| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 817, 3 June 2019
Welcome to this year's 22nd issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
We start the month of June with a review of one of the most popular distributions of Linux among our visitors - the Cinnamon edition of the rolling-release Manjaro Linux. The article, written by Ivan Sanders, not only examines various aspects of the distribution and project, it also offers solutions to several (minor) problems that the author encountered during his testing. In the news section, we link to a story about the underrated but highly useful Ubuntu Security Podcast, examine the recent announcements from Dell and System76 about their powerful line of Linux laptops, visit the newly-released Condres Control Centre, and present the lightweight QtFM file manager that has been recently introduced into the SparkyLinux distribution. And speaking about Linux notebooks, we also have mouth-watering review of Entroware Apollo, an exciting piece of hardware produced by the UK-based company which specialises in Linux solutions. Last but not least, as we celebrate the 18th birthday of DistroWatch, we have a quick survey and a simple question: How long have you been visiting DistroWatch? Happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Ivan Sanders)
Manjaro Linux 18.0.4
Manjaro has truly come of age. Since its inception, the community behind Manjaro has endeavored to make an Arch-inspired Linux distribution that works out of the box, and I think they have hit a home run with the release of 18.0.4. The Manjaro hardware detection (mhwd) service is the real star of the show and gets almost any computer up and running straight from the installation.
What is Manjaro?
Manjaro is the increasingly popular Linux distribution based on Arch Linux which aims to be a free and open-source replacement for Windows or macOS. According to their website Manjaro, "Provides all the benefits of cutting-edge software combined with a focus on getting started quickly, automated tools to require less manual intervention." Let's break that down.
As written above, Manjaro is Arch Linux-based and Arch Linux means cutting edge. What Manjaro adds to that equation is stability while still being Arch based. If you take the bleeding edge that is Arch Linux and you take a small step back from that edge, you get Manjaro). Manjaro does this by having its own repositories where it tests packages for a time (about two weeks, give or take). Manjaro has a stable branch, which I tested, a testing branch, and an unstable branch. Manjaro's unstable branch, "Usually runs inside of three days behind Arch package releases & are modified as necessary to suit Manjaro using the unstable branch may consequently break your system!" Arch-based does not mean the same thing as Arch Linux.
Selection of desktop environments
Manjaro comes in four flagship editions and seven community editions. The flagship editions available are Xfce, KDE Plasma, the GNOME desktop environment, and the fourth flagship edition is Manjaro-Architect. Manjaro-Architect is is a text based net-installer which downloads the latest packages and enables the user to 100% completely customize their Manjaro experience from kernel to desktop environment. The community editions offer Manjaro in the following desktop environments (and some window managers): Cinnamon, Openbox, Awesome, Budgie, MATE, i3, and Deepin. I'm quite impressed with the selection available.
Manjaro Linux 18.0.4 -- Running the Firefox browser with Netflix
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For the purposes of this review I used the Cinnamon desktop environment, for no other reason than I happen to like Cinnamon. Yes, it is a little RAM heavy, but it is modern and easy. If you are interested in a light version of Manjaro I recommend Xfce or MATE for a fully functional desktop environment or Openbox or i3 for a super-lightweight window manager. Any Manjaro experience you choose, Manjaro promises to be Manjaro whether you are on a community edition or a flagship. Each desktop environment has its own benefits and drawbacks, and we won't go into that here.
Before you install Manjaro, the fancy boot menu allows you to select drivers for your install. If the user has NVIDIA graphics, it is generally recommended to select non-free drivers. After the boot screen, Manjaro detects your hardware and properly configures the system before booting into a live desktop environment where you can try out the system or move into the installation.
Manjaro uses the modern Calamares installer. Calamares is an independent installer framework; it is a fully functional installer and features an advanced partitioner that can do all the work for the user or allow partitioning manually. Many other distributions also use the Calamares installer and it is well documented across the Linux community. I had no issues with the Calamares installer. It was great. I did not dual boot. I installed the root (/) onto my NVMe SSD and mounted my /home filesystem onto my HDD.
Manjaro Linux 18.0.4 -- Displaying information about the system
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There are two main settings areas, the classic system settings with almost everything a user would be looking for, and then there is the Manjaro Settings Manager. The Manjaro Settings Manager is a very useful tool that enables the user to install drivers, select open source options or proprietary, auto-install drivers, and change the kernel being used. Using the auto-install proprietary drivers setting worked well with my hardware. Initially, I was using kernel 4.19.32-1, which is LTS and recommended. I was eager to see the process and update the kernel to the newest Linux kernel 5.0.5 through the Manjaro Settings Manager, but I was also terrified that this would break my system, NVIDIA, X.Org, or something along the way. To my surprise, updating the kernel worked very well and I was able to use the new kernel on my next restart. Manjaro defaults to the newest kernel installed but the user has the option of selecting kernels from the boot screen if the user wants to use a different kernel.
The ease of Manjaro is what really stood out to me throughout the entire review process.
Manjaro Linux 18.0.4 -- Installing a new kernel
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Lets take a moment to talk about laptops with NVIDIA and integrated Intel graphics processors, a set-up known as Optimus. Optimus laptops have been notoriously difficult to work with in Linux and many distributions have problems or difficulties setting up and installing on those laptops. Most notably is the black screen on boot. I had this issue years ago when I first tried Manjaro and I was sure this would happen again, but it did not. I am blown away by the good job Manjaro does in managing a computer's hardware.
Manjaro Linux 18.0.4 -- Browsing settings modules
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Manjaro uses a tool called mhwd, or Manjaro Hardware Detection. mhwd, "Enables the automatic detection and configuration of computer hardware the system is running on," and it is run during the installation process. This tool really does a great job at installing the operating system and making sure it works with the hardware presented. On my Optimus laptop, I had no problems running programs with my NVIDIA card when I wanted to by using primusrun, a command which uses Bumblebee to, "Offload rendering to the NVIDIA GPU." To fully use the NVIDIA graphics card, however, some users may prefer to run the entire system on the NVIDIA card and disable the Intel card at times. This can be done by using the program optimus-manager and the instructions for doing this are very simple to follow on the Manjaro wiki.
Manjaro Linux 18.0.4 -- The Manjaro Settings Manager
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Typically on Linux distributions I use the terminal quite a bit, especially when installing software. Manjaro uses Pamac as its primary package manager but Arch's command line package manager - pacman - is still available. Pamac is able to build from the Arch User Repository (AUR), which gives the user an even greater selection of software to choose from. I found, however, that Pamac's graphical user interface (pamac-manager) was fast and clean. I even resorted to using Pamac in its graphical form more than using the command line. I feel like this is almost taboo for most Linux users to admit, but pamac-manager is an excellent software manager. It is easy to use, clean, and concerning users who may be coming from a different operating system, it is more familiar and less daunting than the command line.
Manjaro Linux 18.0.4 -- Downloading a collection of updates
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Manjaro (with the possible exception of the Architect edition) comes pre-installed with around 1,000 packages (at least on the Cinnamon edition, Ubuntu usually ships with more than 1,600 packages, for reference). Firefox, GIMP, Thunderbird, the LibreOffice suite, and VLC are just a few notable examples. I was very impressed with the dark theme and its usage across every program I used (the pre-installed Cinnamon theme is Adapta-Nokto-Maia). Not a single program loaded the theme wrong or in a broken state (many of Ubuntu's programs installed from the Snap store is an example of GTK themes not working).
Manjaro Linux 18.0.4 -- Available themes
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Forum / Wiki
I realize the forum and wiki aren't actually a part of a Linux distribution. That being said, the wiki helped me in every situation where I needed it and it was clearly written. Additionally, the forum is very easy to maneuver, search works well, and it is available in many languages (some are more active than others). The community behind Manjaro was a positive experience.
Manjaro Linux 18.0.4 -- Transferring files over Bluetooth
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I've always been a big fan of Ubuntu because of ease of use and it always seemed to work with my hardware, but I've always had a desire to use a rolling release and have more control over my system. Manjaro really impressed me with how well it worked on my computer, even with pretty new hardware (mhwd gets the credit here). Other things about Manjaro that seal the deal are Pamac, Manjaro Settings Manager, and the community. I don't think I can ever go back to the release model that Ubuntu uses and I will be using Manjaro as my distro of choice for the foreseeable future.
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Hardware used in this review
At startup, Manjaro Cinnamon used 772MB of RAM.
- Laptop - Lenovo Legion Y530
- Processor: Intel Core i7-8750H CPU @ 2.20GHz x 6
- Storage: 256GB NVMe SSD Samsung and 1TB HDD
- Memory: 16GB
- Networking: Realtek RTL8111/8168/8411
- Display: 1920x1080 @ 60Hz
- Graphics: Intel Corporation UHD Graphics 630, NVIDIA Corporation GP106M [GeForce GTX 1060 Mobile]
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Post Script: Problems and technical considerations
The problems I had with Manjaro were very few and exceedingly easy to fix. The community and wiki were helpful in troubleshooting the problems I had. I will list the problems I had which were probably specific to my hardware:
I have a newer Lenovo computer, so I had to manually blacklist the ideapad_laptop module to use wi-fi.
The standard, non-free drivers installation was impressive, but primusrun did not enable my HDMI port. The only way I could get my HDMI port to work was when only using the NVIDIA graphics card and optimus-manager, which I prefer anyways. I wrote a simple, one line script to switch graphics using optimus-manager and connected it to a launcher on my panel:
optimus-manager --print-mode | grep -q intel && gnome-terminal -- optimus-manager --switch nvidia || gnome-terminal -- optimus-manager --switch intel
This one line command basically states, "Hey computer, what GPU am I using? Is it the Intel integrated GPU? If that is correct, change to NVIDIA. Otherwise, change to the Intel GPU." Setting this simple script to a launcher on my panel made switching graphics as easy as clicking on the icon (I used the NVIDIA icon). When I want my battery to last, I use the Intel GPU. When I want to game, I use the NVIDIA GPU. The GPU applet indicator on the panel indicates what GPU I am using; if it is using the NVIDIA GPU it displays the temperature. Otherwise the applet does not display the temperature because the NVIDIA GPU is unreachable. Setting up optimus-manager was as easy as reading the relevant wiki page.
I was never able to get audio through HDMI to work, even with pavucontrol. Not an issue if you use speakers that are not in your monitor, but for use with a TV with integrated speakers, the sound only works through the computer or the aux port. This may be an issue specific to my hardware. I was troubleshooting this issue for approximately 15 minutes.
My computer hangs for approximately 1.5 minutes on shutdown (and during the shutdown process of reboot) nearly every time. This happened on kernels 4.19.34, 5.0.5, and 5.0.7. I was troubleshooting this issue for approximately 25 minutes before I found a fix. Running the following command fixed the shutdown hang on kernel 5.x.x.
sudo systemctl mask lvm2-monitor
According to forums this is only a temporary fix until the kernel or package/service is fixed.
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Visitor supplied rating
Manjaro Linux has a visitor supplied average rating of: 8.5/10 from 1027 review(s).
Have you used Manjaro Linux? You can leave your own review of the project on our ratings page.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
Ubuntu presents Security Podcast, Dell and System76 unveil powerful Linux laptops, Condres OS introduces new control centre, SparkyLinux adds QtFM file manager
Ubuntu developer Alex Murray has published an article about Ubuntu Security Podcast, an initiative that has been around for several months, but it hasn't perhaps garnered as much attention as the project's security team would like to see. It is published every Monday and is available via many popular channels: "The Ubuntu Security Podcast is a weekly podcast covering all the latest news and developments from the Ubuntu Security team. Each week the team also discuss a topical Ubuntu and/or general Linux security item of interest. Past episodes have discussed new speculative execution attacks, responsible disclosure practices, Ubuntu security hardening guides and more. The team also welcome your feedback and suggestions for ideas on security topics to discuss, and look forward to answering your questions in future episodes. Special mention of current vacancies within the Ubuntu security team are also announced when open positions are available. The Ubuntu Security Podcast is available via iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts or RSS. Subscribe via your favourite podcast application and each week you will receive the latest Ubuntu security news as soon as it is published. Happy listening!" The Ubuntu Security Podcast has its own web site at UbuntuSecurityPodcast.org.
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Barton George, senior architect at Dell's chief technology office, has unveiled a new range of Ubuntu laptops designed primarily for developers. The powerful Precision systems, classified as "mobile workstations", follow last month's release of entry-level machines: "Earlier this month we introduced the entry-point system in Dell's next generation of Ubuntu-based Precision mobile workstations. Today we are announcing the rest of the line: the Precision 5540, Precision 7540 and Precision 7740. If mobile power is what you're looking for, you've come to the right place. And if AI is your need, the Precision 7540 and 7740 might just be what you've been looking for." The three systems differ in specifications, with the most powerful of the range, the Precision 7740, featuring a large PCIe SSD storage capacity - up to 8TB: "This mobile monster has been updated to feature up to the latest Intel Xeon E or 9th Gen Intel Core 8-core processors. The 7740 comes with up to 128GB of ECC memory, and a large PCIe SSD storage capacity (up to 8TB). It also boasts the latest NVIDIA Quadro RTX graphics, up to the RTX5000, delivering real-time ray tracing and graphics-based AI acceleration. Additional options include next-generation AMD Radeon Pro." Read the rest of the blog post for detailed specifications of the three Dell Precision laptops.
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Still on the subject of Linux laptops, System76 has also announced a new range of 15- and 17-inch laptops called "Gazelle". The laptop will feature a 9th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU: "In case you missed it, we recently announced that a new Gazelle laptop will be released soon. Gazelle has both 15" and 17" options and comes loaded with a 9th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU, an NVIDIA 16-series GPU, and up to 64GB RAM. Gazelle's trifecta of CPU, GPU and Memory gives content creators, gamers, animators and designers a machine that can keep up with their graphics-heavy workloads." All System76 products come pre-loaded with the Ubuntu-based Pop!_OS distribution (developed in house) which also includes a number of recent enhancements: "The ability to disable mouse acceleration has been added to GNOME Settings in Pop!_OS 19.04. Disabling mouse acceleration allows for the increased precision of mouse movements desired by PC gamers, artists, and designers for their unique use cases that depend on mouse accuracy. This patch was previously submitted upstream to GNOME by Mathew Bouma, but was not accepted. However, we've decided to include the patch as an option in Settings rather than through the GNOME Tweak Tool utility, as this feature has been highly requested among Pop!_OS users." See the May newsletter for other recent news covering both hardware and software aspects of System76's products.
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The developers of Condres OS, a set of desktop-oriented distributions based on Arch Linux and featuring a number of popular desktop environments, has introduced a new graphical control centre. Although still labelled as a "beta", the Condres OS Control Centre has now replaced Condres Settings Manager and Octopi in all of the project's distributions: "We have released an important update concerning our control center, which now completely replaces the Condres Settings Manager and Octopi. There are many added features, starting from the control center itself that has been revised and has now reached beta 2. The beta 2 required a massive code rivalry and finally the system tray gets updates in real time. Here is the news from the control center: added the sharing section with Samba and NFS sharing; Samba is automatically supported - in fact all the shares can be made without using any line of code, same thing for NFS; the other section concerns the user account that allows you to create an account and delete it or change the password; support for language and date and time has also been added. This release, in addition to adding a lot of features, even though still in beta, has reached maturity to allow its primary use on the system." Read the full announcement for further information and screenshots.
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If you are still looking for that ideal file manager for Linux, consider giving QtFM a try. This lightweight, customisable and cross-platform application (available for Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD and macOS), has recently landed in the repository of SparkyLinux, a Debian-based distribution featuring the LXQt desktop: "There is a new tool available for Sparkers: QtFM. What is QtFM? A lightweight desktop-independent Qt file manager for Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD and macOS. Features: XDG integration; customizable interface; powerful custom command system; customizable key bindings; drag & drop functionality; tabs support; removable storage support; system tray daemon; extensive thumbnail support. The package is built and tested on Sparky 5 and Debian 'Buster' 64-bit and 32-bit only. The project developers are Ole-André Rodlie, Michal Rost, Wittfella; it is licensed under the GNU GPL-2." Here is the brief blog post as published on the SparkyLinux website. The QtFM home page can be found at QtFM.eu and the source code is provided at GitHub. The latest stable version is 6.1.9, released in April 2019, but a more recent beta build is currently in a testing phase.
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Hardware review (by Robert Rijkhoff)
Entroware is a UK company that sells laptops and desktop PCs that come with Ubuntu or Ubuntu MATE pre-installed. I recently bought the Apollo laptop, which is Entroware's 14-inch "Ultrabook". The company ships to just six countries in the EU but fear not; this model is the same as System 76's Galago Pro and ZaReason's UltraLap. The laptop itself is made by Clevo - the vendors choose the exact components and install Linux on the machines.
The starting price for the Apollo is £650 (roughly US$830). I decided to upgrade the processor from an i3 to an i7, increase the amount of memory from 8GB to 16GB and swap the 120GB SSD drive for a 1TB SSD. The laptop comes standard with a backlit keyboard, a high definition display and all the ports you would expect, including a good ol' Ethernet port. The laptop also comes with a three year warranty, although the mouse print states that the warranty on parts is just one year. The total cost, including shipping, was £1,050 (US$1,340).
Ports galore on the Entroware Apollo
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The delivery was rather slow, which was partly because I preferred to pay using a card rather than a PayPal account - Entroware delays non-PayPal orders by a full week as "a counter-fraud measure". The laptop did arrive after about ten days, together with a few Entroware and Ubuntu stickers, a notepad and ballpoint pen.
The Apollo, with accessories
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The laptop doesn't have any branding and the Windows/Super key features the Entroware logo. The chassis is made of aluminium and feels solid. The keyboard is fine but the trackpad feels a little rough; if you have got dry fingers it sounds like you are polishing the trackpad with sandpaper. I found that the battery life is average - you are likely to get five or six hours out of the battery, depending on your work load.
The hard drive(s), memory cards and battery can all be replaced (the laptop can opened by removing twelve screws) but there are no instructions on how to do so. Getting started with the laptop itself is self-explanatory and doesn't require a manual. When you switch on the laptop for the first time you are presented with a system configuration window; after selecting your preferred language / keyboard layout and creating a user account you are ready to go. There is no option to partition or encrypt the hard drive (you will get a single ext4 partition).
The back of the laptop, with the Clevo model number (N141ZU)
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The laptop boots very fast. Decrypting the 1TB hard drive takes about four seconds, and loading the desktop after entering my user password takes roughly the same amount of time. I am also very impressed with the high definition screen - everything looks super sharp. Compared with other laptops I own the sound is poor though - it is tinny and shrill at the same time.
Entroware ships with a fairly vanilla Ubuntu desktop. The only non-standard application is the "Entroware Support Hub", a simple application that lets you create a diagnostic file with lots of information about your system which you can then send to Entroware's support team.
The Entroware Support Hub
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The support hub is one of nine packages in the Entroware repository that is enabled by default. The purpose of most of the packages is obvious but there were three packages I was curious about: audio-el09r2, entroware-base and entroware-nvidia. The description for the packages are vague at best - for instance, the description of the audio-el09r2 package is "EL09R2 audio". I asked Entroware about these packages but all they would tell me is that they are not intended for the Apollo laptop and that they are "used for enabling/optimising hardware on Entroware's other systems."
Exploring the Entroware repository
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Other operating systems
I wanted to try at least two other operating systems on the laptop. I first tried Trisquel, which is a fully libre, Ubuntu-based distro. The experiment was a failure. When I tried to run Trisquel as a live distro I ended up with completely black screen and when I launched the non-graphical installer I got the same black screen with 24 tiny windows aligned horizontally across the top. As far as I could tell the windows were the text-based screens the installer would normally display one after the other but they were too small to be sure.
I next tried GhostBSD, which is a desktop operating system based on TrueOS. GhostBSD correctly handled the screen resolution and I was able to install the system. There were a few things I couldn't get to work, including wireless Internet, the web cam and some of the Fn keys (for instance, the keys to change the screen brightness didn't work).
Just to make sure that the laptop is at all capable of running anything but Ubuntu I next tried Fedora. Everything worked out of the box, so the morale seems to be that most major Linux distros are likely to work just fine. Entroware told me that they only test and ensure compatibility with Ubuntu and Ubuntu MATE, but that they will provide assistance to get you up and running with your desired distro.
Conclusions and final observations
I like the Entroware Apollo. Looking back I went a little overboard while configuring the laptop but the performance is outstanding and compared to laptops with similar specifications the price is very reasonable. The machine is compact (though the "ultra" description is a bit of a stretch) and the aluminium body makes it look classy. Plus, as you would expect from a company that ships Linux laptops, the most important parts are replaceable.
It is disappointing that Trisquel wouldn't run on the hardware and that GhostBSD worked only partially. Another disappointment is that Clevo is not taking part in the Linux Vendor Firmware Service programme. Until that changes your laptop will not get firmware updates, and I gather it is unlikely that Clevo will sign up to the project any time soon.
If compatibility with hardware and getting firmware updates are high on your list with priorities then a better option would be to buy a (refurbished) Thinkpad. The Apollo is a nice machine though, and I feel it is important to support companies like Entroware and System 76 - if anything, it is nice to not have to pay the Windows Tax. It is also worth mentioning that Entroware gives back to the Linux community; among others they were one of the sponsors of last year's Oggcamp "unconference" here in the UK.
|Released Last Week
MX Linux 18.3
An updated build of MX Linux, version 18.3, is out. MX Linux is desktop-oriented Linux distribution based on Debian 9.9 and featuring a customised Xfce desktop. The new version is a minor release, bringing updated MX applications and an improved MX manual: "We are pleased to offer MX Linux 18.3 ISO image for your use. MX 18.3 is a refresh of our MX 18 release, consisting of bug fixes and application updates. Updated packages - the latest updates from Debian 9.9 'Stretch', antiX and MX repositories. New and updated mx-apps: mx-installer (based on gazelle-installer) - the installer workflow has been reworked to allow the user to enter system configuration selections while the major system copy is proceeding, speeding up the actual installation time for the user. This is in addition to the encryption cipher options and select-able ESP install location that were previously added. Improvements to the UEFI boot installation routines have been added as well, along with a ton of of other bug fixes. The kernel has been updated to 4.19.37. So-called 'zombieload' patches are included." Read the rest of the release announcement for further details.
GParted Live 1.0.0-1
Curtis Gedak has announced the release of GParted Live 1.0.0-1, a milestone release from the project that develops the GParted partition management tool as well as this bootable CD/USB image that also contains various disk management and data rescue utilities. From the release announcement: "The GParted team is pleased to announce a new stable release of GParted Live. This release includes GParted 1.0.0, updated packages and other improvements. Items of note include: includes GParted 1.0.0; port to Gtkmm 3; port to GNOME 3 yelp-tools documentation infrastructure; enable online resizing of extended partitions; add F2FS support for read disk usage, grow and check; fix slow refreshing of NTFS file systems; based on the Debian 'Sid' repository as of 2019-05-30; Linux kernel updated to 4.19.37; the boot menu has been sorted; a menu using large font for console has been added; the menu about local OS booting has been improved; a menu about entering UEFI firmware setup has been added; he info about GParted live has been added to the boot menu; bug fixed - PXE booting with FQDN tftp server name is now working. This release of GParted Live has been successfully tested on VirtualBox, VMware, BIOS, UEFI and physical computers with AMD/ATI, NVIDIA and Intel graphics."
Zbigniew Konojacki has announced the release of 4MLinux 29.0, a new stable version of the project's independently-developed distribution for desktops (32-bit with JWM) and servers (64-bit with a complete LAMP stack). The new version comes with updated Linux kernel version 4.19.41, updated desktop and server packages (LibreOffice 6.2.4, GIMP 2.10.10, DropBox 73.4.118, Firefox 66.0.5, Chromium 74.0.3729.108, MESA 18.3.1, Apache 2.4.39, MariaDB 10.3.14, PHP 7.3.5 and Python 3.7.1), as well as several new features on both desktops and servers. From the release announcement: "The status of the 4MLinux 29.0 series has been changed to 'stable'. As always, the new major release has some new features: Audacious available out of the box, a new desktop sub-menu called 'Office' (with AbiWord, Gnumeric, LazPaint), spellcheck functionality added to Sylpheed and HexChat, improved LibreOffice installation script, better support for MINIX file system (via util-linux and GParted), much improved 3D acceleration in Quake2. And finally, the 4MServer now includes PHP 7.3 with NaCl cryptography support."
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|Survey (by Ladislav Bodnar)
How long have you been visiting DistroWatch?
As we celebrate DistroWatch's 18th birthday (see the Website News section below), we wonder how many of our faithful DWW readers have been with us since the very beginning (starting way back in 2001) and how many discovered us relatively recently. Also, have you ever stopped visiting for a while before becoming regular again? Feel free to comment if you'd like to provide further explanations.
So this week's "poll" is more of a survey than an opinion poll, but we'll be very curious about the outcome.
You can see the results of our previous poll on enabling a firewall on your computer in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
How long have you been visiting DistroWatch?
|Since 2001: ||389 (13%)|
| Since 2002-2005: ||768 (26%)|
| Since 2006-2010: ||916 (31%)|
| Since 2011-2015: ||605 (21%)|
| Since 2016-2019: ||252 (9%)|
|Website News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
DistroWatch reaches adulthood
Yes, it was exactly 18 years ago last Friday, on 31 May 2001, that DistroWatch was first published. It wasn't quite the comprehensive website covering free operating system that it is today, but it was a start - a single page comparing a dozen Linux distributions in a table format, with major features and package versions. Many of the projects popular in those days, such as Caldera OpenLinux, Corel Linux, Progeny Debian or Libranet GNU/Linux died long time ago, but others, like Slackware Linux, Debian, Red Hat or openSUSE continue to thrive in various forms to this day. If you'd like to see what this website looked like in 2001, please take a look at this snapshot provided by Archive.org. From this modest start listing just 12 Linux distributions DistroWatch evolved, adding BSDs and other free operating systems to the ever-growing DistroWatch database. Organising the information of this chaotic bazaar of open-source products into a structured and logical way continues to be a challenge even today - our database currently contains a total of 899 operating systems of which nearly 300 are considered active. Before opening a bottle of champagne, I'd like to say a big thank-you to all our readers who continue to provide valuable suggestions and corrections, as well as our past and present contributors - notably Jesse Smith, currently the main site maintainer, but also Dr W T Zhu, Susan Linton, Caitlyn Martin, (the late) Robert Storey, Chris Smart and many others who have helped with great articles and valuable insight over the past 18 years. So cheers to all as we look forward to many more years of covering the world of free operating systems!
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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, 10 June 2019. Past articles and reviews can be found through our Article Search page. To contact the authors please send e-mail to:
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 832 (2019-09-16): BlackWeb 1.2, checking for Wayland session and applications, Fedora to use nftables in firewalld, OpenBSD disables DoH in Firefox|
|• Issue 831 (2019-09-09): Adélie Linux 1.0 beta, using ffmpeg, awk and renice, Mint and elementary improvements, PureOS and Manjaro updates|
|• Issue 930 (2019-09-02): deepin 15.11, working with AppArmor profiles, elementary OS gets new greeter, exFAT support coming to Linux kernel|
|• Issue 829 (2019-08-26): EndeavourOS 2019.07.15, Drauger OS 7.4.1, finding the licenses of kernel modules, NetBSD gets Wayland application, GhostBSD changes base repo|
|• Issue 828 (2019-08-19): AcademiX 2.2, concerns with non-free firmware, UBports working on Unity8, Fedora unveils new EPEL channel, FreeBSD phasing out GCC|
|• Issue 827 (2019-08-12): Q4OS, finding files on the disk, Ubuntu works on ZFS, Haiku improves performance, OSDisc shutting down|
|• Issue 826 (2019-08-05): Quick looks at Resilient, PrimeOS, and BlueLight, flagship distros for desktops,Manjaro introduces new package manager|
|• Issue 825 (2019-07-29): Endless OS 3.6, UBports 16.04, gNewSense maintainer stepping down, Fedora developrs discuss optimizations, Project Trident launches stable branch|
|• Issue 824 (2019-07-22): Hexagon OS 1.0, Mageia publishes updated media, Fedora unveils Fedora CoreOS, managing disk usage with quotas|
|• Issue 823 (2019-07-15): Debian 10, finding 32-bit packages on a 64-bit system, Will Cooke discusses Ubuntu's desktop, IBM finalizes purchase of Red Hat|
|• Issue 822 (2019-07-08): Mageia 7, running development branches of distros, Mint team considers Snap, UBports to address Google account access|
|• Issue 821 (2019-07-01): OpenMandriva 4.0, Ubuntu's plan for 32-bit packages, Fedora Workstation improvements, DragonFly BSD's smaller kernel memory|
|• Issue 820 (2019-06-24): Clear Linux and Guix System 1.0.1, running Android applications using Anbox, Zorin partners with Star Labs, Red Hat explains networking bug, Ubuntu considers no longer updating 32-bit packages|
|• Issue 819 (2019-06-17): OS108 and Venom, renaming multiple files, checking live USB integrity, working with Fedora's Modularity, Ubuntu replacing Chromium package with snap|
|• Issue 818 (2019-06-10): openSUSE 15.1, improving boot times, FreeBSD's status report, DragonFly BSD reduces install media size|
|• Issue 817 (2019-06-03): Manjaro 18.0.4, Ubuntu Security Podcast, new Linux laptops from Dell and System76, Entroware Apollo|
|• Issue 816 (2019-05-27): Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, creating firewall rules, Antergos shuts down, Matthew Miller answers questions about Fedora|
|• Issue 815 (2019-05-20): Sabayon 19.03, Clear Linux's developer features, Red Hat explains MDS flaws, an overview of mobile distro options|
|• Issue 814 (2019-05-13): Fedora 30, distributions publish Firefox fixes, CentOS publishes roadmap to 8.0, Debian plans to use Wayland by default|
|• Issue 813 (2019-05-06): ROSA R11, MX seeks help with systemd-shim, FreeBSD tests unified package management, interview with Gael Duval|
|• Issue 812 (2019-04-29): Ubuntu MATE 19.04, setting up a SOCKS web proxy, Scientific Linux discontinued, Red Hat takes over Java LTS support|
|• Issue 811 (2019-04-22): Alpine 3.9.2, rsync examples, Ubuntu working on ZFS support, Debian elects new Project Leader, Obarun releases S6 tools|
|• Issue 810 (2019-04-15): SolydXK 201902, Bedrock Linux 0.7.2, Fedora phasing out Python 2, NetBSD gets virtual machine monitor|
|• Issue 809 (2019-04-08): PCLinuxOS 2019.02, installing Falkon and problems with portable packages, Mint offers daily build previews, Ubuntu speeds up Snap packages|
|• Issue 808 (2019-04-01): Solus 4.0, security benefits and drawbacks to using a live distro, Gentoo gets GNOME ports working without systemd, Redox OS update|
|• Issue 807 (2019-03-25): Pardus 17.5, finding out which user changed a file, new Budgie features, a tool for browsing FreeBSD's sysctl values|
|• Issue 806 (2019-03-18): Kubuntu vs KDE neon, Nitrux's znx, notes on Debian's election, SUSE becomes an independent entity|
|• Issue 805 (2019-03-11): EasyOS 1.0, managing background services, Devuan team debates machine ID file, Ubuntu Studio works to remain an Ubuntu Community Edition|
|• Issue 804 (2019-03-04): Condres OS 19.02, securely erasing hard drives, new UBports devices coming in 2019, Devuan to host first conference|
|• Issue 803 (2019-02-25): Septor 2019, preventing windows from stealing focus, NetBSD and Nitrux experiment with virtual machines, pfSense upgrading to FreeBSD 12 base|
|• Issue 802 (2019-02-18): Slontoo 18.07.1, NetBSD tests newer compiler, Fedora packaging Deepin desktop, changes in Ubuntu Studio|
|• Issue 801 (2019-02-11): Project Trident 18.12, the meaning of status symbols in top, FreeBSD Foundation lists ongoing projects, Plasma Mobile team answers questions|
|• Issue 800 (2019-02-04): FreeNAS 11.2, using Ubuntu Studio software as an add-on, Nitrux developing znx, matching operating systems to file systems|
|• Issue 799 (2019-01-28): KaOS 2018.12, Linux Basics For Hackers, Debian 10 enters freeze, Ubuntu publishes new version for IoT devices|
|• Issue 798 (2019-01-21): Sculpt OS 18.09, picking a location for swap space, Solus team plans ahead, Fedora trying to get a better user count|
|• Issue 797 (2019-01-14): Reborn OS 2018.11.28, TinyPaw-Linux 1.3, dealing with processes which make the desktop unresponsive, Debian testing Secure Boot support|
|• Issue 796 (2019-01-07): FreeBSD 12.0, Peppermint releases ISO update, picking the best distro of 2018, roundtable interview with Debian, Fedora and elementary developers|
|• Issue 795 (2018-12-24): Running a Pinebook, interview with Bedrock founder, Alpine being ported to RISC-V, Librem 5 dev-kits shipped|
|• Issue 794 (2018-12-17): Void 20181111, avoiding software bloat, improvements to HAMMER2, getting application overview in GNOME Shell|
|• Issue 793 (2018-12-10): openSUSE Tumbleweed, finding non-free packages, Debian migrates to usrmerge, Hyperbola gets FSF approval|
|• Issue 792 (2018-1203): GhostBSD 18.10, when to use swap space, DragonFly BSD's wireless support, Fedora planning to pause development schedule|
|• Issue 791 (2018-11-26): Haiku R1 Beta1, default passwords on live media, Slax and Kodachi update their media, dual booting DragonFly BSD on EFI|
|• Issue 790 (2018-11-19): NetBSD 8.0, Bash tips and short-cuts, Fedora's networking benchmarked with FreeBSD, Ubuntu 18.04 to get ten years of support|
|• Issue 789 (2018-11-12): Fedora 29 Workstation and Silverblue, Haiku recovering from server outage, Fedora turns 15, Debian publishes updated media|
|• Issue 788 (2018-11-05): Clu Linux Live 6.0, examining RAM consumpion, finding support for older CPUs, more Steam support for running Windows games on Linux, update from Solus team|
|• Issue 787 (2018-10-29): Lubuntu 18.10, limiting application access to specific users, Haiku hardware compatibility list, IBM purchasing Red Hat|
|• Issue 786 (2018-10-22): elementary OS 5.0, why init keeps running, DragonFly BSD enables virtual machine memory resizing, KDE neon plans to drop older base|
|• Issue 785 (2018-10-15): Reborn OS 2018.09, Nitrux 1.0.15, swapping hard drives between computers, feren OS tries KDE spin, power savings coming to Linux|
|• Issue 784 (2018-10-08): Hamara 2.1, improving manual pages, UBports gets VoIP app, Fedora testing power saving feature|
|• Issue 783 (2018-10-01): Quirky 8.6, setting up dual booting with Ubuntu and FreeBSD, Lubuntu switching to LXQt, Mint works on performance improvements|
|• Issue 782 (2018-09-24): Bodhi Linux 5.0.0, Elive 3.0.0, Solus publishes ISO refresh, UBports invites feedback, Linux Torvalds plans temporary vacation|
|• Issue 781 (2018-09-17): Linux Mint 3 "Debian Edition", file systems for SSDs, MX makes installing Flatpaks easier, Arch team answers questions, Mageia reaches EOL|
|• Issue 780 (2018-09-10): Netrunner 2018.08 Rolling, Fedora improves language support, how to customize Kali Linux, finding the right video drivers|
|• Full list of all issues|
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|Random Distribution |
During LinuxTag 2004 the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) and the company credativ unveiled the Linux Government Desktop. The Linux Goverment Desktop has been developed within the scope of the project ERPOSS which evaluates Open Source Software in government environments. Composed entirely of free software the distribution was available as a live CD as well as an install CD. One of the highlights brought by the Government Desktop was the fact that it saves the whole data on encrypted filesystems. Furthermore KMail was preconfigured to send and receive encrypted e-mail (GnuPG and S/MIME) and to make use of all kinds of authority certificates. The package was completed by integrated spam and virus protection and a preconfigured personal firewall.