| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 741, 4 December 2017
Welcome to this year's 49th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
These days it is increasingly common for companies selling computer hardware to offer Linux as a pre-installed option. However, most hardware retailers do not create their own Linux distributions. This week we look at one of the rare exceptions: Pop!_OS, an Ubuntu-based distribution created by System76. In our Feature Story, Joshua Allen Holm takes an early release of Pop!_OS for a test drive to find out how it performs. In our News section we explore a new feature for openSUSE Tumbleweed users who want temporary reprieve from package updates and talk about installing Q4OS on a Windows partition. We also talk about Fedora 25 reaching the end of its supported life and link to upgrade instructions. In our Tips and Tricks column we discuss a variety of command line tools for keeping processes running in the background, scheduling tasks and connecting to computers behind a firewall. Task scheduling is also the subject of this week's Opinion Poll and we hope you will share your preferred method for automating jobs in the comments section. Plus we provide a list of the distributions released last week and share the torrents we are seeding. This week DistroWatch.com will be transitioning to sharing all our web pages over a secure connection and we have the details below. We wish you all a fantastic week and happy reading!
- Review: Pop!_OS 17.10
- News: openSUSE's Tumbleweed snapshots, Q4OS can be installed on a Windows partition, Fedora 25 reaching its end of life
- Tips and tricks: Keep terminal programs running, using the at command, reverse OpenSSH connections
- Released last week: Linux Mint 18.3, Black Lab 11.5, Lakka 2.1
- Torrent corner: Alpine, Antergos, Black Lab, deepin, Lakka, Linux Mint, Raspbian, Sabayon, SalentOS, SwagArch, Univention
- Opinion poll: Scheduling tasks
- DistroWatch.com news: Moving to HTTPS only
- New distributions: Janus Linux
- Reader comments
|Feature Story (by Joshua Allen Holm)
Pop!_OS is a new Linux distribution from System76, a company that has been in the Linux hardware business for twelve years. Until recently, System76 computers shipped with Ubuntu as the only pre-installed operating system option, but now System76 is taking more control over the user experience offered on their computers by releasing their own Ubuntu-based distribution.
I was recently at All Things Open, a technology conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, where System76 had a booth. At their booth, they had Pop!_OS 17.10 running on a laptop for people to try. Their booth was very busy, but during one of their brief lulls, I went over to their booth and had a brief chat, and I got one of the USB flash drives they were giving out with the Pop!_OS installation image on it.
For this review, I installed Pop!_OS 17.10 using the flash drive I got at All Things Open, but Pop!_OS ISOs are available to download on the System76 website. They have an image for computers with Intel and AMD graphics and a separate image for computers with NVIDIA graphics. The NVIDIA image comes with the proprietary NVIDIA drivers pre-installed. The Intel/AMD image is 1.75GB and the NVIDIA image is 1.91GB.
I should note that while System76 does sell hardware, a System76 computer is not required to run Pop!_OS. The testing for this review was done using the Lenovo Ideapad that I currently use for all of my reviews. There were no compatibility issues beyond a problem with my laptop's webcam that is consistent across every Linux distribution I have tried.
The installation process for Pop!_OS is similar to Ubuntu, but there are some key differences. The process begins by booting a flash drive or DVD, which loads the live desktop. The live desktop can be used to try out the distribution to see how it works before running the installer. The installer used by Pop!_OS is Ubiquity, just like Ubuntu, but Pop!_OS only uses Ubiquity to select the language and keyboard layout, and partition the hard drive. New user creation in Pop!_OS is moved to the system's first-boot process and is handled by a modified GNOME Initial Setup.
Pop!_OS 17.10 -- The customized Ubiquity installer
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The two-stage installation process reflects System76's experience as a hardware company. The first part of the installation, the part handled by Ubiquity, includes the things that someone setting up a computer for someone else needs to handle, while the user gets to set up their own machine at first boot. This change to the installation work-flow is really handy for people who configure computers for others. Just install Pop!_OS through the end of the Ubiquity process, shut off the machine, and the machine's new owner can create their own username and password when they boot their new machine.
Pop!_OS 17.10 -- New user creation on first boot
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The Pop!_OS user experience
Pop!_OS is based on Ubuntu, but it has some notable and significant changes compared to Ubuntu 17.10. The most visible change is Pop!_OS's use of a customized GNOME experience that does not use the various tweaks found in the latest release of Ubuntu. Ubuntu customized GNOME their way and Pop!_OS went in a different direction. Pop!_OS is closer to the stock GNOME experience, but with a custom GTK theme, an icon theme based on the Papirus icon set, different fonts (Fira and Roboto Slab), and a collection of desktop wallpapers. There are also a few GNOME Shell extensions used to tweak a few behaviors: a suspend button in the top-right settings menu, an altered Alt-Tab behavior, and workspaces are always shown in the Activity overview without having to mouse over them to make them pop out.
Pop!_OS 17.10 -- GNOME Files with custom theming
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The biggest usability change comes in the form of customized keyboard shortcuts. Pop!_OS changes the default GNOME keyboard shortcuts to prioritize different things when compared to stock GNOME. For example, switching virtual desktops is SUPER+UP or SUPER+DOWN, while functions for adjusting a window within a desktop are handled with CTRL+SUPER+UP for maximize, CTRL+SUPER+DOWN to restore to a non-maximized state, CTRL+SUPER+LEFT and +RIGHT to tile to the left and right halves of the screen, and moving a window to a different desktop is SHIFT+SUPER+UP or SHIFT+SUPER+DOWN. There are several more keyboard shortcuts, some new, some left as the GNOME defaults; the whole list is available on System76's Pop!_OS Keyboard Shortcuts page. As a GNOME user, it took some time to get used to the changes and I am still fighting muscle memory for some of the more common tasks, but the Pop!_OS shortcuts make sense and are well thought out.
Pop!_OS 17.10 -- Live desktop showing applications
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While the aesthetic and usability tweaks are the most noticeable change, Pop!_OS's divergence from Ubuntu goes beyond a different look-and-feel. The software included on the ISO is very different from the selection included in Ubuntu. Pop!_OS's GNOME session uses Xorg, not Wayland, and it has a much smaller collection of graphical programs installed by default. Firefox serves as the default web browser, Geary is the e-mail program, LibreOffice (except for LibreOffice Base) is included and put into its own App Folder in GNOME Shell, but that is about it. The default software selection is so slimmed down that GNOME Videos pulls double duty as the default video and music application, instead of using Rhythmbox as the music player. The rest of the software included is the standard collection of GNOME utilities and a few Pop!_OS tools for installing additional software.
For developers, Pop!_OS comes with git, gcc, make, and other build tools pre-installed. While Pop!_OS does not pre-install every single possible program language, including some basic development tools by default provides a nice starting point and really sets Pop!_OS apart from many of the other Ubuntu-based distributions. Node.js, R, Ruby, Rust, etc., programmers will need to add packages to suit their needs, but thanks to Pop!_OS's Ubuntu-base, there are plenty of packages available.
Overall, the user experience in Pop!_OS is very good and well thought out, but there are a few issues. The biggest one is the fact that the Help application is a unmodified Ubuntu Desktop Guide, which in turn is GNOME Help re-branded and edited. Most of Pop!_OS does a good job at re-branding itself to differentiate itself from Ubuntu (at least where necessary; it makes sense that sources for software packages still say Ubuntu because they are pointing at Ubuntu repositories), but the Help program is the one major exception. Even if they tweaked the Help package to re-brand it, there is still the bigger problem, which is that the information contained within is sometimes inaccurate because the keyboard shortcuts listed in the help file do not match Pop!_OS's customized shortcuts. One other issue worth noting is that because Pop!_OS uses a custom icon set, the default icons for various applications are overridden by Pop!_OS specific icons. While I personally love the visual consistency and found that many of application icons were close enough to projects' official icons to be instantly recognizable, I can understand that this might not be preferred by upstream developers who view their icons as part of their brand (there is a GitHub issue open about this).
As noted above, the default selection of graphical software is slimmed down, so most users are going to want to add packages of their choosing to their systems. Pop!_OS provides two graphical tools for doing this, both of which are forked from projects for elementary OS. Of course, for the command line savvy, apt and dpkg are also available.
Pop!_OS 17.10 -- The Pop!_Shop
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The main program for installing and updating software is Pop!_Shop, which is a fork of elementary OS's AppCenter. This is a standard App Store-like experience with programs grouped by category. Pop!_Shop is really easy to use and has a nice selection of applications, but it does require AppStream metadata for applications to show up, so some applications might not appear in Pop!_Shop.
Pop!_OS 17.10 -- Eddy package installer
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The other tool is Eddy, which is for installing .deb packages downloaded from sources outside the Pop!_OS and Ubuntu repositories. Eddy is the default application for running .deb files, so a .deb file downloaded for an external source, e.g., GitHub's Atom, can be installed just by double-clicking on the .deb file. If launched from its own application icon instead of by opening a .deb file, Eddy allows for dragging a .deb onto its window to install, or it can open a file picker dialog. If .deb packages are available in the Download folder, Eddy shows an option that will list all the packages available and let the user install one or all of the available .deb files.
Pop!_OS is incredible, especially for a first release. There are various minor things that need to be fixed, and they really need to replace the Ubuntu-branded Help file with a Pop!_OS specific one, but it is easy to tell that a lot of thought went into this release. System76 has spent the past twelve years making informed choices about hardware to provide their customers with a good Linux experience, now they are leveraging that expertise to curate software into their own distribution. Yes, at this stage Pop!_OS is mostly curating the good parts from upstream, but the overall package is what matters and, in this case, the overall package is great. If System76 can build solid relationships with various upstream sources, make UX decisions based on real user testing (like their design documents say the plan to do), and grow Pop!_OS's brand recognition in the maker-space and education fields, they have a distribution that is really, really worth watching. I highly recommend Pop!_OS to anyone, but especially to those looking for a distribution that is designed by makers for makers.
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Hardware used in this review
My physical test equipment for this review was a Lenovo Ideapad 100-15IBD laptop with the following specifications:
- Processor: 2.2GHz Intel Core i3-5020U CPU
- Storage: Seagate 500GB 5400 RPM hard drive
- Memory: 4GB of RAM
- Networking: Realtek RTL8723BE 802.11n Wireless Network Adapter
- Display: Intel HD Graphics 5500
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Visitor supplied rating
Pop!_OS has a visitor supplied average rating of: 8.7/10 from 38 review(s).
Have you used Pop!_OS? You can leave your own review of the project on our ratings page.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
openSUSE's Tumbleweed snapshots, Q4OS can be installed on a Windows partition, Fedora 25 reaching its end of life
Rolling releases, such as openSUSE's Tumbleweed, provide a regular stream of package updates, keeping users on the cutting edge of software. One of the drawbacks to using a rolling release distribution is there are a lot of updates and an upgrade in one dependency can trigger the upgrade of many related packages. Jimmy Berry is working on a solution which maintains the benefits of a rolling release while providing a snapshot of recent packages to cut down on the number of upgrades required when installing a new package. "Tumbleweed, being a rolling distribution, is constantly changing and packages are constantly being rebuilt against one another and updating requirements. As such it becomes necessary to update even when undesirable. For example, one is running snapshot 17 and the next day snapshot 18 contains a Qt update that rebuilt a large number of packages. When attempting to install an application that depends on Qt one is greeted with an ugly unresolvable error. It is then necessary to run a full update, likely very large with many unrelated changes, in order to simply install an application as would have been possible yesterday.
If a remote repository containing historical snapshots was available one could
simply install the application and perhaps the handful of new dependencies it
requires rather than having to update the entire system. This provides one with
the benefits of a rolling distribution without requiring the constant change. A
week later when a new kernel and DRM stack provides an exciting feature it is
still easy to update everything and be running the latest code, but the user is
not interrupted by having to update when it should not be necessary." More details on Berry's ideas and how they can be used with openSUSE's default file system (Btrfs) are described in his mailing list post.
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The Q4OS team has introduced a new way of installing the lightweight Q4OS distribution on computers which run Microsoft Windows. Since partitioning a hard drive and installing a new operating system can be daunting tasks for new users, the Q4OS developers are making it possible to dual boot Windows with Q4OS without any partitioning required. "We are happy to introduce a first stable release of the Q4OS for Windows 10 installer. It allows everyone to install Q4OS alongside Windows in an easy way, with no need of modifying an existing Windows operating system, nor any of software installed, even with no need of repartitioning your disk drive. Simply download and run Q4OS installer, just like any other Windows application, and follow the installer instructions. The installer will install and configure your computer to be able to run Q4OS or Windows 10 in a dual boot mode. Once you perform the setup, you will be able to switch back and forth between Windows and Q4OS each time you restart your computer. This installer is compatible with Windows 10, as well as the 7 and 8 versions, and it's able to use Secure Boot, if available in the PC firmware. Secure Boot will allow you to boot Q4OS in a smooth and safe way." The Q4OS installer is able to install its operating system on the existing Windows partition by using a large loopback file which contains the Q4OS distribution.
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Ryan Lerch has reported that Fedora 25 is nearing its end-of-life and will no longer receive security updates after December 12, 2017. "With the recent release of Fedora 27, Fedora 25 officially enters End Of Life (EOL) status on December 12th, 2017. After December 12th, all packages in the Fedora 25 repositories no longer receive security, bug fix, or enhancement updates. Furthermore, no new packages will be added to the Fedora 25 collection. Upgrading to Fedora 27 or Fedora 26 before December 12th 2017 is highly recommended for all users still running Fedora 25." Upgrade instructions for migrating from Fedora 25 to version 26 are provided.
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Tips and Tricks (by Jesse Smith)
Keep terminal programs running, using the at command, reverse OpenSSH connections
This week I would like to share some commands I find useful on a regular basis. There is no theme tying them together, other than I find myself using them about once a week.
The first command line tip I would like to look at covers ways of launching applications and having them run in the background, even when the terminal closes. We can accomplish this by placing the & suffix at the end of commands. For example, we can launch Firefox and have it run while we continue to use the terminal by typing:
Some command line shells will terminate programs they started when we close the terminal in order to clean up after themselves. We can avoid having our application closed by telling the shell to disown the program we launched. In the following example we open Firefox and then disown the browser's process to make sure it does not get terminated when we close the terminal:
While the above commands work well enough, there is one problem: desktop applications will often spew debugging information to the terminal while they are running. This means Firefox (or another application) may dump information into our terminal window where we are trying to work, which is both messy and distracting. We can work around this by redirecting output and having it discarded. We do this by sending all output to a file called /dev/null where the operating system merely discards it rather than saving it. The following example starts Firefox, sends all of its debug output to /dev/null to be deleted and disowns the browser so it will continue to run if we close the terminal. The "> /dev/null" part indicates where we want to send text output, in this case the null file. The "2>&1" lets the shell know it should send both normal output and error messages to the null file to be discarded.
firefox > /dev/null 2>&1 &
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Sometimes we want to perform an action in the future, but do not want to sit around and wait to type in the command. There are a few approaches to scheduling tasks. Generally people use the cron command to schedule repeating tasks, or maybe sleep to handle short-term delays. Neither is ideal if we want to schedule one event to happen just one time in the semi-distant future.
For cases like this the at command is ideal. at lets us set up a command to be run at a specific time and date in the future. The at command is pretty good about recognizing dates and times in human-readable format. On the command line we specify the time we want something to happen and then the at command will display a prompt where we can type in the program we want to run. After we type the program to be run we can press Ctrl-D to return to the shell. Here is an example where we copy the contents of our Documents folder to a Backup folder at 5:30pm.
We can specify different days too. The following command clears out the contents of a temporary directory on the last day of November.
> cp ~/Documents/* ~/Backup/
at 6:00pm Nov 30
There are limitations, because of the way at processes jobs, by default it will not open graphical applications on our desktop at a set time. The at command is designed to handle non-interactive tasks and situations. Once a job has been run once, at forgets about it. This means if we schedule a task to happen at noon, it only happens at noon today, the task is not repeated at noon tomorrow.
> rm ~/temp/*
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Have you ever wanted to set up an OpenSSH server on your computer for remote access, but found there was a firewall in the way you were unable to adjust to allow connections through? Sometimes businesses or ISPs will block incoming connections and this gets in the way of people who want to be able to work on their computers while away from the home or office. There is a possible workaround for this situation which involves using another computer to relay the connection
Basically, we can tell our computer which is behind the firewall to connect to another computer where we have access. This other computer could be one of ours or a personal server or a VPS, the important thing is wherever this other computer is, it needs to be running OpenSSH and we need to be able to log into it remotely.
In this example I will refer to the computer behind the firewall as PC-Home and the remote system we can access whenever we want as PC-VPS. To grant ourselves access to the computer behind the firewall we need to open a connection from PC-Home to PC-VPS. The connection we will open will have a special property which allows the remote computer (PC-VPS) to send signals back to PC-Home, as if the firewall were not in the way.
On PC-Home we can initiate this connection by running the ssh command and specifying which remote computer (PC-VPS in this example) will act as our proxy.
ssh -R 12701:localhost:22 pc-vps
What the above command does is contact the remote computer PC-VPS and tell it to forward any connections it receives on port 12701 to our home computer (PC-Home) on port 22. Port 22 is the default OpenSSH port.
Now, if we are away from home, we can connect to PC-Home by bouncing the connection off PC-VPS. We can do this by running
ssh -p 12701 pc-vps
Whatever computer we are running contacts PC-VPS, which forwards our request to PC-Home along the channel which was set up earlier. Since the computer behind the firewall initiated the connection, the firewall does not block the incoming traffic and we can establish a shell session on our home computer.
The PC-Home computer can close the link at any time by terminating its OpenSSH connection to PC-VPS, disappearing again behind its firewall.
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More tips can be found in our Tips and Tricks archive.
|Released Last Week
Linux Mint 18.3
The Linux Mint team has announced a new update to the project's 18.x series. The new version, Linux Mint 18.3, is a long term support release and will receive updates through to the year 2021. The new release features an updated software manager which makes it easier to install third-party applications and should be noticeably faster. This release also includes Flatpak support and the software manager can work with Flatpak packages. "Popular software applications such as Spotify, WhatsApp, Skype, Google Earth, Steam or Minecraft are now featured and very easy to install. The user interface looks more modern and its layout is inspired by GNOME Software. It's simpler, more consistent than before and it makes the application look much cleaner. The Software Manager is now also much lighter and faster than before. It no longer uses Webkit, browsing categories and apps is almost immediate, and it launches 3 times faster than before. The backend was ported to AptDaemon and the Software Manager now runs in user mode. Consequently you do not need to enter any passwords to browse applications, and if you enter a password to install or remove an app, the authentication is remembered for a little while so you can install or remove other apps without having to enter that password again." Further details can be found in the project's release announcements for the Cinnamon and MATE editions.
Black Lab Enterprise Linux 11.5
Black Lab Linux is an Ubuntu-based distribution which is currently available in two editions, Core and Desktop. Core is intended for use in low resource computing, server environments and embedded systems while Desktop features lots of applications for end users. The developers have announced the release of Black Lab enterprise Linux 11.5: "Today the PC/OpenSystems Open Source development team is pleased to announce the public release of Black Lab Enterprise Linux 11.5, the latest development of our open source project. We have made several enhancements which benefit both new users or veterans upgrading from our last release, or the one before that. Black Lab Enterprise Linux is a an excellent drop-in replacement for Windows, macOS or other distributions of Linux. BLEL 11.5 is distributed in two flavors, Desktop and Core. The first is full featured, offering everything users need : productivity software, games, software development tools, cloud and business applications. It's optimized for general everyday desktop use. Core is designed for embedded systems, IoT devices and users who want to build their own systems from the ground up; servers, appliances and specialized desktop environments can be brought out of Core. The user has total control of what is installed, including only a web browser and media player by default." Further information can be found in the distribution's release announcement.
Lakka is a minimal Linux distribution which turns a computer into a gaming console. The distribution is based on LibreELEC and runs the RetroArch console emulator. The Lakka project has released a new version, Lakka 2.1, which features an updated Linux kernel, Samba 4 support and RetroArch 1.6.9. "After six months of intense development and bug fixes, the team is proud to announce the stable release of Lakka 2.1! This release is a huge step forward in many aspects: UI, emulator cores, and supported hardware. Change log: Merged LibreELEC 8.2 stable. Kernel updates for PC, RPi and more. New wifi drivers and fixes. Samba 4. RPi firmware updates. Switch back to OpenSSL. RetroArch updated to 1.6.9." People who are already running Lakka 2.0 can upgrade by placing the 2.1 image file into their system's Update directory and rebooting the computer. Lakka is available for many types of computers, including x86 PCs, Raspberry Pis, WeTek boxes and Odroid.
Gabriele Martina has announced the availability of a new version of SalentOS, a lightweight Debian-based distribution featuring the Openbox window manager. The new version, SalentOS 2.0 (code name Neriton), is based on Debian 9 "Stretch" and features UEFI support (though not support for Secure Boot). "With great pleasure the development team is pleased to announce the release of SalentOS 2.0 Neriton! The system, remember, is based on Debian Stable (Stretch) and is in continuity with the previous release (Luppìu). The main innovations: Debian Base Stretch (Stable). Kernel updated to version 4.9.0-4. Compatibility with the new UEFI standard - no Secure Boot. Updated and optimized all system management tools (Styler, Yanima). Introduced Dockbar (tint2). New wallpapers on-line verification system. Optimized the first installation wizard." More information can be found in the project's release announcement.
SalentOS 2.0 -- Running the Openbox window manager
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Univention Corporate Server 4.2-3
Univention Corporate Server (UCS) is an enterprise-class distribution based on Debian GNU/Linux. It features an integrated management system for central administration of servers. Univention has released an upgrade to their 4.2 series, Univention Corporate Server 4.2-3. The new version features diagnostic tests to help trouble-shoot server and domain issues, along with various improvements to the web-based interface. The release announcement reports: "We are pleased to announce the availability of UCS 4.2-3 for download, the third point release of Univention Corporate Server (UCS) 4.2. It includes all errata updates issued for UCS 4.2-2 and provides various improvements and bug fixes especially in the following areas: For the UMC diagnostic module, a large number of additional functional tests have been added to help the administrator check the health of the server and the entire domain. The usability and configurability of the management system were further expanded. The design of the assistants and dialogues of the management system was revised with regard to usability aspects. Additional configuration options for the single sign-on of the management system have also been added, e. g. the configurability of the certificate used. When a UCS system joins a Microsoft Active Directory domain, more checks are now performed. This allows to display information about known problems, including hints on how to correct them." Further information can be found in the release notes.
deepin is a Debian-based distribution featuring a custom desktop environment, called Deepin Desktop. The latest version of the distribution, deepin 15.5, introduces several important features, including HiDPI support, fingerprint scanner, wi-fi hotspot sharing and support for installing Flatpak packages. "deepin is a Linux distribution devoted to providing beautiful, easy to use, safe and reliable system for global users. deepin 15.5 mainly added HiDPI, fingerprint scanning and Flatpak application format. It migrated Deepin Crosswalk to the new web application framework, pre-installed Deepin Clone and Deepin Recovery, newly added touchpad gesture, wi-fi hotspot sharing and color temperature adjustment as well as comprehensive optimization of network module and desktop environment. Applications in Deepin Family and applications related to Deepin Wine have been upgraded to the latest version. Details of these new features, a video of the Deepin desktop in action and screen shots can be found in the project's release announcement.
Simon Long has announced the release of an updated build of Raspbian, a Debian-based distribution designed for the Raspberry Pi single-board computers: "We're pleased to announce that we are releasing the latest version of Raspbian 'Stretch' for your Pi today. This new release is mostly bug fixes and tweaks over the previous Stretch release, but there are one or two changes you might notice. The file manager included as part of the LXDE desktop (on which our desktop is based) is a program called PCManFM and it's very feature-rich; there's not much you can't do in it. However, having used it for a few years, we felt that it was perhaps more complex than it needed to be - the sheer number of menu options and choices made some common operations more awkward than they needed to be. So to try to make file management easier, we have implemented a cut-down mode for the file manager." Read the full release announcement for more information and screenshots.
Rocks Cluster Distribution 7.0
Philip Papadopoulos has announced the release of Rocks Cluster Distribution 7.0, a major new update of the project's specialist operating system for easy deployments as computer clusters. Rocks Cluster 7.0 is based on CentOS 7.4: "The latest update of Rocks, code name 'Manzanita', is now released. Manzanita is a 64-bit only release and is based upon CentOS 7.4. The Rocks-supplied OS rolls have all updates applied as of December 1, 2017." The brief release announcement doesn't give many details about the release, but the distribution's user guide has been updated to include notes about the "significant differences" compared to Rocks 6: "This section describes how to install your Rocks cluster frontend for Rocks 7. It is significantly different than Rocks 6. The minimum requirement to bring up a frontend is to have the following rolls: Kernel, Base, Core, CentOS, Updates-CentOS. Rocks 7 supports a network-only installation. All rolls must be located on a roll server on a network that is accessible by your frontend."
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
The table below provides a list of torrents DistroWatch is currently seeding. If you do not 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 in our Torrent Archive. We also maintain a Torrents RSS feed for people who wish to have open source torrents delivered to them. To share your own open source torrents of Linux and BSD projects, please visit our Upload Torrents page.
Torrent Corner statistics:
- Total torrents seeded: 665
- Total data uploaded: 16.8TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
In this week's Tips and Tricks column we discussed scheduling tasks to be completed in the future, using the at command. While at is good at setting up one-time jobs, regular tasks are often started by another tool called cron. This week we would like to find out how you schedule jobs which need to be run in the future.
You can see the results of our previous poll on battery life time in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
|I use at: ||32 (3%)|
| I use cron: ||377 (30%)|
| I use "sleep && command": ||37 (3%)|
| I use a combination of the above: ||123 (10%)|
| I use another tool: ||59 (5%)|
| I do not schedule tasks: ||632 (50%)|
Moving to HTTPS only
DistroWatch has been available over secure, HTTPS connections for about two years now. With more and more of the web switching to encrypted connections we wanted to make sure our visitors had the option of visiting us using a verified, secure connection. At the time we continued to provide a plain HTTP option for people who were using older web and RSS clients, or who were facing performance issues when trying to use encrypted connections.
Since then the web has generally transitioned to enforcing HTTPS encrypted connections as the default behaviour. So much so that some browsers and extensions now flag DistroWatch as being insecure because we still provide unencrypted connections as an option. We have also found some search engines and distributions still link to us using the insecure option, though we have been providing HTTPS for almost two years.
In order to better protect our readers and to avoid being marked as insecure by security tools, we are going to start enforcing secure, encrypted connections to DistroWatch.com. This change is scheduled to take place on December 8, 2017. This transition should require no effort on the part of our readers, attempts to reach us using the insecure HTTP protocol will simply be redirected to the secure method.
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Distributions added to waiting list
- Janus Linux. Janus Linux is a small and very lightweight distribution which features the musl C library and Busybox userland tools. The distribution provides a terminal interface only with no graphical desktop.
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DistroWatch database summary
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This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 11 December 2017. Past articles and reviews can be found through our Article Search page. To contact the authors please send e-mail to:
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|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 768 (2018-06-18): Devuan 2.0.0, using pkgsrc to manage software, the NOVA filesystem, OpenBSD handles successful cron output|
|• Issue 767 (2018-06-11): Android-x86 7.1-r1, transferring files over OpenSSH with pipes, LFS with Debian package management, Haiku ports LibreOffice|
|• Issue 766 (2018-06-04): openSUSE 15, overview of file system links, Manjaro updates Pamac, ReactOS builds itself, Bodhi closes forums|
|• Issue 765 (2018-05-28): Pop!_OS 18.04, gathering system information, Haiku unifying ARM builds, Solus resumes control of Budgie|
|• Issue 764 (2018-05-21): DragonFly BSD 5.2.0, Tails works on persistent packages, Ubuntu plans new features, finding services affected by an update|
|• Issue 763 (2018-05-14): Fedora 28, Debian compatibility coming to Chrome OS, malware found in some Snaps, Debian's many flavours|
|• Issue 762 (2018-05-07): TrueOS 18.03, live upgrading Raspbian, Mint plans future releases, HardenedBSD to switch back to OpenSSL|
|• Issue 761 (2018-04-30): Ubuntu 18.04, accessing ZFS snapshots, UBports to run on Librem 5 phones, Slackware makes PulseAudio optional|
|• Issue 760 (2018-04-23): Chakra 2017.10, using systemd to hide files, Netrunner's ARM edition, Debian 10 roadmap, Microsoft develops Linux-based OS|
|• Issue 759 (2018-04-16): Neptune 5.0, building containers with Red Hat, antiX introduces Sid edition, fixing filenames on the command line|
|• Issue 758 (2018-04-09): Sortix 1.0, openSUSE's Transactional Updates, Fedora phasing out Python 2, locating portable packages|
|• Issue 757 (2018-04-02): Gatter Linux 0.8, the UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook, Red Hat turns 25, super long term support kernels|
|• Issue 756 (2018-03-26): NuTyX 10.0, Neptune supplies Debian users with Plasma 5.12, SolydXK on a Raspberry Pi, SysV init development|
|• Issue 755 (2018-03-19): Learning with ArchMerge and Linux Academy, Librem 5 runs Plasma Mobile, Cinnamon gets performance boost|
|• Issue 754 (2018-03-12): Reviewing Sabayon and Antergos, the growing Linux kernel, BSDs getting CPU bug fixes, Manjaro builds for ARM devices|
|• Issue 753 (2018-03-05): Enso OS 0.2, KDE Plasma 5.12 features, MX Linux prepares new features, interview with MidnightBSD's founder|
|• Issue 752 (2018-02-26): OviOS 2.31, performing off-line upgrades, elementary OS's new installer, UBports gets test devices, Redcore team improves security|
|• Issue 751 (2018-02-19): DietPi 6.1, testing KDE's Plasma Mobile, Nitrux packages AppImage in default install, Solus experiments with Wayland|
|• Issue 750 (2018-02-12): Solus 3, getting Deb packages upstream to Debian, NetBSD security update, elementary OS explores AppCentre changes|
|• Issue 749 (2018-02-05): Freespire 3 and Linspire 7.0, misunderstandings about Wayland, Xorg and Mir, Korora slows release schedule, Red Hat purchases CoreOS|
|• Issue 748 (2018-01-29): siduction 2018.1.0, SolydXK 32-bit editions, building an Ubuntu robot, desktop-friendly Debian options|
|• Issue 747 (2018-01-22): Ubuntu MATE 17.10, recovering open files, creating a new distribution, KDE focusing on Wayland features|
|• Issue 746 (2018-01-15): deepin 15.5, openSUSE's YaST improvements, new Ubuntu 17.10 media, details on Spectre and Meltdown bugs|
|• Issue 745 (2018-01-08): GhostBSD 11.1, Linspire and Freespire return, wide-spread CPU bugs patched, adding AppImage launchers to the application menu|
|• Issue 744 (2018-01-01): MX Linux 17, Ubuntu pulls media over BIOS bug, PureOS gets endorsed by the FSF, openSUSE plays with kernel boot splash screens|
|• Issue 743 (2017-12-18): Daphile 17.09, tools for rescuing files, Fedora Modular Server delayed, Sparky adds ARM support, Slax to better support wireless networking|
|• Issue 742 (2017-12-11): heads 0.3.1, improvements coming to Tails, Void tutorials, Ubuntu phasing out Python 2, manipulating images from the command line|
|• Issue 741 (2017-12-04): Pop!_OS 17.10, openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots, installing Q4OS on a Windows partition, using the at command|
|• Issue 740 (2017-11-27): Artix Linux, Unity spin of Ubuntu, Nitrux swaps Snaps for AppImage, getting better battery life on Linux|
|• Issue 739 (2017-11-20): Fedora 27, cross-distro software ports, Ubuntu on Samsung phones, Red Hat supports ARM, Parabola continues 32-bit support|
|• Issue 738 (2017-11-13): SparkyLinux 5.1, rumours about spyware, Slax considers init software, Arch drops 32-bit packages, overview of LineageOS|
|• Issue 737 (2017-11-06): BeeFree OS 18.1.2, quick tips to fix common problems, Slax returning, Solus plans MATE and software management improvements|
|• Issue 736 (2017-10-30): Ubuntu 17.10, "what if" security questions, Linux Mint to support Flatpak, NetBSD kernel memory protection|
|• Issue 735 (2017-10-23): ArchLabs Minimo, building software with Ravenports, WPA security patch, Parabola creates OpenRC spin|
|• Issue 734 (2017-10-16): Star 1.0.1, running the Linux-libre kernel, Ubuntu MATE experiments with snaps, Debian releases new install media, Purism reaches funding goal|
|• Issue 733 (2017-10-09): KaOS 2017.09, 32-bit prematurely obsoleted, Qubes security features, IPFire updates Apache|
|• Issue 732 (2017-10-02): ClonOS, reducing Snap package size, Ubuntu dropping 32-bit Desktop, partitioning disks for ZFS|
|• Issue 731 (2017-09-25): BackSlash Linux Olaf, W3C adding DRM to web standards, Wayland support arrives in Mir, Debian experimenting with AppArmor|
|• Issue 730 (2017-09-18): Mageia 6, running a completely free OS, HAMMER2 file system in DragonFly BSD's installer, Manjaro to ship pre-installed on laptops|
|• Issue 729 (2017-09-11): Parabola GNU/Linux-libre, running Plex Media Server on a Raspberry Pi, Tails feature roadmap, a cross-platform ports build system|
|• Issue 728 (2017-09-04): Nitrux 1.0.2, SUSE creates new community repository, remote desktop tools for GNOME on Wayland, using Void source packages|
|• Issue 727 (2017-08-28): Cucumber Linux 1.0, using Flatpak vs Snap, GNOME previews Settings panel, SUSE reaffirms commitment to Btrfs|
|• Issue 726 (2017-08-21): Redcore Linux 1706, Solus adds Snap support, KaOS getting hardened kernel, rolling releases and BSD|
|• Issue 725 (2017-08-14): openSUSE 42.3, Debian considers Flatpak for backports, changes coming to Ubuntu 17.10, the state of gaming on Linux|
|• Issue 724 (2017-08-07): SwagArch 2017.06, Myths about Unity, Mir and Ubuntu Touch, Manjaro OpenRC becomes its own distro, Debian debates future of live ISOs|
|• Issue 723 (2017-07-31): UBOS 11, transferring packages between systems, Ubuntu MATE's HUD, GNUstep releases first update in seven years|
|• Issue 722 (2017-07-24): Calculate Linux 17.6, logging sudo usage, Remix OS discontinued, interview with Chris Lamb, Debian 9.1 released|
|• Issue 721 (2017-07-17): Fedora 26, finding source based distributions, installing DragonFly BSD using Orca, Yunit packages ported to Ubuntu 16.04|
|• Issue 720 (2017-07-10): Peppermint OS 8, gathering system information with osquery, new features coming to openSUSE, Tails fixes networking bug|
|• Issue 719 (2017-07-03): Manjaro 17.0.2, tracking ISO files, Ubuntu MATE unveils new features, Qubes tests Admin API, Fedora's Atomic Host gets new life cycle|
|• Issue 718 (2017-06-26): Debian 9, support for older hardware, Debian updates live media, Ubuntu's new networking tool, openSUSE gains MP3 support|
|• Issue 717 (2017-06-19): SharkLinux, combining commands in the shell, Debian 9 flavours released, OpenBSD improving kernel security, UBports releases first OTA update|
|• Full list of all issues|
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Rails Live CD
Rails Live CD was a specialist distribution providing a pre-configured and fully operating Ruby on Rails development environment on a bootable CD. The distribution was derived from PCLinuxOS.