| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 813, 6 May 2019
Welcome to this year's 18th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Maintaining privacy and security is a tricky task in today's world where computers are almost always on-line and sharing data. Our operating systems are large, complex and often keeping track of what we do, and it can be challenging to keep our information safe. With that in mind, our Questions and Answers column talks about how to wipe the information and changes an application writes to the disk. We also ask for our readers' preferred methods of removing an application's data from the filesystem in our Opinion Poll. In our News section we discuss members of the Ubuntu 14.04 family, and related projects like Kubuntu and Linux Mint, reaching the end of their supported lives. Plus we share news that FreeBSD developers are testing managing their operating system's core files with the pkg package manager and share a call for help from the MX team in maintaining systemd-shim. We also link to an interview with Mandrake Linux founder Gaël Duval. First though we share a review of ROSA Fresh R11, a distribution which grew out of the Mandrake Linux family of projects and which continues to provide a modern, user-friendly desktop. We are also pleased to list the releases of the past week and share the torrents we are seeding. We wish you all a terrific week and happy reading!
- Review: ROSA Fresh R11
- News: Linux Mint 17 and Kubuntu 14.04 reach end of life, MX asks for help with systemd-shim, FreeBSD testing base updates through pkg, interview with Gaël Duval
- Questions and answers: Wiping web browser changes from the system
- Released last week: Fedora 30, KaOS 2019.04, SuperX 5.0
- Torrent corner: 4MLinux, Arch, ClearOS, Fatdog64, Fedora, FuguIta, GuixSD, KaOS, Live Raizo, Runtu, SparkyLinux, SuperX, SwagArch, Ultimate
- Opinion poll: Wiping an application's changes after use
- New distributions: Recalbox
- Reader comments
|Feature Story (by Robert Rijkhoff)
ROSA Fresh R11
ROSA is one of a number of forks of the discontinued Mandriva distribution (another notable fork is Mageia). Apart from a free desktop operating system ROSA also produces various enterprise server editions and a number of commercial solutions for "top-secret related data". For this review I tried the free home edition.
The first hurdle I had to overcome was downloading an ISO image. ROSA originates from Russia and, when I first visited rosalinux.ru/en I found that the English section of the website is rather limited. For instance, the main page for the home edition shows the release notes for old ROSA releases (R8 and R9) and the download link took me to a page written in Russian. Luckily, the names of the available desktop environments on the download page are in English, so getting the right ISO image isn't too difficult.
About halfway through my trial I stumbled upon a separate ROSA domain for the English-speaking market: en.rosalinux.com. The downloads section on that domain is in English but it doesn't list ROSA Fresh R11 (the most recent version is R10). Similarly, the most recent news article is from December 2017. It appears the website is no longer maintained (which might also explain why the domain doesn't have an SSL certificate).
ROSA offers ISOs for four different desktop environments, and for each version you can download a 32- or 64-bit image. Interestingly, the desktop environment that is listed first is KDE4 (which had its last stable release in August 2015). KDE Plasma is listed next, followed by LXQt and Xfce.
I opted for the 64-bit Plasma ISO, which is 2.2GB in size. Booting from the ISO image presents you with a graphical boot menu in which the first option is "Boot from local drive". That option tries to boot your computer's existing operating system, which in my case resulted in a "boot failed" error. It seems odd that not booting ROSA is the default option - when you boot from an ISO you presumably want to test and/or install the image.
After rebooting my laptop I next tried to run ROSA as a live environment. Everything worked as expected and I quite like ROSA's custom theme ("ROSA Desktop Fresh"). It is clean and somewhat traditional, with a single panel at the bottom of the screen. The application menu can be launched either by clicking on the ROSA logo in the panel or by hitting the super key. The menu itself lists applications in a traditional tree and includes a search field that automatically gets focus (so you can start searching the menu straight away).
ROSA R11 -- ROSA's live desktop environment
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The installer can be launched from within the live environment. The first step is partitioning the hard drive (perhaps best to get the most scary part out of the way first). You can use existing partitions, let ROSA take over the entire disk or create custom partitions. When you let ROSA eat the whole disk you will get a swap partition (4GB, in my case), a 20GB root partition and a home partition that spans the remaining space. Both the root and home partitions use the ext4 file system.
One thing I didn't notice when I first installed ROSA is that the option to encrypt your hard drive is only available when you create custom partitions. As I was installing ROSA on a laptop I wanted to use encryption and I therefore reinstalled ROSA shortly after the installer had finished. The custom partitioning was fairly intuitive: I could create a boot partition and physical LVM volume in which I could set up my swap partition and XFS partitions for root and home.
ROSA R11 -- Disk partitioning
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After the partitioning has been done ROSA starts copying files to the hard drive. While the installer is busy you can watch a handful of slides. Most distros use such slides to tell new users where to find help or what applications they might want to install but ROSA simply displays slogans such as "A Russian Linux developer company" and "Russian distro of European origin".
You next need to choose where you want to install the boot loader (the default option is likely to be correct) and set the number of seconds after which the default image will be loaded (the default is five). On the remaining screens you set the root password, create a user account and choose if you want to enable CUPS, Samba and SSH. I found that the installer strikes a good balance between keeping things simple and offering various advanced options.
ROSA's boot sequence is mostly graphical. The GRUB menu uses ROSA's branding and if you chose to encrypt your hard drive you are presented with a pretty input field to enter your pass phrase. The boot process isn't all eye candy though; shortly after Plymouth (the application that provides a graphical boot process) was launched I got lots of white text on a black background. Once I got to the login screen everything was prettified again.
The login screen gives you all the usual options (select desktop environment, power off/suspend, etc.) and you will see a pleasant animation while the desktop loads. One thing I like about the login screen is that your brightness and volume keys work as expected. Some desktop environments still lack that feature, which means that you need to be logged in to change the screen brightness or adjust the volume.
The desktop you get after installing ROSA is almost exactly the one you saw in the live environment. The only difference is that the install icon on the desktop has been replaced by a Home icon that pre-dates the material design era but other than that everything is the same. As said, I like the look of ROSA's Plasma desktop: it looks traditional and functional. The one thing I am not sure about are the Windows-like window controls. For those who prefer a more modern look and feel, both the Breeze and Oxygen themes are available.
Shortly after logging in I also encountered the first of many minor annoyances: a notification appeared at the top of the screen to tell me that I should enter my LUKS password to decrypt the hard drive. The warning clearly was nonsensical as I wouldn't have been able to use ROSA had I not decrypted the hard drive during the boot process. Yet, this warning would keep popping up regularly during my trial.
ROSA R11 -- The local system message service wants me to enter my LUKS password
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A more pleasant surprise was that the screen saver only kicks in after 60 minutes of inactivity. Every other distro I have tried sets the default to something like five minutes, which I personally find mildly irritating.
ROSA's selection of pre-installed software is pragmatic. You mostly get KDE/Qt applications, such as the Dolphin file manager, Clementine music player, Kwrite text editor and Kdenlive video editor. Other applications are presumably included because they are considered to be the best tool for the job: you get the Firefox and Chromium web browsers, the GIMP (for image editing) and the full LibreOffice suite. You also get multimedia support out of the box, including Flash plugins for Firefox and Chromium. I am not too keen on the latter but I was pleased that I could play any media file without having to hunt for codecs.
The Plasma desktop and most applications are from late 2018. For instance, ROSA ships with Plasma 5.14.4 and LibreOffice 6.0.7 (both released in November 2018). The Linux kernel is version 4.15.0 (January 2018) and systemd is at version 230 (March 2017). I am not sure why the kernel and init system are that old - my best guess is that it is a result of ROSA being focused primarily on enterprise customers.
I should mention that ROSA also ships three of its own applications: ROSA Media Player is a fork of MPlayer, ROSA ImageWriter is a basic tool for writing ISO images to a USB device and ROSA Freeze is an application that is described in the repository as "an old file compressor and decompressor that is not in common use anymore". It actually appears that the other two ROSA applications are also rather old - both haven't had any updates for several years.
ROSA R11 -- The ROSA Media Player
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Software can be managed via Rpmdrake or the command line. Rpmdrake does the job but isn't anywhere near as user friendly as what other distros nowadays call an "app centre" or "software boutique". Rpmdrake organises packages in categories and you can limit searches to types of packages such as "Packages with GUI" or "Meta packages". You can get more information about an individual package by clicking on its name and you can select packages for installation by ticking a box.
Searching for packages can be a little awkward. You often get a very large number of results, which made it difficult to find what I was looking for (in particular if you are not quite sure of the exact name). Other times searches returned no results - for instance, a search for "password" doesn't find a single password manager, even though applications such as KeePassX are available. I couldn't find a way to search for strings in both the package name and description, and selecting 'Help' from the 'Help' menu returned an "unknown error".
ROSA's repositories are quite large - any package I wanted to install was available. Installing software didn't always work though. For instance, I was unable to install VLC because one of its dependencies couldn't be resolved and the Tor browser couldn't be launched because of of a missing module. Other software would install but come with unwelcome surprises. When I installed DigiKam I also got an application called Marble (I'm not sure why a "virtual globe" is a dependency of a photo manager) and the KMail email client came with 175 dependencies and added six different entries in the application menu.
ROSA R11 -- Marble is one of DigiKam's many dependencies
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I was keen to manage software via the command line but there I encountered another issue: I had no idea what package manager ROSA uses. ROSA ships with very little documentation and, as already noted, its website has a rather limited English language section. Only after I got the bright idea to check what package manager Mandriva used did I learn that ROSA uses the urpmi package manager. I was not familiar with urpmi but after a bit of reading I was able to avoid Rpmdrake.
As far as I can tell ROSA has no support for Snap and Flatpak packages. I could install some simple AppImage packages but larger applications such as DigiKam, Geany and VLC would invariable fail to launch.
While on the subject of software management, ROSA shows a notification when software updates are available. Updates are applied via Rpmdrake and I encountered no issues with system updates. During my trial I got updates for about 50 packages, all of which were applied quickly and cleanly. A nice touch is that Rpmdrake tells you that you should reboot your system when the kernel has been updated.
ROSA R11 -- Updating software via Rpmdrake
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ROSA uses its own software sources. The list of repositories includes "Main", "Testing", "Non-free" and "Restricted" repositories. As far as I can tell ROSA only uses mirrors in Russia (my system gets all its software from mirror.rosalab.ru/rosa/rosa2016.1/repository/ and the only alternative mirror I could find was a yandex.ru repository).
Quirks and annoyances
Earlier I mentioned that I ran into a few annoyances. None of them were major issues but, together, they made using ROSA not as smooth as I had hoped it would be. To give a handful of examples:
- SELinux is installed but the kernel has been compiled without SELinux support. I suspect that ROSA's enterprise editions do ship with a kernel that supports SELinux, though I have no way of telling.
- When I connected an external encrypted drive ROSA didn't prompt me for the password to unlock the drive. The only way to decrypt the drive was by navigating to it in the Dolphin file manager. Similarly, the pass command line password manager kept asking me for my GPG2 password every time I used it - on other distros I have to enter the password just once during a session.
- When you boot ROSA it will automatically connect to your wi-fi but it will only do so after you have entered your KWallet password. In the process you get three notifications: one to say that your wireless network is deactivated, one to say that "no secrets were provided" for your wireless interface and, after entering your KWallet password, a notification to say that your wireless network has been activated. I would much prefer ROSA to simply connect to the wireless network I had configured.
- Notifications sometimes stay on the screen until you give them focus (by clicking on the notification) and then clicking somewhere else (or hitting the Esc key). Other times notifications are displayed for a few seconds.
ROSA R11 -- Checking SELinux support
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Some of these issues are related to security and encryption, which doesn't appear to be a first-class citizen in ROSA. The other issues I encountered were likely to be Plasma-specific. I suspect there may be a setting in Plasma that alters the behaviour of, say, notifications. For new users, though, finding settings in Plasma can be akin to Hansel and Gretel looking for bread crumbs in the woods. For instance, I found an "Event Notification and Actions" menu by searching for "notifications" in the main menu. The window lists "event sources" such as "Archive Mail Agent", "KDE e-mail client" and "KMail" and for each source you are presented with a "State", "Title" and (sometimes) a "Description". I honestly don't understand most of the settings and gave up trying to tweak how notifications are displayed.
From what I have read about ROSA I gather the distro's aim is to be a user-friendly system for everyday users. If that is indeed what ROSA aims for then it largely achieves that goal. It does have some rough edges though; there is plenty of polish and a lot to like but it never took long for some cracks to appear.
For me, the main area where ROSA fell short is software management. Rpmdrake is awkward to use and the urpmi package manager is likely to be daunting for most new users. A software centre with some curated applications and/or support for package formats such as Snaps and Flatpaks would be a welcome improvement.
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Hardware used for this review
My physical test equipment for this review was a Lenovo Thinkpad X220 with the following specifications:
- Processor: Intel Core i3-2520M, 2.5GHz
- Memory: 8GB of RAM
- Wireless network adaptor: Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6205
- Wired network adaptor: Intel 82579M
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Visitor supplied rating
ROSA has a visitor supplied average rating of: 9/10 from 72 review(s).
Have you used ROSA? You can leave your own review of the project on our ratings page.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Linux Mint 17 and Kubuntu 14.04 reach its end of life, MX asks for help with systemd-shim, FreeBSD testing base updates through pkg, interview with Gaël Duval
In their monthly newsletter, the Linux Mint team reported that Linux Mint 17.x has reached the end of its supported life. The newsletter links to a tutorial which guides readers through testing newer versions of the distribution on their hardware and upgrading to a supported release.
The newsletter also mentions work being done to make setting up network shares easier, using the nemo-share utility. Now nemo-share will help the user set up firewall rules that will allow Samba to work, check directory permissions and warn the user about potential problems if the user's home directory is encrypted.
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One of MX Linux's interesting features is the ability to run either the systemd init software or SysV init - the user can select which one at boot time. Part of what allows this approach to work is a package called systemd-shim which has recently been dropped from MX's parent distribution, Debian. "Our understanding is that the current state of systemd-shim does not work correctly with the version of systemd in Debian Buster, so we are exploring options for the future of MX. To that end, one thing we want to explore is the possibility of continuing development of systemd-shim (and whatever systemd patches may be necessary for the systemd-shim to work properly)." The MX project is looking for help in maintaining the systemd-shim package.
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Kris Moore has published an update on work being done to handle updating FreeBSD's base operating system using the pkg package manager. Unlike most Linux distributions, FreeBSD separates the core operating system from third-party packages and uses different tools to keep the separate pieces up to date. The new system, which is already used by TrueOS, would allow FreeBSD administrators to use one tool to keep all software on the system up to date. Moore put out a call for testing (CFT) to see how well the new system works: "I'm pleased to announce a CFT for builds of FreeBSD 12-stable and 13-current using 'TrueOS-inspired' packaged base. These are stock FreeBSD images which will allow users to perform all updating via the pkg command directly. Rather than trying to answer all questions in this announcement, we've created a FAQ page with more details. Please refer to this page, and let us know if you have additional questions that we can include on that page going forward."
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The Kubuntu team has published an announcement reminding people that Kubuntu 14.04 LTS (and related projects in the Ubuntu 14.04 family) have reached the end of their supported lives. "As the newly released Kubuntu 19.04 makes its way into the world, inevitably other things come to their end. Kubuntu 14.04 LTS was released in April 2014, and reaches End of Life for support on 25th April 2019. All Kubuntu users should therefore switch to a newer supported release. Upgrades from 14.04 to a newer release are not advised, so please install a fresh copy of 18.04 or newer after running a backup of all your data."
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Gaël Duval is the creator of Mandrake Linux, which later became Mandriva and was the base for many modern spin-offs, including ROSA, OpenMandriva and Mageia. Duval is also the creator of /e/, a smart phone operating system that strips out Google applications and services from Android. Duval gave an interview to FOSS Force in which he discussed Mandrake Linux and his current project to make smart phones more pleasant and more secure to use. "At this point it appears as if the phone is ready for it's prime time launch. According to the project's website, the OS can now be installed on over 80 different devices. By default, the phone now comes with at least 17 apps pre-installed by default - with none of them being Google apps that are normally pre-installed in Android. Included in the mix: a calendar and task manager that can be configured to function together, a maps app that's intended as a replacement for Google Maps, an e-mail client forked from K-9 Mail, and an app for recording screen and voice."
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Wiping web browser changes from the system
Cleaning-up-after-surfing asks: I want to set up my web browser in a virtual machine and have the VM wipe any changes clean when it reboots. Is there a way to do this automatically?
DistroWatch answers: There are a few ways you can approach resetting your environment after using a web browser. I will cover three options which I think will all accomplish what you want to do.
To do specifically what you asked, reset a virtual machine that runs a web browser, you can use virtual machine snapshots. On VirtualBox, for example, you can select a virtual machine, go into the Machine Tools menu and select Snapshots. You can then click the Add button to create a snapshot of your virtual machine as it is now. Once this has been done, you can use the virtual machine, browse the web, create files and so on. When you shut down the virtual machine, you can click on your original snapshot and click the Restore button. This rolls back your virtual machine to its previous state.
This approach is not entirely automated, but it does require just a few clicks. An unfortunate down side is any software updates for the guest operating system will also get rolled back. If you use the guest system a lot, this will make it increasingly vulnerable over time.
The second approach I would suggest is to set up a virtual machine with an operating system that has a guest account. A guest account is wiped clean after the user signs out, so any changes (including those made while browsing the web) are erased.
On the positive side of things, this approach requires less work and your virtual machine can still receive security updates. The down side is you need to use an operating system that enables a guest account or you need to set up such a guest account manually.
A third approach, and the one I recommend the most, is to not use a virtual machine at all. Running a virtual machine to browse the web will use a lot of extra resources and create another operating system to maintain. Instead, I would suggest you use a sandbox tool, like Firejail. Sandboxes require very few resources and can be set up to wipe any changes your web browser makes when you close the application. This requires fewer resources, less time to set up, and you will not need to revert snapshots manually.
To use Firejail to run a web browser and then clean up afterwards, run Firejail with the "--private" flag. For instance:
firejail --private firefox
The Firefox browser will run normally, let you bookmark pages, download files and, when the browser is closed, everything you have done is erased, resetting everything back to normal. Of course if you do not want everything to be reset, you can launch the browser normally, without Firejail.
While this third approach does not use a virtual machine, it is easier to work with and requires less effort to set up and use. It should also run faster since your computer does not need to spend resources running a second operating system in the virtual machine.
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Additional answers can be found in our Questions and Answers archive.
|Released Last Week
Samuel F. Baggen has announced the availability of a new stable version of Elive, a desktop-oriented Linux distribution based on Debian 7 "Wheezy", with a customised Enlightenment 17 desktop. This is likely the last update in the Elive 3 series as the focus of the developer has shifted to the next release which will be based on Debian 10 "Buster". "Elive 3.0 has been updated and it will probably be the last updated build for the 3.0 release. This updated release includes multiple internal improvements that have been developed for the next version of Elive and I backported these improvements to 3.0. There are too many internal code improvements to list all the details but I can at least summarize some important points. Persistence - overall improvements for saving the desktop configurations based on different hardware profiles and improvements for the option to encrypt persistence; Elive Health tool - improvements for the critical temperature detection feature; USB recorder tool - now supports compressed images; Sound - support for PulseAudio in the Elive internal mixer tool, in case the user installs it...." Here is the full release announcement.
KaOS 2019.04 has been released. KaOS is a highly KDE-centric, rolling-release distribution that uses Arch's Pacman for package management tasks. The new version brings an updated toolchain together with the usual round of package and library upgrades: "A nice way of celebrating the sixth anniversary of this distribution is releasing KaOS 2019.04 with fully updated Midna theme, a new toolchain and Qt 5.12.3. As always with this rolling distribution, you will find the very latest packages for the Plasma Desktop, this includes Frameworks 5.57.0, Plasma 5.14.4 and KDE Applications 19.04.0. All built on Qt 5.12.3. A new glibc 2.29, GCC 8.3.0 and Binutils 2.32 toolchain is among the many changes to the base of the system. Updates to systemd, LLVM, MariaDB, Protobuf, MESA, Polkit and Qt required the rebuild of a large percentage of the KaOS repositories. The removal of Python2 from the KaOS repositories is ongoing. Many more packages are now build on Python3 exclusively. Highlights of KDE Applications 19.04 include an extensive re-write of Kdenlive as more than 60% of its internals have changed, improving its overall architecture." Read the rest of the release announcement for more information, screenshots and known issues.
Matthew Miller has announced the release of Fedora 30. The new version of the Red Hat-sponsored distribution ships with GNOME 3.32, PHP 7.3 and version 9 of the GNU Compiler Collection. There is also a new feature called Linux System Roles to help administrators set up modules through Ansible: "Fedora Workstation features GNOME 3.32 - the latest release of this popular desktop environment. GNOME 3.32 features an updated visual style, including the user interface, the icons, and the desktop itself. New to Fedora Server are Linux System Roles - a collection of roles and modules executed by Ansible to assist Linux admins in the configuration of common GNU/Linux subsystems. No matter what variant of Fedora you use, you're getting the latest the open source world has to offer. GCC 9, Bash 5.0, and PHP 7.3 are among the many updated packages in Fedora 30. We're excited for you to try it out." Further details can be found in the project's release announcement.
Fedora 30 -- Running the GNOME desktop
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ClearOS, a CentOS-based distributions designed for servers, has been updated to version 7.6.0: "ClearFoundation and ClearCenter are proud to announce the general release of ClearOS 7.6.0. This is a minor release of ClearOS; it focuses on important security updates as well as new applications in the ClearCenter Marketplace. New Features included in the 7.6.0 release and since 7.5.0: NextCloud for business; annotation libraries and support for some Cyrus annotations; iLO management (iLO 5); AMIBIOS management (specifically for the HPE MicroServer Gen10). New upstream features and improvements include: additional container support with new tools such as Podman (a container management tool) that complements the previously released tools such as Buildah and Skopeo; policy-based decryption (PBD); GnuTLS support hardware security module (HSM); OpenSSL now works with CPACF; nftables enhancements and the nft command for greater packet filtering insight; OpenSC support for new smart cards; greater support for kdump, network and timesync; integration of Extended Berkeley Packet Filter (eBPF)...." See the release announcement for further details.
Wrishiraj Kaushik has announced the release of SuperX, a desktop distribution based on KDE neon. The new version, SuperX 5.0 "Lamarr", offers a number of visual changes and updates: "With this release, we highlight our approach to innovation, while maintaining our friendliness and focus on design and beauty. Keeping the focus on design Like our previous release, we have tried to make Lamarr a beautiful desktop with design elements being minimal and clean. It features a contrasting and sharp design theme inspired and derived from the Nitrux desktop. In Lamarr, we have simplified Plasma 5 by removing many controls which may confuse the everyday user. New welcome screen: Lamarr features a re-designed welcome screen with a heartbeat animated logo. The desktop: The desktop design has been kept traditional and minimal with modern design cues featuring a white color scheme by default. The panel: The Plasma 5 panel has been modified to keep a minimal set of configuration options, which we feel is helpful to new Linux users, who may otherwise get overwhelmed by the power of customization Plasma offers out of the box." Further details can be found in the project's release announcement.
SuperX 5.0 -- Running the KDE Plasma desktop
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The Guix System Distribution (GuixSD) is a Linux-based, stateless operating system that is built around the GNU Guix package manager. The operating system provides advanced package management features such as transactional upgrades and roll-backs, reproducible build environments. The project's new release is GuixSD 1.0.0 which introduces a new system installer, easier keyboard and X.Org configuration and over 1,000 new packages were added to the distribution's repositories. "What's new since 0.16.0: For those who've been following along, a great many things have changed over the last 5 months since the 0.16.0 release—99 people contributed over 5,700 commits during that time! Here are the highlights: The ISO installation image now runs a cute text-mode graphical installer—big thanks to Mathieu Othacehe for writing it and to everyone who tested it and improved it! It is similar in spirit to the Debian installer. Whether you're a die-hard GNU/Linux hacker or a novice user, you'll certainly find that this makes system installation much less tedious than it was! The installer is fully translated to French, German, and Spanish. The new VM image better matches user expectations: whether you want to tinker with Guix System and see what it's like, or whether you want to use it as a development environment, this VM image should be more directly useful." Further details can be found in the release announcement.
Fatdog64 Linux 810
Fatdog64 Linux is a small, desktop, 64-bit Linux distribution. Originally created as a derivative of Puppy Linux with additional applications. The project has published a new version, Fatdog64 Linux 801, which is mostly a bug-fix and maintenance release following version 800. However, the distribution also includes some new features: "xtrlock to lock screen without blanking (e.g. for watching movies etc). magdock: home-grown screen magnifier by SFR. UExtract and PackIt are now included in the base by popular demand. JWM now uses dynamic menu (sort of) using jwm-xdgmenu. LXC sandbox now supports network (proxy ARP or NAT), and more secure desktop emulation. UML sandbox now supports NAT (previously only supported proxy ARP). lxqt-panel-qt5 now includes temp sensor. VLC: ability to stream-out to chromecast devices, and stream-in from DLNA/NAS. Various infrastructure changes to better support running other WMs, other desktops (other than Rox), and nvidia optimus. efiboot.img/grub2-efi: support UEFI PXE booting (thanks to gcmartin's insistence)." Further details can be found in the project's release announcement and in the release notes.
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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: 1,391
- Total data uploaded: 25.3TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Wiping an application's changes after use
In our Questions and Answers column we discussed methods a person can use to erase any changes a program makes from the system. Common methods for doing this include virtual machines, containers and sandboxes, as well as separate guest accounts. We would like to know if you use any of these methods to prevent an application from changing the filesystem, whether it is for security, privacy or to avoid damage from untrusted applications.
You can see the results of our previous poll on using a web proxy in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Wiping an application's changes after use
|I use a virtual machine to wipe changes: ||95 (10%)|
| I use a container to wipe changes: ||22 (2%)|
| I use a sandbox to erase changes: ||49 (5%)|
| I use a guest account to avoid lasting changes: ||28 (3%)|
| I use a live disc to prevent lasting changes: ||132 (14%)|
| I use SELinux/AppArmor to block changes: ||25 (3%)|
| I use another method: ||101 (10%)|
| I do not block application changes to my filesystem: ||514 (53%)|
Distributions added to waiting list
- Recalbox. Recalbox is a Linux distribution for playing classic video games. It ships with the Retroarch emulation software and the Kodi media centre.
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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, 13 May 2019. 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 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|
|• Issue 788 (2018-11-05): Clu Linux Live 6.0, examining RAM consumpion, finding support for older CPUs, more Steam support for running Windows games on Linux, update from Solus team|
|• Issue 787 (2018-10-29): Lubuntu 18.10, limiting application access to specific users, Haiku hardware compatibility list, IBM purchasing Red Hat|
|• Issue 786 (2018-10-22): elementary OS 5.0, why init keeps running, DragonFly BSD enables virtual machine memory resizing, KDE neon plans to drop older base|
|• Issue 785 (2018-10-15): Reborn OS 2018.09, Nitrux 1.0.15, swapping hard drives between computers, feren OS tries KDE spin, power savings coming to Linux|
|• Issue 784 (2018-10-08): Hamara 2.1, improving manual pages, UBports gets VoIP app, Fedora testing power saving feature|
|• Issue 783 (2018-10-01): Quirky 8.6, setting up dual booting with Ubuntu and FreeBSD, Lubuntu switching to LXQt, Mint works on performance improvements|
|• 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|
|• 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.
|Random Distribution |
LXLE is an easy-to-use lightweight desktop Linux distribution based on Lubuntu and featuring the LXDE desktop environment. Compared to its parent, LXLE has a number of unique characteristics: it is built from Ubuntu's LTS (long-term support) releases, it covers most users' everyday needs by providing a good selection of default applications, and it adds useful modifications and tweaks to improve performance and functions.