| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 749, 5 February 2018
Welcome to this year's 6th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Linux distributions come and go, but it is rare to see discontinued distributions return from the dead. This week we begin with a look at the resurrected projects of Freespire and Linspire. Robert Rijkhoff explores these two distributions and reports on both their history and present condition. In our News section we discuss Red Hat acquiring CoreOS and its Container Linux distribution. Plus we report on Korora slowing its release cycle and celebrate the Open Source Initiative turning 20 years old this week. Then, in our Myths and Misunderstandings column, we tackle the often confusing topics of X.Org, Wayland and Mir. We are also happy to share a list of new operating system versions released last week and we provide a list of the torrents we are seeding. In our Opinion Poll we ask how many of our readers are using commercial distributions such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Linspire. We wish you all a fantastic week and happy reading!
- Review: Freespire 3 and Linspire 7.0
- News: Red Hat acquiring CoreOS, Korora slows release schedule, the OSI turns 20
- Myths and misunderstandings: Wayland, X.Org and Mir
- Released last week: Linux Lite 3.8, Emmabuntus 9-1.01, OPNsense 18.1
- Torrent corner: 4MLinux, Archman, Emmabuntus, KDE neon, Lite, Manjaro, OPNsense, Pardus Topluluk, SwagArch
- Opinion poll: Commercial Linux distributions
- New distributions: Anarchy Linux
- Reader comments
|Feature Story (by Robert Rijkhoff)
Freespire 3 and Linspire 7.0
Towards the end of last year a company called PC/OpenSystems announced that it had bought the trademarks for Linspire and Freespire and that a new version of both distros had been released. The announcement got a fair bit of attention as Linspire and Freespire were discontinued distros with a turbulent history. Before we get into the review proper we need to talk about the distros' past.
Linspire started life in 2001 under the name Lindows. The original name was a playful reference to its ambition: developing a Linux operating system capable of running major Microsoft Windows applications. The name was changed to Linspire in 2004 after a lawsuit brought by Microsoft was settled out of court. Linspire's ambition remained the same and as part of the settlement the distro could include codecs for proprietary media formats such as MP3 and WMA.
Unsurprisingly, Linspire was often criticised by the free software community. Richard Stallman famously said of the distro that "No other GNU/Linux distribution has backslided so far away from freedom." Of course, the focus on features over freedom was exactly what made the distro appealing to many users.
Back in the day Lindows/Linspire was based on Debian. The distro had to be purchased; the Wayback Machine shows the license fee was $49.95 in 2006. As far as I can tell compatibility with major Microsoft Windows applications never really materialised but the distro did introduce a graphical user interface for installing software. The feature, called Click 'N' Run (or CNR), was essentially an early software centre.
Freespire entered the stage in 2005 as a free (as in beer) version of Linspire. Both Linspire and Freespire were acquired by Xandros in 2008 and discontinued not long after. Xandros Linux also didn't survive - its latest stable release is from 2007.
PC/OpenSystems, the new owner of the Linspire and Freespire trademarks, is not new to the world of Linux distros - it already develops Black Lab Linux. The company bought the trademarks to, in its own words, differentiate its product line. They are hoping Linspire will appeal to enterprise and home users alike.
Both Freespire and Linspire are derivatives of Xubuntu 16.04. The distros are only available for the 64-bit x86 architecture and Xfce is the only supported desktop environment. Freespire is still the community edition and freely downloadable while the ISO for Linspire costs $79.99. The license fee will give you a year's worth of phone and e-mail support and a system with various common proprietary codecs pre-installed. The inclusion of the codecs is no longer part of the above-mentioned settlement with Microsoft - PC/OpenSystems has to pay patent-holders to include them.
I first tried Freespire. The ISO is a 1.5GB download and boots to a live environment where you can try the system before deciding whether or not to take the plunge. Freespire's desktop has a traditional look: the panel is placed at the bottom; window decorations such as title bars and buttons have a bevel effect and the wallpaper is dark blue with diagonal gradients and the Freespire logo.
Freespire 3 - Freespire's Xfce desktop
(full image size: 654kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
The installer is a modified version of Ubiquity. Unfortunately, the modifications are not improvements. The first issue I encountered was that the link to the release notes on the first page of the installer took me to a dodgy on-line survey about the UK economy. I asked PC/OpenSystems how it is possible that the link to the release notes goes to a phishing site - they were able to reproduce the bug but could not explain how or why this happened. A second tweak in the installer is that the slides that are normally displayed when Ubiquity installs the system have been replaced with a tiny little window that shows information about what the installer is doing. The size of the window adjusts itself to the amount of information that needs to be displayed and therefore changes in size all the time. The installer did get the job done but it wasn't a very pleasant experience.
Freespire 3 - The release notes page
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The reason why the installer has been tweaked has to do with the ubuntu-restricted-extras package, which provides support for DVD playback, Microsoft fonts, Flash and codecs for common audio and video files. Normally, the package is only installed if you tick the relevant box in the installer. In Freespire the meta-package was installed even though I had opted not to tick the box. This surprised me because a blog post on the PC/OpenSystems website from December 2017 claimed that Freespire 3 would appease what the company refers to as "GNU purists". Apart from some binary blobs in the kernel the distro would be fully libre (and the binary blobs could be removed in a future release).
Freespire 3 - Installing third-party software
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I did check with PC/OpenSystems what Freespire's stance on software freedom is and the company has now released a new ISO (Freespire 3.0.6). In the new version the restricted extras package is never installed - even if you tick the box you will not get the extras package. The checkbox is due to be removed from the installer and the company is apparently working with the Free Software Foundation to make Freespire fully libre.
A final thing worth noting about the installer is that we can set up our partitions as we wish. The release announcement for Freespire and Linspire suggests that file systems such as XFS and Btrfs are only available in Linspire but that is not the case.
While exploring Freespire I quickly discovered that the main difference between stock Xubuntu and Freespire is the look and feel. After changing the theme to Greybird and switching the panel to Xubuntu Modern I was left with Xubuntu. Even the collection of pre-installed software is roughly what you find in Xubuntu (you can compare the packages yourself). The most noteworthy differences are that Freespire comes with three file managers (Thunar, GNOME Files and a program called Worker) and that Thunderbird and LibreOffice are not installed - instead we get the Geary e-mail client and Abiword and Gnumeric for word processing and spreadsheets. Interestingly, Linspire does come with Thunderbird and LibreOffice pre-installed. Silly as it might sound, I suspect the reason why Thunderbird and LibreOffice have been removed in Freespire is that it may encourage people to purchase Linspire.
Freespire 3 - Worker, Thunar and GNOME Files
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There were a few applications I hadn't come across before. In the category Games we get DOSBox, which describes itself as a shell that runs DOS programs; under Accessories we get Midnight Commander and under Settings we find a Domain Blocker, which is a parental control application.
Freespire 3 - Running various desktop utilities
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Freespire does not have its own repositories. The distro does add a Skype repository, even though Skype itself is not installed. The old Click 'N' Run application has been replaced with GNOME Software, while the more advanced Synaptic package manager is also pre-installed.
This is, then, essentially Xubuntu. The only real modifications are in the installer: the link to the release notes has been, let's say, monetised, and if you download the latest ISO the "restricted extras" package will not be installed (even if you tick the relevant box in the installer). Other than that Freespire is Xubuntu 16.04 with a different default theme. If you are an eagle-eyed reader you might have noticed that the link to the installer in the live environment is called "Install Freespire 16.04" - this should of course have been "Install Freespire 3". Selecting "Help" from the application menu opens the documentation for Xubuntu 16.04, complete with Xubuntu branding. In Firefox we get various Ubuntu bookmarks. The name of the Freespire menu icon is xubuntu-logo.png. If you change the software settings so that you are notified of any new version of the distro you will be notified that Ubuntu 17.10 is available. Everywhere you look you see that this is Xubuntu with a few artificial modifications.
The Linspire ISO is quite a bit larger (2.3GB) and the installation didn't go smoothly. In the live environment I found that the Google Chrome browser failed to launch and the installer appeared to hang. The install window didn't display any information but I could see that the Ubiquity process was running, although it didn't appear to make any progress. After about 40 minutes I decided to reboot the laptop and try again.
Linspire 7.0 - Trying to install the distribution
(full image size: 625kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
The second time both the live environment and installer worked better. I could launch Chrome (although the browser didn't open the link to the release notes) and the installer was working, albeit slowly. The installation took over an hour and at various points the installer appeared to have frozen. At least I got some information about what the installer was trying to do and it did eventually finish.
Linspire 7.0 - The custom installer retrieving files
(full image size: 1.0MB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
Linspire always installs the ubuntu-restricted-package, regardless of whether or not you tick the box to install the codecs and other proprietary goodies. This is in fact one of the main selling points of the distro: PC/OpenSystems has license agreements with Microsoft, Apple, Oracle and (unspecified) other companies that allows the company to include various (unspecified) codecs and the Java stack in its distributions.
Other than the codecs there is, again, nothing that sets the distro apart from Xubuntu. The Linspire release announcement mentions the availability of ZFS as one of the major features but, as I suspected, ZFS was not listed among the usual file systems. It is of course possible to use ZFS on Linspire, simply because it is possible to use ZFS on Ubuntu. However, getting ZFS to work on Linspire is not as easy as selecting it at the partitioning stage. I might add that the release announcement for Freespire and Linspire is misleading in that it suggests that ZFS is not available in Freespire. The fact is that there is no difference between Ubuntu, Freespire and Linspire when it comes to support for ZFS.
Linspire 7.0 - Chrome, Xfce Terminal and Skype
(full image size: 454kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
As I have already mentioned, the software collection in Linspire and Freespire is slightly different. In Linspire, Firefox has been replaced with Google Chrome and instead of Geary you now get Thunderbird (although I couldn't detect the promised Exchange add-on). LibreOffice 5.4 is provided via a PPA and we also get VLC, ClamAV, Bleachbit and VirtualBox. You again get the Skype repository and this time Skype is actually installed as well. In addition, you also get a WINE repository out of the box. Like Freespire, Linspire does not have its own repositories.
Performance, bugs and Xfce
It almost goes without saying that both Freespire and Linspire worked perfectly fine. On both my laptop and in GNOME Boxes the distros were responsive and stable - nothing crashed and I didn't encounter a single bug. Of course, it is Xubuntu that should get the plaudits for that. Freespire and Linspire are stock Xubuntu with a different theme and a slightly different set of default applications.
On the topic of bugs and default applications, one reason why I didn't encounter any bugs might be that Apport is not pre-installed in Freespire and Linspire. Apport is Ubuntu's crash reporting tool. It intercepts program crashes, collects debugging information and allows you to send the information to the Ubuntu developers via a graphical interface. As a replacement, Freespire and Linspire have their own "bug reporting tool": users can submit bug reports by leaving a comment on their Blogger blog. To date, not a single bug has been reported.
Linspire 7.0 - Reporting bugs
(full image size: 514kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
As for the Xfce desktop environment, I like the desktop. It is unassuming and fairly customisable. One thing to be aware of in both Freespire and Linspire is that the default panel configuration hasn't been saved. Instead, the developers have simply modified the default theme, which means that you have no way of going back to the default configuration if you change the panel layout.
Freespire 3 - Theme settings
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Other than that the only minor annoyance is that Google Chrome and most GNOME applications stick out like a sore thumb. In Xubuntu the window decorations of GNOME applications have a similar look and feel if you stick with the default Greybird theme, although windows are missing the maximise and close buttons (you only get a minimise button). In Freespire and Linspire GNOME applications use a completely different theme with flat macOS-style buttons. I guess there is no perfect solution to integrating GNOME applications in a non-GNOME desktop environment.
Before I started my trial I was under the impression that Freespire and Linspire were quite different from stock Xubuntu. The Linspire blog, for instance, talks about binary blobs in "our" kernel and proprietary packages provided by vendors to Linspire. As I quickly learned, Linspire doesn't have its own repositories (let alone a custom kernel) and the proprietary packages are provided via the ubuntu-restricted-extras package. Similarly, the lead developer recently wrote on his blog that people who claim that Linspire is just a Xubuntu respin should "mind their own business" because they have no idea how much work has gone into customising Linspire over the last 18 months. When I asked the company if they could give some examples of how Linspire is different from Xubuntu I was told that, actually, their aim is to stay as close to Xubuntu as possible.
It would be unfair, however, to dismiss Freespire and Linspire as Xubuntu clones. The distros have two interesting selling points. Firstly, PC/OpenSystems can legally ship certain patent-encumbered codecs. Of course, anyone can install the ubuntu-restricted-extras package but in some jurisdictions doing so may be illegal. It is probably fair to say that few people care about such legalities but if you prefer to play by the rules then Linspire is worth a look.
Secondly, Linspire's main feature is the support license. You don't pay $79.99 for Xubuntu with a Linspire sticker - you buy a year's worth of support. Linspire might be an attractive option for small businesses and organisations that want to run Linux with a support contract. Similarly, I reckon many home users will like the idea of being able to get professional support for their Linspire box(es).
That said, it is disappointing that the only real customisations (as in code changes) are regressions: the installer is far from a finished product. It is also unfortunate that Freespire lacks direction. The new Freespire was presented as an almost fully libre distro, yet the initial release clearly was the exact opposite. Only after pointing this out did PC/OpenSystems quietly release a new ISO.
The main issue I had with the distros was something else though: the marketing/PR/spin. I have already mentioned various examples of dubious claims. I would like to add one more example, just because it nicely illustrates my gripe: the Freespire page claims that, unlike Freespire, Linux Mint is difficult to install. PC/OpenSystems arrived at that conclusion based on its own research: a whopping three people were asked to install Freespire, Ubuntu and Linux Mint and the "sample group" apparently struggled to install Mint.
This type of marketing is needlessly negative. I would rather see the company work with, say, the Trisquel developers, who have already solved the issue with the checkbox in the Ubiquity installer and who may also be able to help Freespire become an FSF-approved distro. I would love to see a proper bug tracking tool so that I would have an easy way to report issues. And I think it would also be nice if PC/OpenSystems would start sharing the code it claims to produce.
In short, I think both Freespire and Linspire are on to something. I like the idea of a fully libre Xubuntu spin and I am sure there is demand for Linspire. I just hope history won't repeat itself.
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Hardware used for this review
My physical test equipment for this review was a Lenovo Thinkpad X220 with the following specifications:
- Processor: Intel Core i3-2520M, 2.5GHz
- Memory: 8GB of RAM
- Wireless network adapter: Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6205
- Wired network adapter: Intel 82579M
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Visitor supplied rating
Freespire has a visitor supplied average rating of: 6.3/10 from 12 review(s).
Have you used Freespire? You can leave your own review of the project on our ratings page.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Red Hat acquiring CoreOS, Korora slows release schedule, the OSI turns 20
Red Hat has announced that the company is in the process of acquiring CoreOS, the organization which develops Container Linux. Container Linux is a very lightweight distribution optimized for running containers and it provides automated updates. Red Hat has published a blog page which covers the reasons behind the acquisition and what CoreOS's team will bring to the Red Hat ecosystem. "We believe Red Hat and CoreOS are a natural fit due to our respective open source business models and emphasis on enabling customers to build and deploy applications across the hybrid cloud. CoreOS can expand Red Hat's technology leadership in containers and Kubernetes and enhance core platform capabilities in OpenShift, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat's integrated container portfolio. Bringing CoreOS's technologies to the Red Hat portfolio can help us further automate and extend operational management capabilities for OpenShift administrators and drive greater ease of use for end users building and managing applications on our platform."
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The Korora team develops a Fedora-based distribution which offers users a more complete desktop experience with multimedia support. The Korora distribution typically publishes new versions shortly after the Fedora project releases a new version. The Korora team is going to change their release schedule and only offer new versions of Korora after every other Fedora version. "All this is done in our spare time along side our job, family and personal responsibilities. For a very small team, currently three people plus the occasional input from others, this is a lot of work. It means that often Korora has to take a back seat when real life intrudes. Consequently we have decided that in future there will an annual Korora release in line with only the even number Fedora versions. That means there won't be a Korora 27 but we are planning to have Korora 28 available soon after the final release of Fedora 28."
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The Open Source Initiative (OSI) is "a non-profit corporation with global scope formed to educate about and advocate for the benefits of open source and to build bridges among different constituencies in the open source community." The organization promotes and provides resources for people wanting to learn more about open source software and licensing. The OSI is celebrating its 20th anniversary this week. "The Open Source Initiative is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2018. In the true open source spirit, we would like to invite you and the open source community to participate. This is a great opportunity to highlight yours and your organization's open source success story. Please join and help us make this celebration a true representation of the passion, diversity, and creativity of the open source software community!" The OSI has set up a website with more information and invitations for community members to participate in the celebration.
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Myths and Misunderstandings (by Jesse Smith)
Wayland, X.Org and Mir
At the beginning of the year we covered a discussion taking place on a FreeBSD mailing list where developers were debating whether to enable Wayland support in FreeBSD ports by default. After some discussion, Kevin Oberman made a good point, one which could probably be posted as a footnote to any conversation about Wayland: "There seems to be general confusion on what Wayland is and what it does."
There tends to be a general misunderstanding as to what Wayland is (or is not), how it gets used and how it co-exists with other display technologies such as X.Org or Mir. Today I would like to clear up some common misunderstandings about these technologies.
X.Org is the classic method of displaying graphical elements on a Linux (or BSD) system. The X.Org display server is one component of many making up a desktop environment and its applications. At the top level we have applications, the arrangement of the application windows is handled by a separate task called a window manager. The window manager sits on top of the X.Org display server, which is responsible for drawing everything on the screen. From a practical point of view, we might run the Firefox browser as an application. The position and behaviour of the Firefox window is handled by a window manager like Openbox. The drawing of the window and its contents is handled by X.Org.
When some developers decided it was time to replace the aging X.Org software with a new, more streamlined design, we got two new main approaches in the open source community. The first was called Wayland and the second was called Mir. Let's focus on Wayland first.
"Wayland is a protocol for a compositor to talk to its clients as well as a C library implementation of that protocol." In order words, Wayland might be considered a method programs can use to draw applications on the screen. The Wayland website describes the idea as follows: "The Wayland architecture integrates the display server, window manager and compositor into one process. You can think of Wayland as a toolkit for creating clients and compositors. It is not a specific single compositor or window manager."
Put another way, Wayland takes the work of displaying items and managing windows (jobs previously handled by X.Org and a separate window manager) and melds those jobs into one. In theory, this should make things more simple. Before we were running Firefox on a window manager which talks to a separate display server. Now we simply run Firefox on a Wayland implementation which knows how to be both a window manager and a display server. The new approach is more streamlined.
Where people tend to get confused about Wayland is with the idea that there is no one Wayland implementation. Wayland defines a protocol for managing windows and displaying them, but there is no one central Wayland compositor & window manager. Each desktop environment is expected to create its own implementation of Wayland. For a desktop environment, such as GNOME or KDE Plasma, to support Wayland, the desktop developers must create their own version of Wayland.
In this way X.Org is different from Wayland. For most practical purposes there is one X.Org implementation that can be used by each desktop environment. With Wayland, each desktop environment needs to have a Wayland implementation written for it.
Backtracking a bit, Mir was the name of a technology similar to Wayland. But while Wayland was the name of a protocol anyone could implement, Mir is both the name of a protocol and a specific implementation of the Mir protocol. Put another way, the Mir software implements the Mir protocol. Mir started as a separate project from Wayland while attempting to do approximately the same thing: offer a simpler, lighter alternative to X.Org.
In the past year, the developers of the Mir software have decided to expand its scope. The Mir software now understands both the Mir protocol and the Wayland protocol. In short, the Mir software is now an implementation of Wayland.
One potential benefit to the Mir software now speaking the Wayland protocol is Mir can be used as a desktop-neutral display server for smaller desktop projects. GNOME and KDE are relatively large projects and were able to pioneer adopting the Wayland protocol with each desktop project creating its own Wayland implementation. (KDE created KWin/Wayland, GNOME wrote Wayland support into Mutter.) Smaller teams, such as those working on MATE and Xfce, may struggle to find the time to create their own versions of Wayland for their desktop environments. With this in mind, smaller desktop projects are looking at using Mir as a common component to reduce their work supporting Wayland.
One nice thing about the new Wayland approach is that it can co-exist alongside the old X.Org software. As FreeBSD developer Johannes Lundberg stated recently: "Libraries that are common for X and Wayland like mesa-libs, Qt5 and GTK30 will get a bit bigger in order to enable Wayland. This is completely transparent to X users and does not affect X-related stuff in anyway. Using Wayland compositors like Sway or Weston is still completely optional and they can co-exist with any X server and X11 window manager." In most cases we can not only have both Wayland and X.Org desktop sessions on the same operating system (the way Fedora and Ubuntu do), X.Org programs can typically be run on a Wayland session.
At this point, most implementations of Wayland (such as those used by KDE and GNOME) are ready for general, day to day use. However, possibly because there are still some corner cases to work out, or because X.Org sessions continue to work well, most distributions continue to use X.Org desktop sessions.
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Myths and misunderstandings can be found in our Myths and Misunderstandings archive.
|Released Last Week
OPNsense is a FreeBSD-based specialist operating system (and a fork of pfSense) designed for firewalls and routers. The latest release, OPNsense 18.1, is built on FreeBSD 11.1 and includes PHP version 7.1. The new release also features strict interface binding for OpenSSH connections and a new Realtek network driver, version 1.94. "We humbly present to you the sum of another major iteration of the OPNsense firewall. Over the second half of 2017 well over 500 changes have made it into this release, nicknamed 'Groovy Gecko'. Most notably, the firewall NAT rules have been reworked to be more flexible and usable via plugins, which is going to pave the way for subsequent API works on the core firewall functionality. For more details please find the attached list of changes below. The upgrade track from 17.7 will be available later today. Please be patient. Meltdown and Spectre patches are currently being worked on in FreeBSD, but there is no reliable timeline. We will keep you up to date through the usual channels as more news become available. Hang in there!" Further details can be found in the project's release announcement and press release.
Emmabuntüs is a desktop Linux distribution with editions based on based on Xubuntu and Debian's Stable branch. It strives to be beginner-friendly and reasonably light on resources so that it can be used on older computers. The project's latest release is based on Debian and includes several bug fixes along with support for a wider range of wireless network cards. "As a reminder, this version includes the UEFI support for the 32- and 64-bits architectures, and integrates the essential 'Debian Beginner's Handbook', updated for the Stretch version by our friends of the 3HG Team led by our mate arpinux, this handbook being available in both French and English versions. Also included are our latest presentation and installation tutorials already published on the Developpez.com site, as well as the one concerning the printer configuration under Debian, also available in both French and English languages. This Debian Edition 2-1.01 version includes the following fixes and enhancements: Based on Debian 9.3 Stretch. Workaround concerning the display freeze at startup bug in the Linux 4.9 kernel...." More details can be found in the project's release announcement.
Linux Lite 3.8
Jerry Bezencon has announced the release of Linux Lite 3.8, an Ubuntu-based distribution featuring the lightweight Xfce desktop. "Linux Lite 3.8 Final is now available for download. There have been a number of changes since the 3.6 release. This is the last release for Series 3.x. Linux Lite 4.0 Final will be released on June 1st, 2018. The changes for Linux Lite 3.8 include - more support for LibreOffice, regional support for DVDs, a Font Viewer/Installer and we now have our own Google-based Search page as the home page in Firefox. We've also added TLP for Laptops to Lite Tweaks. We've added a Thesaurus (Synonyms) to LibreOffice for the US language... If you have DVDs that are from another region other than your own, you can now easily change region so that it will play in VLC. Insert your DVD, open a terminal and type regionset and follow the on-screen instructions." Further information and screen shots can be found in the project's release announcement. Download (MD5): linux-lite-3.8-64bit.iso (1,027MB, torrent, pkglist).
Linux Lite 3.8 -- The welcome screen
(full image size: 1.2MB, resolution: 1920x1080 pixels)
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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: 729
- Total data uploaded: 17.7TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Commercial Linux distributions
This week we discussed a few commercial Linux companies, including Red Hat and PC/OpenSystems. We would like to find out how many of our readers currently run a commercial Linux distribution. If you do run a
commercial Linux system, do you enjoy the extra technical support, are you giving back financially to the open source community, do you feel commercial distributions offer a better experience? Please let us know your reasons for purchasing your operating system in the last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Commercial Linux distributions
|I run a commercial distribution: ||15 (1%)|
| I run both commercial and no-cost distributions: ||146 (6%)|
| I run no-cost distributions only: ||2020 (90%)|
| I do not run a Linux distribution: ||74 (3%)|
Distributions added to waiting list
- Anarchy Linux. Anarchy Linux is an Arch Linux-based distribution offering users an installation disc with a live desktop. Anarchy Linux's default desktop is Xfce.
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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, 12 February 2018. Past articles and reviews can be found through our Article Search page. 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|
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