| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 661, 16 May 2016
Welcome to this year's 20th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Technology is always changing, always moving. This can make exploring software a fun and interesting experience, but it also means people need to adjust to keep up and adopt new methods of doing things. This week we focus on change, beginning with a look at the latest version FreeBSD which introduces a number of interesting new features and we report on how they work. In our News section we discuss Manjaro Linux's website infrastructure and security certificate expiry and we cover one Ubuntu developer's experiment with using Unity 8 on Mir full time. Plus we talk about OpenMandriva switching to the Clang compiler and PCLinuxOS dropping support for 32-bit computers. We also share a report that Debian is packaging ZFS and link to a couple of stories about how Linux got started in honour of the Linux kernel's 25th anniversary. In our Questions and Answers column we explore the perks and drawbacks to switching from CentOS to Red Hat Enterprise Linux and then we share the torrents we are seeding. Plus we provide a list of the distributions released last week and welcome two new projects to our waiting list. In our Opinion Poll we ask how many of our readers engage in testing development releases. We wish you all a terrific week and happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (32MB) and MP3 (46MB) formats
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
FreeBSD 10.3's new features
FreeBSD is a venerable operating system, often deployed on servers due to the project's focus on performance and stability. At the beginning of April the FreeBSD project released version 10.3 of their operating system. The release announcement for FreeBSD 10.3 mentioned several features and improvements which caught my attention. Specifically the availability of ZFS boot environments, 64-bit Linux compatibility and jail improvements were of interest to me. I was especially eager to try out FreeBSD's new jails technology using the iocage front-end. The iocage software has been presented as an improvement on (and replacement for) Warden, a friendly front-end for handling jail environments.
I already reviewed FreeBSD 10.0 when it was launched and so I plan to skip over most aspects of the new 10.3 release and focus on the key features I listed above, along with the notable changes I encounter. The new release is available in many different builds, ranging from x86 and ARM, to SPARC and PowerPC. For the purposes of my trial I downloaded the 2.6GB DVD image of FreeBSD's 64-bit x86 edition.
Booting from the FreeBSD media brings us to a text-based menu system where we can choose to drop to a command line or launch the project's system installer. The FreeBSD installer has not changed much in recent years so I won't spend a lot of time on it. I will say that the installer is quite thorough, allowing us to set up background services and create as many user accounts as we would like, We are also able to select which components of the base operating system (documentation, games, ports, system source code and 32-bit compatibility) we want to install. The one area where I noticed a difference was with the disk partitioning section of the installer. FreeBSD gives us the option of manually partitioning the disk or allowing the installer to take over the available space. There are two automated options, one which uses UFS (the traditional file system used by FreeBSD) while the other automated option uses ZFS. As I wanted to explore using boot environments, which are made possible through ZFS, I decided to take the automated ZFS option. In total, even with its many prompts and options, it only took me ten minutes to get through the FreeBSD installer and perform a full installation of everything except the operating system's source code.
FreeBSD boots to a text console in under twenty seconds and from there we can sign into the operating system's command line interface. My fresh install of FreeBSD used about 83MB of memory (including the 27MB overhead required by ZFS) and used approximately 1GB of disk space.
One of the first things I wanted to do was experiment with boot environments. For those who have not used them before, a boot environment is basically a snapshot of our operating system. Before performing any major configuration change or software upgrade we can take a snapshot of the operating system. This gives us a point in time when we knew the operating system was working. We then perform any changes or upgrades we want. When we boot the system we can choose, from the boot menu, which snapshot we want to use. This allows us to effectively move backward in time and boot older copies of the system. This makes the operating system virtually bullet proof as almost any change (short of hardware failure) can be fixed by simply rebooting and selecting to boot an older copy of the operating system. The PC-BSD and openSUSE projects have used boot environments successfully for some time now, but the technology has not widely caught on elsewhere.
To create and manage boot environments we first need to install the beadm package from the FreeBSD software repository. I tried running the pkg package manager and found that it was not set up by default. The pkg command line package manager will bootstrap itself, downloading and configuring the necessary software and repository configuration. The pkg utility gives us access to approximately 25,000 packages, including beadm.
I find the beadm program easy to use. The syntax is simple and allows us to create, list and destroy boot environments. We can also use beadm to "activate" an exiting snapshot which will cause it to be automatically booted the next time the operating system starts. The creation and destruction of boot environments happens almost instantly. It is also nice that boot environments take up almost no space on the drive as each snapshot only stores the changes to our files.
When we do a fresh boot of the system the FreeBSD boot loader gives us the option of selecting which boot environment to load. I soon found, however, that if I selected a snapshot from the boot loader that was not the current default (or active) snapshot, then the system would fail to start-up. My screen would display some errors about being unable to find files and then FreeBSD would hang, unresponsive to input. While selecting a snapshot from the boot menu did not work, I was able to select which snapshot to use from the command line using the beadm utility. This makes boot environments quite a bit less useful as it means we need to be able boot the system in order to switch to a different snapshot.
I was not the only person to run into this problem. There is an ongoing discussion of the problem of being unable to successfully select snapshots from the boot menu on the FreeBSD forums. For now, it appears as though, if we wanted to, we could create a new boot environment, copy it into a FreeBSD jail to make a copy of operating system. Then we could upgrade the jail to make sure everything works and then clone the jail back to the main operating system. This would allow us to confirm any configuration changes or upgrades worked in the jail before applying them, but that requires a good deal more effort than the approach to boot environments used by openSUSE and PC-BSD.
The next item on my list of things to try was 64-bit Linux compatibility. FreeBSD has a compatibility layer which allows the operating system to run Linux executables. There are some restrictions though. For example, up until now the Linux executable had to be compiled for 32-bit systems and any dependencies had to be copied into place manually. There is a package in the FreeBSD repository which installs the CentOS core userland software. In essence, this gives us a bare bones installation of CentOS 6 in a directory on our FreeBSD computer. This is handy if we need to run Linux software alongside FreeBSD software or if we want to run Linux software without the resource overhead of a full featured virtual machine.
I enabled the Linux compatibility layer and installed the CentOS software on my system from FreeBSD's repository. First, I tried running a dynamically linked, 64-bit Linux application. Attempting to run this program displayed an error on my FreeBSD system indicating there were no 64-bit Linux libraries available. I had to go back to my Linux desktop, find out which libraries the program needed and copy them into a directory on my FreeBSD test system. Then I tried running the program again and a new error appeared on the screen: "FATAL: kernel too old". FreeBSD's is compatible with older Linux kernels (of the 2.6 series), but is apparently not up to speed with all the features of the newer Linux kernels. I hunted down an older, statically linked application from an old Debian system and installed it on FreeBSD. Again, I ran into the "kernel too old" error message and was unable to get the Linux software to run.
At this point I felt as though I had found the limits of the FreeBSD compatibility layer. While FreeBSD was able to run 32-bit Linux software which was packaged as part of its CentOS 6 userland software and while 64-bit applications may run, in theory at least, the problem I had was I did not have any Linux software old enough to test. All of the Linux boxes I have access to use version 3.2 (or higher) of the Linux kernel while it seems FreeBSD's compatibility is limited to the Linux 2.6 kernel and older. This means FreeBSD should be able to run any binary-only software packaged for CentOS 6, but it will not run newer applications, for example modern versions of the Chrome web browser or command line software packaged for the latest versions of Ubuntu or Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
The final feature I wanted to look at was FreeBSD jails, specifically the way the iocage software works and how it compares to the older Warden jail management software. Jails on FreeBSD are basically very lightweight virtual machines. Part of the file system is roped off and processes can run in this area (jail) without knowing about or being able to affect the rest of the system. What primarily separates jails from virtual machines is jails all share the host's kernel, meaning jailed processes must be able to run on our version of FreeBSD. In recent years Docker has provided similar functionality on Linux.
I installed iocage from the FreeBSD software repository and tried to create a new jail. The iocage command line program first had to fetch a copy of a FreeBSD release and it offered to let me choose which release I wanted. This allows us to run, for example, a FreeBSD 9 jail on a FreeBSD 10 host. The iocage program downloaded the necessary files and, in the process, created about two dozen new mount points in my ZFS volume. This made things a little cluttered, but it put the pieces in place to allow me to create a jail.
I would like to say at this point that iocage has some very well written documentation. The iocage manual page is a shinning example of how software should be documented with clear explanations and examples. Following the iocage documentation I was able to create new jails, take ZFS snapshots of existing jails, clone jails and revert damaged jails back to earlier snapshots. The one problem I ran into early on was being unable to connect a jail to the network. I followed a helpful on-line guide to get networking enabled in my iocage jails and was able to connect to the outside world from within the jails. However, I was unable to connect to remote computers using OpenSSH. At first I ran into "Host key verification failed" errors and, when those were fixed, OpenSSH would connect, fail to find a way to authenticate and immediately disconnect. This happened when trying to contact both Linux and FreeBSD servers from within the jail. When trying to use secure shell from my host FreeBSD system, OpenSSH worked properly.
The connection problems puzzled me a bit as I have used Warden in the past to create jails and had no problems connecting to the network or using OpenSSH to transfer files or access a shell on a remote server. To verify this, I install Warden from FreeBSD's repositories. Once I had assigned an IP address to my Warden jail, I was able to contact remote servers and use OpenSSH to login to remote Linux and FreeBSD hosts. The Warden also allows us to create ZFS snapshots, roll back changes to jails and easily manage running jails. The Warden's one defect was that it did not provide a manual page. So at this point I would say Warden offers a more polished experience while iocage offers top notch documentation.
There were a number of new and intriguing features introduced in FreeBSD 10.3. The ones I experimented with show promise, the initial building blocks are in place, but each one seems to be missing a final, key component. Having boot environments is great, but for them to be useful we need to be able to select a snapshot from the boot menu and have it load. The 64-bit Linux compatibility is a great feature to see and I am sure a lot of work has gone into it. Unfortunately, at this stage, it is rare to find Linux software that is old enough to be compatible with FreeBSD's implementation. I loved the documentation that shipped with iocage and the software shows real promise, especially with regards to the way iocage integrates and makes use of ZFS snapshots. However, at this point, there seem to be some issues with iocage that do not exist in the older Warden jail management system.
Each of the problems I ran into will probably be fixed in time for FreeBSD 11.0, due out later this year. I suspect what we are looking at now is a preview of things to come. The features I experimented with are all promising, but I don't think the items I explored this week are quite ready to be rolled into production.
* * * * *
Hardware used in this review
My physical test equipment for this review was a desktop HP Pavilon p6 Series with the following specifications:
- Processor: Dual-core 2.8GHz AMD A4-3420 APU
- Storage: 500GB Hitachi hard drive
- Memory: 6GB of RAM
- Networking: Realtek RTL8111 wired network card
- Display: AMD Radeon HD 6410D video card
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Manjaro's website certificate expired once more, exploring Unity 8, OpenMandriva switches to Clang, PCLinuxOS has dropped 32-bit support, Debian packages ZFS and Linux is turning 25
The security certificate used by the Manjaro Linux project to secure the distribution's website has expired. This is not the first time parts of the website have become inaccessible to visitors due to a lapsed security certificate, a similar issue befell the project in April 2015. A message on the Manjaro website reports the developers are looking at moving from their existing certificate authority to Let's Encrypt which will allow the team to automate the certificate renewal process. "Our SSL certificate has once again expired. We are waiting for a new one to be issued (while also looking at more sustainable alternatives, i.e. Let's Encrypt). If you're having problems accessing any of the sites please use a different browser profile, or Private/Incognito Browsing. You will then be able to add a temporary exception."
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Canonical has been working on the Mir display server and new Unity 8 desktop environment for a few years now, but the release date of these two technologies keeps getting pushed back. Ubuntu developer Michael Hall recently accepted a challenge to use Unity 8 running on the Mir display server for two weeks to see how well (or how poorly) the new Unity desktop performs. In a blog post titled "Dogfooding Unity", Mr Hall walks through the steps required to install Unity 8 on Ubuntu and run the new desktop environment. He also covers some of the pros and cons he has faced to date with the Mir-powered desktop. "Now that you've got some apps running natively on Mir, you probably want to try out support for all of your traditional desktop apps, as you've heard advertised. This is done by a project called Libertine, which creates an LXC container and XMir to keep those unconfined apps safely away from your new properly confined setup. The first thing you will need to do is install the Libertine packages..."
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OpenMandriva may have become the first Linux distribution to switch to using Clang as the default compiler to build its thousands of open source packages. To date, Linux distributions have defaulted to using the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) to build software. Clang offers a number of advantages in error reporting, has a more liberal license and can provide performance gains in some situations. This has made Clang increasingly popular among BSD developers and, it appears, a few Linux developers too. A blog post on the OpenMandriva website states: "OpenMandriva is currently the only distribution that uses Clang as [the] main compiler. Though there is no clear difference between both compilers, that proves, at least, that we are not wrong using it."
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In a short and to the point Twitter post, the PCLinuxOS project has made it clear that the distribution will be developed exclusively for 64-bit x86 computers. "Official announcement since some don't seem to want to accept what I've been saying for the past six months. PCLOS 32-bit is dead dead dead!" People who are still using the 32-bit version of the rolling release distribution should look at performing a fresh installation from 64-bit media.
* * * * *
Debian has become the latest Linux distribution to package ZFS, an advanced file system which supports snapshots, deduplication, copy-on-write and mirroring. Petter Reinholdtsen announced the news in a brief blog post: "Today, after many years of hard work from many people, ZFS for Linux finally entered Debian." The ZFS packages are currently available in Debian's unstable branch and will likely migrate into Debian's next Stable release, Stretch, later this year.
* * * * *
The IEEE website is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the creation of Linux with two articles in its widely read magazine. The first, Linux at 25: Why It Flourished While Others Fizzled focuses on where Linux came from and what was happening in operating system development at the time. The second article, Linux at 25: Q&A With Linus Torvalds, involves a discussion with Linus Torvalds about the Linux and Git projects, why he created them and the transition from Linux as a hobby to a world-wide phenomenon. "The fact that I didn't really know where [Linux] would end up meant that I was perhaps more open to outside suggestions and influence than I would have been if I had a very good idea of what I wanted to accomplish. That openness to outside influences I think made it much easier, and much more interesting, for others to join the project. People didn't have to sign on to somebody else's vision, but could join with their own vision of where things should go. I think that helped motivate lots of people."
* * * * *
These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Switching from CentOS to Red Hat Enterprise Linux
Seeking-official-supports asks: I have a bunch of servers running CentOS and our shop is growing to the point where it would be nice to have official support for these machines. Can I purchase support subscriptions from Red Hat for my CentOS servers?
DistroWatch answers: The most qualified person to answer this question is probably a Red Hat sales representative. My guess though is the answer will be "no", unless you are willing to wipe the servers in question and re-install Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
This topic is addressed on the CentOS wiki: "CentOS Linux is NOT supported in any way by Red Hat®, Inc."
The topic is also covered on the Red Hat website. Their community site states: "Converting from using CentOS to Red Hat Enterprise Linux is not changing as a result of Red Hat's participation in the CentOS Project. CentOS users seeking commercial support will need to install Red Hat Enterprise Linux and purchase a subscription. Subscribers will also need to re-install any existing applications."
* * * * *
Eyeing-Red-Hat's-free-subscription asks: Now that Red Hat has a free subscription to their services, I am wondering if I should upgrade from CentOS to RHEL. Are there any benefits for me to upgrade my laptop at home to RHEL? Any problems?
DistroWatch answers: First, I would like to point out that the free subscription is for Red Hat's Developer Program, not for computers in production and it does not seem the subscription is intended for personal home computers. The subscription does not include support, meaning if you use the free subscription and something breaks, you are on your own; Red Hat will not assist you. This means there is virtually no benefit to switching to an official Red Hat build, unless you are a developer testing software that must be deployed and supported on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
There are, in my opinion, a few drawbacks to switching from CentOS to Red Hat's free subscription. With CentOS you can download and install the operating system without having an account or setting up the subscription or managing repositories. CentOS is a community distribution and there is no need for you to maintain any account or credentials or log into the CentOS website. With Red Hat you need to have a (free) developer account and you may need to log into their on-line management system in order to set up extra repositories.
In short, the free subscription will not provide support and will probably not benefit you (unless you need to test your software in a pure Red Hat Enterprise Linux environment) and it will likely be more hassle to set up and maintain the operating system. Red Hat produces a fine operating system, but it is (in my opinion) best suited for people who know they need to pay someone to support the system. Chances are a personal laptop does not fit that situation.
* * * * *
Past Questions and Answers columns can be found in our Q&A Archive.
Bittorrent is a great way to transfer large files, particularly open source operating system images, from one place to another. Most bittorrent clients recover from dropped connections automatically, check the integrity of files and can re-download corrupted bits of data without starting a download over from scratch. These characteristics make bittorrent well suited for distributing open source operating systems, particularly to regions where Internet connections are slow or unstable.
Many Linux and BSD projects offer bittorrent as a download option, partly for the reasons listed above and partly because bittorrent's peer-to-peer nature takes some of the strain off the project's servers. However, some projects do not offer bittorrent as a download option. There can be several reasons for excluding bittorrent as an option. Some projects do not have enough time or volunteers, some may be restricted by their web host provider's terms of service. Whatever the reason, the lack of a bittorrent option puts more strain on a distribution's bandwidth and may prevent some people from downloading their preferred open source operating system.
With this in mind, DistroWatch plans to give back to the open source community by hosting and seeding bittorrent files. For now, we are hosting a small number of distribution torrents, listed below. The list of torrents offered will be updated each week and we invite readers to e-mail us with suggestions as to which distributions we should be hosting. When you message us, please place the word "Torrent" in the subject line, make sure to include a link to the ISO file you want us to seed. To help us maintain and grow this free service, please consider making a donation.
The table below provides a list of torrents we currently host. If you do not currently have a bittorrent client capable of handling the linked files, we suggest installing either the Transmission or KTorrent bittorrent clients.
Archives of our previously seeded torrents may be found here. All torrents we make available here are also listed on the very useful Linux Tracker website. Thanks to Linux Tracker we are able to share the following torrent statistics.
Torrent Corner statistics:
- Total torrents seeded: 194
- Total data uploaded: 35.8TB
|Released Last Week
Rebellin Linunx 3.0
The Rebellin Linux project has announced the launch of Rebellin Linux 3. The new release of the Debian-based desktop distribution features updates to the GNOME and MATE desktop environments as well as new fonts and new hardware support courtesy of an updated Linux kernel, version 4.5. "Building a stable system on Debian Sid that's reliable for day to day usage is hard. It took me quite a while this time. But I'm immensely happy with the result. Here's Rebellin Linux v3. With the latest and greatest software from Debian. It's fast, reliable and got all you need for a great multimedia experience. List of updates: GNOME Shell upgraded to v3.20, MATE version upgraded to v1.12, kernel upgraded to v4.5..." In addition, Bluetooth support has been added to the MATE edition and the project features a user manual. A complete list of changes, new features and screen shots can be found in the distribution's release announcement.
Rebellin Linux 3.0 -- MATE edition
(full image size: 527kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
Chandrakant Singh has announced the launch of AryaLinux 2016.04. AryaLinux is based on the systemd edition of Linux From Scratch (LFS) and Beyond Linux From Scratch (BLFS). The latest release features version 1.12.0 of the MATE desktop environment, scripts that support building on 32-bit and 64-bit systems and support for GPT partitioned hard drives. "This version of AryaLinux primarily focuses on creating a stable from-scratch system and eliminating as many small nuances as possible that sum up to a not-so happy build experience: Updated all packages to the latest development of LFS and the current development version of BLFS systemd. Upgraded MATE to 1.12.0. Fixed a lot of broken features with alps like selfupdate, clean and updatescripts. Eliminated boot time warning messages..." This release sees the Brasero disc burning software replaced by Xfburn and the Audacious media player replaces Banshee. A full list of changes can be found in the project's release notes.
Univention Corporate Server 4.1-2
Univention Corporate Server (UCS) is a Debian-based distribution with integrated management system for central administration of servers and Microsoft Active Directory compatible domain services. The latest stable release of UCS, version 4.1-2, offers mostly bug fixes to the 4.1 series. "We are pleased to announce the availability of UCS 4.1-2 for download, the second point release of Univention Corporate Server (UCS) 4.1. It includes all errata updates issued for UCS 4.1-1 and provides various improvements and bug fixes especially in the following areas: The Active Directory Connector now uses Active Directory standard interfaces for synchronizing the password hashes. Thus, the Windows password synchronization service is no longer needed. The update to Samba 4.3.7 includes various security updates. In addition, several issues have been fixed, for example, failed login attempts are now counted correctly. Several important security updates have been integrated in UCS 4.1-2, among others for Samba, Apache, OpenSSL and the GNU C Library (glibc)." Additional details can be found in the distribution's release announcement and in the release notes.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.8
Red Hat has announced the availability of an updated version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6. The latest version, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.8, provides both updated installation media for Red Hat's customers and a few new features. The release announcement lists some of the new improvements to Red Hat's main product line: "Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.8 delivers new capabilities and provides a stable and trusted platform for critical IT infrastructure. With nearly six years of field-proven success, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 has set the stage for the innovations of today, as Red Hat Enterprise Linux continues to power not only existing workloads, but also the technologies of the future, from cloud-native applications to Linux containers." A list of changes, including the availability of the Relax-and-Recover system archiving utility, can be found in the release notes.
Simon Long has announced the release of Raspbian 2016-05-10, an updated build of the popular Debian-based distribution designed for the Raspberry Pi: "We've just released a new version of our Raspbian image with some (hopefully) useful features. When the Pi 3 launched back in February, we'd not had time to do much in terms of getting access to the new on-board Bluetooth hardware. There was a working software stack, but the UI was non-existent. I'd hoped to be able to use one of the existing Linux Bluetooth UIs, but on trying them all, none were really what I was looking for in terms of usability and integration with the look and feel of the desktop. I really didn't want to write one from scratch, but that ended up being what I did, which meant a fun few weeks trying to make head or tail of the mysteries of BlueZ and D-Bus. After a few false starts, I finally got something I felt was usable, and so there is now a Bluetooth plugin for the LXPanel taskbar." Read the rest of the release announcement for a detailed list of changes.
Cecil Watson has announced the release of LinHES 8.4, the latest stable version of the specialist Arch-based distribution designed for set-top boxes and home entertainment computers. This release features OpenPHT, a community-driven fork of Plex Home Theatre: "The LinHES development team is pleased to announce the release of LinHES R8.4. LinHES R8.4 updates MythTV to 0.28-fixes as well as updates to the kernel, system libraries, NVIDIA drivers and many other parts of LinHES. LinHES R8.4 has moved to OpenPHT, a fork of Plex Home Theater and Kodi has been updated to 16.1. Also, the /myth/recordings directory has been improved to better support Plex media scanning. Simply create a Plex library with Myth in the name (i.e. Myth TV Shows , Myth Movies or Myth Sports) and the directory (/myth/recordings/TV Shows, /myth/recordings/Movies or /myth/recordings/Sports) and the Plex library will be re-scanned when /myth/recordings is updated." See the release announcement and release notes for more details and upgrade instructions.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Most Linux distributions engage in development cycles where the project will release Alpha and Beta snapshots prior to a stable release. These development snapshots give users a chance to test out new features, find bugs and provide feedback to the distribution. Ideally, most issues will be discovered early in the development cycle and everyone benefits from a better final release.
Of course, for this development process to work people need to download and try the Alpha and Beta releases and report any bugs they find in the software. Since development snapshots tend to be relatively unreliable, some people do not want to try them.
This week we would like to know if you take part in Alpha/Beta testing your primary distribution? If you do, please share some of your best and worst experiences testing development releases.
You can see the results of our previous poll on upgrade methods here. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
|I participate in Alpha/Beta testing: ||167 (14%)|
| I sometimes Alpha/Beta test releases I will use: ||500 (41%)|
| I do not Alpha/Beta test: ||472 (38%)|
| My preferred distribution does not Alpha/Beta test: ||88 (7%)|
Voting for projects on the waiting list and donations
Earlier this year we ran a poll in which we asked whether people should be able to vote for interesting projects on our waiting list in order to bring them to our attention. The answer we got from our readers was a tentative "yes", provided the popular vote was handled as a suggestion rather than a guarantee a project would get included in our database.
We listened to the suggestions we received and have made it possible for people to vote for their favourite projects on our waiting list. Distributions which receive a lot of votes will be evaluated sooner. We will still make the final decision on whether a distribution gets added to our database based on its quality, unique features and support infrastructure. This means distributions which gain a lot of votes may not make it into our database, but voting will draw our attention and get the project evaluated faster than projects with fewer votes.
In this way we hope to respond faster to projects people are interested in while still filtering out projects which may still need time to mature and grow.
In other news, we have set up a page which tracks the donations DistroWatch has made to various open source projects and distributions. We try to give back to the developers who make the software we use every day as we truly appreciate their hard work.
The new donations page lists the projects we have donated to in the past and this page has been added to our sitemap. We encourage our readers to nominate their favourite projects which have not yet received a donation. Who do you think deserves to be funded?
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Distributions added to waiting list
- Andrei Linux. Andrei Linux is a fast, Arch Linux-based distribution which follows the KISS principle. It provides default desktop applications and focuses on performance.
- Uruk GNU/Linux. Uruk GNU/Linux is a distribution of the GNU operating system, with the Linux-libre kernel. The distribution is based on Trisquel GNU/Linux.
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DistroWatch database summary
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This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 23 May 2016. 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)
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
(Tips this week: 0, value: US$0.00)
|Linux Foundation Training
|• 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|
|• Issue 737 (2017-11-06): BeeFree OS 18.1.2, quick tips to fix common problems, Slax returning, Solus plans MATE and software management improvements|
|• Issue 736 (2017-10-30): Ubuntu 17.10, "what if" security questions, Linux Mint to support Flatpak, NetBSD kernel memory protection|
|• Issue 735 (2017-10-23): ArchLabs Minimo, building software with Ravenports, WPA security patch, Parabola creates OpenRC spin|
|• Issue 734 (2017-10-16): Star 1.0.1, running the Linux-libre kernel, Ubuntu MATE experiments with snaps, Debian releases new install media, Purism reaches funding goal|
|• Issue 733 (2017-10-09): KaOS 2017.09, 32-bit prematurely obsoleted, Qubes security features, IPFire updates Apache|
|• Issue 732 (2017-10-02): ClonOS, reducing Snap package size, Ubuntu dropping 32-bit Desktop, partitioning disks for ZFS|
|• Issue 731 (2017-09-25): BackSlash Linux Olaf, W3C adding DRM to web standards, Wayland support arrives in Mir, Debian experimenting with AppArmor|
|• Issue 730 (2017-09-18): Mageia 6, running a completely free OS, HAMMER2 file system in DragonFly BSD's installer, Manjaro to ship pre-installed on laptops|
|• Issue 729 (2017-09-11): Parabola GNU/Linux-libre, running Plex Media Server on a Raspberry Pi, Tails feature roadmap, a cross-platform ports build system|
|• Issue 728 (2017-09-04): Nitrux 1.0.2, SUSE creates new community repository, remote desktop tools for GNOME on Wayland, using Void source packages|
|• Issue 727 (2017-08-28): Cucumber Linux 1.0, using Flatpak vs Snap, GNOME previews Settings panel, SUSE reaffirms commitment to Btrfs|
|• Issue 726 (2017-08-21): Redcore Linux 1706, Solus adds Snap support, KaOS getting hardened kernel, rolling releases and BSD|
|• Issue 725 (2017-08-14): openSUSE 42.3, Debian considers Flatpak for backports, changes coming to Ubuntu 17.10, the state of gaming on Linux|
|• Issue 724 (2017-08-07): SwagArch 2017.06, Myths about Unity, Mir and Ubuntu Touch, Manjaro OpenRC becomes its own distro, Debian debates future of live ISOs|
|• Issue 723 (2017-07-31): UBOS 11, transferring packages between systems, Ubuntu MATE's HUD, GNUstep releases first update in seven years|
|• Issue 722 (2017-07-24): Calculate Linux 17.6, logging sudo usage, Remix OS discontinued, interview with Chris Lamb, Debian 9.1 released|
|• Issue 721 (2017-07-17): Fedora 26, finding source based distributions, installing DragonFly BSD using Orca, Yunit packages ported to Ubuntu 16.04|
|• Issue 720 (2017-07-10): Peppermint OS 8, gathering system information with osquery, new features coming to openSUSE, Tails fixes networking bug|
|• Issue 719 (2017-07-03): Manjaro 17.0.2, tracking ISO files, Ubuntu MATE unveils new features, Qubes tests Admin API, Fedora's Atomic Host gets new life cycle|
|• Issue 718 (2017-06-26): Debian 9, support for older hardware, Debian updates live media, Ubuntu's new networking tool, openSUSE gains MP3 support|
|• Issue 717 (2017-06-19): SharkLinux, combining commands in the shell, Debian 9 flavours released, OpenBSD improving kernel security, UBports releases first OTA update|
|• Issue 716 (2017-06-12): Slackel 7.0, Ubuntu working with GNOME on HiDPI, openSUSE 42.3 using rolling development model, exploring kernel blobs|
|• Issue 715 (2017-06-05): Devuan 1.0.0, answering questions on systemd, Linux Mint plans 18.2 beta, Yunit/Unity 8 ported to Debian|
|• Issue 714 (2017-05-29): Void, enabling Wake-on-LAN, Solus packages KDE, Debian 9 release date, Ubuntu automated bug reports|
|• Issue 713 (2017-05-22): ROSA Fresh R9, Fedora's new networking features, FreeBSD's Quarterly Report, UBports opens app store, Parsix to shut down, SELinux overview|
|• Issue 712 (2017-05-15): NixOS 17.03, Alpha Litebook running elementary OS, Canonical considers going public, Solus improves Bluetooth support|
|• Issue 711 (2017-05-08): 4MLinux 21.0, checking file system fragmentation, new Mint and Haiku features, pfSense roadmap, OpenBSD offers first syspatch updates|
|• Issue 710 (2017-05-01): TrueOS 2017-02-22, Debian ported to RISC-V, Halium to unify mobile GNU/Linux, Anbox runs Android apps on GNU/Linux, using ZFS on the root file system|
|• Issue 709 (2017-04-24): Ubuntu 17.04, Korora testing new software manager, Ubuntu migrates to Wayland, running Nix package manager on alternative distributions|
|• Issue 708 (2017-04-17): Maui Linux 17.03, Snaps run on Fedora, Void adopts Flatpak, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, Debian elects Project Leader|
|• Issue 707 (2017-04-10): PCLinuxOS 2017.03, Canonical stops Unity development, OpenBSD on a Raspberry Pi, setting up a VPN for privacy|
|• Issue 706 (2017-04-03): Super Grub2 Disk, Snap packages of deepin applications, Subgraph OS routes network traffic for one application, announcements from Linux Mint|
|• Issue 705 (2017-03-27): Minimal Linux Live, sharing control of the operating system, new KaOS features, Uplos32 provides 32-bit fork of PCLinuxOS|
|• Issue 704 (2017-03-20): ToarusOS 1.0.4, Linux Mint's security record, Debian starts Project Leader election, Ubuntu 12.04 reaches end-of-life|
|• Issue 703 (2017-03-13): SolydXK 201701, CloudReady, Solus announces new features, KDE Connect sends text messages from desktop, openSUSE's YaST module for Let's Encrypt|
|• Issue 702 (2017-03-06): Fatdog64 Linux, elementary OS bundled with new netbook, Haiku announces new features, security and the size of a distro's development team|
|• Issue 701 (2017-02-27): OBRevenge 2017.02, Mageia 6 delays, NetBSD reproducible builds, questions about swap space, trying to steam video on a Raspberry Pi|
|• Issue 700 (2017-02-20): RaspBSD, Debian replaces Icedove with Thunderbird, Fedora's licensing guidlines, tips for switching shells, finding battery charge, getting IP address and killing processes|
|• Issue 699 (2017-02-13): Clear Linux, GhostBSD network utility ported to FreeBSD, Ubuntu coming to Fairphone, elementary OS crowd funding an app store|
|• Issue 698 (2017-02-06): Solus 2017.01.01, comparing containers with portable applicatins, Tails dropping 32-bit support, Debian Stretch enters freeze|
|• Issue 697 (2017-01-30): Subgraph OS 2016.12.30, running Ubuntu on an Android phone, Arch Linux phasing out 32-bit support, Linux Mint testing updated LMDE media|
|• Issue 696 (2017-01-23): GoboLinux 016, remotely running desktop applications, Solus adopting Flatpak, KDE neon using Calamares, TrueOS tests OpenRC|
|• Issue 695 (2017-01-16): Zorin OS 12, Peppermint team fixes installer bug, Debian refreshes Jessie media, Ubuntu improves low graphics mode, Exciting things coming in 2017|
|• Issue 694 (2017-01-09): MX Linux 16, Fedora considers systemd security features, DragonFly BSD to support massive swap space, Ubuntu Touch roadmap, Puppy's newsletter, sudo's password prompt|
|• Issue 693 (2017-01-02): Comparing small distros, fig language, video driver comparsion, Debian+PIXEL, Wayland on FreeBSD|
|• Issue 692 (2016-12-19): Bodhi Linux 4.0.0, Cappsule containers, Calculate's new Utilities package, Solus and Ubuntu MATE build new application menu|
|• Issue 691 (2016-12-12): SalentOS 1.0, openSUSE improves YaST, Fedora considers slower release cycle, KDE neon gets LTS branch|
|• Issue 690 (2016-12-05): Fedora 25, Ubuntu adopts rolling HWE kernel, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, Haiku working toward EFI support|
|• Issue 689 (2016-11-28): openSUSE 42.2, Fedora's upgrade path, plans for Korora 25, transitioning from PC-BSD to TrueOS, Webconverger's reproducible builds|
|• Issue 688 (2016-11-21): Endless OS 3.0.5, KDE neon fixes security hole, FreeBSD's Quarterly Status Report, Rolling release trial #2 concludes|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
Damn Vulnerable Linux
Damn Vulnerable Linux (DVL) was a Slackware and Slax-based live DVD. The distribution, purposefully stuffed with broken, ill-configured, outdated and exploitable software, began life as a training system used during the author's university lectures. Its primary goal was to design a Linux system that was as vulnerable as possible -- in order to teach and demonstrate a variety of security topics, including reverse code engineering, buffer overflows, shell code development, web exploitation, and SQL injection.