| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 619, 20 July 2015
Welcome to this year's 29th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Open source software is more than just aproduct, there is also an entire community which exists around free and open source software. A community which involves collaboration, competition, licensing and communication. This week we talk about the software, debates, community guidelines, licensing and collaboration which, when mixed together, form the open source community. We begin with a review of the SolydXK distribution. SolydXK originally began as a community spin of the Linux Mint distribution, but has since grown into its own project. Read our Feature Story to learn more about this user friendly distribution. In our News section we talk about Tanglu's new issue tracker and Ubuntu's push to adopt version 5 of the GNU Compiler Collection. We also discuss the licensing debate Ubuntu's parent company, Canonical, is having with the Free Software Foundation. Plus we share information on the FreeBSD project's new Code of Conduct, talk about Haiku's new init software and report on openSUSE's latest test builds of openSUSE Leap. In our Questions and Answers column we talk about security and politics, then we share the torrent we are seeding in our Torrent Corner. As usual, we provide a list of the distributions released last week and ask you to chime in with your two cents in our Opinion Poll. We wish you all a terrific week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
A solid experience with SolydXK 201506
SolydXK is a desktop distribution based on Debian's Stable branch. SolydXK originally began as an unofficial spin of the Linux Mint project, but has since grown into its own distribution with its own repositories. SolydXK is available in two editions, Xfce and KDE. While both editions strive to offer complete desktop solutions out of the box, the Xfce edition offers a faster, more resource friendly approach. The KDE edition provides more features and configuration options. At the time of writing, both editions of SolydXK appear to be offered as 64-bit x86 builds exclusively. I decided to try the project's Xfce edition (SolydX) and found the distribution's ISO was 1.4GB in size.
Booting from SolydX's live media presents us with the Xfce desktop. The wallpaper displays SolydX's branding. On the desktop we find icons for launching the system installer and opening the distribution's file manager. At the bottom of the screen we see an application menu, task switcher and system tray. The application menu has a layout similar to recent versions of Windows or KDE. The menu is compact, arranged into two panes, one displaying categories of software and the other showing us individual program launchers.
Starting SolydX's graphical system installer brings up a series of screens that ask us to select our preferred language from a list, pick our time zone from a map of the world and confirm our keyboard's layout. As often happens these days, I found SolydX assumed my keyboard had a French layout rather than its actual standard US arrangement. The next screen of the installer gets us to create a user account for ourselves and protect our new account with a password. We are next shown the installer's partition manager where we can assign file systems and mount points to existing partitions. Should we wish to add or destroy partitions on our disk we can click a button labelled "Edit Partitions". This button launches the GParted partition manager, a graphical utility which makes it quite easy to manipulate disk partitions. Once we have arranged our disk the way we want it, we are asked if the installer should place the GRUB boot loader on our hard disk. The following screen asks if we would like to install third-party multimedia support such as media codecs. Finally, we are shown a confirmation screen that lists our choices and the installer waits for us to give it permission to proceed. Once the installer finishes copying its files to our hard drive, it offers to reboot our computer. I think SolydX uses a slightly modified version of Linux Mint Debian Edition's system installer and I like its approach. The installer works quickly and clearly presents our options.
SolydXK 201506 -- The welcome screen
(full image size: 302kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
Booting our new copy of SolydX brings up a graphical login screen. From here we can sign into our user account. Upon signing in for the first time a welcome screen appears. This screen shows us links to support forums and SoldyXK's social media pages and there is a Donate button for those who wish to support the project. The welcome screen includes a number of additional pages we can browse through which display information about popular desktop applications. At the bottom of the welcome screen there is an Install button. Clicking the Install button causes all applications currently listed on the welcome screen to be installed on our system. I appreciate the welcome screen's style and the way it offers new users easy access to additional software. I did find it odd that the welcome screen does not display information in our preferred language, instead displaying its text in what appears to be a Spanish dialect.
With the welcome screen dismissed we find ourselves in the Xfce desktop environment. The desktop is fairly quiet and empty. A few minutes after logging in I noticed an icon in the system tray which indicated software updates were available in the distribution's repositories. Clicking this icon presents us with two buttons. The first button, labelled "quick update", will cause all available updates to be quietly installed in the background. Clicking the second button opens the project's update manager. The update manager shows us a list of packages it can upgrade. Each package is displayed with its current (installed) version number and the version number of the new package in the project's repositories. We cannot select which items we want to download, the update manager offers us an "all or nothing" approach to updating software packages. The first day I was running SolydX there were 21 new packages available, totalling 17MB in size. Each of these items downloaded and installed without any problems. Digging through the update manager's configuration I found we can change how frequently the system checks for updates. We can also lock or "blacklist" specific packages to avoid having them upgraded.
SolydX provides users with a graphical software manager. This appears to be the same software manager which ships with Linux Mint. The software manager divides applications into categories that are represented by large icons. We can browse through categories and click on items to see a detailed description of the software and an accompanying screen shot. From the application's description page we can click a button to queue the software for installation or removal. We can continue browsing through the available software while packages are installed or removed in the background. SolydX's software manager allows us to search for applications too and will return search results for both desktop and command line programs.
SolydXK 201506 -- The Software Manager
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Should we wish to take a different approach to managing software on our computer we can turn to the Synaptic package manager. Synaptic has a less colourful interface and lists individual packages in a plain list format. Synaptic allows us to install, remove or upgrade specific packages and works quite quickly. I found SolydX pulls software from its own repositories as well as Debian's Stable ("Jessie") repositories. In total, the software manager reports there are just over 67,600 packages available for us in the repositories.
While there are plenty of packages in SolydX's repositories, there are also lots of useful applications installed for us right from the start. Looking through the application menu we find Firefox's extended support release (ESR) with Flash enabled. The Thunderbird e-mail client is available along with a remote desktop client and VNC server. The Transmission bittorrent software is available along with the LibreOffice productivity suite. SolydX ships with a document viewer, the Orage calendar application and an image viewer. The distribution also provides the VLC multimedia player, the Xfburn disc burning software and a full range of media codecs. The application menu further offers us a bulk file renaming utility, the Clam anti-virus software and the luckyBackup utility. The WINE and PlayOnLinux packages are installed, making it easier to set up and run Windows programs. SolydX ships with the Thunar file manager, an archive manager, a text editor and calculator. There are a number of system configuration programs available, including a printer manager, a service manager, a firewall configuration utility and a device driver manager for installing third-party hardware drivers. SolydX ships with Network Manager to help us get on-line, Java and the GNU Compiler Collection. Desktop settings can be adjusted through the distribution's control centre which also gives us the ability to create and modify user accounts. In the background we find SolydX runs the Exim mail service and version 3.16 of the Linux kernel.
SolydXK 201506 -- The settings panel
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SolydX is one of those distributions where things tend to work smoothly and quickly enough that I do not think about the operating system. Once I adjusted to the new theme and became used a style of application menu that was different from the one I was using last week, I had a blissfully pleasant experience. At least my day to day activities went smoothly, but there were a few small problems which popped up during my week with SolydX. Perhaps the most obvious issue concerned window borders. The default theme SolydX uses has pixel-thin window borders, making it virtually impossible to resize a window by dragging its edges. This can be worked around, but it is an unpleasant default.
Another issue I ran into came about while I was trying to use the service manager, Systemadm. The Systemadm program acts as a graphical front-end to systemd. Through Systemadm we can view which background services are running and which are not. We can also sort services by status and by name. Though Systemadm displays buttons for starting/stopping/restarting services, these buttons do not work by default since Systemadm does not run (or prompted for) administrator credentials. We can run Systemadm from the command line, prefixing it with "sudo" to gain admin access. In that case we can start/stop services, but the window does not refresh automatically, we must manually refresh the window in order to see if our command has been carried out. A further problem I noticed was our changes do not last. While we can start/stop a service temporarily, there is no way to enable/disable a service permanently and our changes will be undone when the computer reboots. Long-term solutions require a trip to the command line and dealing with systemd directly.
I like the simple firewall utility SolydX provides. It worked quite well for me. I did find it odd that the firewall leaves port 22 (the default secure shell port) open though the distribution does not run a secure shell service. I'm not sure if this was an oversight or a featured offered as a convenience for people who wish to enable OpenSSH.
The luckyBackup utility was a feature I quite liked. The luckyBackup program makes it easy to create backup tasks and store archives of our files or synchronize our files across directories. I found it took me a while to get used to luckyBackup's interface, but the application provides tool tips for virtually everything, which greatly reduces a new user's learning curve.
SolydXK 201506 -- The luckyBackup utility
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I tried running SolydX in two test environments. When running in VirtualBox, the distribution performed quickly. SolydX automatically integrates with VirtualBox and allows for full screen resolution without any configuration from the user. When running on a physical desktop computer, SolydX worked very well. My screen was set to its maximum resolution, networking and sound worked out of the box and the distribution performed tasks quickly. In both environments the Xfce desktop was very responsive. I found SolydX, while logged into Xfce, used approximately 250MB of memory.
I enjoyed my time with SolydX. Though I haven't used Xfce much in recent months, I found the transition to the Xfce desktop environment went smoothly. SolydX ships with a lot of useful software and makes it easy to access Debian's massive repositories of software packages. All of my hardware was properly detected, the distribution integrates with VirtualBox and applications tended to work without surprises or mishaps.
One thing I appreciate about SolydXK is the distribution fills a niche that I feel needed to be explored. I have been using Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) quite a bit recently and I like it a lot. However, the Mint project offers just MATE and Cinnamon editions of LMDE. The Mint developers have decided not to ship KDE and Xfce editions, at least up to this point. SolydXK is quite similar to Mint in the technology and packages shipped and offers users these missing editions. As someone who likes to explore different desktop environments, I feel SolydXK picks up where LMDE left off.
I found SolydX to be very easy to install, the distribution offers good performance, I encountered very few problems and I generally found SolydX provided everything I wanted. People who would like to have modern conveniences, a powerful desktop environment and access to a lot of applications will appreciate what SolydX has to offer.
* * * * *
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)
Tanglu opens new bug tracker, Ubuntu migrates to GCC 5, FSF works with Canonical to resolve licensing issues, FreeBSD introduces their Code of Conduct, Haiku unveils a new init system and openSUSE tests Leap 42
People who use Tanglu, especially those who report issues, may be interested to know that the project has set up a new issue tracker. The new tracker, which is located at tracker.tanglu.org should help the project scale in size. At this time, all existing issues have been migrated to the new service, but user accounts have not. If you want to keep up with what Tanglu is doing, the developers recommend signing up for an account on the new tracker. Matthias Klumpp announced the new bug tracker and provided more details: "All tickets have been migrated from the previous bug tracker. Users, however, have not been migrated. This was partly to simplify the migration, but it also allowed us to get rid of several inactive users, which we migrated from the previous MoinMoin user database to
Trac to Redmine. This means, you have to re-register and adopt the bugs you have reported! We have done a fair amount of work on the bugs themselves too, so maybe the bug you care about has been fixed meanwhile or has a new comment."
* * * * *
Last week we mentioned the Debian distribution will be migrating to version 5 of the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC), a change which will require a lot of work to make sure the migration goes smoothly. The Ubuntu developers announced last week that the next version of Ubuntu will also feature GCC 5. Matthias Klose posted to the Ubuntu development mailing list: "GCC 5 will be the default compiler for the wily release, and it's time to prepare the change of the default in wily, so that we don't have to do it during the next release cycle before the next LTS release. This time things are a bit more complicated, we basically need to rebuild all C++ packages using g++ 5, and we are not able to fall back to a newer compiler. For some C++11 language requirements, changes on some core C++ classes are needed, resulting in an ABI change. As the benefit, stable and complete C++11 standard support is provided by GCC 5. Details of the transition plan are documented in the Debian wiki, and I'm trying to get this transition going in Debian at the same time, however if it's delayed there, we'll need to go ahead to be able to finish the transition before the wily release."
In other Ubuntu-related news, the Free Software Foundation announced last week that the organization, after two years of negotiation with Ubuntu's parent organization, Canonical, is pleased to announce Canonical has updated their licensing information. The Free Software Foundation (FSF) wrote, "In July 2013, the FSF, after receiving numerous complaints from the free software community, brought serious problems with the policy to Canonical's attention. Since then, on behalf of the FSF, the GNU Project, and a coalition of other concerned free software activists, we have engaged in many conversations with Canonical's management and legal team proposing and analyzing significant revisions of the overall text. We have worked closely throughout this process with the Software Freedom Conservancy, who provides their expert analysis in a statement published today. While the FSF acknowledges that the first update emerging from that process solves the most pressing issue with the policy -- its interference with users' rights under the GNU GPL and potentially other copyleft licenses covering individual works within Ubuntu -- the policy remains problematic in ways that prevent us from endorsing it as a model for others. The FSF will continue to provide feedback to Canonical in the days ahead, and urge them to make additional changes." Concerns over vague or problematic licensing were also at the heart of the conflict between Kubuntu's Johnathan Riddel and the Ubuntu Community Council which came to a head last month.
* * * * *
The FreeBSD project is trying to make sure its members are treated with civility and respect, making the project a nicer (virtual) place to work. The project has published a Code of Conduct it expects contributors to follow. In short, the Code of Conduct can be summed up as, "Keep it civil. Be tolerant. Remember that you are in public and that your actions determine the public perception of the project. Do not make it personal. Do not take it personally." Not everyone is thrilled with the new policy.
* * * * *
The Haiku operating system, a modern version of BeOS, will soon be getting a new init process. In a blog post, Axel Dörfler explains the reason for the change: "Since some time, I am working on a replacement of our current shell script based boot process to something more flexible, a similar solution to Apple's launchd, and Linux's systemd. While there is still a lot to do, it's now feature complete in terms of being able to completely reproduce the current boot process. Since the switch to our package manager, there was no longer a way to influence the boot process at all. The only file you could change was the UserBootscript which is started only after Tracker and Deskbar; the whole system is already up at this point. The launch_daemon gives the power back to you, but also allow software you install to automatically be started on system boot as well. You can also even prevent system components from being started at all if you so wish. Furthermore, it allows for event based application start, start on demand, a multi-threaded boot process, and even enables you to talk to servers before they actually started." Though the new init software is in its early stages, it has been functional in tests. The blog post goes on to discuss Haiku's boot process and features which will be implemented in the future.
* * * * *
Last week we shared an introduction to Leap, the upcoming edition of openSUSE. The openSUSE project has begun testing the software which will become Leap 42. "Developing Leap 42.1 is happening quickly and it was announced yesterday that the milestone was being built. The first milestone will hopefully be released this week. Leap is going through its testing and the importance of openQA (Quality Assurance) in this development process can not be understated. openQA is used for testing an operating system, finding and filing bugs and provides fully automated testing to ensure a distribution works correctly with clean functionality." The openSUSE blog goes on to discuss the openQA testing software and how to acquire an experimental test build of Leap 42.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Finding a secure distribution
Seeking-security asks: Is there any app that tests (or site that rates) security or hacking issues of various newly listed distros before they are downloaded?
I keep hearing "Don't download Deepin" or "Don't download ROSA", but I think I read you yourself mentioned upon-a-time that any distro could be viewed as equally "trustworthy" or "untrustworthy". Your revisiting this in the Q&A column would be greatly appreciated.
DistroWatch answers: I do not think there is any application or website that can effectively evaluate how safe a distribution is to use prior to downloading the distribution's ISO. There are a few reasons for this. One is that security is not a static situation, good security is an ongoing process. A person needs to look at more than just which security vulnerabilities might exist on the ISO. We also need to consider how the distribution will handle new security flaws as they appear. Another reason it is hard to evaluate security, especially in any automated fashion, is there are a lot of factors to examine and different people have different priorities.
When security is a concern we need to look at how quickly security issues are patched, if it is easy for users and developers to submit security warnings and patches, whether a distribution ships with good default configurations, if there are fine-grained access controls like AppArmor or SELinux in place, if a distribution patches its own packages or only pulls in new software from upstream. The list goes on and we might consider the characteristics of a distribution differently depending on its role. A home desktop machine has different security needs than a business's web server.
When security is a priority, my suggestion is not to look for an automated answer. Instead, take some time to look at how quickly a distribution reacts to security flaws. Check to see if the distribution has a security advisory mailing list. Ask if the project patches its own packages or if it relies on upstream projects to provide fixes. The answers to these questions will give a pretty good indication of how the distribution approaches security.
Also keep in mind that security is as much the administrator's responsibility as it is the distribution's. Even the best distribution can be compromised if the system administrator improperly configures a service or leaves ports open that should be protected by a firewall. A distribution with good default settings is nice for security, an administrator who is aware of potential risks and how to avoid them is even better.
In the past DistroWatch has tried to shed some light on security practises of various distributions. Though these articles may now be out of date, they showed (at the time) which distributions were proactive when it came to security. This article from 2007 shows which projects, at the time, had security mailing lists and bug trackers for keeping tabs on vulnerabilities. Another article from 2008 showed which projects were fastest when it came to patching known flaws. While some of the information in these editorials may be dated, they give an idea of where to start looking when it comes to distribution security.
Regarding the second half of the question, I'd like to address the comment about distributions all being equally trustworthy or untrustworthy. I do not think I have made such a claim, or at least never intended to do so. What I have said in the past is that people tend to have knee-jerk reactions to software distributed from certain locations. I sometimes hear people in North America express distrust for software distributed by Chinese or Russian organizations. People from Europe and Australia have sometimes told me they avoid software distributed from the United States.
I am of the opinion that these concerns are based on xenophobia and rumour rather than evidence. Open source programs, like the GNU utilities, compilers and the Linux kernel, are developed by coders from all around the world. Open source software does not recognize national boundaries. Anyone from anywhere could conceivably compromise any open source project, given enough patience and skill. The final distribution point of a piece of open source software is relatively unimportant in determining its security since the software could be accessed and modified from anywhere in the world prior to its final distribution point.
This globalization of open source means where software comes from is a nebulous idea. However, it does not mean all projects are equally trustworthy. Some projects take security very seriously, others do not. Some actively audit their code, others do not. Some lead developers will commit patches without examining them closely while other projects require peer review of code.
My point is, we should look at a project's security practises and track record and turn to independent code review in order to judge whether software is secure or not. Questions surrounding security and trustworthiness should be resolved by evidence. We should avoid making decisions about security based on unsupported claims.
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 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. 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.
Update: One of our readers pointed out a problem with the Android-x86 torrent we are seeding this week. Some of the data in the torrent was corrupted and therefore the resulting ISO was no good. We have removed the old torrent file and replaced it with a working one.
If you downloaded the Android-x86 torrent on Monday, please delete it and replace it with the file we are currently serving.
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: 86
- Total downloads completed: 45,513
- Total data uploaded: 8.8TB
|Released Last Week
SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 SP4
Yesterday SUSE announced the availability of the fourth service pack for SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 "Desktop" and "Server" editions, a set of commercial enterprise-class Linux distributions: "SUSE has made it easier for customers to take advantage of the processing power and innovations of the latest hardware with the release of SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 Service Pack 4. In addition, scalability improvements in SP4 will allow more customers to run large-scale workloads such as in-memory databases on SUSE Linux Enterprise 11. SP4 also upgrades key components in the high availability clustering stack - including pacemaker, booth and ReaR - to the same versions in SUSE Linux Enterprise High Availability Extension 12. These upgrades allow customers to fully exploit the stack to enhance service availability for mission-critical workloads. SUSE Linux Enterprise Real Time Extension, a system specifically engineered to reduce latency and increase the predictability and reliability of time-sensitive, mission-critical applications, is also upgraded." Read the rest of the release announcement and check out the detailed released notes (desktop, server) for further information. The products, supporting five hardware architectures, are available for download for evaluation lasting up to 60 days.
Chromixium OS 1.5
Chromixium OS 1.5, an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution that attempts to recreate the look and feel of Chrome OS while providing a complete Linux system, has been released: "I am very proud to announce that the first major update to Chromixium is ready for download. This release marked 1.5 is the first stable release to ship with the standard Ubuntu installer. This is the first major update to the 32-bit edition of Chromixium since 1.0 was released. This release brings a raft of improvements: now using the standard Ubuntu (Ubiquity) installer with better language support, hardware detection and support for encrypted home and LVM; rolls up service pack 1 and all upstream updates (including latest Flash and Chromium updates) into a new ISO image; updated X.org, but Linux kernel remains on long-term support 3.13; faster right-click applications menu generation; inclusion of Cardapio menu for a standard dockable menu (find it in the control panel and drag it to the dock)...." See the release announcement for a complete list of changes and screenshot of the default desktop.
Chromixium OS 1.5 -- Running the default desktop
(full image size: 1.4MB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
Chih-Wei Huang has announced the release of Android-x86 4.4-r3, the latest update from the project that builds an unofficial port of Google's Android mobile operating system for Intel and AMD x86 processors: "The Android-x86.org is glad to announce the 4.4-r3 release to the public. This is the third stable release Android-x86 4.4 (kitkat-x86). The 4.4-r3 release is based on the Android 4.4.4_r2.0.1 (KTU84Q) release. We have fixed and added x86-specific code to let the system run smoothly on x86 platforms, especially on tablets and netbooks. There are a lot of improvements since the 4.4-r2 release including: upgrade the kernel to 4.0.8 with more drivers enabled to support modern hardware, Baytrail platform is well supported; replace Bluedroid by the Bluez stack, Bluetooth is more stable and usable, be able to install image and grub2-efi to GPT partitioned disks; add a new HAL sensor to support iio style sensors; update Mesa to 10.5.9, enable hardware acceleration for NVIDIA chips (nouveau) and VMware (vmwgfx)...." Read the detailed release notes for more information and known issues.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Code of Conduct
Last week the FreeBSD project introduced its new Code of Conduct, a document designed to protect its contributors and community members from harassment and hate speech. This follows the Linux kernel getting its own Code of Conflict earlier this year. Most major Linux distributions, including openSUSE, Ubuntu and Fedora, have similar documents.
Our question this week is: Do you think these Code of Conduct documents make any difference in the communities which adopt them? Most people agree with the principles outlined in the documents, but there is often doubt about how (or even if) the rules are enforced. Many believe the formal documents should not be necessary, but few could claim they are not needed. Please chime in with your thoughts in the comments section.
You can see the results of last week's poll on systemd usage here.
Code of Conduct
|These documents have a positive effect: ||244 (37%)|
| These documents have a negative effect: ||66 (10%)|
| These documents do not have any effect: ||143 (22%)|
| These documents have some good and bad effects: ||181 (28%)|
| Other: ||24 (4%)|
Distributions added to waiting list
- GoBang Linux. GoBang is a light and fast operating system based on Ubuntu repositories. The default environment is built on the Openbox window manager.
- ClefAgreg. ClefAgreg is a French live USB key dedicated to maths/sciences. It is based on Debian GNU/Linux.
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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, 27 July 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 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|
|• Issue 725 (2017-08-14): openSUSE 42.3, Debian considers Flatpak for backports, changes coming to Ubuntu 17.10, the state of gaming on Linux|
|• Issue 724 (2017-08-07): SwagArch 2017.06, Myths about Unity, Mir and Ubuntu Touch, Manjaro OpenRC becomes its own distro, Debian debates future of live ISOs|
|• Issue 723 (2017-07-31): UBOS 11, transferring packages between systems, Ubuntu MATE's HUD, GNUstep releases first update in seven years|
|• Issue 722 (2017-07-24): Calculate Linux 17.6, logging sudo usage, Remix OS discontinued, interview with Chris Lamb, Debian 9.1 released|
|• Issue 721 (2017-07-17): Fedora 26, finding source based distributions, installing DragonFly BSD using Orca, Yunit packages ported to Ubuntu 16.04|
|• Issue 720 (2017-07-10): Peppermint OS 8, gathering system information with osquery, new features coming to openSUSE, Tails fixes networking bug|
|• Issue 719 (2017-07-03): Manjaro 17.0.2, tracking ISO files, Ubuntu MATE unveils new features, Qubes tests Admin API, Fedora's Atomic Host gets new life cycle|
|• Issue 718 (2017-06-26): Debian 9, support for older hardware, Debian updates live media, Ubuntu's new networking tool, openSUSE gains MP3 support|
|• Issue 717 (2017-06-19): SharkLinux, combining commands in the shell, Debian 9 flavours released, OpenBSD improving kernel security, UBports releases first OTA update|
|• Issue 716 (2017-06-12): Slackel 7.0, Ubuntu working with GNOME on HiDPI, openSUSE 42.3 using rolling development model, exploring kernel blobs|
|• Issue 715 (2017-06-05): Devuan 1.0.0, answering questions on systemd, Linux Mint plans 18.2 beta, Yunit/Unity 8 ported to Debian|
|• Issue 714 (2017-05-29): Void, enabling Wake-on-LAN, Solus packages KDE, Debian 9 release date, Ubuntu automated bug reports|
|• Issue 713 (2017-05-22): ROSA Fresh R9, Fedora's new networking features, FreeBSD's Quarterly Report, UBports opens app store, Parsix to shut down, SELinux overview|
|• Issue 712 (2017-05-15): NixOS 17.03, Alpha Litebook running elementary OS, Canonical considers going public, Solus improves Bluetooth support|
|• Issue 711 (2017-05-08): 4MLinux 21.0, checking file system fragmentation, new Mint and Haiku features, pfSense roadmap, OpenBSD offers first syspatch updates|
|• Issue 710 (2017-05-01): TrueOS 2017-02-22, Debian ported to RISC-V, Halium to unify mobile GNU/Linux, Anbox runs Android apps on GNU/Linux, using ZFS on the root file system|
|• Issue 709 (2017-04-24): Ubuntu 17.04, Korora testing new software manager, Ubuntu migrates to Wayland, running Nix package manager on alternative distributions|
|• Issue 708 (2017-04-17): Maui Linux 17.03, Snaps run on Fedora, Void adopts Flatpak, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, Debian elects Project Leader|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
Neptune is a GNU/Linux distribution for desktops. It is based on Debian's Stable branch, except for a newer kernel, some drivers and newer versions of popular applications, such as LibreOffice. It also ships with the latest version of the KDE desktop. The distribution's main goals are to provide a good-looking general-purpose desktop with pre-configured multimedia playback and to offer an easy-to-use USB installer with a persistence option.