| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 621, 3 August 2015
Welcome to this year's 31st issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
People who try out a lot of different distributions, as our readers often do, benefit greatly from being able to run new operating systems in a virtual machine. Virtual machines take a lot of the risk out of testing new software, particularly operating systems. VirtualBox is one of the easier virtual machine technologies to set up and Oracle released a significant update to their VirtualBox product line last month. This week we discuss new features in VirtualBox 5.0 and the software's overall performance. First, though, Brook Kidane takes a look at Point Linux 3.0, a Debian-based distribution which offers users a simple installation process and a friendly desktop experience. In our News section we discuss Debian trimming down its supported architectures, Ubuntu MATE switching package managers and FreeBSD's second quarterly report of 2015. Plus we discuss Fedora package statistics and where to find interesting new software for Fedora. In our Torrent Corner we share the torrents we are seeding and then we provide a list of the distributions released last week. In our Opinion Poll we ask how people contribute back to their favourite open source projects. We wish you all a fantastic week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Brook Kidane)
Point Linux 3.0 (Agni)
Point Linux 3.0 (Agni) is the latest release of the distribution based on the stable branch of Debian - the current version of which was released in April of this year and is code named Jessie. Point Linux aims to provide a very stable system - thus the Debian base, but with modifications to improve the user experience over a stock Debian system. One of the things the Point Linux developers do to achieve this goal is to provide their own repository, where current builds of Firefox and Thunderbird are available for installation (unless the full installation medium is used, in which case these programs are installed by default). This is in contrast to the Debian experience where only unbranded versions of these programs are available.
Point Linux also chooses default desktop environments for the distribution based on the ease of use of the desktop. This choice has traditionally been the MATE desktop environment, but with this release Xfce has been added as an official desktop environment.
Point Linux 3.0 -- Exploring the MATE desktop
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Point Linux 3.0 - Quick Facts
||32-bit and 64-bit (x86 and x86_64)
||Debian 8.0 Jessie (current stable branch)
||MATE (Version 1.8) and Xfce (untested)
||Full DVD Live ISO; Core Component Live ISO. Both available in either architecture and desktop environment.
||1.1 GB Full ISO, 770 MB Core ISO
||1.0 GB Full ISO, 640 MB Core ISO
||1.1 GB Full ISO, 780 MB Core ISO
||1.1 GB Full ISO, 650 MB Core ISO
||Torrent or direct download from a choice of eight mirror locations.
Hardware Used (Installed on Physical Machine)
||Intel Core-i5 2450M
||Intel Graphics HD3000 integrated
||Intel Centrino® Wireless-N + WiMAX 6150
||Phoenix Technologies EFI v 2.0
Distribution's Goals and Target Users
The distribution's goal is to provide the stability and reliability for which Debian is famous, but with improvements to make the system uncomplicated and easy to use. The primacy of stability for Point Linux, and that appropriate choices have been made to that end by the developers, is evident from the warning in one of the last screens of the installer, the Advanced options screen, where there is a warning that choosing to enable the Jessie Backports repository will reduce stability.
This goal of providing a good desktop experience is realized, first, by providing an installer that is much simpler and more straightforward than the Debian installer, which I recently used to install another Debian based distribution. Even a user new to Linux with the right hardware and without a dual boot requirement could easily install Point Linux.
Point Linux 3.0 -- Running various desktop applications
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The MATE desktop environment, its suite of accessories, and the installed applications allow a computer user with the most common needs, whether at home or at a business, to immediately be productive. If the Full ISO is used, the LibreOffice suite is installed by default, as well as Firefox with the Flash Player plug-in, Thunderbird for email and calendar, and the Atril Document Viewer for viewing PDF documents. A good set of secondary applications for Internet tools and multimedia are also installed by default including Pidgin for instant messaging, VLC for sound and video, and Eye of MATE for viewing images.
The release notes indicate that the target audience is composed of experienced users or those in corporate and IT environments. The impression I got however was that the distribution in its default configuration was very basic and would be more suitable for the average computer user who essentially needs a web browser and an office suite. This doesn't mean that an experienced Debian user, because of Debian's power and flexibility, couldn't turn the installation into something completely different.
My only problem with Point Linux is the lack of support for more modern hardware. The installer doesn't support installation onto EFI/UEFI systems. Fortunately, the installer has the option of not installing a bootloader. EFI/UEFI users can install the system without a bootloader and boot the OS with another distribution's GRUB, install the appropriate Debian GRUB package, and finally install the actual bootloader to the EFI partition and to the firmware, as I have done with other distributions that don't support EFI/UEFI. Unfortunately, in the case of Point Linux, an attempt to install the Debian grub-efi-amd64 package would result in breaking the few Point Linux base packages from the Point Linux repository. As a result I did not install the Point Linux provided GRUB bootloader, but continued to use another distribution's GRUB to boot Point Linux, modifying the other GRUB to enable hibernation in Point Linux and to preserve its Plymouth boot splash.
But for a user without an EFI/UEFI system, the installation experience is excellent, allowing a very simple graphical installation just by selecting a few options and clicking Forward through the installer screens.
Point Linux 3.0 -- The system installer
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Debian is highly regarded for stability and is a good choice for a distribution that values stability. This stability is the result of extensive testing - typically for two years - of packages during the development of a Debian release in a series of branches before being promoted to the stable branch. This standard is so uncompromised that the Synapse launcher, which I find essential to my productivity, has been held back from the Jessie (stable) repository, and is only available in the Stretch (testing) or Sid (unstable) repositories.
Point Linux 3.0 -- Software package sources
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Additions to Debian
The most important addition to the Debian system that will most readily affect the user experience is a set of additional sources for packages. Point Linux adds its own repositories where the most important software packages available in this repository are Firefox and Thunderbird, great additions to a Debian based system, as Debian only offers unbranded versions from Mozilla in the form of Iceweasel and Icedove. Other items in this repository include the custom themes for the distribution as a whole, such as the Plymouth theme, and artwork for the officially supported Point Linux desktops, MATE and Xfce. This repository also includes localization packages, packages that install the Point Linux customized configuration files that, among other things, control the behaviour of APT package management tools, and the lsb-release information.
In addition to these third-party repositories, Point Linux adds a Google repository which makes available the stable, beta, and unstable variants of Google Chrome; a Dropbox repository; an Opera repository; and a VirtualBox repository. The VirtualBox and Dropbox repositories are added using the codename of the previous stable Debian release, Wheezy, which is now the old-stable branch of Debian. This happens to not be a problem with Dropbox as the URL associated with this repository is still valid, and the version available in this repository is the same as that available from Dropbox directly. However, this is not the case with the VirtualBox repository.
Using Point Linux
The developers make many small adjustments to the system for user convenience. The user is made a member of the sudo group by default and a root terminal profile is pre-configured and available from an application icon, which I especially appreciated. Unfortunately a bit more could have been done in this area. For example, the sparse Point Linux wiki provides instructions on enabling an "open as administrator" menu in the Caja file browser; it would have been helpful if this and window snapping had been enabled by default.
Point Linux 3.0 -- A custom MATE theme
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The MATE desktop (version 1.8, latest is 1.10, released after Debian suspended software additions to Jessie) as offered by Point Linux is an extremely simple and straightforward environment. The desktop has not been modified by Point Linux and features the standard two panel interface, with the top panel providing the three cascading menus at the left and the system tray at the right. The bottom panel shows the task switcher, a "show all desktops" button, and the workspace switcher. One of the best features of MATE is the Control Center. It is functional without overwhelming the user with an abundance of hidden options. The MATE desktop also offers the full range of accessory applications that make a desktop environment complete. I found that the support for zip files was included by default in the MATE file archive tool Engrampa; this is not always the case with other distributions. However, MATE does not have some of the extras of other desktops environments which use compositing window managers with advanced effects which, in addition to eye candy, have some productivity enhancing features.
I missed a window manager with compositing 3D effects in this implementation of MATE because some of the effects, such as displaying all workspaces and displaying all windows, are very useful for multitasking. A previous version of Point Linux had an option in the installer to install the Compiz window manager, which could provide these capabilities, but this has been removed in this version. However, the lack of multitasking convenience offered by these tools is a trade off, allowing for a very lightweight system. When Point Linux is idle with no applications running, RAM use is around 350MB and load values are consistently much lower than I typically see with other OSes installed on this computer.
Point Linux 3.0 -- Monitoring system resources
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The appearance of the distribution is obviously not a priority with Point Linux as much as is stability. But it does have a customized Faenza icon theme and two Clearlooks themes. Fortunately the MATE desktop allows easy customization with minimal effort after themes are installed. Different components from various themes can be combined into a custom theme using the easy to use Appearance component from the Control Center.
Documentation and Help
Point Linux documentation is very minimal. The community tab on the website provides links to the wiki and forums as well as social network and chat contact information. The wiki had only a handful of links and one of these - an important topic, testing for and enabling the fastest APT mirror - was outdated. Fortunately, because of the Debian base, there is no shortage of information from Debian resources.
Point Linux is a solidly stable, responsive OS with a good user experience and low system resource use, as the developers intended to make it. It offers a very straightforward graphical installer which installs a system that is fully capable for the most common use cases out-of-the-box - if using the Full ISO live medium. However, this uncomplicated installation will only be available to users without EFI/UEFI firmware.
* * * * *
Brook Kidane is a Linux enthusiast who writes Linux reviews, guides and offers tips on running Linux distributions for Ordinatechnic.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Debian drops the Sparc architecture, Ubuntu MATE removes Ubuntu Software Centre, FreeBSD posts quarterly report and a look at Fedora package statistics
Last week Joerg Jaspert announced to the Debian community that the Sparc architecture was being dropped from Debian. The venerable CPU architecture was once popular, particularly among UNIX administrators, but has been increasingly pushed out of its niche by x86- and ARM-powered computers. "As Sparc isn't exactly the most alive architecture anymore, not in
Jessie and unlikely to be in Stretch, I am going to remove it from the
archive this weekend. (This does not block it coming back as sparc64!)" More details on the removal can be found in this post.
* * * * *
Martin Wimpress reported on his Google Plus page that Ubuntu MATE will be dropping their graphical package manager (Ubuntu Software Centre) from future versions of the distribution. Wimpress said the Ubuntu MATE developers have a replacement in mind, but did not say what it will be. "Ubuntu Software Centre has been removed from the default install of Ubuntu MATE 15.10. There, I've done it. It will not feature in Ubuntu MATE 15.10 Alpha 2. You can stop sending me messages about it now. We have something else lined up by way of a replacement. No, it's not Synaptic."
* * * * *
The FreeBSD project has released its second quarterly report of 2015. The report details many of the developments which have happened over the past three months. Some key areas include improved security (in part due to work imported from the HardenedBSD project), the bhyve virtualization technology and Linux compatibility. The report also touches on new sleep state code which reduces energy usage when the CPU is idle, new features coming to ZFSguru and FreeBSD's improved ARM support. Warren Block summed up the report, writing: "Projects ran the gamut from security and speed improvements to virtualization and storage appliances. New kernel drivers and capabilities were added, while work to make FreeBSD run on various ARM architectures continued at a rapid pace. The Ports Collection grew, even while adding capabilities and fixing problems. Outside projects like pkgsrc have become interested in adding support. Documentation was a major focus, one that is often complimented by people new to FreeBSD. BSDCan 2015 was a great success, turning many hours of sleep deprivation into an even greater amount of inspiration." The full report can be found on the FreeBSD website.
* * * * *
There is an interesting post on the Brno's Hat blog which talks about the number of packages available in the Fedora repositories. Specifically, the author talks about how the number of packages being added to Fedora's official repositories has stalled. "I went across statistics from Fedora Package Database and what caught my attention is that the increase of number of packages in the official Fedora repository has almost stalled. The number of packages in Fedora 22 is 17,021 and is not going up much since Fedora 20. Does it mean there are no more projects worth packaging? I don't think so. The number of open source projects goes up like never before, just look at GitHub." The post goes on to suggest software is still being packaged for Fedora, but it is being placed in Copr repositories. Copr is a build service which helps developers test, build and publish packages for Fedora. The Copr build service currently hosts about 3,000 projects.
|Application Review (by Jesse Smith)
First impressions of VirtualBox 5.0
Anyone who does a lot of distro-hopping or who likes to test out a piece of software before installing it on their computer is probably aware of how useful virtual machines can be. A virtual machine allows the user to install and run multiple operating systems on the same computer, test new code and experiment with new configurations, all without rebooting or risking harm to the computer's primary operating system. Perhaps one of the easiest virtual machine technologies to use is VirtualBox. The VirtualBox software, which is currently owned by Oracle, is popular largely due to its point-n-click interface and helpful default settings. It's a technology I use nearly every day.
A few weeks ago, Oracle announced the launch of VirtualBox 5.0, a major new release of the product line. For the past several years VirtualBox has been receiving mostly incremental updates, keeping the software relevant without introducing significant new features. Version 5.0 offers users five new notable features which are outlined in the release announcement:
VirtualBox provides packages for most Linux distributions, as well as a number of other operating systems. The project also offers repositories to help users install VirtualBox and stay abreast of software updates. I downloaded the project's Debian package for 64-bit processors and gave it a test drive.
- Paravirtualization support for Windows and Linux guests: Significantly improves guest OS performance by leveraging built-in virtualization support on operating systems such as Oracle Linux 7 and Microsoft Windows 7 and newer.
- Improved CPU utilization: Exposes a broader set of CPU instructions to the guest OS, enabling applications to make use of the latest hardware instruction sets for maximum performance.
- Support of USB 3.0 devices: Guest operating systems can directly recognize USB 3.0 devices and operate at full 3.0 speeds. The guest OS can be configured to support USB 1.1, 2.0, and 3.0.
- Bi-directional drag and drop support for Windows: On all host platforms, Windows, Linux and Oracle Solaris guests now support "drag and drop" of content between the host and the guest. The drag and drop feature transparently allows copying or opening of files, directories, and more.
- Disk image encryption: Data can be encrypted on virtual hard disk images transparently during runtime, using the industry standard AES algorithm with up to 256-bit data encryption keys (DEK). This helps ensure data is secure and encrypted at all times, whether the VM is sitting unused on a developer's machine or server, or actively in use.
VirtualBox 5.0 -- Launching a virtual machine
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VirtualBox will not play nicely with other versions of itself, so if you are running VirtualBox 4.x, you should un-install it prior to installing VirtualBox 5.0. The friendly VirtualBox interface has remained mostly the same with this new version. There are a few small changes. For example, the button to start a virtual machine now includes a drop-down selector which allows us to choose whether the new virtual machine should be launched in a window or in a headless state. People running guest servers with VirtualBox will probably want to try this headless option as it avoids cluttering the desktop.
One of the big changes is the acceleration feature which allows VirtualBox to use various virtualization technologies to offer better performance. In theory I think this is a great idea as it will allow VirtualBox users to benefit from built-in virtualization technology in their host operating system. From a practical point of view, I think most home users will not notice a difference. I tried running a virtual machine with the Default, KVM and Hyper-V acceleration settings. Tasks were performed in the same amount of time with each option, so (in my case at least) the benefits are not significant.
VirtualBox 5.0 -- Selecting acceleration settings
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Another new feature, encrypted virtual machines, looks attractive. The encryption option will certainly appeal to people who wish to insure the privacy of their data, though enabling encryption may result in poorer performance. I tried to enable encryption on a virtual machine and was told I needed to install a VirtualBox extension. I downloaded the extension and tried to enable it through the VirtualBox Preferences screen. The extension failed to install, meaning I could not take advantage of VirtualBox's encryption functions.
VirtualBox 5.0 -- Enabling encryption
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Personally, I do not typically use USB devices directly from within VirtualBox, but I'm still happy to see USB 3.0 support being included. I think this will make it easier for people to access their storage devices and access gadgets such as digital cameras and music players.
I have played around with VirtualBox 5.0 a little and, besides the features listed above, I feel the product is quite similar to VirtualBox 4.x. That is, people who have used VirtualBox before should still feel completely at home with the new release. VirtualBox 5.0 feels a little faster, I think guests perform just a little quicker than they did under VirtualBox 4.x. The interface hasn't changed much, but a few new options (like acceleration and encryption) have been added to the Settings window. I think my favourite feature though is the headless mode. While it was technically possible to run VirtualBox machines before without their own display window, there wasn't an obvious way to launch operating systems in headless mode. Now, launching a server that will be accessed exclusively using a web browser or secure shell is much easier and keeps the desktop clean.
VirtualBox is probably my favourite virtual machine technology, simply because it is so easy to use and set up. While other virtualization suites might offer more features or additional flexibility, VirtualBox is dead simple to use and will probably perform any tasks someone distro-hopping or experimenting at home will need. The interface is friendly, the performance is good and VirtualBox works with just about every operating system available. This latest release offers a few new features (including some welcome items like better performance and encryption, if you can get it to work), but it still looks and feels very much like previous versions of VirtualBox. This new release is definitely a step forward, an evolutionary step, and it's nice to see performance enhancements and things like USB support included in this very useful application.
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.
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: 91
- Total downloads completed: 46,784
- Total data uploaded: 9.5TB
|Released Last Week
Chris Buechler has announced the release of pfSense 2.2.4, a FreeBSD-based firewall solution. The new release mostly includes bug fixes and security updates. The bug fixes include patches to prevent cross-site scripting attacks against the web interface, a fix for a TCP resource exhaustion attack and enhancements to prevent file corruption during unclean shutdowns. Buechler points out that a recent patch to FreeBSD's OpenSSL implementation was not needed as pfSense did not ship the vulnerable version of the OpenSSL software. "As always, you can upgrade from any previous version straight to 2.2.4. For those already running any 2.2.x version, this is a low risk upgrade. This is a high priority upgrade for those using IPsec on 2.2.x versions. For those on 2.1.x or earlier versions, there are a number of significant changes which may impact you." The release announcement has more details and a full list of changes since the last version of pfSense can be found in the New Features and Changes document.
VectorLinux 7.1 "Light"
Robert Lange has announced the release of VectorLinux 7.1 "Light" edition, a Slackware-based distribution featuring the lightweight IceWM window manager: "Vector Linux Light 7.1 is released and available for download. The 'lightness' of this edition is relative to our Standard edition, and is achieved by using the lightweight IceWM window manager in place of the Xfce desktop environment. You may also choose bare-bones X Window with just TWM. Otherwise the base system and installation experience is the same as Standard. IceWM is old school. It uses a manual approach, much like a stick shift instead of an automatic transmission. It doesn't change unless you tell it to. Configuration is managed by editing plain text files. To make things easier and get you started, some of the most common tweaks are also scripted and controllable by a GUI app. The target audience consists of those who like and prefer IceWM, owners of older computers, and users who want a minimal, yet functional starting point for their own creation. Minimum recommended hardware: an Intel Core class CPU, 1 GB of RAM, and 10 GB of drive space." Here is the brief release announcement.
Kai Hendry has announced the release of Webconverger 31.0, the latest update of the project's specialist Linux distribution for web kiosks: "Webconverger 31 release. Two months ago was our momentous Jessie-based Webconverger 30 release and since then we've: fixed an issue with printing; pushed Firefox 39; further locked down some new Mozilla anti-features like social services, pocket and hello URLs; received a fantastic endorsement from the (Internet) famous security pundit SwiftOnSecurity. What next? We could really do with your feedback, help and support on a couple of goals for the next release: making wireless setups easier; improve boot times; perhaps work on efficient sharing a single machine with multiseat if there is a demand for it. Managed to integrate the EETI eGalaxTouch driver for some models of resistive touchscreens. It works well as your can see by this touch screen demo video and it's typically deployed in point of sales in retail. Unfortunately the driver is in a private branch since the end user of license is very limited and a good case study of how not to write a license." Here is the full release announcement.
Oracle Linux 6.7
Oracle has announced the release of Oracle Linux 6.7, the latest release of the distribution's legacy branch based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.7: "We're happy to announce the general availability of Oracle Linux 6 Update 7, the seventh update release for Oracle Linux 6. You can find the individual RPM packages on the Unbreakable Linux Network (ULN) and our public yum repository and ISO installation images are available for download from the Oracle Software Delivery Cloud. Notable features in this release include: Open Security Content Automation Protocol (OpenSCAP), including the oscap utility for enhanced security auditing and compliance; Load Balancing and High Availability with Keepalived and HAProxy, supported under Oracle Linux Premier Support subscriptions; enhanced SSSD support for Active Directory, including dynamic updates to DNS, group and user lookups of NetBIOS names, site discovery of domain controllers..." See the release announcement for more information.
blackPanther OS 14.1
The developers of blackPanther OS, a Hungarian distribution that originally forked from Mandriva, have announced the launch of blackPanther OS 14.1. The blackPanther distribution ships with the KDE 4 desktop and offers users a unified settings panel that combines KDE's System Settings and Mandriva's Control Centre. "We are sure you’ll enjoy the many improvements. We’ve done our best to bring the latest technology to blackPanther while still maintaining the stability and security that you have come to expect. blackPanther OS is well known for its simplicity and the fact that we try to bring software to you in the condition that the authors intended. blackPanther OS v14.1 (Walking Dead) brings many updates and enhancements, KDE 4.14, a recent stable release of the 4.1x.x series of the award-winning KDE desktop environment." Further information is available in the project's release announcement (English, Hungarian).
blackPanther OS 14.1 -- Running the KDE 4 desktop
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Zorin OS 10
The developers of Zorin OS, a desktop distribution based on Ubuntu which strives to present a friendly interface for people transition from Windows, have announced the release of Zorin OS 10. The new release is based on Ubuntu 15.04 and features a new visual style with new fonts and icon themes. "With Zorin OS 10, we have refreshed the selection of default applications with the addition of a streamlined new Media Player, the gorgeous Geary Mail client, Calendar app and the new Activity Journal, which lets you see the files and documents you have worked with based on duration and the time throughout the day. Our existing app selection has also been treated with updates, bug fixes and design enhancements throughout. Zorin OS 10 is based on Ubuntu 15.04 and comes pre-installed with the updated Linux Kernel 3.19 & systemd for performance boosts, stronger security and improved hardware support. As always, Zorin OS 10 uses the Zorin Desktop environment with Zorin Menu for unparalleled customization and the Zorin Look Changer for ultimate ease of use. We also include our Zorin Web Browser Manager to ease the installation of web browsers." The release announcement supplies additional details along with screen shots.
Chris Smart has announced the release of Korora 22, a set of user-friendly, Fedora-based desktop Linux distributions with a choice of Cinnamon, GNOME, KDE 5, MATE and Xfce desktops: "It has been a long road to the Korora 22 (code name 'Selina') release and we're sorry that it has taken so long. However, it is now finally available for download. KDE 4 is no longer supported in Korora 22. If you do not wish to upgrade to KDE 5 then please stick with Korora 21. With this release we've decided to no-longer include Adobe Flash out of the box, due to the continued high number of security flaws. The repository is still enabled, however, and if you wish to use Flash you can install it using the package manager, or command line 'sudo dnf install flash-plugin' - or install and use Google Chrome which has the current up-to-date version of Flash." Continue to the release announcement for a full list of new features.
Korora 22 -- The welcome screen
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* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Contributing to open source software
In recent weeks several open source projects have put out calls for assistance, seeking help from coders, artists, document writers and administrators. Open source projects typically give away their work for free and rely on contributions to keep the projects alive. This is especially true for larger projects which require funds to keep their servers running.
This week we would like to know if and how our readers contribute to open source projects. Do you donate money, write code, package software for a distribution, write documentation or submit artwork? Do you file bug reports or post bounties to encourage developers to work on specific problems? Let us know how you get involved in the comments section.
You can see the results of last week's poll on backup methods here.
I contribute to open source software by
|Writing code: ||80 (11%)|
| Writing documentation: ||35 (5%)|
| Creating artwork: ||11 (1%)|
| Donating funds: ||150 (20%)|
| Providing equipment: ||5 (1%)|
| Submitting bug reports: ||129 (17%)|
| Packaging software: ||26 (3%)|
| Designing user interfaces: ||17 (2%)|
| Supporting other users: ||211 (28%)|
| Other: ||97 (13%)|
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 10 August 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 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|
|• 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|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
RebeccaBlackOS is a Debian-based live distribution which can be used to run Wayland desktop sessions. RebeccaBlackOS can run a number of popular open source desktop environments on top of a Wayland graphical session. The distribution was (and remains) one of the only Linux distributions to run a Wayland session from live media. The distribution is available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds for the x86 architecture.