| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 768, 18 June 2018
Welcome to this year's 25th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
A few years back the Debian project held a debate on the subject of which init software would best serve the distribution and its users. The Debian team ultimately decided to migrate from SysV init to systemd. Some developers, unhappy with the change, created a fork of Debian called Devuan and the young Devuan project released its second stable version just over a week ago. The new version, which carries the code name "ASCII", is the subject of our first review this week. In our Opinion Poll we ask which of the many init implementations for Linux and BSD is your favourite. Our second review column this week covers a cross-platform software build tool called pkgsrc, which offers users a way to build source packages on multiple operating systems. We provide an overview of pkgsrc, how to install it and how to use it in our Software Review. In our News second we talk about Red Hat Enterprise Linux being used on the world's fastest super computer and openSUSE providing support for a range of ARM-powered computers. Plus we talk about a new filesystem for Linux called NOVA and a new method for handling cron output on OpenBSD. We then share the releases of the past week and list the torrents we are seeding. We wish you all a wonderful week and happy reading!
- Review: Devuan GNU+Linux 2.0.0 "ASCII"
- News: The world's fastest super computer runs Red Hat, openSUSE's supported ARM devices, new NOVA filesystem coming to Linux, OpenBSD offers better handling of cron output
- Software review: Building packages with pkgsrc
- Released last week: deepin 15.6, NethServer 7.5, UCS 4.3-1
- Torrent corner: Berry, deepin, NethServer, Parabola, Plamo, Robolinux, Sparky, Univention, Untangle, Zeroshell
- Opinion poll: Preferred init software
- Reader comments
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Devuan GNU+Linux 2.0.0 "ASCII"
A few years ago, when the Debian project opted to switch from using SysV init software to the more modern systemd alternative, the Devuan project was formed to provide a Debian-like operating system which continued to use SysV init. It took about two years for the Devuan project to get all of its infrastructure in place and release its first stable release, but the developers generally managed to deliver on their goal to provide a fork of Debian than was (by default) free of the systemd software.
The Devuan team has recently published their second stable release, codename ASCII. Devuan 2.0.0 is approximately equivalent to Debian 9 Stretch in the packages and technology it provides. Though, as before, systemd has been stripped from Devuan and SysV init is available in its place. The release announcement mentions the OpenRC service manager is also available as an alternative to systemd at install time.
Devuan 2.0.0 runs on 32-bit and 64-bit x86 processors and there are also a handful of builds for ARM-powered computers like the Raspberry Pi. I decided to try the 64-bit option and found it is available in multiple flavours, including a live disc, an install disc and a minimal disc. I downloaded a live disc that was 1GB in size and featured the Xfce desktop environment.
Booting from the live disc brings up a menu asking if we would like to start the live desktop environment, load the operating system into RAM and then launch the desktop or boot with failsafe options. Whichever option we choose, the system quickly loads from the disc and displays the Xfce desktop.
The live desktop session features a theme and wallpaper which combines grey and purple to produce a visually uninteresting first impression. There is a panel housing the application menu, task switcher and system tray at the top of the screen. At the bottom of the display we find a dock with some quick-launch icons for the file manager, web browser and virtual terminal. On the desktop are icons for opening the file manager, reading the distribution's release notes, launching the installer and changing the desktop font sizes. I really like the ability to increase or decrease font sizes with a click as it is a feature that often takes digging through multiple configuration screens. Unfortunately, the text labels under the desktop icons do not handle being resized well. When we first start using Devuan, the text under the icons reads "Small", "Large" and "_Release Notes". Increasing the size one notch makes the text read "SM", "LA" and "_RE".
Devuan GNU+Linux 2.0.0 -- Reading the release notes
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The release notes are relatively brief, but provide information on such topics as non-free firmware (it is included for wireless support) and default repositories (non-free and contrib repositories are disabled). Default account usernames and passwords are also mentioned. While brief, the documentation gives us a good idea of what we will be starting with if we install Devuan.
Devuan has its own system installer. While there is a text-based version available, launching the installer from the live desktop opens a graphical installer. I believe it is worth covering the installer's many steps because it is almost certainly the longer installation process I have gone through to date.
First, we are asked for the root password, which is available in the release notes file. Then we are shown a screen warning us the installer's windows may not fit on small screens (or display properly in a virtual machine) and, in that case, we should use the text installer. Then I was warned that the grub-pc package was missing and might need to be installed manually, though the reason for this was unclear. We are then shown a long list of file system options, such as placing /home on a separate partition, using encryption and whether to use UUIDs in place of traditional device names in the system's fstab file. It is important to read through the entire list and toggle the right options because this will affect future options we will be shown and determine how the installer sets up our operating system. After that, we are asked to manually set up partitions using the GParted desktop software or the cfdisk text console partition manager. Then we are asked which partition should be used for the root file system and, in my case, which device will host the /home partition. Devuan supports working with just the ext2/3/4 file systems.
Next, we move onto selecting our time zone from a list. We are asked which language locales should be set up, with options being pulled from a cryptic list with entries like "en_US.UTF-8". We then select our keyboard layout from a similar set of lists. The installer then switches over to a terminal to ask if it should proceed with formatting our hard drive. Files are copied to our drive and then I was asked an unusual question. I was shown a screen with three options, with the first being to copy files to a /target directory and install the GRUB boot loader packages. The second was to open a chroot environment to perform custom actions. The third was to "continue" without installing a boot loader. I took the "copy files" option, half expecting it to fail since I'd been warned the grub-pc package was missing, but the installer accepted my choice and moved on.
We are then shown a screen asking us to create a user account. The account can be given sudo access, with additional options to "use sudo by default" and to "use sudo for shutdown only". These options don't have a clear explanation, but I think the last one implies any user with sudo access can shutdown the computer. The following screens get us to create a password for ourselves and the root account and then the installer disappears, apparently finished.
Honestly, after the long install process with odd file system, GRUB and user configuration options, I did not have high hopes that Devuan would boot the first time I went through the installation, but it did. The operating system booted and presented me with a graphical login screen where I could sign into the Xfce 4.12 desktop.
Devuan GNU+Linux 2.0.0 -- The application menu
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The desktop was uncluttered, there were virtually no pop-ups, no welcome screen and no distractions. Xfce was pleasantly responsive. At first I wasn't a fan of the dock at the bottom of the screen taking up real estate, but I grew to appreciate having quick access to programs I was using on a regular basis.
A fresh install of Devuan took up about 3.6GB of disk space and logging into the Xfce desktop required 215MB of RAM. The distribution worked well with my desktop computer's hardware. The system booted quickly, the desktop was responsive and audio was set to a reasonable level. Videos played smoothly and I found Devuan to be stable on my desktop's hardware. My only complaint was that Devuan did not recognize or respond to my keyboard's media keys, such as the volume-up and volume-down controls.
I found Devuan did not integrate into its VirtualBox environment and could not make use of my computer's full screen resolution while running as a guest. Further complicating things, I could not find VirtualBox modules in the distribution's repositories. I was able to install the build-essential package and then build VirtualBox's generic guest modules. After that, I was able to increase Devuan's screen resolution.
Devuan GNU+Linux 2.0.0 -- Running Firefox and LibreOffice
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Devuan ships with an unusual combination of popular open source applications and some less common programs. Popular items include Firefox, LibreOffice, the GNU Image Manipulation Program and the VLC media player. But then we are also given the lesser known Quod Libet music player, the Ex Falso media tag editor and the mutt terminal e-mail client. The Orage Calendar application, a PDF document viewer and printer manager are present too. The Thunar file manager is included along with a tool to rename groups of files and there is a process monitor. Devuan ships with the Wicd network manager to help us get on-line. In the background we find version 4.9 of the Linux kernel.
The operating system includes a handful of tools to adjust the look and behaviour of the Xfce desktop. Most of these worked very well for me and I was able to easily change the theme, fonts and window behaviour. Back when Devuan's release candidate came out, I tested the distribution and run into a problem with the utility which changes the desktop wallpaper. This program would lock-up and use 100% of my CPU, even after the window had been closed. The runaway process had to be killed manually through the task manager. I was pleased to find that problem had been fixed by the time the final Devuan 2.0.0 release was published. This was perhaps the only significant difference I encountered between testing the release candidate and the final release.
Earlier I mentioned Devuan did not work with my keyboard's media keys and I believe that goes hand-in-hand with another issue: Devuan does not have a volume control widget in the system tray. There is a PulseAudio control panel we can launch from the Xfce application menu, but by default there is no global volume control; each application is left to handle audio volume (or not) on its own.
Software on Devuan can be handled through the Synaptic package manager or by using the APT command line tools. Synaptic is a fast and capable package manager which can install, remove and upgrade software. It can also perform simple searches and configure software repositories. Synaptic handles package installs and upgrades in batches rather than queuing actions in the background like most modern software centres. It also takes a package-oriented view of managing software rather than focusing on desktop software, the way mintInstall and GNOME Software do. I was happy to find Synaptic performed its actions quickly and without any problems.
Devuan GNU+Linux 2.0.0 -- Managing packages with Synaptic
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Much of Devuan's software is over a year old at this point and some users may wish to get more up to date desktop software. One way to do this is by using Flatpak packages. While Flatpak support is not included in Devuan by default, the Flatpak framework can be installed from the repositories. This allows us to install and run Flatpak bundles. Projects which supply AppImage packages can also be accessed. Unfortunately Devuan users cannot make use of Snap packages due to that technology's reliance on systemd, which is excluded from Devuan.
When I am trying out a desktop distribution, what really tends to divide the field of Linux distributions in my mind is not whether the system uses MATE or Plasma, or whether the underlying package manager uses RPM or Deb files. What tends to leave a lasting impression with me is whether the desktop environment, its applications and controls feel like a cooperative, cohesive experience or like a jumble of individual tools that happen to be part of the same operating system. In my opinion Ubuntu running the Unity desktop and Linux Mint's Cinnamon desktop are good examples of the cohesive approach. The way openSUSE's administration tools work together provides another example. Like them or hate them, I think most people can see there is an overall design, a unifying vision, being explored with those distributions. I believe Devuan falls into the other category, presenting the user with a collection of utilities and features where some assembly is still required.
This comes across in little ways. For example, many distributions ship Mozilla's Firefox web browser and the Thunderbird e-mail client together as a set, and they generally complement each other. Devuan ships Firefox, but then its counterpart is the mutt console e-mail program which feels entirely out of place with the rest of the desktop software. The PulseAudio sound mixing utility is included, but its system tray companion is not present by default. Even the system installer, which switches back and forth between graphical windows and a text console, feels more like a collection of uncoordinated prompts rather than a unified program or script. Some people may like the mix-and-match approach, but I tend to prefer distributions where it feels like the parts are fitted together to create a unified experience.
Devuan GNU+Linux 2.0.0 -- Running the Falkon browser using Flatpak
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What I found was that Devuan provided an experience where I had to stop and think about where items were or how I was going to use them rather than having the pieces seamlessly fit together. However, once I got the system set up in a way that was more to my liking, I appreciated the experience provided. Devuan offers a stable, flexible platform. Once I shaped the operating system a little, I found it to be fast, light and capable. Having a fairly large repository of software available along with Flatpak support provided a solid collection of applications on a conservative operating system foundation. It was a combination I liked.
In short, I think Devuan has some rough edges and setting it up was an unusually long and complex experience by Linux standards. I certainly wouldn't recommend Devuan to newcomers. However, a day or two into the experience, Devuan's stability and performance made it a worthwhile journey. I think Devuan may be a good alternative to people who like running Debian or other conservative distributions such as Slackware. I suspect I may soon be running Devuan's Raspberry Pi build on my home server where its lightweight nature will be welcome.
* * * * *
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
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Visitor supplied rating
Devuan GNU+Linux has a visitor supplied average rating of: 9/10 from 269 review(s).
Have you used Devuan GNU+Linux? You can leave your own review of the project on our ratings page.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
The world's fastest super computer runs Red Hat, openSUSE's supported ARM devices, new NOVA filesystem coming to Linux, OpenBSD offers better handling of cron output
Several news sites have reported that the world has a new fastest super computer, capable of performing 200,000 trillion calculations per second (200 petaflops). The new super computer, named Summit, was built by IBM and uses a combination of Power9 processors and NVIDIA graphics cards. The computer's operating system: Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Network World reports: "If you knew that the top ten fastest supercomputers in the world today all run a variant of Linux, Red Hat's role in Summit might not be such a surprise. But don't stop there. The benefit to users of having a familiar OS (many national labs and research centers run Red Hat Enterprise Linux on their systems) makes Summit approachable in a way that older supercomputers have generally not been. The requirements for flexibility and scalability required for IT operations are considerably more important when it comes to supercomputing with its highly specialized components. Red Hat Enterprise Linux provides stability, support, and its open nature."
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At the end of May the openSUSE team released version 15 of their distribution. The openSUSE distribution not only runs on laptops, workstations and servers, it is now also available on a wide range of ARM single board computers. Douglas DeMaio writes: "The release of openSUSE Leap 15 two weeks ago is following up with its Build to Scale theme by offering images for Raspberry Pis, Beagle Boards, Arndale board, CuBox-i computers, OLinuXino and more. openSUSE has plenty of supported ARM boards to allow makers to simply create. openSUSE is providing makers the tools to start, run and grow a project on micro devices to large hardware. The new, fresh and hardened code base that supports modern hardware is stable and offers a full scope of deployments. Makers can leverage openSUSE Leap 15 images for aarch64 and ARMv7 on Internet of Things (IoT) and embedded devices. Since openSUSE Leap 15 shares a common core with SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLE) 15 sources, makers who find success with a project or device can more comfortably transition to an enterprise product in the future should certifications become a requirement." A list of supported ARM-powered computers can be found in openSUSE's wiki.
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Linux Journal ran an article this past week on a new filesystem for Linux called NOVA (NOn-Volatile memory Accelerated). One of the selling points of NOVA is its ability to run in non-volatile RAM, memory which can be used across reboots. NOVA is also a log-based filesystem which offers some interesting benefits: "One of NOVA's main claims to fame, aside from supporting non-volatile RAM, is that it is a log-based filesystem. Other filesystems generally map out their data structures on disk and update those structures in place. This is good for saving seek-time on optical and magnetic disks. Log-based filesystems write everything sequentially, trailing old data behind them. The old data then can be treated as a snapshot of earlier states of the filesystem, or it can be reclaimed when space gets tight." More on NOVA and its current status can be found in the Linux Journal article.
* * * * *
System administrators have always faced a challenge when it comes to dealing with scheduled tasks. Specifically, each task that runs likely generates output which is e-mailed to the administrator. Most of the messages will be simple confirmations that everything went according to plan, but sometimes the output will indicate something went wrong. It is not a good idea to discard all of the messages and it can be cumbersome to set up filters to deal with the torrent of e-mails. Job Snijders has published a patch for OpenBSD's implementation of cron which allows the administrator to discard all output in cases where jobs complete successfully, but also be e-mailed a command's complete output if the job fails. "To improve the situation I propose to add a simple crontab(5) convenience option called '-n' (mnemonic 'No mail if run successful'). Note that options already are a thing in vixie cron ('-q' has existed for decades?), but are not part of POSIX. With this 'no mail if success' option you can do things like:
* * * * * -n cp -rv src/ dest/
With the above example crontab(5) entry you'll only receive a mail from cron(8) if the cp(1) encountered some kind of error. You'll also have in that e-mail up until what point cp(1) actually was able to copy files." The NetBSD team has already adopted the new cron feature.
* * * * *
These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Software Review (by Jesse Smith)
Building packages with pkgsrc
The pkgsrc framework is an interesting, cross-platform approach to managing software. The pkgsrc project creates a framework for compiling software on a range of operating systems, allowing users to use the same framework and tools on a variety of operating systems. Or, as the pkgsrc website states:
pkgsrc is a framework for building third-party software on NetBSD and other UNIX-like systems, currently containing over 17,000 packages. It is used to enable freely available software to be configured and built easily on supported platforms.
Using pkgsrc, we can compile open source software on just about any flavour of UNIX-like operating system and have it build and run the same way on each system. The pkgsrc framework has been tested and works on Illumos flavours, macOS, Linux, NetBSD and MINIX. The pkgsrc framework automatically downloads and manages dependencies for us. This takes a lot of the work out of getting up to date software running on a variety of operating systems.
According to the pkgsrc website, setting up the ports framework should be a straight forward process. We need to run a CVS command to download the framework, change into a directory in the framework and run a command to set up (bootstrap) the framework to work on our system. In theory, this should be accomplished with three commands we can copy and paste from the pkgsrc website:
cvs -firstname.lastname@example.org:/cvsroot checkout pkgsrc
The first issue I ran into while setting up pkgsrc was that my distribution (and in fact, I think most Linux distributions) no longer ship the CVS version control software by default. Luckily, most distributions still offer it as a package and I was able to install CVS on my MX Linux box by running "sudo apt install cvs".
The second problem I ran into was the space I had set aside for pkgsrc was not large enough. The pkgsrc framework alone takes up about 1.4GB of disk space. Then, after it has been through the bootstrap process and we have downloaded some source code and built a few packages, pkgsrc can easily take up 4-5GB of space.
Another hurdle I had to cross came about when I tried to run the bootstrap command. This failed, reporting that my echo command was not BSD compatible and that I should try using another shell. I switched from using bash to csh, as I typically use either csh or tcsh on FreeBSD and this seemed to work for a while. Trying to run bootstrap again failed and I was told I'd need to either run the script as the root user or run the script with the parameter "--unprivileged". I went with the latter option.
The bootstrap script went to work for a few minutes, but eventually failed with another error, reporting "unknown variable modifier". This seemed to be an issue with the shell I was running so I switched shells again, swapping out csh for ksh. Running the bootstrap process once more, from ksh, completed the bootstrap process. The script took approximately ten minutes to complete.
At this point we have a collection of software build recipes which are organized into a tree of directories. Each piece of software we can install is set up in its own directory inside a higher level category directory. This means we can jump into a directory like "net/nmap" or "multimedia/vlc" or other "category/program" pairing. Then the pkgsrc website says we can run "make install" to install the selected program.
At first this did not work, with any attempt at running the make command resulting in the error "missing separator". This is a semi-common problem with GNU's make program and, consulting the documentation (found in a README file in the pkgsrc directory) I learned pkgsrc requires that we use bmake instead of GNU's make. The bmake program can be found in a directory the bootstrap script sets up, called pkg. In my case this meant I could run /home/jesse/pkg/bin/bmake in order to start the build process. I feel it worth mentioning that I also tried using my distribution's own implementation of bmake, but it would not work. Using the version of bmake which ships with MX Linux to build pkgsrc's software always resulted in an error reporting circular dependencies had been detected. Running pkgsrc's bmake in the same directory would successfully resolve dependencies for the desired software.
At this point I felt like everything was in place and I could get to work installing and working with the software pkgsrc provides. I could install new packages by switching into a program's directory and running /home/jesse/pkg/bin/bmake install and remove items by running /home/jesse/pkg/bin/bmake deinstall. Software installed this way would end up in my pkg directory. This meant it was not in my user's normal path and I could not simply type its name to have it run. But I could type the full path, like /home/jesse/pkg/bin/program. As you might suspect, I soon added this location to my path manually to cut down on my typing.
Comparison to other cross-platform software options
In the past, I have written overviews of other cross-platform package managers and approaches. I have talked about Nix as well as Flatpak, Snap and AppImage. Each approach has some pros and cons to it. Nix, for example, is fairly easy to set up and provides package version snapshots, allowing us to roll back broken updates. Flatpak works well across Linux distributions, but is awkward to use from the command line and appears to be focused on just providing desktop software. Snap is easy to use, but is set up to use just one repository by default and has trouble working on Linux systems that do not feature systemd. AppImage is highly portable, but usually does not have a central package manager.
In comparison, what sets pkgsrc apart is it is designed to work across many operating systems. The pkgsrc framework should work about the same, whether we are running it on MINIX, Debian or NetBSD. This makes pkgsrc much more flexible than the approaches mentioned above.
The downside to using pkgsrc is, when it is used outside its native NetBSD, it's more difficult to set up. The documentation seems to assume we are running the framework on NetBSD (or another flavour of BSD) and I had to go through some trial and error to get any software to compile. Unfortunately, even once I could build some packages, pkgsrc failed to successfully build most items I tried to install. This makes me think the pkgsrc contributors probably do not test ports across each platform.
Ultimately, pkgsrc is the most flexible portable software management tool of the ones mentioned in this article. However, at the moment, it is also the one I have had the least success with as far as getting software running on my operating system. Unlike the other portable package managers (like Nix and Flatpak), pkgsrc requires the user to compile software from source code which makes installing new software a slower process.
I think pkgsrc is probably best suited to more niche platforms, like MINIX, where the operating system's existing package manager is unlikely to be able to provide the software we want. On most Linux distributions, which have larger repositories of pre-packaged applications, pkgsrc is less practical.
|Released Last Week
Alessio Fattorini has announced the release of NethServer 7.5. The NethServer distribution is based on CentOS and provides a friendly, web-based administration panel. The project's latest release includes the Fail2Ban security software, the ability to set up wi-fi hotspots and more flexible control over software updates. "We have deployed a new panel to manage the software center. It allows to select how NethServer deals with upstream updates and configures automatic software updates. The Locked policy is selected automatically when CentOS releases a new minor version. It limits updates to repositories specific to the current version When NethServer is ready to upgrade, the new upgrade procedure can be started. The software center section of the Admin's manual was updated accordingly. Read it carefully! Icaro Hotspot - Hotspot's main goal is to provide Internet connectivity via wi-fi to casual users. Users are sent to a captive portal from which they can access the network by authenticating themselves via social login, SMS or e-mail. Icaro is a complete Hotspot written in Go and Vue.js. It uses CoovaChilli as access controller which can be configured and installed inside NethServer." Further information and screen shots of the new features can be found in the project's release announcement and in the release notes.
Univention Corporate Server 4.3-1
Univention Corporate Server (UCS) is a Debian-based server distribution that offers an integrated management system for central administration of servers, Microsoft Active Directory-compatible domain services, and functions for parallel operation of virtualised server and desktop operating systems. The Univention team has published a point release update for the distribution's 4.3 series, Univention Corporate Server 4.3-1. The release announcement mentions the following changes: "The UMC system diagnostic module has been extended with additional tests. They support the administrator to check the system health of the UCS system and the whole domain. The management system usability and configurability has been expanded. The expected usability has been improved in several places, for example when configuring email addresses or DNS settings. A content-security-policy has been integrated in the UCS management system to increase the browser security by protecting web cookies. Various security updates have been integrated into UCS 4.3-1, e.g. Apache2, the Linux kernel and Samba4. A complete list is available in the release notes."
Untangle NG Firewall 14.0
Untangle NG Firewall is a Debian-based network gateway with pluggable modules for network applications like spam blocking, web filtering, anti-virus, anti-spyware, intrusion prevention, VPN, SSL VPN, firewall, and more. The project's latest release, version 14.0, offers more control over VPN connections and directing traffic based on the port and protocol being used. "Key updates provide more control, more visibility and lower costs for SD-WAN. Tunnel VPN connections can bind to specific WANs, allowing configuration of multiple tunnels for multi-WAN sites and ensuring each tunnel is using the desired physical WAN connection. Administrators can direct traffic to the most desirable WAN connection based on criteria like ports and protocols. Tunnels can be set up without NAT so that the cloud firewall has full visibility into the network. This gives the ability to centralize policies across the whole network from the cloud firewall." Additional information can be found in the distribution's release announcement.
deepin is a Debian-based Linux distribution which strives to provide an attractive and user-friendly experience via the Deepin Desktop Environment (DDE). The project's latest release, deepin 15.6, features a new welcome window and a quick settings navigation bar. There is also a new launcher window, designed to use less screen space along with a new user's manual. "The newly added welcome program demonstrates and guides deepin personalization. When boot after deepin installation, the welcome program will be automatically shown, playing video introduction and guiding you to set desktop mode and icon theme, which can be opened later by clicking "dde-introduction" icon in Launcher. The navigation bar sticks on the left of the Control Center. Click the module icon on the left to quickly skip to the settings you want, no need to scroll up and down any more. Moreover, display scaling function is integrated in Control Center for HiDPI screens." Further information and screen shots can be found in the project's release announcement.
deepin 15.6 -- The settings panel
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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: 899
- Total data uploaded: 20.1TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Preferred init software
We began this week's issue with an overview of Devuan GNU+Linux, a distribution which got its start by providing a Debian-like experience with an alternative init software. These days there are a lot of init implementations available in the open source ecosystem, ranging from the classic SysV init, to the legacy Upstart, the widely used systemd, and a handful of others. There are some more interesting init projects like Void's runit and OpenRC. This week we would like to find our which init software is your favourite.
If your distribution currently does not run your preferred init software, please let us know in the comments which init implementation your distribution currently uses and which one you would like to be running.
You can see the results of our previous poll on running Android-x86 on laptop computers and workstations in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Preferred init software
|Busybox init: ||18 (1%)|
| nosh: ||7 (0%)|
| OpenRC: ||260 (13%)|
| RC: ||31 (2%)|
| runit: ||147 (7%)|
| s6: ||51 (3%)|
| systemd: ||656 (33%)|
| SysV init: ||759 (38%)|
| Upstart: ||29 (1%)|
| Other: ||39 (2%)|
DistroWatch database summary
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This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 25 June 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)
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
(Tips this week: 1, value: US$1.50)
|Linux Foundation Training
|• 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 220.127.116.11, 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|
|• 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|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
Bayanihan Linux was a complete open source-based desktop solution for office and school use. It was a package that includes an operating system, a word processor, spreadsheet program, presentation software, email facility, an internet browser, and a graphics editor. This complete system was packaged in a single easy-to-install CD. The word "Bayanihan" relates to a Filipino tradition where people in a community help their neighbour in physically moving their house to a different place. The most recent versions of Bayanihan Linux are based on Debian GNU/Linux; previous releases (3.1 and earlier) were based on Fedora Core and Red Hat Linux.