| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 784, 8 October 2018
Welcome to this year's 41st issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Technology is always moving forward, trying new solutions to problems and attempting to improve upon past ideas. However, new changes can introduce new problems. This week we discuss an experimental power saving feature which has stirred up a debate among Fedora testers. Plus we cover UBports gaining a VoIP application and the Debian team's roadmap for Debian 10 "Buster". In our Questions and Answers column we talk about how to contribute new documentation to open source projects and the advantages gained from using portable package formats. First though we review an Indian distribution called Hamara. The Hamara project is free to use with optional commercial support and we share more details in our Feature Story. Our Opinion Poll this week asks whether our readers use region-tailored distributions such as Hamara. Plus we are pleased to share the releases of the past week and provide a list of the torrents we are seeding. We wish you all a wonderful week and happy reading!
- Review: Hamara 2.1
- News: Fedora testers talk about proposed suspend behaviour, UBports gains VoIP app, Debian's roadmap to Buster
- Questions and answers: Improving manual pages, advantages of Flatpak/Snap
- Released last week: Linux Kodachi 4.0, antiX 17.2, Mageia 6.1, NixOS 18.09
- Torrent corner: 4MLinux, Antergos, antiX, Archman, Artix, AUSTRUMI, Calculate, Emmabuntus, ExTiX, Kodachi, Mageia, NixOS, SwagArch, Tails
- Upcoming releases: Ubuntu 18.10 Release Candidate, FreeBSD 12.0-BETA1
- Opinion poll: Region-specific distributions
- New distributions: Minitena
- Reader comments
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (19MB) and MP3 (14MB) formats.
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
One of the more recent additions to the DistroWatch database is Hamara, a Debian-based desktop distribution developed by an Indian company. The project's website reports that Hamara is developed with the idea of making an operating system more familiar to Indian users, with particular attention paid to supporting the country's more popular spoken languages. The Hamara website also claims the company behind the distribution will provide commercial support though I could not find details on what services were offered or how much they cost. The support page has a contact form for people who wish to make inquiries into support options.
The latest version of Hamara is available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds. There is an ARM build too, but it is listed as a beta release and carries an older version number, suggesting the ARM branch may have been abandoned. When I was looking at the available download options, I noticed the project's FAQ page seems to suggest Hamara ships with the GNOME 3 and MATE desktops (or a combination of these technologies, another page claims the distro uses LXDE and GNOME 3) but I only found download options featuring the MATE desktop. The 64-bit edition I downloaded was 1.5GB in size.
Booting from the live media brought up a blank screen. There was no prompt, no welcome window and no visible desktop controls. The blank screen appeared both in VirtualBox and on my physical desktop computer. The display would remain blank until I switched to a text terminal (by pressing CTRL+ALT+F2) and then switched back to the desktop display (CTRL+ALT+F7). Once I had switched back to the desktop display, the MATE desktop would begin to load and the live session would present me with a working environment.
The MATE desktop uses a two panel layout. There is a task switcher in the bottom panel. The top panel displays the application menu, system tray and a second task switcher. The top panel's task switcher displays small application icons without text while the bottom panel displays a list of open windows with their title text.
Something I noticed early on is that the Hamara website and the ISO's filename indicate the latest version of the distribution is 2.1. However, when running the live media the system installer and the lsb_release program both label the latest version as being 2.0.
Hamara 2.1 -- Conflicting version information
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Hamara uses the Calamares system installer, a graphical application which offers a streamlined approach to setting up the operating system. I find using Calamares pleasantly easy and I think most users will find the screens straight forward to navigate. Calamares offers both guided and manual partitioning options. The guided option sets up an ext4 root partition and a swap partition. Once we have selected our keyboard layout, confirmed our time zone and provided a new username and password for our account the installer copies its files to the hard drive and offers to restart the computer.
Hamara boots to a graphical login screen which is almost entirely white, apart from an icon with our username under it. Clicking our account's icon gives us the opportunity to select a desktop session. The options are MATE and LightDM. There are two problems with this: 1. LightDM is not a desktop environment, and 2. both options sign us into the MATE desktop. From the login page there does not appear to be any way to shut down or restart the computer, we need to login to perform those actions.
Hamara 2.1 -- The welcome screen and application menu
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When we sign into the MATE desktop a welcome window appears. This window simply provides us with links to on-line resources such as the Hamara forum, the mailing lists, the wiki and the distribution's FAQ document. Clicking these links opens them in a web browser. At the bottom of the welcome window is a checkbox that, when clicked, should prevent the window from appearing in future sessions. This does not work; whether the box is checked or not, the welcome window always appears each time we sign into our account.
When I tried running Hamara in VirtualBox, the distribution did not automatically integrate with the virtual environment and could not use my host computer's full display resolution. I found VirtualBox guest modules in the default repositories and, with these modules installed, Hamara was able to better work with my host computer. The MATE desktop performed unusually slowly in VirtualBox with the default settings. I played around with the MATE window manager and MATE Tweak configuration tools and found there we three main options for compositing: no compositing, adaptive and GPU-enabled. Switching to adaptive and disabling all the compositing options in the window manager gave me the best performance. Hamara's MATE desktop never became as responsive as I would have liked, but its performance was improved noticeably when moving windows and drawing menus.
Hamara 2.1 -- Adjusting window manager settings
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When running on my desktop computer, Hamara performed well. The MATE desktop was responsive with the default settings and the system ran smoothly. My hardware was all properly detected and ran without issues. In either test environment, Hamara used 525MB of memory when logged into MATE and consumed 4.7GB of disk space with a fresh install. The 525MB of RAM seems heavy when we compare Hamara against its parent. Debian Stable running the MATE desktop uses less than half as much RAM and offered better performance on the same hardware.
Hamara ships with a fairly standard collection of useful, open source applications. The Firefox web browser is included along with the Thunderbird e-mail client and LibreOffice. The Transmission bittorrent software is included along with the Pidgin instant messaging software and the HexChat IRC client. We are also given a simple image viewer, the GNU Image Manipulation Program, the Cheese webcam utility and Caja file manager. Rhythmbox and the VLC multimedia player are included along with codecs for playing most media files. In the background we find Java has been installed for us and the GNU Compiler Collection is included. Hamara uses the systemd init software and version 4.17 of the Linux kernel.
The featured applications all worked well for me and I found the provided functionality useful. The only quirk I noticed was that LibreOffice's theme stands out. Its menus and widgets use a style which reminds me of Windows 95 while the rest of the desktop software uses a visual style more in line with modern GNOME applications.
Hamara 2.1 -- Running LibreOffice and Caja
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We can change the look of the desktop and its applications using the MATE settings panel. The panel includes several modules for tweaking the way the desktop looks and the way windows behave. There are also modules for setting up printers, configuring the firewall and managing user accounts. There is a module for working with the screensaver and I want to give Hamara credit for putting a 30 minute delay on the screensaver, when too many distributions prematurely assume I have wandered away from my desk after just five minutes of inactivity.
The settings modules generally worked well and I was happy with them. The only exception was the Additional Drivers module which, when clicked, opened the Software & Updates tool and presented a tab with some repository information and no options.
Hamara 2.1 -- Trying to find additional drivers
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Something which stood out by its absence was the lack of language tools. There is a system tray icon we can click to switch the input (keyboard) language, but I could not find any tools for downloading new language packs or dictionaries. I also did not find any tool for switching the displayed language, which was curious since one of the main talking points of this distribution is it multi-language support.
Hamara ships with two graphical software managers. The first is GNOME Software which is located under the System Tools category in the application menu. GNOME Software presents us with a handful of categories of software and we can click on a category to see the desktop applications provided. Each category typically only features about ten popular applications. For instance, the Productivity category has just ten items available for download and six of them are components of LibreOffice. This is unusual behaviour for GNOME Software, as usually there are many more download options in each section. I also noticed that there were zero items available for download under the Games section. As a result, I turned to the other package manager, Synaptic.
Hamara 2.1 -- Limited download options in GNOME Software
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Synaptic can be found under the Administration section of the application menu. Synaptic offers access to all available packages, including lower level programs and libraries. The package manager also gives us the ability to select which software repositories we connect to.
Hamara pulls packages mostly from its own custom repository, with security updates being drawn in from Debian's repositories. This can lead to some interesting quirks. For example, sometimes Synaptic reported it could not verify the custom Hamara repository, other times it seemed to accept the project's verification key. I also noticed that in the Software & Updates tool, all default repositories appear to be disabled. This is probably because the main Debian repositories (apart from the Security section) are disabled, but a custom Hamara entry has been added. This may confuse users as it makes it seem as though all the normal repositories are disabled, but it is just due to Hamara providing its own copies of Debian packages.
I did not need to install many updates during my trial, just 18 packages totalling 42MB in size. These packages were downloaded and installed without incident.
While Hamara generally provided me with a functional desktop environment, despite some minor performance problems in VirtualBox, and a good selection of useful desktop applications, I have some reservations about using (or recommending) this distribution. This is mostly due to the many little rough edges I found while using Hamara.
The multiple login session options which all access the MATE desktop provide a prime example. This is not a terrible bug, but having LightDM (which is not a desktop environment) listed as a session option makes me wonder if anyone logged into this release before it was published. The GNOME Software application showing almost no applications in each category and the Additional Drivers module opening a useless tab further brought into question whether anyone had tested the available features.
There were other little concerns, such as a lack of language tools when one of the main talking points for Hamara is its multi-language support. Or how the distribution's tools report we are using a different version number than the website and ISO's filename. Each of these issues is quite minor, almost not worth mentioning on their own. But when put together they paint a picture which makes me question how much quality assurance the Hamara team is doing.
For many small projects, QA testing and creating custom fixes for bugs probably wouldn't be a major concern. However, the Hamara website claims the developers are selling commercial support. And I would have reservations about purchasing support from a project that has left many small, yet obvious, issues in a final release. My misgivings grew when I noticed there has been virtually no activity in the distribution's user forum for the past year, even though new versions of Hamara have been published in 2018. This suggests that no one, not even the developers, is publicly discussing new releases and I find that unusual.
In the end, there were very few serious issues in Hamara. The distribution and its included software mostly worked well, but I regularly ran into little glitches or mistakes. My experience this week eventually fell victim to a thousand paper cuts.
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Hardware used in this review
My physical test equipment for this review was a desktop HP Pavilon p6 Series with the following specifications:
- Processor: Dual-core 2.8GHz AMD A4-3420 APU
- Storage: 500GB Hitachi hard drive
- Memory: 6GB of RAM
- Networking: Realtek RTL8111 wired network card
- Display: AMD Radeon HD 6410D video card
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Visitor supplied rating
Hamara has a visitor supplied average rating of: 7.8/10 from 5 review(s).
Have you used Hamara? You can leave your own review of the project on our ratings page.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Fedora testers talk about proposed suspend behaviour, UBports gains VoIP app, Debian's roadmap to Buster
The Fedora distribution is often on the cutting-edge of technology and a test bed for new features. One change in the distribution's development branch which has stirred up debate among testers is an experimental feature which causes a suspended computer to automatically switch into hibernation mode after three hours. The feature is designed to save battery power, but introduces increased risk of data loss and will make computers wake up more slowly. LWN reports: "The addition of this feature to Fedora came about in two steps. The first was addition of a suspend-to-hibernate command (later renamed suspend-then-hibernate) to systemd. The GNOME developers noticed this feature, and added a patch to automatically use it, instead of ordinary suspend, when it is available. Since GNOME chose to start using this feature, and since GNOME provides the control interface that users see, it seems natural to think that GNOME's interface should provide control over whether suspend-then-hibernate is used. But, it appears, the GNOME developers disagree with that idea. In particular, two GNOME developers, Bastien Nocera and Clasen, argued that if this particular systemd feature does not work reliably, it should be disabled in systemd rather than in GNOME. Neither seems to see any other reason why users might want to disable its use or have any control over it in general." Kamil Paral and Adam Williamson have posted comments describing situations where using a suspend-then-hibernate feature could cause problems for users. At the time of writing, it is unclear whether Fedora will adopt the feature in a future stable release.
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UBports is a community developed operating system for mobile devices. The project, which grew out of Canonical's abandoned Ubuntu Touch distribution, has announced that UBports users now have access to a voice-over-IP (VoIP) client in the operating system's app store. "Linphone has just landed in the Open Store. It's Ubuntu Touch's first VOIP (SIP) app. You can even use it to make regular telephone calls, too!" Further information on the Linphone app, such as features and known issues, can be found on the app's store page.
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Plans are being made in the Debian project for the release of Debian 10 "Buster". The Debian project plans to begin the "freeze" process, where new features and package versions stop being accepted into what will become Debian 10, in early 2019. While Debian does not have a fixed release schedule, this suggests Debian 10 will likely become available in the first half of 2019. Niels Thykier wrote regarding the release preparations: "We are about three and a half months way from the initial phase of the Buster freeze. Please follow up on your plans for Buster and evaluate whether it is realistic to accomplish them for Buster. Changes can be staged in experimental, to avoid disruption. Keep in mind that other volunteers may not have the same capacity to work on your goals. If there is an unfixed bug that is nagging you, remember to fix it (e.g. via an NMU) now rather than later."
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Improving manual pages, advantages of Flatpak/Snap
An-aspiring-writer asks: Many of the man pages in my distro have typos and others lack examples. How can I contribute changes to these pages, is there a central repository of documentation where I can upload my edits?
DistroWatch answers: Typically distributions ship with manual pages provided by the upstream software projects. In other words, your distribution's developers probably did not write the manual pages you are planning to improve and won't have a git repository or wiki-style page for you to edit.
This is both good and bad news. On the negative side it means to share your edits you will probably need to track down the upstream developer(s) of the software whose manual page you are improving. Then you can either e-mail them with your updated copy of the page or submit a bug report with your edits attached. The good news is that if your edits are accepted by the upstream project, then virtually every Linux distribution will get an updated copy of the manual page, not just the distro you use.
To get you started in tracking down where to submit your changes, I recommend looking at the bottom of the manual page you plan to improve. Typically there is a copyright notice or link to the original project at the end of the manual page. Many, though certainly not all, manual pages for command line utilities on your distribution will likely originate from the GNU project. There is a list of GNU projects with links to their documentation and contact information on the GNU Manuals page.
I also recommend visiting the TLDR project which creates very brief manual pages, with examples, for common commands. A searchable version of the TLDR pages is available through our Simplified Manual Pages resource.
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Debating-package-formats asks: Is there a benefit to using a portable package like Flatpak over a package installed through APT?
DistroWatch answers: When we use a traditional package manager, such as the APT utilities, DNF or pacman, we are almost always using them to pull in packages which were provided by our distribution's developers. These packages were built specifically for our distribution and are built to work with the libraries and components of our operating system. This allows the individual packages to be small as they do not need extra support or compatibility tricks to make them work.
Flatpak packages, and other portable formats such as Snap and AppImage, bundle their dependencies together in one spot. This allows the Flatpak/Snap/AppImage package to run on virtually any version of any distribution which has the required framework (such as Flatpak) installed. This means the Flatpak package will likely be a lot larger as it needs to carry around its dependencies, but it means we should be able to transfer the package to another distribution and still have it work.
In short, portability is one of the main benefits, but there are some others. Distributions typically only ship one version of an application or library in their repositories. Sometimes trying to install an alternative version will break things on the system. Since portable packages bundle their dependencies and are kept separate from the rest of the operating system we can install any version of a Flatpak we like without breaking anything. This is especially useful if we are running a conservative distribution (such as CentOS or Debian) while wanting to run the latest version of an application that is not in the official repositories.
In other words, portable packages allow us to uncouple the end user application from the rest of the operating system and use a newer (or older) version of an application without upgrading or downgrading the entire distribution.
There are some potential downsides to portable packages. Apart from the size issue mentioned above, there are concerns about whether a package maintainer is keeping up with the security fixes in all the bundled dependencies. Official distribution repositories usually keep up with the latest bug fixes in shared libraries, but Flatpak bundles will also need to be updated with bug fixes separately. Users are at the mercy of portable package publishers to keep up to date with security fixes in all of a Flatpak's dependencies.
Finally, there is a question of vetting new software. Distribution packagers usually perform some basic tests on software to confirm it does what it says it will and does not introduce security holes. Portable packages often come pre-built from upstream publishers and the end-user must trust that the package behaves as expected without the benefit of any auditing.
Personally, I prefer to use the package provided by my distribution and only use a portable package if there is no suitable version available through the default software manager.
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Additional answers can be found in our Questions and Answers archive.
|Released Last Week
Linux Kodachi 4.0
Warith Al Maawali has announced the release of Linux Kodachi 4.0, a new version of the Debian-based distribution and live DVD with focus on security, privacy and anonymity on the internet. This is the project's first release based on Debian 9 "Stretch"; besides the updated base system, the new version comes with several privacy-enhancing features: "Version 4.0, based on Debian 9.5 Xfce, Linux kernel 4.9. Added MenuLibre, GNOME Commander, Coyim Ring, OpenShot, Icedove Atom; added rkhunter, Steghide, GNOME Nettool, GResolver, SiriKali, Deny hosts signal; added NVIDIA Detect, Florence, i2p, zuluCrypt, zuluMount, Onion Circuits, Onion Share, GNUnet; added Cloudflare DNS over TLS via DNScrypt; public IP resolver; Firefox plugins; support for persistence encrypted volumes; UEFI boot support; replaced Komodo-Edit with Atom; replaced Electrum LTC/BTC wallet with Exodus; removed TrueCrypt, Veracrypt still there; improved almost all Kodachi scripts, they are much faster and optimized; theme icons, wallpaper all new look; feature to disable Tor permanently; fixed Tor and DNScrypt bugs; Conky and GUI enhanced." Here is the full changelog as published on the project's website.
Linux Kodachi 4.0 -- Running the Xfce desktop
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antiX is a lightweight Linux distribution based on Debian. The antiX project has released a minor update, antiX 17.2, which includes various updates and bug fixes for the 17.x series. "antiX-17.2 (Helen Keller) released. This is primarily a point-release upgrade of antiX-17.1 (Heather Heyer) with a new L1TF/Foreshadow and Meltdown/Spectre patched kernel, various bug fixes, updated translations and some upgraded packages. As usual we offer the following completely systemd-free flavours for both 32-and 64-bit architectures." The distribution is available in four editions: Full, Base, Core and Net. The first two include graphical environments while Core and Net provide minimal, command-line only interfaces. Further details can be found in the project's release announcement.
Donald Stewart has announced the release of Mageia 6.1, an updated build of the desktop-oriented Linux distribution which was launched in 2010 as a fork of the defunct Mandriva Linux. The new version represents the accumulation of all software updates since the release of Mageia 6 some 15 months ago: "It is with great pleasure that we announce the release of Mageia 6.1. This release brings all of the updates and development that has gone into Mageia 6 into fresh installation media, giving users a kernel that supports hardware released after Mageia 6. The new installations will benefit from the countless updates that current fully updated Mageia systems will have, allowing new installations to avoid the need for a large update post-install. So if you are currently running an up to date Mageia 6 system, there is no need to reinstall Mageia 6.1 as you will already be running the same packages. This release is available with only Live media, i.e. Live Plasma, Live GNOME and Live Xfce in 64-bit editions, and Live Xfce in 32-bit edition. A network installation is also available, for users wanting more granular control over the installation. Some of the release highlights include: Firefox 60.2, Chromium 68, LibreOffice 5.3.7, KDE Plasma 5.12.2, GNOME 3.24.3, Xfce 4.12, VLC 3.0.2, Linux kernel 4.14.70." Read the rest of the release announcement for more details.
NixOS is an independently developed GNU/Linux distribution that aims to improve the state of system configuration management through the Nix package manager. The project has released a new version, NixOS 18.09, which carries the code name "Jellyfish" and will be supported through to April of 2019. "In addition to numerous new and upgraded packages, this release has the following notable updates: end of support is planned for end of April 2019, handing over to 19.03. Platform support: x86_64-linux and x86_64-darwin. Support for aarch64-linux is as with the previous releases, not equivalent to the x86-64-linux release, but with efforts to reach parity. Nix has been updated to 2.1; see its release notes. Core versions: Linux kernel 4.14 LTS (unchanged), glibc 2.27, GCC 7 (unchanged), systemd 239. Desktop version changes: GNOME: 3.28, KDE Plasma 5.13. Notable changes and additions for 18.09 include support for wrapping binaries using Firejail has been added; user channels are now in the default NIX_PATH, allowing users to use their personal nix-channel defined channels in nix-build and nix-shell commands, as well as in imports like import...." Further details can be found in the project's release notes.
ExTiX is an Ubuntu-based distribution which replaces the default GNOME desktop with LXQt and makes further interface and kernel customizations. The project's latest release, ExTiX 18.10, is based on the development release of Ubuntu 18.10. "ExTiX 18.10 LXQt DVD 64-bit is based on Debian and the upcoming Ubuntu 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish (to be released 18-10-18). The original system includes the desktop environment GNOME. After removing GNOME I have installed LXQt 0.13.0. LXQt is the Qt port and the upcoming version of LXDE, the Lightweight Desktop Environment. It is the product of the merge between the LXDE-Qt and the Razor-qt projects: A lightweight, modular, blazing-fast and user-friendly desktop environment. Note: This ExTiX LXQt build is for installation to non UEFI-enabled computers and VirtualBox/VMware." Further details can be found in the distribution's release announcement.
Calculate Linux 18
Alexander Tratsevskiy has announced the release of Calculate Linux 18, a major update of the project's Gentoo-based, rolling-release distribution set available for both x86_64 and i686 systems, in several desktop variants. This release features the very latest 4.18 Linux kernel and the much improved Calculate utilities and installation tool which have all been ported to Qt 5. From the release announcement: "We are happy to announce the release of Calculate Linux 18. In this latest version, Calculate Utilities have been ported to Qt 5, your network is managed in a different way, and binary packages get checked using their index signature. Changes: the graphical installation interface has been ported to Qt 5; the command line installation interface now features auto partition detection based on passed options; it is possible to select a keyboard layout; it is possible to use only one (root) position; easier installation on VPS/VDS; live USB image boots up faster; NVIDIA driver installation log is sent to tty12 at live USB boot-up time; Calculate provides 12,363 binary packages; our approach to network configuration changed - network parameters are not updated while installing network management tools...."
Emmabuntüs is a desktop Linux distribution designed to be user friendly and to work well on older computers. The distribution's latest release, Emmabuntus 9-1.03, is based on Debian 9. The new version includes Flatpak support, a Steam installation script (for the 64-bit build) and several fixes. The release announcement lists the following changes: "Added welcome and tools windows. Added new and more compact post-installation dialog windows. Added software installation management in Flatpak format. Added control script optimizing the swap usage. Added the steam installation script, only available on the 64-bit version.Added PDF-Shuffler, Gscan2pdf. Added screen lock app for LXDE. Added shortcuts to user folders. Added Bluetooth activation management, if the adapter is present. Added automatic swap activation in live mode. Added of the mounting of the hard disks or internal partitions without password request..."
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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: 1,051
- Total data uploaded: 21.3TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Some distributions attempt to fill a specific technical role such as being ideally suited to running on a desktop, a server, supporting older hardware, or aiding in multimedia creation. Other distributions are aimed at audiences in a specific region, usually with specific language packages or ties to local resources. It is not uncommon to find Linux distributions which are specifically geared towards Brazilian, Turkish or Indian users, for example.
This week we would like to find out how many of our readers run a region-specific distribution. Please let us know why you picked your region-specific distro (was it for language support or another reason) in the comments.
You can see the results of our previous poll on booting multiple operating systems in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
|I do run a region-specific distro: ||123 (7%)|
| I do not run a region-specific distro: ||1578 (93%)|
Distributions added to waiting list
- Minitena. Minitena is an independently developed, minimal Linux distribution. It runs on AMD64 and AARCH64 processors and uses the Pacman package manager. Minitena uses a rolling release update process.
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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, 15 October 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 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|
|• Issue 790 (2018-11-19): NetBSD 8.0, Bash tips and short-cuts, Fedora's networking benchmarked with FreeBSD, Ubuntu 18.04 to get ten years of support|
|• Issue 789 (2018-11-12): Fedora 29 Workstation and Silverblue, Haiku recovering from server outage, Fedora turns 15, Debian publishes updated media|
|• Full list of all issues|
Star Labs - Laptops built for Linux.
View our range including the Star Lite, Star LabTop and more. Available with a choice of Ubuntu, Linux Mint or Zorin OS pre-installed with many more distributions supported. Visit Star Labs for information, to buy and get support.
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Ubuntu Christian Edition
Ubuntu Christian Edition was a free, open source operating system geared towards Christians. It was based on the popular Ubuntu. Along with the standard Ubuntu applications, Ubuntu Christian Edition includes the best available Christian software. The latest release contains GnomeSword, a top of the line Bible study program for Linux based on the Sword Project. There are several modules installed with GnomeSword including Bibles, Commentaries, and Dictionaries. Ubuntu Christian Edition also includes fully integrated web content parental controls powered by Dansguardian. A graphical tool to adjust the parental control settings has also been developed specifically for Ubuntu Christian Edition. The goal of Ubuntu Christian Edition was not to bring Christianity to Linux but to bring Linux to Christians.