| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 782, 24 September 2018
Welcome to this year's 39th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
One desktop environment which tends to not get a lot of attention is Enlightenment. The various versions, and forks, of Enlightenment are lightweight, typically visually attractive and provide a fresh alternative to mainstream desktop interfaces. This week we focus on two distributions which run desktops in the Enlightenment family: Bodhi Linux and Elive. Read on to find out more about these two lightweight distributions. In our News section we link to a question and answer session with developers from the elementary OS team. Plus we report on UBports seeking feedback from the mobile operating system's users and talk about Linus Torvalds taking a vacation from kernel development. We also share an end of supported life reminder for legacy versions of pfSense and report on an install media refresh for Solus. Plus we cover the releases of the past week and list the torrents we are seeding. In our Opinion Poll we ask our readers how they feel about running operating systems which no longer receive security updates - do you think it is pleasantly stable or too risky? We wish you all a terrific week and happy reading!
- Review: Bodhi Linux 5.0.0
- News: elementary OS developers answer questions, Solus publishes ISO update, UBports invites user feedback, Linus Torvalds plans temporary vacation from kernel development, pfSense 2.3.x nears its end of life
- Review: Elive 3.0.0
- Released last week: SparkyLinux 5.5, Quirky 8.7.1
- Torrent corner: Quirky, Solus, Sparky, SystemRescueCd, Thinstation
- Upcoming releases: Fedora 29 Beta, Ubuntu 18.10 Beta, FreeBSD 12.0-BETA2
- Opinion poll: Running operating systems that no longer receive security updates
- New additions: batocera.linux
- New distributions: FreedomBox, Project Trident
- Reader comments
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (23MB) and MP3 (17MB) formats.
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Bodhi Linux 5.0.0
Bodhi Linux is a lightweight Ubuntu-based distribution featuring Moksha, an Enlightenment-based desktop environment. The latest version of Bodhi is based on Ubuntu 18.04 and is binary compatible with its parent. There have been very few adjustments to Bodhi's software and desktop for version 5.0.0, the changes all seem to be behind the scenes, originating from the shift to the new Ubuntu 18.04 base.
Bodhi is available in three editions. Apart from the main (Standard) edition, which offers only a small collection of applications and the Moksha desktop environment, there is an AppPack edition which features more desktop applications (such as LibreOffice, Chromium, the Transmission bittorrent client, the VLC media player, the Synaptic package manager, and PlayOnLinux for installing Windows software) out of the box. The third edition is called Legacy and it is intended to be used on older computers with limited amounts of memory, including those running 32-bit CPUs. The Standard edition is 706MB in size, the AppPack edition weighs in at about 1,400MB and the Legacy edition is a 725MB download.
I downloaded the Standard edition. Booting from the live media brings up the Moksha desktop and opens the Midori web browser to display a local copy of the distribution's manual. The documentation covers such topics as connecting to networks, installing new software packages, and how to navigate the Moksha desktop. I did not find a section on installing the distribution. The distribution's installer is a bit tricky to find; it is accessed through the application menu, under Applications -> Preferences.
Bodhi uses Ubuntu's Ubiquity system installer. The installer asks us for our preferred language, offers to download updates and third-party add-ons such as media support, and handles disk partitioning. I like that Ubiquity offers both easy manual and guided partitioning options. The installer then asks for our time zone and gets us to make up a username and password for ourselves. The whole process should be familiar to anyone who has installed a member of the Ubuntu family. The installer finished very quickly and offered to reboot the computer.
Once installed, Bodhi boots to a graphical login screen which we can use to sign into the Moksha desktop. Moksha is arranged with a panel at the bottom of the display. To the left of the panel is an application menu and some quick-launch icons. Over on the right side is the system tray. The default theme is dark (appropriately named Arc Dark). A pager widget on the panel lets us switch between two virtual desktops.
Left-clicking on an empty area of the Moksha desktop opens the application menu next to the mouse pointer. Right-clicking on the desktop has no effect, which is the opposite behaviour we would typically find on other open source desktops.
Bodhi Linux 5.0.0 -- Connecting to the network guide
(full image size: 264kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
The first time I signed into my account the Midori web browser opened again to display the project's documentation. While most of the information provided was useful, I ran into a minor issue while browsing the manual pages. Specifically, the instructions for connecting to the Internet were out of date. The documentation expects there to be a Network Manager icon in the system tray, but this applet is not present. The Network Manager software can be run manually to restore this icon, but it is unlikely people reading the documentation will know how to access Network Manager without its icon.
After using Bodhi for a while I realized there had been no indication of available software updates. I found a graphical update manager in the application menu which displays a list of new updates along with their version information. The update utility is unusual in that no packages are marked for updating by default. We can either manually select the ones we want to install or click a button to select all available packages.
Bodhi Linux 5.0.0 -- Downloading software updates
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The first time I ran the update manager the upgrade process seemed to stall after a minute. There was no visible progress and no disk activity and I eventually killed the update manager's process. I ended up using the update manager a few times later in the week and in each time after it completed its update process successfully.
Software packages are mostly provided by Ubuntu's repositories with a few custom packages coming from a separate Bodhi repository.
I tried running Bodhi in a VirtualBox virtual machine with a lot of success. The distribution automatically integrates with VirtualBox and was able to use my host system's full screen resolution. The distribution was stable and the desktop was highly responsive in the virtual environment. For the most part, Bodhi performed similarly well on my laptop computer. I found the trackpad wouldn't interpret taps as mouse clicks by default, but this was a minor issue. Performance was equally good on the laptop computer.
One serious issue I ran into with my laptop was I could not get Bodhi to connect to a wireless network. My wireless card was detected and it was able to see local wireless networks, but I could not get Network Manager to connect to any available networks. Connecting to a wired network though was as easy as plugging in the cable.
Bodhi Linux 5.0.0 -- Browsing Bodhi's wiki
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In either testing environment Bodhi used about 150MB of RAM when logged into Moksha and consumed 3.7GB of disk space with a fresh install. I eventually used quite a bit more disk space as I ended up installing several additional desktop applications. Once LibreOffice, Thunderbird, a few media players and a few other programs were installed, I had used up over 5GB of space.
Bodhi's main edition ships with a small selection of applications. We are given the Midori web browser, the Ephoto image viewer and ePad text editor. The PCManFM file manager is included along with a volume control and two settings panels. There are no multimedia or productivity applications included by default. In the background we find init is provided by systemd and the distribution runs on Linux 4.15.
Bodhi Linux 5.0.0 -- The two settings panels
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There were two pieces of software in the application menu which I felt stood out. One was the settings panel, or panels. The Moksha settings are arranged a bit differently than the settings modules we find in GNOME, KDE Plasma or other mainstream desktops. While panels in those environments are typically arranged into grids of icons which open modules, the Moksha desktop forms tabs of modules which are arranged into lists. The organization difference probably wouldn't have made any difference to me except that not all the tabs fit in the window, requiring us to scroll through them and I found this, combined with the lack of a search box, slowed me down when trying to find specific options.
The other application I want to mention is Terminology, the Moksha virtual terminal. Usually, as far as I am concerned, one virtual terminal application is functionally the same as any other and I can comfortably switch between Konsole, QTerminal or GNOME Terminal. But Terminology has defaults which break my focus. For example, whenever Tab is pressed to auto-complete a filename, the terminal makes a noise and flashes red. I also found that the first time I'd open the terminal, after signing into my account, the first letter I would type would always be uppercase. This only happened immediately after logging in and only with the first letter, so the first command I typed would always be wrong. My final issue was that sometimes, when opening the application's settings, the settings panel would be transparent. This made it difficult to read the options. Other times the panel would be a solid colour and be easy to read, so this appears to be a graphical glitch. This transparency issue may have been related to the terminal being run in VirtualBox as that was the only place I observed it, but it is an issue other virtual terminal applications have not had in my experience.
Bodhi Linux 5.0.0 -- The terminal settings panel
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Since Bodhi's main edition does not ship with much software, we will want to download additional applications. This can be done through the project's AppCenter. AppCenter is not a local package manager, but a web-based repository where a small number of popular open source applications are organized into categories. Each category (such as Multimedia or Web Browsers) might only have, on average, half a dozen applications. We can browse through categories or try to find programs by name. Clicking an application brings up a page with a detailed description, screen shot, user rating and an Install button. When we click the Install button we are prompted for our password and the package is installed.
Bodhi Linux 5.0.0 -- The AppCenter
(full image size: 189kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
Should we wish to access Ubuntu's massive collection of software, we can use the APT command line package manager or install the graphical Synaptic package manager from the AppCenter. I have mixed feelings about this arrangement. On the one hand, Bodhi's approach is very streamlined and will likely appeal to less technical users. There is virtually no clutter and I think most people will feel comfortable in the web-based environment. On the other hand, this does limit our selection of easily accessible applications a lot and is quite a different approach from the software managers of Fedora, Ubuntu and Linux Mint.
Sometimes when reviewing an operating system it is difficult to separate the question "Is this a good distribution?" from "Is this a good distribution for me?" Bodhi is one of those projects where the answers to these questions are quite different, mostly over matters of style rather than functionality. On a personal level, I don't think I would ever be inclined to use Bodhi myself because I don't like the Moksha/Enlightenment style of desktop. It does a lot of little things differently (not badly, just differently) from other open source desktops and its style is not one I ever seem to find comfortable. This, combined with the streamlined, web-based AppCenter and unusual settings panel, makes Bodhi a distribution which always feels a bit alien to me.
Let's put aside my personal style preferences though and try to look at the distribution objectively. Bodhi is trying to provide a lightweight, visually attractive distribution with a wide range of hardware support. It manages to do all of these things and do them well. The distribution is paying special attention to lower-end hardware, including 32-bit systems, and maintains a remarkably small memory footprint given the amount of functionality and eye candy included. Most lightweight distributions sacrifice quite a bit visually in order to provide the lightest interface possible, but Bodhi does a nice job of balancing low resource requirements with an attractive desktop environment.
Bodhi is pleasantly easy to install, thanks to the Ubiquity installer, has a minimal collection of software (in the main edition) that allows us to craft our own experience and, for people who need more applications out of the box, there is the AppPack edition.
All of this is to say that, for me personally, I spent more time that I would have liked this week searching through settings, trying to get used to how Moksha's panel works, tracking down less popular applications and re-learning when to use right-click versus left-click on the desktop. But, objectively, I would be hard pressed to name another distribution that more elegantly offers a lightweight desktop with visual effects, or that offers such easy access to both legacy and modern hardware support. In short, I think Bodhi Linux is a good distribution for those who want to get the most performance out of their operating system without sacrificing hardware support or the appearance of the interface. There are a few little glitches here and there, but sothing show-stopping and, overall, Bodhi is a well put together distribution.
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Hardware used in this review
My physical test equipment for this review was a de-branded HP laptop with the following
- Processor: Intel i3 2.5GHz CPU
- Display: Intel integrated video
- Storage: Western Digital 700GB hard drive
- Memory: 6GB of RAM
- Wired network device: Realtek RTL8101E/RTL8102E PCI Express Fast
- Wireless network device: Realtek RTL8188EE Wireless network card
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Visitor supplied rating
Bodhi Linux has a visitor supplied average rating of: 8.6/10 from 58 review(s).
Have you used Bodhi Linux? You can leave your own review of the project on our ratings page.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
elementary OS developers answer questions, Solus publishes ISO update, UBports invites user feedback, Linus Torvalds plans temporary vacation from kernel development, pfSense 2.3.x nears its end of life
The team behind elementary OS, an Ubuntu-based distribution featuring the Pantheon desktop and a custom application centre, took to Reddit this week to answer questions. Some key topics covered include avoiding developer burn out, supporting portable package formats and the adoption of Wayland in future versions of the distribution. As with most open source projects, the elementary team is always looking for contributors and supporters. People hoping to get involved with elementary OS and its application ecosystem can visit the project's Get Involved page.
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The Solus team have published an updated set of installation media for version 3 of the distribution. The new media includes updated hardware support and updated packages, saving new users from performing a massive upgrade immediately after installing to catch up with a full year of package updates. "We are proud to announce the availability of Solus 3.9999, our ISO refresh of Solus 3. This refresh enables support for a variety of new hardware released since Solus 3, introduces an updated set of default applications and theming, as well as enables users to immediately take advantage of new Solus infrastructure." The new ISO files can be found on the distribution's Download page.
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The UBports team, which maintains the community fork of the Ubuntu Touch mobile operating system, has put out a request for people using UBports (or interested in the mobile platform) to fill out a survey so they can better focus their attention where users want it. "Growth brings big changes to a software project and to a community. In order to continue exploiting some paths, we would benefit from knowing a bit more about our audience, but we will not do any data collection from your devices." People willing to give feedback to UBports can do so by filling out the survey.
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This week Linus Torvalds, the founder and lead developer of the Linux kernel, published a new release candidate for the upcoming 4.19 kernel version. He also reported on some reflecting he has been doing lately on how he has been leading the kernel developers. "I am not an emotionally empathetic kind of person and that probably doesn't come as a big surprise to anybody. Least of all me. The fact that I then misread people and don't realize (for years) how badly I've judged a situation and contributed to an unprofessional environment is not good. This week people in our community confronted me about my lifetime of not understanding emotions. My flippant attacks in emails have been both unprofessional and uncalled for. Especially at times when I made it personal. In my quest for a better patch, this made sense to me. I know now this was not OK and I am truly sorry." Torvalds went on to say he plans to take a temporary break from kernel development to consider how to improve his future leadership and workflow. Torvalds has asked Greg Kroah-Hartman, another prominent kernel developer, to take over new kernel releases during his absence.
Following Torvalds' announcement, a new code of conduct for kernel developers was put forward with the hope of fostering a more welcoming working environment for Linux contributors.
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pfSense is an operating system for routers and firewalls based on FreeBSD. The project will soon be ending support for its legacy 2.3.x branch and encourages users to upgrade to version 2.4. "Network security is serious business so let's get right to the point: pfSense software version 2.3.x is nearing End Of Life, October 31, 2018. As we announced previously, pfSense software version 2.4.x releases deprecated support for 32-bit x86 hardware and NanoBSD installations. We promised to maintain version 2.3.x with security updates for at least a year and that time is near. It is time to implement upgrades on affected security solution platforms to supported hardware." Information on upgrading can be found in the end of life announcement.
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Review (by Jesse Smith)
Elive is a Debian-based distribution featuring the Enlightenment desktop environment and some special desktop elements, such as an application launcher panel which gives the default interface a macOS-style look. The release of Elive 3.0.0 comes eight and a half years after the launch of Elive 2.0 and the project's developer claims the delay is worth the wait:
After 8 years of silent development, the third stable version of Elive is out, the result is simply amazing and the integration is gorgeous, it is not even possible to describe every inside feature and the new website only contains a small portion of its characteristics.
While this sounds promising, the release announcement does not list any specific features to tell us what is amazing in the new version. However, we are further enticed by being told Elive, which has historically been a commercial distribution, will be made available free of charge:
And even better again, the final stable version is entirely cost-free, limitless with all its features, to make it easier to more people in the world can use it, especially the ones with the lower resources.
The promise of a free download was revoked the day after the initial release, reportedly due to excessive bandwidth usage:
In less than 24 hours after the 3.0 release I have been over billed due to exceeded network usage, due to this I’m forced to use delayed downloads for cover the costs and this will let the users to continue download entirely cost-free.
I tried the delayed, cost-free download option and it failed to work for me. This left potential users with only the paid option. A day or so later a torrent option appeared. The torrent includes both the distribution's optical media ISO (3GB), a USB image file (3GB) and a handful of tools for writing these images to an appropriate disk. There are image writing tools bundled in the torrent for macOS, Windows and Linux. The entire torrent is approximately 7GB in size.
The download images, the ISO and IMG files, are both built to run on 32-bit x86 computers. They can run on modern 64-bit machines too, but will be limited to using 32-bit instructions. Booting from the distribution's media brings up a menu asking if we would like to boot and install the distribution, launch the live environment with persistent storage, or take another option. For instance, we can choose "Graphical Problems" which blacklists common video drivers. "Safemode" disables ACPI and some video modes. There are also options for "Console", "Free Drivers Only", and "Old Computers". The last option offers to use an older version of the Linux kernel (specifically Linux 3.2), rather than the default 3.16 kernel.
Elive 3.0.0 -- Running the Enlightenment desktop
(full image size: 658kB, resolution: 1920x1080 pixels)
I took the default live option which loads the Enlightenment desktop. I was asked to select my preferred language from a list and then select an appropriate keyboard layout. The desktop then played an audio clip. The Enlightenment desktop has a virtual desktop switcher in the upper-right corner and an macOS-style program launcher at the bottom of the screen. In the lower-right corner is an icon which gives us access to network settings. We can left-click on the desktop to bring up an application menu next to the mouse pointer. The wallpaper changes, cycling through new images, about once per minute.
Apart from the file manager icon in the launch bar constantly changing and flickering, I did not notice any immediate problems. I found an icon on the panel for starting the distribution's system installer and began the installation process.
Rather than using Debian's installer, Elive has its own, custom installer which pops-up a new window for each step. And there are a lot of steps. First we are asked if we would like to submit automated bug reports. Then we are offered the choice of automatic partitioning, manually dividing up our disk with GParted, or using LVM/encrypted volumes. I took the GParted option which made setting up a new partition fairly straight forward. Then we are asked by the installer to select which partition will hold the new operating system. Next we are asked which file system to use, ext2/3/4, XFS or Reiser. I found it curious that ext2 and ext3 are listed as options, but next to them are hints saying "Tool old. Do not use it." Which makes it odd that they're listed as options at all. Reiser is the recommended file system which is again strange since most distributions seem to be phasing it out, favouring ext4, Btrfs and XFS.
Moving on, we are given the option of setting up a separate /home partition and then the installer copies its package to our hard drive. Afterwards we are asked which services (Bluetooth, OpenSSH, printer support, scanner support, firewall and a disk utility) we would like to run. We are then asked if we would like to install extra packages for special firmware. The optionally supported firmware is listed in case we are not sure whether we need it.
The next screen asks which, if any, desktop applications and services we would like installed from the list of: Blender, WINE, XBMC, Inkscape, Office, GIMP, Thunderbird and Games. Another screen asks if we would like to install a web browser with options including Chromium, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Netsurf. Oddly, Chromium and Chrome are listed with a description saying they are "old" while Firefox is listed as being "newer, slower". These suggestions increased my feeling of unease as they do not appear to be helpful or accurate.
Another screen offers to remove debugging, extra language files, documentation and development tools. The removal process took nearly as long as the initial process of installing packages did a few steps previously. We are given the chance to create a username and password for ourselves and then the installer wraps up and exits.
Elive booted to a graphical login screen where I was able to sign into the Enlightenment desktop. The first time I logged in, Enlightenment got stuck reporting it was configuring itself. After several minutes with no disk activity and no progress, I forced a reboot. The second time, after about a minute, Enlightenment finished its configuration process and asked which background services I would like to run when the desktop launches.
The desktop is mostly empty, though I found the launch panel unpleasant to use. Hovering the mouse pointer over the panel makes the icons pop-up and expand, and some of the icons are animated, which makes for a distracting interface.
Elive's exact disk and memory requirements will vary a bit depending on which services and packages we opt to install (or remove) during the initial setup. In my case, Elive used about 4.5GB of disk space and, when signed into the desktop, the distribution used around 120MB of RAM with most services enabled. This a pleasantly light distribution.
When running the live desktop environment I had thought it odd Elive's default kernels (3.16 and 3.2) were so old, and that Chrome was listed as an old browser, among other quirks. Checking the web browser versions, I found Elive ships with Firefox 52 and Chrome 48, which I think are both about two years out of date. The distribution uses SysV init, which I found more curious since the past two major versions of Debian have switched to using systemd.
I started looking for indications as to which branch of Debian the new Elive version is based on and discovered it is built from Debian 7 "Wheezy". The APT package manager pulls from copies of Wheezy repositories and the lsb_release command confirms the base platform is Debian 7. Most package versions, apart from the default kernel, line up with Wheezy's package versions too, indicating not much was changed for this release.
This is a serious problem and it caused me to immediately stop using Elive 3.0.0. Debian 7 officially stopped receiving security updates over two years ago. Some core packages were maintained by Debian's LTS team, but even LTS support for the core components of Debian 7 concluded over four months prior to the launch of Elive 3.0.0. This means the Elive packages were past their supported life span long before the project made its latest release.
At this point, I fear this review is shifting gears into more of a concerned commentary rather than a technical overview of the Elive distribution. Everything about this release feels unusual and unsettling. I feel it is telling that the Elive release announcement describes version 3.0.0 as "amazing" and "perfect for daily use", yet despite being in development for eight years, the team fails to mention a single feature of the distribution.
I think it's also concerning that the release announcement says Elive is now cost-free, but direct downloads are charged for, the delayed downloads option did not work for me, and the torrent (at time of writing) lacks seeders. Some people might argue that the developer is making a good faith effort to cover distribution costs by charging for downloads (rather than performing a bait-and-switch), but it makes me wonder why no effort was made to use free, unlimited bandwidth options such as SourceForge or GitHub? Most other distributions publish ISO files on these free services to avoid situations like this one.
The custom system installer is also somewhat concerning since it makes poor recommendations and misleads users as to the best choices in file systems and web browsers. There are a lot of pre-made system installers out there and most of them are faster, easier to navigate and more up to date than Elive's.
The biggest concern though, as I mentioned above, is this release was published over two years after official support for its included packages was dropped from Debian. The ancient web browser releases, not to mention the many other old packages included, immediately puts anyone running Elive on a machine with access to the Internet at risk.
This left me facing two uncomfortable possibilities. Either the developer of Elive did not know that the base project for their distribution dropped support for their packages over two years ago and they were not aware running Elive's software (particularly the web browsers) would put end users at risk, or they knew and launched an unsupported product without disclosing that information. Neither is an attractive option, but I am struggling to come up with a third possibility.
Ultimately, I strongly advise against downloading Elive. Even if you can get a copy (and at the moment that is proving difficult) its lengthy installer, out of date software and overly dynamic interface make it a poor choice for desktop users. Some might argue the small memory footprint and Enlightenment desktop are positive aspects, but there are other projects, such as Bodhi Linux which offer a nicer Enlightenment experience, similarly low resource requirements and supported packages. It seems that would make Bodhi, or others like it, better options in all respects.
|Released Last Week
SparkyLinux is a lightweight, fast and simple Linux distribution based on Debian. The project's latest release, SparkyLinux 5.5 "Rolling", is based on Debian's Testing branch. The new version includes mostly minor package updates, and makes the leap from using GCC 7 to GCC 8 for the default compiler. "There are new live/install ISO images of SparkyLinux 5.5 Nibiru available to download. Sparky 5 follows a rolling release model and is based on Debian testing Buster. Changes: system updated from Debian Testing repos as of September 17, 2018; Linux kernel 4.18.6 (4.18.8- & 4.19-rc4-sparky are available at Sparky unstable repos); the Calamares installer updated up to version 3.2.1; Thunar daemon is deactivated in the MinimalGUI Live (Openbox), due to problem of automounting new partitions created by Calamares; GCC 7 compiler has been removed, the system uses GCC 8 as default; removed packages: libpam-gnome-keyring, vim, imagemagick, systemd-ui, sparky-gexec, xterm (Openbox); also removed from LXQt media: lxtask, leafpad, notepqdqq." Further details can be found in the project's release announcement.
Barry Kauler has announced the availability of a new version of Quirky, a lightweight Linux distribution and sister project to Puppy Linux. The new version changes the base packages of the distribution from Ubuntu 16.04 to 18.04. "The transition has been made to building with Ubuntu Bionic Beaver 18.04.1 DEBs, and now codenamed 'Quirky Beaver', first release is version 8.7.1, for x86_64 PCs. Some announcement blurb: Quirky Linux 8.7.1 is the first in the 'Beaver' series, binary-compatible with x86_64 Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS, though built with woofQ and architecturally very different from Ubuntu. Quirky is an experimental distribution, that forked from Puppy Linux a few years ago, and has followed a different path, exploring some new ideas. Continuing the Puppy tradition, Quirky has a 'complete' suite of applications, drivers and utilities, in a very small size. Version 8.7.1 is very similar to 8.6, but with a complete upgrade of package versions. The kernel is now 4.18.9." Further information can be found in the project's release announcement.
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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: 1,028
- Total data uploaded: 21.2TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Running operating systems that no longer receive security updates
This week we talked about the recent release of Elive 3.0.0, a distribution based on Debian 7. Despite the distribution's parent distribution and packages being months (or in some cases years) beyond the point where they would receive security updates, Elive 3.0.0 has been downloaded over 12,000 times at the time of writing. This is not all that surprising as it is quite common for people to continue using an operating system long after it has stopped receiving security updates. Windows XP, for example, has been past its end of life for years and still has around 5% of the desktop market share.
We would like to find out what our readers think about running operating systems which no longer receive security updates. Is it something you are comfortable doing, or do you feel the need to stay up to date with security patches?
You can see the results of our previous poll on using solid state drives in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
New projects added to database
batocera.linux is a minimal distribution dedicated to running retrogaming software. The distribution is able to run on most desktop computers, laptops and several single-board computers, including the Raspberry Pi. batocera.linux can be run from a USB thumb drive or SD card, allowing it to be transferred between computers. batocera.linux is based on RecalboxOS.
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Distributions added to waiting list
- FreedomBox. FreedomBox is a Debian-based server operating system for running personal network services and storage at home or on a VPS.
- Project Trident. Project Trident is a desktop-focused operating system that is based on TrueOS. It features the Lumina desktop environment.
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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, 1 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)
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
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|Linux Foundation Training
|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • Security updates (by DaveW on 2018-09-24 00:30:45 GMT from United States) |
I want security updates and regularly apply them on my daily system, Mint 18.3. However, I have a copy of Windows XP running in a virtual machine, and dual-boot Mint 16. Those two OS's are not used very often, so there being no security updates for them doesn't worry me.
2 • Elive 3.0 (by John Bee on 2018-09-24 00:42:23 GMT from Australia)
Elive 3.0 is aimed at users who for one reason or another are relying on old hardware. It can be assumed that if a user could afford a new 64 bit PC they would. With the ever changing minimum requirements required by Firefox and Google Chrome the versions included in Elive 3.0 would be the last versions compatable with Elive's system files and kernel. Elive developers are now realising they either start again and build Elive upon Debian 9 or retire Elive. By giving away Elive 3.0 free there's nothing to loss and may create interest in the project again. By asking for a small donation would hopefully allow them to spend their time creating an all new version of Elive. For the moment install Wine in Elive 3.0 and run the current 32 bit Windows version of Seamonkey which I'm currently doing and posting this to you now on a 14 year PC. It can be done.
3 • Security updates (by Bob on 2018-09-24 00:47:19 GMT from United States)
Yes, for my online Linux distros since there is always a new release somewhere in the future. However, I ran my CrunchBang Waldorf right up to the last possible moment...and then some.
4 • Bodhi review (by brad on 2018-09-24 00:52:34 GMT from United States)
"There are a few little glitches here and there, but nothing show stopping[...]"
Perhaps I missed the resolution, but wasn't there a problem with wireless networking? This is definitely a show-stopper for laptop users; some laptops don't even have wired capability, and if there was no resolution to the lack of wireless capability, then this distro could never be taken on the road. I don't know of many coffee shops, libraries, or other "public" locations that offer "wired-fi".
5 • Mr. Torvalds stepping out (by Friar Tux on 2018-09-24 01:11:14 GMT from Canada)
When studying most software developers, one finds Mr. Torvalds' issues are actually quite common. Bill Gates was shy and reserved. Steve Jobs was at times almost violently anti-social. (To name a couple of the big 'uns.) Linus Torvalds is no exception. This is not to 'bad-mouth' these people. They are individuals that simply do not function well around/with other people. (That may be one reason why they do so well in front of a keyboard and monitor.) I know. I'm one of them. People wear me out. I find crowds frightening. Anyway, I wish Linus much success. (Again, I have learned to coup with other people.)
6 • elive (by linuxista on 2018-09-24 01:34:01 GMT from United States)
I'm glad to see that Elive is finally getting critical coverage instead of being announced without warning advisories potentially sucking in naive new users. Elive has always been a scam with hidden gotcha payments at one stage or another in the installation process. Looks like this time they've just invented a new angle to con people with.
7 • Security Updates & Linus (by M.Z. on 2018-09-24 02:19:24 GMT from United States)
If you are connecting the machine to the web you should update it, end of story. I could see some users of less attacked OSs like Linux or BSD trying to plug along anyway, perhaps improving security in other ways like taking steps to make their browser unrecognized & harder to attack. Regardless, it's really dumb to run a networked computer without security updates. That goes double if you know you could easily drop a new Linux Disto on the machine in short order & arrive at a secure OS for no real monetary cost.
On the Linus front I'm hoping to hear about him coming back before too long, & that he does so with a plan to tone things down a bit while wrangling problems effectively.
8 • Elive software versions (by Jesse on 2018-09-24 02:31:58 GMT from Canada)
"Elive 3.0 is aimed at users who for one reason or another are relying on old hardware. It can be assumed that if a user could afford a new 64 bit PC they would."
This may be the case, but if so then there are lots of distributions targeting older hardware which still receive security updates. We covered on in this issue. Bodhi also runs an Enlightenment-based desktop, supplies security updates and runs on 32-bit machines.
"With the ever changing minimum requirements required by Firefox and Google Chrome the versions included in Elive 3.0 would be the last versions compatable with Elive's system files and kernel."
Not true and also a point against these out of date browsers being used. Not only could you install a newer version of Chrome (or Firefox) on this kernel, but you should also use a lightweight browser if you're targeting older hardware.
If Elive were really targeting older computers which might need an older kernel/userland, then those computers probably need a lighter browser too, like Midori or Falkon. It doesn't make sense to claim to be using out of date software (six year old kernel) to support old hardware, but then ship massive browsers like Firefox which is just two years old. Those two missions contradict each other. A computer than can run a two year old release of Firefox is going to be capable of running a more modern kernel and userland.
9 • But why? (by tom joad on 2018-09-24 02:32:58 GMT from Moldova)
That one got me.
Run an OS with getting any regular or irregular updates and patches!?!?! Yikes!!! Lordie there is plenty enough trouble, grief and heartache out there without getting down on your knees and begging for more. I realize that most do it in a mental mode of an 'informed decision' but still...
Ain't for me, brother...
I keep my stuff current and patched...no exception.
10 • Security (by Cholo on 2018-09-24 02:40:28 GMT from United States)
I check for updates every time I turn on my machines, first thing! Just one of my better habits I think. I do still use XP, for a couple of programs that I like. But I run it in virtualbox on top of PCLOS. And I don't give it access to the internet. I also have XP on another old computer that I can still play some old games on every once in a while, but there again no internet... ;-).
11 • Linus (by facetime on 2018-09-24 03:26:46 GMT from Australia)
It seems that it wasn't the corporates who complained about Linus, but minority groups who thought the code of conduct wasn't being adhered to and people were being excluded from the developer community without any recourse.
It looks like the freewheeling days of Linux kernel development are over, and the only winners of this dispute will likely be the lawyers.
12 • Security (by pengxuin on 2018-09-24 04:37:41 GMT from New Zealand)
My preferred distro does an update check approx 5 minutes after bootup.
this can be manually changed by the user, to check up to 30 minutes after login.
likewise, the next check for updates can be manually set by the user, for, from 1 hour to 24hrs later.
13 • security (by zykoda on 2018-09-24 06:41:33 GMT from United Kingdom)
For WAN and LAN machines the latest patches are applied. For an non networked machine it really does not matter, whether DOS, MS, Linux, Unix or other OS is running. Security is an illusion.
14 • Old HW, Elive, speed & security (by frisbee on 2018-09-24 06:58:46 GMT from Switzerland)
Elive is now free simply because it is outdated and nobody sane would install it anymore.
Who really must recycle some (to) old junkware, has much better distributions to choose from.
Antix is probably the best Linux to date for just about (allmost) anybody - if they are able to install the SW via APT. As is, it uses aprox. 80 MB RAM, which is good for all HW, not only for the old one. It does not matter if you have 2GB, 8GB, 32GB, 128GB ... Why use 1.6 GB RAM just to render the desktop? By using 80 MB RAM it will run well on old HW and if you have a solid HW, you can install 2 more virtual machines or have open a couple of hundreds tabs in your web browser.
- out of the box, it has everything on board, all must haves to just start working
- super light fluxbox, herbstflut, jwm iceWM preinstalled and preconfigured
- apt-get install cinnamon-environment and you have a modern OS too
- everything needed and preconfigured to work straight from USB
- everything needed and preconfigured to remaster "own OS"
- based on latest Debian stable plus its own repository
- 32 and 64 bit flavors and no systemd
- good beginner documentation
- speedy and secure
15 • Security updates (by Brenton Horne on 2018-09-24 07:31:44 GMT from Australia)
I'm quite surprised so many people use distros past their EOL. It seems silly to me, except perhaps on PCs that are not connected to the net, Bluetooth or anything else with a decent potential for allowing malware in. Although that does not sound like a very pleasant experience in itself. Well I hope those using this good luck, even though I think it is silly.
16 • Linus' vacation (by Anthony on 2018-09-24 09:20:23 GMT from Germany)
Can we take Linus' words seriously? After all, he had said "I like to offend people, because people who get offended deserve to be offended" and that he didn't like "professionalism", saying that he was writing that particular mail from home, wearing a bathrobe. If you ask me, he was threatened -- politely, maybe, but in a clear way. (He's a family man, it would be easy to threaten him.)
Also, SJW's betray themselves by their methods: they should create better(?) communities by forking FOSS codebases and then starting their own super-duper-rainboy-all-inclusive communities around them, but they don't, because they fear (know?) that they would fail miserably. (Either technically, or they just wouldn't get enough contributions.) So instead, they get into every well-functioning community, and poison it from thee inside.
Whatever they did to Linus must have been ugly AF.
Well done SJWs! Another huge victory for you, and a sad loss for the decent people.
17 • Enlightenment (by Winchester on 2018-09-24 09:37:39 GMT from United States)
ELive is pointless.
You can install Enlightenment from official repositories of various distributions.
That includes Debian 9 stable , Debian testing , OpenSUSE Tumbleweed , Void Linux, ROSA , PClinuxOS etc. .
There is even an Enlightenment .iso for Kali Linux 64-bit.
Should be able to install Enlightenment on Kali Linux Light 32-bit, Voyager Debian version, SalentOS Debian version, AntiX, Devuan, Refracta, Star Linux etc. ....... just to name some.
18 • elive 3... (by frimical on 2018-09-24 10:24:53 GMT from France)
I welcome and agree with all the comments regarding this 'tricky business' of elive and what is behind.
Trust is a must; otherwise straight to the trash bascket...
Great annoucements; but empty reality... nada; nothing au rendez-vous..
From download to test: great 'bad' surprises! nothing as expected.
very old stuff but doesn't even work on either old; less old or new machine! it's a catatrophy; a loss of time and bandwidth!
elive cannot be used live!
Sorry to upset some; when I hear about light and very flexible; modern and productive distro, I just compare with TinyCoreLinux. Full point.
The time we lose to install a new distro and all the blabla around; we're up and running for less than 10 sec and 30Mb of RAM, X included...
And for the rest... all needs the same RAM; but is faster on TinyCoreLinux..
And the 'cerise sur le gateau' each session is a bright clean new session... if we need so; it s a real live distro!
What about rolling back os version, configurations and balablabla?; no need! it's always clean; or the way we meant it to be; simply etc...
Final Note: I'm not affiliated in any way to the TinyCoreLinux Team. I try regularly what's in here new or old distros. I'm surprised why this distrois not given the light that deserves!...
19 • RE: 16 (by Roger M on 2018-09-24 10:34:05 GMT from Belgium)
It might verywell be that Linus did it to himself.
My prediction is that we will soon see Linus back. Only now it will call itself Linusia, and it wants to referred to itself as "they", while wearing a dress, and some fine lipstick.
But you can always ditch linux, and move to openBSD.
20 • Political correctness (by Microlinux on 2018-09-24 10:55:13 GMT from Austria)
Linus, come back! Send Lennart to the shrink instead!
21 • Bodhi Linux 5.0 (by Niyas C on 2018-09-24 11:47:14 GMT from India)
Recently, I tried Bodhi Linux 5.0 to try some screenshots. As mentioned in the review, I was not able to connect with a Wireless network inside Bodhi Linux. :(.
22 • Security (by MikeOh Shark on 2018-09-24 12:57:16 GMT from United States)
I understand why some people may run an older non-supported version of Linux. My old version had removed samba and mono and had all internet facing apps in firejails. It had a pretty tight iptables/ip6tables rule set. My feeling, while it may be wrong, was that it was at least as secure as Windows.
I have recently moved to a newer LTS version. When support runs out, it takes awhile to set up a new version and get it the way you want. In my case, the changes (e.g. systemd, Firefox (and it's plugin architecture), default settings, firejail profiles) take awhile to learn and reconfigure.
I mostly use the new LTS version of Mint now but I still have to fight systemd so I can get DNSCrypt and dnsmasq working as in the old version.
Number of Comments: 22
|• 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 184.108.40.206, 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|
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