| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 811, 22 April 2019
Welcome to this year's 16th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
There are a lot of Linux distributions, hundreds in fact, and sometimes groups of them look similar, particularly those which reside in the same family or have the same goals. This week we decided to turn our attention toward a project which stands out by doing several things differently: Alpine Linux. Alpine ships with an uncommonly used system library, does not use the GNU userland tools and uses OpenRC as its init software instead of the more commonly used systemd. Alpine also runs on several hardware architectures and is reportedly very lightweight. Our Feature Story has more details on this intriguing project. In our News section we discuss Manjaro's ARM port getting more official recognition, Obarun releasing tools for working with the S6 init implementation, and Ubuntu developers working toward improved ZFS support. We also welcome Sam Hartman to his new role as Debian's Project Leader and talk about Ubuntu Studio extending the life of a past release. Plus we share some tips on how to create backups with the rsync utility. In our Option Poll we ask readers which tools they use for making backups of important files. As usual, we provide a list of last week's releases and we are pleased to share the torrents we are seeding. We wish you all a wonderful week and happy reading!
- Review: Alpine Linux 3.9.2
- News: Manjaro's ARM port now offered through the main project's website, Obarun releases S6 init tools, Ubuntu working on better ZFS support, Ubuntu Studio 18.04 gains longer term support, Sam Hartman becomes Debian's Project Leader
- Tips and tricks: Simple rsync examples
- Released last week: Ubuntu 19.04, Feren OS 2019.04, Pop!_OS 19.04
- Torrent corner: Feren OS, IPFire, Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Netrunner, Plop, Pop!_OS, Ubuntu, Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Kylin, Ubuntu Studio, Xubuntu
- Opinion poll: Programs for creating backups
- New distributions: Regolith Linux, Asril OS, BlackWeb
- Reader comments
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Alpine Linux 3.9.2
Alpine Linux is a distribution designed to be small (in terms of resource usage) and secure. The distribution is intended for use in environments where performance and security are the top priorities, such as servers, firewalls and single board computers. Alpine offers an unusual collection of features, including using the musl C library instead of the more popular GNU C library, using Busybox for command line tools instead of the GNU tools, and it manages services through OpenRC instead of systemd or SysV init. The distribution also provides some added security through position independent executables (PIE) which make some common avenues of attacking memory more difficult.
There are several builds and editions of Alpine. There are specific downloads for running the distribution on physical hardware and virtual environments. There are also different builds depending on whether we want a fully functioning server operating system or a more minimal base. Finally, there are several architecture options for x86 (32-bit and 64-bit), ARM, PPC64, and s390x processors. I decided to download the Extended edition for 64-bit (x86_64) machines. The Extended version offers the most tools out of the box (though it is still pretty minimal by most standards) and loads itself into RAM to offer better performance. The download is 398MB in size.
I want to mention right up front that all of Alpine's editions are fairly minimal and intended for use on servers and embedded devices rather than workstations. The distribution is more of a platform for building something than an out-of-the-box solution or appliance. I recommend having a project in mind, such as setting up a home web server or e-mail solution, before using Alpine.
The live media boots almost immediately and presents us with a text console. We can sign into the root account without a password. The console displays some helpful tips, such as where to find the Alpine documentation on-line and that we can start the system installer by running the setup-alpine command. There are not many tools included on the live media, so once I confirmed my hardware was detected, I launched the installer.
The Alpine installer presents us with a series of text prompts and asks us to type in answers. Some prompts have defaults to help us through. We are asked to select our keyboard layout from a list, set our computer's hostname and then either set up an IP address and Internet gateway or enable DHCP to get a dynamic network. We can then pick our preferred DNS server and create a password for the root account. Next we select a time zone from a list, select which NTP (network time protocol) implementation to use from a list and select which secure shell implementation to enable. We are also asked to select a package mirror from a list.
It was this last step, picking a package mirror, that gave me some trouble. The first time through the installer, I set up networking manually and when I was asked to pick a package server from the list, there we no mirrors shown. This appeared to be due to an error that occurred when trying to download a list of mirrors. At this point I discovered I could not go back to previous steps of the installer to adjust network settings, so I used Ctrl-C to drop out of the installer and started over. The second time through I opted for DHCP networking, confirmed the proper IP and gateway had been assigned and continued through. Again, no mirror list was downloaded, leaving me stuck.
I tried manually adding a mirror to the package manager, but this was not accepted. I eventually asked the installer to pick a random mirror (from a list of none) and that convinced it to proceed. The final steps the installer takes are to ask us whether we want a traditional installation (placing the operating system and data on the hard drive, an approach Alpine calls "sys") or use the local disk for just storing data files and run the operating system from removable media. I went with the traditional (sys) install. The installer asks us which disk to use, the selected disk is wiped and the distribution's files copied. We are then asked to reboot the computer to begin using Alpine in earnest.
The locally installed copy of Alpine boots to a text console where we can sign in as the root user. The userland tools are provided by Busybox and software is linked against the lightweight musl C library. The distribution uses OpenRC as the service manager and runs on version 4.19 of the Linux kernel. Apart from the OpenSSH service running in the background and the network time synchronization, not much runs on Alpine by default. There is no graphical display, no manual pages, and no compiler. We can turn on and off background services using the service command and get a list of available services by running "service -l". We can enable daemons to run at boot time by running "rc-update add servicename" and disable items with "rc-update del servicename"
Alpine Linux 3.9.2 -- Getting started with the Alpine text console
(full image size: 6kB, resolution: 720x400 pixels)
I tried running Alpine Linux on a workstation and in VirtualBox. The distribution worked well in both environments, running very quickly and detecting all of my hardware. I was especially happy with how fast Alpine boots and shuts down, its start time is probably less than a quarter of most mainstream distributions. Alpine uses about 33MB of RAM with a default install of the Extended edition and consumes just 675MB of disk space. Another 2GB of disk space is taken over by the distribution's swap space.
Package management on Alpine is handled by a command line tool called apk. The apk tool uses a similar syntax to Debian's APT or Fedora's DNF, with a few minor differences. The command "apk add" installs new software, "apk del" removes packages. I found "apk update" grabbed fresh repository information and "apk upgrade" updated packages. Though "apk search" is not mentioned in the tool's command line help, this command helps us find new packages.
Since trying to set up a package mirror did not work during the install process, I checked the on-line documentation and found a mirror list. The wiki explains how to add new package mirrors and this gave me access to 5,690 packages. I checked for updates and found just one (the Linux kernel) available. This new package downloaded and installed without any problems. I also added manual pages to assist my memory by running "apk add man man-pages". I found a number of command tools I normally use and did not have in the default install could be added to the system through the util-linux package.
Setting up a project
Earlier I mentioned that Alpine is more of a platform for building projects than a pre-packaged solution; we need a project in mind to make the distribution useful for a particular task. With this in mind I decided I would try to set up a Nextcloud installation for on-line file storage and see if I could get a ZFS volume set up to act as a backup/NAS solution.
At first I thought the easiest approach would be to install a Nextcloud package, if it were available, but searches for Nextcloud (and its close relative ownCloud) returned no results from apk. Opting to then take the manual route, I installed Apache (and got the service running) then went looking for a PHP package and did not find one. According to the Alpine wiki, PHP is in a separate repository, which I enabled. I now had access to 9,754 packages in total. Had I been thinking clearly, I might have double-checked the extra Community repository for a Nextcloud package, but I didn't. Instead I went ahead with enabling PHP and followed the Nextcloud install guide. Trying to access the new Nextcloud install resulted in an internal server error.
This is where it occurred to me to check the Alpine Community repository for a Nextcloud package and not only found one, but also a corresponding tutorial for running Nextcloud on Alpine Linux. The tutorial worked beautifully and I was soon able to sign into Nextcloud, upload files and set up a calendar. My lesson was learned: make sure the Community repository is enabled before searching for add-on packages.
Alpine Linux 3.9.2 -- Browsing files stored on Nextcloud
(full image size: 81kB, resolution: 1239x1024 pixels)
Enabling a ZFS volume was next on my to-do list. I found a ZFS module in the repositories and downloaded it. The ZFS kernel module was not loaded automatically, but could be enabled by running "modprobe zfs". I was then able to use the zpool and zfs command line tools to set up a new volume. this worked well until I rebooted and the ZFS volume did not get mounted.
With a little looking around I discovered there are a number of ZFS services which need to be enabled at boot time with the rc-update command in order for ZFS volumes to get mounted when the system restarts.
In the end, while there was a little more work involved in setting up extra services than I would usually expect on a Linux distribution, everything did eventually work. I was left with a very fast, lightweight distribution that was running a couple of services. The distribution, with all of my services running, only consumed 75MB of RAM and less than 1GB of disk space.
Alpine Linux is different in some important ways compared to most other distributions. It uses different libraries, it uses a different service manager (than most), it has different command line tools and a custom installer. All of this can, at first, make Alpine feel a bit unfamiliar, a bit alien. But what I found was that, after a little work had been done to get the system up and running (and after a few missteps on my part) I began to greatly appreciate the distribution.
Alpine is unusually small and requires few resources. Even the larger Extended edition I was running required less than 100MB of RAM and less than a gigabyte of disk space after all my services were enabled. I also appreciated that Alpine ships with some security features, like PIE, and does not enable any services it does not need to run.
I believe it is fair to say this distribution requires more work to set up. Installing Alpine is not a point-n-click experience, it's more manual and requires a bit of typing. Not as much as setting up Arch Linux, but still more work than average. Setting up services requires a little more work and, in some cases, reading too since Alpine works a little differently than mainstream Linux projects. I repeatedly found it was a good idea to refer to the project's wiki to learn which steps were different on Alpine.
What I came away thinking at the end of my trial, and I probably sound old (or at least old fashioned), is Alpine Linux reminds me of what got me into running Linux in the first place, about 20 years ago. Alpine is fast, light, and transparent. It offered very few surprises and does almost nothing automatically. This results in a little more effort on our parts, but it means that Alpine does not do things unless we ask it to perform an action. It is lean, efficient and does not go around changing things or trying to guess what we want to do. These are characteristics I sometimes miss these days in the Linux ecosystem.
In fact, while I was using Alpine I kept thinking it felt more like a member of the BSD family in its style. The project offers the same style of platform without extras, the same sort of calm predictability, the same "Do what I say and only what I say" approach to system administration. In fact, I feel the conclusion I wrote when reviewing FreeBSD 12.0 could equally apply to Alpine:
Something which stands out about FreeBSD, compared to most Linux distributions I run, is that FreeBSD rarely holds the user's hand, but also rarely surprises the user. This means there is more reading to do up front and new users may struggle to get used to editing configuration files in a text editor. But FreeBSD rarely does anything unless told to do it. Updates rarely change the system's behaviour, working technology rarely gets swapped out for something new, the system and its applications never crashed during my trial. Everything was rock solid. The operating system may seem like a minimal, blank slate to new users, but it's wonderfully dependable and predictable in my experience.
This might make Alpine less attractive to newcomers or to desktop users, but I think it is a strong argument for using Alpine Linux on servers and embedded devices where reliability is more important than convenience.
* * * * *
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, Ralink RT5390R PCIe Wireless card
- Display: AMD Radeon HD 6410D video card
* * * * *
Visitor supplied rating
Alpine Linux has a visitor supplied average rating of: 8.9/10 from 16 review(s).
Have you used Alpine Linux? You can leave your own review of the project on our ratings page.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Manjaro's ARM port now offered through the main project's website, Obarun releases S6 init tools, Ubuntu working on better ZFS support
The ARM port of Manjaro Linux has gained more recognition from the Manjaro project and its latest release, Manjaro ARM 19.04, is now available for download from the official Manjaro website. The ARM port provides images which run Manjaro on Raspberry Pi 3, ODroid C2, Pinebook and Rock64 devices. Meanwhile support for older ARM architecture is being dropped. "Firstly, I have already stopped making images for armv7h devices. No new images will be made. From today I will also stop all the Manjaro package updates for armv7h. Packages directly from Arch Linux ARM will still get updated. From June 1st, all package updates will stop for armv7h. That means, no more package updates for armv7h at all from June 1st." Details on the ARM port and its range of supported hardware can be found in this forum post.
* * * * *
Obarun is an Arch Linux-based distribution featuring the S6 init software in place of systemd. The project has published a collection of tools for working with S6 services and service files. The collection of tools is called 66 and the project's website describes it as follows: "Sixty-six is a collection of system tools built around s6 and s6-rc created to make the implementation and manipulation of service files on your machine easier. It is meant to be a toolbox for the declaration, implementation and administration of services where separate programs can be joined to achieve powerful functionality with small amounts of code." Source code and install instructions can be found in the 66 code repository.
* * * * *
While many people were downloading the latest version of Ubuntu this week, some were already looking ahead to Ubuntu 19.10 and new features which may arrive in the next release. One set of notes in particular which caught attention was ZFS, an advanced filesystem which Ubuntu may be planning to use as an optional root filesystem at install time. Some Discourse notes mention running ZFS as the root partition, installing a ZFS volume alongside ext4 and adding ZFS entries to the boot menu. ZFS provides (among other features) built-in support snapshots, automatic repair of damaged files, and multi-disk volumes.
* * * * *
The Ubuntu Studio team have made an unusual decision to retroactively extend the supported life span of Ubuntu Studio 18.04. Though the additional support time is only available if users of the distribution enable a personal package archive (PPA). The a post on the project's blog explains: "Back in April 2018, Ubuntu Studio 18.04 was released as a non-LTS (Long-Term Support) version, which limited its support cycle to end January 2019. This was due to a number of factors, from the involvement of the team members at the time to the number of team members. In January 2019, the team came up with the idea for a Backports PPA of certain software to eliminate certain bugs and update the main packages (the ones that make Ubuntu Studio what it is). It was officially announced in February 2019. As such, the Ubuntu Studio team no longer supports Ubuntu Studio 18.04 unless the Ubuntu Studio Backports PPA is added. Adding the Ubuntu Studio Backports PPA increases the support length of Ubuntu Studio 18.04 to three years total, with support ending in April 2021."
* * * * *
The Debian project concluded its election for the position of Debian Project Leader over the weekend. The winner, from a field of four contenders, was Sam Hartman. Hartman ran on a platform of trying to improve communication within the Debian project and to streamline the decision making process to avoid having contributors bogged down in debates. We congratulate Hartman and wish him the best of luck in his new role at Debian.
* * * * *
These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Tips and Tricks (by Jesse Smith)
Simple rsync examples
One of my favourite Linux (and BSD) command line tools is rsync and I often regret not using it sooner. The rsync program is a command line utility for copying or backing up files. Usually it is used to archive directory trees or keep folders synchronized between multiple computers. Earlier in my Linux journey I had used more awkward and less flexible backup solutions for my files and it made my work harder than it needed to be. One of the reasons it took me so long to adopt rsync into my system administration toolkit was each time I would see people talking about rsync the examples they offered were always long and unusually complex. I was aware rsync was a useful and powerful tool, but it seemed unusually cryptic. Here are two of the first examples I found when I did a web search for rsync tutorials:
rsync -avzhe ssh backup.tar.gz email@example.com:/Archives
One of those two lines is one of the few examples provided by rsync's own manual page. I'm sure it is understandable why not many people want to immediately dive into using rsync after seeing the above two examples as they are long and use a lot of options.
rsync -av --filter=':e /.rsync-filter' --delete host:src/dir /dest
It's unfortunate rsync is often presented in this way because the tool is very powerful and, as an added bonus, usually is not nearly so complex to use as the above examples suggest. This week I want to explore some more simple examples of using rsync to show how it can be useful on a regular basis.
In its simplest form, the rsync command accepts one or more options followed by a source directory where we have files we want to copy, and a destination directory where we want those files to go. Typically the "-a" option is used, which bundles a bunch of commonly desired options together. The "-a" flag is short for "archive", but I also think of it as standing for "all" since the flag does all the things I usually want. Here is a quick example of us copying all of the files from my Documents directory into the Backup directory:
rsync -a Documents/ Backup/
If we want to see a list of files rsync is copying from the Documents directory into Backup, then we can also specify the "-v" flag. The "-v" flag stands for "verbose" and it keeps us posted on what files are being transferred.
rsync -av Documents/ Backup/
You might look at the above examples and wonder why we are using rsync here when the copy (cp) program would work just as well. The reason is rsync does not copy files which already exist in the destination directory. unless we have newer versions in the source location. If we only wanted to copy the files one time, the copy command would work just fine. However, if we want to synchronize the files between two locations multiple times, perhaps once a week, then rsync saves us a lot of time as it only copies the data it needs to keep the two locations in sync.
Quite often rsync is used to transfer files between computers. Assuming the remote computer has the OpenSSH service running, is it fairly straight forward to send files to the remote computer. In this example, we copy the local Documents directory to a remote computer's Backup directory. The remote computer's hostname is Vault and we separate its hostname from the name of the remote directory with the ":" symbol.
rsync -av Documents/ vault:Backup/
The above example works if we have an account on Vault with the same username. For example, if my username locally is "jesse" and it is also "jesse" on Vault. But what if locally I am "jesse" and on the remote server I am "jsmith"? We can handle that by adding my username to the destination, followed by the "@" sign:
rsync -av Documents/ jsmith@vault:Backup/
Later, if we want to restore the remote files back to the local computer we can fetch our files back by simply swapping the source and destination:
rsync -av jsmith@vault:Backup/ Documents/
You may have noticed that in all of these examples, the trailing slash ("/") character appears after the directory name. The trailing slash is important when specifying the source directory to rsync. With the slash character, rsync copies all the files inside a source directory to our destination. If the slash is omitted then the source directory and its files are copied. For instance, let us assume I perform the following command:
rsync -av Documents Backup/
Now, inside the Backup directory, I will have a new sub-directory called Documents. Usually we do not want to do this as it buries our files one layer deeper. My original file "Documents/example.txt" would become "Backup/Documents/example.txt". By contrast, when we leave the trailing slash in place, the new file is named "Backup/example.txt".
By default rsync does not delete files, it only copies new files to the destination location. This is usually good, but it means over time the destination directory can fill up with all sorts of data we no longer need. The destination can fill up, over the course of multiple synchronizations, with old copies of files or documents we no longer want. We can clean up the destination directory using the "--delete" flag.
When run with "--delete" as an option, rsync removes any files in the destination directory which are not in the source directory. This makes the destination a mirror of the source rather than an ongoing archive of the data from the source location. In the following example, I backup my Documents directory again, this time removing any old files from the Vault server:
rsync -av --delete Documents/ vault:Backup/
One more flag I find useful, when transferring many large files, is the "--progress" flag. It simply shows how much of the current file has been copied so far.
rsync -av --progress Documents/ vault:Backup/
Though not strictly related to rsync, performing a large file copy between computers can slow down the system. We probably do not want our system becoming sluggish while backing up our files. With this in mind, I suggest running rsync using the ionice command. The ionice utility tells a specific program to avoid using the hard drive while other programs are accessing the disk. This makes everything operate more smoothly. Here is an example of using ionice that keeps rsync from impacting the local computer's performance while making a backup:
ionice -c 3 rsync -av Documents/ vault:Backup/
There are more things we can do with rsync, but the above examples cover about 95% of how I use the utility. Having rsync run once a day or once a week is a handy way to keep files backed up. I especially find it helpful when I want to send copies of projects to my laptop before travelling. It's much faster than going through my Documents directory manually to see which items I need to take with me.
* * * * *
Additional tips can be found in our Tips and Tricks archive.
|Released Last Week
Feren OS 2019.04
Feren OS is a desktop Linux distribution based on Linux Mint's main edition. The project's latest snapshot introduces new wallpapers, new themes and a new installer for the 64-bit build. "Feren OS 64-Bit with Cinnamon now has a new installer and a new OEM Setup Experience. Both now make use of the Calamares system installer and now provide a much faster installation experience from beginning to end. For instructions on how to make use of the new OEM setup experience, click here. Theme improvements: With this snapshot, you can also see some noticeable adjustments to the Feren OS Light Theme, including but not limited to: A re-done GTK2 theme based on the latest Arc GTK2 theme that now matches with the overall theming of Feren OS once more. A darkened GTK3 theme making the light theme more neutral. Backend changes to the Cinnamon themes to make them more consistent as well as changing the theme slightly to match better with the new darkened light theme. Metacity/Window Borders updates to make the title bars consistent with the new theme. WinStyle and macStyle Window Borders (Metacity themes) have been re-done to support accent colour-dependant colourisation for supported GTK3 themes." Further details can be found in the project's release announcement.
Adam Conrad has announced the release of Ubuntu 19.04, codename "Disco Dingo". The new release ships with GNOME 3.32, version 5.0 of the Linux kernel, and offers fractional scaling through both X.Org and Wayland desktop sessions. "Codenamed "Disco Dingo", 19.04 continues Ubuntu's proud tradition of integrating the latest and greatest open source technologies into a high-quality, easy-to-use Linux distribution. The team has been hard at work through this cycle, introducing new features and fixing bugs. The Ubuntu kernel has been updated to the 5.0 based Linux kernel, our default toolchain has moved to gcc 8.3 with glibc 2.29, and we've also updated to openssl 1.1.1b and gnutls 3.6.5 with TLS1.3 support. Ubuntu Desktop 19.04 introduces GNOME 3.32 with increased performance, smoother startup animations, quicker icon load times and reduced CPU+GPU load. Fractional scaling for HiDPI screens is now available in Xorg and Wayland." Further details can be found in the distribution's release announcement and in the release notes.
Ubuntu 19.04 -- Running the GNOME desktop
(full image size: 1.3MB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
Ubuntu MATE 19.04
Martin Wimpress has announced the launch of Ubuntu MATE 19.04 which ships with version 1.20 of the MATE desktop and updated video drivers. "Ubuntu MATE 19.04 is shipping with MATE Desktop 1.20. Albeit, the latest maintenance release of MATE Desktop 1.20 with some of the bug fixes and new features from MATE Desktop 1.22 included. In fact, the version of MATE Desktop being shipped in 19.04 is derived from the same MATE packages that will feature in the upcoming Debian 10 (Buster) release. You may be wondering why we're not shipping MATE Desktop 1.22? The answer: stability. MATE Desktop 1.22 introduces some underlying API changes in core components and while all first party MATE Desktop applications are compatible with the changes and completely stable, some third party applications are not. Some third party applications are big crashers now and we've not been able to fix them in time. So, we are playing it safe and sticking with MATE Desktop 1.20 and working with upstreams so we can land MATE Desktop 1.22 early in the Ubuntu MATE 19.10 development cycle." Further information can be found in the project's release announcement and in the Ubuntu release notes.
Ubuntu Studio 19.04
The Ubuntu Studio team has published a new release, Ubuntu Studio 19.04. The new release is supported for nine months and ships with a new audio plugin host called Carla. "Officially released on April 15, 2019, Carla 2.0.0 has been added to Ubuntu Studio to replace the outdated jack-rack and add more functionality. Carla is an audio plugin host that can handle many different types of plugins, from Ladspa to DSSI to LV2 to VST. In fact, if you install the WINE bridge (not installed by default), Carla can host Windows-compiled VST plugins. Carla can also act as a plugin itself, allowing your DAW to use any audio plugin. Carla also includes a patchbay, which is functionally similar to that of Patchage. Ubuntu Studio Controls has been upgraded to 1.7 with many bugfixes, and is now the preferred method for starting Jack. As such, we ask that you discontinue use of QJackCtl for starting Jack. QJackCtl remains a good way to monitor Jack’s performance and logs." Further details on the project's latest version can be found in the distribution's release announcement.
Ubuntu Budgie 19.04
The Ubuntu Budgie team has announced the release of Ubuntu Budgie 19.04 which received nine months of support. The new version includes a number of bug fixes and swaps out the Nautilus file manager for Nemo. "19.04 is supported for 9 months; our 18.04 LTS is supported for 3 years. Based on 18.04 and 18.10 experiences, feedback and suggestions that we have received from our users, the new release comes with a lot of new features, fixes and optimizations. This release is a big step towards our 20.04 LTS. Here is what you can expect with the new release: showcasing the latest Budgie desktop developments Budgie desktop v10.5 is now officially available; showcasing the latest budgie-applets available; replacing Nautilus for Nemo - retains desktop-icons capability with all the features of Nemo such as dual pane etc + integrated catfish search - lookout for our nemo-extensions in budgie-welcome recommendations; stylish reworking of our desktop together shipping a new theme QogirBudgie which can be chosen together with Pocillo and Arc; integrating all of this together with the major GNOME developments of GTK+3.24 and Mutter 3.32." Further information can be found in the project's release announcement and in the release notes.
Ubuntu Budgie 19.04 -- The welcome window
(full image size: 476kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
The Kubuntu team has published Kubuntu 19.04, a new release which ships with KDE Plasma 5.15, Qt 5.12 and Linux 5.0. The new version includes nine months of security updates. The release announcement states: "Kubuntu 19.04 has been released, featuring the beautiful Plasma 5.15 desktop from the KDE community. Code-named Disco Dingo, Kubuntu 19.04 continues our proud tradition of integrating the latest and greatest open source technologies into a high-quality, easy-to-use Linux distribution. The team has been hard at work through this cycle, introducing new features and fixing bugs. Under the hood, there have been updates to many core packages, including a new 5.00-based kernel, Qt 5.12, KDE Frameworks 5.56, Plasma 5.15.4, and KDE Applications 18.12.3. Kubuntu has seen some exciting improvements, with newer versions of Qt, updates to major packages like Krita, KDE Connect, Kstars, Latte-dock, Firefox and LibreOffice, and stability improvements to KDE Plasma. For a list of other application updates, upgrading notes and known bugs be sure to read our release notes."
The Lubuntu team has published a new version of their distribution. Lubuntu 19.04 provides nine months of support and ships with version 0.14.1 of the LXQt desktop environment. Unlike most other community flavours of Ubuntu which use the Ubiquity installer, Lubuntu uses the Calamares system installer. "This is the second Lubuntu release with LXQt as the main desktop environment. The Lubuntu project, in 18.10 and successive releases, will no longer support the LXDE desktop environment or tools in the Ubuntu archive, and will instead focus on the LXQt desktop environment. You can find the following major applications and toolkits installed by default in this release: LXQt 0.14.1; Qt 5.12.2; Mozilla Firefox 66, which will receive updates from the Ubuntu Security Team throughout the support cycle of the release; the LibreOffice 6.2.2 suite, with the Qt 5 frontend; VLC 3.0.6, for viewing media and listening to music; Featherpad 0.9.3, for notes and code editing; Discover Software Center 5.15.4, for an easy, graphical way to install and update software; the powerful and fast email client Trojitá 0.7 to get you to inbox zero in no time." Further details can be found in the project's release announcement.
The Xubuntu developers have announced the release of Xubuntu 19.04. The new version ships with version 5.0 of the Linux kernel and provides nine months of support. This release ships with some components from Xfce's development branch to improve the desktop experience. The project's release announcement states: "Highlights: Xubuntu 19.04 features a wide range of bug fixes for issues identified in previous releases, many of which have already been backported to the stable releases. AptURL, The GIMP, and LibreOffice Impress have been included to provide a more complete and user-friendly desktop experience. New keyboard shortcuts make it easier and faster to get work done. Shift + Print Screen will capture a screenshot for a specified region. Press F4 in Thunar to open a terminal window in the current path, or press Ctrl + Shift + F to search for files. Many Xfce 4.13 components have been added or updated, providing an updated snapshot of Xfce 4.14 development." Further details can be found in the distribution's release notes.
Ubuntu Kylin 19.04
The team behind Ubuntu Kylin has published a new version of their distribution which introduces a new visual style. The project's new release, Ubuntu Kylin 19.04, introduces transparency effects to the application menu, adds a preview function to the file manager and provides nine months of support. "In April 19th, 2019, We are glad to announce the official release of open source operating system Ubuntu Kylin 19.04 (Disco Dingo). In this version, OS stability is our first goal to obtain. In order to provide a better experience for users, a series of improvements are made on system kernel, basic service, desktop environment and specialized apps. In addition, other open source distribution such as Ubuntu 19.04、Lubuntu 19.04 and Ubuntu Mate 19.04 are released in the same time. We are bringing a whole new visual experience in this distribution, from system choice, boot up animation, log in program to system desktop, a unified style is presented. Amazing transparency effect is utilized on start menu, taskbar and notification area, give your desktop a sense of technology. Practical functions are provided to simplify your daily operations." Further details can be found in the release announcement (Chinese, English).
Ubuntu Kylin 19.04 -- The default desktop and application menu
(full image size: 655kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
Pop!_OS is an Ubuntu-based distribution developed by System76. The company's latest release is Pop!_OS 19.04 which ships with GNOME 3.32 and offers a number of visual enhancements. "It's spring again! Leaves are budding and updates are blooming for Pop!_OS. Here's what's new in Pop!_OS 19.04: The Slim Mode option maximizes your screen real estate by reducing the height of the header on application windows. Dark Mode gives your applications a relaxing ambience for nighttime viewing. Both Dark Mode and Slim Mode can be activated in the Appearance settings menu. Refresh Install allows you to reinstall Pop!_OS without losing Users and any data in your Home directories. This feature is available from the recovery partition on new installations (not upgrades). Pop!_OS has been updated to use version 5.0 of the Linux kernel. GNOME has been updated to version 3.32. In addition to these features, you'll also notice design changes to your icons. The icons for Pop!_OS applications, files, and folders have been redesigned to complement GNOME's icons under their new design guidelines. We've also removed custom icons for third party applications, keeping the authors' design choices for those applications intact and maintaining the intended identity for the project." Further information and screenshots can be found in the project's release announcement.
Netrunner 2019.04 "Rolling"
Netrunner has announced a new snapshot of the distribution's Arch Linux-based Rolling branch. The new snapshot, Netrunner 2019.04 "Rolling", features KDE Plasma 5.15.3 and runs on version 4.19.32 LTS of the Linux kernel. There have also been changes to the distribution's look and feel: "Like its cousin, the Debian based version, Netrunner Rolling also ships a dark Look and Feel theme including the Kvantum theme engine. Using the Kvantum Theme engine plus the Alpha-Black Plasma Theme allowed us to create a more 3D-looking design. Moving the mouse into the lower right corner now visibly activates the Minimize all Windows to show Desktop function by a light glow. For those who prefer the classic look, going back to the well-known LNF is a three-button click and explained under Tips in our current Readme Section." Further details and screenshots can be found in the project's release announcement.
NomadBSD is a 64-bit live system for USB flash drives, based on FreeBSD. The project's latest release, NomadBSD 1.2, is based on FreeBSD 12.0. The new version includes on-disk documentation, enables TRIM support and fixes a number of issues related to video drivers. "We are pleased to announce the release of NomadBSD 1.2! We would like to thank all the testers who sent us feedback and bug reports. The base system has been upgraded to FreeBSD 12.0-p3. TRIM has been enabled by default. A vt(4) color theme has been added. The dialog(1) based setup has been replaced by a Qt GUI which supports dynamic translation. Currently available translations are German and Russian. In order to reduce the number of implicit package upgrades and possible inconsistencies, the pkg(8) default repository has been changed to Quarterly. A recent copy of the NomadBSD handbooklet has been added to nomad's home dir. A new option has been added to the boot menu which allows users to set hw.syscons.disable." Further details can be found in the project's release announcement.
* * * * *
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: 1,363
- Total data uploaded: 25.2TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Programs for creating backups
There are a lot of solutions available for people wishing to archive and copy their files to another storage medium. This week we would like to hear which backup programs our readers prefer.
What drew you to your preferred solution? Is your backup program simple to use, flexible, does it support a lot of destinations like network shares and cloud services? Let us know in the comments.
You can see the results of our previous poll on reviewing an Ubuntu editions in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Distributions added to waiting list
- Regolith Linux. Regolith Linux is an ubuntu-based distribution featuring the i3 window manager with GNOME's system configuration tools.
- Asril OS. Asril OS is a Linux distribution that features the Cinnamon desktop and locale information for Indonesia.
- BlackWeb. BlackWeb is a Debian-based distribution used for testing security and penetration tests. It uses the LXDE desktop environment.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 29 April 2019. 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
|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • Backup methods (by DaveW on 2019-04-22 01:21:09 GMT from United States) |
I voted "Other" because I use a combination of Timeshift, rsync, cp, dd, and SpiderOak. Different programs at different times for different data.
2 • Backup (by Guido on 2019-04-22 01:21:12 GMT from Philippines)
I can recommend grsync (gtk) and luckybackup (qt). Both are easy to use frontends of rsync. With these programs backups are quite easy to plan and control.
3 • RE: Programs for creating backups (by Carson on 2019-04-22 01:59:25 GMT from Canada)
I chose other because I just run clonezilla to do a full disk clone every once in a while
4 • Backups (by Sam Crawford on 2019-04-22 02:24:34 GMT from United States)
I checked other as I use Insync to sync everything to my Google Drive account.
I use the directory Insync creates on my Home directory as my Document directory for what ever programs access my data and everything gets synced where I can access it on any computer or device.
5 • Debian (by Jon Wright on 2019-04-22 02:27:08 GMT from Netherlands)
"Hartman ran on a platform of trying to improve communication within the Debian project and to streamline the decision making process to avoid having contributors bogged down in debates."
Ah, a dictator!
6 • Backups (My post above) (by Sam Crawford on 2019-04-22 02:27:20 GMT from United States)
I probably should have mentioned that I found a Flatpak today called "ODrive" that does the same thing as Insync but is free.
7 • Backups (by John Weason on 2019-04-22 03:10:31 GMT from United States)
I voted other as well. I use Acronis, which has never let me down.
8 • Backups (by Bill S on 2019-04-22 03:19:55 GMT from United States)
I chose other because I've been using Terabyte for Linux since Ubuntu Hardy 8.04.
It let's me make a backup even while running the OS and I can write the backup to just about any location.
9 • Grsync backup (by albinard on 2019-04-22 03:37:37 GMT from United States)
I use Grsync for two reasons: first, because I’m pretty much a GUI-centric person, and second, because it offers multiple “Sessions” in which you can back up different files to different targets, and even use them on different schedules. You could, for example, name a session “If it’s Tuesday, it must be Security”, where Security is a file of recently reported breaches. All the Sessions can be accessed from a single window which offers the same options available on the terminal, but expressed in a more explanatory fashion (example: “--exclude=“Downloads/”). It takes a bit of practice to sort out your optimal setup, but I find it well worth the effort.
10 • Debian (by Jon Wright on 2019-04-22 03:41:16 GMT from Netherlands)
Did nobody run on a platform of fixing whatever awful mess it was that got them deciding on systemd? Debian is such a splendid project, with great infrastructure. The systemd debacle was one instance where I didn't see much _debate_, let alone getting 'bogged down'. (Yes I'm aware there was very little interest in running for DPL.)
11 • Backup (by Andy Figueroa on 2019-04-22 03:50:23 GMT from United States)
I voted other because how can you include TAR and CP under the same item. That's nuts! I currently use tar to create a collection of tarballs for each backup. The scripts run under crontab at night while I sleep.
Over time, I plan to migrate to scripts using dar. Why isn't dar an option? Don't people know about dar? http://dar.linux.free.fr/
12 • Another vote for RSync Family (by BeGo on 2019-04-22 04:07:35 GMT from Indonesia)
I use them to backup my laptop,
a combi of
- Nextcloud Server for NAS
- RSync + GRSync for local backup
- RClone + RClone Browser for net backup
- Syncthing + Syncthing-GTK for most fast updating backup, like mobile phone Tachiyomi List
13 • MX (by Argent on 2019-04-22 05:41:57 GMT from United States)
Not surprised to see MX filling the #1 spot on DW, watched it slowly creep upwards. Find it a bit odd that derivatives have now replaced the parent distribution as a go-to install. This is the case with Debian, Ubuntu, and Arch.
MX and antiX are superior distributions, they both just work and can see why they would be a much more benign option to use!
14 • Backup (by Michael on 2019-04-22 06:31:38 GMT from Switzerland)
Using borg backup.
15 • Debian DPL platforms (by Tim on 2019-04-22 06:49:30 GMT from United States)
@10 Instead of taunting with pointed questions, go read and educate yourself, eh
16 • Backup (by A van der Tweel on 2019-04-22 06:55:00 GMT from Netherlands)
I'm quite happy with the incremental backup program ukopp.
17 • Rsnapshot (by Microlinux on 2019-04-22 07:00:38 GMT from France)
Rsnapshot is a nice backup solution that I use for myself and all my clients, on LAN and public servers.
18 • @ 13: MX (by whoever on 2019-04-22 07:04:53 GMT from Switzerland)
"... MX ... are superior distributions, they both just work ..."
MX is probalbly one of the worst preconfigured Linux distributions ever and it looks awfull.
For those who can fix it, it'll work though.
19 • I use restic for backups... (by Nico on 2019-04-22 07:36:30 GMT from Germany)
...because it's really fast, stable and secure. Check it out: https://restic.net . CERN is currently testing it for backing up a gazillion gazillobytes. Per second. So I'm guessing it's a good choice for my 1.4 megs. Just kidding. It's really awesome!
20 • I use (by Sam on 2019-04-22 07:46:02 GMT from Switzerland)
Borgbackup bc it's great!
21 • @18: MX (by Joost on 2019-04-22 08:09:24 GMT from Netherlands)
"MX...one of the worst preconfigured LD ever.."
I'm curious: based on what?
22 • @18: MX (by Jules on 2019-04-22 08:43:21 GMT from Netherlands)
MX is my first Linux distro after I left Windows. So I cannot say much about others. It worked for me out of the box. Never had any issues so far. It just works. As I said, I'm a first time linux user, and I thought it would be very hard for me to use. But it is easy to install, and has everything I need. Maybe there are other distros that are better. I don't know. But MX is for me the best thing that happened to me. I should have done this years ago. MX really rocks....
23 • Backups (by Romane on 2019-04-22 08:50:12 GMT from Australia)
Been using rsync for a dogs age now. Once I sorted out the options I wanted, it was easy to write bash script which did all the grunt work.
Have tried some other backup solutions, but keep returning to rsync as it does exactly what I want, and no more.
24 • Backups (by Saladin on 2019-04-22 09:02:38 GMT from United Kingdom)
Clonezilla. Usually disc-disc as I rarely delete anything; it's a true record of everything that happened, good, bad and stupid.
25 • Debian DPL (by James on 2019-04-22 09:25:44 GMT from Switzerland)
@5 What?? No idea what are you writing about!
@15 Well said. Thank you.
@13 MX Linux and Antix are good distros, but certainly not superior to Debian, in fact they are Debian whit some extra packages, and Debian?, yea it just works.
26 • Backup tools ( others ) (by Saleem Khan on 2019-04-22 09:39:25 GMT from Pakistan)
Systemback for Debian ( and Debian based distros)
Norton Ghost for others ( arch Linux ) using it for ages now , never failed for me.
27 • @21: MX (by whoever on 2019-04-22 09:41:30 GMT from Switzerland)
"I'm curious: based on what?"
Based on basic design/ergonomics/usability principals.
The fact that you ask that question at all is a bad sign. Did you try to use MX?
28 • @27, MX (by Pepe Le Peu on 2019-04-22 10:29:26 GMT from France)
"Based on basic design/ergonomics/usability principals." In other words, because you don't like it. (Schools and loans have principals, by the way. Distros have, or lack principles.) Only thing I dislike is the panel on the left, but others may consider it ergonomically correct. In any case, that that can be fixed with a couple of clicks, and then you have a GUI that works pretty much like most XFCE distros out there, only with more tools at your disposal. I prefer KDE, neon or Kubuntu, but I keep MX on a flash drive. Useful and handy.
29 • @ 28: MX (by whoever on 2019-04-22 10:55:02 GMT from Switzerland)
"In other words, because you don't like it."
Nope. Basic design/ergonomics/usability principals are not the matter of personal taste but, of many studies and the definitions, rules and standards (DIN, ISO ...).
The positioning of the panel for example, is a matter of personal preference but, its basic (pre~) configuration (ergonomics/usability) is not a matter of taste.
Adding something like a clock or weather would be personal preference -- legibility of that added clock is not a matter of taste but, a matter of usability.
MX is a perfect example of a completely misconfigured OS.
30 • Backup (by PJ on 2019-04-22 11:01:16 GMT from Ireland)
You're not backed up unless your backups are automatic, redundant, and offsite. Which is the best software is the wrong question. Can you, or indeed someone else, do a restore easily and quickly with minimal or no data loss? is the right one.
At a former employer I kept a backup disaster memento on my desk: a QIC cartridge (DC6150 from memory) with tens of thousands records of bibliographic data from the library, laboriously and lovingly entered by library staff. The database had an accident one day (before my time) and the records were lost. The tape was brought to me one day to see if I could do anything. The hardware was long gone and so was the software, a unique custom developed solution. So, it turned out, was the company.
At that same employer I found out once that the server backups weren't running -- the overnight backup was failing and it wasn't being reported to me by a staff member who thought, repeatedly, he could fix it the next night. Luckily I found out before we needed to do a restore. Had we needed to and not been able to my job and a lot else would have been toast. (We were not doing regular test restores).
I could go on. Every IT pro has backup and data recovery disaster stories.
At home my backup regime for Linux includes (but isn't limited to)
BackInTime to a NAS, which is rsynced to a 2nd (remote) FreeNAS box running ZFS
BorgBackup to a docking station connected USB drive
I also use Dropbox and Nextcloud but my Internet connectivity is very limited so can't make extensive use of cloud backup.
And I'm still paranoid. And yes, I have unreadable old media but mostly as souvenirs :-)
31 • @29, MX (by Pepe Le Peu on 2019-04-22 11:18:44 GMT from France)
"Ergonomics is a science-based discipline that brings together knowledge from other subjects such as anatomy and physiology, psychology, engineering and statistics to ensure that designs complement the strengths and abilities of people and minimise the effects of their limitations. Rather than expecting people to adapt to a design that forces them to work in an uncomfortable, stressful or dangerous way, ergonomists and human factors specialists seek to understand how a product, workplace or system can be designed to suit the people who need to use it.
In achieving this aim, we need to understand and design for the variability represented in the population, spanning such attributes as age, size, strength, cognitive ability, prior experience, cultural expectations and goals. Qualified ergonomists are the only recognised professionals to have competency in optimising performance, safety and comfort."
So you are either a qualified ergonomist who has studied the use of MX across a varied population, or you just don't like it.
32 • backups (by Scott on 2019-04-22 11:23:19 GMT from United States)
I remove them if included with distro. The only reason i stopped using mint.
33 • Backups with FreeFileSync (by Dxvid on 2019-04-22 11:26:14 GMT from Sweden)
I use FreeFileSync for backups if I'm using a desktop or laptop machine, it's cross platform and works with many file systems.
I previously used to make huge archive files or collections of smaller archive files, but after running into problems with corruption and also old proprietary compression algorithms becoming unusable I don't trust archives for backup anymore. Archives with encrypted or compressed data makes backups more vulnerable to file corruption or hard drive sector corruption. So nowadays I just copy files as they are to lower the risk of losing more data than just one file. The most important data I copy to several places. If it's really important I also copy it offsite, in case of fire.
34 • Backup (by Jim on 2019-04-22 11:32:17 GMT from United States)
I didn't vote as I really never back up. Like Scott I remove backup software. I just save important stuff to an external hard drive or USB key. So far that has worked for me,
35 • MX (by Argent on 2019-04-22 12:12:05 GMT from United States)
"MX is probalbly one of the worst preconfigured Linux distributions ever and it looks awfull.
Quite MX is light years ahead of your spelling, ie "probalbly" "awfull".
Have to agree a user must know a little of something. Stay with your Ubuntu, safer that way!
36 • @31: MX (by whoever on 2019-04-22 12:14:03 GMT from Switzerland)
I am "a qualified ergonomist".
Are you one of: https://ibb.co/vPKMQxV ?
Would you build a website with some 8 px font or 16?
Have a look at MX clock.
Would you cross the street on red or green?
Have a look at MX updater.
Would you ...
Have a look at MX.
37 • Not doing backups? (by DaveW on 2019-04-22 12:19:33 GMT from United States)
@34 Actually, when you save the "important stuff" to an external drive, you are doing a backup. You could be using the cp command, or you could just be doing a File... Save As... whenever you feel like it. But it's still a backup.
38 • MXLinux (by Jordan on 2019-04-22 12:22:42 GMT from United States)
Somebody posted that MX is at the top "only at distrowatch." That's interesting to think about, because we can go up and down the PHR list and declare any listed distro as being say.. number 99 "only at distrowatch," ad infinitum.
Yes, we're discussing things at distrowatch and one of those things is MXLinux taking over Manjaro's #1 spot after a gradual rise.
Somebody also posted that it was due to "MX forum users (likely) coming here and clicking the MX link ever day... etc." That's interesting, too.. as if those forum users can skew the PHR results in a significant way over time if there were very few of them to do that.
We don't know.. I suppose a study of DW's logs would show the IP addresses of each click that "votes" for a distro on the list. I don't recall ever seeing a report here by the sight operators proving or disproving such things. It seems more that some users here just need to degrade distros they don't like. Either way.. your distro didn't make it this time. Maybe next time. Rally your forum users. ;o) In the mean time, perhaps you can go to the MX forums and find and post here the rallying cries to rush the place and click the MX link on the list every day.
39 • Gaming on Alpine (by a on 2019-04-22 12:28:49 GMT from France)
I’m curious to know if it’s possible to play games compiled for glibc on Alpine. They have a wiki page about it but obsolete.
40 • Backup (by NoSe on 2019-04-22 12:33:55 GMT from United States)
My backup choices:
For documents: LuckyBackup
For my MX system: Snapshot
For other systems: Clonezilla
41 • @35 & 38: MX (by whoever on 2019-04-22 12:37:27 GMT from Switzerland)
" It seems more that some users here just need to degrade distros they don't like."
"Quite MX is light years ahead of your spelling, ie "probalbly" "awfull"."
Nope. Just the facts.
Does good or bad spelling makes this look any better?
What 'visual style' this is supposed to be?
Have you ever had a look at settings panel in MX?
How can you combine such 'art accident' together with Papirus icon set and still keep 'visual consistency' (== style)?
42 • @ 35 Argent (by Boo on 2019-04-22 12:38:31 GMT from Portugal)
Mx is based from Mepis and antix, I find your idea this makes it more intelligent than Ubuntu is laughable. All these distro require little to no Linux knowledge whatsoever.
43 • Backups (by Victor on 2019-04-22 12:51:51 GMT from Canada)
I voted timeshift. In reality I let timeshift handle / on auto settings, and I manually back up /home with grsync, rsync GUI cousin manually about once a month...
44 • @34 @37 (by Lee on 2019-04-22 13:00:38 GMT from United States)
Drag & drop to a USB flash drive
45 • @41 whoever (by Artemis3 on 2019-04-22 13:22:26 GMT from Venezuela)
I don't particularly care much about how a desktop looks by default, here we want is a distro that does its job and stays out of the way. I'm installing MX Linux to others, because its good enough by default, the only thing i change with a single click from their welcome menu, is the panel from vertical to horizontal orientation, so that former windows users don't feel too alienated.
But yeah, its just XFCE, you can do with it anything you like. I particularly like that its just xfce and not some over bloated desktop environment.
So its just Debian, but guess what, its pre-configured with the basic boring stuff already, you could install and move on quickly. Its graphic installer is great, and a quick installer of "common apps" is very useful (ie. proprietary garbage like teamviewer some people want).
If all your issue is the visual aspect, why don't you just publish an XFCE theme that also includes gtk2/3 qt4/5 and xfwm along with icons and cursor, the way you like it for others to use?
At least they got the important stuff done. To me functionality goes first, beautification second, not the other way around... At most I'd just swap the icon theme with adwaita or whatever you like if only for the accessibility.
46 • backup (by dogma on 2019-04-22 13:41:44 GMT from United States)
I’ve been using cpdup. I’ve looked at the man page for rsync on occasion, and it’s intimidating, as there are a million options, and finding the right set without overlooking something vital that comes back to bite you later would be rather a trick. Maybe people start with whatever options someone else tells them to use.
47 • @45: (by whoever on 2019-04-22 13:55:00 GMT from Switzerland)
"But yeah, its just XFCE, you can do with it anything you like."
I agree. That's why I've said: "For those who can fix it, it'll work ..."
"... its good enough by default ... If all your issue is the visual aspect ..."
It's not and it's not but, the usability issues one can hardly show in images.
Try to imagine you've got a folder with 6'000 images. You need to mark & copy 1'000, klick by klick.
Default setting in MX is: if you stay with a mouse over some file, it'll mark it.
Now, you press 'ctrl' button, go from one file to another, carefully watching not to pass over some file that you don't want to mark. At file 999, the telephone rings, your concentration drops, your finger left 'ctrl' and your mouse shifted a fractal of a millimeter and came to close to some image file ... the file got automatically checked and all the other 998 unchecked -- that's just one small example of bad usability (pre~) configurations.
Or, try to repeat that same action by using only the (multi~) touchpad. Wish you luck ...
You see, just as Pepe Le Peu wrote: "Ergonomics is a science-based discipline ... to ensure that designs complement ... abilities of people and minimise the effects of their limitations." -- and the avarage population is ageing. With age, the eyesight is getting worse, movement control is getting worse, concentration is getting worse ...
It's the job of the developers to ship their products with a decent defaults and not the other way round!
48 • backups (by wally on 2019-04-22 13:57:00 GMT from United States)
Combination of Clonezilla, tar, rsync per destination and purpose.
cloning of major data to multiple systems
49 • Backups (by Friar Tux on 2019-04-22 14:34:46 GMT from Canada)
Like @32 and @34, I do not use backup software. I have tried just about all of the utilities/apps for backing up your stuff, and simply coping the Home/User folder seems to work the best. It even requires less time than a backup utility/app (on my machine). While I disagree with @30 about backups having to be automatic**, I do agree that one should have more than one backup - just in case. As for using the cloud to back up my stuff - NEVER. I use that only for the one file I deem important enough to keep synced across various machines and OS's. I find the 'cloud' still way too changeable and unpredictable to trust them with ALL my stuff. And yes that one file I also keep backed up elsewhere.
**Things do tend to screw up occasionally as @30 so eloquently described in the third paragraph. I sit through a 20 minute (scheduled) back up every Friday. (I do two machines at the same time which takes about half an hour, on average.)
50 • Backups (by Sitwon on 2019-04-22 15:19:50 GMT from United States)
I'm primarily using a combination of:
Restic + local/network storage
Restic + B2 cloud storage
CrashPlanPro small business plan
I tend to use rsync quite a bit for syncing specific directories or shipping data between systems, but rely mostly on Restic/CrashPlan for the true versioned backups.
51 • MX Linux (by void on 2019-04-22 15:52:47 GMT from Brazil)
I agree with 'whoever' - "MX is a perfect example of a completely misconfigured OS."
They really ruined their Xfce desktop. If they made such a mess with the distro´s aesthetic, imagine what could have been made with other configuration options "under the hood".
52 • CLONES BACKUPS (by vmclark on 2019-04-22 16:16:32 GMT from United States)
I use 'fsarchiver' for all my ext4 installs, and use Clonezilla or Acronis True Image for NTFS Clones
cloning ntfs using fsarchiver is experimental at best.
I don't consider clones and backups the same. If I clone my ext4 I can restore that file to another hard drive and just add the UUID to grub or use grub's configfile to named ext4 partition. Also perhaps change fstab if different swap.
And by the way, CZ user Partclone to clone partitions. You can clone it yourself using this command:
sudo ./partclone.ext4 -z 10485760 -N -c -s /dev/sda? -o - |pigz -c --fast -b 1024 -p 16 > /FILELOCATION/ubuntu.gz;cat /FILELOCATION/ubuntu.gz|pigz -d -c|sudo ./partclone.chkimg -N -s -
zcat /FILELOCATION/ubuntu.gz|sudo ./partclone.ext4 -N -r -o /dev/sda?
53 • MX Linux (by Jules on 2019-04-22 16:38:16 GMT from Netherlands)
@51: Can you explain what is wrong with Xfce? What problems are there under the "hood"?
If MX was that bad, then why on earth are they the number one distro? If MX is that bad, then all the reviews are fake? Or wrong? Before installing MX on my Dell laptop I read many reviews. All of them were positive. So, can you explain to me what you are talking about?
MX runs fine here. Never had any issue, and if I want to change the looks or something else, I can do that with a few clicks.
So please, explain, if you can...
54 • backups (by Tim on 2019-04-22 17:05:46 GMT from United States)
I think the key thing for backups is non-technical: they need to be offsite. Regardless of how you're doing it, you need to have your files not in the same building as your main computer, and it would be even nicer if they're not in the same city. I work about 55 miles from my house, and my backups live at my job. I've seen the destruction that an EF5 tornado can do and I've known folks who lost everything. Having all your family photos, copies of documents, photos of what you once owned for the insurance company ready to go can lighten that blow a lot.
55 • MX Linux (by X-Hacker on 2019-04-22 17:08:40 GMT from Greece)
Congratulations to the MX Linux team! Reaching the 1st rank at DW is a clear indication of their hard work. One of the best & most stable distros that I used during the past year. Ofc it's time for the anti-MX trolls to come out of the woodwork ;)
56 • @53 MX Linux (by void on 2019-04-22 17:17:57 GMT from Brazil)
It´s just my opinion. Mr. "whoever" already gave us a some nice examples.
I believe Linux Mint aproach is better (following the industry standard - aka "Windows 95 interface").
57 • Backup (by Tim on 2019-04-22 17:48:03 GMT from United States)
I use btrfs read-only snapshots combined with send/receive to move them to external storage, off of my local drives,
58 • Rsync (by Will Senn on 2019-04-22 17:49:57 GMT from United States)
Great simplified coverage of rsync, Jessie. Thanks! I like timeshift on mint, but on my mac and freebsd boxes, rsync is my goto. Of course w/ZFS it’s not as slick for filesystem backups, but for syncing directories, can’t be beat.
59 • Back-up (by cholo on 2019-04-22 17:51:25 GMT from Canada)
I'm with #3, I use Clonzilla a couple times a year.
60 • Backup - rsync (by Phil on 2019-04-22 18:11:44 GMT from United States)
I use rsync to backup one server's ZFS storage to another across a local network, between two buildings, and it works flawlessly. Not to mention how fast it is. I currently have 10TB of data that rsync plows through without any problems, whatsoever.
61 • Backup - Borg backup (by Jose on 2019-04-22 18:33:24 GMT from United States)
Just recently switched from dejadup to borg. it keeps versioned backups, which are encrypted and compressed. The ability to easily mount the backup folder makes restoring an individual file very simple
62 • @53: MX (by whoever on 2019-04-22 18:56:25 GMT from Switzerland)
Nothing is wrong with XFCE but, something is wrong with MX implementation of it.
Nr. 1 Distro is still Windows 10, used by more than a 700 Mil. people, opposed to that couple of thousands of MX users. Also, being "Nr. 1" tells us more about the users then about a Distro itself. (No need to say how YOU could easily do it; you shouldn't need to do do that, on the first place!)
"I can do ... I can change ... I never had ..." has nothing to do with proper default settings; it only says that you are experienced user, that you can do, what others maybe can't and that you get yourself satisfied with low quality products because you can't see the difference. I'm happy for you. It tells us more about you then about the Distro.
If you've read and properly understood what was written until now, then I have one question for you.
Can you see at least one issue here?
If yes, I'll show you the others too; if not, I'll not bother with something that's not worth it.
And reviewers ... reviewers review whatever they review ... or not. And they conclude something or not. By the way, that's how "Reviewers" desktop looks like:
Not much in common with default MX configuration.
63 • MXLinux (by Friar Tux on 2019-04-22 19:10:25 GMT from Canada)
@56 (void) I agree that Mint is better, out-of-box. I tried MXLinux. It loaded and rebooted nicely, and was easy to manoeuvre around in and worked like a charm. The system settings were a bit confusing but nothing that a bit of learning couldn't cure. All in all quite well done. However, when I tried to load on my favourite, all purpose program (Cherrytree), it wouldn't install it. It wasn't listed in the Synaptic Package Manager, and GDeb claimed there were faulty files. So... it's a no-go for me. Still, it was nice to play with.
64 • impossible (by Tim on 2019-04-22 19:59:30 GMT from United States)
@63 what you have described seems impossible to me. All else aside, an older version of cherrytree would have been available from debian repository. Can only guess that you neglected to perform apt-update, then "blamed" (debian and) MX when cherrytree was unavailable within synaptic.
MX repo currently provides cherrytree v. 0.38.5-0.1~mx17+1 (newer than the version available from debian sid) and I've been using their package, glitch-free, for several months. Not on MX, but on antiX17 + debian9 Stretch repositories.
Number of Comments: 64
|• 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|
|• 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 220.127.116.11, 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|
|• 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 or Linux Mint pre-installed with many more distributions supported. Visit Star Labs for information, to buy and get support.
|Random Distribution |
Vinux is an Ubuntu-derived distribution optimised for the needs of blind and partially sighted users. By default Vinux provides two screen readers, Braille display support and a friendly community. When booting the live Vinux image, the users are greeted by the Orca screen reader that enables them to navigate the graphical Unity desktop using keyboard commands. Additionally, Brltty provides grade 1 and 2 Braille output via Orca.
|Tips, Tricks, Myths and Q&As |
|Questions and answers: Preventing applications from stealing window focus|
|Tips and tricks: Command line weather, ionice, rename files, video preview snapshot, calednar, ls colour settings|
|Questions and answers: Menu names versus command line names|
|Questions and answers: Revisiting Ubuntu market share numbers|
|Questions and answers: End of support for Kubuntu|
|Questions and answers: Setting up VPN connections|
|Questions and answers: Linux and the command line|
|Myths and misunderstandings: Wayland, Xorg and Mir|
|Tips and tricks: Keep terminal programs running, using the at command, reverse OpenSSH connections|
|Questions and answers: Chatting with Jared Smith, Fedora Project Leader|
|More Tips & Tricks and Questions & Answers|