| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 420, 29 August 2011
Welcome to this year's 35th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Mandriva Linux 2011 marks a radical departure of the once highly popular desktop distribution from its established ways. Simplicity, one application per task, KDE as the only supported desktop, and a plethora of unique desktop utilities - all this is part of the new vision created by the mostly new and mostly Russia-based development crew. Will the distribution and company find success with the new strategy? Read our first-look review to find out what we think. In the news section, Troy Dawson departs Scientific Linux to join Red Hat, Inc., Gentoo Linux gets an Anaconda-based hard disk installer, and Bodhi Linux founder lists the five things the Enlightenment desktop does the best. Also in this issue, a useful tutorial on recovering deleted files from formatted hard disks and a serious question from a reader regarding Linux on the i586 architecture. All this and more in this issue of DistroWatch Weekly - happy reading!
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|Feature Story (by Ladislav Bodnar)
First look at Mandriva Linux 2011|
A new release of Mandriva Linux, the first major one in over a year, was announced informally earlier today. Although the once highly popular distribution lost much of the glitter it had in early parts of this century when it was the most user- and hardware-friendly Linux operating system available and when it comfortably topped our page hit ranking statistics, it still attracts many ardent followers. Its simple installer, one-stop control centre and large software repository with well-established package management tools continue to make Mandriva an attractive proposition for users of all levels. And while it lacks the buzz of the bigger and shinier distributions that have overtaken Mandriva in our charts, it's perhaps this modest and unpretentious nature of the project that make some Linux users feel more at home with Mandriva than they would with any other Linux distro.
The development of Mandriva Linux 2011 was a bumpy and laborious process. It started with an unceremonious dumping of many long-term Mandriva developers as the company sought to regain its footing following another financial disaster. This it did successfully, thanks to a €3 million financial injection by a Russian company called NGI, which now has controlling interest in the French enterprise. While this saved the firm from going bankrupt, it also meant a fresh start, with many new developers of unknown level of expertise and experience. Furthermore, the company has to compete for attention of Mandriva fans with Mageia, a community project launched last year by many former Mandriva employees and contributors who released their first stable version in early June. On a technical side, the distribution now includes several new visual elements developed by Rosa Labs, a Moscow-based software outfit, and it has switched to RPM 5.x, a controversial decision which has created tension among the Mandriva developers and which later contributed to delays in the 2011 release process.
That was a brief run-down on the background and current status of the company and its Linux distribution. With that out of the way, let's take a more technical look at the new release.
Download and installation
The first novelty a Mandriva user will notice is the reduction of download options to just one. Previously, Mandriva Linux came as a set of DVD and CD editions called "Free" and "One", with the live CD choice further fractured into a large number of possibilities depending on your preferred desktop environment and language support. With Mandriva 2011 things have been dramatically simplified - the single option, a roughly 1.6 GB DVD image, can be booted into a live mode (the default) or a hard disk installation wizard. This release strategy means that it is no longer necessary to pick the right edition to install, which I suppose is great for new Linux users, but it does have its drawbacks. The most evident among them is lack of software on the DVD - many server and development packages, as well as desktop environments and window managers, have been omitted from the ISO image and will have to be installed later, from Mandriva's download mirrors.
Mandriva Linux 2011 - KDE is now the only supported desktop
(full image size: 155kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
This is probably one of the more controversial design choices in the new Mandriva. Previously, a user installing the system from the DVD image could choose an installation class (server, desktop, etc.), select the preferred desktop environment and even customise the list of installed packages. No such possibility exists in Mandriva 2011. Once you click on the "Install" button, the installer will simply dump the entire content of the live DVD image onto your hard disk, a process that will turn you into a KDE user whether you like it or not. In fact, KDE is the only officially supported desktop environment. If, by a chance, you prefer a different desktop (available from Mandriva's online repositories), your only option is to go ahead with the default installation, boot into the newly installed KDE, then fire up the package manager for much add/remove work. In other words, you customise your system with preferred software AFTER installation, not before. Also, unlike many other distributions which allow you to make changes to the live session and then install it with your changes preserved, Mandriva doesn't provide an option to install directly from the live desktop, only from the DVD boot menu.
A few more comments on the installer. An already easy and intuitive Mandriva install program has been further simplified in this release, but some relics of the past (now no longer functional) remain. For example, the user is given a choice of bootloaders (GRUB, GRUB 2 and LILO), but since the latter two are not included on the DVD image, selecting them will invariably result in an error. Ditto for input method editors for non-Latin language scripts - SCIM is an option here but once again it is not available on the install media. Since network configuration and online repository setup have been removed from the installer, keeping these options seem like an oversight on the part of the developers. There is one other screen that has been removed - the user creation and root password setup is now a post-install step that has to be completed upon first boot.
On the desktop
The KDE desktop delivers a number of surprises. The "Start Menu" (or "KickOff" in KDE speak) has been replaced with something called "SimpleWelcome" (see screenshot below). This is the first of the many newcomer-friendly visual desktop tools created by the Rosa Labs developers and which are unique to Mandriva Linux. The tablet-like start menu takes up the entire screen, with three additional tabs at the bottom offering further pages. The default "Welcome" screen contains "Recent Applications" (which get added here automatically, but only if you launch them from SimpleWelcome, not from icons on the panel or the desktop), "Places" linking to most often-used folders, and "Recent Documents". The "Applications" tab offers the full list of available programs, again in the form of large icons. The third tab is called "Time Frame", which provides links to files and documents in a chronological order. This seems like an interesting way of accessing documents and files, but it only works if you enable the "Nepomuk Semantic Desktop" in the KDE control centre.
Mandriva Linux 2011 - the "SimpleWelcome" menu
(full image size: 117kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Since I am not a huge fan of these menus that make my computer monitor look like a giant smartphone, I attempted to remove "SimpleWelcome" and replace it with the classic KDE menu. Here I ran into a problem; while it was possible to add the "Application Launcher" widget to the panel, I was unable to move it into my preferred position as the normal way of moving icons on a KDE 4 panel (via "Panel Settings") was not available on the default Mandriva panel. Another Mandriva/Rosa Labs new is a "RocketBar", a fork of the KDE panel with some interesting features. Unfortunately, I could only read about them in the release notes - no matter how many times I added the "RocketBar" to my desktop, I noticed nothing new. It's possible that it only works if you have an accelerated video card and desktop effects enabled, although the release notes say nothing about this. One other Rosa Labs tool worth mentioning is the "StackFolder", a useful applet for the KDE plasma desktop allowing fast access to often-used folders.
On the applications front, gone are the days of abundance as the latest Mandriva has the "one-program-per-task" policy that limits the number of officially supported applications to whatever is provided on the DVD image. As such, the distribution comes with Firefox 5.0 as the default web browser, while Thunderbird 5.0 is the default email client and LibreOffice the preferred productivity suite. On the multimedia front there are some interesting choices, with Amarok dropped in favour of the Clementine music player, and some GNOME/GTK+ applications, such as the Shotwell photo manager and PiTiVi video editor, preferred over their KDE/Qt counterparts. Of course, the Mandriva package manager gives an easy access to thousands of extra packages, so the choice isn't entirely removed, but the release notes remark about community-built packages not officially supported could be disheartening for Mandriva users who have always been accustomed to having the deep Mandriva software well at their disposal.
Another major change awaiting Mandriva users is taking place on the package management front. After years of using urpmi (and its graphical front-end), Mandriva is in the process of switching to MPM, the Mandriva Package Manager. The utility wasn't quite ready for the release of Mandriva 2011, so it's still urpmi for now, but interested users can already install the new tool via the "Software Management" module in the Mandriva control centre. The package is described as "a front-end (QML/PySide-based) tool for the mdvpkg server. It uses DBus to communicate with the server." Of course, this change will likely be invisible to most desktop users as the look and feel of the graphical front-end won't change, but those used to the command-line way of installing software will have to learn a few new commands.
The package manager contains a huge amount of software, including some non-free ones, such as the Opera browser. It also includes many popular desktop environments and window managers and although the release notes stress that these are all unsupported, the package description for many of them says that "this is an official package supported by Mandriva". In order to test the package manager and try out the distribution's ability to switch to another desktop, I decided to install LXDE and its 24 dependencies (after configuring access to online repositories via the Mandriva control centre, which is largely an automated process). The installation went without a hitch, but the problem was logging into the LXDE desktop, as the simplified Mandriva/Rosa Labs login screen provides no desktop or window manager choices. I had to go into the Mandriva control centre's auto-login screen to select LXDE as the default desktop. This worked and I was soon greeted by a much more responsive (although, admittedly, somewhat less exciting) desktop environment than the default KDE/Rosa Labs innovation.
Hardware and system configuration
I booted and installed Mandriva Linux 2011 on my older test computer with the following specifications: AMD Athlon 64 Processor 3500+ 2200 MHz, 2 GB or RAM, 160 GB hard disk drive, NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4200 graphics card, NVIDIA nForce3 AC97 sound card, Realtek RTL-8169 Ethernet controller. The distribution detected and configured all hardware correctly, both in live mode and once installed, with the graphics card using the "nv" driver, rather than the newer "nouveau" which was always somewhat unpredictable with this particular NVIDIA graphics card. The installation DVD does not provide any proprietary hardware drivers, so if you need them they will have to be installed via Mandriva's package manager. For my NVIDIA graphics card I tried to install the "nvidia96xx" package, but selecting it resulted in a message saying "sorry, the following packages cannot be selected." There was no such problem with trying to install the latest available NVIDIA version (280.13), so if you have one of the newer NVIDIA cards then you should have no problems, but of course this version won't work with the graphics card in my test machine.
Network was auto-configured via DHCP and up on first boot, but for those users who have a different setup there is always the good old Mandriva control centre, with plethora of tools for just about anything one might need. Software management is the pivotal tool here, but there are many less-frequently needed configuration options, such as security features, boot setup, Samba, NFS and WebDAV shares, disk management, as well as user, services, date/time and localisation options, and of course hardware setup. It's a one-stop service centre that doesn't quite have an equivalent in the Linux world, apart from openSUSE's YaST. The good-looking and functional control centre is probably the main reason why many people fell in love in Mandriva in the early days of desktop Linux and why the distribution is still a preferred choice for many among them.
Mandriva Linux 2011 - the Mandriva control centre
(full image size: 228kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
I have mixed feelings about Mandriva Linux 2011. On the one hand, I can understand the developer's motivation to simplify the distribution in order to create a more uniform, newcomer-friendly and easy-to-support installation class. This would be a perfect scenario for schools and government offices and with Russia's highest political echelons reportedly encouraging more free software deployment in the country, one can easily see the reasons for having a simple, easy-to-use and pre-configured desktop system provided locally. On the other hand, long-time Mandriva users are likely to be disappointed with the sudden lack of options previously available to them. Yes, the hybrid live/installation DVD image is a step in the right direction, but those users wishing to use Mandriva in a different deployment scenario than the default KDE desktop might be discouraged by the amount of post-install customisation work and the unequivocal endorsement of KDE as the only supported desktop.
This inevitably brings up the subject of comparison between Mandriva Linux 2011 and Mageia 1 (read our review of Mageia 1 here). As always in these situations, it is best to try both releases and decide which of the two better meets the user's needs, but in my view, it's clear that Mandriva 2011 has departed too far from its roots. In fact, Mageia 1, which resisted the temptation to make large scale changes to its first release, is now a more genuine "Mandriva" than Mandriva itself. Those users who enjoyed the older Mandriva Linux releases will undoubtedly feel more at home with Mageia 1 than with the latest Mandriva release.
Mandriva 2011 feels like a completely new distribution, extravagantly disconnected from its past and with dramatically new values, concepts and orientation. I suspect that it's targeted mainly at larger organisations with a need to have a uniform desktop setup across dozens of computers and, to a lesser extent, at newcomers to Linux. The only thing that still links this release to the old Mandriva is its superb control centre, but everything else has changed or, as in the package manager's case, is about the change. This is not necessarily a bad thing and it's entirely possible that this new philosophy will find acceptance among certain users and organisations where too many choices would present a new set of problems. Furthermore, the Rosa Labs set of desktop tools is an interesting addition, perhaps not entirely bug-free, but presumably well-tested on less technical users. As such, Mandriva could be in a good position to attract new Linux converts, but in the process it has probably shunned many of the more technical users.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
Scientific Linux architect moves to Red Hat, Gentoo Linux gets an installer, best features of Enlightenment and Bodhi, distros for i586
Troy Dawson, the driving force behind the Scientific Linux project and a person who more or less single-handedly elevated this increasingly popular clone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux to its current status, has announced his departure from the project - to join Red Hat itself: "I have loved all the years that I have been a developer and architect for Scientific Linux, but it is time for me to move on. I have accepted a job offer from Red Hat to work on their new Openshift project. My last day working for Fermilab and on the Scientific Linux project will be September 2, 2011. Thank you to everyone who has encouraged, thanked, and helped me over the past eight years that I have worked on Scientific Linux. I have said it before, and I'll say it now, The Scientific Linux community is one of the best communities there is." There is no word on who will become the new chief architect of Scientific Linux, but there are already some conspiracy theories on Slashdot suggesting that Red Hat has done this to stem the rapid rise of Scientific Linux.
* * * * *
Following the recent release of a new Gentoo Linux live DVD, a number of readers here and elsewhere expressed a disappointment that it does not include a hard disk installer. It surely didn't take long for this to change; as Susan Linton reports at OStatic, Wiktor Brodlo has ported the Red Hat's Anaconda installer from Sabayon to Gentoo: "Almost as though they heard my suggestions, Gentoo now has an installer. It's not included on an official live DVD just yet, but it just might next release. Wiktor Brodlo has ported the Red Hat Anaconda installer from Sabayon to work with Gentoo. You can either install it in the live Gentoo environment or you can roll it up in a new Gentoo ISO. In the live environment, one adds the git overlay repository and emerges it. Once installed, one should be able to install the Gentoo binary system. The other option is to create a whole new custom live DVD. One basically mounts the ISO, copies it to the hard drive, chroots into the folder, installs Anaconda, replaces the Squashfs image, and then rolls the ISO. If this works out well, there is little reason Gentoo couldn't include it in their next release."
The above story illustrates the polemical nature of Gentoo. While part of the developers wish to keep it as a mysterious, geek-only operating system for advanced users, there are always those Gentoo contributors who would prefer that more users taste the fruit of their labour. Last week Richard Hillesley wrote an excellent article summarising the past and present of Gentoo Linux: "Gentoo is not like other Linux distribution. The Gentoo swims faster than other penguins, and dives deeper. Where more fashionable distributions worry about fast installation and ease of use, Gentoo worries about efficient compilation and degrees of customisation. Gentoo is not about ease of use or making installation easier for the new user. Computers are what you do with them, and most users have little or no knowledge of how their systems are put together, and care even less. Gentoo is for the users who want to reach under the hood, get their hands dirty, and learn. Installation is hands on, and slow and painstaking, but is worth the effort if you have the time and the inclination to work your way through the Gentoo Handbook, and don't mind waiting while the code compiles."
* * * * *
Alternative desktop environments and window manager are currently making a strong comeback, with many users willing to experiment with some that once seemed on the verge of extinction. One of them is Enlightenment, a flashy, but still lightweight window manager whose current version (17) has been in development for nearly a decade. Jeff Hoogland, the founder and lead developer of Bodhi Linux, lists the five things the Enlightenment desktop does best: "There is no doubting that all of our modern desktops have been progressing in features and functionality. One spot where Enlightenment excels though is that it has a focus on remaining trim and fast while adding these new features. Don't believe me? KDE 4.x needs around 512 MB to be happy, GNOME 3 recommends slightly more at 768 MB and Ubuntu's Unity desktop requests a full gigabyte! Someone always pops up and cries out, 'but our computers are so powerful it doesn't matter', whenever you mention system requirements these days. The fact remains though - it does matter. A desktop that runs fast on a slow system will fly on a quick system. Resources should be there for your applications to use, not for your desktop environment to eat up. Trim as Enlightenment already is, the developers are currently in the process of rewriting all of it's code to use XCB to replace XLib - which will make it even faster."
* * * * *
Finally, not strictly a news item, but perhaps food for discussion and sharing of experiences in the comments area below. Wojciech Kozikowski has emailed DistroWatch (and Linus Torvalds) with a complaint about his inability to find a distribution that would run on an i586 machine: "I wanted to install Linux on my old AMD K6+III/450 MHz PC. I searched for and downloaded a number of Linux i586 architecture ISO files, burnt them to CDs and attempted to boot my PC with them. To my surprise NONE of these Linux distros boot successfully to completion. Usually there is an error message telling that my CPU lacks CMOV instruction, which is typical for AMD K6/K6+/K6+II/K6+III CPUs. However, Intel CPUs starting with Pentium II upward use this CMOV instruction. I was under the assumption that i586 compiled kernel should support CMOV CPU instruction. However, this is not a case because I encountered so many CMOV errors during booting. This makes me think that Linux Kernel developers DO NOT test their kernels on the real hardware! Unless someone tests Linux Kernel on AMD K6 family processor he/she can not know whether the Linux Kernel boots properly. Another possibility is that people were compiling Linux Kernel with -i586 flag and somehow this CPU dependency is broken now." Can anybody here confirm the above?
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Recovering deleted files
It's-all-gone asks: My question I'd like you to answer is what tools would you suggest (and perhaps a brief tutorial on) for data/partition recovery? Specifically geared more for the average, maybe less technical than an IT guru, home user such as myself.
DistroWatch answers: One of the best things you can do for yourself when files go missing is to be prepared. One way to be prepared for data loss is to have backups. Having a backup usually means you won't have to scramble to recover files at all. If you don't have a backup, you can prepare yourself by having a live CD and a spare external disk on hand. Why these? Because when a file gets deleted the first thing to do is to unmount the partition it was on. Doing this will prevent the file's data from being over-written and give us a better chance of getting it back. Having a live CD will allow you to access files on your root partition or on disks no longer able to boot and an external drive will give you a place to put recovered files.
The best way to learn how to make use of file recovery tools is, I think, to actually use them and get a feel for how they work and what to expect. No, I'm not suggesting you delete your important files and try to get them back, I'm saying we should create a practice environment and run through a simple example. So let's do that. Linux treats devices, like disk drives, the same way it treats files giving us the ability to create a pretend partition, save files to it, delete those files and then work to get them back. It's a safe way to run through the steps of deleting and recovering files.
First, let's create a new "partition" which will really be just an empty file. Open a terminal and run:
dd if=/dev/zero of=doomed bs=1024 count=10240
This will create a 10 MB file called doomed. Next we need to give the device a file system. We'll now format our doomed device with the ext3 file system:
We will be asked if we're sure we want to format a device which isn't a "block special device", and we will confirm the action. Next we need to create a mount point for our doomed device and mount it. You may need to have root access to mount doomed.
With that done, let's put some small files into the doomed device. In my case I copied two files into the new device:
mount -o loop doomed doomed-mount-point
cp openssn.png sources.list doomed-mount-point
Now that our doomed device is populated, it's time for disaster to strike:
All of our files are suddenly gone! It's now time to start the recovery process. The first thing we need to do is prevent further damage and unmount the device. Again, you may need to be root to unmount our practice partition.
A good next step is to make an image of the original device on which we can operate. This isn't a requirement, but it gives us an extra copy so we don't have to rely solely on the original. Think of it as a belated backup.
dd if=doomed of=hopeful
The hopeful file is our byte-for-byte copy of the original device and we will perform our recovery actions on hopeful to avoid damaging the original:
It's time to try to recover the files. If you haven't already, install ext3grep and PhotoRec. (The PhotoRec application is sometimes bundled with TestDisk.)
Let's try our luck with ext3grep first. The ext3grep program has a number of options for examining and filtering which items we want to restore. For our purposes we just want to try to get everything (both files) back:
ext3grep --restore-all hopeful
The ext3grep program will work with the hopeful device for a few seconds and print out a summary of its work. Any files it was able to save will be placed in the RESTORED_FILES directory. In my case ext3grep was able to bring both of my files back to life.
However, what if our data wasn't on an ext3 partition? What if it was on a different file system or on a digital camera memory card? What if the file system was damaged? That's where PhotoRec comes in handy. Let's try the same recovery operation with PhotoRec.
The above command asks us to confirm which device we want to recover from. I confirmed the hopeful entry. The program then asks us to confirm things like the partition type used on the drive (none in our case), which file system was on the device (ext3 in this example) and where to save any files it recovers. On my first run through PhotoRec restored the image file, but not the text file. This is due to the way PhotoRec looks at files to restore. It doesn't recognize the ".list" extension on my text file. If I had originally named the file "sources.txt" instead of "sources.list" PhotoRec would have detected and restored it.
The PhotoRec utility features menus which we can use to set various options, such as which types of files to search for (handy on large drives) and whether we're willing to keep corrupted files, warts, holes and all.
Once we are done practising we can clean up (normally you wouldn't do this, I'm only removing these files because it's an example):
rm -rf doomed doomed-mount-point hopeful RESTORED_FILES recup_dir.1
Both PhotoRec and ext3grep are very useful and they take simple command line options. Usually PhotoRec can be run with all its options left at their defaults, which is practical for less experienced users. I definitely recommend having both of these applications on hand for emergencies.
|Released Last Week
Zorin OS 3.1
Artyom Zorin has announced the release of Zorin OS 3.1, an updated release of the project's desktop Linux distribution based on Ubuntu 10.04: "We have released the first updated version of our Zorin OS 3 Long Term Support release series. Zorin OS 3.1 features a whole host of updates to Zorin OS 3 including an updated Linux Kernel, security updates, upgraded programs, application changes and some aesthetic updates. Zorin OS 3 will be provided with security updates until April 2013, which is the ideal solution for deployments in corporate environments to keep costs down and reduce maintenance while still using a secure and up-to-date operating system." Here is the brief release announcement.
BackTrack 5 R1
An updated release of BackTrack 5, an Ubuntu-based distribution with specialist software designed for penetration testing, was announced (and released via BitTorrent) last week. Today direct downloads of ISO images are also possible. Here is a brief extract from the official release announcement: "We're finally ready to release BackTrack 5 R1. This HOWTOs on our Wiki in the next few days, such as VMware tool installation, alternate compat-wireless setups, etc. The kernel was updated to 126.96.36.199 and includes the relevant injection patches. We are really happy with this release, and believe that, as with every release, this is our best one yet. Some pesky issues such as rfkill in VMware with rtl8187 have been fixed and this provides for a much more solid experience with BackTrack."
Tom McCafferty has announced the release of Vyatta 6.3, a Debian-based Linux distribution for firewalls: "I'm pleased to announce that Vyatta Core (VC) release 6.3 is now available for download. Vyatta 6.3 features significant enhancements to streamline management, increase security, and improve reliability in the areas of upgrade, IPS, VPN, and overall base system, plus package updates, experimental 64-bit and more: integrated Broadcom Gigabit and 10Gigabit Ethernet controller drivers; pre-defined IPS policies - 'Connectivity', 'Security', 'Balanced'; new configuration subdirectory structure to preserve state during image upgrade; new CLI commands for simplifying file management tasks; optimizations to configure backend performance, efficiency and robustness; enhancements to IPsecVPN management...." See the release announcement and release notes (PDF format) for further details.
Dream Studio 11.04
Dick MacInnis has announced the release of Dream Studio 11.04: "DickMacInnis.com is proud to announce the official release of Dream Studio 11.04. This exciting new version of Dream Studio has all the features that have made past releases one of the most successful multimedia software packages out there, including multi-user, PulseAudio-integrated real-time audio via JACK for use with programs like Ardour, the renowned Cinelerra video editor, a full graphic and web design suite, photography tools, and hundreds of assorted audio and video effects, fonts, and utilities for everything from multimedia file conversion to simple office work and web browsing. New features: Blender has been upgraded to version 2.59, with the Ocean Sim patch applied; several new programs, including MakeHuman, Sonic and Smasher, have been added...." Read the rest of the release announcement for full details.
Mandriva Linux 2011
Viacheslav Kaloshin has announced the release of Mandriva Linux 2011, code name "Hydrogen": "We are happy to announce that Mandriva 2011 is out." Some of the main new features in this release include hybrid live/installation DVD images, a revised system installer, new graphics theme, RPM 5, a series of new desktop utilities from Rosa Labs, and KDE as the only officially supported desktop environment: "GNOME, Xfce and other desktop environments and window managers are no longer included in the official Mandriva packages. However, contribution packages from the Mandriva community are available for these desktop environments. Starting from Mandriva 2011 only KDE 4 is officially supported." Here is the brief release announcement, but more details can be found in the release notes and on this 2011 tour page.
Chakra GNU/Linux 2011.09
Phil Miller has announced the release of Chakra GNU/Linux 2011.09, a desktop distribution originally forked from Arch Linux and featuring the latest KDE desktop, version 4.7: "The Chakra development team is proud to announce the release of 'Edn', Chakra GNU/Linux featuring Linux kernel 3.0 and KDE 4.7. Since our last stable image many things are updated and changed, which makes it hard to install for Chakra newcomers. We decided to release 'Edn' a bit ahead of schedule because of this. We switched to KDE 4.7 and added Linux kernel 3.0 to our repositories. Appset and CCR got enhanced. With this release we offer: minimal image you can build your desktop on; ported Tribe for KDE 4.7 series; updated initscripts with the option to test systemd; updated Mesa stack." Read the rest of the release announcement for further details.
Chakra GNU/Linux 2011.09 - one of the first distributions with KDE 4.7
(full image size: 917kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to database
* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list
- illume OS. illume OS is a lightweight, Debian-based desktop distribution featuring the IceWM window manager and a good mix of lightweight applications, such as the Midori web browser, Audacious audio player, gxine video player, xzgv image viewer, Leafpad text editor, Evince PDF reader and Thunar file manager.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 5 September 2011.
Ladislav Bodnar and Jesse Smith
|Linux Foundation Training
|• 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|
|• 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|
|• Full list of all issues|
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RUNT (ResNet USB Network Tester) was Slackware Linux designed to run from a 128MB USB pen drive. It consists of a boot floppy image and a zip file, similar to "zipslack". It was intended to be a fairly complete Linux installation for use as a testing tool capable of booting on any x86 computer with a USB port and a bootable floppy drive. The boot floppy was based on Slackware's bare kernel. It contains an initial ramdisk to load USB-storage related modules and it pauses for 5 seconds to allow the drive to initialize. The bootdisk also contains Memtest86, a very useful RAM testing tool, which can be started by typing memtest at the boot prompt. The zip file contains a UMSDOS filesystem designed to be extracted onto a 128MB pen drive with an MSDOS filesystem using 2K clusters.