| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 637, 23 November 2015
Welcome to this year's 47th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
The open source community is constantly trying to build better software, exploring new features and trying new approaches. This week we cover a number of these initiatives, starting with a review of the NixOS distribution. NixOS features an unusual approach to software management, courtesy of the Nix package manager and we talk about the interesting features present in this distribution in our Feature Story. In our News column we discuss Antergos setting the stage for ZFS support, preparations in the Slackware community for a new release of the venerable distribution and two powerful new features introduced by the MINIX project. In our Questions and Answers section we talk about the challenging task of copying an operating system from one computer to another. In our Torrent Corner we share the distributions we are seeding and then we provide a list of the operating systems released last week. In our Opinion Poll we talk about encumbered codecs and ask our readers whether they use free or encumbered multimedia codecs. We wish you all an excellent week and happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (28MB) and MP3 (21MB) formats
• Music credit: Clouds Fly With Me by Matti Paalanen
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
NixOS 15.09 and the Nix package manager
The NixOS Linux distribution is not a project which gets talked about a lot, perhaps because the project's primary focus appears to be to act as a demonstration platform for the Nix package manager rather than a practical day-to-day operating system. Personally, I think Nix, and therefore NixOS, are interesting projects and I'd like to explore them this week. To begin, I will let the NixOS website explain just what the distribution, and its unusual package manager, are all about:
"NixOS is a Linux distribution with a unique approach to package and configuration management. Built on top of the Nix package manager, it is completely declarative, makes upgrading systems reliable... NixOS has a completely declarative approach to configuration management: you write a specification of the desired configuration of your system in NixOS's modular language, and NixOS takes care of making it happen. NixOS has atomic upgrades and roll backs. It's always safe to try an upgrade or configuration change: if things go wrong, you can always roll back to the previous configuration."
The NixOS distribution is available in two editions, a text-only minimal image and a graphical edition. Both editions are available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds for the x86 architecture. I opted to try the 64-bit graphical version of NixOS which is a 965MB download. Booting from the NixOS media brings us to a text screen where we are automatically signed into the command line interface as the root user. A brief information message appears above the prompt, letting us know we can run the command "start display-manager" to launch a desktop environment.
The distribution's graphical environment turned out to be KDE 4.14. The desktop's application menu and task switching panel are placed at the bottom of the display. On the desktop we find three icons. The first icon launches the GParted partition manager, the second icon opens a virtual terminal and the third opens a copy of the NixOS manual. I highly recommend reading the manual as NixOS does not have a system installer. The manual explains how to partition the hard drive and that we must select and format a partition for the root file system. The user is instructed to confirm NixOS has an active network connection and to mount a disk partition which may be used for the root file system. We are then instructed to edit a configuration file NixOS will use to set up our new operating system. Editing this file allows us to select where the GRUB boot loader will be installed, to enable system services such as OpenSSH and CUPS and to install the KDE desktop. There is also a section where we can tweak the default user account. There is a second configuration file containing hardware information we can edit if we want to have a specific disk layout or a have particular kernel module loaded. I noted, while browsing through the hardware configuration file, that NixOS will detect whether we are running in VirtualBox and automatically enable the appropriate modules to offer VirtualBox users guest integration with the host operating system. Once we have confirmed the configuration files are correct, we run a script called "nixos-install" and wait while the system copies its files onto our hard drive. When it is finished, we are asked to set a root password for our new installation of NixOS. Then we can resume our exploration of the live desktop or reboot the computer.
NixOS 15.09 -- Accessing the on-line manual
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I would like to mention that NixOS should probably only be installed by experienced Linux users who are comfortable navigating the command line. The distribution's user manual is a handy quick reference guide, but it does not walk the user through the installation process step-by-step. The user should be familiar with formatting disk partitions from the command line, storage device names and the nano text editor, for example, before attempting to install NixOS.
When we boot into our locally installed copy of NixOS we are brought to a graphical login screen. It was at this point I ran into my one serious problem with NixOS, though I will admit to the issue being mostly my fault due to a misunderstanding of the project's manual. At the login screen we cannot sign into the root account (it is blocked from signing into a desktop environment) and the user account we created at install time does not have a password, making the user account effectively locked. I switched over to a text-based terminal where I was able to sign in as the root user. I set a password on the user account I had created, but was still unable to sign into the account. A little investigation revealed the user account's home directory was in a strange place and the login shell was "nologin" which effectively blocks all login attempts. I fixed these, but while I could sign into the account on the command line, I was still blocked from logging into a KDE session. At first this seemed to be a permissions issue, but after applying some suggested fixes and rebooting, I made an important discovery: The account, after reboot, was reset back to using "nologin" as its shell and its home directory had been changed. It was then that I realized the Nix configuration I had used during the installation was faulty and Nix was undoing my changes at each boot.
I decided to restart my trial and performed a new installation. While going through the configuration file the second time I realized my earlier mistake had been to assume optional lines in the configuration file which were commented out were the defaults, the lines needed to be uncommented to enable the desired feature. In particularly, I had to uncomment to enable a line which would cause my user account to be treated like a normal, unprivileged user. (The specific variable is "isNormalUser" and it needs to be enabled.)
This time, when I finished my second installation and rebooted, I was again brought to a login screen where I still could not login since no password was set on my user account. Once again I dropped to a command line, signed in as root and set a password on my account. At this point I was then able to log into the KDE desktop using my normal account.
While the issue concerning my user account I ran into was largely my fault, it does highlight a few interesting points about Nix and NixOS. Specifically that Nix doesn't just manage packages, it also handles services and user accounts. I also found that when we make changes that do not match Nix's configuration, the package manager will "correct" our changes. This means we need to adjust our thinking when it comes to how the system is managed and it also means Nix may fix problems automatically for us if the system becomes corrupted.
I tried running NixOS in two test environments, a physical desktop computer and a VirtualBox virtual machine. NixOS performed well in both environments. The distribution properly detected and used my desktop's hardware and integrated automatically into VirtualBox. The distribution was quick to boot and shut down. By default the KDE desktop runs with visual effects enabled and I found some desktop elements were slow to respond. Disabling visual effects helped gain better responsiveness. NixOS is very light on memory, using just 190MB of RAM when signed into KDE. This gives NixOS perhaps the smallest memory footprint when running KDE of any distribution I have used.
NixOS 15.09 -- Running LibreOffice after installing the suite using Nix
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The NixOS distribution ships with a minimal amount of software in the default installation. Looking through the application menu we find the Konqueror web browser, the Feb image viewer and the Dolphin file manager. The distribution ships with the KDE System Settings panel, giving us a great deal of flexibility with regards to customizing our desktop environment. The KInfoCentre application is available to show us information on our system's hardware. There is a system monitor, two text editors and the KDE Help documentation which explains how to use the desktop environment. At install time we have the option of enabling the CUPS printing software and the OpenSSH secure shell service. NixOS ships with systemd 217 and version 3.18 of the Linux kernel. It's a small collection of applications, but more software is available in the distribution's repositories and that gives us an excuse to examine the Nix package manager.
Prior to using the Nix package manager, I recommend reading the project's manual. It has some good background information and examples of how Nix works. From the point of view of the user, the Nix package manager is mostly invoked using the nix-env command line utility. The nix-env program uses a syntax similar to the rpm command on Fedora and Red Hat systems. For example, nix-env -i will install a package, nix-env -u will upgrade a package and nix-env -qa will provide a list of available packages. Additional commands can be found in the manual. I found Nix processed requests quickly and worked smoothly; I did not encounter any problems while installing, upgrading or removing software.
One quirk I did notice though was that new desktop applications, once installed, would not immediately appear in KDE's application menu. A user first had to logout and then sign back into their account for the new desktop application to appear in the menu. A nicer feature of Nix was that if I typed a command in a virtual terminal that was available in the distribution's repositories, but not yet installed on the system, a helpful message would be displayed telling me how to install the missing program.
What sets Nix apart from other package managers, such as DNF or APT, is the way it handles multiple versions of packages. When we add or change a package on NixOS, the package manager creates a new "generation" or snapshot of the installed packages. The new generation, or snapshot, is kept separate from other generations. This means each time we add or upgrade a package, Nix basically creates a new snapshot of the system. If we decide we no longer want an application we just installed, or if an upgrade broke a package on our system, we can use Nix to instantly roll back to the previous generation of packages. This functionality is similar to what openSUSE has been doing recently with Btrfs and the project's Snapper utility. Each time the administrator makes a change on the system, it creates a new snapshot and we can revert the changes by switching to the previous snapshot.
NixOS 15.09 -- Rolling back a package generation
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Nix is interesting in that we can roll forward in time as well as roll back. This is quite useful if we want to test different versions of a package to check its performance over time or if we want to see which version of a package broke. Nix will allow us to jump forward or backward in time to any point and the switch happens instantly.
Over time the many snapshots Nix maintains will eventually use up more and more disk space. This is why Nix includes a number of "garbage collection" commands which can seek out older snapshots and remove them from the operating system, freeing up space. Nix is able to remove all old snapshots, specific snapshots or any snapshot older than a certain amount of time. This means if we perform software upgrades every week, we can run a scheduled job to remove any snapshots older than a month, insuring we have both a fall back option and a clean hard drive.
Nearly two years ago I wrote about an earlier version of NixOS and the Nix package manager. At the time I was quite taken with Nix (as I still am) and asked around as to why more distributions would not adopt the package manager. One of the big concerns was that the hard drive would be filled up, or that juggling snapshots (generations) of packages would prove too complex. But in the past two years we have watched PC-BSD and openSUSE introduce file system snapshots which perform essentially the same functions and Ubuntu is rolling out Snappy which implements less mature versions of the same features Nix has been showcasing for years. It seems as though developers throughout the open source community are catching on to the idea of snapshots, generations and atomic updates, but everyone is creating their own implementation. This seems like a lot of duplication of effort when Nix is already available, has had most of the bugs worked out and can be installed on top of most existing distributions.
NixOS 15.09 -- Switching, listing and removing Nix generations
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The highlights of NixOS are that the distribution is very light on memory, showcases a very interesting and powerful package manager and the distribution does everything quickly. The package manager performs most tasks instantly and NixOS offers us a minimal platform on which to build.
There were some quirks of this distribution which took some getting used to. In my case, adjusting to the idea that Nix would manage user accounts as well as packages and that the package manager would reset "damage" to the system took an adjustment in my thinking.
I very much like the way NixOS takes the worry out of upgrading packages by placing each change in its own "generation" and I found, from the end user's point of view, NixOS worked just the same as any other Linux distribution. Setting up NixOS is not for beginners, and I do not think NixOS is intended to be used as a general purpose desktop operating system. But what NixOS does do is give us a useful playground in which to examine the Nix package manager and I think this is very interesting technology which deserves further exploration and adoption by additional distributions.
* * * * *
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)
Antergos introduces ZFS support, MINIX unveils new features and Slackware prepares for beta
The Antergos distribution released a minor update to the project's installation media last week. Though the new media contains just two changes, one of them introduces an interesting new feature: "ZFS kernel modules were added in preparation for ZFS support in Cnchi v0.14." Out of the box support for ZFS, an advanced file system, is rare in Linux distributions. Antergos adopting ZFS opens the door to other interesting features such as file system snapshots, multi-disk storage pools and rolling back broken software updates.
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The MINIX operating system is a relatively small project and it is not often we hear about the lightweight operating system and the work its developers are doing. However, this past week the MINIX team announced two very exciting new features which will improve security and low-level software updates on the MINIX operating system. The first of the two new features is live updating. MINIX uses a microkernel which means system services and device drivers are run as separate components from the core kernel. These components, such as hardware drivers, can now be updated on a live system without requiring a reboot. "A live update is an update to a software component while it is active, allowing the component's code and data to be changed without affecting the environment around it. The MINIX3 live update functionality allows such updates to be applied to its system services: the usermode server and driver processes that, in addition to the microkernel, make up the operating system. As a result, these services can be updated at run time without requiring a system reboot."
The second interesting feature is the ability to shuffle data in memory to make its location virtually impossible to predict. This is similar to address space layout randomization (ASLR) which randomizes the initial location of data in memory. In this instance, the MINIX developers have taken things a step further and made it possible to keep shuffling the contents of memory, making it even harder for attackers to compromise the system. "Live rerandomization consists of randomizing the internal address space layout of a component at run time. While the concept of ASR or ASLR - Address Space (Layout) Randomization - is well known, most implementations are rather limited: they perform such randomization only once, when starting a process; they merely randomize the base location of entire process regions, for example the process stack; and, they apply the concept to user processes only. In contrast, the MINIX3 live rerandomization can randomize the address space layout of operating system services, as often as desired, and with fine granularity. In order to achieve this, the live rerandomization makes use of live updates." Further information on both of these new features can be found in the MINIX project's announcement.
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It has been over two years since the Slackware project last put out a stable release. However, looking through the project's changelog it is clear the developers have been constantly at work and it seems as though a new version of the venerable distribution is on the horizon. The changelog has a recent entry which reads, "Please enjoy `almost a beta.' Sorry we missed Friday the 13th this time." The Alien Pastures blog comments on some of the highlights now in Slackware's development branch. "Yet another 200+ lines of updates in the ChangeLog.txt of Slackware-current. It's obvious that Pat has been watching the LinuxQuestions threads closely. And we are again very bleeding edge, with the GNU Compiler Collection 5.2.0! The update of tigervnc (in ./extra with fltk as a new dependency) as well as the addition of the squashfs-tools are Pat's nod to the Live version of Slackware that is in the making here at home. The Live ISO can now be created with and by Slackware-current without the need for third-party software."
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Transferring an operating system to another computer
Creating-clones asks: Can I install/copy the operating system on one computer to another and have it work exactly the same?
DistroWatch answers: Often times, yes, you can. Assuming the hardware on both computers is supported by the operating system and assuming the hard drive on the second computer is the same size or larger than the hard drive in the computer you were using originally, there are some tools to transfer an operating system from one computer to another.
I think the easiest way to transfer a Linux distribution from one computer to another is to use a dedicated utility like Clonezilla Live and a spare hard drive or NAS. The spare hard drive will store a digital copy of the operating system we want to transfer to the new computer. Typically, the procedure is to insert the Clonezilla disc into the first computer where you already have an operating system running. Boot off the disc and follow the prompts which will ask whether you want to make a copy of the whole disk or just a single partition. Clonezilla will ask where it should put the copy of your disk and we point Clonezilla toward the spare hard drive.
Clonezilla will make an exact copy of the data from the first computer on the spare drive. Then we can put the Clonezilla disc into the second computer and Clonezilla will walk us through the reverse process of copying the operating system from the spare disk onto the second computer.
In my experience the process usually works well, but it will fail if the destination computer has a smaller hard drive than the first computer did, since there is not enough room to store the entire copy. Once Clonezilla has transferred the digital copy of your first hard drive into the new computer, you should be able to boot and use the second computer just as you did the original.
There are some small problems I have run into. For example, if your original computer used a static IP address, the second computer will try to use the same IP and that can cause problems with communicating over the network. Also, if the second computer has a larger hard drive than the original then you will need to resize the disk partitions after the transfer is complete if you want to be able to access the extra storage space.
The Clonezilla project has documentation with step-by-step screen shots to guide users through the process. I also recommend practising with a spare computer or a virtual machine to get a feel for the experience before trying it on computers used on a day-to-day basis.
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Past Questions and Answers columns can be found in our Q&A Archive.
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: 134
- Total data uploaded: 20.6TB
|Released Last Week
Univention corporate Server 4.1-0
The developers of Univention Corporate Server (UCS), a Debian-based server distribution with Active Directory compatible domain services, have published a new release. The new version, Univention Corporate Server 4.1-0, features updates to a number of key packages, including the Linux kernel and Samba, and also includes support for Docker contains in the distribution's App Center. "The Univention App Center integrates the container technology Docker. With Docker, it is possible to run Apps separately and encapsulated from each other. This increases the security of the UCS domain and reduces the dependencies of the Apps on other software libraries. The integration of Docker is transparent to the users. The App Center will automatically perform the start-up and configuration of the Docker containers. The Univention App Center's usability has been improved further. Apps are now displayed more clearly. The App detail pages have been cleaned up and supplemented by a rating in the categories Vendor Supported, Popularity's Award and Editor's Award. The classification is based on data such as the installation base of the Apps or the maintenance behaviour of the app providers. Thus, the transparency and comparability of Apps are increased." Further details can be found in the project's release announcement and in the release notes.
Puppy Linux 6.3
Barry Kauler has announced the release of a new version of the Puppy Linux distribution. Puppy Linux provides users with a lightweight, installable live CD which strives to be easy to use. The new release, Puppy Linux 6.3, is built from Slackware packages and is available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds. "It has been awhile since the last announcement of an official release of Puppy Linux, 6.0.3 `Tahrpup', starting with 6.0 in October 2014. Mick Amadio, the coordinator for Puppy built from Slackware 14.1 binary packages, has brought Puppy to a new release, version 6.3. This is distinct from Puppy 6.0.x, which is built from Ubuntu Trusty Tahr binary packages, coordinated by Phil Broughton. Mick coordinated Puppy 5.7.x which is also built with Slackware packages. For the first time, Puppy is released in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions." Further information on the new Puppy Linux release can be found in the project's release announcement. There are also release notes for the 32-bit and 64-bit builds.
Puppy Linux 6.3 -- Exploring the application menu
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Black Lab Linux 7.0
The Black Lab Linux project has announced a new release of its commercial offerings. The new release, Black Lab Linux 7.0, ships with the Xfce 4.12 desktop, LibreOffice 5, version 5 of the GNU Compiler Collection, WINE and version 3.19.0 of the Linux kernel. "Today we are announcing the release of Black Lab Linux 7.0. Over the past 6 months we have released several betas, presented 4 release candidates, and generally done a ton of work, culminating in Black Lab 7, our vision of what the best Linux desktop should be. Black Lab Linux 7 introduces many improvements to the core system and improves many OS functions of the OS from wireless connectivity to power management to general hardware support. Other improvements include (but are not limited to): Kernel 3.19.0-33, full XFS Filesystem support, full exFAT support, Xfce 4.12, new deskbar layout, LibreOffice 5, Chromium web browser, Pepper Flash plugin..." Further information on the release, its minimal hardware rquirements and purchasing options can be found in the project's release notes.
Bodhi Linux 3.1.1
Jeff Hoogland has announced the release of Bodhi Linux 3.1.1, an updated build of the Ubuntu-based distribution featuring a customised Enlightenment desktop called "Moksha": "Today the Bodhi team and I are releasing an unscheduled bug fix release in version number 3.1.1. The 3.1.0 release we released back in August had an issue where users were not always prompted automatically for wireless passwords when connecting to encrypted networks. This lead to enough confusion and user frustration that we feel it warrants an updated install image now as opposed to waiting for our scheduled 3.2.0 release early 2016. In addition to the wireless bug fix, this release includes all package updates that have been released since August as well as a web application launcher of the Bodhi AppCenter. Existing users need to simply run their system updates to bring their current 3.1.0 install to this latest version." Here is the brief release announcement with a screenshot.
Bodhi Linux 3.1.1 -- Running the Moksha desktop environment
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Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2
Red Hat has announced the availability of a new upgrade to the company's Enterprise Linux line of products. The new release, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2, is a relatively small update to the 7.x series and addresses known bugs and errata. "Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2 includes new features and capabilities that focus on security, networking, and system administration, along with a continued emphasis on enterprise-ready tooling for the development and deployment of Linux container-based applications. In addition, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2 includes compatibility with the new Red Hat Insights, an add-on operational analytics offering designed to increase IT efficiency and reduce downtime through the proactive identification of known risks and technical issues." Information and links to downloads (for Red Hat subscribers) can be found in the brief release announcement. Detailed information on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2 can be found in the company's release notes.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Using encumbered codecs
The distribution of many popular multimedia codecs is restricted by licensing and/or software patents. This means open source operating systems which operate in countries where software patents exist face a difficult choice: providing their users with multimedia support may place these open source projects in legal difficulty while not providing multimedia functionality may alienate potential users.
There are media technologies available, such as Ogg Vorbis which are freely available and can be distributed without legal consequences. While legally, and often technically, appealing, these free codecs generally have not gained traction with the general public.
This week we would like to know if any of our readers have dedicated themselves to using patent-free and freely licensed multimedia codecs. Please leave us a comment with your thoughts on multimedia support and how you feel distributions should deal with non-free codecs.
You can see the results of last week's poll on Wayland and Mir usage here. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Using encumbered codecs
|I use only freely licensed codecs: ||98 (7%)|
| I use a mixture of free and encumbered codecs: ||963 (68%)|
| I use only encumbered codecs: ||75 (5%)|
| I do not use any media codecs: ||30 (2%)|
| I have not checked whether my codecs are encumbered: ||252 (18%)|
The podcast and its RSS feed have returned
As many of our long term readers may know, DistroWatch Weekly used to be available as a podcast, handy for those who like to listen to their news rather than read it. The talented Bruce Patterson put these podcasts together and was the voice of DistroWatch for several years.
However, other projects come along and Bruce had to move on to other things last year. Some of you mentioned enjoying the podcast and asked if we could bring it back. I am happy to report Michael DeGuzis from the Libre Geek website has volunteered his time, energy and voice to produce a weekly podcast for us where he covers the news, reviews and Questions & Answers columns.
Michael has done six podcasts for us to date and shows no sign of fatigue so we set up an RSS feed for people who want to keep up with his DistroWatch Weekly podcasts. Links to the audio files will also be available at the top of each Weekly and on the DistroWatch front page in the Latest Podcasts column.
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DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 30 November 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)
- Michael DeGuzis of Libre Geek (podcast)
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 836 (2019-10-14): Archman 2019.09, Haiku improves ARM support, Project Trident shifting base OS, Unix turns 50|
|• Issue 835 (2019-10-07): Isotop, Mazon OS and, KduxOS, examples of using the find command, Mint's System Reports becomes proactive, Solus updates its desktops|
|• Issue 834 (2019-09-30): FreedomBox "Buster", CentOS gains a rolling release, Librem 5 phones shipping, Redcore updates its package manager|
|• Issue 833 (2019-09-23): Redcore Linux 1908, why Linux distros are free, Ubuntu making list of 32-bit software to keep, Richard M Stallman steps down from FSF leadership|
|• Issue 832 (2019-09-16): BlackWeb 1.2, checking for Wayland session and applications, Fedora to use nftables in firewalld, OpenBSD disables DoH in Firefox|
|• Issue 831 (2019-09-09): Adélie Linux 1.0 beta, using ffmpeg, awk and renice, Mint and elementary improvements, PureOS and Manjaro updates|
|• Issue 930 (2019-09-02): deepin 15.11, working with AppArmor profiles, elementary OS gets new greeter, exFAT support coming to Linux kernel|
|• Issue 829 (2019-08-26): EndeavourOS 2019.07.15, Drauger OS 7.4.1, finding the licenses of kernel modules, NetBSD gets Wayland application, GhostBSD changes base repo|
|• Issue 828 (2019-08-19): AcademiX 2.2, concerns with non-free firmware, UBports working on Unity8, Fedora unveils new EPEL channel, FreeBSD phasing out GCC|
|• Issue 827 (2019-08-12): Q4OS, finding files on the disk, Ubuntu works on ZFS, Haiku improves performance, OSDisc shutting down|
|• Issue 826 (2019-08-05): Quick looks at Resilient, PrimeOS, and BlueLight, flagship distros for desktops,Manjaro introduces new package manager|
|• Issue 825 (2019-07-29): Endless OS 3.6, UBports 16.04, gNewSense maintainer stepping down, Fedora developrs discuss optimizations, Project Trident launches stable branch|
|• Issue 824 (2019-07-22): Hexagon OS 1.0, Mageia publishes updated media, Fedora unveils Fedora CoreOS, managing disk usage with quotas|
|• Issue 823 (2019-07-15): Debian 10, finding 32-bit packages on a 64-bit system, Will Cooke discusses Ubuntu's desktop, IBM finalizes purchase of Red Hat|
|• Issue 822 (2019-07-08): Mageia 7, running development branches of distros, Mint team considers Snap, UBports to address Google account access|
|• Issue 821 (2019-07-01): OpenMandriva 4.0, Ubuntu's plan for 32-bit packages, Fedora Workstation improvements, DragonFly BSD's smaller kernel memory|
|• Issue 820 (2019-06-24): Clear Linux and Guix System 1.0.1, running Android applications using Anbox, Zorin partners with Star Labs, Red Hat explains networking bug, Ubuntu considers no longer updating 32-bit packages|
|• Issue 819 (2019-06-17): OS108 and Venom, renaming multiple files, checking live USB integrity, working with Fedora's Modularity, Ubuntu replacing Chromium package with snap|
|• Issue 818 (2019-06-10): openSUSE 15.1, improving boot times, FreeBSD's status report, DragonFly BSD reduces install media size|
|• Issue 817 (2019-06-03): Manjaro 18.0.4, Ubuntu Security Podcast, new Linux laptops from Dell and System76, Entroware Apollo|
|• Issue 816 (2019-05-27): Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, creating firewall rules, Antergos shuts down, Matthew Miller answers questions about Fedora|
|• Issue 815 (2019-05-20): Sabayon 19.03, Clear Linux's developer features, Red Hat explains MDS flaws, an overview of mobile distro options|
|• Issue 814 (2019-05-13): Fedora 30, distributions publish Firefox fixes, CentOS publishes roadmap to 8.0, Debian plans to use Wayland by default|
|• Issue 813 (2019-05-06): ROSA R11, MX seeks help with systemd-shim, FreeBSD tests unified package management, interview with Gael Duval|
|• Issue 812 (2019-04-29): Ubuntu MATE 19.04, setting up a SOCKS web proxy, Scientific Linux discontinued, Red Hat takes over Java LTS support|
|• Issue 811 (2019-04-22): Alpine 3.9.2, rsync examples, Ubuntu working on ZFS support, Debian elects new Project Leader, Obarun releases S6 tools|
|• Issue 810 (2019-04-15): SolydXK 201902, Bedrock Linux 0.7.2, Fedora phasing out Python 2, NetBSD gets virtual machine monitor|
|• Issue 809 (2019-04-08): PCLinuxOS 2019.02, installing Falkon and problems with portable packages, Mint offers daily build previews, Ubuntu speeds up Snap packages|
|• Issue 808 (2019-04-01): Solus 4.0, security benefits and drawbacks to using a live distro, Gentoo gets GNOME ports working without systemd, Redox OS update|
|• Issue 807 (2019-03-25): Pardus 17.5, finding out which user changed a file, new Budgie features, a tool for browsing FreeBSD's sysctl values|
|• Issue 806 (2019-03-18): Kubuntu vs KDE neon, Nitrux's znx, notes on Debian's election, SUSE becomes an independent entity|
|• Issue 805 (2019-03-11): EasyOS 1.0, managing background services, Devuan team debates machine ID file, Ubuntu Studio works to remain an Ubuntu Community Edition|
|• Issue 804 (2019-03-04): Condres OS 19.02, securely erasing hard drives, new UBports devices coming in 2019, Devuan to host first conference|
|• Issue 803 (2019-02-25): Septor 2019, preventing windows from stealing focus, NetBSD and Nitrux experiment with virtual machines, pfSense upgrading to FreeBSD 12 base|
|• Issue 802 (2019-02-18): Slontoo 18.07.1, NetBSD tests newer compiler, Fedora packaging Deepin desktop, changes in Ubuntu Studio|
|• Issue 801 (2019-02-11): Project Trident 18.12, the meaning of status symbols in top, FreeBSD Foundation lists ongoing projects, Plasma Mobile team answers questions|
|• Issue 800 (2019-02-04): FreeNAS 11.2, using Ubuntu Studio software as an add-on, Nitrux developing znx, matching operating systems to file systems|
|• Issue 799 (2019-01-28): KaOS 2018.12, Linux Basics For Hackers, Debian 10 enters freeze, Ubuntu publishes new version for IoT devices|
|• Issue 798 (2019-01-21): Sculpt OS 18.09, picking a location for swap space, Solus team plans ahead, Fedora trying to get a better user count|
|• Issue 797 (2019-01-14): Reborn OS 2018.11.28, TinyPaw-Linux 1.3, dealing with processes which make the desktop unresponsive, Debian testing Secure Boot support|
|• Issue 796 (2019-01-07): FreeBSD 12.0, Peppermint releases ISO update, picking the best distro of 2018, roundtable interview with Debian, Fedora and elementary developers|
|• Issue 795 (2018-12-24): Running a Pinebook, interview with Bedrock founder, Alpine being ported to RISC-V, Librem 5 dev-kits shipped|
|• Issue 794 (2018-12-17): Void 20181111, avoiding software bloat, improvements to HAMMER2, getting application overview in GNOME Shell|
|• Issue 793 (2018-12-10): openSUSE Tumbleweed, finding non-free packages, Debian migrates to usrmerge, Hyperbola gets FSF approval|
|• Issue 792 (2018-1203): GhostBSD 18.10, when to use swap space, DragonFly BSD's wireless support, Fedora planning to pause development schedule|
|• Issue 791 (2018-11-26): Haiku R1 Beta1, default passwords on live media, Slax and Kodachi update their media, dual booting DragonFly BSD on EFI|
|• Issue 790 (2018-11-19): NetBSD 8.0, Bash tips and short-cuts, Fedora's networking benchmarked with FreeBSD, Ubuntu 18.04 to get ten years of support|
|• Issue 789 (2018-11-12): Fedora 29 Workstation and Silverblue, Haiku recovering from server outage, Fedora turns 15, Debian publishes updated media|
|• Issue 788 (2018-11-05): Clu Linux Live 6.0, examining RAM consumpion, finding support for older CPUs, more Steam support for running Windows games on Linux, update from Solus team|
|• Issue 787 (2018-10-29): Lubuntu 18.10, limiting application access to specific users, Haiku hardware compatibility list, IBM purchasing Red Hat|
|• Issue 786 (2018-10-22): elementary OS 5.0, why init keeps running, DragonFly BSD enables virtual machine memory resizing, KDE neon plans to drop older base|
|• Issue 785 (2018-10-15): Reborn OS 2018.09, Nitrux 1.0.15, swapping hard drives between computers, feren OS tries KDE spin, power savings coming to Linux|
|• Issue 784 (2018-10-08): Hamara 2.1, improving manual pages, UBports gets VoIP app, Fedora testing power saving feature|
|• Full list of all issues|
Star Labs - Laptops built for Linux.
View our range including the Star Lite, Star LabTop and more. Available with a choice of Ubuntu, Linux Mint or Zorin OS pre-installed with many more distributions supported. Visit Star Labs for information, to buy and get support.
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We wanted to make it possible to everybody to look at what Linux can offer, and to make it possible for software publishers wanting to show their Linux-based software to distribute a no hassle hands-off demo CD. But this kind of CD makes also a wonderful Linux-to-go solution: you might carry your favorite desktop configuration in your pocket, sit in front of a non-Linux box, boot from the CD and be in front of your preferred environment in minutes.