| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 648, 15 February 2016
Welcome to this year's 7th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
In the open source community Linux tends to be the dominant player, attracting a lot of developers and attention. This week we begin with a look at an alternative open source project, XStreamOS. The XStreamOS project has its roots in Solaris and features both server and desktop editions. In our Feature Story we talk about XStream Desktop, its strengths and weaknesses. In our Questions and Answers column we discuss free hardware (the physical counterpart to free software) and explore where to find hardware that respects user freedoms. In our News section we discuss new features available to Raspberry Pi owners through Raspbian, reasons why WebKit-based browsers may be vulnerability to security exploits on Linux and Ikey Doherty's vision for future versions of Solus. In our Torrent Corner we share the torrents we are seeding and then we cover the distributions released last week. In our Opinion Poll we ask our readers if you like to customize your desktop environment or stick with the default settings. Plus, we have added two new projects to our database, the BSD Router Project and the Guix System Distribution. We wish you all a wonderful week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
XStream Desktop 153
I have mentioned before that I have a special place in my heart for open source forks of the Solaris operating system. Solaris was my first exposure to UNIX and represented the first step in my journey into the Linux and BSD communities. Getting to know Solaris was a challenging and educational experience for me and, as a result, I look upon derivatives of Solaris fondly.
For this reason, I was happy to learn Sonicle is still working on their open source branch of Solaris, called XStreamOS. Specifically, I was interested in their desktop edition, which is called XStream Desktop. XStream Desktop is based on Illumos, which is itself a fork of the discontinued OpenSolaris project. The Sonicle website describes XStream Desktop in the following way:
XStream Desktop unites a free, light and modern desktop, with the unique characteristics of the Illumos kernel, including a number of pre-installed applications, as LibreOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird, GIMP, VLC and more.
XStream Desktop appears to be compatible with 64-bit x86 computers only. The project provides two installation images: a 1.8GB ISO file and a 2.2GB image file for USB devices. I decided to download both to cover all my bases. Booting from the project's media brings up a text console. We are shown a list of supported keyboard layouts and asked to select one. The system then shows us a list of 22 supported languages and asks us to pick our preferred language from the list. The next menu gives us the option of launching the XStream system installer, installing additional drivers, dropping to a command line shell or rebooting the computer. I decided to jump straight into the installer.
Sonicle will continue the effort to add support for more software, publishing them on the public repository, directly accessible from the desktop.
Launching XStream's system installer brings up a series of text screens. Each screen displays a group of fields or menus we a can navigate with the page up/down keys and the function keys. The installer begins by asking us on which hard disk we want to install XStream. We are then given the option of using the entire disk or installing XStream on a specific partition. Once we have selected a free partition, we are asked to provide a hostname for our computer. We are then given the option of automatically setting up networking using DHCP or we can set up our network card by manually providing network settings. We then select our time zone from a list and confirm the system clock has the correct time. The following screen gets us to create a password for the root account and set up a new user account for ourselves. The installer copies its files to our hard drive and then gives us the option to either view the installation log or quit. Taking the latter option returns us to the menu where we can run the installer, access a command line shell or reboot.
When we reboot the computer the system brings up the GRUB Legacy boot loader. From the GRUB menu we can launch XStream which brings us to a graphical login screen. I think it is worth noting that XStream uses boot environments, file system snapshots that get created when the operating system is updated. Each boot environment is listed in the GRUB menu. When we upgrade packages on the system, a new boot environment is added to the list. Selecting an older boot environment allows us to restore the operating system to a previous point in time. In short, if a software update breaks the operating system, we can reboot and select the previous boot environment to restore the system to its working state.
Signing into our user account brings up the LXDE desktop running on the Openbox window manager. The desktop's application menu and task switcher panel are placed at the top of the screen. An OS X style launch bar is placed at the bottom of the display. The wallpaper offers a plain, soft blue background.
XStreamOS 153 -- Adjusting the look of LXDE
(full image size: 322kB, resolution: 1024x768 pixels)
Before going any further, I would like to acknowledge that the biggest problem I usually face with members of the Solaris family of operating systems is hardware support. I tried running XStream Desktop in three test environments: a desktop computer, a laptop and a VirtualBox virtual machine. I was unable to get the operating system to boot on either the laptop or desktop computer. This left me to experiment with XStream Desktop in a virtual environment. The project's website provides a special ISO file that is supposed to provide us with VirtualBox guest modules as Sonicle reports the default VirtualBox guest modules will not work with XStream Desktop. I downloaded this small ISO file and mounted it. I installed the guest modules from the mounted disc and rebooted, but found the VirtualBox modules did not produce the desired effect. As a result, I was stuck with a low-resolution desktop in a virtual machine for the duration of my trial. Still, despite the hardware issues I encountered, I felt it was worthwhile exploring the features XStream Desktop offers.
While running the operating system, I found XStream Desktop used a little over 10GB of disk space with the default set of applications. Measuring memory usage on XStream is a little different than doing the same on Linux distributions. XStream presents memory statistics differently, but I found the operating system tended to consume about 750MB to 1,100MB of memory, including application data and cache when sitting idle at the LXDE desktop. This may seem high compared to most Linux distributions, but when I measure memory usage on Linux (and the BSDs) I do not include statistics on cached data, which places XStream at a disadvantage.
The operating system ships with a graphical software manager called Package Manager. This application looks and acts a good deal like Debian's Synaptic package manager. Down the left side of the window we find filters and software categories. Over on the right side of the window we see a list of software available to us. By adjusting the filters we can narrow down the list of packages displayed in the list. We can also search for items by name. Clicking a box next to a package's entry gives us the option of adding or removing the software. Package Manager also has a button which triggers an upgrade process that will install all available software updates.
It has been a while since the last stable version of XStream Desktop was released and this meant I had 384 updated packages waiting to be installed in the project's repositories. These updates totalled 495MB in size. After the initial update, I did not receive any further updates during the week. One aspect of Package Manager I like is that when a package upgrade is performed, the software manager will create a new boot environment. We can name the boot environment, making it easy to roll back to older versions of the operating system if something goes wrong. I am happy to report that in my trial, nothing did go wrong with packages or upgrades.
XStreamOS 153 -- Managing software packages
(full image size: 297kB, resolution: 1024x768 pixels)
XStream also ships with a command line package manager, called "pkg". This program works a lot like dnf on Fedora or the pkg command on FreeBSD. It allows us to search for software, perform installations and removals, upgrade selected items and gather information on software in the project's repositories. I did not use pkg much, preferring to stick with the graphical software manager, but pkg worked well enough for me.
One aspect of XStream I found unusual was that the package manager sometimes provides a full category and path name for packages rather than just a name. For instance, a package might have the name "system/data/terminfo" instead of just "terminfo", or "terminal/screen" rather than just "screen". This did not happen all the time, but the longer names did come up sometimes in searches and I found it a little jarring to switch back and forth between the partial name and the full names. I suspect this is done because some Solaris utilities have the same names as GNU utilities. Having a longer path name allows both versions to coexist in the repositories.
On the topic of software, the XStream application menu contained a fairly common collection of open source software. We are given copies of the Firefox web browser, the Thunderbird e-mail client, the Filezilla file transfer program and the Ekiga software phone. LibreOffice 4.4 ships with the operating system and LibreOffice 5 is available in the repositories. The VLC media player is included along with the GNU Image Manipulation Program. The Wireshark network monitoring tool is installed by default. XStream also treats us to an archive manager, a calculator, an image viewer and a text editor. There are a few configuration tools for changing the look of the LXDE desktop. Both Java and the GNU Compiler Collection are installed. I also found a background services manager, a tool for working with user accounts and an application for changing the system time.
XStreamOS 153 -- Running LibreOffice
(full image size: 120kB, resolution: 1024x768 pixels)
While using XStream, I made a number of observations which I will present here in no particular order. One is that XStream provides the "sudo" command and the first user account we create automatically has sudo access. In a similar manner, the first user account we set up can add, remove and update software without being prompted for credentials. Any additional user accounts we create do not automatically have this privilege.
Another thing regular users could not do, aside from the first user account created, was shut down the computer. Regular users need to sign out of their accounts and shut down the computer using a button on the operating system's login screen.
One aspect of XStream I found very unusual was that I could not use its secure shell utilities to connect to any of the Linux computers on my network. The secure shell utilities would display an error essentially saying the protocols used by the two secure shell programs were not compatible. However, I was able to form connections between XStream and FreeBSD servers. This meant if I wanted to access a console on a Linux computer from XStream, I had to first connect to a FreeBSD server and use that operating system's secure shell utilities to connect to my Linux computer. In a fun twist, XStream's copy of Filezilla was able to connect to my Linux computers via OpenSSH and transfer files, though XStream's version of "sftp" could not.
Early on I had trouble getting Firefox and Thunderbird to open. This turned out to be a permission problem with the directories these two programs were using to store their configuration files. Once the directories were assigned proper permissions both applications worked well. By default, Firefox would try to open a local file containing documentation for the OpenIndiana operating system, a close sibling to XStream. However, the documentation did not exist and so Firefox would simply open an error page. I found Firefox generally worked well for web browsing and was up to date with Mozilla's recent releases. My only gripe with Firefox was when it would play HTML5 video files it would not produce any sound.
The user account manager utility and the services control panel worked well for me. I had no complaints with either of these programs. While using the service manager, I noticed the CUPS printing software was installed. XStream does not ship with a printer manager utility though. I installed a printer manager from the software repositories, but the printer manager did not appear in my application menu. This left me to try to set up printers from the command line.
XStreamOS 153 -- Managing system services
(full image size: 186kB, resolution: 1024x768 pixels)
There are two process managers listed in the application menu. One would launch and the other did not. The task manager which did work did its job, but incorrectly displayed the amount of memory on the system, reporting memory sizes as being in megabytes instead of kilobytes. This makes it seem like the computer has a thousand times more memory than it really has.
XStream uses ZFS as its default file system. I like ZFS and the features it offers. File system snapshots and boot environment are especially nice to have. The ability to easily add more disks to the system is another benefit I enjoy when using ZFS.
I think XStream Desktop does a lot of things well. Admittedly, my trial got off to a rocky start when the operating system would not boot on my hardware and I could not get the desktop to use my display's full screen resolution when running in VirtualBox. However, after that, XStream performed fairly well. The installer works well, the operating system automatically sets up and uses boot environments, insuring we can recover the system if something goes wrong. The package management tools work well and XStream ships with a useful collection of software.
I did run into a few problems playing media, specifically getting audio to work. I am not sure if that is another hardware compatibility issue or a problem with the media software that ships with the operating system. On the other hand, tools such as the web browser, e-mail, productivity suite and configuration tools all worked well.
What I appreciate about XStream the most is that the operating system is a branch of the OpenSolaris family that is being kept up to date. Other derivatives of OpenSolaris tend to lag behind, at least with desktop software, but XStream is still shipping recent versions of Firefox and LibreOffice.
For me personally, XStream is missing a few components, like a printer manager, multimedia support and drivers for my specific hardware. Other aspects of the operating system are quite attractive. I like the way the developers have set up LXDE, I like the default collection of software and I especially like the way file system snapshots and boot environments are enabled out of the box. Most Linux distributions, openSUSE aside, have not caught on to the usefulness of boot environments yet and I hope it is a technology that is picked up by more projects.
* * * * *
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)
Raspbian unveils new OpenGL feature, a review of WebKit package security and Ikey Doherty shares thoughts on design and the Solus distribution
The Raspbian project announced a new release of its Debian-based distribution for Raspberry Pi computers last week. The update includes a number of bug fixes and tweaks to the user interface to make the distribution's desktop more consistent. A bigger change though is the introduction of an OpenGL driver for the desktop which makes use of the Pi's hardware and offers much better performance. "In this release we are shipping an experimental OpenGL driver for the desktop which uses the GPU to provide hardware acceleration. This is turned off by default - if you want to enable it, you can find it in the command line version of raspi-config, under Advanced Options->GL Driver. Due to memory requirements, this will not work on Pi 1 or Pi Zero boards - it is solely for Pi 2. (raspi-config will only allow it to be enabled on a Pi 2; be warned that if you enable it on a Pi 2 and then move that SD card into a Pi 1 or Pi Zero, the Pi will not boot.) If you don't use this option, the desktop does have OpenGL support, but it uses a very slow software renderer, which makes all but the most basic OpenGL applications pretty much unusable. The hardware-accelerated version is much faster, and makes some quite decent OpenGL games playable on the Pi." A full list of changes and more details on the new OpenGL driver can be found in the project's announcement.
* * * * *
WebKit is an open source web browser engine which is used in many applications, including the Chromium web browser and the Evolution e-mail client. Earlier this month, GNOME developer Michael Catanzaro posted a detailed report on the WebKit packages available in most Linux distributions and why he believes they are not properly patched against security vulnerabilities. "Historically, WebKitGTK+ has not had security updates. Of course, we released updates with security fixes, but not with CVE identifiers, which is how software developers track security issues; as far as distributors are concerned, without a CVE identifier, there is no security issue, and so, with a few exceptions, distributions did not release our updates to users. For many applications, this is not so bad, but for high-risk applications like web browsers and e-mail clients, it's a huge problem." Catanzaro also points out Debian is unique in that the project has a public policy regarding WebKit-based web browsers which states, "Browsers built upon the WebKit, QtWebKit and KHTML engines are included in Jessie, but not covered by security support. These browsers should not be used against untrusted websites." (Debian's Chromium package, while based on WebKit, is an exception and receives security updates.) Catanzaro goes on to explore how distributions such as Fedora, Arch Linux, Debian and Ubuntu handle WebKit updates and the benefits and drawbacks to each approach.
* * * * *
The LinuxUser website has an interview with Solus project founder Ikey Doherty. The interview talks about Doherty's past projects, his goals with regards to the Solus project and the powerful features planned for Solus 2. Of the design of his distribution's Budgie desktop environment, Doherty said: "I want something that's pretty, but functional so I can just get on with my job while the operating system gets out of my way. At the end of the day, the only purpose of an operating system is enabling me to safely and easily use my software. The problem with too many distros and too many desktops is that they try and get up in your face: having welcome screens, first-run tours, `Look at our massive software centre that takes eight minutes to load'. Not interested in all that. I just want something that gets out of the way."
Doherty said the next major version of Solus will make some interesting changes which will set it apart from other Linux distributions: "With Solus 2, package management will only be a build tool - the end operating system that you get will not have a package manager. We will be completely separating the operating system itself from the apps, so your operating system itself will be updated in one atomic operation. The advantages you're going to have there are that if you're using a particular GTK version - say, for the Budgie desktop - you're going to be having your own version if necessary for your apps. An update to the apps will not affect the operating system, and an update to the operating system should definitely not break the applications, which is the problem that we see in every single Linux distribution out there today." The rest of the interview can be found on the LinuxUser website.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Hardware that respects user freedom
Seeking-free-hardware asks: There are lots of free software solutions available to us Linux users, but so much hardware requires proprietary blobs. Where can I find hardware that supports user freedom the same way free software does?
There are a few resources for people who want to find hardware that respects user freedom the same way free software does. The Free Software Foundation, a champion of software freedom, also certifies hardware that respects user freedom. Their website explains why certifying hardware that respects user freedom is important: "The `Respects Your Freedom' computer hardware product certification program encourages the creation and sale of hardware that will do as much as possible to respect your freedom and your privacy, and will ensure that you have control over your device." In 2015, the Free Software foundation (FSF) certified just six new devices which they found respected the rights and privacy of users.
The full list of FSF certified hardware can be found on the Foundation's website. Several of the items are sold by Think Penguin which tests and sells computer equipment, including laptops and desktop computers, that respect user freedom.
Another valuable resource for finding hardware that respects user freedom is h-node. The h-node website maintains a database of hardware devices which respect user freedom. The h-node database tends to focus on individual pieces of hardware rather than end-user products such as laptops and workstation computers.
* * * * *
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: 163
- Total data uploaded: 28.9TB
|Released Last Week
Simon Long has announced the release of Raspbian 2016-02-03, the latest version of the project's Debian-based distribution for the ever so popular Raspberry Pi computer: "Some of you may have spotted that there is a new Raspbian release available for download. For most people, this is primarily about updates and bug fixes - but there's one exciting new feature that might be of interest to some people. ... In this release we are shipping an experimental OpenGL driver for the desktop which uses the GPU to provide hardware acceleration. This is turned off by default - if you want to enable it, you can find it in the command-line version of raspi-config, under Advanced Options, GL Driver. Due to memory requirements, this will not work on Pi 1 or Pi Zero boards - it is solely for Pi 2. If you don't use this option, the desktop does have OpenGL support, but it uses a very slow software renderer, which makes all but the most basic OpenGL applications pretty much unusable. The hardware-accelerated version is much faster, and makes some quite decent OpenGL games playable on the Pi. " Continue to the release announcement for more details.
RebeccaBlackOS is a distribution which provides live media that showcases Wayland running various desktop environments. The latest release of RebeccaBlackOS, version 2016-02-08, includes a number of changes. The Ubiquity system installer has been replaced by Calamares. The KDE Plasma desktop is now a session option and runs on top of Wayland. The Linux kernel has been updated to version 4.3. "ISOs are now EFI bootable, (both the 32-bit and 64-bit ISOs). For booting on Macs, you may need rEFInd. This has not been tested on Macs. EFI booting has only been tested on QEMU and TianoCore, and also VirtualBox. To comply with Canonical's new licensing requirements for Ubuntu, Ubuntu is no longer the base tier 1 distribution providing core packages. Debian Testing is now used for tier 1 packages. Casper and Lupin from Ubuntu are pulled in from BZR, which allow Debian Testing ISOs to be bootable, when generated with Remastersys." A full list of changes can be found in the project's release notes.
RebeccaBlackOS 2016-02-08 -- Running a Wayland-powered desktop environment
(full image size: 942kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
Parsix GNU/Linux 8.5r0
Alan Baghumian has announced the launch of a new stable version of the Parsix GNU/Linux distribution. Parsix GNU/Linux is based on Debian Stable and features a number of extra desktop features and optimizations. The new release, version 8.5r0, ships with GNOME Shell 3.18, version 4.1.17 of the Linux kernel and the BFS kernel scheduler which offers improved responsiveness on the desktop. "Parsix GNU/Linux 8.5 (code name Atticus) ships with the stable GNOME 3.18 desktop environment and an updated kernel. This version has been synchronized with Debian Jessie repositories as of February 13, 2016. Parsix Atticus ships with GNOME 3.18 and LibreOffice 4.3.3 productivity suit by default. Highlights: GNOME Shell 3.18.3, GRUB 2, GNU Iceweasel (Firefox) 44.0, GParted 0.19.0, Empathy 3.12.11, LibreOffice 4.3.3, VirtualBox 4.3.36 and a kernel based on Linux 4.1.17 with TuxOnIce 3.3, BFS and other extra patches. Live DVD has been compressed using SquashFS and XZ." Further information can be found in the project's release notes.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Customizing the desktop
Some computer users never customize their desktops. The icons, wallpaper and theme are just part of the tool they are using and they do not spend time trying to alter them. Others like to have their desktops arranged in a specific way, arranging the panels, theme and short-cuts to suit their preferences.
This week we would like to know if you prefer to customize your desktop or keep the defaults. Let us know what customization steps you like to perform in the comments.
You can see the results of our previous poll on using swap space here. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Customizing the desktop
|I keep the desktop defaults: ||154 (8%)|
| I perform a little customization on each machine: ||941 (47%)|
| I perform a lot of customization on each machine: ||652 (33%)|
| I transfer the same custom settings to each new system: ||249 (12%)|
Distributions added to the database
BSD Router Project
BSD Router Project (BSDRP) is an embedded free and open source router distribution based on FreeBSD with Quagga and Bird. Unlike other embedded networking tools, BSDRP focuses exclusively on routing packets and not on advanced firewall techniques. Additional functionality can be added to the operating system via FreeBSD's ports collection.
Guix System Distribution
Guix System Distribution (GuixSD) is a Linux-based, stateless operating system that is built around the GNU Guix package manager. The operating system provides advanced package management features such as transactional upgrades and roll-backs, reproducible build environments, unprivileged package management, and per-user profiles. It uses low-level mechanisms from the Nix package manager, but packages are defined as native Guile modules, using extensions to the Scheme language.
* * * * *
Distributions added to waiting list
- Pragmatic Linux. Pragmatic Linux is an Arch-based, lightweight distribution.
- AscendOS. AscendOS is a user-friendly desktop distribution based on Linux Mint. It features desktop elements from the Me-OS project.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 22 February 2016. To contact the authors please send e-mail to:
- Jesse Smith (feedback, questions and suggestions: distribution reviews/submissions, questions and answers, tips and tricks)
- Ladislav Bodnar (feedback, questions, donations, 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 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|
|• 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|
|• Full list of all issues|
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ZerahStar Zesktop was a research and development project of ZerahStar, a Singapore-based Linux company. Its goal was to achieve a totally automated computing system that was capable of maintaining and fixing itself without any need for human intervention. Other possible features would include a highly portable and virus-free environment. Zesktop was still a project and concept under development; currently, only a simple, Gentoo-based live desktop CD exists.