| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 592, 12 January 2015
Welcome to this year's 2nd issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Computers can be complex and confusing devices. A multi-purpose operating system has so many different components that a person can quickly become lost trying to map out what each one is and how things work. This is why distributions which can simplify the user experience are so popular. Many of us want our computers to work with a minimal amount of effort and maintenance. This week we turn our attention to the Mint distribution which has become popular in recent years for its user friendly approach to computing. Read on to find out what is new in the project's Cinnamon edition. In our Questions and Answers column this week we discuss load averages, what they are and how they are calculated. We also talk about the benefits and drawbacks of different log formats. In the News this past week there was some debate over what an application is and how software managers should organize packages. Plus, we celebrate NetworkManager's 1.0 release along new improvements coming to PC-BSD and the openSUSE distribution. We also share a tutorial on working with processes on Linux and BSD systems. Don't forget to check out our Torrent Corner where we share and seed distribution images. Finally, be sure to browse our list of recent release announcements and upcoming distributions. We wish you all a fantastic week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
First Impressions of Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon Edition
Linux Mint is a desktop oriented operating system based on the Ubuntu distribution. Mint takes Ubuntu packages, adds some of its own software and attempts to form a more polished, user friendly desktop experience. Mint's 17.x series is based on Ubuntu 14.04 and is supported through to 2019. In June 2014 I reviewed Mint 17 MATE edition and found it to be a pleasant experience. Last week I decided to give the project's Cinnamon edition a try, partly to see how the two flavours compared, but mostly to find out how the Cinnamon desktop has been progressing.
The Mint distribution is available in several flavours. There are two main editions (MATE and Cinnamon) along with several community spins, including KDE and Xfce flavours. Editions of Mint can be downloaded with or without multimedia codecs and each flavour is available in 32-bit and 64-bit x86 builds. The latest version of Mint's Cinnamon edition mostly features small improvements. Cinnamon's code has been cleaned up to offer faster performance and less memory usage. The project's update manager has been tweaked a little to improve the organization of information and the update manager now has a separate window for handling alternative kernels. Mint features a pastebin command to facilitate posting information on-line. The project's command line search program has been improved and the APT command line package manager now features BASH completion. Further information on the release can be found in the project's release notes.
I downloaded the 64-bit build of Mint 17.1 Cinnamon edition and found the distribution's ISO was 1.5GB in size. Booting from the media brought me to the Cinnamon desktop. I found the desktop interface was presented with a traditional layout. The application menu, task switcher and system tray sit at the bottom of the screen. On the desktop we find icons for launching the system installer and exploring the file system. The background, controls and window borders are mostly grey or silver. When I tried running Mint in a virtual machine a notification appeared on the desktop and informed me video performance may be reduced (or CPU usage elevated) as Cinnamon was not able to rely directly on hardware for rendering the desktop. Despite the warning, I found Cinnamon was responsive when run in a virtual environment and the impact on CPU usage was minimal.
Linux Mint 17.1 -- Welcome screen
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Mint's system installer is a graphical application. The program starts by offering to show us the distribution's release notes. This first screen also allows us to select our preferred language. We are then asked if we would like to manually divide up our hard disk or if the installer should automatically partition the disk. I found the manual partitioning process was quite straight forward and setting up partitions was pleasantly easy to do. The system installer supports the ext2/3/4, JFS and XFS file systems. Once our disk is partitioned we are asked to choose our time zone from a map of the world and then confirm our keyboard's layout. The final screen of the installer gets us to create a user account for ourselves. When the installer finishes copying its files to our local drive we are asked to reboot the computer.
Mint boots to a graphical login screen. The background cycles through a series of images while the operating system waits for us to login. Once we sign into our account we are shown the Cinnamon desktop and a welcome window appears. The welcome window provides us with links to various Mint resources, including tutorials, release notes, the project's donation page, the distribution's IRC channel and one button opens the distribution's package manager. Once this welcome screen is dismissed we are left to play in the Cinnamon environment. Cinnamon, I found, tended to stay out of the way. Occasionally I would see a notification or an icon in the system tray would let me know software updates were available, but for the most part Cinnamon was calm and offered very little in the way of distractions. I found the desktop was responsive and, though I didn't care for the default grey theme, I found it was easy enough to tweak the style of the desktop to suit my preferences.
Linux Mint 17.1 -- The Cinnamon application menu
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Shortly after logging into Mint for the first time an icon in the system tray let me know security updates were available in the distribution's repositories. The project's update manager lists software updates and assigns each updated package a safety rating. This allows users to filter out upgrades which are more likely to break the operating system. We can select which items we wish to install and I found the update manager performed well, smoothly upgrading 38 packages (324MB in size) during my trial. One feature of the update manager I appreciate is the kernel manager. While running the update manager we can open up a second window which lists kernels available in Mint's repositories. Each kernel is listed along with its version number and any known fixes or regressions. By default Mint ships with the 3.13 Linux kernel, but more recent kernels, up to version 3.16, are available at the time of writing. I experimented with installing more modern kernels and the kernel manager worked well for me. Newly installed kernels automatically become the default while older kernels can be selected for use at boot time via the GRUB boot manager.
I tried running Linux Mint in a virtual machine powered by VirtualBox and on a physical desktop computer. In both environments the distribution performed well. Mint booted very quickly, the desktop was always responsive, tasks completed quickly and all my hardware was properly detected. I had been worried Cinnamon might lag when used inside VirtualBox. Desktop environments which use 3-D effects sometimes become quite slow when they do not have direct access to video cards (and drivers) that will facilitate 3-D features. I was pleased to find Cinnamon worked well in VirtualBox and the desktop performed smoothly. Audio and networking functioned properly in both environments. The distribution's memory footprint varied a little through the week as I experimented with various themes and backgrounds. Mint's default configuration used about 300MB of RAM and, once I was finished tweaking the interface, the distribution used 360MB of memory.
Mint ships with a useful collection of software and, for the most part, seems to have stuck with the most useful/popular applications available in the open source community. Mint offers us the Firefox web browser (with Flash plugin), the LibreOffice productivity suite, the Thunderbird e-mail client, the HexChat IRC client, the Pidgin instant messaging software and the Transmission bittorrent software. Mint provides us with the VLC multimedia player, the Banshee audio player, the Totem video player and the Brasero optical disc burning software. The edition of Mint I installed provides a full range of multimedia codecs. Looking further through the application menu we find the GNU Image Manipulation Program, an archive manager, a calculator, a document viewer and a text editor. Mint ships with a simple backup utility, a domain blocker, a driver manager for installing third-party drivers and two software managers I'll talk about later. Mint offers users a wide range of easy to use configuration tools that allow us to alter the style of the desktop and adjust the underlying operating system. Most of these configuration modules are available through the distribution's System Settings panel. Mint ships with Java and the GNU Compiler Collection. Network Manager is available to help us get on-line. In the background the operating system runs the Linux kernel, version 3.13. A range of kernels from version 3.13 through to 3.16 are available if users require a more modern kernel.
Linux Mint 17.1 -- The System Settings panel
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I quite enjoyed using Mint's System Settings panel. The panel provides a central location for configuring the operating system. Through the panel we can change the look of the desktop, work with desktop widgets, configure notifications, alter workspace behaviour, change visual effects and select preferred applications. The list of features available through the configuration modules go on. One question which came to my mind while I was using the System Settings panel was: What is the difference between a desklet, an applet and an extension? There are modules for working with all three, but there isn't any immediate explanation as to what each one does and the configuration modules are quite similar. As it turns out, applets are small programs that are added to our desktop panel. For example, we can add a trashcan or other applet to the system tray. A desklet is basically a desktop widget, a small program that sits on the desktop, similar to KDE's Plasma widgets. An extension is a module that adds functionality to the desktop (or changes existing functionality). An extension might change the way we switch between windows, for instance, or add visual effects to the user interface.
Mint provides two graphical package managers. The main package manager offers users a nice interface with large icons representing software categories. Clicking on a software category brings up a list of applications with a brief description for each one and an icon. Clicking on a package brings up an information screen with a detailed description of the program, a screen shot and a user-supplied rating. Programs can be installed or removed with the click of a button. We can also search for applications by name and filter items based on whether they are currently installed. There are a few things about the software manager that ships with Mint that I quite like. One feature I like is we can continue to browse for software while items are being installed in the background. I also quite like that the software manager prompts for our password when it opens and then remembers our credentials for the remainder of the session. This means we do not need to periodically re-enter our password if we continue to use the software manager. The Synaptic package manager is also available for Mint users. Synaptic has a simple interface where we are shown packages in alphabetical order. Synaptic can be quite flexible, filtering package lists and searching for items. Synaptic performs quickly, but has a less novice-friendly interface.
Linux Mint 17.1 -- Managing software packages and desklets
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There are a few features included in Mint 17.1 that I grew to appreciate. For example, the command line completion feature with APT worked well for me. The feature allows us to start typing an APT command and use the Tab button to complete the command line. This cuts down on typing a little. I didn't use the feature often, but it can be handy. A feature I think is more helpful is the pastebin command line utility. The pastebin command allows us to post the contents of a file (or the output of a command) directly to a public website maintained by the Mint project. Usually when we go to forums or chat rooms for help we need to get some output and copy/paste it, or upload it manually to a website. The pastebin command requires no on-line account, formatting or copy/pasting on our part. This makes sharing information and getting assistance much easier as pastebin automatically posts our data and provides us with a URL we can share with others so that they may see the same data. It's all quite fast and painless and I hope other distributions follow this example as it removes one of the hurdles in the trouble-shooting process.
I generally have good experiences with the Linux Mint distribution. The project puts together a solid desktop operating system, complete with popular open source applications, multimedia support, a friendly system installer and configuration tools which are easy to navigate. Mint makes tasks such as installing third-party drivers, popular software (both proprietary and open source) and alternative kernels easy. Most users will probably be able to sit down and simply start using Mint and its small collection of desktop software with a minimal amount of work.
Going into this review I was mostly interested in Cinnamon. I was curious to see how it would perform (especially in a virtual machine). I wondered how Cinnamon would compare with MATE and with GNOME 3. I was happy to find Cinnamon has become a polished desktop environment. It has the modern features and extensions of GNOME 3 combined with the classic desktop layout of MATE/GNOME 2. Cinnamon, as it is presented in Mint, has a nice set of defaults. It has a minimum amount of visual effects, it stays out of the way and performs quickly. People who like to tweak their desktop environments will be able to experiment with themes, different icons sets, extensions and widgets. Of the various desktop environments related to GNOME (MATE, GNOME Classic, GNOME Shell and Cinnamon) I think Cinnamon may present the best balance of features, performance and familiarity.
Mint 17.1 is an incremental evolution from previous versions. The distribution was stable for me, the distribution performed well, offered a lot of functionality out of the box and was beautifully easy to use. I would feel quite comfortable introducing novice users to Mint. I think the distribution has a very gentle learning curve, but enough flexibility to appeal to more advanced users.
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Hardware used in this review
My physical test equipment for this review was a desktop HP Pavilon p6 Series with the following specifications:
- Processor: Dual-core 2.8GHz AMD A4-3420 APU
- Storage: 500GB Hitachi hard drive
- Memory: 6GB of RAM
- Networking: Realtek RTL8111 wired network card
- Display: AMD Radeon HD 6410D video card
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In last week's review of Manjaro I compared the Manjaro distribution to two other distributions, specifically KaOS and ArchBang. In that review I said KaOS "offers an Arch base with KDE/Qt software." In fact, KaOS is an independent distribution and does not use Arch Linux as a base. The two projects both use the pacman package manager and both distributions are rolling releases, but KaOS is not based on (nor binary compatible with) Arch Linux. For more information on KaOS and its relationship with other distributions, please see the KaOS FAQ response to Isn't KaOS just another Arch based distribution/What is different with Chakra?
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Debates over GNOME Software, Network Manager reaches 1.0, PC-BSD gets a new update manager, improvements coming to openSUSE's Tumbleweed and controlling UNIX processes
On the Phoronix website there is an interesting discussion over the question: what is an application? Is a command line program an application, is compatibility software such as WINE an application? Also, should applications displayed by a package manager be filtered based on which desktop the user is running? These questions arise from a number of posts on the Fedora mailing lists where the behaviour of the GNOME Software package manager is discussed. It has been pointed out that GNOME Software does not display console applications and GNOME Software, by default, does not show applications designed for desktop environments other than GNOME. Some people feel that editing an environment variable to force GNOME Software to show applications designed for other desktop environments is not user friendly. Others have raised concerns that GNOME Software will not display console applications and therefore a second package manager is required to handle packages on Fedora. As Hedayat Vatankhah writes, "I don't mind if GNOME doesn't consider console applications as applications; but I really think that Fedora should not go that route. Certainly, the concept of 'console applications' is a widely recognized
concept; and I find associating 'applications' with .desktop files, icons and windows just ridiculous and confusing." Richard Hughes countered that the GNOME Software program recognizes a strict definition of what an application is and will not display programs which do not fit this definition.
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In lighter news, the NetworkManager project has launched its 1.0 release. The NetworkManager software was first introduced to the world about ten years ago and strived to make connecting to networks (especially mobile and wi-fi networks) easier. Today, NetworkManager is widely used and is included in most Linux distributions. Fedora Magazine carries more details: "At its inception, NetworkManager was built to manage laptops that move from one network to another. Over time, it grew a rich set of integrated capabilities to manage complex network profiles across all sorts of systems. Here's an interview with Dan Williams, one of the principal authors of NetworkManager, during the Fedora 13 cycle in 2010. He also wrote a blog entry around that time, mentioned in the interview, about the new technologies (at the time) supported in NetworkManager such as 3G modems and Bluetooth networking through your phone."
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The PC-BSD project has unveiled a new update manager for the desktop edition of their operating system. The new package manager makes it easier to select the types of updates to be downloaded and will perform automated checks for new software updates. The PC-BSD blog has more details: "The PC-BSD team is happy to announce we've put the finishing touches on the new Update GUI. Users on Edge will be able to download and test out the new update GUI with their next update. The new Update GUI will also enable automatic updates which will happen at boot up or every 24 hours. You will also be able to choose what parts of your system you want to update (i.e. Packages, Security, etc.)."
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The openSUSE team is starting 2015 with a number of new improvements to the community distribution. The openSUSE blog has a post which outlines new developments coming to the project's Tumbleweed repositories. New items include improvements to the AppArmor security software, bug fixes for the Digikam camera manager and upgrades to Python Qt5 libraries. A more detailed list of changes can be found on the project's Factory mailing list.
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The ability to exercise fine control over running programs is one of the features which make Linux and BSD operating systems so powerful. However, there is a learning curve involved and some people struggle when it comes to finding out what a process is, how to find information about running processes and how they can be manipulated. There is a quick introduction to UNIX processes by nixCraft which talks about finding processes, gathering information, changing program priorities and shutting down processes. The post is a good starting point for people who want to take more control over the software running on their computers. Though the article focuses on examples from the FreeBSD operating system the examples provided should work on Linux distributions and other UNIX-like platforms.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Mysterious load averages and binary logs
Balancing processes asks: I have five scripts running in my single core server. Once I start those processes, the server becomes slow and the load average goes up to four or five. Looking at "top" none of my processes use more than 1%-2% of my CPU. What causes high CPU utilization based on average load values while there are no processes using high CPU percentage?
DistroWatch answers: Quite often when we see high load averages it indicates there is an application running amuck, taking up most of our CPU's processing power and making everything else run slower. This is especially true on a desktop machine where, usually, most applications require little CPU time and our load average stays low. But one process, suddenly becoming greedy, might start using 100% of our CPU and cause the load average to spike. However, this situation isn't the only scenario where load averages rise and our system becomes sluggish.
Load average measures the number of processes that are currently running combined with the number of processes actively waiting to run. Different operating systems calculate load numbers a little differently, but essentially the load average tells us how many programs are trying to run at a given moment.
How can you have a high load average while your processes are each using a small amount of your CPU's resources? If you have several processes all competing for the CPU at the same time, even if each one wants just a sliver of the CPU's resources, many processes working at the same time can raise your load average.
I like to think of the CPU's load as a line up at a bank. The load average, in this example, would represent the amount of time each person needs to stand in line, waiting. A long wait time could be caused by one of two things. There could be a short line, but one person is taking a long time to complete their business. Alternatively, there could be many people in the line and each one takes a little bit of time to complete their business. Either way, getting to the head of the line takes a long time.
My guess is that each script being run on the system is creating new processes and all these processes are trying to run at once. Each process might not want much of the CPU's resources, but there are enough of them it is driving up the load and reducing performance. Next time these scripts are active, run the "top" command and, near the top of the page, look at the number of processes with the status "running". If you see more than two or three processes marked as "running" that is likely the source of the high load.
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A-log-by-any-other-name asks: I don't quite understand the problem with the binary logs. Straight text files still need a program to access them, whether cat, less, cp or an editor of some sort. How is that any different than using the viewer for systemd? After all, whether text or binary, it's all stored as ones and zeros and needs to be converted by a program to be read or printed.
DistroWatch answers: There are three problems with binary log files. These problems are not specific to systemd, but systemd's default behaviour with regards to binary logs does create issues.
The first problem with binary logs was pointed out in the question above. Specifically, with a binary log file there is one program which acts as the gatekeeper for the log. The initial output from the log needs to come from that one application. There are hundreds of programs which can be used to view, search, format and process text logs. With a text log we can use any number of programs (grep, less, cat, etc) to view and parse the data. We can manipulate data with a binary log too, but first we need to convert the data into text using the log reader if we want to parse the log. This can be a problem if the binary log reader is not working correctly.
If all you ever want to do with the log data is view it all at once, then there isn't much difference between running "journalctl" or "cat mylog.txt". However, if you want to parse or filter output or examine the data in some fashion, then sifting through binary logs requires the extra step of translating the data from binary format to text. For example, "journalctl | grep mystring" instead of just "grep mystring mylog.txt".
This brings me to the second important difference. If you are a person sitting at home and you only look through your logs rarely and do so manually, then binary logs are probably fine for you. However, over the decades most system administration tools which watch log files (or create summaries and reports based on log files) have been written to process text logs. Programs that, for example, monitor logs and warn you about package changes or attempted break-ins were probably written to handle text logs. If your logs are in another format then those tools either need to be altered to work with the new format (while maintaining compatibility with text logs) or you need to produce log files in text format for these tools.
The third problem is corruption. File corruption does not happen often, but when it happens with a text log, you might miss a few characters or a few lines. When corruption hits a binary log, it can be problematic.
In short, if all you do with log data is dump it to the screen, then a binary log is not much different (practically) to a text log. But if you want to search, print, manipulate, scan or otherwise make use of log data, having that data in a text file is more convenient and will work better with existing system administration utilities. After all, to do something useful with log data it needs to be in text format. For most use cases it makes sense to start with the log data already in the desired format.
All that being said, the systemd journal program does have some convenient features. Sometimes a binary log file can offer shortcuts to information, or provide meta information about the log that would be harder to find with plain text logs. This blog post outlines a few handy systemd commands with regards to logging.
The Arch wiki also has some great tips for using the systemd journalctl command. As with most things, there are trade-offs between binary logs and text logs. Text logs are more accessible and more universal, while binary logs offer some quick search functions, built in filtering and easily accessible meta data.
Bittorrent is a great way to transfer large files, particularly open source operating system images, from one place to another. Most bittorrent clients recover from dropped connections automatically, check the integrity of files and can re-download corrupted bits of data without starting a download over from scratch. These characteristics make bittorrent well suited for distributing open source operating systems, particularly to regions where Internet connections are slow or unstable.
Many Linux and BSD projects offer bittorrent as a download option, partly for the reasons listed above and partly because bittorrent's peer-to-peer nature takes some of the strain off the project's servers. However, some projects do not offer bittorrent as a download option. There can be several reasons for excluding bittorrent as an option. Some projects do not have enough time or volunteers, some may be restricted by their web host provider's terms of service. Whatever the reason, the lack of a bittorrent option puts more strain on a distribution's bandwidth and may prevent some people from downloading their preferred open source operating system.
With this in mind, DistroWatch plans to give back to the open source community by hosting and seeding bittorrent files for distributions that do not offer a bittorrent option themselves. This is a feature we are experimenting with and we are open to feedback on how to improve upon the idea.
For now, we are hosting a small number of distribution torrents, listed below. The list of torrents offered will be updated each week and we invite readers to e-mail us with suggestions as to which distributions we should be hosting. When you message us, please place the word "Torrent" in the subject line and please make sure the project you are recommending does not already host its own torrents. We want to primarily help distributions and users who do not already have a torrent option. To help us maintain and grow this free service, please consider making a donation.
The table below provides a list of torrents we currently host. If you do not currently have a bittorrent client capable of handling the linked files, we suggest installing either the Transmission or KTorrent bittorrent clients.
All torrents we make available here will also be listed on the very useful Linux Tracker website. Thanks to Linux Tracker we are able to share the following torrent statistics.
Torrent Corner statistics:
- Total torrents seeded: 9
- Total downloads completed: 535
- Total data uploaded: 259GB
|Released Last Week
Openwall GNU/*/Linux 3.1
Alexander Peslyak has announced the release of Openwall GNU/*/Linux 3.1 a new stable version of the project's small security-enhanced Linux distribution for servers, appliances and virtual appliances: "The Owl 3.1 stable branch forked off Owl-current in mid-2014 is finally available on our FTP mirrors, including ISO images, OpenVZ container templates, binary packages for x86_64 and i686, and full sources. This officially ends the life of Owl 3.0-stable. Also, Owl-current is not currently in a stable state that it usually happens to be in. Thus, Owl 3.1-stable is the branch that we currently intend for actual use, with Owl-current temporarily intended for development experiments only. Recent changes in Owl 3.1-stable include update to RHEL 5.11-based Linux/OpenVZ kernel along with Red Hat's fix for a local privilege escalation vulnerability on x86-64 (CVE-2014-9322). So please upgrade." Here is the brief release announcement.
Linux Mint 17.1 "KDE"
Clement Lefebvre has announced the availability of an updated build of Linux Mint "KDE", a version based on Ubuntu's latest long-term support release: "The team is proud to announce the release of Linux Mint 17.1 'Rebecca' KDE. Linux Mint 17.1 is a long-term support release which will be supported until 2019. The previous version of Linux Mint used KDE 4.13. In this release, KDE is upgraded to version 4.14. Support was added in MDM and in the session for the KDE wallet to be fully integrated with Linux Mint. Although a Wallet Manager is present for configuration purpose, no interaction is needed for the KDE wallet to work. The wallet is created automatically with your first login, and it opens automatically in the background with every new session. The Update Manager now groups packages together according to their source package." See the release announcement, as well as the more detailed release notes and the what's new page for further information and known issues.
Linux Mint 17.1 -- Default KDE desktop
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Tim Booth has announced the release of Bio-Linux 8.0.5, an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution with a collection of scientific software for use in the field of bioinformatics: "An updated Bio-Linux 8 version is now on the website in ISO and OVA variants. The key changes are: addresses a recent issue with the desktop failing to start on VirtualBox due to incompatible drivers; updates various packages, notably QIIME and Bowtie-Bio tools; adds the pandaseq paired end assembler; adds the updated beginner's tutorial specific to Bio-Linux 8. As usual, there is no need to download this version if you are an existing user. All updates to existing packages will be applied to your system through the update manager and new packages are all available via apt-get or Synaptic." Here is the brief release announcement as published on the project's mailing list.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Distributions added to waiting list|
- LibertyBSD. LibertyBSD is a 64-bit x86 fork of OpenBSD with non-free firmware blobs removed.
- ChaletOS. ChaletOS is a Xubuntu-based project with a desktop theme that resembles Microsoft Windows.
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DistroWatch database summary
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This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 19 January 2015. 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)
|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.
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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VAST (VIPER Assessment Security Tools)
VAST was a Linux-based security distribution specifically designed for penetration testing VoIP and UC networks. It enables security professionals and UC administrators to rapidly perform VoIP security assessments and enumerate vulnerabilities in IP Phones or IP PBX servers in a lab environment. With VAST, a security consultant has every tool necessary to carry out a successful on-site or remote penetration test or vulnerability assessment against a UC network. VAST was built on Linux Mint and includes all of the open source VIPER Lab tools, in addition to some other network penetration testing tools.