| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 745, 8 January 2018
Welcome to this year's 2nd issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Most distributions follow a predictable life cycle. They present a new approach or idea, they grow and, eventually, are discontinued. A handful will reach critical mass and become sustainable in the long-term. A few rare cases disappear and return from the dead with a new, fresh start. This week, in our News section, we talk about two returning distributions: Freespire and its commercial sibling, Linspire. These two distributions are also the subject of our Opinion Poll and we would like to hear from you if you have used either of these systems. We also say a fond farewell to the Debian-based Parsix GNU/Linux distribution. Plus we talk about multiple processor bugs which affect most modern operating systems, including all Linux distributions. First though, we explore a desktop-friendly flavour of BSD: GhostBSD. The GhostBSD project is available in Xfce and MATE editions and makes setting up a desktop, BSD-based operating system a simple point-and-click experience. Plus we discuss how to add an AppImage or other third-party program to the desktop's application menu in our Tips and Tricks guide. As usual, we are happy to share the releases of the past week and provide a list of the torrents we are seeding. Finally, we are pleased to welcome the Archman GNU/Linux distribution to our database. We wish you all a fantastic week and happy reading!
- Review: GhostBSD 11.1 - FreeBSD for the desktop
- News: Linspire and Freespire return, Parsix shuts down, wide-spread CPU bugs, Ubuntu 17.04 reaching its end of life
- Tips and tricks: Adding an AppImage to the application menu
- Released last week: Freespire 3, Linspire 7.0, Robolinux 8.10
- Torrent corner: Antergos, feren OS, IPFire, Gecko, KDE neon, Makulu, Robolinux, SwagArch, Zeroshell
- Opinion poll: Thoughts on Linspire and Freespire
- DistroWatch.com news: Improved package search
- New additions: Archman GNU/Linux
- New distributions: VeltOS
- Reader comments
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (27MB) and MP3 (33MB) formats.
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
GhostBSD 11.1 - FreeBSD for the desktop
GhostBSD is a desktop oriented operating system which is based on FreeBSD. The project takes the FreeBSD operating system and adds a desktop environment, some popular applications, a graphical package manager and Linux binary compatibility. GhostBSD is available in two flavours, MATE and Xfce, and is currently available for 64-bit x86 computers exclusively. I downloaded the MATE edition which is available as a 2.3GB ISO file.
Booting from the installation media brings up a graphical login screen where we can sign into the live desktop environment using "ghostbsd" as the account name with no password. The live MATE desktop is presented with a two panel layout. At the top of the screen we find the Applications, Places and System menus. The top panel also plays host to the system tray. The bottom panel features a task switcher and a widget for switching between virtual desktops. On the desktop we find icons for launching the Caja file manager and the GhostBSD system installer. There is also an icon which launches the HexChat IRC client and automatically connects us with the project's chat room.
GhostBSD's system installer is a graphical application which begins by asking us for our preferred language, which we can select from a list. We can then select our keyboard's layout and our time zone. When it comes to partitioning we have three main options: let GhostBSD take over the entire disk using UFS as the file system, create a custom UFS layout or take over the entire disk using ZFS as the file system. UFS is a classic file system and quite popular, it is more or less FreeBSD's equivalent to Linux's ext4. ZFS is a more advanced file system with snapshots, multi-disk volumes and optional deduplication of data. I decided to try the ZFS option.
Once I selected ZFS I didn't have many more options to go through. I was given the chance to set the size of my swap space and choose whether to set up ZFS as a plain volume, with a mirrored disk for backup or in a RAID arrangement with multiple disks. I stayed with the plain, single disk arrangement. We are then asked to create a password for the root account and create a username and password for a regular user account. The installer lets us pick our account's shell with the default being fish, which seemed unusual. Other shells, including bash, csh, tcsh, ksh and zsh are available. The installer goes to work copying files and offers to reboot our computer when it is done.
The newly installed copy of GhostBSD boots to a graphical login screen where we can sign into the account we created during the install process. Signing into our account loads the MATE 1.18 desktop environment. I found MATE to be responsive and applications were quick to open. Early on I noticed odd window behaviour where windows would continue to slide around after I moved them with the mouse, as if the windows were skidding on ice. Turning off compositing in the MATE settings panel corrected this behaviour. I also found the desktop's default font (Montserrat Alternates) to be hard on my eyes as the font is thin and, for lack of a better term, bubbly. Fonts can be easily adjusted in the settings panel.
GhostBSD 11.1 -- The application menu showing off the default font
(full image size: 804kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
On the subject of the settings panel, I like how GhostBSD's is arranged. The settings modules are well organized and it was easy for me to find the desktop options I wanted to adjust. Each module tends to have a simple layout with just a few options apiece, making adjustments straight forward.
GhostBSD 11.1 -- The settings panel
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A few minutes after I signed into my account, a notification appeared in the system tray letting me know software updates were available. Clicking the update icon brings up a small window showing us a list of package updates and, if any are available, updates to the base operating system. FreeBSD, and therefore GhostBSD, both separate the core operating system from the applications (packages) which run on the operating system. This means we can update the core of the system separately from the applications. GhostBSD's core remains relatively static and minimal while applications are updated using a semi-rolling schedule.
When we are updating the core operating system, the update manager will give us the option of rebooting the system to finish the process. We can dismiss this prompt to continue working, but the wording of the prompt may be confusing. When asked if we want to reboot to continue the update process, the options presented to us are "Continue" or "Restart". The Continue option closes the update manager and returns us to the MATE desktop.
The update manager worked well for me and the only issue I ran into was when I dismissed the update manager and then wanted to install updates later. There are two launchers for the update manager, one in MATE's System menu and one in the settings panel. Clicking either of these launchers didn't accomplish anything. Running the update manager from the command line simply caused the process to lock up until killed. I found if I had dismissed the update manager once, I'd have to wait until I logged in again to use it. Alternatively, I could use a command line tool or use the OctoPkg package manager to install package updates.
OctoPkg is a simple package manager with two main views. One view shows packages currently installed on our system. The second view allows us to search for available packages in the on-line repository. We can toggle between the two views with the click of a button. We can then click on packages in either view to mark them for installation or removal. The remote package view, by default, does not show anything. There doesn't appear to be a way to show all available packages and browse through them. Instead we search for packages based on their name. Searches can be tricky because if we give too much information, we will not get any results back. For example, searching for "music" will show audio players, but searching for "music player" shows nothing. Likewise, searching for "word" will show word processors or dictionaries, but "word processor" returns no results.
GhostBSD 11.1 -- The OctoPkg package manager
(full image size: 632kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
While finding packages can be tricky, OctoPkg works quickly and can optionally upgrade all installed packages on our system. While I did not run into any errors while using OctoPkg, I think it is worth mentioning the package manager does not deal with the core FreeBSD operating system; we cannot use OctoPkg to upgrade the core operating system, just its third-party packages.
I tried using GhostBSD in two environments, starting with a VirtualBox virtual machine. In the virtual environment, GhostBSD worked very well. The operating system booted and performed quickly, the desktop was responsive and the system was stable. The MATE desktop responded quickly and automatically integrated with my host environment, using my screen's full resolution. The operating system used about 6.5GB of disk space for a fresh installation. When logged into MATE, GhostBSD used about 280MB of active memory and 350MB of wired memory, most of the latter appears to be utilized by ZFS.
When I then tried working with GhostBSD on my physical desktop computer, I was disappointed. I could not get GhostBSD's installation media to boot. GhostBSD's boot media supports several boot options (normal, safe graphics settings and booting without ACPI support). Taking any of the options caused GhostBSD to lock up about two seconds into the boot process and refuse to proceed. This limited my experiment with GhostBSD to the virtual machine.
GhostBSD ships with a fairly standard set of open source applications. Firefox is available, along the with the Thunderbird e-mail client, the Pidgin messaging software and the HexChat IRC client. LibreOffice is installed for us along with a dictionary and the Atril document viewer. The Cheese webcam utility is included along with the Xfburn disc burning software.
GhostBSD 11.1 -- Browsing available applications
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GhostBSD ships with MPlayer for watching videos and Exaile for playing audio files. I was able to play video files out of the box, but unable to listen to MP3 files with the default codecs. We can use the OctoPkg package manager to grab additional codecs. GhostBSD's codec packages are clearly named, making it easier to find what we need. For example, we can install gstreamer-plugins-mp3 to play MP3 files and gstreamer-plugins-ogg to play OGG files.
The operating system provides us with the Caja file manager, a desktop application for setting up printers and the Shotwell photo manager. We can also find an archive manager, text editor and image viewer in the application menu. There is a launcher called GhostBSD Bugs which opens Firefox and displays the project's issue tracker. In the background we find the Clang compiler, the FreeBSD command line tools and the FreeBSD 11.1 kernel. There was another program called GSmartControl, but it failed to open when I tried to launch it.
GhostBSD ships with FreeBSD's Linux compatibility software enabled. This means, in theory, GhostBSD will be able to run Linux executable files, assuming all library dependencies are met. I tested the Linux compatibility functionality using a Linux package for the Sublime editor available in the FreeBSD package repository. The package installed and was added to my application menu, but failed to start. I also tried a game called Nero and, while it loaded, the game quickly crashed. It seems the Linux compatibility layer can work in some cases, but it is probably best not to rely on it, especially for more modern applications such as Chrome or Steam.
Before GhostBSD starts, the FreeBSD boot menu is displayed and it includes an option to select a boot environment. A boot environment is a snapshot of the operating system, usually taken prior to a software upgrade or configuration change which might damage the system. GhostBSD does not appear to ship with any tools for managing boot environments, but the boot environment administration (beadm) package is available in the software repository. beadm is a command line tool which makes it easy to create, destroy and mount snapshots.
I tested beadm and found I could successfully create snapshots and activate them to be used at the next system restart. I also found the boot menu would recognize the snapshots I created and allow me to select which one I wanted to boot. This means, so long as I run beadm create prior to a configuration change or system update, if anything goes wrong a broken system can be fixed by rebooting and selecting the most recent snapshot from the boot menu. Short of hardware failure, GhostBSD running on ZFS is nearly bullet proof.
By default, GhostBSD makes both sudo and a root account available for people who wish to perform administrative tasks. The first user we create, at install time, is automatically set up to be able to use sudo to perform admin actions.
Most of my time with GhostBSD, I was impressed and happy with the operating system. GhostBSD builds on a solid, stable FreeBSD core. We benefit from FreeBSD's performance and its large collection of open source software packages. The MATE desktop was very responsive in my trial and the system is relatively light on memory, even when run on ZFS which has a reputation for taking up more memory than other file systems.
GhostBSD 11.1 -- Running Firefox and LibreOffice
(full image size: 495kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
There were a couple of weak links in GhostBSD's chain, the big one being hardware compatibility. While the operating system worked very well in VirtualBox, I could not get it to boot on my desktop hardware, a problem I typically have with FreeBSD-based projects. I can often work around little issues when trying a new operating system, but only if it will boot. The second concern I had was with the package manager. OctoPkg works, but it is very minimal and it doesn't make it particularly easy for new users to find the software they want. I'm hoping to see a more modern looking software centre in future versions of GhostBSD.
One final concern I had was GhostBSD does not have quite the range of software a Linux distribution can access. Most of the same programs are there and people who use open source software exclusively will probably find everything they need. However, people who want to run Chrome, Steam or other modern, closed source applications which do run on Linux will not find them on GhostBSD.
The killer feature, from my point of view, was GhostBSD's great ZFS and boot environment support. Full disk ZFS is supported right in the installer and GhostBSD makes it very easy to set up. Most users will be able to just click through the partitioning screen without adjusting anything. Then, once we have the beadm package installed, we can make use of boot environments, snapshotting our operating system before making any major changes. Then a restart will fix almost any issue which comes up.
I think GhostBSD has matured a lot in the past few years and it is close to being on par with Linux equivalents such as Ubuntu MATE. I definitely recommend giving it a try, if you have hardware that is compatible with GhostBSD, I think the operating system will provide a pleasant experience.
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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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Visitor supplied rating
GhostBSD has a visitor supplied average rating of: 7.3/10 from 28 review(s).
Have you used GhostBSD? You can leave your own review of the project on our ratings page.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Linspire and Freespire return, Parsix shuts down, wide-spread CPU bugs, Ubuntu 17.04 reaching its end of life
The Linspire distribution has had a long and mixed history. Linspire (originally named Lindows) is a commercial distribution which has changed hands a few times. Linspire started as a Debian-based project designed to offer a familiar desktop environment for Windows users. Linspire was later re-based on Ubuntu and continued its beginner-friendly mission. However, the Linspire distribution was eventually purchased by Xandros and discontinued back around 2008. At the end of 2017, PC/OpenSystems LLC announced they had purchased Linspire and its community edition, Freespire, and would resume development of these two Ubuntu-based distributions. Linspire is being sold as a commercial product which can be bundled with PC/OpenSystems computers while Freespire can be downloaded free of charge. More information can be found on the PC/OpenSystems Linspire information page.
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Parsix GNU/Linux, a Debian-based desktop distribution, is being shut down. The project's home page has announced the Parsix repositories have been shut down and users of the distribution are encouraged to use Debian's package repositories. "Please point your apt repositories to Debian Jessie. Security repository is still active, however the plan is to shut it down on December 15, 2017."
* * * * *
Many technology websites are abuzz this week with news of multiple bugs in Intel processors which can leak critical kernel information to programs running on the operating system. This could potentially leak user credentials or security keys to any malicious program or user on the system. CNXSoft reports, "Many security bugs can be fixed without performance penalty, but according to reports Intel processors have a hardware bug - whose details have not been disclosed yet (embargo) - that seems to affect all operating systems including Windows, Linux, macOS, etc, and the fix may lead to significant performance hits for some tasks." Working around the bug seem to slow down systems by 5% to 30%, depending on the task being monitored. It has been reported that, apart from Intel x86 processors, ARM64 CPUs are also affected. Tom Lendacky, a Linux developer working for AMD, has stated that AMD x86 processors are not affected by one of the bugs, but another, related bug appears to affect all x86 processors. Patches for all major operating systems are expected in be released during the month of January 2018. The openSUSE News page has more details on the multiple processor issues. A great overview of both CPU issues can be found in a mailing list post by DragonFly BSD's Matthew Dillon.
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Steve Langasek has announced the supported life of Ubuntu 17.04 is drawing to a close. "Ubuntu announced its 17.04 (Zesty Zapus) release almost 9 months ago, on April 13, 2017. As a non-LTS release, 17.04 has a 9-month support cycle and, as such, will reach end of life on Saturday, January 13th. At that time, Ubuntu Security Notices will no longer include information or updated packages for Ubuntu 17.04. The supported upgrade path from Ubuntu 17.04 is via Ubuntu 17.10." Ubuntu 17.04 users are advised to upgrade to version 17.10. Instructions for performing the upgrade can be found in the Ubuntu Community Help Wiki.
* * * * *
These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Tips and Tricks (by Jesse Smith)
Adding an AppImage to the application menu
These days the concept of portable applications which can be downloaded and run on any Linux distribution is increasingly popular. A lot of distributions are moving to support portable technologies like Flatpak and Snap packages. However, while Flatpak and Snap both require a supporting framework to be available for applications to run, there are other portable package formats which are entirely self-contained and do not need distribution-level support.
We have talked about these portable package formats before and one of the most easy to use, portable packages is AppImage. An application which has been built as an AppImage is downloaded as a single file. This file can be made executable and then run on virtually any Linux distribution as the one file contains all of the application's dependencies.
One drawback to working with AppImages is most applications distributed as an AppImage will not integrate themselves into our desktop environment. This makes it less convenient to run an AppImage than an application which is installed via our operating system's software manager. In this Tips and Tricks column we are going to explore how to set up a short-cut in our desktop's application menu which can be used to run an AppImage bundle, or any other program.
The first thing we need to do is make sure the AppImage file, or other program we want to run, is executable. From the command line we can do this with the chmod program. In this example we will make the AppImage for AwesomeGame executable and then create a short-cut for it. The following commands make the AwesomeGame.AppImage bundle executable so we can run it. In this example I assume the AwesomeGame.AppImage bundle is in my Downloads directory.
We can test to make sure the AppImage bundle works by running it directly on the command line using
chmod a+x AwesomeGame.AppImage
Once we have confirmed the bundle runs and works as expected we can then create a short-cut to the game. To make a short-cut in our application menu we need to create a special file, called a .desktop file. This file must be saved in our .local/share/applications directory. We can use any text editor to create this .desktop file, I'm going to use the KWrite text editor:
In this new text file we need to place a series of lines which describe what the short-cut points to. In my case the new text file will look like this:
The "[Desktop Entry]" line at the top will be the same for every short-cut and should always be the first line. The Name field is what we want to be shown in the application menu and is usually something short so it fits in the menu. The Categories field can be blank, but should match the name of a sub-menu, like "Office" or "Game" or "Internet". The Comment field can be anything at all and I like to briefly describe what I am going to access. The Type field should always be set to "Application" for programs we plan to run.
Comment=This is a short-cut to the AwesomeGame AppImage
The Exec field is the full path where our program can be found. In my case, I want to run the bundle called AwesomeGame.AppImage in my Downloads directory. Once this file has been saved, a new entry called AwesomeGame should appear in our application menu.
The above example assumes we are the only user who wants to be able to run the AwesomeGame program and so we only added a launcher to our own application menu. Our personal launchers are all kept in the ~/.local/share/applications directory. If we want to make this launcher available to everyone using our computer, we can move the launcher into everyone's application menu by placing our AwesomeGame.desktop file in the global menu location, /usr/share/applications. We can do this by moving our launcher:
sudo mv ~/.local/share/applications/AwesomeGame.desktop /usr/share/applications/
While this approach works for AppImage programs, it will also work for any application we have downloaded which does not get added to our application menu automatically.
* * * * *
More tips can be found in our Tips and Tricks archive.
|Released Last Week
feren OS 2018.01
feren OS is a desktop Linux distribution based on Linux Mint's main edition. The feren OS distribution ships with the Cinnamon desktop environment and includes the WINE compatibility layer for running Windows applications. The project's latest snapshot features many new wallpapers, a new software manager and an updated theme manager: "Software has been replaced, by Software Manager. Before you say anything, I made sure this was the Software Manager I wanted, but ever since I saw the first ever screenshot of the newly revamped Mint Software Manager, I knew that was what I wanted a Software Center to be like in feren OS, until it gets its own one, so, when Mint 18.3 was released, alongside upgrading feren OS users to the base of 18.3, I also made a quick job at replacing GNOME Software with Mint's one, in the most user-friendly way possible, without getting in the way of users, and yeah, this is the new Software Center feren OS uses, and already, it does package and app searching from PPAs way better than GNOME Software did. Also, Flatpak is also now installed too." Further information can be found in the project's release announcement.
Linspire 7.0, Freespire 3
PC/OpenSystems has announced the organisation has purchased the rights to the commercial Linspire distribution and its community branch, Freespire. PC/OpenSystems is re-launching these two, long-dormant Linux distributions with refreshed packages and features. The new releases, Linspire 7.0 and Freespire 3.0, are based on Ubuntu. "Today the development team at PC/OpenSystems LLC is pleased to announce the release of Freespire 3.0 and Linspire 7.0. While both contain common kernel and common utilities, they are targeted towards two different user bases. Freespire is a FOSS distribution geared for the general Linux community, making use of only open source components, containing no proprietary applications. This is not necessarily a limitation: through our software center and extensive repositories, Freespire users can install any application that they wish. Linspire is a commercial release which builds on the elegant Freespire foundation. It does include a proprietary software set optimized for business users, students, researchers and developers." A list of features and further details can be found in the company's release announcement.
Linspire 7.0 -- Running the Xfce desktop
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Robolinux is a Debian-based desktop distribution which offers pre-configured virtual machines to help users run Windows software from their Linux desktop. The project's latest version, Robolinux 8.10, is based on Debian 8. "This major Robolinux upgrade involved several months of hard work finding every way possible to improve the speed and functionality of our Raptor version 8.10 Operating Systems. We also fixed the fusion-icon dependency issue in our 3D MATE and Xfce versions and upgraded Firefox to Quantum version 57.01 and Thunderbird to version 52.5.2 Robolinux 8.10 also has over 200 important upstream security and application updates. All of the upgraded 32- and 64-bit Robolinux Raptor Version 8.10 operating systems come with over 120 custom built wifi, video and printer drivers and can run Windows XP, 7 and 10 virus-free inside. Every version is loaded with many popular one-click installer applications such as the Tor browser, I2P, several very popular multimedia apps, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Skype and VirtualBox, plus 12 incredibly powerful security and privacy apps to keep our users safe!" Along with the new version, many of Robolinux's commercial add-ons are now being offered free of charge from the project's store. Details can be found in the project's release notes.
IPFire 2.19 Core 117
IPFire is a Linux distribution that is focused on easy setup, good handling and high level of security. It is operated via an intuitive web-based interface which offers many configuration options for beginning and experienced system administrators. The project has released a new update, IPFire 2.19 Core Update 117, which features several security fixes and improvements. "One moderate and one low security vulnerability have been patched in OpenSSL 1.0.2n. The official security advisory can be found here. It is now possible to define the inactivity timeout time when an idle IPsec VPN tunnel is being closed. Support for MODP groups with subgroups has been dropped. Compression is now disabled by default because it is not very effective at all. strongswan has been updated to 5.6.1. It is now easier to route OpenVPN Roadwarrior Clients to IPsec VPN networks by choosing routes in each client’s configuration. This makes hub-and-spoke designs easier to configure." Further details can be found in the distribution's release announcement.
GeckoLinux is an openSUSE-based spin which features non-free packages not found in openSUSE's default repositories. The distribution's latest release, GeckLinux 423, uses a new build system, called Kiwi, which offers improvements. "Thanks to Kiwi, GeckoLinux now boasts the following improvements: Much smoother and more reliable startup. Splash screen during live system startup. Better hardware detection, especially Xorg startup with certain troublesome graphics cards. No more entering passwords for the live session user account. Live USB persistence - GeckoLinux can now be used as an excellent portable OS, not just as an installation medium. Cleaner ISO build process and structure that is more in line with openSUSE." The new version also includes a repository containing NVIDIA drivers, enabled by default. Further information can be found in the project's release notes.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
The table below provides a list of torrents DistroWatch is currently seeding. If you do not have a bittorrent client capable of handling the linked files, we suggest installing either the Transmission or KTorrent bittorrent clients.
Archives of our previously seeded torrents may be found in our Torrent Archive. We also maintain a Torrents RSS feed for people who wish to have open source torrents delivered to them. To share your own open source torrents of Linux and BSD projects, please visit our Upload Torrents page.
Torrent Corner statistics:
- Total torrents seeded: 698
- Total data uploaded: 17.2TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Thoughts on Linspire and Freespire
In our News section we talked about the Linspire and Freespire distributions being brought back into development by PC/OpenSystems. In this week's poll we would like to find out your thoughts on these two long-dormant distributions. Have you used them before, are you planning to use them in the future?
You can see the results of our previous poll on number of distributions installed recently in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Thoughts on Linspire and Freespire
|I have used them before and plan to again: ||110 (8%)|
| I have used them before and do not plan to again: ||263 (18%)|
| I have not used them before but plan to in the future: ||66 (5%)|
| I have not used them before and do not plan to in the future: ||851 (59%)|
| Unsure: ||144 (10%)|
Improved package search
One feature we have been tweaking and improving this week is searching for packages. This feature helps visitors find distributions which include a specific version of a package, or which omit a package. For example, we can find distributions which include the latest kernel or which do not feature systemd.
In the past, the search function could get confused when comparing package versions which contained double-digit decimal numbers. For example, it was not always clear whether "4.10" should be greater than or less than "4.9". Mathematically, the answer would be less, but practically, the way most projects label their versions, "4.10" is greater than "4.9". The search function now does a better job of taking these situations into account and should accurately compare version numbers.
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New projects added to database
Archman GNU/Linux is an Arch Linux-based distribution which features the Calamares system installer and a pre-configured desktop environment. Archman also features the Octopi package manager to make installing new software easier.
Archman GNU/Linux 2018.01 -- Running the Xfce desktop
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Distributions added to waiting list
- VeltOS. VeltOS is an Arch-based Linux distribution which allows its community of users to vote on all aspects of the operating system's design and default applications.
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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, 15 January 2018. Past articles and reviews can be found through our Article Search page. To contact the authors please send e-mail to:
- Jesse Smith (feedback, questions and suggestions: distribution reviews/submissions, questions and answers, tips and tricks)
- Ladislav Bodnar (feedback, questions, donations, comments)
- Bruce Patterson (podcast)
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 802 (2019-02-18): Slontoo 18.07.1, NetBSD tests newer compiler, Fedora packaging Deepin desktop, changes in Ubuntu Studio|
|• Issue 801 (2019-02-11): Project Trident 18.12, the meaning of status symbols in top, FreeBSD Foundation lists ongoing projects, Plasma Mobile team answers questions|
|• Issue 800 (2019-02-04): FreeNAS 11.2, using Ubuntu Studio software as an add-on, Nitrux developing znx, matching operating systems to file systems|
|• Issue 799 (2019-01-28): KaOS 2018.12, Linux Basics For Hackers, Debian 10 enters freeze, Ubuntu publishes new version for IoT devices|
|• Issue 798 (2019-01-21): Sculpt OS 18.09, picking a location for swap space, Solus team plans ahead, Fedora trying to get a better user count|
|• Issue 797 (2019-01-14): Reborn OS 2018.11.28, TinyPaw-Linux 1.3, dealing with processes which make the desktop unresponsive, Debian testing Secure Boot support|
|• Issue 796 (2019-01-07): FreeBSD 12.0, Peppermint releases ISO update, picking the best distro of 2018, roundtable interview with Debian, Fedora and elementary developers|
|• Issue 795 (2018-12-24): Running a Pinebook, interview with Bedrock founder, Alpine being ported to RISC-V, Librem 5 dev-kits shipped|
|• Issue 794 (2018-12-17): Void 20181111, avoiding software bloat, improvements to HAMMER2, getting application overview in GNOME Shell|
|• Issue 793 (2018-12-10): openSUSE Tumbleweed, finding non-free packages, Debian migrates to usrmerge, Hyperbola gets FSF approval|
|• Issue 792 (2018-1203): GhostBSD 18.10, when to use swap space, DragonFly BSD's wireless support, Fedora planning to pause development schedule|
|• Issue 791 (2018-11-26): Haiku R1 Beta1, default passwords on live media, Slax and Kodachi update their media, dual booting DragonFly BSD on EFI|
|• Issue 790 (2018-11-19): NetBSD 8.0, Bash tips and short-cuts, Fedora's networking benchmarked with FreeBSD, Ubuntu 18.04 to get ten years of support|
|• Issue 789 (2018-11-12): Fedora 29 Workstation and Silverblue, Haiku recovering from server outage, Fedora turns 15, Debian publishes updated media|
|• Issue 788 (2018-11-05): Clu Linux Live 6.0, examining RAM consumpion, finding support for older CPUs, more Steam support for running Windows games on Linux, update from Solus team|
|• Issue 787 (2018-10-29): Lubuntu 18.10, limiting application access to specific users, Haiku hardware compatibility list, IBM purchasing Red Hat|
|• Issue 786 (2018-10-22): elementary OS 5.0, why init keeps running, DragonFly BSD enables virtual machine memory resizing, KDE neon plans to drop older base|
|• Issue 785 (2018-10-15): Reborn OS 2018.09, Nitrux 1.0.15, swapping hard drives between computers, feren OS tries KDE spin, power savings coming to Linux|
|• Issue 784 (2018-10-08): Hamara 2.1, improving manual pages, UBports gets VoIP app, Fedora testing power saving feature|
|• Issue 783 (2018-10-01): Quirky 8.6, setting up dual booting with Ubuntu and FreeBSD, Lubuntu switching to LXQt, Mint works on performance improvements|
|• Issue 782 (2018-09-24): Bodhi Linux 5.0.0, Elive 3.0.0, Solus publishes ISO refresh, UBports invites feedback, Linux Torvalds plans temporary vacation|
|• Issue 781 (2018-09-17): Linux Mint 3 "Debian Edition", file systems for SSDs, MX makes installing Flatpaks easier, Arch team answers questions, Mageia reaches EOL|
|• Issue 780 (2018-09-10): Netrunner 2018.08 Rolling, Fedora improves language support, how to customize Kali Linux, finding the right video drivers|
|• Issue 779 (2018-09-03): Redcore 1806, keeping ISO downloads safe from tampering, Lubuntu makes Calamares more flexible, Ubuntu improves GNOME performance|
|• Issue 778 (2018-08-27): GuixSD 0.15.0, ReactOS 0.4.9, Steam supports Windows games on Linux, Haiku plans for beta, merging disk partitions|
|• Issue 777 (2018-08-20): YunoHost 188.8.131.52, limiting process resource usage, converting file systems on Fedora, Debian turns 25, Lubuntu migrating to Wayland|
|• Issue 776 (2018-08-13): NomadBSD 1.1, Maximum storage limits on Linux, openSUSE extends life for 42.3, updates to the Librem 5 phone interface|
|• Issue 775 (2018-08-06): Secure-K OS 18.5, Linux is about choice, Korora tests community spin, elementary OS hires developer, ReactOS boots on Btrfs|
|• Issue 774 (2018-07-30): Ubuntu MATE & Ubuntu Budgie 18.04, upgrading software from source, Lubuntu shifts focus, NetBSD changes support policy|
|• Issue 773 (2018-07-23): Peppermint OS 9, types of security used by different projects, Mint reacts to bugs in core packages, Slackware turns 25|
|• Issue 772 (2018-07-16): Hyperbola GNU/Linux-libre 0.2.4, UBports running desktop applications, OpenBSD auto-joins wi-fi networks, boot environments and zedenv|
|• Issue 771 (2018-07-09): Linux Lite 4.0, checking CPUs for bugs, configuring GRUB, Mint upgrade instructions, SUSE acquired by EQT|
|• Issue 770 (2018-07-02): Linux Mint 19, Solus polishes desktop experience, MintBox Mini 2, changes to Fedora's installer|
|• Issue 769 (2018-06-25): BunsenLabs Helium, counting Ubuntu users, UBports upgrading to 16.04, Fedora CoreOS, FreeBSD turns 25|
|• Issue 768 (2018-06-18): Devuan 2.0.0, using pkgsrc to manage software, the NOVA filesystem, OpenBSD handles successful cron output|
|• Issue 767 (2018-06-11): Android-x86 7.1-r1, transferring files over OpenSSH with pipes, LFS with Debian package management, Haiku ports LibreOffice|
|• Issue 766 (2018-06-04): openSUSE 15, overview of file system links, Manjaro updates Pamac, ReactOS builds itself, Bodhi closes forums|
|• Issue 765 (2018-05-28): Pop!_OS 18.04, gathering system information, Haiku unifying ARM builds, Solus resumes control of Budgie|
|• Issue 764 (2018-05-21): DragonFly BSD 5.2.0, Tails works on persistent packages, Ubuntu plans new features, finding services affected by an update|
|• Issue 763 (2018-05-14): Fedora 28, Debian compatibility coming to Chrome OS, malware found in some Snaps, Debian's many flavours|
|• Issue 762 (2018-05-07): TrueOS 18.03, live upgrading Raspbian, Mint plans future releases, HardenedBSD to switch back to OpenSSL|
|• Issue 761 (2018-04-30): Ubuntu 18.04, accessing ZFS snapshots, UBports to run on Librem 5 phones, Slackware makes PulseAudio optional|
|• Issue 760 (2018-04-23): Chakra 2017.10, using systemd to hide files, Netrunner's ARM edition, Debian 10 roadmap, Microsoft develops Linux-based OS|
|• Issue 759 (2018-04-16): Neptune 5.0, building containers with Red Hat, antiX introduces Sid edition, fixing filenames on the command line|
|• Issue 758 (2018-04-09): Sortix 1.0, openSUSE's Transactional Updates, Fedora phasing out Python 2, locating portable packages|
|• Issue 757 (2018-04-02): Gatter Linux 0.8, the UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook, Red Hat turns 25, super long term support kernels|
|• Issue 756 (2018-03-26): NuTyX 10.0, Neptune supplies Debian users with Plasma 5.12, SolydXK on a Raspberry Pi, SysV init development|
|• Issue 755 (2018-03-19): Learning with ArchMerge and Linux Academy, Librem 5 runs Plasma Mobile, Cinnamon gets performance boost|
|• Issue 754 (2018-03-12): Reviewing Sabayon and Antergos, the growing Linux kernel, BSDs getting CPU bug fixes, Manjaro builds for ARM devices|
|• Issue 753 (2018-03-05): Enso OS 0.2, KDE Plasma 5.12 features, MX Linux prepares new features, interview with MidnightBSD's founder|
|• Issue 752 (2018-02-26): OviOS 2.31, performing off-line upgrades, elementary OS's new installer, UBports gets test devices, Redcore team improves security|
|• Issue 751 (2018-02-19): DietPi 6.1, testing KDE's Plasma Mobile, Nitrux packages AppImage in default install, Solus experiments with Wayland|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
Arch Linux is an independently developed, x86_64-optimised Linux distribution targeted at competent Linux users. It uses 'pacman', its home-grown package manager, to provide updates to the latest software applications with full dependency tracking. Operating on a rolling release system, Arch can be installed from a CD image or via an FTP server. The default install provides a solid base that enables users to create a custom installation. In addition, the Arch Build System (ABS) provides a way to easily build new packages, modify the configuration of stock packages, and share these packages with other users via the Arch Linux user repository.