| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 671, 25 July 2016
Welcome to this year's 30th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Change happens quickly in the world of technology, particularly in the field of open source software where releases and new features arrive frequently. In the fast flowing river of software updates, Slackware stands out as an unusually conservative project. The Slackware distribution stays consistent, rarely changed by fads, introducing new versions infrequently. This week we share a look at Slackware 14.2, the project's latest release. We doubled down on reviews this week, also sharing a look at Point Linux 3.2 from Ivan Sanders. In our News column we discuss OpenBSD removing the operating system's usermount feature and new features available in KaOS. This past week Fedora Magazine reported Fedora 22 has reached the end of its supported life and we link to upgrade instructions below. In our Opinion Poll we look to the past and ask what was your first distribution and how did you first get involved in Linux? Plus we share the torrents we are seeding and provide a list of the distributions released last week. Finally, we are pleased to welcome EasyNAS to our database. We wish you all a fantastic week and happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (26MB) and MP3 (39MB) formats
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
The saga continues with Slackware 14.2
Slackware is the oldest surviving Linux distribution and has been maintained since its birth by Patrick Volkerding. Slackware has a well deserved reputation for being stable, consistent and conservative. Slackware is released when it is ready, rather than on a set schedule, and fans of the distribution praise its no-frills and no-fuss design. Slackware adheres to a "keep it simple" philosophy similar to Arch Linux, in that the operating system does not do a lot of hand holding or automatic configuration. The user is expected to know what they are doing and the operating system generally stays out of the way.
The latest release of Slackware, version 14.2, mostly offers software updates and accompanying hardware support. A few new features offer improved plug-n-play support for removable devices and this release of Slackware ships with the PulseAudio software. PulseAudio has been commonly found in the audio stack of most Linux distributions for several years, but that is a signature of Slackware: adding new features when they are needed, not when they become available. In this case PulseAudio was required as a dependency for another package.
Slackware 14.2 is available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds for the x86 architecture. There is also an ARM build. While the main edition of Slackware is available as an installation disc only, there is a live edition of Slackware where we can explore a Slackware-powered desktop environment without installing the distribution. The live edition can be found on the Alien Base website. Both the live edition and the main installation media are approximately 2.6GB in size. For the purposes of this review I will be focusing on the main, installation-only edition.
Booting from the install media brings us to a text screen where we are invited to type in any required kernel parameters. We can press the Enter key to take the default settings or wait two minutes for the media to continue booting. A text prompt then offers to let us load an alternative keyboard layout or use the default "US" layout. We are then brought to a text console where a brief blurb offers us tips for setting up disk partitions and swap space. The helpful text says we can create partitions and then run the system installer by typing "setup".
On this text screen is a login prompt where we can sign in as the root user without a password. I found Slackware provides us with the fdisk and cfdisk command line partition managers. There is no desktop environment and no graphical partition manager present. After making sure I had two blank partitions set aside, I ran the setup command to begin the installation.
Slackware 14.2 -- Running various desktop applications
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Slackware uses a system installer with a text/ncurses interface. There are many screens and options we can explore. I have nearly two pages of notes on the various functions Slackware's installer provides and I will try to condense them down as best I can. While we can access the screens of the installer in any order we like using a menu, most people will probably want to start at the first item and work their way through sequentially. The installer walks us through selecting our keyboard's layout, setting up and activating a swap partition and selecting a partition to hold Slackware's root file system. Slackware's installer reports to support Btrfs, Reiserfs, XFS and ext2/3/4 file systems. The first time through, I opted to try installing the operating system on Btrfs, but could not get the LILO boot loader to boot Slackware on a Btrfs volume. After that, I stuck to installing Slackware on ext4, which worked well. The installer gets us to select where it can find software packages (CD/DVD, USB drive, local hard drive, network share or FTP/HTTP server). I found that if I went through most of the installer's steps once, selecting the CD/DVD option then the installer would comply. However, if I cancelled the installation and walked through the screens again, the installer would fail to locate the mounted DVD. Exiting the installer (or manually unmounting the DVD) and then re-running setup corrected the issue.
The system installer gets us to select which groups of packages should be installed. There are many, including international language support, the KDE and Xfce desktops, games, the base system, documentation, editors and kernel source code. I decided to install both desktops and most utilities. I omitted international language support and kernel source code. When Slackware has finished installing I had about 9GB of software on my hard drive, more than double what I usually get from installing other distributions.
The installer offers to install the LILO boot loader and gives us all sort of options as to where to place LILO and what kernel parameters to use. We then walk through configuring the network interface, enabling network services (such as CUPS, OpenSSH, Sendmail and network time synchronization). We are then asked to select our time zone from a list and choose a default window manager to use. We create a root password and then we can restart the computer to begin exploring our new copy of Slackware. I installed Slackware 14.2 four times, each instance took about an hour, a little more or less depending on which package groups I opted to install.
Slackware's boot loader, by default, waits for two minutes before starting the distribution. The system then starts up and brings us to a text screen where we can sign into the root user's account. The root account has a few e-mails in its inbox, which we can read by running the mail command. These e-mails explain a bit about Slackware and how to use the system and the package manager utilities.
While signed in as the root user we can create regular user accounts via the adduser command line program. Should we wish to access a desktop environment we can run startx. To get Slackware to boot to a graphical login screen instead of a text-based environment, we can edit the /etc/inittab text file and change the default run level to be the graphical interface. The inittab file is well documented, making this a relatively easy task in any text editor. Starting Slackware in its graphical run level brings us to a graphical login screen where we can sign into a variety of desktops and window managers, including Fluxbox, KDE, Xfce and WindowMaker.
Slackware 14.2 -- The KDE application menu
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While I confirmed the various session options worked, I spent most of my time logged into Slackware's KDE 4.14 desktop environment. The official edition of Slackware sticks to KDE's default settings which, to my eyes, looks a bit washed out. The live edition of Slackware boots to a graphical login screen and offers us a very similar KDE experience. The live edition offers three main differences from the official edition, the first being the live edition has no setup command. It does have an alternative installer called setup2hd which can be run as the root user. The second difference is the live edition features a KDE theme that provides a slightly higher contrast between foreground and background, making text easier to read and icons on the panel easier to see. The third difference I noticed is the live edition runs Network Manager to help us get on-line. The official edition ships with Network Manager, but the service is disabled by default.
I experimented with running Slackware in a VirtualBox virtual machine and on a physical desktop computer. When running on the desktop machine Slackware worked well. My screen was set to its full resolution, networking and sound worked out of the box and the KDE desktop was responsive. I found the distribution used approximately 430MB of memory when logged into the desktop. Slackware worked inside VirtualBox, but was not able to make use of my host computer's full display resolution and the desktop was sometimes sluggish to respond. Slackware does not provide VirtualBox add-on modules and the generic ones provided by the VirtualBox project failed to install on the distribution. I was able to find VirtualBox modules through the SlackBuilds website (more on SlackBuilds later), though installing the modules required hunting down about half a dozen dependencies in Slackware's software repository. In the end, I was able to get Slackware to use the VirtualBox add-ons and use my host's full screen resolution.
Slackware 14.2 -- The KDE System Settings panel
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The applications available to us will vary a great deal depending on which software groups we selected when we installed Slackware. Assuming we selected most of the bundles (as I tended to do) we end up with a massive amount of software, most of it useful, some of it less so, but each category in the application menu is filled. Firefox is included along with popular applications such as Thunderbird, Pidgin and the GNU Image Manipulation Program. I found KPPP was available to help us connect to dial-up networks and the KDE System Settings panel was present to assist us in changing the look and behaviour of the desktop. In fact, with the KDE group of packages installed, just about every application with a "k" in its name is present, from the Kleopatra security utility to the Ark archive manager.
One surprise I found was that Slackware does not include LibreOffice, in its place we find the Calligra productivity suite. LibreOffice (and OpenOffice) are not in the distribution's repositories either. We need to visit a third-party repository, like SlackBuilds, to find a copy of LibreOffice. Adobe's Flash player was not available either and once again we must visit a third-party repository to find it as Slackware does not offer Flash. Multimedia codecs are included though and I found video files would play in Xine and audio files played in the XMMS player. In the background, I found Slackware ships with the SysV init software (version 2.88) and the distribution runs on version 4.4.14 of the Linux kernel.
Looking through Slackware's collection of software I found some programs I rarely see anymore. XMMS for instance does not show up nearly as much these days as it did a decade ago. Likewise, Slackware allows us to install Python 2 (which most projects now consider obsolete), but I could not find a copy of Python 3 in the distribution's repositories. The applications included tended to work well and I experienced no crashes during my trial. I was able to get work done, set up a printer, watch videos, write documents and listen to music without distractions or additional work on my part. PulseAudio was one of the new features of this release and I found it worked smoothly.
Slackware 14.2 -- Installing software with slackpkg
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Should we wish to install additional software or upgrade existing packages there are a few ways we can approach the task. One is the slackpkg command line package manager. To use slackpkg we first need to edit the program's list of mirrors (/etc/slackpkg/mirrors) in a text editor and select which nearby repository mirror we wish to access. The slackpkg program uses a syntax similar to Fedora's dnf or Debian's apt-get. We can use slackpkg to refresh our software information, install or remove packages and perform software upgrades. We can also perform searches for packages using keywords. Occasionally, while performing upgrades, slackpkg paused and asked me if I wanted to overwrite my local configuration file with a new copy. This is not a problem, but worth noting as we may not want to leave slackpkg running unattended.
Slackware, as I have mentioned above, is missing several popular packages in its official repositories. Many users will want to seek additional software through third-party repositories such as SlackBuilds. The SlackBuilds repository acts a lot like a BSD ports tree where we can download scripts which will build packages for us. The SlackBuilds scripts build source code into a package for us which we can then install using the installpkg command. I found the SlackBuilds website to be easy to navigate and the project has useful documentation to help us get started. Unfortunately, scripts provided by SlackBuilds do not handle dependencies. This means any missing software needs to be manually located and installed and this can be a problem, especially if we did not install development tools during the initial setup of the distribution.
My first Linux distribution was a lightweight derivative of Slackware and so in some ways running Slackware in the past has felt like coming home. I may not use Slackware these days as my primary operating system, in fact I have not done so in a decade and a half, but every few years I have enjoyed returning to the distribution. Slackware is consistent, much the same today as it was five years ago, or ten years ago or even fifteen years ago. It is still stable, still stays out of the way, largely unchanged by fad or fancy.
But with each year that goes by, installing Slackware feels less like coming home and more like visiting an old, stone castle. It may be fun to look at, even educational, but not a place where I would want to stay. Getting settled in takes too long and there are no modern conveniences.
In this case, what I mean by that is the software in the official repositories feels out of date, the applications feel more like a wheelbarrow of software was dumped on my desktop rather than selected and integrated. Too many items need to be manually enabled, hunted down in third-party repositories and/or compiled from source code.
My main issue though was the lack of automatic dependency resolution. I know many long-time Slackware fans see dependency resolution as an unwanted feature or will point to tools which can be used to handle dependencies, and that made sense fifteen years ago. When tools like APT and YUM were young, there were package database glitches and extra software was pulled in unnecessarily. But these days package managers have matured a lot and Slackware makes us choose between dependency hell or installing everything up front (around 10GB of packages) to handle any possible dependencies. Neither is an attractive option. I probably spent more time this week hunting down dependencies to make my common applications compile through the third-party SlackBuilds scripts than I have spent fixing mistakes made by dependency-solving Linux package managers in the past ten years.
Slackware fans like to say that if something is not broke, don't fix it and I strongly agree. However, I think spending an afternoon tracking down dependencies one at a time to gain access to programs most distributions ship with by default borders on the definition of broke. On a similar note, I discovered this past week that if I switched slackpkg's configuration a new mirror that was behind my previous mirror (ie out of sync) I could make slackpkg remove my recent updates and install older versions of packages by running slackpkg upgrade-all. This is a potentially dangerous bug that can re-introduce out of date packages.
Putting aside my feelings about package management, I think Slackware 14.2 is a solid release. As usual, not a lot has changed. There are a few new features, which work as advertised, but otherwise Slackware remains the same as always. It is stable, reliable, constant. Fans of Slackware will probably continue to enjoy it, people who don't use Slackware will probably regard it as outdated. Though I have heard a handful of people, upset by the widespread use of systemd, talk about trying out Slackware as the distribution continues to run SysV init.
Slackware may not be attractive to a wide audience. Its lack of configuration tools, graphical package manager and small software collection will put off newcomers. But for people who want a "keep it simple" style of operating system and prefer slow-and-steady over latest-and-greatest, Slackware will appeal.
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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)
OpenBSD disables usermount, KaOS releases significant updates and Fedora 22 reaches its end of life
The ability to mount removable media and encrypted containers is a convenient feature on any operating system, but giving users the ability to attach new storage devices to the system also introduces security holes. The OpenBSD team recently decided to remove the feature which allows non-root users to mount file systems. In the future, users who need to mount file systems will require special permission, possibly through the doas utility. A post on Undeadly reads: "The facility for allowing non-root users to mount file systems has been removed from OpenBSD-current due to security concerns. Specifically, the value of kern.usermount (as described in the mount and sysctl man pages) will be ignored in OpenBSD 6.0, and the kern.usermount system variable will be absent from later releases."
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The KaOS distribution offers its users a rolling release model where updates are regularly made available. The KaOS project has introduced significant new features which are available to new users through a fresh release of the distribution's installation media and to existing users via the pacman package manager. "KaOS is proud to present the 2016.07 ISO. The policy is, once a first pacman -Syu becomes a major update, it is time for a new ISO so new users are not faced with a difficult first update. With all the needed rebuilds for the move to GCC 5, most systems will see 70-80% of their install replaced by new packages so a new ISO is more than due." The project features KDE's Plasma 5.7 desktop, LUKS encryption is available through the system installer and the project has dropped support for Qt version 4. A full list of changes can be found in the project's announcement.
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Fedora Magazine would like to remind all Fedora users that version 22 of the distribution has reached its end of life and no longer receives security updates. People who are still running Fedora 22 are encouraged to upgrade to either Fedora 23 or the recently released Fedora 24. "As of July 19, 2016, Fedora 22 has reached its end of life for updates and support. No more updates, not even security fixes, will be provided for Fedora 22. Fedora 23 will be maintained with updated packages until approximately one month after the release of Fedora 25. Upgrading to Fedora 23 or Fedora 24 is highly recommended for all users still running Fedora 22. For more information on upgrading Fedora, check out the DNF System Upgrade page on the Fedora Project wiki."
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Distribution Review (by Ivan Sanders)
Point Linux 3.2
Point Linux released their newest version, 3.2, in June 2016. Their goal is, "To combine the power of Debian GNU/Linux with the productivity of MATE, the GNOME 2 desktop environment fork. Point Linux provides an easy-to-set-up-and-use distribution for users looking for a fast, stable and predictable desktop."
Point Linux aims to use MATE as their primary desktop environment, but also offers Xfce as an option. The Point Linux website is simple and professional. The download page is full of fresh and very nice options that allow the user to download the exact distro they require to fit their needs. Some of the options include 32- or 64-bit, torrent or direct download, and the location of the download server. I found using the website was effortless and the options available cut down on the download time (by giving the option to torrent or the location of the server) and lowered the install time by giving the consumer options before retrieving the whole file.
The MATE desktop environment (DE) is available in the standard Debian installation media, but the full Debian installer image is 4.7GB, overwhelmingly large, and has too many DE options to make the disc any smaller. This is the small void that Point Linux fills. They provide the MATE desktop environment (or Xfce) and a significantly smaller live OS / installation media. Even when selecting the full featured desktop from the options on their website, the Point Linux installer is only 1.00GB. The "Desktop with core components" option lowers this installation media size further to 772MB.
Point Linux 3.2 -- The MATE Applications menu
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I do not want to make Point Linux into something that it is not. It is Debian with MATE (or Xfce) and not much more. The full featured desktop includes Firefox, Thunderbird, LibreOffice, Pidgin, Remmina, Brasero, VLC, Transmission, non-free multimedia codecs and hardware drivers. The desktop with core components ships with free multimedia codecs and drivers only. The beauty of Linux, and Debian, is that I can usually make it into anything I want to. Debian can have a few more difficulties than Ubuntu when attempting to add software and find things, but that is because the developers at Debian maintain stability is the most important feature. All of this means that I could have done whatever I wanted to Point Linux to make it into a distro that matches my liking a little more, but then it would no longer be Point Linux at its core. I have a tendency to change a distro so much that it may as well be my own, and I think many Linux users probably do the same. With that being said, I aim to review Point Linux, not some monstrosity Franken-Linux that is of my own creation.
The full featured download had some programs that I did not want, namely Pidgin, Remmina, and Brasero, so I opted for the core (slimmed down) version of Point Linux. This is what made my experience so petite. I enjoyed the trimmed down experience very much. One small point that I liked a lot was that sudo was enabled by default. This is something that I did not even notice at first because you would not notice it if it did not give you any problems. In a Debian install, the user must set up sudo, but in Point Linux this was already taken care of.
Point Linux 3.2 -- Running the system installer
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I also really enjoyed the installation procedure. There is an "Install Point Linux" icon on the desktop, so you can't miss it, and it is very straight forward. I like to see a different installation process than the standard Debian and Ubuntu process, so that was a relief.
Point Linux uses the 3.16.0-4-amd64 Linux kernel by default. There is no easy process or option to upgrade that kernel to a newer version. I was able to upgrade the kernel to 4.7-rc7 but had some issues in the compilation, so went back to the 3.16 version Debian recommended. Although this is almost the same kernel that ships with Debian 8.0 Jessie, I was disappointed that Point Linux was built off of an older kernel (yes, I understand this kernel is LTS, updated, and still current). Debian Sid and Stretch use a newer kernel, but Point Linux is based off of Debian Jessie.
Point Linux 3.2 -- Checking version information
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There is also a positive aspect to this. This kernel was frozen by the Debian team at the time of Jessie development because it was deemed as stable, reliable, and the best choice for Jessie at the time.
Updates are easy with Point Linux. The control centre is the standard MATE control centre, which is versatile and easy-to-use. I was able to install Chrome from the .deb package through gdebi and watch all my streaming services. I was able to install Steam and play games available for Linux without any problems following Debian's Steam wiki page.
Point Linux 3.2 -- MATE's settings panel
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What else does a user need from a distro? How about when used as a server? It took me about 40 minutes to set Point Linux up as a LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP) server and run ZoneMinder (open source video camera monitoring software). This server setup ran without any problems for a couple of days at my own home, and I was able to view two cameras without any issues with ZoneMinder or with connectivity. Although there are other options, I think that Point Linux is a useful distro for a little home server and could easily replace any server that you may choose Debian for.
Point Linux 3.2 -- Software repositories
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Negatives? There are few. Point Linux is not "bleeding edge." It does not use the most up-to-date kernels, but that is not the point. One would be prone to choose Point Linux as an option when the Debian installer is too big and bloated. That means Point Linux may not have all of the features you want right out of the box (though as I wrote earlier, you can pretty much add anything you want to this). This is a simple distro; it is powerful, useful, and very stable. I loved the simplicity of this distro. It is a tall glass of fresh air.
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Summary of hardware used for this review
- ASUS Laptop K53E-BBR19-B1
- Intel Core i5-2450M CPU @ 2.50GHz (Sandy Bridge)
- Seagate Momentus 5400.6 ST9500325AS 500GB 5400 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 2.5" Internal Notebook Hard Drive
- Intel HD Graphics 3000 Shared system memory Integrated Card
- 8GB (2x 4 GB) DDR3 RAM
- Internal SATA DVD±R/RW
- Qualcomm Atheros AR9485 Wireless Network Adapter
- Qualcomm Atheros AR8151 v2.0 Gigabit Ethernet
- HDA Intel PCH Internal Soundcard
- Memory (RAM) Point Linux used from my machine at rest after boot-up:
Used: 651MB; Free: 7110MB; Total: 7761MB
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: 217
- Total data uploaded: 40.5TB
|Released Last Week
The Korora distribution is a desktop oriented operating system built on Fedora. The Korora project has announced the availability of Korora 24 which is based on Fedora 24. The new version of Korora is available in four editions: Cinnamon, GNOME, MATE and Xfce. "Changes in Korora 24: Images are 64-bit only, 32-bit users can still upgrade. Over the last few versions the demand for 32-bit ISOs has markedly decreased to the point where we feel it's no-longer necessary to provide install images for the platform. Starting with Korora 24, images will be 64-bit (x86_64) only, however those who have 32-bit systems already are still able to upgrade to Korora 24. If you have been running 32-bit Korora on 64 bit hardware we strongly encourage you to install the 64-bit version instead. No KDE Plasma release yet. We would dearly love to have a KDE iso ready to go, but we ran into a number of issues and decided to not let this hold up the release of Korora 24. It is possible to upgrade a Korora 23 install of KDE to Korora 24 however there are some settings such as themes may need to be manually set up again. Pharlap has been deprecated. As previously announced, driver manager Pharlap will not be included in Korora 24." Additional details can be found in the project's release announcement.
Korora 24 -- Running the GNOME desktop environment
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Ubuntu DesktopPack 16.04
The Ubuntu DesktopPack distribution is a remix of the Ubuntu distribution by UALinux. The Ubuntu DesktopPack features software updates and multimedia support on the installation disc. The Ubuntu DesktopPack, version 16.04, is available in six editions for both the 32-bit and 64-bit x86 architecture. "Available to download images of Ubuntu*Pack 16.04 systems. Distributions are available in six independent systems with different graphic interfaces: Unity, Flashback, GNOME 3, the GNOME 3 Classic, MATE and Cinnamon. Images of all editions are prepared for the i386 and amd64 platforms. This release is based on the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS operating system that offers long term support and include all the innovations presented in the original." Additional information can be found in the project's release announcement.
Adam Conrad has announced the release of Ubuntu 16.04.1, the first maintenance update of the distribution's latest long-term support branch. This version is provided for users performing new installations of Ubuntu 16.04 (or any of the official Ubuntu flavours) while existing Ubuntu 16.04 users can gain the same package updates through their package manager. The release notes and change summary have details. "The Ubuntu team is pleased to announce the release of Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS (Long-Term Support) for its Desktop, Server, and Cloud products, as well as other flavours of Ubuntu with long-term support. As usual, this point release includes many updates, and updated installation media has been provided so that fewer updates will need to be downloaded after installation. These include security updates and corrections for other high-impact bugs, with a focus on maintaining stability and compatibility with Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. Kubuntu 16.04.1 LTS, Xubuntu 16.04.1 LTS, Mythbuntu 16.04.1 LTS, Ubuntu GNOME 16.04.1 LTS, Lubuntu 16.04.1 LTS, Ubuntu Kylin 16.04.1 LTS, Ubuntu MATE 16.04.1 LTS and Ubuntu Studio 16.04.1 LTS are also now available."
The KaOS project, which provides a rolling release distribution with the latest available KDE software, has released a new snapshot. The new snapshot, KaOS 2016.07, provides fresh installation media for the rolling release distribution. The new snapshot features KDE's Plasma 5.7 desktop environment and packages built with version 5 of the GNU Compiler Collection. "KaOS is proud to present the 2016.07 ISO. The policy is, once a first pacman -Syu becomes a major update, it is time for a new ISO so new users are not faced with a difficult first update. With all the needed rebuilds for the move to GCC 5, most systems will see 70-80% of their install replaced by new packages so a new ISO is more than due." The new snapshot features encryption support in the system installer and version 4.6.4 of the Linux kernel. The release announcement and release notes contain further details.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
What was your first Linux distribution?
Most of us remember (with fondness or anxiety) the first time we booted up Linux for the first time and tried to navigate the alien environment. A person's first Linux distro shapes their early impressions of the GNU/Linux ecosystem and this week we would like to know where our readers got started.
Did you begin your Linux journey with the old and reliable Slackware, the enterprise-oriented Red Hat family, the user-friendly Ubuntu group of distributions, the great green gecko of openSUSE or something else? Please leave us a comment telling us how you got your first copy of Linux in the comments.
You can see the results of our previous poll on full vs minimal distributions here. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
What was your first Linux distribution?
|Slackware or a derivative: ||576 (16%)|
| The Red Hat/Fedora/CentOS family: ||639 (17%)|
| The Debian/Ubuntu/Mint family: ||1170 (32%)|
| Mandrake/Mandriva/Mageia/PCLinuxOS or related distro: ||599 (16%)|
| The Arch/Manjaro/Antergos family: ||48 (1%)|
| The green gecko - openSUSE/SLE/SuSE: ||384 (10%)|
| Gentoo or another source-based distro: ||38 (1%)|
| Other: ||217 (6%)|
| I have not picked a first Linux distro yet: ||15 (0%)|
Distributions added to the database
EasyNAS is a storage management system for home or small office. It uses openSUSE Leap as a base with the Btrfs advanced file system. EasyNAS is managed through a web-based interface and offers such features as on-line growing of file systems, snapshots and copy-on-write.
EasyNAS 0.6.2 -- Adjusting settings through the web interface
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Distributions added to waiting list
- Modern X. Modern X is a Linux distribution based on openSUSE Leap. The distribution attempts to offer an interface which will be easy for former Windows and OS X users to navigate.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 1 August 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 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|
|• Issue 783 (2018-10-01): Quirky 8.6, setting up dual booting with Ubuntu and FreeBSD, Lubuntu switching to LXQt, Mint works on performance improvements|
|• Issue 782 (2018-09-24): Bodhi Linux 5.0.0, Elive 3.0.0, Solus publishes ISO refresh, UBports invites feedback, Linux Torvalds plans temporary vacation|
|• Issue 781 (2018-09-17): Linux Mint 3 "Debian Edition", file systems for SSDs, MX makes installing Flatpaks easier, Arch team answers questions, Mageia reaches EOL|
|• Issue 780 (2018-09-10): Netrunner 2018.08 Rolling, Fedora improves language support, how to customize Kali Linux, finding the right video drivers|
|• Issue 779 (2018-09-03): Redcore 1806, keeping ISO downloads safe from tampering, Lubuntu makes Calamares more flexible, Ubuntu improves GNOME performance|
|• Issue 778 (2018-08-27): GuixSD 0.15.0, ReactOS 0.4.9, Steam supports Windows games on Linux, Haiku plans for beta, merging disk partitions|
|• Issue 777 (2018-08-20): YunoHost 22.214.171.124, limiting process resource usage, converting file systems on Fedora, Debian turns 25, Lubuntu migrating to Wayland|
|• Issue 776 (2018-08-13): NomadBSD 1.1, Maximum storage limits on Linux, openSUSE extends life for 42.3, updates to the Librem 5 phone interface|
|• Issue 775 (2018-08-06): Secure-K OS 18.5, Linux is about choice, Korora tests community spin, elementary OS hires developer, ReactOS boots on Btrfs|
|• Issue 774 (2018-07-30): Ubuntu MATE & Ubuntu Budgie 18.04, upgrading software from source, Lubuntu shifts focus, NetBSD changes support policy|
|• Issue 773 (2018-07-23): Peppermint OS 9, types of security used by different projects, Mint reacts to bugs in core packages, Slackware turns 25|
|• Issue 772 (2018-07-16): Hyperbola GNU/Linux-libre 0.2.4, UBports running desktop applications, OpenBSD auto-joins wi-fi networks, boot environments and zedenv|
|• Issue 771 (2018-07-09): Linux Lite 4.0, checking CPUs for bugs, configuring GRUB, Mint upgrade instructions, SUSE acquired by EQT|
|• Issue 770 (2018-07-02): Linux Mint 19, Solus polishes desktop experience, MintBox Mini 2, changes to Fedora's installer|
|• Issue 769 (2018-06-25): BunsenLabs Helium, counting Ubuntu users, UBports upgrading to 16.04, Fedora CoreOS, FreeBSD turns 25|
|• Issue 768 (2018-06-18): Devuan 2.0.0, using pkgsrc to manage software, the NOVA filesystem, OpenBSD handles successful cron output|
|• Issue 767 (2018-06-11): Android-x86 7.1-r1, transferring files over OpenSSH with pipes, LFS with Debian package management, Haiku ports LibreOffice|
|• Issue 766 (2018-06-04): openSUSE 15, overview of file system links, Manjaro updates Pamac, ReactOS builds itself, Bodhi closes forums|
|• Issue 765 (2018-05-28): Pop!_OS 18.04, gathering system information, Haiku unifying ARM builds, Solus resumes control of Budgie|
|• Issue 764 (2018-05-21): DragonFly BSD 5.2.0, Tails works on persistent packages, Ubuntu plans new features, finding services affected by an update|
|• 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 or Linux Mint pre-installed with many more distributions supported. Visit Star Labs for information, to buy and get support.
|Random Distribution |
Vinux is an Ubuntu-derived distribution optimised for the needs of blind and partially sighted users. By default Vinux provides two screen readers, Braille display support and a friendly community. When booting the live Vinux image, the users are greeted by the Orca screen reader that enables them to navigate the graphical Unity desktop using keyboard commands. Additionally, Brltty provides grade 1 and 2 Braille output via Orca.