| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 771, 9 July 2018
Welcome to this year's 28th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Many of the world's Linux distributions are based on Ubuntu. Following the release of Ubuntu long term support (LTS) releases there is always a cascade of new releases which use the stable base and large collection of software in Ubuntu's repositories to form custom distributions and new spins. This week we begin with a look at Linux Lite, a distribution which tries to balance user friendliness with low resource usage and a collection of convenient software. In our News section we discuss SUSE being acquired by EQT Partners and openSUSE's response to this change in its primary sponsor. We also talk about Ubuntu 17.10 reaching the end of its supported life along with one of Gentoo's source mirrors being attacked and the team's response to the incident. Plus we link to upgrade instructions for people who want to update older copies of Linux Mint. In our Questions and Answers column we share how to check your computer's CPU for known flaws and change which operating system gets launched at boot time on multi-boot systems. Our Opinion Poll this week asks how our readers are responding to the growing number of CPU-related bugs. We are happy to share the releases of the past week and provide a list of torrents we are seeding. Finally, we are pleased to welcome Secure-K OS, a live desktop distribution for secure and anonymous on-line communication, to our database. We wish you all a terrific week and happy reading!
- Review: Linux Lite 4.0
- News: SUSE being acquired by EQT, upgrade instructions for Mint, Gentoo responds to mirror breach, Ubuntu 17.10 reaching end of life
- Questions and answers: Checking for CPU bugs and configuring GRUB
- Released last week: SolydXK 201807, Pinguy OS 18.04, CentOS 6.10
- Torrent corner: Antergos, AryaLinux, CentOS, DuZeru, GuixSD, NST, Pardus, SolydXK
- Opinion poll: Reacting to CPU security flaws
- New additions: Secure-K OS
- New distributions: Septor Linux
- Reader comments
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Linux Lite 4.0
Linux Lite is a desktop distribution built from Ubuntu packages that features the Xfce desktop environment and some custom tools. The project's latest version is Linux Lite 4.0 which is based on Ubuntu 18.04, a long term support release offering five years of security updates.
There are a number of key changes in Lite 4.0, several of them inherited from its parent distribution. Home directory encryption has been replaced with full disk encryption and 32-bit x86 support has been dropped in this release. The LXTerminal virtual terminal has been replaced with Xfce Terminal and the Systemback backup software has been replaced by Timeshift. I will talk more about Timeshift later. The Lite help manual has been updated and users can now manage session sounds through a new utility called Lite Sounds. In addition, Lite branded utilities now show up in the distribution's control panel with a black background to separate them from Xfce settings modules.
Lite 4.0 is available for 64-bit x86 machines and its ISO file is 1.3GB in size. Booting from install media brings up a menu offering to start a live desktop session, start the desktop with safe settings or perform a media check on the DVD. Loading the desktop session brings up Xfce with its panel placed at the bottom of the screen. The panel holds the application menu, a few quick-launch icons and the system tray. Icons on the desktop launch the project's system installer, open a local copy of the help manual and launch a file manager.
Shortly after the desktop loads, a welcome screen appears. The welcome screen provides links to documentation, the support forum and some useful utilities. I will refer to some of the welcome screen's features later as they are more useful after we install the distribution. The live desktop seemed fairly standard, though one little thing which did stand out was that my mouse pointer was displayed backward, pointing from left-to-right instead of the typical right-to-left.
Linux Lite 4.0 -- The Whisker application menu
(full image size: 138kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
Linux Lite uses the Ubiquity system installer, which it inherits from Ubuntu. Setting up the operating system is quite straight forward. We confirm our preferred language, get a chance to change our keyboard's layout and have the option of installing multimedia support. Lite's installer offers to automatically set up partitions for us, or we can use its very straight forward, built-in partition manager. Ubiquity supports setting up Btrfs, JFS, XFS and ext2/3/4 file systems and I decided to set up Lite on ext4. The last two screens of the installer ask us to select a time zone from a map and then create a username and password for ourselves. The whole process is quite fast and about as simple as installing an operating system gets.
A fresh copy of Lite boots to a graphical login screen. Signing in brings up the Xfce desktop again. The desktop is responsive and uses a mostly dark theme, with detailed, colourful icons. I say the theme is "mostly" dark because panels and window borders are dark, but the application menu, control panel background and application menu bars are bright. I also noticed that after installing Lite, the mouse pointer reversed its look and resumed its usual right-to-left orientation.
When we first sign in, the welcome window greets us. The welcome screen provides us with links to on-line resources and support, but the more interesting buttons in the welcome window launch tasks we should perform immediately after setting up the operating system. There are buttons for opening an update manager, managing hardware drivers, creating a restore point and installing support for additional languages. Clicking one of these buttons launches the corresponding tool.
Linux Lite 4.0 -- The welcome screen
(full image size: 154kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
The update manager is a fairly simple program that lists available updates and downloads them for us. A simple progress bar is shown while new packages are downloaded and applied. The driver manager and language pack tools were similarly straight forward, though I did not give them a proper test as I already had all the language support and drivers I needed.
The restore point option intrigued me and I found clicking its button opens the Timeshift application. Timeshift begins by walking us through a configuration wizard that offers to create either rsync or Btrfs snapshots. I didn't set up Lite on a Btrfs volume so that option should probably have been disabled in the wizard. I went with the other option, making a snapshot with rsync. We can then schedule when snapshots will be taken and decide how often future snapshots will be created. Unfortunately, Timeshift appears to only be able to save snapshots on the local disk, not in a remote location. This means if something harms our root file system, the snapshot may be destroyed too.
Linux Lite 4.0 -- Creating restore point with Timeshift
(full image size: 122kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
Timeshift jobs run periodically in the background and can automatically clear out old snapshots. This is great, though I occasionally wished it were possible to tell Timeshift to run with a reduced priority as having it run in the background can degrade the system's overall performance and the rsync snapshot jobs take around twenty minutes to complete on my machine.
I don't want to dive too deeply into the Timeshift topic, but since many users may see it as a way to rescue their systems in case something goes wrong, I want to share a few more thoughts on it. The first is that Timeshift's rsync snapshots do not make it possible to simply reboot the operating system and roll back to a previous snapshot, the way openSUSE's boot environments work. Timeshift can provide us with a good copy of our operating system, but restoring a snapshot after a serious system failure requires a bit of manual work. If the operating system is damaged enough that it cannot boot, we need to either get into recovery mode (more notes on that later) or use a live CD to boot the computer.
Assuming we can boot into a live CD then we can mount the root file system and locate our snapshot in the /timeshift directory, using it to copy programs and configuration files where they need to go. This is an awkward manual process, but does give us a shot at successful recovery. I tested this process, after wiping out about 10% of my /usr/bin directory, and managed to make a full recovery using the snapshot. While Btrfs snapshots are relatively light, the rsync snapshots at least double the space the operating system uses on disk and users should plan accordingly, making their root file system double or triple the usual size.
One last note on Timeshift: when running the Timeshift application, which has a nice, simple interface and a friendly configuration wizard, clicking the Delete button immediate removes the selected snapshot without confirmation. So be careful when navigating the Timeshift interface.
When running in a VirtualBox environment, Lite worked very well. The operating system automatically integrated with the host operating system and could use my full screen resolution. When I tried running Lite on a desktop computer, the system booted quickly, performed tasks smoothly and properly utilized all my hardware. The Xfce desktop was unusually responsive and I encountered no issues with performance or stability.
Linux Lite 4.0 -- A local copy of the help manual
(full image size: 246kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
When logged into Xfce, Lite required about 300MB of RAM to run. A fresh install took about 5GB of disk space, but this amount doubled as soon as I created a Timeshift snapshot. In hindsight, I probably should have used Btrfs as my root file system as it makes snapshots that require very little space and are created almost instantly.
Lite ships with a fairly small collection of desktop applications. Users are given Firefox, the Thunderbird e-mail client and LibreOffice. There is a PDF viewer, the GNU Image Manipulation Program and the Shotwell image viewer. The Deja Dup backup utility is included for making backups of users' files. Network Manager is included to help people connect to the Internet. Lite ships with the VLC media player, which is capable of playing virtually any multimedia file. I did not find any dedicated audio player installed by default, but we can install all sorts of additional software from Ubuntu's massive software repositories (more on software management in a moment). In the background we find Lite runs the systemd init software and version 4.15 of the Linux kernel.
At one point, when I was testing the Timeshift recovery options, I rebooted the computer and, from GRUB's menu, selected the advanced boot options. I noticed that some of Lite's boot options included launching the system using the Upstart init software. The Upstart boot entries did not work and quickly caused the boot process to hang. Although Upstart has been replaced by systemd, some relics from the GRUB configuration files have lingered - ghosts of init software past.
Linux Lite 4.0 -- Creating backups and adjusting the window manager
(full image size: 124kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
Also on the subject of advanced boot options, I tried loading Lite's recovery mode. This worked, to a point, but I was unable to access a recovery shell. The recovery prompt asks for the root password and, since we do not have a root password (Lite uses sudo for administrative tasks) I was unable to get root access to repair the system. This is where having a live CD on hand helps a lot.
Settings and Lite tools
Lite includes many configuration tools to adjust the appearance of the desktop, tweak window manager settings, set up printers and create user accounts. There are also tools for cleaning up files to free disk space, upgrade to a new version of Lite and toggle desktop icons on/off. These tools can be accessed from the application menu or from the control centre. As mentioned previously, the icons for Lite's custom tools have black backgrounds and this helps separate the Xfce desktop settings from the lower level operating system controls. All in all, the settings modules worked well for me and I encountered no problems.
Linux Lite 4.0 -- The settings panel
(full image size: 161kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
Lite ships with two graphical package managers. The first is Synaptic (listed in the application menu as Add/Remove Software). Synaptic is a powerful, flexible package manager which can perform installs, removals, upgrades and even configure repositories. It's a great, all-in-one package manager. If we want to deal exclusively with desktop software and not wade through the tens of thousands of packages Synaptic can access, then we can run a utility called Lite Software. Lite Software shows us a limited list of popular desktop software we might want to install or remove. It is a short list, with just a few items per category, but makes installing new desktop items very straight forward. We can highlight the item (or items) we want and click a button to install them. The process went smoothly for me each time I used Lite Software.
Linux Lite 4.0 -- Installing desktop applications
(full image size: 181kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
I did not spot a more feature rich software manager such as GNOME Software or mintInstall, at least not in the default installation. Behind the scenes we can use the APT suite of command line package managers if we want to work from a terminal.
I think some people might, upon glancing at Linux Lite's description, pass it off as just another one of the many Ubuntu derivatives. After all, one may wonder what separates Linux Lite from another flavour of Ubuntu running the Xfce desktop, such as Xubuntu.
While Lite does share a lot in common with other members of the Ubuntu family, the project has a lot of little features and special tweaks which left me impressed this week. The distribution includes a very nice and detailed help manual that is easy to navigate and provides a lot of useful information. The manual not only explains how we can do things, but also offers some alternatives and trouble-shooting tips, which I think new users will appreciate. Lite is also very easy to install, it can be set up by basically clicking "Next" a bunch of times in the Ubiquity installer.
While I ran into a few limitations while using Timeshift, I think the idea behind including it is good. I would like to see Timeshift run at a lower priority and offer a way to save snapshots on a remote computer, but otherwise the technology is off to a good start. I'd love to see Lite take Timeshift a step further and integrate it with boot environments.
Mostly though what impressed me with Lite was a combination of the performance and the visual style. Lite is one of the faster, smoother, more responsive distributions I have used this year. I also liked that there was a minimal amount of visual effects, but a maximum amount of detailed, colourful icons, high contrast buttons and fonts I could read without a trip to the settings panel. I get frustrated with minimal, stick-figure icons and buttons that are indistinguishable from labels. Lite looks nice. Not in a flashy way, but in a clear, easy to read, pleasant to navigate way.
As an example of Lite's visual style, I have used Xfce a lot recently. I run it on one computer or another almost every day. And, on an intellectual level, I knew it was possible to adjust the size and dimensions of the Xfce Whisker application menu. But I'd never thought to do it because on every other distribution I have used the menu's resize button is so muted and low-contrast I'd never noticed it before. But on Lite, the resize button stands out and I clicked and dragged the menu to the size I wanted without even thinking about it. This is a very little feature, but one I had never noticed on other distributions, even though it was always there. In my opinion, all of Lite is like that: offering well defined controls that are clear about what they do.
Lite's value, in my opinion, is not in any one big feature or unique offering, but in the way Lite polishes many little things which make it so much more pleasant to use day-to-day than most other distributions. Lite is an operating system I can use consistently without thinking about it, without distractions, without hiccups and without searching for features I suspect are there, but are tucked away. I've used some powerful distributions this year, and some with really neat, unique features; but probably not any that have offered such a smooth experience as I've had this week. That's why the next friend who asks me to come over and fix their messed up laptop is going to get a fresh copy of Linux Lite.
* * * * *
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
* * * * *
Visitor supplied rating
Linux Lite has a visitor supplied average rating of: 8.6/10 from 115 review(s).
Have you used Linux Lite? You can leave your own review of the project on our ratings page.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
SUSE being acquired by EQT, upgrade instructions for Mint, Gentoo responds to mirror breach, Ubuntu 17.10 reaching end of life
Richard Brown, openSUSE's Chairman, sent out an e-mail on July 2 letting people know that openSUSE's main sponsor, SUSE, is being acquired by an organization called EQT Partners. While the impact this purchase will have on SUSE Linux Enterprise and openSUSE is unknown, Brown reports the openSUSE project plans to continue as before. "Nils Brauckmann (CEO of SUSE) personally called me this morning to assure me this news will have no negative impacts on openSUSE. This will be the third acquisition of SUSE since the creation of openSUSE, the second under the leadership of Nils and his team. Just as happened in that case, SUSE will be making no changes in its relationship between the company and the openSUSE Project. SUSE remains committed to supporting the openSUSE community, who play a key role in helping SUSEs success, which is expected to continue under their new partnership with EQT."
* * * * *
The Linux Mint team recently released Linux Mint 19, a new long term support release based on Ubuntu 18.04. Existing Mint users can now upgrade to the new version without performing a fresh install. The Mint team published upgrade instructions which walk the user through backing up their existing system, testing the new release and upgrading to version 19 from the command line. The guide points out that Mint 17 will continue to receive support for another year and Mint 18 will be supported through to 2021, giving users plenty of time to prepare and test their upgrade path.
* * * * *
A mirror of the Gentoo distribution's source code, which is hosted on GitHub, was compromised a little over a week ago. While the master copies of information were stored in a safe location on Gentoo servers, an attacker managed to access the GitHub account and alter information. The Gentoo team has published a wiki page which discusses the incident, how it was handled, and what was affected by the attack. "An unknown entity gained control of an admin account for the Gentoo GitHub Organization and removed all access to the organization (and its repositories) from Gentoo developers. They then proceeded to make various changes to content. Gentoo Developers & Infrastructure escalated to GitHub support and the Gentoo Organization was frozen by GitHub staff. Gentoo has regained control of the Gentoo GitHub Organization and has reverted the bad commits and defaced content." The page also includes an analysis of what the team feels was handled well and what could have been handled better in order to improve procedures for future incidents.
* * * * *
Adam Conrad has sent out an e-mail reminding Ubuntu users that Ubuntu 17.10, and its community editions, will reach the end of their support cycle on July 19, 2018. After that date 17.10 will no longer receive security fixes. "Ubuntu announced its 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) release almost 9 months ago, on October 19, 2017. As a non-LTS release, 17.10 has a 9-month support cycle and, as such, the support period is now nearing its end and Ubuntu 17.10 will reach end of life on Thursday, July 19th. At that time, Ubuntu Security Notices will no longer include information or updated packages for Ubuntu 17.10."
* * * * *
These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Checking for CPU bugs and configuring GRUB
Checking-for-bugs asks: With all the CPU bugs being discovered this year is there any way to tell which ones affect me?
DistroWatch answers: One way, which will work on most distribution and computer combinations is to run the following command:
grep "^bugs" /proc/cpuinfo
The above command will give a short-hand list of any known bugs found on your CPU(s). As far as I know, the command does not work on ARM-powered machines and older kernels, like the one shipped with CentOS 7.
Finding out whether your kernel has been patched to handle the flaws is another matter. Usually this information can be found via your distribution's security mailing list (if it has one) or its parent distro's mailing list. You can also check our Security Notices page to learn when major projects publish updates.
* * * * *
Adjusting-GRUB asks: I have a triple boot setup with Xubuntu 16.04, Xubuntu 18.04, and Lubuntu 18.04. They were installed in the order listed, so Lubuntu is first in the list to boot automatically. I would like to change the default to one of the other installed choices.
A search of the web on this subject is quite frustrating since the most common results are based on Windows/Linux dual boot configurations. (I've read pro and con information about third-party tools, like GRUB Customizer, and would like to avoid installing something that may do more harm than good.) So, I'd like to know if it can be done without installing a third-party tool.
DistroWatch answers: The good news is you do not need to install a third-party tool. You will need to edit a line in GRUB's configuration file and run an update command. You should be able to use any text editor to change GRUB's configuration.
This is a fairly straight forward fix. Sign into whichever distro is responsible for managing GRUB (probably the most recent distro you installed) and edit its GRUB configuration file (/etc/default/grub should be its path in Lubuntu and Xubuntu) to change the default entry. You will be looking for a line near the top of the GRUB configuration file which reads
Change the zero to the menu entry index you want to boot. The first boot menu item is zero, the second is one, the third will be two, etc. Save the file with the new default and then run
The next time your system boots, the alternative boot option should be used by default. If you get stuck, check out the GRUB2 wiki page for Ubuntu-based distributions.
Lastly, before doing any work to edit GRUB's settings, make sure you have backups of your data. It's not likely things will go wrong, but there is always a chance. I also recommend having a copy of the Super Grub2 Disk on hand. This utility runs from a CD or USB drive and can boot operating systems from your hard drive if your GRUB configuration is broken.
* * * * *
Additional answers can be found in our Questions and Answers archive.
|Released Last Week
SolydXK is a Debian-based desktop distribution which is available in KDE Plasma and Xfce editions. The project's latest release, SolydXK 201807, features a number of security enhancements, including the activation of AppArmor in the default configuration. The distribution's release announcement reads: "The new 201807 ISOs were released. These are some of the highlights: Firefox's default configuration has been further restricted and the provided plugins Privacy Badger, HTTPS Everywhere and uBlock Origin help to improve your privacy. These restrictions were also implemented for Thunderbird. AppArmor is now installed by default. This will improve security by binding access control attributes to programs rather than to users. All SolydXK applications now use pkexec to get elevated permissions. Many new features and bugs were solved in our SolydXK applications."
Network Security Toolkit 28-10234
Network Security Toolkit (NST) is a bootable live disc based on the Fedora distribution. The toolkit was designed to provide easy access to best-of-breed open source network security applications. The project has released NST 28-10234 which is based on Fedora 28. The new version includes Bluetooth improvements and proactive security testing and scanning tools. "Here are some of the highlights and new tools added for this release: Sguil - The Analyst Console for Network Security Monitoring has been integrated into NST for access and display of realtime IDS events and raw packet captures. A new NST WUI page for Snort IDS Management is shown below with Sguil access. The new web-based Sguil RealTime Console is also depicted below using Proofpoint ET (Emerging Threats) Pro Rulesets. A new Bluetooth Scan page was added to the NST WUI to help find nearby discoverable Bluetooth and BLE devices. You can use the Bluetooth Scan page under the Network|Wireless and Security|Active Scanners menus. The high-speed network authentication cracking tool Ncrack is used to help companies secure their networks by proactively testing all their hosts and networking devices for poor passwords is now part of the NST distribution." More information on this release can be found on the project's home page.
Pinguy OS 18.04
Pinguy OS is an Ubuntu-based distribution which offers a customized GNOME desktop environment intended to be easy to use for new Linux users. The project's latest release, Pinguy OS is based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, and includes GNOME 3.28. Support for 32-bit computer has been dropped from this release. The project's release announcement lists several new changes: "Tweaked Gnome 3.28.2. OpenGL version string: 3.1. Mesa 18.1.1. File Manager: Nemo 3.8.3. Kernel 4.15.0-20. Downgraded the DRI driver for Xorg to DRI2, this fixes RetroArch. Included Winepak's repo so it will be easy to install Window games. Enabled exFAT support. Removed Docky and replaced it with Simple Dock & Places Status Indicator. Audio levels can go past 100% by default. Fixed Shutter but will only works under Xorg. Some of the default Gnome apps have been replaced with MATE versions. I really did not like the new Gedit so replaced it with Pluma. If you use the Gedit command it will open Pluma. That is so all the guides on the forum and other sites that use Gedit in their guides will work fine." Pinguy OS is available in Full and Mini editions.
Pinguy OS 18.04 -- Running GNOME Shell
(full image size: 998kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
CentOS is a Linux distribution based on the source code from Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The project's latest version, CentOS 6.10, offers an update to the project's 6.x series and includes mostly bug fixes along with a few minor upgrades. "There are various changes in this release, compared with the past CentOS Linux 6 releases, and we highly recommend everyone study the upstream Release Notes as well as the upstream Technical Notes about the changes and how they might impact your installation. All updates since the upstream 6.10 release are also on the CentOS mirrors as zero day updates. When installing CentOS-6.10 (or any other version) from any of our media, you should always run 'yum update' after the install to apply these." More information can be found in the project's release announcement and in the release notes.
Chandrakant Singh has announced the release of AryaLinux 1.0, a source-based distribution built using the Linux From Scratch book, but with a Python-based package management utility, graphical installation tool and a customised GNOME 3.28 desktop: "We are proud to present AryaLinux 1.0 'Aranya'. This is the first release of our built-from-scratch GNOME spin and also the first release using a new versioning system. This release features the GNOME 3.28 desktop environment, a new alps package installer scripts rewritten from scratch to be more flexible with dependencies, the latest stable kernel and a bunch of package upgrades. Also going forward, the default desktop environment that will be shipped with AryaLinux will be GNOME 3. We spent the last year and half in prefecting the build scripts that build a GNOME 3 desktop with ease and perfection. We have also made a lot of changes to the builder scripts so that more flexible options are presented before the build process starts and packages that are a part of the base system have also been updated." Visit the project's home page to read the brief release announcement and see also the release notes for further details.
Guix System Distribution 0.15.0
Guix System Distribution (GuixSD) is a Linux-based, stateless operating system that is built around the GNU Guix package manager. The project's latest release, version 0.15.0, includes improvements to the Guix package manager and expands support for ARM-powered devices, though ARM ports will need to be built by the user; installation images for ARM are not provided. "The unloved guix pull command, which allows users to upgrade Guix and its package collection, has been overhauled and we hope you will like it. We'll discuss these enhancements in another post soon but suffice to say that the new guix pull now supports rollbacks (just like guix package) and that the new --list-generations option allows you to visualize past upgrades. It's also faster, not as fast as we'd like though, so we plan to optimize it further in the near future. guix pack can now produce relocatable binaries. With -f squashfs it can now produce images stored as SquashFS file systems. These images can then be executed by Singularity, a “container engine” deployed on some high-performance computing clusters. GuixSD now runs on ARMv7 and AArch64 boxes! We do not provide an installation image though because the details depend on the board you're targeting, so you'll have to build the image yourself following the instructions." Further details can be found in the project's release announcement.
* * * * *
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: 927
- Total data uploaded: 20.5TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Reacting to CPU security flaws
This year we have heard about a number of security flaws in popular CPU chips. Earlier this year the Meltdown and Spectre CPU issues were widely publicized and, more recently, projects like OpenBSD have been patching against potential CPU flaws.
We would like to know how you are reacting to these CPU bugs and the security concerns they raise. Are you patching with new kernel updates & firmware as they become available, are you switching to using a different CPU brand or architecture, are you unconcerned by potential CPU attacks? Let us know your thoughts on CPU security in the comments.
You can see the results of our previous poll on the MintBox Mini 2 FreeBSD in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Reacting to CPU security flaws
|I am switching to a different CPU model/architecture: ||57 (4%)|
| I am applying firmware/kernel updates: ||743 (49%)|
| I am disabling attack vectors (apps/services): ||15 (1%)|
| All of the above: ||80 (5%)|
| Some of the above: ||267 (18%)|
| I am unconcerned about CPU attacks: ||312 (21%)|
| Other: ||37 (2%)|
New projects added to database
Secure-K OS is a Debian-based distribution which runs from a live USB. The distribution is designed to provide secure communication and anonymous web browsing using applications such as the Tox messaging client and Tor Web Browser. Secure-K features the GNOME Shell desktop environment and is developed by the Mon-K organization.
Secure-K OS 18.5 -- Running the GNOME desktop
(full image size: 572kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
* * * * *
Distributions added to waiting list
- Septor Linux. Septor Linux is a Debian-based distribution which features the KDE Plasma desktop and tools for browsing the web anonymously.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 16 July 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$3.41)
|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 22.214.171.124, limiting process resource usage, converting file systems on Fedora, Debian turns 25, Lubuntu migrating to Wayland|
|• Issue 776 (2018-08-13): NomadBSD 1.1, Maximum storage limits on Linux, openSUSE extends life for 42.3, updates to the Librem 5 phone interface|
|• Issue 775 (2018-08-06): Secure-K OS 18.5, Linux is about choice, Korora tests community spin, elementary OS hires developer, ReactOS boots on Btrfs|
|• Issue 774 (2018-07-30): Ubuntu MATE & Ubuntu Budgie 18.04, upgrading software from source, Lubuntu shifts focus, NetBSD changes support policy|
|• Issue 773 (2018-07-23): Peppermint OS 9, types of security used by different projects, Mint reacts to bugs in core packages, Slackware turns 25|
|• Issue 772 (2018-07-16): Hyperbola GNU/Linux-libre 0.2.4, UBports running desktop applications, OpenBSD auto-joins wi-fi networks, boot environments and zedenv|
|• Issue 771 (2018-07-09): Linux Lite 4.0, checking CPUs for bugs, configuring GRUB, Mint upgrade instructions, SUSE acquired by EQT|
|• Issue 770 (2018-07-02): Linux Mint 19, Solus polishes desktop experience, MintBox Mini 2, changes to Fedora's installer|
|• Issue 769 (2018-06-25): BunsenLabs Helium, counting Ubuntu users, UBports upgrading to 16.04, Fedora CoreOS, FreeBSD turns 25|
|• Issue 768 (2018-06-18): Devuan 2.0.0, using pkgsrc to manage software, the NOVA filesystem, OpenBSD handles successful cron output|
|• Issue 767 (2018-06-11): Android-x86 7.1-r1, transferring files over OpenSSH with pipes, LFS with Debian package management, Haiku ports LibreOffice|
|• Issue 766 (2018-06-04): openSUSE 15, overview of file system links, Manjaro updates Pamac, ReactOS builds itself, Bodhi closes forums|
|• Issue 765 (2018-05-28): Pop!_OS 18.04, gathering system information, Haiku unifying ARM builds, Solus resumes control of Budgie|
|• Issue 764 (2018-05-21): DragonFly BSD 5.2.0, Tails works on persistent packages, Ubuntu plans new features, finding services affected by an update|
|• 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 |
moonOS was a complete, Ubuntu-based distribution featuring the LXDE and Enlightenment 17 desktop managers and imaginative, original artwork. A project created and designed by Cambodian artist Chanrithy Thim, moonOS was intended as an operating system for any desktop, laptop or virtual machine.