| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 809, 8 April 2019
Welcome to this year's 14th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
There are many ways people can try to keep up with the latest available applications and make sure they always have the newest version of a program. Some people run rolling release distributions that continuously update, some people prefer to use portable package bundles like Flatpak and Snap, while others experiment with third-party package archives, or even compile software from its source code. We touch on several different approaches to staying up to date this week, beginning with a look at PCLinuxOS. PCLinuxOS is a rolling release distribution that combines a conservative style with modern software. We have more details on the distribution and its utilities in our Feature Story. In the News section this week we talk about Ubuntu improving the load time of Snap packages and elementary OS's software centre getting support for Flatpak portable bundles. Plus the Mint team has announced they will be offering daily previews of packages through a personal package archive (PPA), and Fedora begins its shift toward using Flatpak packages by default. Then, in our Tips and Tricks column, Jesse Smith explores different approaches to try out the latest version of the Falkon web browser and some of the pros and cons of each method. On the subject of web browsers, we ask in our Opinion Poll what is the most significant feature a web browser needs in order to attract our readers. Plus we are pleased to share this week's releases and list the torrents we are seeding. We wish you all a wonderful week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
PCLinuxOS is a distribution I like to check in on every few years. The project maintains a curious combination of styles and technology which make it both unusual and, curiously enough, pleasantly familiar at the same time. PCLinuxOS was originally forked from Mandriva and has since become an independent distribution that mixes RPM packages with the APT package manager, which is typically paired with Deb packages. The distribution is also unusual in that it is a rolling release that generally keeps up with the latest available software while maintaining a conservative style. The distribution ships with a modern release of KDE Plasma, for example, but uses a classic menu tree for its application menu.
I will get deeper into PCLinuxOS's approach later. For now, I think it is worth noting the project is available in KDE Plasma and MATE editions. There are also community editions in Xfce, LXDE, LXQt, and Trinity flavours. The official releases are available for 64-bit (x86_64) machines only and the ISO for the KDE Plasma edition is a 1GB download.
Booting from the live media brings up a graphical interface and a window appears, asking us to select our keyboard's layout from a list. The window then disappears and the Plasma desktop loads. The Plasma panel is placed at the bottom of the screen and populated with an application menu, the system tray, and quick-launch buttons for some key system utilities. Icons on the desktop open the Dolphin file manager and the distribution's system installer.
PCLinuxOS 2019.02 -- The application menu
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PCLinuxOS uses a graphical system installer that begins by asking how we would like to partition our hard drive. The installer can use available free space, replace an existing install or give us a chance to try manual partitioning. The manual partitioning screen has a pleasantly simple layout that displays a chart showing our current disk layout. It then allows us to make new partitions and format them with Btrfs, ext3, ext4, JFS or XFS file systems. LVM volumes are also an option. I did a couple of installs, which used either Btrfs or ext4, both of which worked well.
The installer then offers to remove any packages containing unneeded hardware support, in my case dropping NVIDIA video drivers from my system. We are asked where to install the boot loader and which boot loader to use (options are GRUB2 with a text menu or GRUB2 with a graphical menu). The installer finishes its work and returns us to the Plasma desktop.
This install process may seem short and simple, because it is. Some of the configuration work is saved for the first time we boot the computer. A graphical wizard pops up before we reach a login screen and asks us for our time zone, whether to enable time synchronization with network time servers and to set a root password. We can then make up a username and password for ourselves. With these steps completed, we are turned over to a graphical login screen decorated with blue and purple wallpaper.
Early on I discovered that PCLinuxOS was not built with running in VirtualBox in mind. In my virtual test environment, I found that the distribution would not resize its desktop to match my host machine. Resizing the VirtualBox window or using either of PCLinuxOS's display configuration tools did not improve my screen resolution. There are no VirtualBox guest modules in the project's repositories. There is a installer script which will install the VirtualBox host software, but this gives us the ability to run virtual machines, not integrate with a host machine. My next step was to install VirtualBox's generic guest modules manually. These appeared to install correctly, but upon rebooting the virtual machine I discovered PCLinuxOS's graphical display no longer worked and X.Org refused to start.
PCLinuxOS 2019.02 -- Exploring the Control Centre
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Apart from the screen resolution issue, PCLinuxOS worked well in the virtual environment. The desktop was responsive, sound worked, and I could play videos. I just had to deal with a limited desktop size. The distribution performed very well on my workstation. PCLinuxOS handled sound, work with both wired and wireless networking, and set my display to its maximum resolution automatically. Desktop performance was above average and Plasma was unusually responsive. The distribution was light in its resource consumption, compared to many mainstream distributions, using up just 4GB of disk space and 410MB of RAM.
The distribution uses less disk space than average, but that comes as a result of having fewer applications installed. PCLinuxOS ships with version 5.15.1 of the Plasma desktop (and the desktop gets updated over time). The Falkon web browser is included and we also get copies of the Dolphin file manager, the KWrite text editor, a task monitor and a tool for setting up printers. There are two settings panels I will get to shortly, and the distribution uses the SysV init software. In the background we find version 4.20 of the Linux kernel, which can also be updated over time.
PCLinuxOS 2019.02 -- Running the Falkon web browser
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I think it's worth noting that PCLinuxOS does not ship with manual pages for its command line utilities. It also does not ship with sudo for performing administrative actions by default. The distribution expects we will make use of the root account or provide the root password when we want to perform system changes. On a related note, I found any user on the system can run the su command to become the root user without a password. This seems like a serious misconfiguration that should be patched. The distribution does not ship with LibreOffice and the productivity suite is not in the project's repositories, though LibreOffice can be installed using a script and I will talk more about that later in this review.
There are some other interesting choices made with regards to the software selection in this distribution. For instance, Falkon is the default web browser. On one hand this makes sense as Falkon is a part of the KDE family, plus it is a lightweight browser and looks good in the Plasma environment. However, Falkon's last version update was about a year ago which makes me wary of running it as it does not appear to be getting security updates.
Desktop and system configuration
PCLinuxOS ships with two configuration panels. The system's settings are managed through Control Centre while desktop settings are handled through the System Settings panel. (This is one of those unfortunate naming situations which feel completely normal once a person has been using Linux for a while, but is confusing to newcomers.) The System Systems panel worked well for me. It uses the classic grid of icons layout as opposed to the newer two-pane layout used by many distributions running the Plasma desktop. I found the Plasma settings were generally easy to navigate and there is a search function to help us locate specific modules. I like that PCLinuxOS enables a minimum amount of visual effects and features and that file indexing is turned off. This might explain why the distribution was so responsive during my trial.
PCLinuxOS 2019.02 -- Browsing desktop settings
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The Control Centre offers a friendly, point-n-click approach to managing the underlying operating system. Through the Control Centre we can launch the Synaptic package manager, set up network shares, set up printers and scanners, change the system clock and configure network connections. We can also manage background services, set up a firewall, manage user accounts and enable automatic logins. There are a lot of modules in the Control Centre and I did not have cause to use them all. However, for the most part, the ones I did use worked beautifully. The Control Centre is wonderfully easy to navigate and provides a beginner friendly approach to system configuration.
I only ran into one problem while changing settings. Some modules need to install extra packages before they can be used. Sometimes this worked and sometimes the extra packages could not be installed. When I enabled the OpenSSH service, for example, the extra packages installed to set up the secure shell service without any problems. But when I wanted to enable a DNS service, the package failed to download. I feel at this point it is worth mentioning that the DNS server our computer uses is set in the Network Centre module, not the Configure DNS module, which helps us set up our own DNS server for other people to use - it's another one of those curious naming conventions.
PCLinuxOS 2019.02 -- Setting up firewall rules
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After using PCLinuxOS for a while I realized I had not received any notification of new software updates. We can manually check for updates by launching the Synaptic package manager. Synaptic is a flexible and powerful package manager for installing, removing and upgrading packages. It allows us to queue multiple actions and then process all of these actions in one big batch. Synaptic worked well during my trial and I had no complaints while using it. Through Synaptic we can add all sorts of popular packages, including Firefox, VLC and Thunderbird.
At the start of my trial there were 52 new updates available, totalling 56MB in size. These all downloaded and installed without any issues.
PCLinuxOS 2019.02 -- Locating software in the Synaptic package manager
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Earlier I mentioned LibreOffice is not included in the distribution's repositories. However, there is a launcher in the application menu that runs a script that will automate installing LibreOffice with our preferred language. I ran the script and got LibreOffice running. It was a fairly smooth experience, only somewhat marred by the script's window disappearing for a few minutes during the download, but it returned when the installation process had completed successfully. Later, if we want to update or remove LibreOffice, the same script will handle deleting or updating our copy of LibreOffice. This is an unusual approach to working with software on a Linux distribution. It works, but it means the user needs to be aware LibreOffice is handled separately from all the other software on the operating system.
Earlier I mentioned that PCLinuxOS has a distinct approach. Its modern software and conservative layout and style make it appealing to me as it provides modern software working in ways that feel familiar. I like that I can run the latest web browsers and LibreOffice while navigating menu layouts and themes that I have been using for years. The mixture of RPM packages with the APT command line tools and Synaptic is also unusual, but it works well and I did not run into an issues with this strange combination.
Sometimes the unusual approach of PCLinuxOS did trip me up, mentally speaking. For example, on the login screen the keyboard's arrow keys do not work to select our user from the list of available accounts. But I found I could Tab between users. Using separate scripts to install VirtualBox and LibreOffice was also not what I am used to on a Linux distribution, but again it works. It is just a different approach from what I am used to.
There were a few issues, such as having trouble getting PCLinuxOS to play well in the VirtualBox environment, but the distribution ran beautifully on my physical hardware. Another problem I ran into is the su command allows any user to run commands as the root user without a password. This seems like a big security hole as it means any user or guest can perform any administrative action on the system. This, combined with the year old default web browser give me some concerns when it comes to security. However, I very much like the style and performance of the distribution and think many people will find it an easy operating system to use.
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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, Ralink RT5390R PCIe Wireless card
- Display: AMD Radeon HD 6410D video card
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Visitor supplied rating
PCLinuxOS has a visitor supplied average rating of: 8.9/10 from 227 review(s).
Have you used PCLinuxOS? You can leave your own review of the project on our ratings page.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Ubuntu speeds up Snap package load times, Mint offers daily test builds, elementary OS integrating Flatpak support, Fedora experiments with building Flatpak packages
One side effect of using portable Snap packages to install software on Linux distributions is that the snaps can take longer to load. Some benchmarks done on popular applications showed that a snap could have longer load times than its equivalent RPM or Deb counterpart, with snap load times ranging from about 150% to 1,000% longer. Work has been done to address this issue and users should soon see greatly improved start times. "The inclusion of fc-cache binaries in snapd 2.36.2 onwards introduces significant (2-6x) improvements in GUI application start-up times. The results are applicable for both Ubuntu and non-Ubuntu platforms. Snap users across different Linux distributions should be able to see immediate, positive differences in the loading of their snaps. The exact figures will depend on the application type, usage patterns and, to a lesser extent, the underlying hardware platform choice." Igor Ljubuncic has presented a comparison of using Snap packages versus native RPM and Deb packages across multiple distributions, before and after the performance improvements.
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Another project which is working on incremental improvements is Linux Mint. The Mint team are working to improve performance of the Cinnamon desktop, the Blueberry Bluetooth system tray tool now allows users to connect and disconnect paired devices with a click, and the project is making it possible to test cutting-edge packages that are updated daily: "We're currently working on making it possible to 'alpha-test' Linux Mint. A 'Daily Build' PPA is available. This PPA gathers the latest code changes for the software we work on (Mint tools, Xapps, Cinnamon etc.), builds packages on a daily basis and provides software updates. Be warned, daily builds are unstable by definition and translations aren't complete until we get close to beta." Further details can be found in the project's newsletter.
* * * * *
The elementary OS team is working toward integrating Flatpak support with their distribution's application centre. The developers appear to be working on adding Flatpak packages to their own application centre rather than tying their centre to existing Flatpak repositories. "Before we get too far into it, we want to make sure there's a clear distinction that we'll be moving towards Flatpak (the packaging format) and not Flathub (a single Flatpak-powered app repository). While Flathub is a great place to get popular cross-platform apps, we still want AppCenter to be the best place to get apps that are specially developed for elementary OS. Moving to Flatpak doesn't mean moving away from our focus on native apps, from enabling developers to get paid with pay-what-you-want downloads, or from the online AppCenter Dashboard where each app is carefully tested, reviewed, and curated before being published to users in AppCenter. We'll be providing our own hosted and curated Flatpak repo for AppCenter, much like we provide our own hosted and curated Debian repo today." More information on how and why Flatpak will be supported can be found in the project's blog post.
* * * * *
With the release of Fedora 30 rapidly approaching, Christian Schaller has published a list of changes and improvements coming to the distribution's Workstation edition. Many of these changes include improvements to Wayland - such as getting a native Firefox build for Wayland working, making NVIDIA binary drivers working smoothly with Wayland and fixing bugs gamers face when running Wayland sessions. Another area seeing progress is Flatpak support: "Owen Taylor has been in charge of getting Flatpaks building in Fedora, ensuring we can produce Flatpaks from Fedora packages. Owen set up a system to track the Fedora Flatpak status, we got about 10 applications so far, but hope to greatly grow that number of time as we polish up the system. This enables us to start planning for shipping some applications in Fedora Workstation as Flatpaks by default in a future release. This repository will be available by default in Fedora workstation 30 and you can choose the Flatpak version of the package through the new drop down box in the top right corner of GNOME Software. For now the RPM version of the package is still the default, but we expect to change that in later releases of Fedora Workstation." Schaller has a great write-up of the new features and enhancements coming to Fedora 30.
* * * * *
These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Tips and Tricks (by Jesse Smith)
A journey to get Falkon 3.1.0 running and problems with portable packages
I have long been a fan of the QupZilla web browser, a lightweight browser which uses the same rendering engine as Chromium and is built with the Qt toolkit. QupZilla reminds me of the classic Opera browser - it is quick, stays out of the way, and does not have many extra features. In other words it is a great tool for just browsing the web and does not get bogged down with dozens of other features and extensions, such as developer tools, an e-mail client, or bookmark synchronization. I talked about QupZilla a few years ago when I was looking for a new browser.
About a year ago QupZilla changed its name to Falkon and became part of the KDE family. The browser still runs on any Linux desktop and on a range of platforms (including Linux, FreeBSD, and Windows). I have been meaning to try out the re-branded browser and decided the release of Falkon 3.1.0 last month was a good excuse to try it out.
Trying out Falkon turned out to be more difficult than I had originally expected. You see, I run MX Linux on my laptop most of the time and MX is based on Debian, a distribution better known for its stability than up to date software. The most recent version of QupZilla/Falkon in the repositories is still 2.1.2, which is a few years old at this point. In the past I had downloaded portable AppImage packages of QupZilla when new versions came out, but the latest release of Falkon is not available as an AppImage.
The Falkon download page offers three options for Linux users: Snap packages, Flatpak and source code. There are pre-built Windows binaries too, but I did not relish the idea of trying to run Falkon through WINE. The Snap package I could skip as snaps will not run on MX as snaps do not work on distributions that do not run systemd as the default init process. I moved on to Flatpak.
The three command line instructions needed to install Falkon as a Flatpak are right on the download page and I gave them a whirl on two computers. The download was in the range of 1GB to grab Falkon and its dependencies. On the first computer, the Flatpak appeared to install successfully, but then the browser refused to launch, reporting it was missing a library dependency. This seemed odd since Flatpaks are essentially designed to bundle dependencies and avoid this issue entirely. On the second machine, the Falkon Flatpak launched and, at first, all seemed to be going well. The browser started quickly, ran smoothly, and was stable. However, a few problems started coming to light.
The first was all my bookmarks, history and settings had not carried over. I was able to get around this by copying my old QupZilla profile information and creating a link from the Falkon configuration directory:
cp -R ~/.config/qupzilla ~/.config/falkon
This allowed me to use my old profile, settings, bookmarks and short-cuts. The next problem I faced was Falkon could not find any spell-checking dictionaries. I did not come up with a working solution to this problem. Falkon states in the settings panel where it looks for dictionaries, but creating these locations (both on the file system and in the Flatpak sandbox) did not correct the issue. Falkon, when run as a Flatpak, appears to be unable to see dictionary files.
rm -rf config
ln -s ~/.config config
The third problem I faced, which eventually made me abandon the Flatpak approach, was that some applications cannot use a Flatpak to open URLs. This is more a problem with other applications not properly understanding how to work with Flatpak bundles rather than an issue with Falkon or Flatpak, but it was still a significant problem. Those applications which could handle passing a URL to a Flatpak application resulted in a new browser window being launched. This is a bit slow, since every time I wanted to open a link it launched a new instance of Falkon.
My final approach was to try building the web browser from its source code. I unpacked the source code and read the accompanying README file which simply suggested I run the following commands to install Falkon:
mkdir build && cd build
No information was provided as to which dependencies should be installed or which build tools. Over the next hour or so I pieced together the packages I would need and came up with this compact list of instructions to get all the required components:
make && make install
sudo apt install build-essential cmake extra-cmake-modules libkf5i18n-dev libxcb-util0-dev wget libssl-dev gettext qttools5-dev
The last step opens a window on the desktop which asks which Qt components we need to install. I opted to install the latest stable version of all the components.
chmod 755 qt-opensource-linux-x64-5.12.2.run
Then it is time to try to build Falkon:
This step failed because the build system cannot see the Qt version that has been installed. I fixed this by opening the CMakeLists.txt file in the top level of Falkon's source code and adding the following line at line 48, right after the text which reads "set(QT_MIN_VERSION "5.9.0")".
mkdir build && cd build
Then I continued:
cmake Qt5_DIR=/opt/Qt/5.12.2/gcc_64/lib/cmake/Qt5 ..
Note: If the Qt5_DIR variable is not set in both the CMakeLists.txt file and on the command line, then (on my machines, at least) the compile process fails at approximately the 35% mark. It took me a few failed compile attempts to work that out.
The "make" step takes several minutes and displays a percentage of its progress as it works. When it is finished we can run the install command to place Falkon on our system:
sudo make install
The above instructions should work on any modern version of distributions in the Debian/Ubuntu family. By default, the Falkon binary ends up in the /usr/local/bin directory. Running the Falkon command automatically imported my old QupZilla profile, bookmarks, passwords and settings into Falkon.
My new copy of Falkon could be launched from third-party applications and opened URLs passed to it in new tabs rather than opening a new window, so things were certainly improving. However, spell-check still did not work. I had to track down my old QupZilla dictionary files and copy them into the /usr/local/bin/qtwebengine_dictionaries directory and restart Falkon before it would spell-check text. More information on setting up dictionaries for Falkon can be found in the KDE wiki.
It took a fair amount of trial and error to get Falkon built and running, but once it was in place and dependencies like dictionaries were copied to the proper locations, Falkon proved to be a fast, pleasantly minimal web browser that stayed out of my way and let me focus on browsing content. Falkon offers the benefits of running a popular rendering engine while maintaining a more traditional user interface and a smaller memory footprint. I have been very happy with the browser as it focuses on just browsing as does not distract me with suggestions or get weighed down by other features and recommended services.
On a related topic, I think my experiment with getting Falkon up and running on my machines demonstrates that while portable package formats (such as Flatpak and Snap) have their uses, they are not the silver bullet many in the Linux community were hoping they would be. Snaps are tied to a specific init system, while the Flatpak option proved to be a huge download, was cut off from system resources, and required several work-arounds. Both formats would be unable to integrate with other tools that might want to launch a web browser, greatly limiting their usefulness. In the past I have used an AppImage to get around some of these problems, but even then the browser only works like a native application if it is unpacked from the AppImage archive and manually installed somewhere. The AppImage, on its own, is not effective beyond running some tests.
In the end, I found myself spending a few hours hunting down undocumented dependencies, trying various command line flags and manually copying dependencies into place. All of this, largely because A) fixed release distributions generally do not provide a method for keeping up with versions of upstream software and B) the existing portable package formats are not suitable for the task of installing a web browser that needs to work with other parts of the operating system. I believe we are need of better solutions when it comes to distributing third-party applications.
|Released Last Week
AV Linux 2019.4.10
AV Linux is a versatile, Debian-based distribution featuring a large collection of audio and video production software. The distribution's latest update is AV Linux 2019.4.10 which introduces a number of fixes and represents the project's last version to run on 32-bit hardware. "This release is basically an update of the ISO that fixes a couple of annoying bugs from the 2018.6.25 release with some notable updates and additions. It will mark the last release based on Debian Stretch and sadly it will also be the last release of the 32-bit version. Future AVL development will focus on Debian 'Buster' and 64-bit only. In the meantime I think this 2019.4.10 version will provide a fast, stable well prepared platform for AV Content creation for quite some time. Changelog: Refreshed expired repository keys for WineHQ and Spotify. Updated and fixed repositories for new Cinelerra-GG site. Updated and synced all Debian and third-party repos (including KXStudio). Fixed VirtualBox Guest Additions removal script to allow /etc/rc.local to remain executable and enable automount of external drives. Fixed missing 'linvstconverttree' in LinVST. Removed some obsoleted udev rules." Further details can be found in the project's release announcement.
* * * * *
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: 1,335
- Total data uploaded: 24.9TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
What is the most important web browser feature?
There are a lot of ways web browser developers can try to attract new users. They can focus on providing up to date standards compliance, speed, powerful extensions, unique features, maintaining a small resource footprint, or a better user interface. In this poll we would like to find out what aspect of the web browser is most important to you? If we missed your most important feature, please let us know what it is in the comments.
You can see the results of our previous poll on using live media for security-sensitive tasks in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
What is the most important web browser feature?
|Cross-platform: ||156 (8%)|
| Extensions: ||306 (15%)|
| Flexibility/Options: ||169 (8%)|
| Low resource usage: ||243 (12%)|
| Performance/Speed: ||511 (25%)|
| Standards compliance: ||360 (17%)|
| Unique features: ||23 (1%)|
| User interface: ||121 (6%)|
| Other: ||169 (8%)|
Distributions added to waiting list
- PrimeOS. PrimeOS combines Android software with a desktop-oriented platform for 64-bit x86 computers.
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DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 15 April 2019. Past articles and reviews can be found through our Article Search page. To contact the authors please send e-mail to:
- Jesse Smith (feedback, questions and suggestions: distribution reviews/submissions, questions and answers, tips and tricks)
- Ladislav Bodnar (feedback, questions, donations, comments)
- Bruce Patterson (podcast)
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 841 (2019-11-18): Emmabuntus DE3-1.00, changing keys in a keyboard layout, Debian phasing out Python 2 and voting on init diversity, Slackware gets unofficial updated live media|
|• Issue 840 (2019-11-11): Fedora 31, monitoring user activity, Fedora working to improve Python performance, FreeBSD gets faster networking|
|• Issue 839 (2019-11-04): MX 19, manipulating PDFs, Ubuntu plans features for 20.04, Fedora 29 nears EOL, Netrunner drops Manjaro-based edition|
|• Issue 838 (2019-10-28): Xubuntu 19.10, how init and service managers work together, DragonFly BSD provides emergency mode for HAMMER, Xfce team plans 4.16|
|• Issue 837 (2019-10-21): CentOS 8.0-1905, Trident finds a new base, Debian plans firewall changes, 15 years of Fedora, how to merge directories|
|• Issue 836 (2019-10-14): Archman 2019.09, Haiku improves ARM support, Project Trident shifting base OS, Unix turns 50|
|• Issue 835 (2019-10-07): Isotop, Mazon OS and, KduxOS, examples of using the find command, Mint's System Reports becomes proactive, Solus updates its desktops|
|• Issue 834 (2019-09-30): FreedomBox "Buster", CentOS gains a rolling release, Librem 5 phones shipping, Redcore updates its package manager|
|• Issue 833 (2019-09-23): Redcore Linux 1908, why Linux distros are free, Ubuntu making list of 32-bit software to keep, Richard M Stallman steps down from FSF leadership|
|• Issue 832 (2019-09-16): BlackWeb 1.2, checking for Wayland session and applications, Fedora to use nftables in firewalld, OpenBSD disables DoH in Firefox|
|• Issue 831 (2019-09-09): Adélie Linux 1.0 beta, using ffmpeg, awk and renice, Mint and elementary improvements, PureOS and Manjaro updates|
|• Issue 930 (2019-09-02): deepin 15.11, working with AppArmor profiles, elementary OS gets new greeter, exFAT support coming to Linux kernel|
|• Issue 829 (2019-08-26): EndeavourOS 2019.07.15, Drauger OS 7.4.1, finding the licenses of kernel modules, NetBSD gets Wayland application, GhostBSD changes base repo|
|• Issue 828 (2019-08-19): AcademiX 2.2, concerns with non-free firmware, UBports working on Unity8, Fedora unveils new EPEL channel, FreeBSD phasing out GCC|
|• Issue 827 (2019-08-12): Q4OS, finding files on the disk, Ubuntu works on ZFS, Haiku improves performance, OSDisc shutting down|
|• Issue 826 (2019-08-05): Quick looks at Resilient, PrimeOS, and BlueLight, flagship distros for desktops,Manjaro introduces new package manager|
|• Issue 825 (2019-07-29): Endless OS 3.6, UBports 16.04, gNewSense maintainer stepping down, Fedora developrs discuss optimizations, Project Trident launches stable branch|
|• Issue 824 (2019-07-22): Hexagon OS 1.0, Mageia publishes updated media, Fedora unveils Fedora CoreOS, managing disk usage with quotas|
|• Issue 823 (2019-07-15): Debian 10, finding 32-bit packages on a 64-bit system, Will Cooke discusses Ubuntu's desktop, IBM finalizes purchase of Red Hat|
|• Issue 822 (2019-07-08): Mageia 7, running development branches of distros, Mint team considers Snap, UBports to address Google account access|
|• Issue 821 (2019-07-01): OpenMandriva 4.0, Ubuntu's plan for 32-bit packages, Fedora Workstation improvements, DragonFly BSD's smaller kernel memory|
|• Issue 820 (2019-06-24): Clear Linux and Guix System 1.0.1, running Android applications using Anbox, Zorin partners with Star Labs, Red Hat explains networking bug, Ubuntu considers no longer updating 32-bit packages|
|• Issue 819 (2019-06-17): OS108 and Venom, renaming multiple files, checking live USB integrity, working with Fedora's Modularity, Ubuntu replacing Chromium package with snap|
|• Issue 818 (2019-06-10): openSUSE 15.1, improving boot times, FreeBSD's status report, DragonFly BSD reduces install media size|
|• Issue 817 (2019-06-03): Manjaro 18.0.4, Ubuntu Security Podcast, new Linux laptops from Dell and System76, Entroware Apollo|
|• Issue 816 (2019-05-27): Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, creating firewall rules, Antergos shuts down, Matthew Miller answers questions about Fedora|
|• Issue 815 (2019-05-20): Sabayon 19.03, Clear Linux's developer features, Red Hat explains MDS flaws, an overview of mobile distro options|
|• Issue 814 (2019-05-13): Fedora 30, distributions publish Firefox fixes, CentOS publishes roadmap to 8.0, Debian plans to use Wayland by default|
|• Issue 813 (2019-05-06): ROSA R11, MX seeks help with systemd-shim, FreeBSD tests unified package management, interview with Gael Duval|
|• Issue 812 (2019-04-29): Ubuntu MATE 19.04, setting up a SOCKS web proxy, Scientific Linux discontinued, Red Hat takes over Java LTS support|
|• Issue 811 (2019-04-22): Alpine 3.9.2, rsync examples, Ubuntu working on ZFS support, Debian elects new Project Leader, Obarun releases S6 tools|
|• Issue 810 (2019-04-15): SolydXK 201902, Bedrock Linux 0.7.2, Fedora phasing out Python 2, NetBSD gets virtual machine monitor|
|• Issue 809 (2019-04-08): PCLinuxOS 2019.02, installing Falkon and problems with portable packages, Mint offers daily build previews, Ubuntu speeds up Snap packages|
|• Issue 808 (2019-04-01): Solus 4.0, security benefits and drawbacks to using a live distro, Gentoo gets GNOME ports working without systemd, Redox OS update|
|• Issue 807 (2019-03-25): Pardus 17.5, finding out which user changed a file, new Budgie features, a tool for browsing FreeBSD's sysctl values|
|• Issue 806 (2019-03-18): Kubuntu vs KDE neon, Nitrux's znx, notes on Debian's election, SUSE becomes an independent entity|
|• Issue 805 (2019-03-11): EasyOS 1.0, managing background services, Devuan team debates machine ID file, Ubuntu Studio works to remain an Ubuntu Community Edition|
|• Issue 804 (2019-03-04): Condres OS 19.02, securely erasing hard drives, new UBports devices coming in 2019, Devuan to host first conference|
|• Issue 803 (2019-02-25): Septor 2019, preventing windows from stealing focus, NetBSD and Nitrux experiment with virtual machines, pfSense upgrading to FreeBSD 12 base|
|• Issue 802 (2019-02-18): Slontoo 18.07.1, NetBSD tests newer compiler, Fedora packaging Deepin desktop, changes in Ubuntu Studio|
|• Issue 801 (2019-02-11): Project Trident 18.12, the meaning of status symbols in top, FreeBSD Foundation lists ongoing projects, Plasma Mobile team answers questions|
|• Issue 800 (2019-02-04): FreeNAS 11.2, using Ubuntu Studio software as an add-on, Nitrux developing znx, matching operating systems to file systems|
|• Issue 799 (2019-01-28): KaOS 2018.12, Linux Basics For Hackers, Debian 10 enters freeze, Ubuntu publishes new version for IoT devices|
|• Issue 798 (2019-01-21): Sculpt OS 18.09, picking a location for swap space, Solus team plans ahead, Fedora trying to get a better user count|
|• Issue 797 (2019-01-14): Reborn OS 2018.11.28, TinyPaw-Linux 1.3, dealing with processes which make the desktop unresponsive, Debian testing Secure Boot support|
|• Issue 796 (2019-01-07): FreeBSD 12.0, Peppermint releases ISO update, picking the best distro of 2018, roundtable interview with Debian, Fedora and elementary developers|
|• Issue 795 (2018-12-24): Running a Pinebook, interview with Bedrock founder, Alpine being ported to RISC-V, Librem 5 dev-kits shipped|
|• Issue 794 (2018-12-17): Void 20181111, avoiding software bloat, improvements to HAMMER2, getting application overview in GNOME Shell|
|• Issue 793 (2018-12-10): openSUSE Tumbleweed, finding non-free packages, Debian migrates to usrmerge, Hyperbola gets FSF approval|
|• Issue 792 (2018-1203): GhostBSD 18.10, when to use swap space, DragonFly BSD's wireless support, Fedora planning to pause development schedule|
|• Issue 791 (2018-11-26): Haiku R1 Beta1, default passwords on live media, Slax and Kodachi update their media, dual booting DragonFly BSD on EFI|
|• Issue 790 (2018-11-19): NetBSD 8.0, Bash tips and short-cuts, Fedora's networking benchmarked with FreeBSD, Ubuntu 18.04 to get ten years of support|
|• Issue 789 (2018-11-12): Fedora 29 Workstation and Silverblue, Haiku recovering from server outage, Fedora turns 15, Debian publishes updated media|
|• Full list of all issues|
Star Labs - Laptops built for Linux.
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|Random Distribution |
eZeY (formerly Open Xange, before Xange and Vixta) is an easy-to-use, Fedora-based desktop Linux distribution featuring the KDE desktop.
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|Tips and tricks: File encryption and cloud backup|
|Myths and misunderstandings: The spread of systemd and launchd|
|Questions and answers: Launching tasks when computer is idle|
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|Questions and answers: What an ELF is and an HTTPS option|
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|Questions and answers: Distribution release frequency|
|Tips and tricks: File encryption and cloud backup|
|Questions and answers: Keeping laptops cool with cpufreqd|
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