| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 485, 3 December 2012
Welcome to this year's 49th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Creating new distributions is a popular pastime nowadays and many developers are happy to hack around to build something that would incorporate their unique and interesting ideas. This week's feature story looks at a trio of lesser-known Linux distributions - the Debian-based Snowlinux 3, the Arch-based Manjaro Linux 0.8.2 and the CRUX-based Kwort Linux 3.5. Can they compete on the already highly crowded free operating system market? Read on to find out Jesse Smith's findings. In the news section, Linux Mint releases a set of re-spun DVD images to address critical issues discovered in version 14, Fedora continues to work on the redesigned Anaconda system installer, and Debian fine-tunes the upcoming "Wheezy" release with focus on bug-fixing. Also in this issue, how would you define a "distribution" and how is one different from a re-spin? Finally, don't miss the link to an interview with Canonical's Jane Silber where she talks about the future of Ubuntu. Happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (36MB) and MP3 (37MB) formats
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Quick looks at Snowlinux 3, Manjaro Linux 0.8.2 and Kwort Linux 3.5
The Snowlinux distribution is an odd sort of project. For one thing, it has multiple bases (Debian and Ubuntu). Further, each base has multiple editions, featuring desktop environments such as MATE or Cinnamon & GNOME. To add to the mix each edition comes in 32-bit and 64-bit builds. This means there are a lot of different options for the user to choose from, depending on their taste and hardware. But what really struck me as unusual about Snowlinux was the relative small amount of documentation. There isn't a whole lot on the website about the purpose of the distribution or what sets it apart (aside from the multitude of builds). Going into my review of Snowlinux I was spoiled for choice and, until I booted from the project's ISO, had very little idea about what was in store for me.
It has been a while since I had last tried the Cinnamon desktop and so I decided to try Snowlinux's 32-bit build of version 3 called "White", "Cinnamon" edition. Or, as I grew to think of it, the "Spicy Snow White" edition. The ISO for this edition was approximately 725 MB in size. Booting into Spicy Snow White brought me to a traditional looking desktop environment. The background is mostly white and there are icons on the desktop for browsing the file system and launching the system installer. At the bottom of the screen we find the application launcher and task switcher. The system installer is borrowed from Ubuntu, as is the underlying system.
Unfortunately my trial with Snow White did not last long. It seems the distribution comes with the same graphics performance issue as the latest Ubuntu release. Specifically, navigating the desktop was painfully slow and my CPU was constantly working hard, just to move windows around the graphical interface. Launching small programs, such as a virtual terminal, could take half a minute and trying to open the system installer took nearly a minute. Faced with this sort of performance penalty I realized I could either switch to a different edition (such as the project's MATE edition) or switch to a different distribution. Given that Snowlinux didn't appear to have any unique characteristics, I decided to move on to another project I had been asked to try: Manjaro.
* * * * *
Manjaro Linux is a distribution based upon the Arch Linux project. It has the goal of maintaining a simple, clean base (like Arch) and includes install scripts and configuration tools to help new users get up and running. The Manjaro project offers both 32-bit and 64-bit builds of their distribution and we find that Manjaro comes in many different flavours. The default edition comes with the Xfce desktop, but there are other builds featuring LXDE, KDE and Cinnamon/GNOME. I opted to try the Xfce edition. The ISO for this build is fairly small, just 520MB in size.
Booting from the Manjaro Linux media brings up a menu asking which language we would like to use and then we can opt to start the live media in the normal graphical mode or in text mode. We can also choose to boot into the graphical mode with the added benefit of non-free video drivers. Regardless of which option I selected I was brought to a text console with a login prompt. Above the prompt is a brief message letting us know the login credentials for both a regular user and the administrator account. I was able to login without any problem, but trying to launch the graphical desktop environment failed and this turned out to be a problem. The Manjaro documentation assumes the user will attempt to launch the installer from the desktop. Starting the system installer from the command prompt isn't covered and searches for combinations of "manjaro", "system" and "install" from the command prompt didn't return any matches. This brought me to a bit of a dead end without a graphical environment and without an installation script. Once again I shifted my focus, this time visiting the Kwort website.
* * * * *
According to the Kwort Linux project's website the distribution "is a modern and fast Linux distribution that combines powerful and useful applications in order to create a simple system for advanced users who finds a strong and effective desktop. Kwort is based on CRUX, so it's robust, clean and easy to extend." The project offers a 32-bit build which can be downloaded as a 340 MB ISO. At the moment there isn't any 64-bit build, but the project's notes suggest the next version will include a 64-bit option.
Booting from the Kwort Linux media brings up a boot loader prompt and we are encouraged to provide any desired kernel parameters and then press Enter. We're then taken directly into the system installer which is a series of text screens and menus. We're asked to provide our desired keyboard layout and then handed over to the cfdisk disk partitioning utility. Next we are asked to confirm which (if any) partition we wish to use for swap space. Then we select our root partition from a list of on-disk partitions and choose which file system to use. File system options are limited to ext2, ext3 and ext4. Next, the installer copies its files to the local hard drive and then walks us through installing and (optionally) configuring the LILO boot loader. The last step in the install process is setting a password for the root account.
With the installation complete we reboot the computer and we are brought to a text console where we can login using the root account. Here is where we find out what the distribution's description meant when it referred to "advanced users". Creating new user accounts, creating directories for those accounts, setting up user groups and setting passwords are separate processes and performed manually from the command line. Trying to launch a graphical environment failed by default and caused the machine to lock up. I ended up configuring X to get the graphical interface working and then spent several minutes more trying to get the graphical environment, Openbox in this case, to launch without locking up the machine. Luckily the project provides a good deal of useful documentation on trouble shooting common problems and most of my issues were covered.
Once I got logged into Openbox I browsed through the distribution's application menu. Included were the Chrome web browser, a text editor, virtual terminals, Pidgin for instant messaging and the Transmission BitTorrent client. The MPlayer multimedia player and the Midnight Commander file manager are also included. In the background I found the GNU Compiler Collection is installed and, underneath it all, Kwort runs on the Linux kernel, version 3.5.4. There were also a handful of menu items which, curiously, didn't link to available software. For example, there are a number of configuration tools and the LibreOffice suite listed in the application menu, but clicking on these items brings up an error indicating these programs are not installed.
Furthering Kwort's do-it-yourself approach, we must manually configure and activate our network connection and, by default, the system's package manager does not work. The package manager, Kpkg, uses APT-like syntax and contains no package or repository information out of the box. This data must be downloaded and enabled manually. Once the default repository was enabled I found I could download updates and install software, however very few packages are available for us. In fact, almost all searches I performed for software, whether for the desktop or command line, returned no matches. With very little software available out of the box and little in the default repository, I eventually had to give up on using Kwort as a desktop distribution.
* * * * *
Usually when I set out to do multiple reviews in a week it is with a particular theme in mind. Either obscure distributions or ones which fill a particular niche. This time around I ended up trying three different projects, not because it was planned, but because the problems I ran into with each distribution caused me to move on to the next project on my list. With Snowlinux the big issue was the same problem I had with Ubuntu 12.10, the desktop performance was far too slow and gobbled up a huge amount of CPU resources. That, combined with an unusual lack of documentation as to what Snowlinux is and what it does, turned me off the project right away. Manjaro Linux, at first glance, was better. The project is quite up front about what it does and why, it fits a clear purpose and has a little documentation to assist users. Unfortunately, in my case, there was not enough documentation to get the system installed when things went off the rails.
Which brought me to Kwort Linux which, out of the box, didn't really do anything. There was no desktop, I experienced regular lock-ups once I got the desktop running and there was no working package manager. The primary difference, in my mind, between Kwort and the other two projects I downloaded this week was documentation. The Kwort team is aware running an CRUX-based distribution can leave people feeling lost, they are aware it's not always intuitive and that things can go wrong and they have taken steps to guide people through these potential setbacks. That is what kept me plugging away with Kwort while the other two distributions were tried and quickly discarded.
What I hope people will take away from this is not that Snowlinux, Manjaro and Kwort should be avoided. These particular distributions not working for me shouldn't discourage other people from trying them. Manjaro certainly looks interesting and I suspect, had it worked, the light base (Arch) and the light desktop (Xfce) would have made for a very rewarding experience. What I would like people to consider this week, especially those working on software projects, is this: all software projects need documentation. This is something a lot of open source projects, Linux distributions in particular, tend to overlook. No software works perfectly and no software is intuitive to all people, things will always go wrong, someone will always get lost. The Kwort team recognizes this, that people will run into problems, and they have done a good job of covering those issues in their Wiki. I think many open source projects could benefit from their example.
* * * * *
Last week I wrote a review of the Superb Mini Server (SMS) Live edition. A short time after the review appeared I received an e-mail from the project and the note clears up some of the questions and concerns I had with the distribution. Since they took the time to form a thorough and helpful reply to the review I felt it only fair to share the message with you, the readers, as the more information you have the easier it is to make informed decisions about which distributions to try. The e-mail I received from the SMS team is copied below with their permission.
First I want to thank you for taking time to review SMS, even if it was a quick one and left a bad taste to you and to your readers, I really appreciate it.
I feel I should clear your doubts regarding your issues you experienced, as the maintainer of the SMS project...
Permission denied from Webmin: Webmin's modules use start-up scripts to start/stop services from /etc/rc.d, so if a service is disabled (light) it's logical to complain about "permission denied" as it is not executable. During live boot you choose what you want to test with modes and cheat codes During Native installation you choose which services you want to start at boot. You can of course enable/disable services anytime with smsconfig from the terminal which is even easier for a non-Unix user.
Dual boot installation: The wiki has video tutorials and screen shots of native installations, as you can see it includes modified a Slackware installer so in LILO configuration you can switch to Slackware manual installation, to dual or triple boot.
Services don't work one day, next day do: Now that I haven't experienced, not for me on several installations even from the live CD nor any user in the forum, even the newbies, I don't say that it hasn't happened to you, it's just weird. Maybe you played with slapt-get and upgraded a service which had, by default, a start-up script executable, or your installation was corrupt, don't forget that the live CD installation just copies a running system, with "cp -a" actually.
Issues that do exist in SMS-2.0.1: Live CD PXE booting doesn't work due to kmod and missing /lib/modules/3.2.33-lcd/modules.pcimap, I realize two days ago, and fixed it, it will work in SMS-2.0.2. The packages avahi, PyQT and dbus-python were rebuilt against python-2.7, although that didn't affect their functionality.
Last but not least DistroWatch lists two more reviews, in which they didn't have any of your issues.
Once again I really wanna thank you for your time in reviewing SMS, and I wish you could take a second chance to test SMS, not for reviewing it for DistroWatch, but to clear up any doubts you may have about SMS.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
Linux Mint releases updated images, Fedora redesigns Anaconda, Debian intensifies "Wheezy" bug fixing, Ubuntu defends Unity
Linux Mint has become a bright star and a graceful winner, especially among users sceptical about the current wave of experimentation that goes into desktop user interfaces. And, based on online articles and community talk, it's clear that the project's insistence on retaining the classic desktop design is hugely successful. The first reviews of the new Linux Mint 14 seem to support this view. MakeTechEasier's Damien Oh clearly prefers Mint to Ubuntu: "One thing that I noticed for both Linux Mint and Ubuntu is that one of them put their users first, while the other focuses on new features development rather than user experience." In a similar fashion, Linux User's Rob Zwetsloot believes that Mint 14 is the best desktop Linux: "An absolute pleasure to use thanks to its Ubuntu base and alternate desktop environments, Linux Mint is one of the great examples of how Linux can be shaped by the community for the better. Perfect for home use on a main PC, and still great in an office or development environment." Also on a positive note, TheVarGuy's Christopher Tozzi explains the reasons behind Mint's growing acceptance: "Offering these alternative interfaces to users unhappy with the default choices in other Linux distributions is a central component of Mint's popularity."
With all this positive talk, let's not forget that Linux Mint is a software project and bugs occasionally find their way into the system. In a rare move, project founder Clement Lefebvre released a new set of Mint 14 re-spins to address some of the critical issues found after the release: "The ISO images for Linux Mint 14 'Nadia' were updated and labelled '14.1'. All the links were updated on the website and in the announcements to point to the new ISOs. If you're already running Linux Mint 14, you don't need to reinstall. The new ISO images provide fixes for the following issues: high CPU usage, low performance on Intel GPU - this was caused by a race condition between Plymouth and X.Org and affected owners of Intel cards in particular; no DNS resolution, Internet not working in virtual machine - Linux Mint now uses OpenDNS as a fallback for DNS resolution; installer fails to install grub-efi - a bug was fixed and the installer now successfully installs the grub-efi packages in EFI installations." Linux Mint 14.1, being just a re-spin that address certain post-release bugs, is not considered a new release, therefore it wasn't announced on the front page of DistroWatch last week.
* * * * *
Anaconda, referring to the system installer developed by Red Hat and used in CentOS, Fedora and many Fedora-based distributions, is a familiar beast, especially among system administrators and power users, many of whom likely go through the installation steps with closed eyes. Things are about to change, however. The upcoming release of Fedora 18 will surprise the unprepared with a completely redesigned system installer, or more precisely, its user interface. Nicu Buculei "guides you through the steps in this visual tutorial": "The most important and most visible feature in Fedora 18 is going to be the new user interface for the installer, Anaconda. It was a major change and it needed a major fixing effort, which was the cause for repeated schedule changes (the final release will come with an over two-month delay). Since the beta version was released earlier this week, anyone can perform an install and experiment with the new look and feel. Below is a series of screenshots (click for large size view) captured during my install of the Xfce spin (the steps should be identical for the other spins). I repeat: this is the beta release."
Fedora 18 Beta - the redesigned Anaconda system installer
(full image size: 43kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
* * * * *
Besides Fedora 18, another much-anticipated release scheduled for 2013 is that of Debian GNU/Linux 7.0, code name "Wheezy". Currently in a state of "freeze", the distribution is being attended to with minute detail in order to remove even the most inconspicuous bugs. Steven Rosenberg looks at the improvements in "Wheezy" and the upgrade process from "Squeeze": "Debian is boring. Releases happen every two years, give or take. Developers spend months and months chasing bugs while other Linux distributions crank out release after release. But Debian gets better as it inches toward release. And if you're running the stable distribution (Squeeze instead of Wheezy, still in testing) you can enjoy the goodness for the next two years — or three if you wish, as Stable gets an extra year of security patches as Old Stable after a new stable version is released. Debian isn't quite as boring as it is conservative. Even though Debian's testing is more stable than many other distributions' actual releases, you can expect some bugs. And if you follow testing, as I am at the moment, you get to see some of those bugs get fixed. One of my problems has been the menu in the Chromium and Google Chrome web browsers. Only in GNOME (and not Xfce), trying to access the menu would freeze the browser and cause a crash."
* * * * *
While there are signs that the GNOME developers are starting to acknowledge the users' dissatisfaction with the GNOME 3 interface (see this mailing list post as an example), Ubuntu stubbornly continues to throw all its weight behind the Unity desktop. In a recent interview with Linux Format, Canonical CEO Jane Silber argues that Unity is the result brought about by extensive testing: "User research and user testing became a core plank in our approach to the design. So, from the beginning of Unity development we've done a variety of different user testing and research. From exploring initial concepts with paper prototypes to actually getting people in and having them use the software - both during development and afterwards. Even after something's been released, we continue to test it and do milestone checks by repeating some of the same testing." Furthermore, many of these tests are opened to public scrutiny: "We absolutely release results of user testing, and will continue to do that. A lot of it comes up first on our design blog, so if you're interested go there first. But we're quite public in those. There are some things we keep private in the early stages of development for competitive or customer reasons, but in general we'll do as much of that design work in the open as possible, and release the user testing results as well."
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Defining a distribution
Working-for-Webster's asks: What is the difference between a distro and a re-spin? Are they the same, what goes into each if there is such a distinction to make?
DistroWatch answers: This is one of those subjects where if you ask five different Linux users you will probably receive five different answers. It never ceases to surprise me how many specific and arbitrary rules people can come up with for defining a distribution. Personally, I take a very simple, dictionary approach to defining a Linux distribution. The way I see it, if a project is distributing a GNU/Linux operating system, then they qualify as a GNU/Linux distribution. As for a re-spin, I would say any time a distribution is created using the same set of repositories as another distribution, that would constitute a re-spin. For example, Fedora is a unique project which distributes a GNU/Linux operating system. That makes Fedora a distribution. There are a number of community projects attached to Fedora which pull packages from the same set of repositories to make Fedora-based media. Some Fedora spins include their KDE, Xfce and LXDE spins. These spins draw from the same collection of packages, but result in an operating system with a different style. This makes them re-spins of Fedora.
Even if a person agrees with the above definitions (and many don't), it still raises some questions as to where to draw the line. For example, is Linux Mint a distribution or a spin? Mint's editions are based off either Ubuntu or Debian. It uses their repositories, making it look like a spin. However Mint also has its own unique programs and its own repositories, making Mint a super-set of its bases. The CentOS project always raises some interesting questions when searching for a definition. CentOS tries to stay as close to its upstream base as possible while just changing the branding of the software and a few configuration files. Since it uses the same source packages, that makes it sound like a re-spin. However, in keeping its own project repositories, with its own unique configuration and branding, it acts like a distribution. In such cases I suspect the issue becomes more a philosophical debate than a technical one.
Should you be interested in seeing the family tree of a distribution to find out from where it comes, you can visit its DistroWatch page. For example, if we visit the Peppermint page, it tells us the project is based on Lubuntu and, in turn, Debian. Clicking on the Lubuntu link shows us Lubuntu is based on Ubuntu's repositories and, in turn, Debian's. The Debian page let's us know Debian is an independent distribution without parentage.
|Released Last Week
Salix OS 14.0 "Xfce"
George Vlahavas has announced the release of Salix OS 14.0 "Xfce" edition, a Slackware-based distribution featuring the Xfce 4.10 desktop environment: "Salix Xfce 14.0 is ready. With Xfce 4.10 being the centerpiece of this release, CD images for the i686 and x86_64 architectures are available for immediate download. Apart from Xfce 4.10, software that comes installed includes Linux kernel 3.2.29, Midori 0.4.7 as the default web browser, Claws-Mail 3.8.1 as the application to use for accessing your e-mail accounts, LibreOffice 3.6.3 for all your office needs, GIMP 2.8.2 for everything that has to do with image editing and manipulation, Viewnior 1.3 as the default image viewer, Parole 0.3.0.3 as the default movie player, Exaile 3.3.0 as the application to use for managing your music collection and more." Read the rest of the release announcement for additional details and MD5 checksums.
Salix OS 14.0 "Xfce" - a Slackware-based distro with Xfce 4.10
(full image size: 659kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Clonezilla Live 2.0.1-5
Steven Shiau has announced the release of Clonezilla Live 2.0.1-5, a new stable build of the project's live CD with specialist open-source software for disk backup and cloning tasks: "Stable Clonezilla Live (2.0.1-5) released. This release of Clonezilla Live includes minor enhancements and bug fixes: the underlying GNU/Linux operating system was upgraded, this release is based on the Debian 'sid' repository (as of 2012-11-26); Linux kernel was updated to 3.2.32; package drbl was updated to 2.1.34-drbl1, and Clonezilla was updated to 3.1.22; a KMS mode was added in the boot menu; Partclone was updated to 0.2.56; packages tcplay and mpg123 were added; boot parameter 'ocs_lang' is now replaced by 'locales' from live-config; boot parameter 'ocs_live_keymap' is now replaced by 'keyboard-layouts' from live-config...." Read the full release announcement for a detailed changelog.
A new version of Tails, a Debian-based live system with the goal of providing complete Internet anonymity for the user, has been released: "Tails, The Amnesic Incognito Live System, version 0.15, is out. All users must upgrade as soon as possible. Changes: Tor upgrade to 0.2.3.25. Major new features: persistence for browser bookmarks; support for obfsproxy bridges. Minor improvements: add the Hangul (Korean) Input Method Engine for SCIM; preliminary support for some OpenPGP SmartCard readers; support printers that need HPIJS PPD and/or the IJS driver; optimize fonts display for LCD; update TrueCrypt to version 7.1a. Bug fixes: Fix gpgApplet menu display in Windows camouflage mode; fix Tor reaching an inactive state if it's restarted in 'bridge mode', e.g. during the time sync process. Iceweasel update to 10.0.11esr." Read the rest of the release announcement for a full list of new features.
Rocks Cluster Distribution 6.1
Philip Papadopoulos has announced the release of Rocks Cluster Distribution 6.1, a CentOS-based open-source toolkit for real and virtual clusters: "The latest update of Rocks, code name 'Emerald Boa', is now released. Emerald Boa is available for CentOS 6.3 (Rocks 6.1). The Rocks-supplied OS rolls have all updates applied as of November 27, 2012. New features: host-based SSH authentication is now the default, this eliminates the requirement the users have password-less SSH keys and/or mounted home area on remote nodes; two-factor SSH authentication using Google Authenticator Apps for Android and iPhone is supported for all users; New ZFS Linux roll to support the ZFS file system via the ZFS on Linux; new kernel roll to more easily support vanilla Linux kernels." See the release announcement and release notes for further details.
OS4 13.1 "OpenDesktop"
Roberto Dohnert has announced the release of OS4 13.1 "OpenDesktop", an updated build of the project's desktop Linux distribution based on Ubuntu: "Today the OS4 team is pleased to announce the much-anticipated update of OpenDesktop 13 with OS4 OpenDesktop 13.1. With this release we bring new features and bug fixes to OpenDesktop. OS4 OpenDesktop 13.1 still continues to revolutionize the Linux user experience with an excellent interface and easy-to-use applications, and it comes with new options to enhance your OS4 user experience. Superior functionality with some great new options. Some of the new features include: the Xfce workspace has been upgraded to 4.10 with Thunar upgraded to 1.5.3; we are introducing a revolutionary deskbar interface, enhanced icon set and window manager theme users will find familiar from our early days...." Read the rest of the release announcement for additional notes a video presentation.
Stefan Lippers-Hollmann has announced the release of aptosid 2012.1, a new version of the project's desktop Linux distribution based on Debian's unstable branch. From the release notes: "New features in aptosid 2012-01 are Linux kernel 3.6 and numerous integration and stabilisation fixes. Special focus has been cast upon improving system compatibility with new hardware platforms like AMD Bulldozer or Intel Ivy-Bridge and reworking the live system environment. Kernel 3.6 doesn't only improve and stabilise hardware support for newer devices, it also adapts ASPM heuristics for better power-saving and improved battery runtimes. Another topic has been the kernel's entropy gathering framework, both improving its performance and quality for systems providing little entropy by themselves."
aptosid 2012-01 - a Debian-based distribution with KDE 4.8.4
(full image size: 976kB, 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
- Cylon Linux. Cylon Linux is an Ubuntu-based desktop Linux distribution with the GNOME Classic user interface and a large selection of software for everyday needs.
- Rebellin. Rebellin is a desktop Linux distribution based on Debian GNU/Linux.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 10 December 2012. To contact the authors please send email to:
- Jesse Smith (feedback, questions and suggestions: distribution reviews, questions and answers, tips and tricks)
- Ladislav Bodnar (feedback, questions, suggestions and corrections: news, donations, distribution submissions, comments)
- Bruce Patterson (feedback and suggestions: podcast edition)
|Linux Foundation Training
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|• 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|
Star Labs - Laptops built for Linux.
View our range including the Star Lite, Star LabTop and more. Available with a choice of Ubuntu, Linux Mint or Zorin OS pre-installed with many more distributions supported. Visit Star Labs for information, to buy and get support.
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Chakra GNU/Linux is a user-friendly and powerful distribution and live CD originally forked from Arch Linux. It features a graphical installer, automatic hardware detection and configuration, the latest KDE desktop, and a variety of tools and extras.