| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 398, 28 March 2011
Welcome to this year's 13th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Red Hat, Inc., the world's largest and most profitable Linux company, has once again surprised the markets with excellent results. With the company being one of the largest and most influential developers of open-source code, many of us, Linux users, stand to benefit from this enormous and perhaps unexpected success. We cover the company's 4th quarter financial results in the news section. Also in the news, the development of Fedora 15 continues with some pleasant surprises for those who dislike the GNOME 3 user interface, Arch Linux responds to the recent criticism of its package-signing practices, Mageia continues to impress early testers despite the alpha status of its first release and PC-BSD's Kris Moore details the changes in the PBI package format in the upcoming PC-BSD 9. The feature story of this week's issue takes a quick look at GhostBSD 2.0 and Kororaa Linux 14, while the Questions and Answers section deals with wireless connectivity. All this and more in this week's DistroWatch Weekly - happy reading!
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|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
First looks at GhostBSD 2.0 and Kororaa Linux 14|
This past week I sat down with two ISO images from two projects with the intention of installing them both and writing about whichever one happened to interest me more. However, my schedule took a turn for the hectic and I ended up getting just two days with both projects. I felt both systems were well put together and deserved some attention, so I would like to present my first impressions of...
* * * * *
I had a look at GhostBSD last year when it was in its early stages and, at the time, it was essentially FreeBSD with the GNOME desktop layered on top. The project offered a live disc only as there wasn't any system installer yet. The project has since gained an installer, moving it out of my mind's "technology demo" category. The project's ISO image weighs in at about 1.1 GB and comes in both 32-bit and 64-bit flavours. The GhostBSD website has undergone a big facelift in the past year and I like the new look. There's more information available now, including tutorials and a helpful community forum that welcomes English and French speakers.
The live DVD boots into GNOME 2.32 which has a background that reminds me of the northern lights. The application menu sits at the top of the screen along with some quick-launch buttons and an icon for the system installer is displayed on the desktop. Launching the installer brings up a virtual terminal window where we're shown a series of text prompts and expected to type our responses. The installer is fairly short and doesn't require much knowledge of the BSDs. The experience is much the same as installing OpenBSD -- the interface is simple, but provides us with sane defaults so we only need to provide a minimal amount of information. After confirming which hard disk we want to use, we set a new root password, create a regular user account and pick our preferred shell. After we make it through all the questions the installer copies its files over to our hard drive. I was hit with several disk mount errors while the copying was in progress. When the process was completed I found that, errors aside, the installation had completed successfully.
Rebooting the machine brought me quickly to a green-lit GNOME login screen. Upon logging in I found that GhostBSD comes with a fairly standard selection of software. In the application menu we find Firefox 3.6, Pidgin, and the Thunderbird e-mail client. For office work we have AbiWord and Gnumeric. We're given a movie player, audio player, disc burner and image viewer. There is a system services launcher, account configuration tools and a screen reader. We're also treated to the usual GNOME configuration apps and the GConf settings editor. There's also a graphical package manager and I'll touch on that further down. The only problem I ran into was launching Firefox. The menu launcher, and the quick-launch button, run a script that is supposed to start Firefox. On my test installation the script didn't work. I changed the short-cut to point directly to the Firefox executable and the application worked without any further problems. (This same issue wasn't present when I was working from the live disc.) The OS doesn't include a Flash player, but it does have codecs for playing popular video and audio file formats. We also find the GNU Compiler Collection installed by default. At the base of all this software is FreeBSD-8.2.
GhostBSD 2.0 - adjusting the settings
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Software can be added to GhostBSD through the FreeBSD Ports Collection. This provides users with a little over 20,000 available packages. By default GhostBSD doesn't include a local copy of the Ports tree (which allows users to install ports from their source code), but does include package managing utilities to help acquire pre-compiled software. Pre-compiled binaries can be downloaded using the command line program pkg_add and, for people more comfortable with a graphical interface, GhostBSD comes with a graphical front-end for package management. The GUI is a fairly straight forward tool that is divided into two parts. On the left side of the package manager window are two tabs for displaying installed or available software. On the right side we're given dependency information for any selected packages with buttons to add or remove the highlighted software. I didn't spend much time with the GUI front-end, so I can't comment on its functionality, but the layout and options seemed clear enough.
Performance while using GhostBSD was good, better than I had expected. The GNOME desktop was very responsive, boot times were good and everything ran smoothly. I found the high contrast theme with bright window buttons appealing and didn't experience any crashes. When running from the live disc I found about every other boot-up that my keyboard would stop working. Usually rebooting would correct the issue.
I would have liked to have spent more time on GhostBSD. The project has a pretty good selection of software, from what I've seen so far the performance is good and the package manager puts a friendly face on the Ports Collection. I would like to see more effort go into making the system installer user-friendly and the keyboard bug was an inconvenience, but otherwise things worked well.
* * * * *
Kororaa Linux 14
The Kororaa Linux distribution is one I had not tried before, but this project has also been through some big changes recently. The Linux distro, run by Chris Smart, was previously a Gentoo-based project aimed at end users. Now the project, which continues its goal of being user-friendly, has been reborn as a Fedora-based distribution. Mr Smart has laid out reasons for this move on the project's website and gives his views for why Fedora makes a good base for Kororaa.
The distribution provides two flavours, GNOME and KDE, which are offered in both 32-bit and 64-bit editions. Each of the available ISO files is just over 1 GB in size and I decided to use the 32-bit KDE option for my tests. At first, booting from the live DVD feels just as it would booting plain Fedora 14. The underpinnings are the same and the Anaconda system installer is the same. One difference that stands out is the Help icon on the desktop. This icon opens a PDF file, giving us some information on where to find assistance, links to frequently asked questions and contact information for the project. There is a second icon for launching the system installer and a third called Add/Remove Extras. This last icon gives us the ability to quickly add a Flash browser plugin and ATI & NVIDIA video drivers. It's nice to have these optional non-free items available with just a few mouse clicks.
After the installer has copied the necessary data to our hard drive and the first-run wizard has prompted us to create a user, set the time & date and submit our hardware profile upstream, we're turned over to a graphical login screen. Logging in presents us with a KDE 4.5 desktop that includes the familiar "glass breaking" Fedora background and the same Help and Add/Remove extras icons we saw before. One area where Kororaa sets itself apart from its parent distro is in the selection of software installed by default. Fedora's live ISOs are limited in size so as to fit on a single CD, but Kororaa provides a heavier disc and it allows for more software.
For instance, LibreOffice 3.3 is included, as is Firefox 3.6, the VLC multimedia player, KTorrent, a blogging client, a micro-blogging client, two more video players, two audio players, a CD player, the GIMP and various image viewers. We're treated to a handful of KDE games, the Deja Dup backup tool, several utilities for managing and trouble-shooting SELinux and KPackageKit for handling packages and updates. The application menu additionally includes the various useful Fedora system tools for handling services, users, printers and network configuration. We're given codecs for playing popular multimedia formats, the GNU Compiler Collection and Java. In the background we find the 2.6.35 Linux kernel running the show.
Kororaa Linux 14 - running Ksplice
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In relation to the kernel, Kororaa is the only distribution I'm aware of that ships Ksplice in the default install. The Ksplice tool allows us to apply security updates to a running Linux kernel without rebooting. In theory this allows us to keep our systems up to date without taking the machine offline. Which brings me to a question that rattled around in my mind while I was trying out Kororaa: Who is this distribution targeting? The website says it's trying to make things easier for new Linux users while still being useful to more experienced Linuxers. I'll agree with the latter point. There's lots of software on the DVD, while I was using it the OS generally stayed out of my way, the distro comes with developer tools and the cutting-edge Fedora lies underneath it all, so I see the appeal to experienced users. However, the easy for new-comers aspect, I think, is only halfway there right now.There's helpful documentation available and the desktop environment is laid out with some nice, big icons for web browsers and shutting down the machine and these are good. Having codecs and easy-to-install extras is also good for beginners.
However, there are characteristics here I think will be unappealing to novice users. The application menu is stuffed with software and that's a double-edged sword. We can find almost anything we want, but we have to dig through a lot to find it and I think future releases would benefit from pruning the application menu a bit. The default GUI package manager is KPackageKit and it's an application that, in my experience, isn't stable yet -- hopefully it will get traded in for something else soon. And, being based on Fedora 14, Kororaa's current release will only be supported through to around November 2011, making for a short life span. For the most part I've enjoyed Kororaa and I hope the next release trims down some of the extras in order to take the one-app-per-task approach.
* * * * *
One other thing I'd like to talk about briefly is tribalism in the open source communities. The open source world has its rivalries, lots of them. Some of them have gone on long enough and with enough heat they're almost jokes (GNOME vs KDE, vi vs Emacs, GPL vs BSD, RPM vs DEB). Quite often it's the users of these applications that get into heated arguments, but as we saw a few weeks ago with the GNOME & Canonical debates, developers and project leaders can get involved too. And I think this sort of behaviour is really unfortunate for a few reasons. First, it shows, despite the good will behind the open source philosophies, we can still be petty, uncommunicative people. We might all be working with similar ideals in mind, but a small difference of opinion or a misspoken word is all it takes for the walls go up and the gloves to come off. Second, I think it's harming the open source developers and users with duplicated work.
I'm not speaking of reinventing the wheel. Every so often I think starting from scratch with a better design (while painful at first) can be just the thing to improve technology. As an example, I completely support having both the GNOME and KDE projects. Yes, both are desktop environments, but they have quite different approaches and both designs have merit. I think the same applies to the popular web browsers. Firefox and Chromium both show us web pages, but they have different ways to tackle the task and I think that's good. It's healthy to have variety and competition. Where I think tribalism hurts us is in the "not invented here" mindset -- a reimplementation of the same wheels, rather than a reinventing. It results in duplication of work and incompatibilities, neither of which are good for the users.
I think a good example of reimplementing the wheel is ZFS. Due to the license on ZFS it was possible to port the file system from OpenSolaris to FreeBSD, but not to Linux. This resulted in various projects being created to give us a ZFS Linux kernel module and ZFS-FUSE. Another licensing example is FreeBSD's move to replace its text processing tools with virtually identical tools under a different license. Likewise there's the BSD ELF Tool Chain project to replace the GNU versions of those same tools. Each of these examples features an open source project being re-written, not to improve upon the technology, but because of licensing or philosophical differences.
Another, more day-to-day issue I've run into is the way the GNOME and KDE desktops store their preferred applications in different ways. Let's say you set your preferred web browser in KDE. Applications written for GNOME aren't aware of it and will open links in a different browser until you also change your GNOME preferred application settings. This is an area where we really should have one common method to store and retrieve settings, but the two camps seem unwilling to cooperate. Sometimes it doesn't even have to be a matter of different projects wanting to go their own ways. The Fedora project has been sampling various unfinished front-ends for their package manager for years like a digital Goldilocks while Yum Extender sits on the side-lines.
What's I'm driving at is, I think, that we should all make an effort to stop thinking of my distribution, my web browser and my license against their distro, their browser and their license. Reviewing at least one distribution each week has caused me to see the same problems being solved over and over in the same way, duplicating effort where we could be focusing energy on exploring new territory. I think we should all try to lower our walls a little and work on finding solutions that can be applied across distros, across operating system and even across licenses.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
Red Hat increases profits, Fedora adds GNOME 2 style, Arch responds to package-signing criticism, Mageia status report, PBI format in PC-BSD 9
A pleasant surprise awaited Red Hat shareholders last week as the world's largest Linux company reported record revenues in the fourth quarter of 2010. Even better, it seems that Red Hat, the producer of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) is on target to become a billion-dollar company in 2011: "'With record bookings and billings in the fourth quarter, we are on a run rate to become the first pure-play open source company to achieve a billion dollars in revenues next fiscal year, a milestone achievement for Red Hat and the open source community,' said Red Hat President and CEO Jim Whitehurst in announcing the results." This is good news for the open-source development community since Red Hat is probably the largest contributor and employer in the sector. Nevertheless, the negativity surrounding its source-code "obfuscation" to make it harder for competitors to rebuild Red Hat Enterprise Linux continued last week: "One area where Red Hat has been facing competition is from clones of its own RHEL operating system. Oracle Enterprise Linux as well as the community CentOS both use RHEL as the base. Starting with RHEL 6, Red Hat has moved to make it more difficult for the clones in the way it packages the RHEL Linux kernel."
* * * * *
Red Hat Enterprise Linux is of course based on Fedora, a new version of which is presently undergoing heavy development. Here is a brief update on the current status of Fedora 15: "I've noticed a few changes that came with some updates yesterday that I wanted to share. Fedora 15 appears to have incorporated all of the upstream GNOME 3 changes; the experience is exactly like that from the GNOME 3 live beta based on openSUSE. They added a way in the GNOME 3 Shell System Settings to switch back to the GNOME 2 style desktop which has been polished up some. Fedora has also added some additional artwork for non-GNOME desktops. The GNOME 2 style fall-back desktop in GNOME 3 isn't exactly like the previous GNOME 2.32 desktop but it is fairly close. There are some elements from GNOME Shell present, such as the window styling and decorations (although you do get the minimize and maximize buttons back). You can place application buttons on the top panel but none are there by default. There isn't a right-click desktop menu and the System Settings are from GNOME 3. Although the fall-back desktop mode is a bit different than the older GNOME 2.32 desktop, the changes they have made should go a long way to make GNOME 2 die-hards a little happier."
* * * * *
Arch Linux might have become one of the most popular rolling-release distributions on the market, but it continues facing criticism over its package signing (or lack thereof) practices. Dan McGee, the lead developer of Arch's Pacman package management tool responds to some of the recent accusations in a long blog post entitled "The real story behind Arch Linux package signing": "On June 1, 2008, a day that will live in infamy, the very first patch dealing with package signing showed up on the pacman-dev mailing list. ... What happened next was typical of both Pacman development and OSS development in general- the original contributor of this work sent a few more patches, stopped responding to requests to fix issues in the work, and left it in our laps. For the maintainer of a project, being dumped on like this is never a great thing, but at least here the work was in good enough shape to fix up and commit to a GPG branch for later use." The author also takes offence with a well-known website (LWN.net) for publishing an article on the subject before concluding that package signing in Arch Linux is still on the cards: "With Pacman 3.5 out the door and 3.6 in development, package signing is not falling out of the spotlight. Instead, three different merges plus additional follow-up commits have already taken place of the code that in some cases is 2.75 years old."
* * * * *
Mageia is a distribution that many current and former Mandriva users keep watching in the hope of switching to it as soon as its inaugural release turns stable. Following the first two alpha builds, it looks like the distro is starting to fulfil its promise: "On September 18, 2010, in response to Mandriva's liquidation of its 'Edge-IT' subsidiary and the attendant lay-off of a substantial share of its developers, a group consisting of former Mandriva developers and Mandriva community contributors announced their intention to form a non-profit organization and release a fork of Mandriva Linux called Mageia. Six months later, on February 14, 2011 the alpha 1 version of Mageia 1 was released, two months later than originally planned. However, the alpha 2 release was right on time, appearing a month later on March 15, 2011. How is the Mageia 1 release shaping up? This status report takes a look at Mageia Linux 1 alpha 2 release (updated daily), from a KDE-user perspective." And the conclusion? "I really like the way Mageia is shaping up. I plan to continue with Mageia on my laptop, which I'll be taking with me to the Northwest LinuxFest Conference at the end of April. For an alpha 2 release updated to an imminent beta 1 release, it's becoming very stable. The repositories are getting deep, and the performance is remarkable."
* * * * *
Finally, a quick link to a technical article detailing the changes in the PBI packaging format of the upcoming PC-BSD 9, a desktop operating system based on FreeBSD. Written by Kris Moore, the project's founder and lead developer, the article (PDF format) was presented at the AsiaBSDCon 2011 in Tokyo, Japan earlier this month: "The PBI format (Push Button Installer) has been the default package management system for PC-BSD going on 5+ years now. However, as we looked to the future it became apparent that it was greatly needing an overhaul to both improve its functionality, and expand its usage outside the scope of just PC-BSD. Among the areas needing improvement were how it dealt with identical libraries between applications, the heavy requirements from being implemented in Qt/KDE, and lack of a digital verification mechanism. Starting in April of 2010, work began on reimplementing the PBI format to address these issues, and greatly expand upon its usefulness as a package management system for both PC-BSD and FreeBSD. From this work the pbi-manager was born as a subset of command-line functionality for dealing with every aspect of PBIs, from building, installing, distribution and advanced management."
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
All about wireless
Since early 2010 I've been using a laptop made by HP as one of my test machines during reviews. In recent months several readers have pointed out, quite correctly, that the wireless card in this laptop doesn't work with the majority of distributions I test. This has led to various comments and questions about the laptop and its wireless card. Rather than reply to each of these comments individually each week, I decided to collect them and try to answer all your questions at once.
Before I get to the Q&A, I'd like to point out that my reviews consist of my observations and opinions using my hardware. At no point have I meant to imply that my experiences will be the same as another's. That is, where one distribution works well for me (or doesn't work well), I don't expect the same to be true for anyone else if they're using different equipment. My observations that various distros do not automatically detect my wireless card are not attacks on the distributions. I strongly suspect that your mileage may vary, as the saying goes.
What kind of notebook are you using?
I'm using HP's G60-530CA. The wireless card is an Intel WiFi Link 1000. Running dmesg on my machine gives the following identifying details on distributions that work with the card:
iwlagn: Intel(R) Wireless WiFi Link AGN driver for Linux, 1.3.27k
iwlagn 0000:02:00.0: Detected Intel Wireless WiFi Link 1000 Series BGN REV=0x6C
iwlagn 0000:02:00.0: firmware: requesting iwlwifi-1000-3.ucode
iwlagn 0000:02:00.0: loaded firmware version 126.96.36.199
The lspci command reports on the device as follows:
Network controller: Intel Corporation WiFi Link 1000 Series
Does your wireless card work with any distribution?
Yes, indeed it does. I don't have a complete list, but if I recall correctly the following distributions have worked very well with this machine: KNOPPIX, Ubuntu and almost all children of Ubuntu, such as Linux Mint, Peppermint and Wolfer Linux. The exceptions to the Ubuntu rule so far being Trisquel GNU/Linux (a libre distro) and Bodhi Linux).
For that matter, I'm sure it's possible to make the wireless work with any distribution if one is willing to do a little research and downloading. However, I don't think that readers of my reviews would benefit from a detailed description of how to get my hardware working.
Is your wireless card broken?
No, it's working just fine. I use this same laptop for other tasks besides testing distributions and I make use of the wireless card several times a week. Though I haven't done a thorough investigation, I think most distributions simply don't ship the required firmware in their default install. According to this Debian document, the Intel Wireless WiFi Link 1000 driver was introduced in the 2.6.27 version of the Linux kernel, but the firmware is non-free. I suspect that most distributions don't ship the non-free firmware in their ISOs. This theory is supported by dmesg errors saying iwlwifi-1000-3.ucode cannot be found when running non-supporting distributions. That being said, I have found that recent versions of FreeBSD do ship the required driver & firmware, but for some reason the firmware doesn't get loaded automatically. Users have the option of manually loading the module to enable the device.
Why not use another computer for testing?
Two reasons. The first is that I refuse to change a test to improve its outcome. We see that sort of behaviour all too frequently in the North American education system and it does not yield positive results. I've established that the card is in working order and the proper software/firmware exists to make it function on Linux and FreeBSD. If developers want their distribution to work with this card, they can support it. On the other hand, if there are reasons that they are not supporting the card out of the box, that's okay, but I'm not going to change my hardware to match their priorities.
My second reason is that I don't see the hardware section of my reviews to be all that important. Almost everyone reading this is using a different combination of hardware. I mention my test hardware and experiences with it as a frame of reference only. Since other people are using different hardware, we're likely to have different results.
Does the front-end software matter? Does using wicd give different results than Network Manager?
In short, no. On distributions where my wireless card is picked up right away I've found I can use either wicd or Network Manager to connect to the network. On distributions where the card isn't picked up by one application, it isn't picked up by the other. As a side note, I don't recommend trying to run both Network Manager and wicd at the same time. In my experience the two tend to conflict.
You're on the HP payroll.
More of a statement than a question, but I'll run with it. I'm sorry to say that HP has never offered to pay me for... well, for anything, now that I think about it. They certainly haven't shown any interest in paying me to mention that one of their notebook models has a wireless card that doesn't work with most Linux distributions out of the box. I'm sure that their advertising department can come up with better ideas. Of course, should HP offer to send me a new notebook with a more freedom-friendly wireless card, I'll be happy to write about their generosity.
|Released Last Week
GParted Live 0.8.0-5
Steven Shiau has released a new stable version of GParted Live, a Debian-based live utility CD designed primarily for disk partitioning task, with some data rescue tools added into the mix. From the release notes: "This is GParted Live 0.8.0-5. New in this release: the underlying GNU/Linux operating system is based on the Debian 'Sid' repository (as of 2011-03-21); the Linux kernel has been updated to 2.6.38; package OpenSSH was added in this release, by default the SSH service is not started, and if you want to start it, make sure you have change the password and the file /etc/hosts.deny; bug fixed - a workaround was added to make setxkbmap work.". See also the changelog for a complete release history.
Trisquel GNU/Linux 4.5
Rubén Rodríguez has announced the release of Trisquel GNU/Linux 4.5, an Ubuntu-based desktop distribution built from free (as defined by Free Software Foundation) components only: "Our latest version is ready for download. It includes a lot of updates, along with an overhaul of the development process which was largely upgraded to simplify automation. This improvement made it easier to apply changes to the upstream packages, leading to a much more polished result. Along with many bug fixes, 'Slaine' comes with a new boot manager for live images, an improved installer which showcases the project highlights, and new programs like the Remmina remote desktop client, the social network client Gwibber or the backup tool Deja-dup. 'Slaine' is based on Ubuntu 10.10, the main packages include: Linux-libre 2.6.35, X.Org 7.5, GNOME 2.32, Mozilla-based web browser 3.6.15, OpenOffice.org 3.2.". Here is the full release announcement.
Trisquel GNU/Linux 4.5 - a 100% "libre" distribution based on Ubuntu
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Zenwalk Linux 7.0
Jean-Philippe Guillemin has announced the release of Zenwalk Linux 7.0, a Slackware-based desktop distribution featuring the new Xfce 4.8 desktop: "Zenwalk Linux 7.0 is available for immediate download. Still desktop, Internet and multimedia oriented, Zenwalk 7.0 is a milestone in the evolution of the distribution. This release brings several major changes at user level and system level. At user level, the Xfce desktop environment has been updated to major version 4.8.1, coming with a new VFS, Xfce 4.8 allows CIFS and SFTP shares browsing through the file manager, making it mostly feature equivalent to GNOME while still a lot faster. The new panel has good support for transparency, and is packaged with many plugins out of the box. We are pleased to announce that OpenOffice.org will be replaced by LibreOffice.". Read the rest of the release announcement for full details.
Zenwalk Linux 7.0 - a major new version of the popular Slackware-based distribution
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Bodhi Linux 1.0.0
Bodhi Linux 1.0.0, the first stable version of the Ubuntu-based distribution featuring the Enlightenment 17 window manager, has been released: "After two more weeks of hacking and user feedback since our final release candidate the Bodhi Team and I are proud to announce the availability of the first ever Bodhi Linux Stable release (1.0.0). This release includes a couple of minor bug fixes and a few final touches polish-wise. For a full change log see here. The first thing you will notice when starting the newest Bodhi disc is that our Plymouth (boot splash) has a sleek new look. In addition to the standard Plymouth being reworked, a text-based Plymouth is now installed by default so older/virtual systems no longer display the harmless 'missing library' message that had looked tacky in the previous versions." Read the full release announcement for more details and several screenshots.
Bodhi Linux 1.0.0 - an Ubuntu-based distribution with Enlightenment
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Foresight Linux 2.5.0
Og Maciel has announced the release of Foresight Linux 2.5.0, an rPath-based, rolling-release distribution featuring the Conary package management and a choice of three desktop environments: "Foresight is a Linux distribution for your desktop that features a rolling-release schedule that always keeps your desktop up-to-date, a revolutionary package manager, the latest GNOME, KDE and Xfce desktop environments, and an innovative set of excellent, up-to-date software applications. What's new? GNOME 2.32.1, KDE 4.6.1 and Xfce 4.8; Linux kernel 188.8.131.52; the very latest and greatest Chromium and Firefox web browsers, Banshee, F-Spot, OpenShot, Hotot, Pidgin, Gimp...." Read the rest of the release announcement for further information.
Foresight Linux 2.5.0 - the GNOME edition comes with GNOME 2.32
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* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to waiting list
- Dream Studio. Dream Studio is an Ubuntu-based distribution containing a collection of applications for creating stunning graphics, captivating videos, inspiring music and professional websites.
- Tulga GNU/Linux. Tulga GNU/Linux is a new Turkish distribution based on Slackware Linux. The project's website is in Turkish.
- WhirlWind. WhirlWind is a WiFi wardriving live CD containing a collection of open-source and proprietary wireless security applications. Previously a commercial distribution developed by Futures Inc, WhirlWind is now available to private individuals as a free download.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 4 April 2011.
Jesse Smith and Ladislav Bodnar
|Linux Foundation Training
|• 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|
|• 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|
|• 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.