2017-11-20): Fedora 27, cross-distro software ports, Ubuntu on Samsung phones, Red Hat supports ARM, Parabola continues 32-bit support|
|• Issue 738 (2017-11-13): SparkyLinux 5.1, rumours about spyware, Slax considers init software, Arch drops 32-bit packages, overview of LineageOS|
|• Issue 737 (2017-11-06): BeeFree OS 18.1.2, quick tips to fix common problems, Slax returning, Solus plans MATE and software management improvements|
|• Issue 736 (2017-10-30): Ubuntu 17.10, "what if" security questions, Linux Mint to support Flatpak, NetBSD kernel memory protection|
|• Issue 735 (2017-10-23): ArchLabs Minimo, building software with Ravenports, WPA security patch, Parabola creates OpenRC spin|
|• Issue 734 (2017-10-16): Star 1.0.1, running the Linux-libre kernel, Ubuntu MATE experiments with snaps, Debian releases new install media, Purism reaches funding goal|
|• Issue 733 (2017-10-09): KaOS 2017.09, 32-bit prematurely obsoleted, Qubes security features, IPFire updates Apache|
|• Issue 732 (2017-10-02): ClonOS, reducing Snap package size, Ubuntu dropping 32-bit Desktop, partitioning disks for ZFS|
|• Issue 731 (2017-09-25): BackSlash Linux Olaf, W3C adding DRM to web standards, Wayland support arrives in Mir, Debian experimenting with AppArmor|
|• Issue 730 (2017-09-18): Mageia 6, running a completely free OS, HAMMER2 file system in DragonFly BSD's installer, Manjaro to ship pre-installed on laptops|
|• Issue 729 (2017-09-11): Parabola GNU/Linux-libre, running Plex Media Server on a Raspberry Pi, Tails feature roadmap, a cross-platform ports build system|
|• Issue 728 (2017-09-04): Nitrux 1.0.2, SUSE creates new community repository, remote desktop tools for GNOME on Wayland, using Void source packages|
|• Issue 727 (2017-08-28): Cucumber Linux 1.0, using Flatpak vs Snap, GNOME previews Settings panel, SUSE reaffirms commitment to Btrfs|
|• Issue 726 (2017-08-21): Redcore Linux 1706, Solus adds Snap support, KaOS getting hardened kernel, rolling releases and BSD|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
Sorcerer was a source-based Linux distribution. Source tarballs are downloaded directly from software project home pages or as patches when an old source was previously downloaded. Sources are compiled for the architecture and with the optimisations that the system administrator specifies. Sorcerer has both command-line and menu-driven source management programs.