| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 633, 26 October 2015
Welcome to this year's 43rd issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
This past week we witnessed the release of Ubuntu and its many community editions. This bi-annual event always draws a lot of attention from the community and in our News section we give a brief overview of the release. Of course, putting together a distribution is a lot of work and we also talk about Kubuntu's Release Manager, Jonathon Riddell, leaving his post in the Kubuntu community. Plus we report on the release date of Fedora 23 slipping by a week. In other news, we talk about a new configuration panel being developed for Bodhi Linux and the Moksha desktop environment. In our Feature Story we discuss a desktop oriented flavour of BSD called GhostBSD. Read on to learn how this FreeBSD-based operating system works. In our Questions and Answers column we discuss taking live snapshots of an existing operating system and, in our Torrent Corner, we share the distributions we are seeding. In this issue we share the many releases of the past week and ask our readers for their thoughts on web browsers in our Opinion Poll. We wish you all a terrific week and happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (26MB) and MP3 (20MB) formats
• Music credit: Clouds Fly With Me by Matti Paalanen
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
GhostBSD 10.1: Ghost in the machine
Earlier this year the GhostBSD project released version 10.1 of their desktop-oriented operating system. According to the project's website, "GhostBSD is a user-friendly BSD operating system built on top of FreeBSD. FreeBSD is known to be a solid, powerful, secure and stable server operating system, providing an excellent base for a desktop operating system. FreeBSD seems to be aimed at more experienced or technically inclined users. As such, newcomers to the BSD platform can be confused, especially for those who lack the technical expertise required."
GhostBSD aims to lower the bar for entry into the FreeBSD community. The project does this by providing users with a FreeBSD-based system that ships with a pre-configured desktop environment (MATE and Xfce editions are available) and GhostBSD offers users a graphical system installer which looks nicer and requires fewer steps than FreeBSD's text-based installer.
The most recent release of GhostBSD includes a number of new features. The release notes mention the return of the project's Xfce edition, a new graphical package manager and several other improvements:
Both the MATE and Xfce editions of GhostBSD are available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds for the x86 architecture. I decided to try the 64-bit MATE edition of the operating system. The ISO for this edition is approximately 1.8GB in size. Booting from the project's live media brings up a boot menu asking if we would like to perform a graphical installation, launch an installer in safe graphics mode or start the installer with no ACPI support. Though the boot menu's wording suggests it is going to immediately launch a system installer, taking any of the above options boots a live graphical environment and we are brought to the MATE 1.10 desktop.
- GhostBSD ISO image is hybrid that can be burned on a DVD or USB stick.
- Xfce is coming back.
- Users can choose to install the BSD boot manager, GRUB boot manager or simply None and use their Linux GRUB.
- Station Tweak, a fork of MATE Tweak.
- OctoPkg GUI front-end for pkgng written in Qt.
- Station Update Manager to update FreeBSD base system and third party software .
- Software from pkg or ports can be installed in the live DVD/USB session.
The MATE desktop is decorated with some leafy wallpaper that contains nice shades of green and blue. The Applications, Places and System menus sit in the upper-left corner of the screen while the system tray is placed in the upper-right corner. At the bottom of the display we find the task switcher panel. There are icons on the desktop for opening a file manager, launching an IRC client which will automatically connect us to the GhostBSD support channel and there is an icon for launching the project's system installer.
GhostBSD's graphical system installer has a visual style similar to Ubuntu's installer. We begin by selecting our preferred language from a list. Then we select our keyboard's layout. The keyboard layout screen has a text box where we can practice typing to make sure we have selected the correct keyboard. Next, we select our time zone from a list. The following screen asks if we would like to have the installer take over our entire hard drive or if we would like to manually partition our disk. Taking the manual option presents us with a nice, easy to navigate partition manager. One thing I especially enjoyed about GhostBSD's installer is it will suggest a good default partition layout for our disk based on the space we have available. In my case the installer suggested a large partition formatted with UFS and an accompanying swap partition. The following screens get us to create a password for the root account and then create a regular user account for ourselves. We can choose which command shell our account will use with options including fish, bash, csh, tcsh, zsh and ksh. I opted for bash since it is also the default shell on most of my Linux-based accounts. Once the installer has copied its files to our drive, we are returned to the live MATE desktop where we can explore until we decide to reboot the computer.
When we first boot our new copy of GhostBSD we are brought to a graphical login screen decorated with grey wallpaper. From here we can sign into the account we created during the installation process. This is assuming, of course, the operating system boots. I tried running GhostBSD in two test environments. When run in a VirtualBox virtual machine the operating system ran very well. GhostBSD integrated with VirtualBox, allowing me to make full use of my screen resolution and the operating system worked quickly. Sound, networking and mouse integration all worked smoothly. However, I was unable to boot GhostBSD on my desktop computer. Immediately after passing the GRUB boot screen, GhostBSD would run into a kernel page fault and immediately come to a halt. I ran into the same problem recently while testing PC-BSD 10.2, so I suspect the issue lies with the underlying FreeBSD kernel common to both projects. When GhostBSD was running in its virtual environment, the operating system used about 200MB of active memory and 150MB of wired memory while logged into the MATE desktop. A fresh installation of GhostBSD took up 5.5GB of storage space on my disk.
GhostBSD 10.1 -- The Control Centre and Station Tweak
(full image size: 555kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
While exploring the MATE desktop and its features, one component I kept coming back to was the Control Centre. The operating system's Control Centre panel presents us with a one-stop location for configuring our desktop and various aspects of the underlying operating system. The Control Centre includes modules for changing the appearance of the MATE desktop, changing our power settings, selecting our preferred applications, managing printers and configuring file indexing. We can also change our mouse settings and the keyboard's layout from the settings panel. One module which I found especially helpful was called Station Tweak. This tool enables us to change several aspects of the desktop. For instance, Station Tweak enables us to change which common icons appear on the desktop, such as the Computer icon and the Trash icon. Station Tweak will allow us to enable/disable compositing, switch window managers and move the window control buttons to the left or right side of application windows. Perhaps my favourite feature though gives us a way to quickly change the position of the desktop panels. By default, MATE displays an application menu and system tray at the top of the screen while window management is handled by a panel at the bottom of the screen. Using Station Tweak we can switch to using one unified panel which can be placed along any screen border. We can also set up one panel at the top of the display and have a launch bar placed at the bottom of the screen, similar to the way the OS X desktop is arranged. This gives us an extra level of flexibility when it comes to organizing our desktop.
GhostBSD 10.1 -- Running MATE with the Purity layout
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GhostBSD ships with the OctoPkg graphical package manager. The package manager is divided into two main parts. At the top of the window we see a list of packages. This is where we can browse through packages we have already installed or see the results of searches we have performed for packages we want. At the bottom of the window we see information on selected packages, dependency data, indication of available upgrades and other information. OctoPkg will also display news that has been posted to the GhostBSD project's blog. OctoPkg enables us to search for packages by name and see a list of installed items sorted in alphabetical order. Using OctoPkg we can perform installation, removal and upgrade actions on packages. I found OctoPkg worked well. The first day I was using GhostBSD, OctoPkg let me know there were five upgrades waiting (totalling 16MB in size) and OctoPkg installed these updates without any problem. I was also able to install new software and remove unwanted packages. OctoPkg pulls software in from FreeBSD's repositories, giving us access to over 20,000 software packages. The one feature of OctoPkg I found strange was that the application would not display all available packages in the repositories. We are shown installed items and we can perform searches for packages in FreeBSD's repository, but I could not get OctoPkg to display a full list of available software that had not yet been installed locally. This might be a settings issue, but even with the "show local only" filter turned off, I wasn't able to browse the remote repository.
GhostBSD 10.1 -- The OctoPkg package manager
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So far as I could tell, OctoPkg will not update the base operating system, only third-party packages installed on top of GhostBSD's core. I was not able to find any other graphical utility to perform updates to the base system either. The release notes mention a tool called Station Update Manager, but I did not find any utility with this name. To update the base system I used a command line tool called freebsd-update. During my trial I ran freebsd-update a few times. The first time I ran into errors indicating missing files, but subsequent runs of freebsd-update completed without any problems.
GhostBSD ships with a collection of useful desktop software. We are treated to the Firefox web browser (without Flash support), the HexChat IRC client, the Pidgin instant messaging software, the Thunderbird e-mail client and the Transmission bittorrent application. The operating system ships with LibreOffice 5, a dictionary application and the Atril document viewer. We can also find the Cheese webcam application, the Exaile audio player and GNOME MPlayer for watching videos. GhostBSD ships with the Xfburn disc burning application and includes multimedia codecs in the default installation. The operating system also includes a simple image viewer, the Shotwell photo managing software, an archive manager, a calculator and a text editor. The Plank application launcher (which gives the desktop an OS X style program launcher) is available. The Caja and Midnight Commander file managers are included in GhostBSD as are a system monitor and the MATE desktop configuration modules. Unlike most Linux distributions, GhostBSD ships with the Clang compiler rather than the GNU Compiler Collection. Behind the scenes, GhostBSD ships with the FreeBSD 10.1 command line utilities, documentation and kernel.
GhostBSD 10.1 -- Running LibreOffice 5
(full image size: 274kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
I like the GhostBSD project and its goal. I think, in the past, there has generally not been enough work done to make FreeBSD a good operating system for desktop use. FreeBSD works well in the role of a server operating system, it's stable, fast and the project evolves in such a way that it is fairly easy to upgrade a FreeBSD system over time. However, FreeBSD (while it can be used as a desktop operating system) lacks many of the characteristics one might want on the desktop, such as a graphical installer, multimedia support, a graphical package manager and an attractive, pre-configured desktop environment. While these features can be added or enabled on FreeBSD, most users will want those tools to be in place and to just work right from the start.
There are two projects which are working hard to provide an attractive desktop solution built on FreeBSD. The PC-BSD project seems to be aiming at the workstation and power user market. PC-BSD supports 64-bit x86 exclusively, offers ZFS and lots of administrative utilities. GhostBSD is taking a different approach. While both PC-BSD and GhostBSD offer graphical installers and nice package managers, GhostBSD seems to be aiming at a different market. GhostBSD offers 32-bit and 64-bit builds, the installer has fewer options which streamlines the installation process and GhostBSD offers fewer administrative utilities. GhostBSD ships with UFS as the default file system which has fewer features, but requires less memory when compared next to ZFS.
In short, GhostBSD has a different feel and approach to things than its cousin, PC-BSD. The PC-BSD developers are adding options, providing a lot of tools power users will want and making their platform very flexible. GhostBSD is going in another direction, simplifying and offering us a clean, streamlined desktop solution.
GhostBSD still has access to lots of options for power users through the project's software repository. If we so choose we can install the same components PC-BSD offers through the package manager, but by default GhostBSD appears to be aiming at the home user market more so than the professional/office market. GhostBSD sweeps as much configuration and clutter as it can out of the way so we are left with just the MATE desktop and a handful of useful applications. I think taking this approach will make GhostBSD quite attractive to home users, especially those who are comfortable using Linux and want to try something different.
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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
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Bodhi Linux gets a new configuration panel, Ubuntu 15.10 launches, Jonathan Riddell leaves his Kubuntu Release Manager position and Fedora 23 delayed
The Bodhi Linux distribution recently forked the Enlightenment desktop environment in order to provide its users with a stable, high performance graphical interface. Now that the fork, called Moksha, has been completed, the team is looking at other improvements it can make to Enlightenment. Bodhi Linux's lead developer, Jeff Hoogland, has decided Moksha should have a new settings panel. "The one major improvement I want to implement in Moksha is a rewritten configuration panel. The current panel, while powerful and offering lots of options, is not well organized and lacks the ability to easily search all of the options it provides once loaded. Because I prefer to write in Python the first thing I had to do before I could get started was to write a Python library for interacting with the EET configuration files Moksha currently uses. Last night I finished up the first version of this library that seems functional in the tests I have done so far - I am calling it neet. As for the control panel itself, I have also begun some amount of work on this as well - I am calling it Swami. The goal for Swami is to be modular and easily searchable." A screen shot and further details can be found on the project's website.
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New versions of the Ubuntu distribution always get a lot of attention, in part because the distribution is so widely used and also because there are so many community (and unofficial) editions of Ubuntu. This past week Ubuntu 15.10 was launched with commentary and reviews quickly appearing around the Web. By most accounts it appears as though the latest release of Ubuntu was fairly tame, carrying no surprises and not many new features. Adam Conrad, who announced the launch of Ubuntu 15.10, stated, "Ubuntu Desktop has seen incremental improvements, with newer versions of GTK and Qt, updates to major packages like Firefox and LibreOffice, and stability improvements to Unity." The 15.10 release appears to offer mostly minor updates and bug fixes, probably in preparation for the upcoming long term support release in April 2016.
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Jonathan Riddel, who has been a central figure in the Kubuntu community for years, has decided to leave his post as the project's Release Manager. This move follows several years of debates with Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, over licensing issues. Riddell posted a farewell message on the Kubuntu website, saying: "Community made open source software needs people to be able to take out what they've put in. Ubuntu's licences and policies enforce this. However for the last three years Ubuntu's main sponsor, Canonical, has had a policy contrary to this and after much effort to try to rectify this it's clear that isn't going to happen. The Ubuntu leadership seems compliant with this so I find myself unable to continue helping a project that won't obey its own community rules and I need to move on. I won't be going far, I'll be helping out in KDE more, the original and best end-user free software community who have always been wonderful."
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The upcoming release of Fedora 23 has been delayed by a week. It was announced last week that the next version of Fedora will be held back a week to deal with a few remaining issues. Jan Kurik wrote, "At the Fedora 23 Final Go/No-Go Meeting that just ended, was agreed not to release the Fedora 23 Final. Due to present blockers in the RC2 build, the decision is No-Go. The release slips for one week. Second Go/No-Go meeting to be planned for the next Thursday." An updated schedule indicates Fedora 23 will be launched on November 3rd, 2015.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Creating a live image of the operating system
I thought I had seen a program to make ISO images of a live system. Please, if you can recommend one for Mint 17.2, I will be very grateful.
DistroWatch answers: There are a few methods a person can use to create a custom ISO of an existing operating system. I suspect the tool you are thinking of is Remastersys. Though development of the original Remastersys application has stopped, there is a fork which continues on the work of assisting users in creating custom spins of Debian, Ubuntu and related distributions like Linux Mint. The fork of Remastersys is called Linux Respin. The Linux Respin project is probably one of the easiest ways to create a live disc image based on the operating system you are currently running.
There are similar tools for other distributions which will allow the user to create a live snapshot of their running system. For example, the mylivecd utility will create a live disc image of a working PCLinuxOS system.
Since Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu, you may have luck with the Ubuntu Customization Kit. The How-To Geek website has a tutorial on using Ubuntu Customization Kit to create new spins of the distribution. This is not the same as taking a snapshot of your existing system, but it will allow you to create clean, custom spins.
Finally, if you want to do some deep, manual customization of an existing distribution, you might want to look at editing the contents of the original ISO file. This approach isn't for everyone, but it may be useful if you are planning to craft a modified version of your distribution. There is a fairly thorough look at the process of editing and enhancing an existing ISO file with whatever files and settings you want in the Ubuntu documentation.
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Past Questions and Answers columns can be found in our Q&A Archive.
Bittorrent is a great way to transfer large files, particularly open source operating system images, from one place to another. Most bittorrent clients recover from dropped connections automatically, check the integrity of files and can re-download corrupted bits of data without starting a download over from scratch. These characteristics make bittorrent well suited for distributing open source operating systems, particularly to regions where Internet connections are slow or unstable.
Many Linux and BSD projects offer bittorrent as a download option, partly for the reasons listed above and partly because bittorrent's peer-to-peer nature takes some of the strain off the project's servers. However, some projects do not offer bittorrent as a download option. There can be several reasons for excluding bittorrent as an option. Some projects do not have enough time or volunteers, some may be restricted by their web host provider's terms of service. Whatever the reason, the lack of a bittorrent option puts more strain on a distribution's bandwidth and may prevent some people from downloading their preferred open source operating system.
With this in mind, DistroWatch plans to give back to the open source community by hosting and seeding bittorrent files. For now, we are hosting a small number of distribution torrents, listed below. The list of torrents offered will be updated each week and we invite readers to e-mail us with suggestions as to which distributions we should be hosting. When you message us, please place the word "Torrent" in the subject line, make sure to include a link to the ISO file you want us to seed. To help us maintain and grow this free service, please consider making a donation.
The table below provides a list of torrents we currently host. If you do not currently 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 here. All torrents we make available here are also listed on the very useful Linux Tracker website. Thanks to Linux Tracker we are able to share the following torrent statistics.
Torrent Corner statistics:
- Total torrents seeded: 124
- Total data uploaded: 17.6TB
|Released Last Week
Alessio Fattorini has announced the release of NethServer 6.7, an updated release of the project's CentOS-based distribution designed for servers: "We are proud to announce a new release, NethServer 6.7. We have a new full-featured groupware, called WebTop, which implements the ActiveSync protocol. Work on PPPoE support has been completed, adding this choice into the multi-WAN configuration panel and allowing the creation of a new PPPoE provider associated with a free Ethernet assigned. Two fantastic new packages have been released - nethserver-adagios which installs and configures Adagios and nethserver-ocsinventory which installs and configures OCS inventory; a new Monitoring group is also available. Now it's possible to create an IPsec tunnel with devices from other manufacturers or between two NethServer, allowing advanced configuration customization to maximize interoperability and displaying tunnel status in a dedicated page." See the release announcement (with screenshots) for further details and check out the release notes for upgrade instructions.
Clonezilla Live 2.4.2-61
Steven Shiau has announced the release of Clonezilla Live 2.4.2-61, the latest stable build of the project's Debian-based live CD for cloning and restoring images of hard disks and hard disk partitions: "This release of Clonezilla Live (2.4.2-61) includes major enhancements and bug fixes: the underlying GNU/Linux operating system has been upgraded, this release is based on the Debian 'Sid' repository as of 2015-10-12); the Linux kernel has been updated to version 4.2.3; starting from Linux kernel 4.x, the default Unionfs file system has been changed to overlay, therefore if you edit boot parameter manually, you have to use 'union=overlay' and not 'union=aufs'; Partclone has been updated to 0.2.83 and the XFS issue fixed; the util-linux package has been updated to 2.27; other NIC names, like enp*, will be searched in ocs-live-netcfg; the zerofree package has been added; proportional GPT partition layout can be created with the '-k1' option...." Read the rest of the release announcement for a complete changelog.
Ubuntu GNOME 15.10
The developers of Ubuntu GNOME have unveiled a new release of their Ubuntu-based distribution featuring the GNOME Shell desktop environment. The new release, Ubuntu GNOME 15.10, features a new logo, GNOME 3.16 and the Shotwell photograph manager has been replaced by the GNOME Photos application. "With GNOME 3.16, new logo and new Ubiquity slide show, the Ubuntu GNOME Team is very happy to announce the release of Ubuntu GNOME 15.10 (Wily Werewolf). Wily Ubuntu GNOME is an official flavor of Ubuntu, featuring the GNOME desktop environment. Ubuntu GNOME is a mostly pure GNOME desktop experience built from the Ubuntu repositories. Three years ago, Ubuntu GNOME has started as unofficial flavor to Ubuntu - see the release notes of 12.10 - and 6 months after that, Ubuntu GNOME has become an official flavor." Read the release announcement and the more technical release notes for further information on this release.
Adam Conrad has announced the launch of Ubuntu 15.10. The new Ubuntu release features version 4.2 of the Linux kernel, updated packages of Firefox, LibreOffice and the GNU Compiler Collection along with several bug fixes. "Codenamed `Wily Werewolf', 15.10 continues Ubuntu's proud tradition of integrating the latest and greatest open source technologies into a high-quality, easy-to-use Linux distribution. The team has been hard at work through this cycle, introducing new features and fixing bugs. Under the hood, there have been updates to many core packages, including a new 4.2-based kernel, a switch to gcc-5, and much more. Ubuntu Desktop has seen incremental improvements, with newer versions of GTK and Qt, updates to major packages like Firefox and LibreOffice, and stability improvements to Unity. Ubuntu Server 15.10 includes the Liberty release of OpenStack, alongside deployment and management tools that save devops teams time when deploying distributed applications - whether on private clouds, public clouds, x86, ARM, or POWER servers, or on developer laptops. Several key server technologies, from MAAS to juju, have been updated to new upstream versions with a variety of new features." Further information can be found in the project's release announcement and in the release notes.
Ubuntu 15.10 -- Running the Unity desktop environment
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Ubuntu MATE 15.10
Martin Wimpress has announced the launch of Ubuntu MATE 15.10. The new release of this community edition of the Ubuntu distribution is mostly a big fix and polish release which updates existing software and corrects some issues with past versions. "What changed since the Ubuntu MATE 15.10 Beta 2 release? Here's what changed in Ubuntu MATE 15.10 since Beta 2: Fixed update-manager and do-release-upgrade to upgrade from Ubuntu MATE 15.04 to Ubuntu MATE 15.10. Fixed the openSUSE panel layout, GNOME Main Menu no longer crashes. Fixed ubi-timezone error in Ubiquity. Fixed Caja undelete, which was causing Caja to crash or fail to undelete. Updated MATE Tweak to 3.5.2a..." This version of Ubuntu MATE also includes an edition of the distribution for the Raspberry Pi 2 mini computer. Further information on Ubuntu MATE 15.10 can be found in the project's release announcement and in the release notes.
The Xubuntu team has announced a new release of their distribution which combines packages from the Ubuntu repositories with the Xfce desktop environment. The new release, Xubuntu 15.10, swaps out Gnumeric and Abiword for the LibreOffice productivity suite. The new release also includes version 4.12 of the Xfce desktop. The 15.10 release has the following highlights: Xfce4 Panel Switch for backup and restoration of panels. Included are five preset panel layouts. LibreOffice Calc and Writer and now included. These applications replace Gnumeric and Abiword respectively. A new theme for LibreOffice, libreoffice-style-elementary is also included and is default for Wily Werewolf. Greybird accessibility icons for window manager." Further information can be found in the distribution's release announcement and a full list of changes and new packages are provided in the release notes.
Jonathan Riddell (who also happened to announce his resignation from the project today) has published the release of Kubuntu 15.10, the new stable version from the official Ubuntu subproject that features the latest KDE Plasma 5 desktop: "Kubuntu 15.10 is available for upgrade or install." What's new in this release? "Plasma 5, the next generation of KDE's desktop, has been rewritten to make it smoother to use while retaining the familiar setup. The fourth set of updates to Plasma 5 (current release, including the fixpack) is the default in this version of Kubuntu. Kubuntu comes with KDE Applications 15.08 containing all your favorite applications from KDE, including Dolphin. This is the first stability update, and it contains bug fixes and translation updates. 107 applications have been ported to KDE Frameworks 5 but those which aren't should fit in seamlessly. Non-KDE applications include LibreOffice 5.0 and Firefox 41." Continue to the release announcement for further details, screenshots and known problems.
Rafael Laguna has announced the release of Lubuntu 15.10, a Linux distribution built from Ubuntu packages, but providing the lightweight LXDE desktop environment: "We are pleased to announce the arrival of the Werewolf. Lubuntu 15.10 is now available. New features: general bug-fix release as we prepare for LXQt; many LXDE components have been updated with bug-fix releases; an update of the artwork (more icons, theme update, more compatibilities); the problematical iBus has now been replaced with Fcitx, with that change the fonts for Chinese, Japanese and Korean have been added back into the build; lubuntu-extra-sessions - in the past, selecting different sessions (netbook, gaming) was installed by default, but this is now an optional extra that can be installed by those who want this added functionality." Here is the very brief release announcement, so check out the much more detailed release notes for further information, system requirements and known issues.
Lubuntu 15.10 -- Running the LXDE desktop environment
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ubuntu Kylin 15.10
Ubuntu Kylin 15.10, an official Ubuntu variant tailored to the users in China, has been released: "We are glad to announce the release of Ubuntu Kylin 15.10 (code name 'Wily Werewolf'). In this release, we have fixed many internationalization and localization bugs in Ubuntu itself and bugs in software written by the Ubuntu Kylin team. All the work that Ubuntu Kylin team does is within the Ubuntu community and ecosystem and, as such, they get back to Ubuntu itself and everyone using Ubuntu can benefit from our work. This release is based on the 4.2 Linux kernel with the support of Intel Broxton. The following applications have been updated to their latest versions: Firefox 41, Chromium 45 and LibreOffice 5.0.2. We have also released Sogou Pinyin 2.0.0.0066. It is not included in the image by default, but you can install it easily from the Ubuntu Kylin Software Center. Besides a plethora of bugs fixed in this milestone, several Ubuntu Kylin specific packages have also been updated." See the brief release announcement (in Chinese) and check out the detailed release notes (in English) for more details.
Kaj Ailomaa has announced the release of Ubuntu Studio 15.10, the latest version of the official Ubuntu subproject designed for graphics, audio and media enthusiasts: "Ubuntu Studio 15.10 'Wily Werewolf' has been released. Wily Werewolf will be supported only for 9 months. Changes for this release: the categorization in the menu has changed - still work in progress, but we have gone from 5 main categories down to 3 (audio, graphics and video); the ubuntustudio-controls application is now functional and able to administer real-time privileges for users; Ubuntu has followed Debian in moving from libav back to FFmpeg; as usual, many applications have been updated; special notice for ardour - the package is called ardour3, but the application itself is actually version 4." Here are the links to the brief release announcement and release notes.
The developers of Zentyal, a server oriented distribution based on Ubuntu's long term support releases, have launched Zentyal 4.2. The new release is based on Ubuntu 14.04.3 and ships with Samba 4.3.1. The new version of Zentyal improves compatibly with modern versions of Microsoft Windows and Outlook. "Zentyal Development Team is proud to announce Zentyal Server 4.2, a new release of the Zentyal Open Source Linux email and groupware solution, natively compatible with Microsoft Outlook® clients. This release is based on the newest Ubuntu 14.04.3 LTS to provide the latest updates. It also integrates Samba 4.3.1, with lots of improvements for Active Directory services and support for Windows 8.1 and the newest Windows 10. The installer has been updated to support modern network interfaces. Apart from that, the release is focused on bug fixing and improvements of the Outlook-compatible Mail & Groupware Exchange replacement." A list of changes and improvements can be found in the project's release announcement with more detailed list of changes available in the changelog.
Plamo Linux 6.0
Plamo Linux 6.0 has been released. Plamo Linux, one of the oldest Japanese distributions, is loosely modelled on Slackware Linux and is designed for more experienced Linux users. The version number upgrade reflects the distribution's move to the new Linux kernel 4.x series, but in all other respects it's a routine release made available for the occasion of this weekend's OpenStack Summit in Tokyo. Some of the more interesting package upgrades in Plamo's latest version include: a switch to Linux kernel 4.2.3; upgrade to MATE 1.10 desktop environment; updated Mozilla packages - Firefox 41.0.2 and Thunderbird 38.3.0; move to X.Org Server 1.17.2 and MESA 10.6.7; upgrade to LibreOffice 5.0.2 office suite. Plamo Linux 6.0 also includes a new "get_pkginfo" command which compares any locally installed packages with the official ones available on Plamo's FTP servers. The installation DVD, which is a hybrid DVD/USB image, comes with improved UEFI/GPT support. Read the complete release announcement (in Japanese) for further details.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
In the open source community we have access to a wide range of web browsers. Some browsers focus on features, others on performance, some even work in a text console. One of the big factors many people look at is whether a web browser is open source. In the Linux community we have some open browsers, such as Firefox and Qupzilla, and we have some closed browsers, such as Vivaldi and Chrome. This week we would like to know whether our readers prefer to use an open or closed web browser. Please let us know why you made your choice in the comments section.
You can see the results of last week's poll on convergence here. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Open or closed source web browsers
|I use open source browsers exclusively: ||1376 (54%)|
| I use closed source browsers exclusively: ||92 (4%)|
| I use either as the situation requires: ||1023 (40%)|
| Whichever browser is the default: ||54 (2%)|
Adding to the glossary
A few weeks ago we rolled out an early draft of the DistroWatch glossary, a document which defines commonly used technical terms in the open source community. We received positive feedback along with several suggestions for additional terms we had not yet covered. Most of the suggested terms have been added to the glossary and we are continuing to expand it as our readers send in more jargon to be defined.
If you know of a technical term that is commonly used in the open source community and has not been covered yet, please let us know. We are hoping to make the community a little less confusing for newcomers. Also, please let us know if you translate the glossary into another language as we would like to share translated versions.
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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, 2 November 2015. To contact the authors please send email to:
- Jesse Smith (feedback, questions and suggestions: distribution reviews, questions and answers, tips and tricks)
- Ladislav Bodnar (feedback, questions, suggestions and corrections: news, donations, distribution submissions, comments)
- Michael DeGuzis of Libre Geek (podcast)
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|Linux Foundation Training
|• 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 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|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
Refracta is a Linux distribution based on Devuan GNU+Linux (a systemd-free fork of Debian), designed primarily for home computer users and also for use as a system rescue and recovery disk. It provides a simple and familiar layout using the Xfce desktop. Other desktop environments and additional software packages are available from the Devuan package repository. Besides providing a Linux distribution on a live CD, the project also develops useful tools, such as refractainstaller, refractasnapshot and refracta2usb which allow users to customize the installation and create custom live CD or live USB images.