| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 435, 12 December 2011
Welcome to this year's 50th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Puppy Linux is a remarkably versatile distribution that keeps delivering great surprises. The project's latest version, 5.3, demonstrates this flexibility by turning to Slackware repositories for extra software packages. Is Puppy "Slacko" a major turning point in the distro's history or just a stop on a never-ending road that keeps reaching new, experimental avenues? Read our first-look review to find out what we think. In the news section, Fedora developers reveal a feature set for their upcoming "Beefy Miracle" release, openSUSE community launches a live CD featuring the good-old KDE 3 desktop, and Canonical hints at Ubuntu's possible stab at trying to conquer certain consumer devices. Also in this issue, a nostalgic look at the once-popular gOS distribution and its unceremonious end, a notice of end of life of a number of popular server operating systems, and an attempt to estimate the market share of various open-source desktops based on data collected by some distributions and online polls. Happy reading!
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|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Review: Puppy Linux 5.3 "Slacko"|
Puppy Linux is a fascinating little distribution which regularly thinks outside the box. The little Linux distro, which typically finds a home on low-end hardware, tries to strike a balance between being small and being complete, being efficient and being user-friendly. There are many different flavours of Puppy Linux and it's a flexible distribution, able to take on many roles, which has endeared it to a large community. This week I decided to take the latest version, Puppy Linux 5.3 "Slacko", for a test run.
Slacko is available as a 124 MB download and gets its name from being binary compatible with Slackware Linux 13.37. This edition of Puppy Linux is able to connect to Slackware package repositories, greatly increasing the pool of software available to users. Booting off the distro's live CD brings up a quick boot screen and then we're asked to select our screen resolution from a list. On my test machines reasonable settings were provided and helpful tips were shown, indicating which settings had the best support. We're then presented with a traditional desktop interface. Several icons are displayed on the screen and the background is mostly black with refracted light passing across the display. At the bottom of the screen we find an application menu, task switcher and system tray. Shortly after we login a window appears offering to let us customize the environment and change the screen resolution. In the background a dog barks, testing our audio settings. The icons on the desktop are labeled by task, rather than by program name. For instance, the SeaMonkey web browser is labeled "browser", the GNOME front-end for MPlayer is simply labeled "play". This should make it easy for people to find the applications they're looking for even if they don't have any previous experience with open source software.
Puppy Linux 5.3 "Slacko" - browsing the web and the application menu
(full image size: 199kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
Earlier I mentioned that Puppy Linux is quite flexible and there are several aspects to this. Some Puppy editions are compatible with Slackware, others with Ubuntu. Puppy Linux has the ability to run from a CD or USB drive and to save the user's settings to a single file. This makes Puppy a good, adaptable companion when travelling. Like most distributions Puppy Linux can also be installed to the local hard disk, which is what I eventually did with it.
Puppy's installer is an interesting breed. We're given the option of installing the distribution on a hard disk, USB stick, ZIP drive, memory card or CD. In my case I chose to install the distro to the hard disk and was handed over to the GParted disk manager to create the appropriate partitions. There's a good explanation of what is required and helpful suggestions are provided by the Puppy installer, so less experienced users should be able to fumble their way through. With the disk divided, we tell the installer where our source files are located. When the installer is finished we're advised that to install a bootloader we need to run another program and we're given directions on how to do that. Once GRUB is set up we can reboot and experience Puppy Linux running from the local drive.
One thing about Puppy which stands out is that while many programs may be primitive in appearance due to the small size of the distro, users are consistently given clear explanations as to what a given program does. We're often presented with a recommendation and, if appropriate, a warning. This gives us a clear path through touchy procedures (like the installer) without needing to fall back on external documentation. The first time we boot into the locally installed Puppy Linux we're asked to repeat the same steps of setting our video resolution and going through the customization steps. These screens don't come back during future boots, just the first time to make sure the system is set up the way we want it.
While running Puppy we find much of the software we're likely to want on a day-to-day basis on the desktop. We're given SeaMonkey for browsing the web and handling e-mail. The XChat IRC client is included along with two drawing programs, a text editor and the AbiWord word processor. There's a calculator, an archive manager, package managers (which we'll touch on in a moment), a multimedia player, personal organizer and a network settings wizard. In the application menu we find the same programs, but also an array of more technical tools. Most of these utilities are the same as what we'd find on larger distributions. For instance, the gFTP client is included, there's a CD ripper, disc burner, and sound recorder. There's a handy firewall configuration tool, the Transmission BitTorrent client, instant messenger and ad-blocker. There's a menu entry included which should download and install Flash, though it didn't work on my machines (I suspect the URL has been updated). We find accounting software and the Gnumeric spreadsheet program. There's an image viewer, PDF viewer, a document scanner, programs for partitioning the disk and utilities for monitoring processes. On top of all of these Slacko is compatible with Slackware Linux 13.37, which provides a reasonable range of additional software.
Puppy Linux 5.3 "Slacko" - getting more software packages
(full image size: 141kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
I found that Puppy Linux would play most common multimedia files out of the box. Flash isn't included and I couldn't get the downloader to work, but Flash could be installed by other means, such as from a Slackware repository. Due to its small size, Puppy Linux doesn't feature a compiler or Java and most Puppy users probably won't require these extras. In the background we find the Linux kernel, version 2.6.37.
There are two package mangers included with Puppy Linux. The first is called Slickpet which can be located on the desktop. This program isn't a full package manager in the normal sense, but more of a simple panel for installing popular software packages. These packages include common web browsers, the GIMP, Java, LibreOffice and a few others. Installing these pieces of software is as simple as clicking the icon next to the software's name. The other package manager, which is simply titled "Puppy Linux Package Manager", gives us a simple interface with a list of filters on the left side, software categories in the centre and a list of individual software packages from those categories down the right. At the bottom of the screen is a search box where we can try to locate packages by name.
Installing a package is usually as easy as clicking on it and confirming that we wish to download the software. Removing existing software is similarly simple. The package manager knows about other package repositories, such as Slackware's, and will assist us in adding those repositories. I ran into two issues while using the package manager. The first is that some mirrors do not contain all of the listed packages and the package manager doesn't automatically try the next mirror. This means that we may find ourselves clicking on a package, confirming the install request, selecting a mirror and receiving an error, which sends us back to clicking on a package, confirming the action, manually trying the next mirror, etc. Another concern is there doesn't appear to be any way to install all available updates, which means that maintaining an up-to-date Puppy Linux installation on a hard disk or on a USB stick poses a challenge.
One of Puppy's unusual characteristics is that the distribution, by default, automatically logs the user in with the root account. While this is convenient (we're never prompted for a password when logging in or performing administrative tasks) it means that an important layer of security is stripped from the distribution. Any compromised application has access not only to the user's files, but to the system as a whole and users should be aware of this.
Puppy Linux 5.3 "Slacko" - setting up a wireless network connection
(full image size: 203kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
Puppy Linux seems best suited for dealing with older computers and so I was expecting a bit of a rough ride when running the little distro on my laptop (dual-core 2 GHz CPU, 3 GB of RAM, Intel video card). But Puppy is full of surprises. During the boot process it properly detected my laptop's maximum screen resolution. At first when I arrived at the desktop it appeared that my wireless network connection wasn't running, but within a minute Puppy had brought up a window offering to help me configure a network connection. It took a few attempts, but Puppy was able to find my Intel wireless card and connect to a local network. More to the point, the steps to do so were well laid-out and the user is warned a few attempts may be required to get everything working properly, so Puppy wins full points here for hand-holding.
Sound worked out of the box and the only complaint I had was with my touchpad. By default Puppy Linux set my touchpad to respond very very slowly, so it could take the better part of a minute to get the mouse pointer from one side of the screen to another. Fortunately, bringing up the Settings panel, which has an icon on the desktop, allows the user to adjust all aspects of the mouse and keyboard. I was able to configure the mouse to respond the way I wanted it to and it was smooth sailing from there. Everything worked without any problems on my desktop machine (2.5 GHz CPU, 2 GB of RAM, NVIDIA video card). The desktop was set to a good resolution, audio worked and my network connection was picked up without any effort on my part. Puppy Linux is a remarkably fast distribution and surprisingly light on resources. Typically the system used around 50 MB of memory on my machines while sitting at the desktop, which left plenty of space for additional applications.
This is the third or fourth time I've tried Puppy Linux and my impression is one of gradual improvement. Slacko is remarkably quick to boot, very responsive, uses little memory and carries a surprising amount of functionality for such a small download. I particularly like the way in which Puppy's tools provide short, clear explanations as to what is happening and every effort is made to walk the user through important steps, such as installing the system, adding repositories and acquiring software. There were a few issues I'd like to see improved upon, for example automatically trying another mirror if a package isn't found in the selected package repository. I would also like to see an option added during the boot process which would give the user the choice of running in unprivileged mode as opposed to running as root. Always being the administrator has its advantages for convenience, but it means that the user is always one careless click away from deleting their files and one exploit away from a compromised operating system. As a live CD it's hard to beat Puppy Linux for both performance and functional software. It has minimal hardware requirements and is very flexible. It's a great distro as long as you don't push it too far out of its niche.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
Fedora 17 feature list, openSUSE 12.1 with KDE 3, Ubuntu on TV, remembering gOS, end of life for Red Hat 4 and Debian 5.0
The influence of Fedora on other distribution has been considerable over the years; this is largely due to the fact that it's developed by the world's most powerful and profitable Linux company. As such, it's always interesting to follow the meetings to the Fedora Engineering Steering Committee. The latest one, attempting to mould a feature list of the upcoming Fedora 17 (code name "Beefy Miracle"), took place last week. Heise Open Source summarises the discussion in "Btrfs and new file system structure agreed for Fedora 17": "The members of the Fedora Engineering Steering Committee (FESCo), who decide on the technical development aspects of Fedora, have accepted a range of new features proposed by developers for version 17 of the Linux distribution. As things currently stand, the project plans to make another attempt to switch to using Btrfs as its default file system in this version, scheduled for release in May 2012. Such a move had been discussed for Fedora 16, but was later postponed because the file system didn't meet several criteria essential to allow the switch. For example, an improved tool is needed for checking and repairing Btrfs drives; such a tool continues to be a requirement, and its unavailability may cause Fedora to further postpone the switch. The list of accepted new features also includes the plan to store all applications and libraries in the /usr/ directory." For the current list of accepted features please see this page on Fedora Wiki.
* * * * *
Are you one of those Linux users who believe that the good-old KDE 3 was the best and most intuitive desktop environment ever created? After nearly four years since the (infamous) release of KDE 4.0.0, it's no surprise that almost all of the major distributions have long abandoned support for the classic desktop. But there is one exception. Thanks to community effort, openSUSE is one of the few major projects that still offer an installable live CD edition featuring KDE 3: "As KDE 3 is again part of the official openSUSE 12.1 repositories (thanks to all who made this happen), I took a chance to create an installable live CD. Besides a preconfigured KDE 3 desktop, it contains additional software like Mozilla Firefox, Thunderbird and LibreOffice. YaST2 is available for administrative tasks like system configuration or software management. The media does not contain all language packs due to size limitations, but they could be easily installed. In order to emphasize the feeling of good-old times, the artwork is based on openSUSE 10.1. The kde3-gtk-qt-engine is included to give a unique experience over GTK+ and Qt applications and KDE 4 applications make use of the Plastique widget style and Plastik colors." Quick download links: KDE3_desktop.i686-0.1.1.iso (674MB), KDE3_desktop.x86_64-0.1.1.iso (683MB).
openSUSE 12.1 with KDE 3
(full image size: 536kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
* * * * *
Ubuntu's quest for world domination has taken a new turn recently, with tablets and mobile phones often seen as the next frontier Canonical's flagship product wants to conquer. But there is more. As Alastair Otter reports in "Ubuntu everywhere" the television is another appliance which could soon be conquered by this ever-more ambitious Linux distribution: "If Mark Shuttleworth has his way we will soon be seeing Ubuntu devices everywhere -- from telephones to tablet PCs to desktops -- and perhaps even on our televisions. In a recent blog post, Ubuntu chief Shuttleworth listed some of the work being done towards creating Ubuntu TV. Although still in the early days of discussion with just a few mock-ups available, ambitions for Ubuntu TV are very much in line with Shuttleworth's apparent new focus on 'Ubuntu everywhere'. When Ubuntu was first released in 2004 the focus for the new distribution was the desktop. There was a server edition, but the real focus was the desktop. Then, a few years later there was a gradual shift towards cloud computing and hosted services. Then last year there was another shift; one that is only now becoming clear. Ubuntu introduced the new Unity interface in an apparent reaction to delays in GNOME 3. However, it now seems that Shuttleworth had other plans for Unity as the default interface that would position Ubuntu for a new world of mobile devices."
* * * * *
Here is a link to an interesting story that perfectly characterises the inherent dynamism of the free software axiom -- but also its underlying dangers. In "Whatever happened to... gOS?", Joey Sneddon investigates the fate of gOS, once a reasonably popular and well-received distribution with a unique integration of Google software and services which later simply disappeared from the Internet without as much as a good-bye note: "gOS has to be admired for being one of few Linux distributions to ship on hardware by default, as well as have said hardware sold on the shelves of Walmart. But where is gOS now? The short answer is 'defunct'. Swelled on by the initial success of gOS, David Liu, the distribution's founder, began work on a truly web orientated OS called 'Cloud OS'. A handful of devices running Cloud OS were shown off during Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2009. Despite promises of deals that would see the OS ship alongside Windows on various laptops, that was, pretty much, the last heard of both Cloud OS and gOS." gOS is just one of the 325 distribution labelled as discontinued in the DistroWatch database. Incidentally, it was earlier this year that the number of discontinued distributions surpassed the number of active ones, which currently stands at 314.
* * * * *
Finally, a quick note about the end of life of one of the distribution that greatly contributed to the success of Linux in the enterprise arena over the last decade - Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4. Originally released in February 2005, the product will conclude its 7-year support cycle in just two months from now: "Red Hat recently released a reminder that the series 4 versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) will reach their regular end of life at the end of February 2012. Regular subscribers to this Linux distribution, which will then be seven years old, will no longer receive any updates after this time. The distributor has therefore advised users to switch to version families 5 or 6; the latter will be maintained by Red Hat until the end of November 2017. RHEL 4 will continue to be supported for a further three years within Red Hat's Extended Life Cycle Support (ELS) scheme. The projects developing the free CentOS and Scientific Linux (SL) RHEL clones recently announced that the RHEL 4-based series 4 of their Linux distributions will also reach their end of life in three months. The CentOS project also pointed out that Red Hat doesn't publicly release the source code of ELS updates." On a related note, security support for Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 "Lenny" will also end in February 2012.
|Statistics (by Jesse Smith)
Estimating desktop environment share
Desktop numbers asks: Is it possible to create statistics concerning the desktop environment? All I could find concerning the desktop environments were opinions of individuals and I don't know how representative they are.
DistroWatch answers: It's quite difficult to get accurate numbers showing how many users are on each desktop. When measuring Linux distribution usage we can look at download figures, web logs showing browser identification and the number of connections to update servers and those will give us a rough idea of the number of users a distribution has. In a similar manner we can find usage information for web browsers, since they generally leave an identifying mark in the log files of web servers. But finding usage information for open-source desktop environments is more difficult. Part of the trouble is that the desktop environments usually don't interact directly with the outside world. Certain web browsers (such as Konqueror and Epiphany) usually indicate which environment is in use, but those browsers aren't tied to their environments, nor are they commonly used. To further complicate things, most open-source users don't download their desktops directly from the upstream projects and instead get their packages from distribution repositories.
Following this line of thought it probably seems reasonable to look at the statistics for the repositories and see which desktop packages are most popular. It's a nice idea, but most distributions don't publish such information. Debian GNU/Linux and Ubuntu keep and publish package popularity information from users who are willing to share it, but the idea hasn't really taken root elsewhere. Another approach is to look at online polls. Both the repository information and the polls are limiting as we only get a small sampling of people voluntarily sharing what we hope is correct information, but it seems to be all we have to study. With that in mind I took a look at the Debian and Ubuntu popularity statistics and took a poll from LinuxInsight to come up with some percentages on desktop environments. The following charts represent approximate desktop environment usage for Debian, Ubuntu and the LinuxInsight readership.
Estimated Debian desktop usage
Estimated Ubuntu desktop usage
Estimated desktop usage of LinuxInsight readership
The above charts for Ubuntu and Debian are admittedly very rough estimates and both Debian and Ubuntu ship with GNOME software by default, which inflates the GNOME usage numbers. Unfortunately I didn't have any numbers from KDE-, Xfce- or LXDE-centric distributions for comparison. I feel it's also important to note some users have multiple desktop environments installed, and others have at least enough applications which depend on libraries from other environments to make it look as though multiple desktops are installed. The short of the long of it is that these charts should be considered in much the same way as the DistroWatch page hit rankings: for entertainment purposes or, at best, a crude guess at the install base of each desktop environment.
That being said, there do appear to be some consistent elements. The GNOME 2 desktop appears to have the lion's share at the moment. In each chart KDE 4 puts in a good show with around 20% of the user base. I find it interesting that legacy versions and spin-offs of KDE and GNOME (KDE 3, Trinity & MATE) have such small shares they barely register on the charts. In each chart LXDE and Xfce have small, but notable shares, hanging on in the light environment niche.
* * * * *
Going back to distribution popularity, last week we talked about the usage numbers behind Ubuntu and Mint. Before running the column I had contacted Mint's lead developer, Clem Lefebvre, to ask about his distributions' user base. Unfortunately he'd been busy then (Mint 12 was coming out around that time) and so I'd published the numbers and growth mentioned on the Mint blog. Clem got back to me this past week with a correction and some comments which I would like to share.
First, in regards to the 40% growth number, Clem had this to say: "The figure is correct but the interpretation is wrong. It wasn't a 40% increase in the user base. It was a 40% increase in our income over a period of a single month. Of course, this income is directly related to the size of the user base (donations, advertising), but the 40% was observed on our income figures." In response to my question about the size of Mint's user base, Clem replied, "It's extremely hard to estimate. Ubuntu announces 20 million people. I don't think they're actually able to measure the size of their user base, so this figure seems really unreliable to me. What we know for a fact is that our user base was three times smaller than theirs a year ago, and that we've been catching up with them extremely fast since. Are we to estimate between 10 and 15 million Linux Mint users? I don't see a point in doing so. We're focused and confident we'll outgrow Ubuntu eventually though in 2012."
|Released Last Week
Ultimate Edition 3.0
Glenn Cady has announced the release of Ultimate Edition 3.0, a Linux Mint-based distribution and live DVD featuring the GNOME 2 desktop, extra software packages, and various other enhancements: "Sorry for the great delay in release of Ultimate Edition 3.0. Ultimate Edition 3.0 is unlike any previous release. Ultimate Edition 3.0 was built from Linux Mint 11 'Katya', which in itself was built from Ubuntu 11.04 'Natty Narwhal'. I hope I did not lose anyone there. A slew of issues have been resolved. I have dubbed this release 'ULTAMINT'. It is a real piece of eye-candy and it has a comprehensive software package. I have included repositories from GetDeb, Ubuntu and Linux Mint. If there is something missing you just can't live without, just a few clicks of a mouse away. On behalf of the UE development team please enjoy Ultimate Edition 3.0. Here is the brief release announcement.
TurnKey Linux 11.3
Liraz Siri has announced the release of Turnkey Linux 11.3, an Ubuntu-based set of highly specialised virtual appliances which integrate open-source software into ready-to-use solutions: "We've just pushed out TurnKey Linux 11.3, the final maintenance release based on Ubuntu 10.04. The next release will be based on Ubuntu 12.04. We're already shifting into high gear for that. There will be surprises. Hopefully good ones! The new images we just pushed out from our CloudTask automation swarm include fixes for various bruises and scrapes, as well as the very latest security updates. If you've already installed a previous version of TurnKey 11, you don't need to download anything because by default TurnKey is configured to automatically install all of the security updates over the network. The maintenance release will mainly be of interest to new users and existing users doing new deployments." Read the release announcement and see the virtual appliances page for further details.
Ubuntu Privacy Remix 10.04r2
Andreas Heinlein has announced the release of UPR (Ubuntu Privacy Remix) 10.04r2, a new revision of the project's live CD whose goal is to protect the user's privacy and prevent data theft: "The UPR team has published the second stable release of Ubuntu Privacy Remix 10.04r2. UPR is a live system to protect from spying and data theft. Apart from the changes with UPR itself, we now offer a dual-boot ISO image for DVD or USB drive which includes the current version 0.9 of the TAILS live system, a live system focused on anonymous internet usage over the Tor network. This way, the user can choose to either work in an isolated, secure environment with UPR or use the Internet anonymously with TAILS, using the same media. Changes in UPR 10.04r2: based on Ubuntu 10.04.3; new program 'tellico', a small database; new program 'Grsync' for making backups; new program 'X-Tile' to arrange windows...." Read the rest of the release announcement for more details.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.2
Red Hat has announced the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.2, an updated version of the world's most widely deployed enterprise Linux distribution: "Today Red Hat announces the general availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.2, which delivers to customers a second wave of feature enhancements and demonstrates the continued value that Red Hat delivers as part of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 life cycle. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.2 delivers significant improvements in virtualization, resource management and high availability, and offers new features in storage and file system performance and identity management. The key benefits for organizations employing Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.2 are higher levels of efficiency realized through resource management and performance optimization." See the release announcement and the press release for an overview of the release and read the release notes for technical details.
Karanbir Singh has announced the release of CentOS 6.1, a new version of the popular distribution built from source code for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.1: "We are pleased to announce the immediate availability of CentOS 6.1 install media for i386 and x86_64 architectures. CentOS 6.1 is based on the upstream release EL 6.1 and includes packages from all variants. All upstream repositories have been combined into one, to make it easier for end users to work with. All machines running CentOS-Release-CR on 6.0 would already be running code that is included in the 6.1 install media. We highly recommend everyone use the CR repository in order to get all bug-fix and security updates as soon as possible." See the release announcement and read the detailed release notes for information about known issues and upgrade instructions.
KahelOS 111111, a new version of the rolling-release desktop Linux distribution based on Arch Linux, has been released: "Announcing the release of KahelOS 111111 live CD with GUI installer, desktop edition. The fast, simple and rolling-release Linux desktop OS is also 100% free. What is new? The Mabuhay welcome center introduces you to what is in store when one installs and uses KahelOS; hassle-free automatic installation; pre-installed Apache web server, MySQL database, PhpMyAdmin and Bluefish as your editor. These are some packages that you'll enjoy when using KahelOS: Linux kernel 3.1.2, GNOME 3.2.1, Chromium 15.0.874.121, Firefox 8.0.1, LibreOffice 3.4.4, X.Org Server 1.11.2, GIMP 2.6.11, GnuCash 2.4.8, TweetDeck 0.37.5, Miro 4.0.3, Thunderbird 8.0, Bluefish 2.2.0. And finally, we are also introducing the new KahelOS mascot, MULAT." Read the full release announcement for additional information.
KahelOS 111111 - an Arch-based rolling-release desktop distribution
(full image size: 746kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to waiting list
- Petite Linux. Petite Linux is an openSUSE-based distribution featuring the Enlightenment 17 desktop.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 19 December 2011.
Jesse Smith and Ladislav Bodnar
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 841 (2019-11-18): Emmabuntus DE3-1.00, changing keys in a keyboard layout, Debian phasing out Python 2 and voting on init diversity, Slackware gets unofficial updated live media|
|• Issue 840 (2019-11-11): Fedora 31, monitoring user activity, Fedora working to improve Python performance, FreeBSD gets faster networking|
|• Issue 839 (2019-11-04): MX 19, manipulating PDFs, Ubuntu plans features for 20.04, Fedora 29 nears EOL, Netrunner drops Manjaro-based edition|
|• Issue 838 (2019-10-28): Xubuntu 19.10, how init and service managers work together, DragonFly BSD provides emergency mode for HAMMER, Xfce team plans 4.16|
|• Issue 837 (2019-10-21): CentOS 8.0-1905, Trident finds a new base, Debian plans firewall changes, 15 years of Fedora, how to merge directories|
|• Issue 836 (2019-10-14): Archman 2019.09, Haiku improves ARM support, Project Trident shifting base OS, Unix turns 50|
|• Issue 835 (2019-10-07): Isotop, Mazon OS and, KduxOS, examples of using the find command, Mint's System Reports becomes proactive, Solus updates its desktops|
|• Issue 834 (2019-09-30): FreedomBox "Buster", CentOS gains a rolling release, Librem 5 phones shipping, Redcore updates its package manager|
|• Issue 833 (2019-09-23): Redcore Linux 1908, why Linux distros are free, Ubuntu making list of 32-bit software to keep, Richard M Stallman steps down from FSF leadership|
|• Issue 832 (2019-09-16): BlackWeb 1.2, checking for Wayland session and applications, Fedora to use nftables in firewalld, OpenBSD disables DoH in Firefox|
|• Issue 831 (2019-09-09): Adélie Linux 1.0 beta, using ffmpeg, awk and renice, Mint and elementary improvements, PureOS and Manjaro updates|
|• Issue 930 (2019-09-02): deepin 15.11, working with AppArmor profiles, elementary OS gets new greeter, exFAT support coming to Linux kernel|
|• Issue 829 (2019-08-26): EndeavourOS 2019.07.15, Drauger OS 7.4.1, finding the licenses of kernel modules, NetBSD gets Wayland application, GhostBSD changes base repo|
|• Issue 828 (2019-08-19): AcademiX 2.2, concerns with non-free firmware, UBports working on Unity8, Fedora unveils new EPEL channel, FreeBSD phasing out GCC|
|• Issue 827 (2019-08-12): Q4OS, finding files on the disk, Ubuntu works on ZFS, Haiku improves performance, OSDisc shutting down|
|• Issue 826 (2019-08-05): Quick looks at Resilient, PrimeOS, and BlueLight, flagship distros for desktops,Manjaro introduces new package manager|
|• Issue 825 (2019-07-29): Endless OS 3.6, UBports 16.04, gNewSense maintainer stepping down, Fedora developrs discuss optimizations, Project Trident launches stable branch|
|• Issue 824 (2019-07-22): Hexagon OS 1.0, Mageia publishes updated media, Fedora unveils Fedora CoreOS, managing disk usage with quotas|
|• Issue 823 (2019-07-15): Debian 10, finding 32-bit packages on a 64-bit system, Will Cooke discusses Ubuntu's desktop, IBM finalizes purchase of Red Hat|
|• Issue 822 (2019-07-08): Mageia 7, running development branches of distros, Mint team considers Snap, UBports to address Google account access|
|• Issue 821 (2019-07-01): OpenMandriva 4.0, Ubuntu's plan for 32-bit packages, Fedora Workstation improvements, DragonFly BSD's smaller kernel memory|
|• Issue 820 (2019-06-24): Clear Linux and Guix System 1.0.1, running Android applications using Anbox, Zorin partners with Star Labs, Red Hat explains networking bug, Ubuntu considers no longer updating 32-bit packages|
|• Issue 819 (2019-06-17): OS108 and Venom, renaming multiple files, checking live USB integrity, working with Fedora's Modularity, Ubuntu replacing Chromium package with snap|
|• Issue 818 (2019-06-10): openSUSE 15.1, improving boot times, FreeBSD's status report, DragonFly BSD reduces install media size|
|• Issue 817 (2019-06-03): Manjaro 18.0.4, Ubuntu Security Podcast, new Linux laptops from Dell and System76, Entroware Apollo|
|• Issue 816 (2019-05-27): Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, creating firewall rules, Antergos shuts down, Matthew Miller answers questions about Fedora|
|• Issue 815 (2019-05-20): Sabayon 19.03, Clear Linux's developer features, Red Hat explains MDS flaws, an overview of mobile distro options|
|• Issue 814 (2019-05-13): Fedora 30, distributions publish Firefox fixes, CentOS publishes roadmap to 8.0, Debian plans to use Wayland by default|
|• Issue 813 (2019-05-06): ROSA R11, MX seeks help with systemd-shim, FreeBSD tests unified package management, interview with Gael Duval|
|• Issue 812 (2019-04-29): Ubuntu MATE 19.04, setting up a SOCKS web proxy, Scientific Linux discontinued, Red Hat takes over Java LTS support|
|• Issue 811 (2019-04-22): Alpine 3.9.2, rsync examples, Ubuntu working on ZFS support, Debian elects new Project Leader, Obarun releases S6 tools|
|• Issue 810 (2019-04-15): SolydXK 201902, Bedrock Linux 0.7.2, Fedora phasing out Python 2, NetBSD gets virtual machine monitor|
|• Issue 809 (2019-04-08): PCLinuxOS 2019.02, installing Falkon and problems with portable packages, Mint offers daily build previews, Ubuntu speeds up Snap packages|
|• Issue 808 (2019-04-01): Solus 4.0, security benefits and drawbacks to using a live distro, Gentoo gets GNOME ports working without systemd, Redox OS update|
|• Issue 807 (2019-03-25): Pardus 17.5, finding out which user changed a file, new Budgie features, a tool for browsing FreeBSD's sysctl values|
|• Issue 806 (2019-03-18): Kubuntu vs KDE neon, Nitrux's znx, notes on Debian's election, SUSE becomes an independent entity|
|• Issue 805 (2019-03-11): EasyOS 1.0, managing background services, Devuan team debates machine ID file, Ubuntu Studio works to remain an Ubuntu Community Edition|
|• Issue 804 (2019-03-04): Condres OS 19.02, securely erasing hard drives, new UBports devices coming in 2019, Devuan to host first conference|
|• Issue 803 (2019-02-25): Septor 2019, preventing windows from stealing focus, NetBSD and Nitrux experiment with virtual machines, pfSense upgrading to FreeBSD 12 base|
|• Issue 802 (2019-02-18): Slontoo 18.07.1, NetBSD tests newer compiler, Fedora packaging Deepin desktop, changes in Ubuntu Studio|
|• Issue 801 (2019-02-11): Project Trident 18.12, the meaning of status symbols in top, FreeBSD Foundation lists ongoing projects, Plasma Mobile team answers questions|
|• Issue 800 (2019-02-04): FreeNAS 11.2, using Ubuntu Studio software as an add-on, Nitrux developing znx, matching operating systems to file systems|
|• Issue 799 (2019-01-28): KaOS 2018.12, Linux Basics For Hackers, Debian 10 enters freeze, Ubuntu publishes new version for IoT devices|
|• Issue 798 (2019-01-21): Sculpt OS 18.09, picking a location for swap space, Solus team plans ahead, Fedora trying to get a better user count|
|• Issue 797 (2019-01-14): Reborn OS 2018.11.28, TinyPaw-Linux 1.3, dealing with processes which make the desktop unresponsive, Debian testing Secure Boot support|
|• Issue 796 (2019-01-07): FreeBSD 12.0, Peppermint releases ISO update, picking the best distro of 2018, roundtable interview with Debian, Fedora and elementary developers|
|• Issue 795 (2018-12-24): Running a Pinebook, interview with Bedrock founder, Alpine being ported to RISC-V, Librem 5 dev-kits shipped|
|• Issue 794 (2018-12-17): Void 20181111, avoiding software bloat, improvements to HAMMER2, getting application overview in GNOME Shell|
|• Issue 793 (2018-12-10): openSUSE Tumbleweed, finding non-free packages, Debian migrates to usrmerge, Hyperbola gets FSF approval|
|• Issue 792 (2018-1203): GhostBSD 18.10, when to use swap space, DragonFly BSD's wireless support, Fedora planning to pause development schedule|
|• Issue 791 (2018-11-26): Haiku R1 Beta1, default passwords on live media, Slax and Kodachi update their media, dual booting DragonFly BSD on EFI|
|• Issue 790 (2018-11-19): NetBSD 8.0, Bash tips and short-cuts, Fedora's networking benchmarked with FreeBSD, Ubuntu 18.04 to get ten years of support|
|• Issue 789 (2018-11-12): Fedora 29 Workstation and Silverblue, Haiku recovering from server outage, Fedora turns 15, Debian publishes updated media|
|• Full list of all issues|
Star Labs - Laptops built for Linux.
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White Box Enterprise Linux
What was the goal for White Box Linux? To provide an unencumbered RPM-based Linux distribution that retains enough compatibility with Red Hat Linux to allow easy upgrades and to retain compatibility with their errata SRPMs. Being based off of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 3.0 means that a machine should be able to avoid the upgrade treadmill until October 2008 since RHEL promises errata availability for 5 years from date of initial release. Or more briefly, to fill the gap between Fedora and RHEL. Why was White Box Linux created? Its initial creation was sponsored by the Beauregard Parish Public Library in DeRidder, USA out of self interest. We have several servers and over 50 workstations running Red Hat Linux and were left high and dry by Red Hat's recent shift in business plan. Our choices were a difficult migration to another distribution or paying Red Hat an annual fee greater than the amortized value of our hardware. So we chose a third path, made possible by the power of open source.... White Box Linux.