| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 801, 11 February 2019
Welcome to this year's 6th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
It is always exciting for us to try out new projects, especially ones that are taking an unusual approach or experimenting with a new style of package manager or desktop environment. This week we begin with a look at Project Trident, a young project that is new to our database. Project Trident combines the rolling release base of TrueOS with the Lumina desktop and we explore its approach, perks and problems below. Our Questions and Answers section this week discusses what the status indicators in process monitors mean, and our Opinion Poll asks which process monitor our readers prefer. In our News section we cover an overview of the FreeBSD Foundation's current efforts to improve FreeBSD. Plus we talk about Project Trident adopting more desktop packages and link to a conversation with the Plasma Mobile developers. Then we are happy to share the releases of the past week and list the torrents we are seeding. We wish you all a fantastic week and happy reading!
- Review: First impressions of Project Trident 18.12
- News: FreeBSD Foundation overviews works in progress, Project Trident includes LXQt packages, Plasma Mobile developers answer questions
- Questions and answers: Reading status information from top
- Released last week: MidnightBSD 1.1, IPFire 2.21 Core 127, Redcore 1812
- Torrent corner: Antergos, Archman, HardenedBSD, IPFire, Kodachi, MidnightBSD, MX, Netrunner, Redcore, Refracta, Septor, SharkLinux, SystemRescueCd
- Upcoming releases: Ubuntu 18.04.2
- Opinion poll: Preferred process monitor
- New distributions: Mazon OS
- Reader comments
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (13MB) and MP3 (11MB) formats.
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
First impressions of Project Trident 18.12
Project Trident (hereafter referred to as Trident) is a desktop operating system based on TrueOS. Trident takes the rolling base platform of TrueOS, which is in turn based on FreeBSD's development branch, and combines it with the Lumina desktop environment.
The debut release of Trident is available as a 4.1GB download that can be burned to a disc or transferred to a USB thumb drive. Booting from the Trident media brings up a graphical interface and automatically launches the project's system installer. Down the left side of the display there are buttons we can click to show hardware information and configuration options. These buttons let us know if our wireless card and video card are compatible with Trident and give us a chance to change our preferred language and keyboard layout. At the bottom of the screen we find buttons that will open a terminal or shutdown the computer.
Project Trident 18.12 -- The system installer
(full image size: 90kB, resolution: 1024x768 pixels)
The centre of the screen is occupied by a series of pages offering configuration options. We begin by providing the time and our time zone. The next screen asks on which disk we should place Trident. It seems Trident takes over the whole disk and formats it with the ZFS advanced file system. The next screen gives us a series of software packages we can optionally install. These packages include a few desktop items, tools and specific drivers for video cards and virtual machines. Then the installer asks us to make up a password for the root account and gives us a chance to create a username/password combination for ourselves. The installer copies its packages to our hard drive and, while it is working, a button appears on the left side of the screen we can click to see detailed log information on its progress. The entire process of setting up Trident took a little under 15 minutes.
Trident boots to a graphical login screen where we can sign into the Lumina desktop or a minimal Fluxbox session. Lumina, by default, uses Fluxbox as its window manager. The Lumina desktop places its panel along the bottom of the screen and an application menu sits in the bottom-left corner. On the desktop we find icons for opening the software manager, launching the Falkon web browser, running the VLC media player, opening the Control Panel and adjusting the Lumina theme.
Project Trident 18.12 -- The two settings panels
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The application menu has an unusual and compact layout. The menu shows just a search box and buttons for browsing applications, opening a file manager, accessing desktop settings and signing out. To see what applications are available we can click the Browse Applications entry, which opens a window in the menu where we can scroll through installed programs. This is a bit awkward since the display window is small and only shows a few items at a time.
Early on I found it is possible to swap out the default "Start menu" with an alternative "Application menu" through the Panels configuration tool. This alternative menu offers a classic tree-style application menu. I found the latter menu easier to navigate as it expands to show all the applications in a selected category.
I tried running Trident on a workstation and in a VirtualBox environment. Trident performed well on the physical workstation. My hardware was all detected (apart from a USB wireless card I tested later in the trial). Performance was fairly smooth and the system responsive.
When running in VirtualBox, Trident would function, but with some limitations. For example, the system does not detect the available screen resolution, making the desktop quite small. We can fix this by resizing the VirtualBox window and then manually killing the Fluxbox process. When Fluxbox gets restarted, it detects the proper resolution. I found the mouse pointer would sometimes register my mouse's scroll wheel activity as a mouse click, causing me to accidentally select all sorts of programs and links almost every time I tried to scroll.
I set up Trident with a fairly minimal collection of software, which used up just over 2GB of disk space. When logged into a Lumina session, the system consumed 150MB of Active memory and 270MB of Wired memory.
Trident does not include a lot of applications in its default install. The Falkon web browser and VLC media player were included. There were also a number of Lumina-specific applications such as a file manager, text editor, PDF viewer and screenshot tool. There is also a Lumina Media Player. There are some configuration tools which I will cover shortly, but otherwise the application menu is minimal.
Project Trident 18.12 -- Viewing the Project Trident website with Falkon
(full image size: 532kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
Trident does ship with BSD command line tools and manual pages. When installed I found Trident did not include any compiler, though one was featured on the install disc. The project uses OpenRC instead of FreeBSD's RC service manager and I found it worked well.
Most of the included software, limited though it was in variety, did work. I was able to create text documents, browse the web and tweak the desktop's look. The only serious problems I ran into concerned multimedia. I could not get the Lumina player to play any files, either audio or video. I could get media to play in VLC. Further, I was unable to get Trident to play any sound when run in VirtualBox. When I tried to play YouTube videos or local media, I only got faint static. This was odd as usually I either get the sound I expect or nothing, but with Trident I got low-volume static in place of audio.
Since Trident does not ship with a lot of desktop software, most users will want to make use of the project's software manager: AppCafe. The AppCafe window is divided into three tabs (Browse, Installed, and Pending). The Browse tab shows categories of software and features a search box. The Installed tab shows packages already on the system which we can remove. The Pending tab lists packages that we have queued to be installed or removed and their status.
Project Trident 18.12 -- The AppCafe software manager
(full image size: 1.0MB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
When I first started using AppCafe, all the categories in the Browse tab were empty, except for programs already installed, like Falkon. The documentation mentions this is a known issue and closing and reopening AppCafe usually causes the categories to populate. This worked for me and I was soon able to look through lists of software packages which are ordered alphabetically. Each entry is shown with just a brief description and clicking on a package will bring up a slightly longer description and technical details. There is a region of the AppCafe window that should display screenshots of applications we have selected, but the screenshots never loaded during my trial. We can add or remove packages with a click of a button.
Newly installed applications have their icon added to the Lumina desktop. At first this is convenient, but over time it makes the desktop cluttered.
People who wish to use the command line can use FreeBSD's pkg package manager or the FreeBSD collection of ports to manage third-party software.
The Trident operating system features two settings panels. The first is called Control Panel and provides modules for managing the underlying operating system. From the Control Panel we can manage boot environments, browse and revoke SSL keys (I could not find a method for creating new keys), manage the firewall, and enable or disable background services. There are also tools for working with user accounts, adjusting how the mouse works, a graphical process monitor and tools for browsing hardware. These tools tend to be functional while having a rough look. They tend to use simple lists and layouts and, from my experience, work reliably.
The second settings panel contains modules for managing the Lumina desktop theme, changing window effects, selecting preferred applications and changing screensaver settings. We can also customize the desktop's context menu and enable auto-start programs. These modules, like those in the Control Panel, tend to have a simple, minimalist appearance and function as expected.
Project Trident 18.12 -- Changing desktop effects and the default application menu
(full image size: 988kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
One feature I did find odd is the Lumina settings panel includes a few entries that are also in the Control Panel. For example, the process monitor and account manager can both be launched from the Lumina settings window. However, once these shared modules are open, clicking their Back button displays the Control Panel rather than the desktop settings panel. This may throw off some users who expect to see the desktop settings module.
Another curious feature is that the settings modules appear to use different icon themes. This is not a functional problem, but it does look unusual to see different visual styles displayed in the same settings panel.
Project Trident 18.12 -- Managing background services
(full image size: 1.1MB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
By default Trident uses a dark theme and, personally, I think it looks nice. However, I wanted to try some lighter themes. (It's winter where I live and I wanted some more light in my life.) I tried some lighter themes and they appealed to me, but a side effect was that some button icons became invisible when the lighter theme was used. This made it difficult to navigate toolbars which obeyed the desktop theme.
Project Trident 18.12 -- Toolbar buttons fading into the background
(full image size: 361kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
The first user we create seems to have a number of special permissions. For example, my regular user was able to create new users and remove old accounts without providing a password. This seems like a security issue to me. Further, when creating new user accounts we are asked if the new user should be considered an Operator (can shutdown or reboot the computer) or an Administrator (can perform almost any task). I disabled both options when creating a guest account. Later, when I checked group permissions I found every user I had created was added to the Operator group even though I had explicitly disabled the option. Further, my guest account was able to launch the account manager and add and remove new accounts, effectively making their own administrator. Both of these issues seem to me to be significant security holes. However, once an account had been manually removed from the Operator group, the account lost the ability to manage other users.
Project Trident 18.12 -- Guest account removing installed packages
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Another security feature built into Trident involves hiding processes from other users. This is a feature borrowed from FreeBSD and prevents users from seeing the processes other users launch. This provides a small layer of security as it is harder to attack services the user cannot see. Trident appears to use randomized PIDs too, making to harder to predict process numbers or tell how many processes a user is running.
Here there was a hole in security too. While any regular user (without Operator or Administrator access) can only see their own processes using standard tools like top and ps, the same restriction does not apply to the Control Panel Tasks module. Any user can open the Control Panel, launch Tasks and see all processes, including the root user's. Further, and this part puzzled me a bit, users with no special privileges and no knowledge of the root password can kill any process on the system. This is a pretty large security flaw when any user can see hidden services and kill them at will.
Moving on from security, I tested boot environments, which are made possible through ZFS snapshots. It is easy to create and remove boot environments through the Control Panel. When the system is booting we can select older environments from the boot menu to restore the older snapshot. This gives us protection against bad system updates and configuration mistakes in the base operating system.
I have a lot of mixed feelings and impressions when it comes to Trident. On the one hand, the operating system has some great technology under the hook. It has cutting edge packages from the FreeBSD ecosystem, we have easy access to ZFS, boot environments, and lots of open source packages. Hardware support, at least on my physical workstation, was solid and the Lumina desktop is flexible.
However, there were a lot of problems I ran into during this trial. Some of them are matters of taste or style. The installer looks unusually crude, for example, and the mixed icon styles weren't appealing. Similarly, switching themes made some icons in toolbars disappear. These are not functional issues, just presentation ones. There were some functional problems too though. For example, needing to close and re-open AppCafe to see available packages, or the desktop not resizing when running Trident in a virtual machine, which required that I change the display settings at each login.
Lumina has come a long way and is highly flexible and I like the available alternative widgets for desktop elements. This is useful because Lumina's weakest link on Trident seems to be its defaults as I had some trouble with the "Start" application menu and I think some work to polish the initial impression would be helpful.
The biggest issues though were with security. Trident ships with some extra security features in place, but most of them can be easily bypassed by any user by simply opening the Control Panel to view or kill processes or even add or remove packages. Some systems intentionally give the user full access by running everything as root, but in those cases at least the administrator knows they have complete access. This situation seems worse since Trident gives the illusion of security and limited access, but any curious user can run administrator tools. I think the project needs time to mature before I would recommend using it.
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Hardware used in this review
My physical test equipment for this review was a desktop HP Pavilon p6 Series with the following specifications:
- Processor: Dual-core 2.8GHz AMD A4-3420 APU
- Storage: 500GB Hitachi hard drive
- Memory: 6GB of RAM
- Networking: Realtek RTL8111 wired network card
- Display: AMD Radeon HD 6410D video card
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Visitor supplied rating
Project Trident has a visitor supplied average rating of: 9.5/10 from 2 review(s).
Have you used Project Trident? You can leave your own review of the project on our ratings page.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
FreeBSD Foundation overviews works in progress, Project Trident includes LXQt packages, Plasma Mobile developers answer questions
The FreeBSD Foundation has published an overview of ongoing projects the Foundation wants to work on in 2019. On the list are improved infrastructure, better performance, and improving support for embedded hardware architectures. The Foundation also talks about making FreeBSD a better operating system for desktop and laptop computers. "Many people consider servers when thinking of FreeBSD, but it is also important that FreeBSD continues to run well on client devices (laptops and desktops). This allows (or requires) developers to test their work as well as the work of others on an ongoing basis under a variety of usage conditions. In addition, technologies often transition from being perceived as relevant only to client devices to being a critical requirement for servers - for example, power management. Some specific projects in this category include improved FUSE support, Linuxulator improvements, Intel graphics support, WiFi improvements, 802.11ac support, and driver updates, and work to finish and integrate the packaged base effort."
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The young Project Trident operating system is a desktop platform based on TrueOS. Project Trident has published an update which includes a number of new features, including Python scripts for working with the Azure cloud service and the availability of LXQt desktop packages. "The LXQt desktop environment is finally available for the first time (version 0.13.0). A lot of new Python utilities to interact with Microsoft Azure (py[27⁄36]-azure-*). The Palemoon web browser is now available once again (it had been having build issues previously). This browser is available at version 27.9.4_3." Further details can be found in the Project Trident blog post.
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The KDE's Plasma Mobile project works to make a touch-friendly, graphical user interface for mobile devices, such as smart phones. The Plasma Mobile team took to Reddit this past week to answer questions on a variety of topics. The team talked about porting Plasma Mobile to new devices, working with the Librem 5 team, synchronizing data with Android devices and fine-grained application permissions, among other things. The full questions and answers session can be found in this thread.
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Reading status information from top
Browsing-process-information asks: What do the letters in the status column of process monitors like top mean? I figure "R" probably means "running", but what are the others? And is it a bad thing if lots of processes are listed as running at the same time?
DistroWatch answers: You are correct, the letter "R" is used by programs like top and ps to indicate a program is running. In other words, the process is active right now. The letter "S" indicates the program is sleeping or waiting. A sleeping process could be waiting for something to happen or just resting to avoid taking up more CPU time than it needs. Most programs spent a lot of their lives sleeping, waiting for something to do.
The letter "D" is used to indicate a process is waiting for something, such as information being pulled from a disk, or written to a disk. The "D" typically means a process is stuck waiting for something else to happen and it cannot continue until that thing is finished.
The letter "T" means a process has been stopped. An upper-case "T" means the process was stopped by a signal while a small "t" means a process is paused in a debugger.
Finally, a "Z" indicates a process is a zombie. This means the process has finished and is no longer running, but its information has not been collected ("reaped") by the process's parent. This usually does not happen, unless the parent process is also paused or struggling under heavy load.
As to whether a lot of running processes is a bad thing, the answer varies depending on the situation and why lots of programs are running at the same time. Usually well behaved processes spend most of their time sleeping (S) waiting for input or for something to happen. As a result, quite often you might have over 100 processes sleeping and just a few running (R) at any given time, if you glance at the output from top. Seeing a lot of "R"s in the status column suggests that some processes are busy and busy constantly.
This is not necessarily a bad thing. Some programs do work on computations non-stop. If you run something like Folding@Home or a Bitcoin miner, those programs will likely always be in a "running" state. However, if you are not using such a service, then more than three or four programs running at the same time could mean these processes are stuck in a loop and draining your CPU's resources unnecessarily. In which case I recommend investigating and, if they are using a lot of your CPU, killing the running processes to free up your computer's resources for other things.
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Additional answers can be found in our Questions and Answers archive.
|Released Last Week
MidnightBSD is a FreeBSD-derived operating system. A critical goal of the project is to create an easy-to-use desktop environment with graphical ports management, and system configuration using GNUstep. The project's latest release, MidnightBSD 1.1, mostly focuses on security updates and improving hardware support. "I'm happy to announce the availability of MidnightBSD 1.1 for amd64 and i386. This is a minor release to fix a few hardware and security issues that have come up since the 1.0 release. It is strongly recommended that you upgrade, particularly if you have newer Intel hardware. This release also includes a new version of OpenSSL. This is a move from 1.0.1 to 1.0.2p in base. Many mports are built with a package and will likely not be affected. It is still recommended that you rebuild any mports using SSL or update the packages as appropriate. OpenSSH was also updated and removes support for older SSH v1 connections." Further details can be found in the project's release notes. The project can be downloaded in a dozen different builds: for UEFI machines, legacy BIOS machines, for 32-bit and 64-bit builds, and for USB thumb drives or optical media.
IPFire 2.21 Core 127
The IPFire project creates a Linux distribution for firewalls which offers a range of security tools and is designed to be easy to set up. The project has published an update, IPFire 2.21 Core Update 127, which improves web proxy speed and removes some old features in order to enhance security. "We have dropped some features that no longer make sense in 2019: Those are the web browser check and download throttling by file extension. Since the web is migrating more and more towards HTTPS, those neither work for all the traffic, nor are they very reliable or commonly used. We have also removed authentication against Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 domains. Those authentication protocols used back then are unsafe for years and nobody should be using those any more. Please consider this when updating to this release. We have also mitigated a security issue in the proxy authentication against Microsoft Windows Active Directory domains." The distribution's release announcement offers further details.
Redcore Linux 1812
Redcore Linux is a desktop-oriented distribution based on Gentoo. Redcore's latest release, version 1812, ships with KDE Plasma and LXQt editions as well as many package updates and a few new features: "Changelog: resync with Gentoo portage tree (31.01.2019); new GRUB theme, new Plymouth theme; Firefox browser updated to v65.0, Opera browser updated to v58.0.3135.53; Opera and Vivaldi browsers received some attention in the form of additional codecs, you'll now be able to install opera-ffmpeg-codecs and vivaldi-ffmpeg-codecs to be able to playback h264 web content; kde-frameworks updated to v5.54, kde-apps updated to v18.12.1, kde-plasma updated to v5.14.5; VLC media player updated to v3.0.6; vasile (versatile advanced script for ISO and latest enchantments): gained a new function '--adapt' it will detect how many CPU cores are active on your system, and adjust portage's MAKEOPTS variable, so you don't burn your machine while compiling packages with Emerge. While this feature was implemented since Redcore Linux 1806 (codename Kepler), it wasn't exposed directly and you had to reset and setup the whole portage config using vasile --setup." Further details can be found in the release announcement and in the earlier changelog for the alpha release.
Redcore Linux 1812 -- Running the KDE Plasma desktop
(full image size: 763kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
Version 9.0 of Refracta, a desktop Linux distribution based on the systemd-free Devuan distribution and featuring an Xfce 4.12 desktop, has been released. The new version comes with several improvements, including the ability to create a live ISO image from an installed Refracta system: "Refracta GNU/Linux has a new stable release (9.0) and a new home page at refracta.org. Refracta 9.0 is based on Devuan 2.0 (Ascii) and provides a lightweight desktop with software for most home computing needs. Features: Linux kernel 4.9, SysVInit, eudev, elogind, Xfce 4.12.3; the desktop is installed as individual parts rather than from a metapackage, making it easier to remove individual parts; utilities for diagnosis, rescue and repair; Refracta Snapshot and Refracta Installer allow you to easily make your own custom live ISO image from the installed system; boot to high-contrast accessibility theme with second item in boot menu; all free and open-source software installed; non-free wireless firmware packages are included in case you need to install them." See the release announcement and release notes for further information.
Linux Kodachi 6.0
The rapid development of Linux Kodachi continues with the release of version 6.0. This is the latest stable build of the project's Xubuntu-based distribution and live DVD with focus on preserving the privacy and anonymity on the internet through various specialist tools, including integrated Tor and Virtual Private Networks (VPN): "Version 6.0 based on Xubuntu 18.04 LTS. Linux kernel upgrade from 4.18 to 4.19; storage tools with: USB persistence (capsper-rw), mount storage device as read-only, wipe disk-free memory, nuke LUKS-encrypted storage device, add additional swap file, encrypt swap files, display advance disk information; memory tools kept all in one place with, normal memory clean-up, force memory clean-up, memory wipe, memory watch; new applications - Stacer Linux tuner and Grsync; with Tor you can exclude countries with a single click; added Tor obfuscation; added LUKS nuke feature for storage devices; new GRUB items to help assist booting, including Terminal boot, Full OS on RAM, forensic mode, fail safe and eth0 for networking names; added Quad 9 DNS to the DNS list; added wmctrl DuckDuckGo command-line search tool...." See this long (if somewhat cryptic) changelog for further information and notes.
MX Linux 18.1
Dolphin Oracle has announced the release of MX Linux 18.1, an updated build of the project's desktop Linux distribution (with Xfce, based on Debian's "stable" branch) built as a cooperative venture between the antiX and former MEPIS Linux communities. This version is an "ISO refresh" release, featuring bug fixes and application updates: "We are pleased to offer MX Linux 18.1 official releases ISO image for your use. MX Linux 18.1 is a refresh of our MX Linux 18 release, consisting of bug fixes and application updates since our original release of MX Linux 18. Note: existing users do not need to reinstall, all bug fixes and additions will come through the regular update channel. Updated packages: the latest updates from Debian 9.7 'Stretch', antiX and MX repositories; Firefox 65.0; VLC 3.0.6. New and updated mx-apps: mx-installer (based on gazelle-installer) received fixes to address crashes during grub install; mx-repo-manager now lists many many more repository mirrors; miscellaneous bug fixes and improvements to MX-PackageInstaller and MX-Conky." Read the rest of the release announcement for more details.
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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: 1,243
- Total data uploaded: 23.7TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Preferred process monitor
In our Questions and Answers column we talked about monitoring processes and tools like top which can be used to get process information. We would like to find out which process monitors people most like to use. Do you use the classic top command line monitor, or its modern cousin, htop? Perhaps you mostly monitor programs using desktop monitors? Let us know which process monitor best suits your needs.
You can see the results of our previous poll on running a NAS at home in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Distributions added to waiting list
- Mazon OS. Mazon OS is a KISS-style operating system built from the Linux From Scratch project. Mazon OS features a custom package manager, called bananapkg, which is implemented as a shell script.
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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, 18 February 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
|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • System monitor (by Vern on 2019-02-11 00:25:47 GMT from United States) |
I mostly use HTOP, and system monitor among others. When in doubt I use the all!
2 • System Monitor (by DaveW on 2019-02-11 00:49:53 GMT from United States)
Most of the time I use the Mate system monitor, but occasionally top.
3 • KSysGuard for System Monitor (by Elcaset on 2019-02-11 01:05:50 GMT from United States)
Mostly I use KSysGuard. And I also like Conky, but I don't use it that often.
4 • System monitor (by Friar Tux on 2019-02-11 01:35:46 GMT from Canada)
I haven't run a monitor in a long long time. Don't see any need for it if things are running smoothly. To me, it's like constantly taking your temperature just to make sure you're not sick.
5 • Top, htop, etc. Trident review. (by Gregory Zeng on 2019-02-11 02:01:42 GMT from Australia)
Reading this week on Linux Mint. "Top" is inbuilt. "htop" gave the installation CLI. Both are CLI; user hostile and hard to read quickly. GKRELM is my preferred system monitor, even though it needed user configuration, just as top & htop required configuration.
The Trident download is 4 GB, twice then size of the Linux Mint download. Using Distrowatch to compare the file contents of each download, I find it amazing that the BSD-type program is so lacking in the numbers of files.
Trident looks like a server-based operating system, from the multi-user tests in the review. This might explain the fewer files, but bulkier files. It was not obvious then that this operating system was just for server systems. Is this true?
Thank you for the warning about its badly configure dark theme. Old people like myself need black fonts of a light background. Darkroom-0nly screen displays used in the Trident Project are hard for poor eyes to handle. As you mentioned, whitish fonts on a whitish background are hard to handle.
6 • Trident Project hardware support (by Tran Older on 2019-02-11 02:19:00 GMT from Vietnam)
There's no support for trackpads on Acer/Asus/Lenovo laptops. That happens with both Trident Project and GhostBSD. Have it solved, please.
7 • Trident (by Linuxista on 2019-02-11 02:26:23 GMT from United States)
I don't get how the install image is 4.3GB and there are hardly any default apps installed.
8 • System monitors (by Pikolo on 2019-02-11 02:42:41 GMT from United Kingdom)
I usually use what comes with the system, but I have a soft spot for KSysGuard due to how easily configurable it is. Creating a new statistics page for CPU and GPU temperature monitoring & disk transfers took me 5 minutes and all happened within a GUI. I'm not aware of any other system monitor with that much exposed user configurability. That said, it is part of KDE Plasma, and that's where polished Linux desktop is nowadays
9 • Mate system monitor (by Andy Prough on 2019-02-11 03:04:00 GMT from United States)
I find the Mate system monitor is as complete a package as you could ask for. One of the many reasons that Mate has become my favorite desktop.
10 • XFCE System Monitor (by Lupus on 2019-02-11 05:33:31 GMT from Germany)
Years ago when struggeling with lua I ran into a Memory leaking or Memory grabbing Problem with conky which I quite liked at the time but I couldn´t solve it.... rather it solved itself with a later update but now I go with whatever my DE provides so XFCE it is... or sometimes top or htop
11 • BSD (by salparadise on 2019-02-11 06:14:31 GMT from United Kingdom)
I've used Linux for 15+ years but had often been curious over BSD, especially after 3 years of Mac use. So over the last couple of months I tried GhostBSD, FreeBSD, TrueOS/Trident and netBSD. The hardware I'm using is a Dell Precision T5500 with a SoundBlaster 5.1 and NVIDIA9500GT. All versions were installable, some easily (Ghost and Trident) and some not so. Ghost crashed repeatedly within a few minutes of booting. TrueOS worked beautifully but "is dead as a Desktop project". Trident crashed repeatedly. Neither could cope with multiple tabs open in Firefox. netBSD installed but presented me with a frozen Desktop. The bog standard USB mouse I have did not work at all. FreeBSD was easy to install but leaves you with a Slackware-like command prompt and the need to build or download everything required for a Desktop. I did keep at it and built a file manager and fluxbox and Xorg, but, once the Desktop was available, could not work out how to install the NVIDIA drivers, which were essential to avoid the worst screen tearing I have ever seen. There are no error logs in BSD. I asked on various forums. The phrase quoted most often was "BSD has a driver problem". For anyone coming from Linux, especially lush Desktop junkies, you will find BSD hard work and distinctly lacking in polish. It's a bit like Linux was 18-20 years ago. As yet there are no equivalents to Mandrake/Ubuntu, etc, to get the leg work done so a version more suited to Desktop use is available. GhostBSD is the closest, but last time I looked there are only 97 members on the forum.
12 • System monitor (by Sanjay India on 2019-02-11 06:23:37 GMT from India)
For Reliability I use HTOP, 2nd KSysGuard and third Gnome system monitor
13 • System monitors (by Trihexagonal on 2019-02-11 06:57:54 GMT from United States)
I like Gkrellm2 and usually keep it and a terminal open running top on all my FreeBSD and OpenBSD desktops.
14 • RE:11 BSD (by denPes on 2019-02-11 07:06:10 GMT from Belgium)
There will always be driver problems on alternative platforms if one uses hardware that requires closed source drivers. With blob free hardware, you will have no problems at all.
I have a toshiba tecra laptop running openBSD, and, except for the fingerprint scanner, it all works. If you buy an intel board, or lenovo thinkpad, or something similar, you will experience no problems at all, and then it is not hard work to get it running properly.
With hardware that requires closed source drivers it's better to keep using windows, or linux.
15 • BSD ISO sizes (by Jeff on 2019-02-11 08:00:49 GMT from United States)
Years ago BSD ISO sizes were huge because they had all of GNOME and KDE and Xfce and LXDE and...........
Now they don't have all those and they are still huge?
16 • System monitors (by Alessandro di Roma on 2019-02-11 08:52:54 GMT from Italy)
For a fast graphic look at cpu/mem/net/precesses I use gnome-system-monitor. But for better insight and use thru ssh the best for me is nmon. Try it!
17 • System monitors: Conky! (by kernelpanic! on 2019-02-11 09:25:46 GMT from Germany)
The FIRST thing I install after a fresh install of a distro (if not there oob already) is conky, running it with highly personalized settings, sitting permanently on the desktop. call it "control obsession", but if I`m not informed about my PC`s activities/processes (CPU, GPU, RAM, network ...) I feel blindfolded, handcuffed, naked and helpless ;-)
18 • mate (by Tim on 2019-02-11 10:28:17 GMT from United States)
Like many here, I use MATE system monitor. I chose top in the poll because of all listed choices it’s the one I use the most. Generally I know what process is bogging down the system, and I just need a PID to run cpulimit. Top is perfect for that. I haven’t had to do that for a process in a few years though. I used to encode video on very obsolete hardware and it was a godsend to stop it from overheating itself.
19 • System monitor (by lincoln on 2019-02-11 11:00:48 GMT from Brazil)
I like Mate system monitor because in a tab I can see in a time window and graphically the data of network traffic, CPU processing and memory (including swap). In another tab, the processes organized by line plus the option to sort them by field.
20 • System Monitor (by Jim on 2019-02-11 11:24:00 GMT from United States)
I use GKrellM System Monitor.
21 • Activity monitor (by aka_mgr on 2019-02-11 12:46:51 GMT from France)
I use "glances" which provides many useful informations on a single page.
I can also use "nmon" which not as complete and friendly but still useful.
22 • MATE system monitor (by Lee on 2019-02-11 13:18:14 GMT from United States)
On the taskbar w/memory & network monitors in user-selected colors.
I remember minimal system days with Conky on Puppy
23 • System monitoring: Why do so many folks just eat what is part of the dish? (by Gerhard Goetzhaber on 2019-02-11 13:30:19 GMT from Austria)
@13 knows: Gkrellm is the very best solution - at valuable distance from whatever competitors! It's the first piece of software I'll be going to add to every newly installed distro on one of my workstations, to get held open on all workspaces as well as all the time. Excellent configuration options, too!
24 • MazonOS wiki (by Ostro on 2019-02-11 14:47:15 GMT from Poland)
The MazonOS Wiki (http://mazonos.com) tells you how to install any Linux distro without worrying about, whether the installer would install the given distro. Something most of us had forgotten.
25 • MX Linux (by Alburgheiro on 2019-02-11 04:39:17 GMT from Russian Federation)
I personally believe that MX Linux is the most sensible Linux distro out there right now. I'd only wish that, like AntiX, they would support upgrading to testing.
26 • System Monitoring (by DaveT on 2019-02-11 16:23:12 GMT from United Kingdom)
htop on the company servers, htop and conky at home
27 • @23: (by dragonmouth on 2019-02-11 16:47:54 GMT from United States)
"Why do so many folks just eat what is part of the dish?"
Because that is what's on the table?
28 • @23: Re System Monitoring (by Rev_Don on 2019-02-11 18:05:56 GMT from United States)
"Why do so many folks just eat what is part of the dish?"
It's convenient. It works, It does what they need. There are probably a hundred other reasons. Just because you can't understand it doesn't mean that it is wrong.
29 • Process monitor (by Roger on 2019-02-11 19:37:15 GMT from Belgium)
I only use System Info and Psensor to keep track of my systems, just to see how much resources one of my PC is using and how warm it gets.
That's it, I have no need to see which app is taking to much, when I have to I use " systemd-analyze blame " to see startup.
30 • Trident Review (by RoboNuggie on 2019-02-11 23:17:07 GMT from United Kingdom)
I did a review of this on Jan 17..... to see it in action :
31 • System Monitor thoughts... (by claudecat on 2019-02-11 23:31:43 GMT from United States)
I voted for ksysguard, as that's what I use most frequently. One thing it doesn't have that I like about gnome-system-monitor is the total bandwidth/download tally - it shows what's currently happening but not a total. Otherwise, ksysguard is nearly perfect for my needs, and, like everything in the land of K, configurable as all get-out. For example, it's easy to add a tab that gives various temperature information.
32 • System monitor - Glances (by James on 2019-02-12 08:10:58 GMT from New Zealand)
I use Glances too - its great for running headless and carries its own web server. Glances -w &
33 • System Monitoring (by Jordan on 2019-02-12 17:58:50 GMT from United States)
I don't bother with that. I think I've done it twice in my 23 years of linux experience. One time for sure was with Suse (before OpenSuse) and had a slow machine.
The other time might have been with PCLinuxOS. Maybe Yoper.
I don't get it with that, the system monitoring thing. What are you going to do? Is it about deciding whether to keep your distro? Or is it to decide whether this or that app is not right for that distro? Both of those things seem too easy to figure out to even bother with special monitoring of the cpu and all that.
And yes, there is room in the linux world for that kind of thinking among happy linux users. :o)
34 • @33 • System Monitoring (by Titus_Groan on 2019-02-12 19:06:47 GMT from New Zealand)
I hear you.
once, years ago I had a laptop crawl to a stop.
100% cpu use, ksysgard would only occasionally refresh.
only time I ever considered "using" something for monitoring.
occasionally, I will click up ksysguard to see how " busy" the system is, but unless I am doing some cpu intensive work, cpu use is mostly in the sub 5% range, and memory usage is less than 15%.
35 • Process Monitor (by Ronald Buckman on 2019-02-12 21:50:52 GMT from United States)
I use TDE System Guard which is a KSysGuard variant for the Trinity Desktop Environment. It has plenty of useful features.
36 • htop & KSysGuard (by Dxvid on 2019-02-12 23:03:34 GMT from Sweden)
If a system has a graphical environment I tend to prefer KSysGuard as it can show nice graphs so you can see statistics over time for RAM, CPU, temperatures, disks, network and other, and also optionally do some logging from various sources. On a machine without graphical environment I always install htop. If I just want to see a momentary state I can use htop even on machines with a desktop installed as I like the info on the main page in htop.
37 • System monitors (by Ricardo on 2019-02-13 03:48:58 GMT from Argentina)
I'm a sysadmin, I'm used to top so I use that, and most of the time don't need the fancy features of htop and similar.
But there's another useful tool I haven't seen mentioned yet, which is iotop, to see which process is using your disk more heavily, usually hinted by a large I/O wait percentage by top/htop.
38 • Another KSysguard Guy (by BeGo on 2019-02-13 07:59:30 GMT from Indonesia)
I mostly use KSysguard, but,
For OS that zonder Qt, I use anything available. :)
39 • @33 • System Monitoring (by Johannes on 2019-02-13 13:40:12 GMT from Germany)
After some says without rebooting, my Firefox starts taking so much RAM that I usually check Gnome System Monitor to see how many Gigabytes Firefox takes and if it's now time to reboot. I use 9 virtual desktops, on each one 1 to 6 Firefox Windows with a few tabs each.
On my Servers (hosting websites), using "top" is vital to see if the servers are well scaled - if I should add or remove RAM or CPU cores.
So some people like me DO need monitors ;-)
40 • Trident other desktops? (by Ankleface Wroughtlandmire on 2019-02-13 15:13:39 GMT from Ecuador)
Does Trident offer any other desktop environments in its repositories (apart from the recently announced LXQt)? I like the concept of Trident, but I would never use Lumina. Back in the PC-BSD days, they used to offer directly from their installer a choice of big name desktops like Cinnamon, Gnome, Plasma, Mate, and XFCE, all of which I use on different systems.
41 • Desktops (by Jesse on 2019-02-13 19:36:45 GMT from Canada)
@40: Yes, Trident can run a variety of desktop environments. Pretty much all of the ones that run on Linux at this point should also work on Linux. One of the few exceptions is, I believe, Deepin. But if you're looking for Plasma, Xfce, MATE, or GNOME those should all run on Trident.
42 • Trident is BSD made easy? Who would want that? (by Niac R on 2019-02-14 18:38:25 GMT from United States)
You should go for the real text-mode or miss 99% of the fun
43 • The Truth About Project Priorities Vs Your Own Priorities (by M.Z. on 2019-02-15 23:21:46 GMT from United States)
"Trident is BSD made easy? Who would want that?"
Or you could stop trying to put projects into your own preconceived boxes & let them do what they want, because that's going to happen anyway. The job of the smart Distro hopper is to find projects who's priorities interest him/her & go try it out, not to tell projects what their priorities should be.
Since you like to do things the hard way I would recommend you go try out Linux From Scratch & see if the really hard way is fun. At least it will be a learning experience & you will be following that rocky dirt path laid out by the devs instead of armchair quarterbacking about how the interstate highway is all wrong & you don't like the federal highway department or how their interstates aren't fun in your Jeep.
The world of Linux & BSD contains a vast array of options & you are far better off picking the one that aligns with what you want than complaining about your preferences vs some random distro's overarching goals. There is almost certainly something out there done very close to how you want it if you look hard enough.
Number of Comments: 43
|• 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|
|• 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 18.104.22.168, 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|
|• Full list of all issues|
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