| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 789, 12 November 2018
Welcome to this year's 46th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
This past week the Fedora project celebrated its 15th birthday, an event which comes shortly after the release of Fedora 29. To mark this milestone in the project's development we are focusing on the Red Hat sponsored distribution with two reviews of Fedora 29, one covering the Workstation edition and another covering the Silverblue edition. Read on to find out what Joshua Allen Holm and Robert Rijkhoff think of Fedora's latest release. In our News section we link to Fedora's very first release announcement and a list of its new-at-the-time features. Plus we cover Haiku's infrastructure outage, updated media from Debian, and report on FreeBSD 10.4 reaching the end of its supported life. We are also pleased to bring you a list of last week's releases and provide a list of the torrents we are seeding. We wish you all a wonderful week and happy reading!
- Review: Fedora 29 Workstation
- News: Fedora turns 15, Haiku experiences server outage, Debian releases updated media, FreeBSD 10.4 reaches its end of life
- Technology review: Fedora 29 Silverblue
- Released last week: Neptune 5.6, ReactOS 0.4.10, Oracle 7.6
- Torrent corner: Antergos, Archman, AUSTRUMI, CAINE, Debian, HardenedBSD, Kodachi, Neptune, Omarine, ReactOS, SmartOS, SparkyLinux
- Upcoming releases: FreeBSD 12.0-RC1
- Opinion poll: Fedora Silverblue
- Reader comments
|Feature Story (by Joshua Allen Holm)
Fedora 29 Workstation
Every release of Fedora has a large number of installation images to choose from. Fedora 29 is no exception. The three core options are Workstation, Server, and Atomic, but there are also spins with various alternate desktop environments, labs that focus on specific tasks, and Silverblue, which is a variant of the Workstation version that applies the principles behind the Atomic version to a desktop-focused release. (You can read more about the Silverblue edition in our Technology Review.) All of these releases are built from the same packages, though Atomic and Silverblue use rpm-ostree in place of more traditional package management tools.
Each different flavor of Fedora has its own strengths and weaknesses. Some are focused on the desktop and others designed for servers. For this review I will only be looking at the Workstation version, which features the GNOME desktop environment and a small selection of applications. Some of what I will cover will be applicable to the other spins and their respective desktop environments, but I will focus mostly on Fedora Workstation’s GNOME-based user experience.
Fedora 29 -- The default GNOME desktop
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I began by downloading the 1.9GB Workstation ISO and copying it to a USB flash drive. I booted my computer from the flash drive and quickly had a live desktop that presented me with the option to install or try Fedora. I opted for the try option and looked around the live desktop for a while before installing. What I found was pretty typical for a recent Fedora Workstation release. There were newer versions of the standard applications, but no major surprises, so I clicked on the installer in the dash and started the installation process.
Installing Fedora 29 Workstation
Installing Fedora is done using the Anaconda installer. The experience should be familiar to anyone who has installed a recent release of Fedora. The process is handled though a series of tasks that can be completed in any order before the installer starts copying files to the hard drive.
Fedora 29 -- The Anaconda installer
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Fedora 29 Workstation cuts the number of tasks down to just three: keyboard layout, date & time, and selecting the target drive to install Fedora on. Networking is handled through the live desktop, not the installer. The installation process is streamlined, but perhaps too streamlined.
Fedora 29 -- New user creation
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In addition to reducing the number of install tasks, the Fedora Workstation installation process handled new user creation during first boot. Instead of asking the user to create a root password and create a new user while Fedora is being installed to the hard drive, the GNOME Initial Setup wizard handles creating a new user account. The account created at this stage will be added to the wheel group, so it has sudo privileges, but the root account is not enabled by default. Personally, I am okay with the way Fedora 29 Workstation creates user accounts, but other people might want to create a root password during installation, instead of having to run "sudo passwd ..." later.
Fedora 29 -- Banner Advertisement in Anaconda
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Both parts of the install process do their job just fine, but in Anaconda every single banner advertising something about Fedora was cut off or distorted in some way. In the screenshot above, the Install LibreOffice banner has words cut off on the right side. All the images in the loop have the same issue. It does not impact the functionality of the install process, but it does not leave a good first impression. This issue has been around for at least a few Fedora versions now, and while not mission critical, it really does need to be fixed.
GNOME desktop and default applications
Fedora 29 Workstation uses the standard GNOME 3 desktop and a typical selection of popular applications. Firefox is the included web browser, Evolution is the e-mail program, and LibreOffice (except for LibreOffice Base) is the office suite. Rhythmbox is the default music player, GNOME Videos the default video player, and GNOME Photos is the default photo application. The other applications are the various GNOME utilities. The selection of default software is almost the same as any other modern, GNOME-based distribution.
Fedora 29 -- Default applications
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As is typical for Fedora, Fedora 29 Workstation features the latest releases of applications, which usually means more features and polish, but this time it also comes with bugs. I have experienced more issues with the release version of Fedora 29 Workstation than I have with beta versions of earlier Fedora versions. One of the packages I always install is texlive-scheme-full, but that was not installable because of dependency issues until about a week after Fedora 29 was released. GNOME Videos (a.k.a. Totem) cannot play video full-screen on Wayland. Full-screen video playback works okay (there is some minor tearing) on X, but is unusable on Wayland. I have been using GNOME Videos on Wayland for the past several Fedora releases without any problems, but now I have to switch to using the GNOME on Xorg session, play videos in a window, or use a different video player.
Fedora 29 -- Playing fullscreen video in Totem
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Installing additional software
GNOME Software is the GUI application for installing additional software and installing updates. It works well enough, but there are some issues I would very much like to see fixed in future versions. One of the most annoying things is all the double entries for applications available from multiple sources (i.e. standard RPM packages and Flatpaks). Thankfully, this is already on the roadmap for a future release of GNOME Software, but, for now, it is an annoying issue. Another thing I would really like to see is more granular control over Flatpaks. Currently, it is either all or none when listing Flatpak applications. There is no way to remove proprietary applications from the results. Fedora has an option to enable certain third-party repositories to install certain proprietary software (e.g. Google Chrome and Steam) but the user has to actively choose to enable those repositories. It would be nice if the same enable/disable proprietary option could be extended to Flatpak. The individual Flatpak applications from Flathub show their license status, so filtering out non-open source software should be possible.
Fedora 29 -- GNOME Software showing developer tools
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GNOME Software only displays GUI applications that are packaged with the appropriate metadata, so sometimes it is necessary to the use the command line to install additional software. This is handled with the dnf command, which provides a nice set of options for managing packages. Searching for packages, installing, upgrading, and more are all pretty straightforward using dnf. However, it would be nice to have a default GUI method for installing things like programming languages and command line utilities.
Working with modules
One of the new things in Fedora 29 Workstation is the Modularity feature. Modules allow users to select from different versions of certain packages. For example, Fedora 29 ships with Perl 5.28, but using modules it is possible to install Perl 5.24 or Perl 5.26 instead. In theory, this is a great feature, and something very useful on the server side and in containers, but it does not always work so well on desktop systems. When I tried to install Perl 5.24 with the "dnf module install perl:5.24/default" command, dnf complained about needing to use the --allowerasing or --skip-broken flags to deal with conflicts. When I used --allowerasing, dnf wanted to remove Perl 5.28 packages, which is understandable, but by extension it also wanted to remove things like git. All the other modules I tried behaved better, but Perl is a good example of something where Modularity still has issues. In fact, I could not install the standard Perl RPM group with "dnf install @perl" because it conflicts the the modules option. I had to use "dnf group install perl" instead.
Fedora 29 -- Terminal with listing of modules
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I found that modules are a little easier to work with than Red Hat’s Software Collections, but they were not perfect. If I were using Fedora on a server or for a container image, modules would be extremely useful, but on the Workstation side, they still need work. Granted, Fedora is a distribution that is willing to try out new things, so I cannot knock them too badly because the first Workstation release with module support still has a few issues.
Fedora 29 is a good release, but there are some issues with it. Users who are interested in trying out new things and are okay with the the occasional bug should feel comfortable trying out Fedora 29 Workstation. However, users wanting a polished experience might want to hold off until a few more bugs are fixed.
I would be okay with a few rough edges if they were just limited to the new features, but the two show-stopper bugs I had were playing full-screen video with GNOME Videos and being able to install texlive-scheme-full. Only the latter has been fixed, while video playback remains an issue. Playing full-screen videos in GNOME Videos on Wayland has worked perfectly on my hardware for the last several Fedora releases, but in Fedora 29 it is unusable. The video playback bug has already been reported in Red Hat’s Bugzilla, but the bug is still classified as new.
Overall, Fedora 29 Workstation is worth checking out, but I have to say "buyer beware" and encourage people to check to make sure all of the things they need are in a functional state before making the switch or upgrade. Things should be fixed in a few weeks, but I have honestly run beta releases of previous Fedora versions that had fewer issues than the final release of Fedora 29.
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Hardware used in this review
My physical test equipment for this review was a Lenovo Ideapad 100-15IBD laptop with the following specifications:
- Processor: 2.2GHz Intel Core i3-5020U CPU
- Storage: Seagate 500GB 5400 RPM hard drive
- Memory: 4GB of RAM
- Networking: Realtek RTL8723BE 802.11n Wireless Network Adapter
- Display: Intel HD Graphics 5500
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Visitor supplied rating
Fedora has a visitor supplied average rating of: 8.4/10 from 288 review(s).
Have you used Fedora? You can leave your own review of the project on our ratings page.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Fedora turns 15, Haiku experiences server outage, Debian releases updated media, FreeBSD 10.4 reaches its end of life
The Fedora team is celebrating the distribution's 15th birthday. Fedora Core 1 was launched on November 6, 2003. The brand new distribution featured the GNOME desktop, the YUM package manager and a fancy graphical interface was displayed while the operating system was booting. Fedora Magazine has a look back on the details of the distribution's first release: "On November 6, 2003, Red Hat announced Fedora Core 1, the first software release of the Fedora Project. This announcement marked the beginning of a collaborative project between Red Hat and its user community."
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The Haiku team ran into some problems while performing a server upgrade this week and a number of the project's services were taken off-line. "This evening a standard operating system upgrade has once again turned fatal. Our infrastructure still depends on a single bare metal server at Hetzner which continues to be our downfall. This evening a (tested) OS upgrade failed resulting in maui going MIA. I requested KVM access to attempt repair of maui after it was missing for ~15 minutes, however we were stuck waiting almost two hours for the KVM from Hetzner." At the time of writing most of Haiku's infrastructure has been restored, but a few components, including the Discuss forum, are still off-line. Updates on the situation can be found on Haiku's Status page.
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The Debian project has published new installation media for the distribution's Stretch release. The new media is not for a brand new version of Debian, but includes security updates for packages in the original Debian 9 "Stretch" release. "The Debian project is pleased to announce the sixth update of its stable distribution Debian 9 (codename Stretch). This point release mainly adds corrections for security issues, along with a few adjustments for serious problems. Security advisories have already been published separately and are referenced where available. Please note that the point release does not constitute a new version of Debian 9 but only updates some of the packages included. There is no need to throw away old stretch media. After installation, packages can be upgraded to the current versions using an up-to-date Debian mirror."
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The FreeBSD team sent out a notice this week to remind people that FreeBSD 10.4 has reached the end of its supported life. "Dear FreeBSD community, as of October 31, 2018, FreeBSD 10.4 reached end-of-life and is no longer supported by the FreeBSD Security Team. Users of FreeBSD 10.4 are strongly encouraged to upgrade to a newer release as soon as possible. " People still running the FreeBSD 10 series are advised to upgrade to version 11.
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Technology Review (by Robert Rijkhoff)
Fedora 29 Silverblue
One of the more interesting Fedora 29 releases is Silverblue (previously known as Atomic Workstation). Silverblue is all about "atomic upgrades" and "container-focused workflows" on the desktop. To explain what that actually means it is probably best to start by discussing what problems Silverblue aims to solve.
OSTree and immutable upgrades
In Fedora Workstation updates are made available as when they are ready. When you run dnf update you might get a new version of the Linux kernel, some updated libraries, the latest version of Firefox and LibreOffice, and so forth.
Silverblue uses OSTree for the core operating system. Instead of pushing individual packages to the updates repository the Silverblue team builds complete "deployments". Each deployment has a version number, commit ID and GPG signature, and when you update your system the new deployment is shipped as a whole.
To illustrate, the below screen shot shows the output of the command rpm-ostree status. I took the screen grab after I had first updated my Silverblue 29 install. It shows there are two deployments: version 29.20181030.0 is the current deployment (as indicated by the white dot) and version 29.1.2 is the previous deployment (in this case the last beta release).
Fedora 29 Silverblue -- The output of rpm-ostree status
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The main advantage of this approach is that upgrades are "immutable". When you update a Fedora Workstation install there is always the risk that something goes wrong and that your system is left in an inconsistent state. Silverblue ships a complete deployment and therefore doesn't have that problem: if your system were to crash during an upgrade you would simply stay on the current deployment.
Another benefit is that Silverblue gives you the option to roll back to the previous deployment. If, for whatever reason, a new Silverblue version causes issues then you can run rpm-ostree rollback to revert to the previous deployment. To start using a new deployment you will need to reboot your computer (the new deployment will be the default item in your GRUB menu).
The one thing I didn’t like about rpm-ostree is that it presented me with tens of "Authentication is required to update software" dialogues during my trial. Every time I logged in to the desktop the window would appear and after my laptop had been suspended for a few hours there would typically be five or six pop-ups waiting for me.
Fedora 29 Silverblue -- An Authentication Required dialogue popping up during the initial system set-up
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The output of journalctl --unit=rpm-ostreed showed that the system did a "libostree pull", so my best guess is that the system runs rpm-ostree update --check to see if new updates are available. Whatever the rationale behind the pop-ups, they got on my nerves.
OSTree file system hierarchy
OSTree uses a somewhat different file system hierarchy. The /var directory is the only directory that is preserved when you upgrade the system and directories such as /home, /opt and /srv have therefore been moved to the /var directory. There are symlinks to these directories, so you can still navigate to /home as you normally would.
Fedora 29 Silverblue -- Inspecting the file system hierarchy and partitions
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I was wondering how this would affect the /etc directory. I found that changes I made to my /etc/hosts file were preserved when updating the system, so it seems OSTree does some magic in the background to prevent customisations from being overwritten. If you are interested in file system hierarchies, there is a long, technical explanation of the file system layout in the OSTree documentation.
As an aside, Silverblue uses the same installer as Fedora Workstation, including the Fedora Workstation branding. That means that you need to be careful when it comes to partitioning. The installer will let you manually mount partitions such as /home even though that directory doesn't exist in Silverblue (the mount point should be /var/home). If you want to use a custom partition layout you can find some guidance in the install guide.
Silverblue's core operating system is just that: a base system. When you first boot into the GNOME desktop you will find just a handful of applications. You get Firefox, a file manager, a terminal and GNOME's software centre. Basic graphical tools such as a text editor and document viewer are not pre-installed.
Fedora 29 Silverblue -- The collection of pre-installed applications
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To get more desktop applications you can install Flatpaks. The Flathub repository is not enabled by default because it includes non-free software. That is fair enough, but it is unfortunate that GNOME Software doesn't provide any information about how to install software. Without the Flathub repo the software centre is almost completely empty and searches for common applications yield no results.
Enabling the Flathub repository is easy enough (just follow the instruction on flathub.org) but I had no luck installing Flatpaks via GNOME Software. For instance, when I tried to install GNOME Music I got the error "dl.flathub.org not available". The error message pointed me to the GNOME Music web page for more information, which provided zero information about installing GNOME Music as a Flatpak. As far as I can tell GNOME Software can't install a Flatpak if it has one or more dependencies that also need to be installed.
Fedora 29 Silverblue -- Trying to install the GNOME Music Flatpak using GNOME Software
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Installing Flatpaks via the command line worked fine and I didn’t encounter any major issues with the applications I installed. The only real issue I have with using Flatpaks is that there aren't that many of them. In particular web browsers are in short supply: I could only find Beaker (an "experimental browser for the peer-to-peer web") and Eolie (a new browser from the GNOME team).
In all likelihood you will want to install packages that are not part of the base image and not provided as a Flatpak. In Silverblue, RPMs are installed via the rpm-ostree utility and kept separate from the core operating system. Instead, they are layered on top of the base image.
To illustrate how this works, the below screen shot shows the output of the command rpm-ostree status after I installed four RPMs: xfreerdp, pass, vim-enhanced and youtube-dl. The first deployment shows these four RPMs as "layered packages" while the second deployment is the deployment currently in use (as indicated by the white dot).
Fedora 29 Silverblue -- A new deployment with layered packages
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Because the newly installed RPMs are not part of the current deployment it is not possible to use them straight away: you need to reboot your computer to boot into the new deployment. This is arguably one of the main disadvantages of using rpm-ostree. You can't quickly install, say, youtube-dl and start downloading online videos: you need to reboot first.
There is another disadvantage: the rpm-ostree utility doesn’t have many common DNF commands. In particular, you can't do a search for RPMs or display information about a package. For me personally that wasn't much of an issue. I have been using Fedora for many years and know exactly which packages I want to install. For new users, though, it is really awkward to not be able to have an equivalent of commands like dnf search and dnf info.
The Silverblue docs do acknowledge that not being able to query the repositories is an issue, and it also provides a workaround. I want to mention the workaround not because it is a solid alternative but because it illustrates another feature that sets Silverblue apart: the distro supports the latest and greatest container tools out of the box. Both Podman and Buildah are installed, which means that you can spin up a Fedora 29 container and run, say, a dnf info command. In the below screen shot I ran podman --rm fedora:29 dnf info perl-image-exiftool to return information about the perl-image-exiftool package.
Fedora 29 Silverblue -- Using podman to run a DNF query
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It is quite impressive that this can be done with a relatively short one-liner. As said, though, deploying a container just to run a DNF command is more trouble than it's worth: on my laptop the command executed in just under two minutes.
Mostly, you will want to use containers to run everything from web servers to package managers like Pip. Again, the idea is to keep those things separate from the base operating system. For me this came as a bit of a shock. I know the basics of Docker but have always installed a LAMP stack via a distro's package manager. I understand that it makes sense to use containers (if only to have an identical development and production environment) but it is a huge departure from how I have always worked.
Silverblue arguably has a rather large Marmite Factor. If you don't care for Flatpaks and containers then Silverblue might be painful to use. For me, though, Silverblue holds a lot of promise. In fact, I think it is the most exciting distro I have used since I first installed Linux about a decade ago. It is a radical rethink of how desktop operating systems work and to my mind Silverblue's approach makes a lot of sense.
That said, Silverblue is a work in progress and I would be reluctant to install it as my daily driver. It is perhaps telling that the release announcement for Fedora 29 mentioned Silverblue last and that it linked to the project's documentation rather than the project's home page (which would provide you with links to the documentation and the ISO). Silverblue isn't quite ready for prime time just yet. I am hopeful, though, that Silverblue will become a viable replacement for Fedora Workstation.
|Released Last Week
Leszek Lesner has announced the release of Neptune 5.6, the latest stable version of the project's Debian-based desktop Linux distribution featuring the KDE Plasma 5.12 desktop: "We are proud to announce version 5.6 of Neptune. This update represents the current state of Neptune 5 and renews the ISO image so if you install Neptune, you don't have to download tons of updates. In this update we have improved hardware support further by providing Linux kernel 4.18.6 with improved drivers and bug fixes. Updated the DDX drivers for AMD/ATI and Intel as well, providing Mesa 18.1.9. The X.Org Server has been updated to version 1.19.6 which fixes several bugs and brings speed improvements. Other main changes in this version are the update of systemd to version 239 and KDE Applications to version 18.08.2. Network-Manager has been updated to 1.14 to improve WiFi network stability and speed. Plasma Desktop has been updated to 5.12.7 to provide bug fixes. It includes fixes for Krunner to allow setting the web shortcuts and spell-checking options for its plugins. connections with sftp via KIO are now more stable and reliable even after reconnecting to a device." Read the rest of the release announcement for more information.
Colin Finck has announced the release of ReactOS 0.4.10, the latest version of the project's open-source operating system which is developed with the goal of running Windows applications and drivers in an open-source environment. The new release allows booting from a Btrfs file system and there are also various front-end and stability improvements: "The ReactOS project is pleased to announce the release of version 0.4.10, the latest of our quarterly cadence of releases. The project has seen an increasing emphasis on consistency and stability over the past few months, an emphasis the rapid release schedule helps re-enforce to provide a better end-user experience. Even as new pieces of functionality are added, all this would be for naught if a user could not access them reliably. The headline feature for 0.4.10 would have to be ReactOS’ ability to now boot from a Btrfs formatted drive. Parallel to this effort was more basic work needed to expose the option to use Btrfs in the ReactOS installer and boot loader. The combined effort proved fruitful indeed and users are invited to try out Btrfs support in 0.4.10." Read the release announcement with screenshots for full details. As always, ReactOS is available in Live and Install builds.
Oracle Linux 7.6
Avi Miller has announced the release of Oracle Linux 7 Update 6, the latest version of the company's enterprise-class Linux distribution built from the source code of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7.6: "Notable new features in this release: Pacemaker now supports path, mount, and timer systemd unit files. Although previous releases of Pacemaker supported service and socket systemd unit files, alternative units would fail. Pacemaker can now manage path, mount and timer systemd units. Package installation and upgrade using rpm can be tracked using audit events. The RPM package manager has been updated to provide audit events so that software package installation and updates can be tracked using the Linux Audit system. Software installation and upgrades using yum are also tracked." Further details on new features can be found in the release announcement and in the release notes. ISO files can be downloaded through the Oracle Software Delivery Cloud.
Nanni Bassetti has announced the release of a new major version of CAINE (which stands for Computer Aided INvestigative Environment), an Ubuntu-based distribution with a collection of utilities for forensics and incident response. Version 10.0 is based on Ubuntu 18.04: "CAINE 10.0 "Infinity" is out. Linux kernel 4.15, based on Ubuntu 18.04 64-bit, can boot on UEFI, UEFI with Secure Boot, Legacy BIOS, BIOS. The important news is that CAINE 10.0 blocks all block devices (e.g. /dev/sda) in read-only mode. You can use a GUI tool named BlockOn/Off which is present on CAINE's desktop. This new write-blocking method assures that all disks are really preserved from accidental writing operations because they are locked in read-only mode. If you need to write to a disk, you can unlock it with BlockOn/Off or by using 'Mounter' to change the policy to writable mode. New tools, new OSINT, Autopsy 4.9 on-board, APFS ready, Btrfs forensic tool, NVME SSD drivers; SSH server disabled by default; OSINT - Carbon14, OsintSpy added; mobile - gMTP and ADB added; added Recoll, Afro, Stegosuite; many fixes and software updates; CAINE has Windows IR/Live forensics tools; new release of Arsenal Image Mounter and HibernationRecon...." Visit the project's home page to read the full release announcement.
CAINE 10.0 -- Running the MATE desktop
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SparkyLinux is a Debian-based distribution featuring three different development branches and multiple editions. The project has released a new update, SparkyLinux 4.9, to its Stable branch, based on Debian 9 Stretch. "New ISO images feature security updates and small improvements, such as: full system upgrade from Debian stable repos as of November 8, 2018; Linux kernel 4.9.110 (PC); Linux kernel 4.14.71 (ARM); added key bindings of configuration of monitor brightness (Openbox); added key bindings of configuration of system sound (Openbox & LXDE); added cron configuration to APTus Upgrade Checker. Added packages: xfce4-power-manager for power management; sparky-libinput for tap to click configuration for touchpads; xfce4-notifyd for desktop notifications; sparky-artwork-nature package features 10 more new nature wallpapers of Poland." Further details can be found in the project's release announcement.
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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: 1,115
- Total data uploaded: 22.0TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
In our second review this week we talked about Fedora Silverblue, which takes an interesting approach to managing software. Silverblue introduces atomic updates and treats the core operating system as one whole component, kept separate from other applications and data.
We would like to know what you think of this approach which focuses on portable package formats and containers to get work done. Do you like the atomic nature and separation of tasks? Do you think the requirement to reboot to use new versions of software is too inconvenient? Have you tried running Fedora Silverblue? We would like to hear your impressions of this unusual edition of Fedora in the comments.
You can see the results of our previous poll on IBM purchasing Red Hat in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
DistroWatch database summary
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This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 19 November 2018. Past articles and reviews can be found through our Article Search page. To contact the authors please send e-mail to:
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|Linux Foundation Training
|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • Fedora 29 (by saravanan on 2018-11-12 04:11:43 GMT from India) |
Thank you for the review distrowatch. F29 works good. Smooth Installation. Gnome Software Flatpak, official repo confusion exists only upon adding the repo ([not a comparison.. just an info] in ubuntu 18.10 - official repo and snap show such similarity by default).
2 • Bugs in Fedora 29 (by Kavish on 2018-11-12 04:12:35 GMT from India)
"Fedora 29 is a good release, but there are some issues with it. Users who are interested in trying out new things and are okay with the occasional bug should feel comfortable trying out Fedora 29 Workstation.
However, users wanting a polished experience might want to hold off until a few more bugs are fixed.
I have been holding off for too long - Unfortunately for me Fedora never worked!
3 • fedora, (by jfg on 2018-11-12 05:38:05 GMT from Greece)
I always try fedora releases. I always find that i cannot choose fedora for my everyday work and needs. I would prefer fedora more stable and ready for everyday use.
4 • no reboot needed in silverblue (by nix on 2018-11-12 10:39:35 GMT from Ireland)
there is an experimental way of switching to the latest tree without reboot using:
$ sudo rpm-ostree ex livefs
I tried it on silverblue 28 and it worked fine.
5 • Debian 9.6 (by Carlos Felipe Araujo on 2018-11-12 11:50:21 GMT from Brazil)
I download debian-live-9.6.0-amd64-xfce+nonfree.iso and I installed it on Virtualbox, but after installation, I reboot, I insert my user and password and debian only shows the wallpaper...
6 • Technology previews (by Microlinux on 2018-11-12 12:23:14 GMT from France)
As a long-time CentOS user (since 4.x) I wouldn't recommend Fedora to anyone suffering from high blood pressure. Sometimes I do fiddle with it, but I never use it in production. For what it's worth, it gives me a rough idea of what the next CentOS release will look like.
7 • Fedora 29... (by Marc Visscher on 2018-11-12 13:33:25 GMT from Netherlands)
I've tried various Fedora versions at several times on different machines, but I ran into the same issues over and over again. Same thing last week with Fedora 29 Xfce. Like the versions before I've tried in the last few years is that it's slow, sluggisch, updating takes ages, and on top of that, it already showed crashes the first time I booted the system after an install. I've tried it on Compaq machines, HP machines, Acer laptops and Asus laptops. Same result every time. Very weird.
The funny thing is that on the same machines Xubuntu, Manjaro (also Xfce) and Debian Stretch (again Xfce) are the complete opposite in experience. They are fast, snappy, stable, pleasant to work with, and I never encounted any issues with it so far.
Strange that a specific Linux distro can give such a different experience compared to other distro's. Since my early days of using Linux, Fedora and every other Fedora based system I've used so far gave me a headache and a hard time.
8 • To: 5 • Debian 9.6 (by debianxfce on 2018-11-12 14:04:34 GMT from Finland)
With the right mouse button menu you can launch the terminal probably. As root type: apt-get install xfce4. You can do the same command by booting to the Linux rescue mode from the Grub menu.
9 • Fedora (by Christian on 2018-11-12 14:31:16 GMT from Brazil)
I've been using Fedora since version 7. To be honest, I've skipped a few, but I've never had any major bug to prevent me from using it and also didn't had any trouble updating... On the other hand, Wayland is, in my opinion, far from being dependable. For now, I keep on using X.
10 • Silverblue (by cykodrone on 2018-11-12 16:50:28 GMT from Canada)
Nice concept, too bad spywared is part of it. I think swipey GUI developers just like to make things fly around on the screen, just makes me dizzy. ;)
11 • Fedora 29 (by Mr. Gave Up on 2018-11-12 19:20:18 GMT from United States)
I tried to use Fedora for a year. I gave it a good go. Tried to weather the bad stuff just like you would any other Distro. But for a desktop that needs to just work and stay out of the way, Fedora is NOT that distro. There are way too many todo's and maintenance items simply because of SELinux being turn up too high. To manage SELinux to that degree is well beyond average desktop users that just want a nice desktop PC to get work done. The straw that broke the camel's back for me is the fact that you have to reboot at every update.
12 • Fedora in general (by Friar Tux on 2018-11-12 20:07:09 GMT from Canada)
As with a lot of the comments before mine, I found Fedora quite problematic where ever I try it. Yet on the same machines, most 'buntu products work beautifully. (That being said, most SUSE and Arch based distros also have issues on those same machines). Not sure why, though it could just be me - hate after-install fiddling. I prefer to install the OS and be able to go right to work.
13 • Thoughts on Fedora & Gnome (by M.Z. on 2018-11-12 21:03:02 GMT from United States)
I've found lots of really neat little technical improvements in Fedora that I didn't see in other distros, like Delta RPMs to speed updates. That being said I kept running into post update issues similar to what others here mentioned. Things just break a bit too easily to make Fedora a good choice for me. I do like PCLinuxOS & Mageia for RPM desktop distros & I don't much care about the init, though the two provide options so we don't need to toss FUD around.
On the Fedora improvements front, the one thing that never really moves any direction but sideways is the basic design of Gnome 3. I don't want to put them down all together & call it junk by pointing to the bugs mentioned in DW, because that would be in bad forum (as per comments last week*); however, their basic design never actually improves. I actually like the way they are trying to integrate Wayland, yet I keep coming back to the overall design that seems very off putting to the majority of potential users. There are certainly changes going on, yet one set of annoying behaviours only ever get traded in for another & the big problems I see related to customization & ability to reliably get more traditional desktop behaviour are left to add-on makers to solve for a while before being broken by an update.
It seems that the Gnome team thinking outside the box has created an new & independent iron cube off to the side of the Linux community, which eschews the traditional desktop in favour of a vision of a new paradigm that most users just aren't interested in. I don't see much of a future there or any big potential for things other than stagnation; however, Canonical/Ubuntu moving back to Gnome does provide some potential for things to change in a direction that could be good for normal desktop users like myself.
*trying here to provide more thoughtful & constructive criticism & analysis than lasts weeks 'x-DE is junk because bugs' & replies of -'well I don't care about thoughts & analysis because other bugs exist'. That's just a FUDey thing to do. I'm actually hoping to eventually see Gnome reinvent itself again, but into something more useful next time.
14 • Fedora (by Rooster12 on 2018-11-12 22:32:41 GMT from United States)
Have never tried Fedora, using Linux for about 10 years and just haven't. Downloaded and going to take a look and see if it is useful.
Personally don't like Gnome De, although like some apps. Not sure even what Fedora uses as a DE.
15 • Fedora (by Jordan on 2018-11-12 23:05:05 GMT from United States)
A LOT of people click the Fedora link at dw every day, keeping it in the top 10 year in and year out. Ironic, as most of the 90 some distros below it on that list offer us by and large more reliability, especially but not limited to those in the Debian family (siblings, forks, or various spins, etc).
16 • Fedora (by Fernando on 2018-11-12 23:14:42 GMT from Spain)
I think I should say something about my experience with Fedora. I've been using linux almost exclusively since 2006. I had been using Solaris with the Common Desktop Environment in my work, and switched to Xubuntu on my laptop, after trying SuSE (KDE) and Ubuntu proper (GNOME) to no avail (my laptop was too old then). With new computers I went with Kubuntu and Debian KDE until GNOME 3 came out. It was a dream made reality. The desktop paradigm I had been dreaming with. Soon afterwards I switched to Fedora, because the first GNOME 3 releases were not that good and Fedora had the latest and greatest. I wasn't that happy with, say Fedora 20, but since 23 or so, it's been the most stable distro I've used. A drop-in distro, ready to go as soon as you install. The degree of polish of recent releases are unknown in the Linux world. Yes, even Ubuntu is less user friendly than current Fedora. I remember some words on making things friendly back then, from the Fedora project leader. He said that Fedora was in risk of not being used by enough people. There was a drastic change since. It's the way to go. I hope others, like Ubuntu or opensuse, follow the steps of Fedora in making an easy distro with well integrated tools. I'm really greatful to the Fedora developers for the joyful experience, for powering my computers.
17 • @Robert Rijkhoff (by david esktorp on 2018-11-13 02:48:07 GMT from United States)
Forced me to look up 'Marmite' which ended up being more interesting than Fedora.
18 • Fedora (by ForFed on 2018-11-13 13:27:07 GMT from Portugal)
It's one of the few I install, try, explore @ every new release. And want say: don't let yourself down for this DW's review, no need to wait nothing!!!
True, there's some Wayland issues. But what's the problem? None!!!
Choose, log into one of the various other dysplay servers/DEs available.
19 • Fedora (by mandog on 2018-11-13 14:16:30 GMT from Peru)
Been trying Fedora since V8 since it has been hit and miss,
v24 changed all that and now at 29 its a fine distribution.
We must also remember fedora is aimed at developers with it it brings the latest innovations to the table.
Sorry buntu users you really are out of the game in the last few years with development.
Ubuntu once was the leading Distro is now just a has been, to many fails in the quest to be the Ms of the Linux world.
I would say Manjaro fits the bill now all without multi million $ backing, Easy setup rolling release, good forums good support in the forums. Based on Arch what more do you need other than swallow your pride.
20 • Silver Blue... (by tom joad on 2018-11-13 15:15:46 GMT from Austria)
I I have never tried Fedora or Silver Blue nor will that change any time soon.
That said the brief poll description is about all that I know about it. Nor does that preclude me having an opinion about the subject. And that opinion is actually a question.
Why exactly is Silver Blue necessary to the order of things Linux? Marshalling off the core system from the, I guess, rag tag elements seems like a good thing...I guess. But there are a lot of stable predictable Linux OS that operate pretty normally. I am using Mint and MX Linux. I don't see much of any difficulty with those two. I would discribe them boring really. Both do what they do and stay out of the way. And like others have stated, I have stuff to get done. I only troubleshoot when I am made to do it. I refuse to go looking for 'trouble' as it were.
Now a wild eyed software scheme like the one that spews forth from North West Washington State might benefit from something like Silver Blue.
Silver Blue, it seems to me, falls into the catagory of 'If it ain't broke, DON'T fix it' or 'Wait and see.'
But if Silver Blue evolves and is adopted by more distros making it more developed and accepted...Fine. Another systemd type debacle named Silver Blue would not be good IMHO.
21 • Fedora 29 (by Sam on 2018-11-13 17:26:46 GMT from United States)
Wish I could try it - but in Virtual Box on both my Spectre X2 and my cheapy Ideapad 330 Fedora 29 seems to install, but upon reboot a graphical desktop never appears - just a black screen where I can't even escape to command line.
22 • IBM Silver Blue (by Garon on 2018-11-13 18:28:24 GMT from United States)
I can just see the new IBM distro now. Named "OS/2 Silver Blue". Kind of neat sounding. It's all alright now. RHEL and Fedora are IBM's babies now.
23 • Silverblue (by Robert on 2018-11-13 19:26:30 GMT from United States)
Silverblue sounds very similar to an idea I had soon after flatpak came about.
Basically I wanted to use a flatpak runtime as the base system, loaded with a very minimal boot environment or initramfs. Then use flatpak as the sole package management system for all the userspace applications.
I'm not sure if this could actually work that way, but Silverblue sounds similar in the end result.
24 • Fedora 29 definitely has some bugs. (by LA Ashley on 2018-11-13 22:48:44 GMT from Canada)
Looks good until a show-stopper stops the show.
Distros need to fix not ignore bugs.
25 • Fedora (by Henry on 2018-11-14 05:10:39 GMT from Sweden)
Nothing wrong with Fedora,
it's been powering my workflow for a decade now.
GNU/Linux distros in general has iron out the bugs that tempered everyday usage before.
Fedora has as many or as few bugs as any other distro.
26 • balancing act (by Tim on 2018-11-14 13:46:58 GMT from United States)
I don't use Fedora so I can't comment on that, but I've come to realize over the years that whether a complex piece of software is "buggy" or not is often incredibly user-specific. If you just go by what people complain about you'd hit the conclusion that every piece of software ever written sucks. I'm at the point where I actually believe many of those complaints... but I think they're often hyper specific to a certain hardware configuration.
The only answer I have for the end user is just keep trying stuff until you find something you're happy with, and stick with that as long as you can. I'm happily within the sphere of Ubuntu MATE, and I ran 17.04 and 17.10 as long as I possibly could. But then 18.04 LTS came along and gave me a lot of wifi problems. So I had 18.10 installed once they released the beta. It's been great. If 18.04 LTS had not given me problems, I'd probably stuck with it for years and never bothered with 18.10 or 19.04. If 18.10 had been problematic for me I might have tried another distro entirely.
Since 18.10 (which I really like) is EOL next spring, I'll be making these decisions again. But the goal is always the same: find something that gets security support and does a good job. And then be grateful for the developers who gave me this.
27 • VOID (by zephyr on 2018-11-14 10:39:21 GMT from United States)
VOID is an extraordinary distribution, thought I would take a spin with it, the main interest was runit as an init and very surprised just how good the distro is!
Install Lxde and then converted to Openbox, install all necessary apps and configs, including a conky and Compton, looks awesome!
Very happy with the install, apart from using solely Devuan this is rock solid and quite stable distribution!
28 • Same problems as Tim (by Garon on 2018-11-14 18:23:20 GMT from United States)
I've also had the same problems with Mate 18.04 LTS so I went back to 17.10. I will upgrade when we have a Mate 18.04.1 LTS. (I hope they do) We'll just have to see what happens. I may even try out 18.10 to see what its all about. Anyway its all good.
29 • Fedora 29 (by tech in san diego on 2018-11-16 04:21:14 GMT from United States)
You hit the nail squarely on the head! I have tried every new release of Fedora when it is announced. My first impressions with 29 were, "they finally got it right". But like you, reality soon set in and I was forced to dump it.
If they want to replicate Arch, and have us to all the compiling for them, then just say so and we will know what to expect, but don't hand us a bunch of BS and then later find out in the forums that this or that app doesn't work. Or my personal favorite 600+ issues opened, 522 closed since it was released! Is this supposed to make me feel warm and fuzzy about Red Hat's corporate offerings?
Do it right the first time or don't bother to do it at all.
30 • @29 Fedora 29 (by mandog on 2018-11-16 13:26:48 GMT from Peru)
Do you actually know what Fedora is?
A testing distro for R/H its primary goal is to test and develop the latest innovations its not aimed at the home user, Its aimed at developers its a testing ground for all of Linux.
So the odd broken BLAA BLAA is expected, But saying that from what I read Ubuntu is not that much better and aimed at the masses.,
Then again I can't remember the last breakage I had with Arch Linux.
Fedora 29 also works fine for me as well far better than I expect from a development distribution nothing i use is broken not even any annoying sellinux messages in this version, and Wayland works with my nvidia card flawlessly.
31 • Fedora 29 (by dolphin on 2018-11-16 13:52:52 GMT from Italy)
Fedora 29 Workstation is best used with Xorg because Wayland is not stable yet. For the installation of additional programs DNFdragora (or DNF via Terminal) are much more reliable than Gnome Software. The thing that puzzles me about the F29 is the absence of the final version of both the Xfce spin and the LXQt spin: something that has never happened in the past.
Number of Comments: 31
|• 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 184.108.40.206, 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|
|• Issue 750 (2018-02-12): Solus 3, getting Deb packages upstream to Debian, NetBSD security update, elementary OS explores AppCentre changes|
|• Issue 749 (2018-02-05): Freespire 3 and Linspire 7.0, misunderstandings about Wayland, Xorg and Mir, Korora slows release schedule, Red Hat purchases CoreOS|
|• Issue 748 (2018-01-29): siduction 2018.1.0, SolydXK 32-bit editions, building an Ubuntu robot, desktop-friendly Debian options|
|• Issue 747 (2018-01-22): Ubuntu MATE 17.10, recovering open files, creating a new distribution, KDE focusing on Wayland features|
|• Issue 746 (2018-01-15): deepin 15.5, openSUSE's YaST improvements, new Ubuntu 17.10 media, details on Spectre and Meltdown bugs|
|• Issue 745 (2018-01-08): GhostBSD 11.1, Linspire and Freespire return, wide-spread CPU bugs patched, adding AppImage launchers to the application menu|
|• Issue 744 (2018-01-01): MX Linux 17, Ubuntu pulls media over BIOS bug, PureOS gets endorsed by the FSF, openSUSE plays with kernel boot splash screens|
|• Issue 743 (2017-12-18): Daphile 17.09, tools for rescuing files, Fedora Modular Server delayed, Sparky adds ARM support, Slax to better support wireless networking|
|• Issue 742 (2017-12-11): heads 0.3.1, improvements coming to Tails, Void tutorials, Ubuntu phasing out Python 2, manipulating images from the command line|
|• Issue 741 (2017-12-04): Pop!_OS 17.10, openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots, installing Q4OS on a Windows partition, using the at command|
|• Issue 740 (2017-11-27): Artix Linux, Unity spin of Ubuntu, Nitrux swaps Snaps for AppImage, getting better battery life on Linux|
|• Issue 739 (2017-11-20): Fedora 27, cross-distro software ports, Ubuntu on Samsung phones, Red Hat supports ARM, Parabola continues 32-bit support|
|• Issue 738 (2017-11-13): SparkyLinux 5.1, rumours about spyware, Slax considers init software, Arch drops 32-bit packages, overview of LineageOS|
|• Full list of all issues|
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paldo is a hybrid (source and binary), Upkg-driven GNU/Linux distribution and live CD. Besides aiming to be simple, pure, up-to-date and standards-compliant, paldo offers automatic hardware detection, one application per task, and a standard GNOME desktop.