| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 664, 6 June 2016
Welcome to this year's 23rd issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
One positive aspect of free and open source software is that it allows developers to focus on the features they deem most important. This gives rise to operating systems which strive to be fast, or cutting edge or unusually secure. This week we explore projects with different areas of focus, beginning with a review of Sabayon. The Sabayon distribution uses a rolling release model and provides a diverse range of editions and we cover the details of this project in our Feature Story. In our News section we discuss Debian updating its media and FreeBSD gaining a feature which will help administrators manage ZFS storage. We also talk about how Qubes strives to be secure, even during the build process, and we share a new learning resource for Linux newcomers. We also share an opinion piece on the cost of developing free software and this topic extends to our weekly Opinion Poll. Plus we share the distribution releases of the past week and provide a list of torrents we are seeding. This week we are happy to donate to the Slackware Live Edition project which offers users a live desktop disc for running demos of Slackware. This past weekend we enabled IPv6 connections to DistroWatch and we hope you will help us test the new feature. Finally, we are pleased to welcome the Devuan GNU+Linux project to our database of distributions. We wish you all a pleasant week and happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (33MB) and MP3 (47MB) formats
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Sabayon is a Linux distribution that is based on Gentoo. Sabayon takes on some of the characteristics of its parent, providing users with a rolling release distribution that can make use of both binary and source software packages. Recent snapshots of Sabayon offer support for computers running on 64-bit x86 processors along with Raspberry Pi 2 & 3 computers. Perhaps the biggest new feature of Sabayon though is the launch of Sabayon Community Repositories (SCR). These new repositories provide a way for community members to build and distribute software for Sabayon without the necessity of getting their software into Sabayon's official repositories.
There are seven editions of Sabayon, including the builds for Raspberry Pi computers. There are several desktop editions, a Server edition and a small Minimal edition. I decided to begin my trial with Sabayon's KDE edition which is a 2.7GB download. Booting from the distribution's media brings up a menu asking if we would like to run Sabayon's live desktop, perform an installation, boot to a text console, check the installation media for defects or perform a memory check. Taking the live desktop option loads the KDE desktop. The wallpaper shows a gravel road passing through farmland while a moon rises with the Sabayon logo on it. Icons on the desktop invite us to donate to the distribution, get on-line help and launch the system installer. At the bottom of the display we find the application menu, a task switcher and the system tray.
I found clicking the on-line help icon would open the Chrome web browser and bring me to a page where I could sign into a Sabayon chat room. Clicking the icon for the system installer would launch Calamares, a distribution-independent installer.
Calamares is a graphical system installer that begins by asking us to select our preferred language. On this initial screen we find buttons that link us to the Sabayon FAQ page and the distribution's release notes. These pages open in the Chrome web browser. When Chrome is launched from the Calamares installer it displays a warning letting us know the browser is being run as the root user and cautions us against doing this. The next few pages of the Calamares installer get us to select our time zone from a map of the world and select our keyboard's layout from a list. The partitioning section comes next and we can choose to either manually divide up our hard drive or wipe the disk and allow the installer to set up its own partitions. I quite like how Calamares handles manual partitioning. The disk partitioning screen is easy to navigate, responds quickly and gives us the chance to work with ext2/3/4, JFS, XFS and Reiser file systems. The disk partitioning screen also gives us the chance to decide where to place the boot loader, or to skip installing the GRUB boot loader altogether. The final step gets us to create a user account for ourselves. By default I noticed the user creation screen assumes we want to be able to log into Sabayon without providing a password, but we can click a box to disable this feature. The installer then sets up Sabayon on our disk and concludes by giving us the chance to reboot the computer or return to the live desktop environment.
I ran into a problem when I rebooted the computer and tried to explore my new copy of Sabayon. The system would boot, display a graphical splash screen for a few seconds and then switch to a text console with a login prompt. Switching to other terminals all showed the same text screen, there was no graphical login screen. I could sign into my user account and run startx to access a minimal graphical environment (the TWM window manager) which would display three virtual terminals and nothing else. This was clearly not the experience I was expecting and I did some poking through settings and log files.
I found that systemd (Sabayon's init software) was set up to boot to a graphical environment and, from my tests with startx and the live disc I knew my video card was supported. I believe the issue which caused the lack of graphical interface came from a configuration problem with the display manager services. Sabayon's KDE edition ships with three display managers (SDDM, LightDM and XDM). The SDDM service, when launched, would fail with the error "Two services allocated for the same bus name." LightDM would simply fail to start. The XDM software would run and launch a graphical login screen, but any attempt to login would immediately fail and return me to the XDM login screen.
At this point I gave up playing with Sabayon's KDE edition and downloaded the project's MATE media to see how the experience would compare. I found the MATE media was a lot smaller than Sabayon's KDE download. The KDE ISO is 2.7GB in size while MATE's is approximately 1.8GB.
Sabayon 16.05 -- MATE's Applications menu
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Despite the large difference in the size of the two editions, exploring the two installation discs provided nearly identical experiences. The MATE edition provides us with a similar desktop theme, similar controls and the same system installer. When I finished installing the MATE edition and rebooted I was brought to a graphical login screen. Signing into my account brought up the MATE 1.10.2 desktop environment. MATE provides us with two panels, one at the top of the screen and the other at the bottom. The top panel features the system tray and the Applications, Places and System menus. The bottom panel provides us with a task switcher.
Shortly after I got signed into MATE for the first time, a notification appeared by the system tray telling me all of my software was up to date and there were no packages to upgrade. This struck me as odd since I installed Sabayon 16.05 several weeks after it was released. Clicking on the update icon in the system tray gives us the option of opening the distribution's package manager. When I opened the package manager there was a warning at the top of the window letting me know my repository information was out of date. This message was replaced after a few seconds with two new messages. The first reported there were 30 updates available in Sabayon's repositories. Buttons in the message window gave me the options: Show, Update, Ignore and "srsly ignore". The Show option shows a list of available updates, with the version and size of each new package. We can click on specific packages to update them one-by-one or click the aforementioned Update button to grab all new software updates.
The second note that appeared in the software manager reported there was important news I should read on the Sabayon website. Opting to read these messages showed me two news items. The first was from February 2014 and told me OpenRC was no longer a supported init option. The second message, from September 2015, told me the KDM display manager was being replaced with SDDM. Given my experience with the SDDM software and the KDE edition of Sabayon, I'm not sure the switch was a beneficial one.
Sabayon 16.05 -- Installing updated packages with Rigo
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The software manager, which is called Rigo, not only installs software updates, it can be used to perform a wide range of tasks. Rigo's top level menu provides access to tools which help us browse alternative versions of Linux kernels, refresh our repository information, show installed applications and manage repositories. We can also browse categories of software to install. Each category displays a list of available software in alphabetical order and clicking an item gives us the option of installing it or bringing up a description of the software. I generally found Rigo worked well and I had no trouble installing and removing packages.
I had hoped Rigo would allow me to access the Sabayon Community Repositories (SCR), but this was not an option. I did some looking around the SCR website and found a tutorial for accessing the software in the SCR. At this point, the process for enabling the SCR on Sabayon is unusually long and requires adding a separate repository manager (called enman). I did walk through the process of adding one community repository (as the name implies, SCR is a collection of repositories rather than one unified collection of third-party software). I was able to install software from the repository and get it running. This requires a little command line work, but the steps required to install each package are clearly explained on the SCR website.
Sabayon 16.05 -- Installing new software packages with Rigo
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Sabayon ships with lots of useful software. Looking through MATE's application menu I found the Chrome web browser, the HexChat IRC software and the Transmission bittorrent client. LibreOffice and the Gnumeric spreadsheet application are included. The Atril document viewer, MATE Dictionary and Eye of MATE image viewer are featured too. Digging further we find a calculator, archive manager and the Pluma text editor. The Audacious music player and the VLC multimedia player are included. The mpv player is included too and Sabayon ships with a full range of media codecs. The MATE edition of the distribution provides us with plenty of tools for adjusting the look and behaviour of the desktop environment. We can also make use of the Caja file manager and a system monitor. Network Manager is available to help us get on-line. Sabayon ships with the Clang compiler, Java and systemd 226. In the background we find version 4.5 of the Linux kernel. Sabayon uses a rolling release model so version numbers will trend upward over time.
Sabayon 16.05 -- The MATE Control Centre
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While exploring the distribution I noted a few things I feel worth mentioning. One is that the application menu features entries offering to take us to key pages of Sabayon's website. This makes finding documentation and support a bit easier. I found that applications were listed in the application menu by name rather than by function. At first it seemed like no description was available for the various applications, but I found hovering my mouse over menu entries would provide an explanation of what the software did. I like this feature as otherwise new users are unlikely to know what Caja or Audacious are.
One feature I disliked was that the Chrome browser prompted for a key-ring password every time it launched. This is a semi-common feature across distributions and one I would like to see disabled.
At one point I went into the settings panel to set up my printer and found there was no Printer module. A search through the Applications menu did turn up a Manage Printers entry (it's under the System sub-menu). Clicking this module opened my web browser to a local web-based CUPS interface. This method of managing printers is a good deal more complex than the usual graphical CUPS printer manager. Unfortunately, I was unable to locate the appropriate printer with the web-based interface while the native CUPS module usually locates any nearby printers automatically.
Sabayon 16.05 -- Running various desktop applications
(full image size: 534kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
I tried running Sabayon in two test environments. I began with VirtualBox and found Sabayon worked well in the virtual environment. When running in VirtualBox, Sabayon performed smoothly, the distribution was able to automatically integrate into the virtual environment and make use of my screen's full resolution. When running on my desktop test machine Sabayon got off to a good start. A network connection was set up automatically and my display was set to its maximum resolution. I did run into one problem when running Sabayon on the desktop computer. I found when playing videos on YouTube in the Chrome web browser the video was not visible. I could hear the audio playing, but the video box remained blank. One quirk of the distribution was that, in either environment, Sabayon muted audio by default. I actually like this feature as it avoids the unexpected blast of sound some distributions play when the user logs in.
In both test environments, Sabayon's MATE edition used approximately 270MB of memory. The distribution tended to be a little slow when booting, but once the system was up and running, desktop performance was solid.
Sabayon is a distribution which tends to do a lot of interesting things and it does enough things differently to keep me intrigued. The rolling-release, hybrid source/binary approach is something I find unusual enough to keep me coming back, for example. Sabayon has an unusual software manager, Rigo, which works pretty well and I like that it provides news headlines along with software updates. Sabayon offers lots of different editions, giving just about everyone something they like.
I was enthusiastic this time around to explore the SCR. This community effort seems to be in its early stages and I think there should be an easier (or automated) way to enable community repositories. Despite the configuration steps required, the SCR will provide a wider ranger of software to Sabayon's users and I think it's a welcome feature.
The problem I tend to have with Sabayon (both in the past and again this week) is the project feels like it has been stretched too thin. There are lots of interesting ideas and a huge selection of options to be had, but I feel the quality of the features suffer. Being unable to get a desktop environment running on the KDE edition was the strongest example. Little glitches in the package manager, which kept showing me "news" from years ago, were another. The patchy printer support was something most users probably will not be able to navigate on their own.
All in all, I think Sabayon is doing good things and I think the distribution will appeal to people who like rolling releases. There are a few rough spots in the distribution, but I think working through those is generally worth the experience Sabayon offers.
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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)
Debian releases updated media, FreeBSD adds ZFS daemon, Qubes explains security practises and a new educational resource
The Debian project has released updated media for both Debian 7 "Wheezy" and Debian 8 "Jessie". The new installation images are not distinct versions of Debian, but provide security updates and fixes to the existing versions. "The Debian project is pleased to announce the fifth update of its stable distribution Debian 8 (codename Jessie). This update mainly adds corrections for security problems to the stable release, along with a few adjustments for serious problems. Security advisories were already published separately and are referenced where available. Please note that this update does not constitute a new version of Debian 8 but only updates some of the packages included. There is no need to throw away old Jessie CDs or DVDs but only to update via an up-to-date Debian mirror after an installation, to cause any out of date packages to be updated."
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The FreeBSD operating system has gained a new feature to improve disk handling and manage faults in ZFS storage pools. The new feature is provided by the ZFS fault management daemon (zfsd) and should be included in the upcoming release of FreeBSD 11.0. The zfsd service "Deals with hard drive faults in ZFS pools. It manages hot spares and replacements in drive slots that publish physical paths." The new service is not managed directly, but rather operates automatically based on a pre-set configuration provided by the system administrator.
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Most of us tend to consider the security of the packages we run. We want to make sure they come from trusted sources, such as a distribution's repository, and that the software is up to date. Few of us pause to consider whether the server which originally built the software, or the developer's computer where the source code was written, might be compromised. Joanna Rutkowska of the Qubes OS project does think about such avenues of attack and has written about the steps Qubes takes to keep their build processes secure. One example of the measures the Qubes project takes involves not trusting remote servers: "We have always built all the official Qubes packages and ISO images on our private computers, i.e. ones whose physical security we can reasonably guarantee. This is because we have always assumed all external infrastructure (aka 'the cloud') to be untrusted. Indeed, because datacenter personnel can always (stealthily) read/write the memory of systems or VMs running in their datacenters, allowing the build process to run there would always make it possible for external parties to either tamper with the build process and/or steal the release signing keys, if these were also uploaded, as many projects do."
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Learning a new operating system can be difficult. Everyone, at some point, needs to start with the basics and learn how the system works. In an effort to help Linux newcomers, a new website has been created which teaches people what Linux is, how to use it, how to work with packages and how to use the command line. The website, called Linux Journey, takes an on-line classroom approach to learning, providing exercises the reader can try and questions which test knowledge. For people who are new to Linux or who wish to brush up on a specific topic, Linux Journey is well worth a look.
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Opinion (by Jesse Smith)
The cost of free software
In early May, a blog post appeared on the Slax website which read: "Build server machine (where Slax modules are compiled) is down since I'm reducing costs. From now on, I will be running the module builds only locally in virtual machine, occasionally, manually, few times per week."
The change from using a dedicated build server to running builds in a virtual machine probably will not change much for Slax users, but the post does highlight a common thread I have been seeing in recent years. Many open source projects are regularly in need of funding. Back in 2009, the OpenBSD project reported it was in "dire need" of infrastructure upgrades and needed funds. This call for donations was echoed by the OpenBSD team again around the end of 2013 which resulted in a lot of public attention and, ultimately, more money flowing into the project. More recently, the HardenedBSD project has asked for help maintaining the infrastructure of the security-oriented project. Last year the NTPD project, a critical piece of software for most Internet-connected computers, was almost abandoned due to a lack of funding. The previous year, OpenSSL's Heartbleed bug highlighted how little support the critical security software had been receiving from its many users.
I could go on, the open source graveyard is littered with tombstones (or final blog posts) which indicate projects were ultimately discontinued due to a lack of funding. And I believe this highlights an important blind spot in the open source community: We tend to assume that because these projects give away their software without cost, the software can also be developed without cost. This is simply not the case.
Small projects can sometimes be created and maintained in a person's spare time and hosted on free services such as SourceForge, but any non-trivial project requires a heavy investment in time and, often, money. Domain names, download servers, computer equipment, even the electricity to run a developer's workstation ultimately requires funding. In the end, the creators of successful open source projects often end up paying the costs of developing and giving away their software for free. This means other, less expensive commitments tend to take priority over their open source projects.
In fact, while writing my first draft of this column, the Webconverger project posted the following message on their website: "Webconverger will always be open source, meaning you can check out the source code and fork Webconverger. Unconfigured it's still the best operating system to surf privately in my opinion. But there is no such thing as free of cost software. Since 2007 I've been working on Webconverger, mostly part time alongside my full time employment. However my circumstances have changed, I have a newborn sucking up all my spare time and I need this to be full time and enough to meet a Singaporean Employment Pass."
As a result of these "real life" changes, the Webconverger distribution now charges for installations that are configured. The software can still be downloaded for free and the source code is still available, but to get the most out of Webconverger now requires a payment. A similar message was posted later the same day by the lead developer of Pinguy OS: "Thinking about killing off Pinguy OS. It is costing me more to run than I get from the project. The project is a sink hole. For the last 12 months I have been personally financing the project to keep it afloat. The project isn't self-financing anymore."
Another example comes in the wake of the release of gNewSense 4.0, which is based on Debian 7. Debian 7 "Wheezy" is a few years old now and transitioned from full security support to limited long term support just before gNewSense 4.0 was released. This raised some security concerns on the gNewSense mailing list, to which gNewSense's lead developer, Sam Geeraerts, replied: "I agree that gNewSense lags too much. I do my best to keep it going while finding a balance with other commitments. I want to get started on version 5 as soon as possible. I'll gladly accept offers for help and I'm happy to mentor new volunteers."
The unfortunate truth is, most software developers need to work other jobs in order to develop software they give away for free. Donations and volunteers can help reduce the cost of an open source project, but it is rare to find an open source project that actually makes more money in donations or sales than it costs to maintain the software.
Some people will, perhaps correctly, point out that open source software projects that cannot raise funds are simply being rejected by the market. Projects that are worthwhile and valuable will gain funding while projects people do not value will not receive donations due to a digital form of natural selection. I believe there is some truth to that. Many Linux distributions ask for donations, but chances are only the more popular ones will be able to attract enough users to support their infrastructure.
However, I also think relying on popularity for funding means critical, behind-the-scenes software will never be funded. While many of us directly use our web browser or media player, most of us do not work directly with OpenSSL, the network time protocol or our operating system's C library. Yet these are critical pieces of our operating system and we need them to work properly, ideally even securely. Someone, perhaps several someones, are needed to maintain these projects, patch their security flaws and keep them up to date with changing dependencies. Those people need support if we, the community, are going to reap the benefits of their hard work.
Luckily, the open source community seems to be waking up to the fact that critical pieces of infrastructure need to be actively maintained and funded. The Core Infrastructure Initiative was created by many organizations which rely on and recognize the importance of a healthy open source ecosystem. This is a step in the right direction, but it is still rare to find open source projects and distributions which are successfully supported by their users. At the same time, it is all too common to see project's like Slax get scaled back due to expenses.
I think it is wonderful we live in a world in which people tinker with software they find interesting and I think it is even better that people are so willing to give away their creations for free. Open source software, given away freely, is a gift. Unfortunately, I think it is a gift that we, as a community, are taking for granted. I hope, in the future, we see fewer projects being shut down due to a lack of funds and more projects thriving with the support of their users.
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: 200
- Total data uploaded: 36.8TB
|Released Last Week
Porteus Kiosk 4.0.0
Tomasz Jokiel has announced the release of Porteus Kiosk 4.0.0, a major new release of the project's Gentoo-based distribution of Linux designed for web kiosks. The biggest change is a switch to the x86_64 architecture following Google's decision to drop support for the 32-bit Chrome browser on the Linux platform: "I'm pleased to announce that Porteus Kiosk 4.0.0 is now available for download. The Linux kernel has been updated to version 4.4.11, Mozilla Firefox to version 45.1.1 ESR and Google Chrome to version 50.0.2661.102. Packages from the userland are upgraded to the Portage snapshot tagged on 20160528. Here is an overview of the most notable features introduced in this release: added support for setting default microphone in case you have multiple capture devices in the system; it's now possible to download screensaver slideshow ZIP archive every X minutes; import certificates function has been extended to also support Citrix Receiver certificates...." Read the release announcement and the changelog for further information.
Clonezilla Live 2.4.6-25
Steven Shiau has announced the release of a new version of the Clonezilla Live disk cloning software. The new release, Clonezilla Live 2.4.6-25, is based on Debian's Unstable (Sid) branch and features version 4.5.4 of the Linux kernel. "This release of Clonezilla Live (2.4.6-25) includes minor enhancements and bug fixes. Enhancements and changes: The underlying GNU/Linux operating system was upgraded. This release is based on the Debian Sid repository (as of 2016/May/29).Linux kernel was updated to 4.5.4-1. Partclone was updated to 0.2.88. Some segfault issues have been fixed. Add support for boot parameter ocs_preload*. It can be used to fetch tarall/zip/sh files from http(s), ftp, tftp, and local URL then extract to /opt/. Thanks to Aaron Burling (aaron_burling _at_ lkstevens wednet edu) for this idea and providing sample codes. Add package dos2unix..." A full list of changes and bug fixes can be found in the release announcement.
Linux Lite 3.0
Jerry Bezencon has announced the availability of a new release of Linux Lite, a lightweight distribution based on Ubuntu. The new version, Linux Lite 3.0, features a number of significant changes, including an overhaul of the graphical software manager. "Linux Lite 3.0 Final is now available for download. A lot has changed since Series 2. We have a new Login Manager, new boot theme, Lite Software has had an overhaul, new system theme (Arc), we've added Share Hardware Configuration (Lite Info), Folder access from the menu and upgrades are now automated and seamless in Series 3. In addition, there has been a lot of bug fixes and adjustments since the Beta release, thanks again for your feedback. Default Wallpaper - the default Final wallpaper represents the colors of our gem codename - Citrine accompanied by the Linux Lite logo. Lite Software - Lite Software has had an overhaul. We've added icons where there were Select boxes (thank you Misko). This helps people who identify with images and branding to easily locate their favorite software. You can select multiple programs to install by holding down Ctrl or Shift. We've also added Audacity (audio editor), Calibre (eBook reader and manager) and Pinta (Windows Paint.Net look-a-like) thanks to your suggestions." Additional details and several screen shots can be found in the project's release announcement.
Linux Lite 3.0 -- The default desktop environment
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Alpine Linux 3.4.0
Natanael Copa has announced the launch of Alpine Linux 3.4.0. Alpine Linux is a lightweight distribution which uses the musl C library and the BusyBox userland utilities. The latest version of the distribution supplies users with version 1.14 of the MATE desktop and version 4.4 of the Linux kernel along with LibreOffice 5.1. "Noteworthy changes when upgrading: The PHP packages got renamed from php to php5. The service cron got renamed to crond. BusyBox ping now use unprivileged ICMP sockets so binary does not need to be suid root. This means you need to be in group with gid 999-59999 for being allowed to send pings. Most ruby-* packages were removed. Use gem instead." The release announcement has further details.
Melody Zou has announced the release of deepin 15.2, an updated version of the desktop-oriented, Debian-based distribution with a custom desktop environment called Deepin. This version delivers a new screen for launching applications and many updated packages, including the latest LTS Linux kernel: "deepin 15.2 adopts a new Launcher interface and intuitive search, adds safe boot support, and uses the 4.4 LTS kernel optimized and compiled by the deepin kernel team. System performance and resource allocation have been significantly improved. Also, this version comes pre-installed with the more stable CrossOver 15. The Launcher interface is more friendly and the search box is placed at the top of Launcher. The classification of applications is simple and clear and users can customize icon locations using the free sorting mode. Remote Assistance is an independent application now, deeply integrated with the distribution. No matter where you are, your friends or engineers can connect to your PC and to solve the problems you've encountered." Here is the full release announcement with screenshots.
Slackel 6.0.6 "Openbox"
Dimitris Tzemos has announced the release of Slackel 6.0.6 "Openbox" edition, a new version of the project's lightweight Slackware and Salix-based distribution that is available both as a live or an installation image: "Slackel 6.0.6 Openbox has been released. Slackel is based on Slackware and Salix. It includes the Linux kernel 4.4.11 and the latest updates from Slackware's 'Current' tree. The 64-bit ISO image supports booting on UEFI systems. The 32-bit flavor supports both i686 PAE SMP and i486, non-PAE capable systems. Many improvements in Slackel-live-installer have been done. In 'Basic' installation, wicd is fully functional as is PCManFM in browsing network shares. Full multimedia support without having to install multimedia codecs while on live environment. Of course it is suggested that you install multimedia codecs to your system after installation. Slackel 6.0.6 Openbox includes the Midori 0.5.11 web browser, Claws-Mail 3.9.2, SMPlayer 16.4.0, Transmission 2.84...." Visit the distribution's user forum to read the release announcement (includes videos).
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
How can open source projects best raise funds?
As we mentioned in our Opinion column this week, open source projects such as Linux distributions, often struggle to raise funds to support development. This tends to be a common problem for all community projects and results in many open source projects being discontinued.
This week we would like to know what you think is the best way for open source projects to raise money to support their development and infrastructure. Do you think fundraising campaigns via Kickstarter make sense, or perhaps offering commercial support options? Should developers offer multiple editions under different licenses to encourage the purchase of commercial options? Please leave us a comment with your thoughts on the subject.
You can see the results of our previous poll on hardware support life times here. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
How can open source projects best raise funds?
|Fundraising campaigns (Kickstarter or Indiegogo): ||200 (18%)|
| Commercial support: ||153 (14%)|
| Commercial/non-free editions: ||96 (9%)|
| More clear/flexible donation options: ||415 (37%)|
| Other: ||45 (4%)|
| I do not know: ||210 (19%)|
IPv6 support and package searches
One of our goals for 2016 was to get IPv6 connections working for the DistroWatch website. The IPv6 protocol is slowly becoming more popular and we suspect support for IPv6 will be necessary for many developing areas around the world. We are pleased to announce IPv6 is now enabled and working. If you have access to an IPv6 Internet connection, please let us know if you run into any problems accessing DistroWatch.com.
We have also improved our Search page a bit. Searches for distributions which include a specific package should now take half the time they did before. Some other minor changes have been performed with regard to package searches. For example, it is now possible to not only search for a distribution which includes a specific version of a package, it is also possible to search for a distribution which excludes a specific version of a package. As an example, let's say we really wanted the latest version of VLC (currently version 2.2.3). We can search for distributions which include VLC 2.2.3. But then what if we found out there was a hypothetical bug in VLC 2.2.3 and we wanted to use any version besides 2.2.3? We can search for distributions which do do not ship VLC 2.2.3 as well. Alternatively, we could search for distributions which include earlier releases, like the VLC 2.1.x series.
* * * * *
May 2016 DistroWatch.com donation: Slackware Live Edition
We are pleased to announce the recipient of the May 2016 DistroWatch.com donation is Slackware Live Edition (liveslak). The project receives US$406.00 in cash.
The Slackware Live Edition project attempts to provide a live disc which can be booted to demonstrate Slackware, the oldest surviving Linux distribution. The project's website describes the project as follows: "Slackware Live Edition - It is a version of Slackware (14.2 and newer) that can be booted and run directly from a DVD or a USB stick. It is distributed as an ISO image and meant to be a showcase of what Slackware is about. You get the default install, no customizations, but with all the power. You do not have to install Slackware to your hard disk first to experience it first-hand. The combination of scripts, bitmaps and configurations to generate the ISO images are called project 'liveslak'." Additional details can be found on the project's website.
Launched in 2004, this monthly donations programme is a DistroWatch initiative to support free and open-source software projects and operating systems with cash contributions. Readers are welcome to nominate their favourite project for future donations. Those readers who wish to contribute towards these donations, please use our advertising page to make a payment (PayPal, credit cards, Yandex Money and crypto currencies are accepted). Here is the list of the projects that have received a DistroWatch donation since the launch of the programme (figures in US dollars):
Since the launch of the Donations Program in March 2004, DistroWatch has made 144 donations for a total of US$45,681 to various open-source software projects.
- 2004: GnuCash ($250), Quanta Plus ($200), PCLinuxOS ($300), The GIMP ($300), Vidalinux ($200), Fluxbox ($200), K3b ($350), Arch Linux ($300), Kile KDE LaTeX Editor ($100) and UNICEF - Tsunami Relief Operation ($340)
- 2005: Vim ($250), AbiWord ($220), BitTorrent ($300), NDISwrapper ($250), Audacity ($250), Debian GNU/Linux ($420), GNOME ($425), Enlightenment ($250), MPlayer ($400), Amarok ($300), KANOTIX ($250) and Cacti ($375)
- 2006: Gambas ($250), Krusader ($250), FreeBSD Foundation ($450), GParted ($360), Doxygen ($260), LilyPond ($250), Lua ($250), Gentoo Linux ($500), Blender ($500), Puppy Linux ($350), Inkscape ($350), Cape Linux Users Group ($130), Mandriva Linux ($405, a Powerpack competition), Digikam ($408) and Sabayon Linux ($450)
- 2007: GQview ($250), Kaffeine ($250), sidux ($350), CentOS ($400), LyX ($350), VectorLinux ($350), KTorrent ($400), FreeNAS ($350), lighttpd ($400), Damn Small Linux ($350), NimbleX ($450), MEPIS Linux ($300), Zenwalk Linux ($300)
- 2008: VLC ($350), Frugalware Linux ($340), cURL ($300), GSPCA ($400), FileZilla ($400), MythDora ($500), Linux Mint ($400), Parsix GNU/Linux ($300), Miro ($300), GoblinX ($250), Dillo ($150), LXDE ($250)
- 2009: Openbox ($250), Wolvix GNU/Linux ($200), smxi ($200), Python ($300), SliTaz GNU/Linux ($200), LiVES ($300), Osmo ($300), LMMS ($250), KompoZer ($360), OpenSSH ($350), Parted Magic ($350) and Krita ($285)
- 2010: Qimo 4 Kids ($250), Squid ($250), Libre Graphics Meeting ($300), Bacula ($250), FileZilla ($300), GCompris ($352), Xiph.org ($250), Clonezilla ($250), Debian Multimedia ($280), Geany ($300), Mageia ($470), gtkpod ($300)
- 2011: CGSecurity ($300), OpenShot ($300), Imagination ($250), Calibre ($300), RIPLinuX ($300), Midori ($310), vsftpd ($300), OpenShot ($350), Trinity Desktop Environment ($300), LibreCAD ($300), LiVES ($300), Transmission ($250)
- 2012: GnuPG ($350), ImageMagick ($350), GNU ddrescue ($350), Slackware Linux ($500), MATE ($250), LibreCAD ($250), BleachBit ($350), cherrytree ($260), Zim ($335), nginx ($250), LFTP ($250), Remastersys ($300)
- 2013: MariaDB ($300), Linux From Scratch ($350), GhostBSD ($340), DHCP ($300), DOSBox ($250), awesome ($300), DVDStyler ($280), Tor ($350), Tiny Tiny RSS ($350), FreeType ($300), GNU Octave ($300), Linux Voice ($510)
- 2014: QupZilla ($250), Pitivi ($370), MediaGoblin ($350), TrueCrypt ($300), Krita ($340), SME Server ($350), OpenStreetMap ($350), iTALC ($350), KDE ($400), The Document Foundation ($400), Tails ($350)
- 2015: AWStats ($300), Haiku ($300), Xiph.Org ($300), GIMP ($350), Kodi ($300), Devuan ($300), hdparm ($350), HardenedBSD ($400), TestDisk ($450)
- 2016: KeePass ($400), Slackware Live Edition ($406)
* * * * *
Distributions added to the database
Devuan GNU+Linux is a Linux distribution forked from Debian in 2015. The project's primary goal is to provide a variant of Debian without the complexities and dependencies of systemd, an init system and services manager originally developed by Red Hat and later adopted by most other Linux distributions. Devuan's initial beta release was made available in April 2016, together with an upgrade path from Debian 7.0 "Wheezy" and a possibility to switch to Devuan from Debian 8.0 "Jessie". The distribution adopted Xfce as its default desktop.
Devuan GNU+Linux 1.0.0 Beta -- Running the Xfce desktop
(full image size: 461kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
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Distributions added to waiting list
- KimTu GNU/Linux. KimTu is a general purpose operating system which essentially a fork project Simbios which is derived from Debian.
- Karma Load Balancer. The goals of Karma Load Balancer (KLD) are to provide a community led load balancer that is easy to deploy and is based on the Zen Load Balancer Community Edition. Easy deployment, security and performance are at the heart of the project.
- DebWrt. DebWrt is all about running Debian GNU/Linux on embedded devices, for example wireless routers. DebWrt connects two very powerful technologies: Debian and OpenWrt.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 13 June 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)
- Bruce Patterson (podcast)
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 843 (2019-12-02): Obarun 2019.11.02, Bluestar 5.3.6, using special characters on the command line, Fedora plans to disable empty passwords, FreeBSD's quarterly status report|
|• Issue 842 (2019-11-25): SolydXK 10, System Adminstration Ethics book review, Debian continues init diversity debate, Google upstreaming Android kernel patches|
|• Issue 841 (2019-11-18): Emmabuntus DE3-1.00, changing keys in a keyboard layout, Debian phasing out Python 2 and voting on init diversity, Slackware gets unofficial updated live media|
|• Issue 840 (2019-11-11): Fedora 31, monitoring user activity, Fedora working to improve Python performance, FreeBSD gets faster networking|
|• Issue 839 (2019-11-04): MX 19, manipulating PDFs, Ubuntu plans features for 20.04, Fedora 29 nears EOL, Netrunner drops Manjaro-based edition|
|• Issue 838 (2019-10-28): Xubuntu 19.10, how init and service managers work together, DragonFly BSD provides emergency mode for HAMMER, Xfce team plans 4.16|
|• Issue 837 (2019-10-21): CentOS 8.0-1905, Trident finds a new base, Debian plans firewall changes, 15 years of Fedora, how to merge directories|
|• 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|
|• 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.
|Random Distribution |
LinuxBBQ was a multi-purpose operating system based on Debian's "unstable" branch and spiced up with kernels and tools from siduction, Grml and Linux Mint. LinuxBBQ offers different flavours and desktops which are released as "editions" (with no version numbers) and which can be customised and remixed by the user. The individual editions are built to include most major desktop environments (with the exception of GNOME) and there was a special edition offering a choice of no fewer than 53 window managers - everything from aewm to xmonad.