Episode 399 Show Notes
Welcome to mintCast
the Podcast by the Linux Mint Community for All Users of Linux
This is Episode 399!
This is Episode 399.5!
Recorded on Sunday the 30th of October, 2022
I’m Moss, Not frozen yet im Joe, By the way, I’m Bill
— Play Standard Intro —
- First up in the news: The Kudu is out, with a Lobster on its tail, Fedora 37 is dragging, the next Kernel takes less power from the people, Steam Snap switches stacks, Flatpak gets Meson, and Linus wants to forget about 486;
- In security and privacy: we get the first security update for the Kudu;
- Then in our Wanderings: Joe goes to Micro Center, Moss is having a ball, and Bill is clouding around
- In our Innards section, we continue our historical journey through Linux distros;
- And finally, the feedback and a couple of suggestions
— Play News Transition Bumper —
- Ubuntu 22.10 is Available to Download Joe
- It’s live — Ubuntu 22.10 “Kinetic Kudu” is available to download.
- Ubuntu 22.10 comes with a number of improvements to the user experience, a new sound server, new text editor app, and Linux kernel 5.19. It also boasts better-than-ever support for the Raspberry Pi single board computer.
- The (relatively recent) GNOME 43 release delivers the bulk of the key changes in Ubuntu 22.10. After passing on shipping GTK 4/libadwaita ports in April, Ubuntu developers finally embrace them here, in the Kinetic Kudu.
- By far the most striking change is the new Quick Settings menu. The grid-based pod-like layout draws inspiration from other desktop OSes, including those on mobile, to provide a more actionable area to interact with. The layout of the top row varies between desktop and laptops, with users of the latter seeing a battery level icon on the left.
- Ubuntu 23.04 Codename Revealed – And It’s a Lucently Likeable Label Moss
- According to Launchpad, home of Ubuntu development, and a cryptic tweet from the official Ubuntu Twitter account, Ubuntu 23.04 is labelled “Lunar Lobster”.
- Rather a lively combination with which to liken the next interim release of the much-loved desktop Linux distribution, isn’t it — but what does it mean?
- Ubuntu 23.04 is due for release on April 27, 2023. We’ll begin to learn more about what’s in store for the release once development opens up and packages start to trickle in.
- We can make a few guesses about what to expect, though. A new Linux kernel, new graphics drivers, and a load of updated software are a given. GNOME 44 is likely to feature, too. And maybe, just maybe, Ubuntu’s new Flutter-based installer will, after years of development, make its long-awaited appearance.
- Fedora Linux 37 update Delayed (Joe)
- Fedora Linux 37 is going to be late; very late. Here’s why. As you may have heard, the OpenSSL project announced a version due to be released on Tuesday. It will include a fix for a critical-severity bug. We won’t know the specifics of the issue until Tuesday’s release, but it could be significant. As a result, we decided to delay the release of Fedora Linux 37. We are now targeting a release day of 15 November.
- Linux 6.2 Likely To Enjoy Measurable Power-Savings While Idle Or Lightly Loaded Bill
- from Phoronix
- Work carried out by Google engineers and others around the Linux kernel’s read-copy update (RCU) synchronization mechanism to make it “lazier” is helping with 5~10% power-savings for idle or lightly-loaded systems. This “Lazy RCU” work is likely to be merged for the Linux 6.2 kernel merge window in December.
- Google engineers have been working on this “lazy RCU” implementation given that the RCU mechanism can be a major consumer of power on battery-powered systems. Lazy RCU is about batching RCU callbacks and then flushing them after a timed delay or otherwise hitting memory pressure.
- The short story for Linux end-users is the Lazy RCU work can provide 5~10% power-savings for idle or lightly-loaded systems by this lazy/batching functionality. From the Lazy RCU patch series summing it up:
- Implement timer-based RCU callback batching (also known as lazy callbacks). With this we save about 5-10% of power consumed due to RCU requests that happen when the system is lightly loaded or idle.
- By default, all async callbacks (queued via call_rcu) are marked lazy. An alternate API call_rcu_flush() is provided for the few users, for example synchronize_rcu(), that need the old behavior.
- The batch is flushed whenever a certain amount of time has passed, or the batch on a particular CPU grows too big. Also memory pressure will flush it in a future patch.
- Canonical’s Steam Snap Will Let You Switch Mesa Stacks Moss
- from OMGUbuntu
- Ubuntu gamers will soon be able to pick which Mesa graphics stack Canonical’s Steam snap app uses.
- Canonical plans to package different Mesa snapshots as ‘content snaps‘, which are decoupled and packaged separately from a parent app, in this case the Steam snap, which is still, for now, in ‘early access’.
- “We know that gamers are eager to get their hands on the latest Mesa and we’ve made that even easier with the latest update to the Steam snap,” writes Canonical’s Oliver Smith in a blog post.
- Three tracks will be available for gamers to switch between (at some point in the near future):
- oibaf-latest (bleeding edge Mesa)
- kisak-fresh (latest Mesa point release)
- kisak-turtle (stable release)
- The new Mesa Content snaps will be packaged separately from the main Steam snap, allowing the core app to remain stable while switching out the graphics drivers it uses.
- Flatpak 1.15 Released With Initial Meson Build System Support Bill
- from Phoronix
- Flatpak 1.15 was released on Monday as the newest test release for this increasingly used open-source sandboxing and app distribution tech.
- New with Flatpak 1.15.0 is allowing it to be built under the popular Meson build system as an alternative to Autotools. Flatpak developers are already looking at phasing out the Autotools build system support either during this current 1.15 unstable cycle or for 1.17.
- Flatpak 1.15 also now allows the modify_ldt system call as part of “–allow=multiarch” usage in order to support running 16-bit executables with some versions of Wine. The lack of modify_ldt system call access was preventing Wine from running within Flatpak in some configurations. However, modify_ldt presents the possibility of information leakage and Flatpak developers acknowledge the possibility of it increasing the attack surface. The modify_ldt system call is used for reading/writing to the local descriptor table (LDT) of a process.
- Flatpak 1.15 also now shares the GSSPROXY socket for acting like a portal for Kerberos authentication, a “httpbackend” variable for programs like GNOME Software to detect compatibility with libflatpak, and a variety of bug fixes.
- Linus Torvalds suggests the 80486 architecture belongs in a museum, not the Linux kernel Moss
- from The Register
- Linux boss Linus Torvalds has contemplated ending support for the i486 processor architecture in the Linux kernel.
- The ancient architecture was up for discussion last week in a thread titled “multi-gen LRU: support page table walks” that considered how the kernel can better handle least-recently-used (LRU) lists – a means of tracking memory pages.
- As Torvalds surveyed contributors’ code, he appears to have been frustrated by the need to include workarounds that cater to older CPUs. He therefore suggested ending support for old kit could be an easier way to solve memory matters.
- “We got rid of i386 support back in 2012. Maybe it’s time to get rid of i486 support in 2022?” he wrote.
— Play Security Transition Bumper —
Security and Privacy
- Ubuntu 22.10 Gets First Kernel Security Update to Address Recent Wi-Fi Stack VulnerabilitiesJoe
- from 9to5Linux
- Canonical published today the first Linux kernel security update for its recently released Ubuntu 22.10 (Kinetic Kudu) operating system series to address recently discovered Wi-Fi Stack security vulnerabilities.
- Ubuntu 22.10 arrived last week on October 20th and it ships with Linux kernel 5.19 by default. The first kernel security patch arrived today to address a total of six security vulnerabilities discovered by various security researchers in the upstream kernel packages.
— Play Wanderings Transition Bumper —
30 minutes (~5-8 mins each)
- I had one of my Logitech M570 trackballs just stop working. Again. Last episode, I took it apart and put it back together and it worked. Once, then never again. I went to Amazon and found the new model, M575, selling for half the price of an M570. I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the M570, they tend to have the left button wear out in about 2 years on average and are not easy to work on. Dale Miracle had gotten an M575 and really liked it. So I pulled the trigger. I really like it. It has a slightly lower profile and the ball seems more reachable from better angles, everything is precise. Time will tell if it has durability. These trackballs used to be bulletproof, the old USB corded model lasted so long I probably still have one in a box somewhere.
- Distrohoppers’ Digest just scored its second over-1,000-download episode. And we just recorded Episode 037, with me, Dale, and Josh Hawk; the edit was ready to review yesterday. And I still haven’t missed a week of Full Circle Weekly News, truly a team production as I only edit and read the news sent me from EriktheUnready, who is in South Africa, and send it to Ronnie in Scotland for publishing.
- I also learned of an exciting podcast which combines FOSS with crafting, called “FOSSandCrafts”. You may want to give that a listen.
- I posted the recordings from my concert on Festival of the Living Rooms – September 2020 to my Bandcamp page, and added a few extras. While these are not studio recordings, the sound quality is close.
- Subbing jobs have been occurring every so often, but I’m really getting positive reception at Grainger High School. Lots of egoboo as students come into the room and at least one of them shouts, “best sub ever!” I’m only able to do at most 2 days a week, and they pay bonuses for Mondays and Fridays, so guess which days I’m available.
- I finally got my little trooper of a Mazda2 to the shop for maintenance. Turns out she really needed it. Ball joints, front brakes and rotors, clutch… we’ve put over 40,000 miles on her with no expenses except tires, gas, and oil changes, it’s about time she got some updates. What it cost put me in a temporary freakout but I got over it. I was expecting struts or CV joints, glad they were OK. I haven’t gotten it back from the shop yet, they are waiting for a good clutch.
- I went to Micro Center since my VA appointment took me close by there. They had nothing in the way of Raspberry Pis but I was able to pick up a couple of spools of PLA to print with. I am thinking that I would like to try out TPU one of these days as well.
- Also picked up a 1 Tb m.2 ssd at half price that will be taking the place of the 2.5 inch ssd that I currently have in my server but that will require me duplicating the hard drive and then expanding. That should be fun and interesting to talk about.
- I found out that MicroCenter also sells a PS2 style wired controller for $1.99 so I bought two of them for testing out on Batocera on the OneGX. They work really well and for the price there is really nothing to complain about.
- Batocera is working well on the OneGX. A couple of updates and some settings changes to get the screen resolution how I want and I have been playing some Super Mario one and three when I have spare time.
- More on the controller front. I was watching some 3D printing videos the other day and someone started talking about the 8bitdo Pro2 and how they had 3D printed the right trigger and replaced it and talked about how easy the right trigger broke. I figured that it was a fairly common occurrence and that would be a fun fix and an easy way to get a really good controller at a lower cost. So I went to eBay and looked, and I was kinda surprised that I was only able to find one and the description did say that the right trigger was broken but it did not say how. So I assumed that it was broken in the same way that most break. I was able to win the auction for $0.99 plus shipping. So I 3D-printed the trigger and a phone mount for the device. Then the controller showed up in the mail and absolutely nothing was wrong with it. It looks and feels completely new with no blemishes whatsoever. It took a while for it to take a charge but after that I have had zero issues with it. I have been using it with my phone to play my favorite game of all time, the Genesis version of Shadowrun. Don’t know if I mentioned but the controller is bluetooth or wired.
- I have been doing a lot of 3D printing and design. Like a lot. My 3D printer has been running almost non stop for the past 2 weeks. I was still having some trouble after the last show where the PTFE tubing was getting ripped out of the connector part way through prints and I had replaced nearly everything. So I reloaded the firmware and reduced the extrusion steps slightly and everything has been working really well ever since
- I have printed out a large volume of halloween decorations, spider webs pumpkins, some nightmare before christmas figures and things like that in various colors and densities which helped to get the setting dialed. Also pulled out some PETG and was printing with that. Printed out a few utility knife handles which come in handy for opening boxes and cleaning up prints
- I redesigned the usb hub mount that I use on my OneGX after the old one broke and reprinted it. I thought I might have to bulk up some of the fittings for the mount itself but since the 3D printer was under extruding the last time I printed it I decided to keep that the same and just reduce some of the plastic housing around the hub itself to make the ports more accessible. I am really happy with how it turned out. The mounting holds tightly and I don’t have to fight to get the USB dongles attached. I am looking to see if I want to add another one or a thin hub with hdmi to the other side but that one will have to do passthrough fast charging.
- I also redesigned the mount for the Junglecat so that it will mount to the OneGX and it is sturdy enough for me to hold them both in a similar fashion to the switch or to the gpd win. This is nice since I have the 8bitdo to use with my phone
- I spoke earlier about a phone mount for the 8bitdo controller. I found several on Thingiverse, but most of them were overly complicated for what I wanted, and so I took one of the designs that used modular mounts for a go-pro and redesigned the upper portion to take a heat set inset for ¼ inch bolts so that I could use a standard phone mount with it. Of which I have plenty and could easily attach and remove. I really like how it turned out and I am glad that I purchased a couple of different sets of nuts and bolts.
- Other than that I have several other simple designs that I have designed and printed that are very useful. I made a keyboard stand/mount that uses muslin clamps to attach to a table. Good for typing or just getting the keyboard out of the way without setting it in random places. I designed an adapter to my cup holder on my theater chair so that I could use my 40 oz thermal cup or my 3D-printed can holders, and, because I removed my other cup holder adapter from my chair, I 3D-printed a right angle bracket for my phone/camera/microphone mount
- Well – For my part, this week’s wanderings will be short and sweet. The last few weeks have been crazy with regards to my Monday through Friday job. I’ve been back and forth to Mississippi and back about six times since I was on the show last; not to mention four trips out to Missouri and back.
- I have had a few tech related things going on to bring up here; first is the 3ftpodcast.org website. A couple of weeks ago I finally got around to building a proper website for my other show – 3 Fat Truckers. This new site is a WordPress site built by me from scratch on a Raspberry Pi 4, running Raspberry piOS. The new site is built using some of the things I learned while administering the mintCast site. Previously, we were relying on the free Google Sites thing that gives you a basic static site, and while it served its initial purpose, this new site gives us the ability to do things we couldn’t before.
- The Pi4 has turned out to be a fantastic web-server, and I’ll go so far as to say it out-performs the $5 Linode we have the mintCast site running on, which makes sense given the Pi4 has higher specs than the cheapest tier of Linode we’re currently using. Not to knock Linode’s service in any way, it’s just that in order to build a cloud server with comparable specs to the Pi4, you would have to spend considerably more than $5 a month. I invite the audience to follow the link to the new site in the show notes, and let me know how the site performs. I’m particularly interested in knowing how it performs in parts of the world outside the U.S.
- Another on-going project is the Nextcloud server that I recently migrated from a Rockpro64 to a proper x86 machine to host the working files for the show as well as personal photos and documents. As I’ve described in previous episodes I’ve been dealing with a problem with one of the 2TB Seagate Ironwolf NAS drives that are running the ZFS mirror, used as the “data directory” for the Nextcloud instance. One drive began giving me I/O errors relatively early on in its life cycle and I blamed it on the seemingly poorly supported state of software for the Rockpro64. The problem came up again after installing the Nextcloud to the New machine, so I then decided the drive was faulty. It was still under warranty, so I wrapped it up, and sent it to Seagate, and promptly received a new one. Interestingly, while I was waiting for the replacement drive I discovered what I now believe was the root cause of the problem all along. In each case, problems began when I turned on ZFS’s native compression, and chose z-standard compression type. While I was waiting for the replacement drive, I turned on the compression, and after a day or two the machine began returning the same errors with the remaining drive. I turned off the compression, resilvered the drive, and haven’t had a problem since. I’m running a much larger ZFS mirror in my Jellyfin server with z-standard compression turned on, and I haven’t had a single problem in over a year, so I assume there isn’t a problem with ZFS compression, rather a problem when using it with a Nextcloud “data directory.” At any rate, I’ve received the replacement drive whereupon I installed the drive, executed the command: sudo zpool attach /dev/sdb /dev/sdc, and presto! The new drive is resilvered, and I now have a working 2TB mirror again. I’ve left compression off, and haven’t had a problem since.
- In addition to working on the new 3ft website, I’ve done some tweaking to the mintCast site to fix a couple of issues. One being the load time of the home page. Some time back I fixed the problem with the RSS feed only delivering the 10 most recent episodes. I first increased that number to 300, but noticed a terrible regression in pageload times. I then changed the number to 50, which improved the performance, but was still far from perfect. I’ve now learned how to allow 300 episodes in the RSS feed, while only loading 10 posts at a time on the homepage of the website. It was what I now know an obvious fix, but I’ve been on the learning curve for as long as I’ve been a part of the show. The site now runs fantastic. I also revamped a couple of aesthetic issues such as how the link buttons are handled, utilizing a bespoke WordPress plug-in, rather than just pictures with links html coded to them. The result is a slightly more modern look and feel, and we can add more links to the platforms and social media links as we utilize them. I invite everyone to check out the updated site and let me know what you think.
— Play Innards Transition Bumper —
30 minutes (~5-8 minutes each)
How We Got Here
The first Linux was just the kernel, plus the GNU Toolkit, in 1991. The first attempt at a complete, user-friendly Linux was SLS, the Softlanding Linux System, by Peter McDonald in August 1992. We focused on Red Hat and Mandrake last episode. This episode we’re going to concentrate on SLS, Slackware, SuSE and their variants, and will cover Debian, Ubuntu, and Arch and its derivatives, and independent distros in Episodes 400 and 401.
- SLS and Slackware (Moss)
- Softlanding Linux System (SLS) was one of the first Linux distributions. The first release was by Peter MacDonald in August 1992. Their slogan at the time was “Gentle Touchdowns for DOS Bailouts”.
- SLS was the first release to offer a comprehensive Linux distribution containing more than the Linux kernel, GNU, and other basic utilities, including an implementation of the X Window System.
- SLS was the most popular Linux distribution at the time, but it was considered to be rather buggy by its users. It was soon superseded by Slackware and Yggdrasil Linux/GNU/X, among others.
- Similarly, Ian Murdock’s frustration with SLS led him to create the Debian project, which we will discuss in a future episode.
- Slackware simply is the most significant version of Linux in existence. Other distros either attempt to emulate it, or use it as an example of how not to make a user-friendly Linux distro. Only Debian approaches its level of significance, mostly on how it made different decisions from Slackware.
- Slackware was created by Patrick Volkerding in 1993. Originally based on Softlanding Linux System, Slackware has been the basis for many other Linux distributions, most notably the first versions of SUSE Linux distributions, and is the oldest distribution that is still maintained. Volkerding had no intentions to provide his modified SLS version for the public. Volkerding assumed that “SLS would be putting out a new version that included these things soon enough”, so he held off for a few weeks. Many SLS users on the internet were asking SLS for a new release, so eventually Volkerding made a post titled “Anyone want an SLS-like 0.99pl11A system?”, to which he received many positive responses. Volkerding obtained permission to upload Slackware to the university’s FTP server. Version 1.00 was distributed on July 17, 1993, at 00:16:36 (UTC), and was supplied as twenty-four 3½” floppy disk images. Volkerding then watched as the flood of FTP connections continually crashed the server. Soon afterwards, Walnut Creek CDROM offered additional archive space on their FTP servers.
- Slackware aims to be the most “Unix-like” Linux distribution. It makes as few modifications as possible to software packages from upstream and tries not to anticipate use cases or preclude user decisions. Slackware provides no graphical installation procedure and no automatic dependency resolution of software packages. It uses plain text files and only a small set of shell scripts for configuration and administration. Without further modification it boots into a command-line interface environment. Because of this, Slackware is often considered to be most suitable for advanced and technically inclined Linux users.
- Slackware is available for the IA-32 and x86_64 architectures, with a port to the ARM architecture. While Slackware is mostly free and open-source software, it does not have a formal bug tracking facility or public code repository. There is no formal membership procedure for developers and Volkerding is the primary contributor to releases.
- Slackware refers to the “pursuit of Slack”, a tenet of the Church of the SubGenius, a parody religion which branched off the Discordian Society. Certain aspects of Slackware graphics reflect this, such as the pipe that Tux is shown smoking. References to the Church of the SubGenius can be found in many versions of the install.end text files, which indicate the end of a software series to the setup program. In recent versions, including Slackware release 14.1, the text is ROT13 obfuscated.
- In 1999, Slackware jumped from version 4 to version 7. Slackware version numbers were lagging behind other distributions, and this led many users to believe it was out of date even though the bundled software versions were similar. Volkerding made the decision as a marketing effort to infer that Slackware was as up-to-date as other Linux distributions, estimating that most other distributions would soon be at their own version 7.
- In April 2004, Patrick Volkerding added X.Org Server packages into the testing/ directory of -current as a replacement for the XFree86 packages currently being used, with a request for comments on what the future of the X Window System in Slackware should be. A month later, he switched completely to X.Org Server; the opinions were more than 4 to 1 in favor of using the X.org release as the default. Slackware 10.0 was the first release with X.Org Server.
- In March 2005, Patrick Volkerding announced the removal of the GNOME desktop environment. Volkerding stated future GNOME support would rely on the community. The community responded and as of October 2016, there are several active GNOME projects for Slackware. These include Cinnamon, Dlackware, Dropline GNOME, MATE, and SlackMATE. This action was deemed significant by some in the Linux community.
- In May 2009, Patrick Volkerding announced the public (development) release of an official x86_64 variant, called Slackware64, maintained in parallel with the IA-32 distribution. Slackware64 is a pure 64-bit distribution in that it does not support running or compiling 32-bit programs, however, it was designed as “multilib-ready”. Eric Hameleers, one of the core Slackware team members, maintains a multilib repository that contains the necessary packages to convert Slackware64 to multilib to enable running of 32-bit software. Volkerding tested the port in December 2008, and was impressed when he saw speed increases between 20 and 40 percent for some benchmarks compared to the 32-bit version. To minimize the extra effort of maintaining both versions in parallel, SlackBuilds were slowly transitioned to supporting either architecture, allowing for one set of sources for both versions. Slackware64 saw its first stable release with version 13.0.
- The gap between the November 2013 release of 14.1 and the June 2016 release of 14.2 marked the longest span in release history. During this time the development branch went without updates for as long as 47 days. However, on April 21, 2015, Patrick Volkerding apologized for the absence of updates and stated that the development team used the time to get “some good work done.” There were over 700 program changes listed on that ChangeLog entry, including many major library upgrades. In January 2016, Volkerding announced the reluctant addition of PulseAudio. Knowing some users would not be happy with the change, he stated that “Bug reports, complaints, and threats can go to me.”
- The design philosophy of Slackware is oriented toward simplicity, software purity, and a core design that emphasizes lack of change to upstream sources. In this context, “simple” refers to the simplicity in system design, rather than system usage. Thus, ease of use may vary between users: those lacking knowledge of command line interfaces and classic Unix tools may experience a steep learning curve using Slackware, whereas users with a Unix background may benefit from a less abstract system environment.
- There is no formal issue tracking system and no official procedure to become a code contributor or developer. The project does not maintain a public code repository. Bug reports and contributions, while being essential to the project, are managed in an informal way. All the final decisions about what is going to be included in a Slackware release strictly remain with Patrick Volkerding.
- Eric Hameleers’ essay on the “History of Slackware Development”, written on October 3–4, 2009 (shortly after the release of version 13.0) lends a lot of insight into the development of the Slackware team.
- Slackware’s package management system, collectively known as pkgtools, can administer, install, upgrade, and remove packages from local sources. It can also uncompress and create packages. Slackpkg is the tool to update Slackware over a network or the internet, and was included in extras/ since Slackware 9.1 but not officially included in the main tree until Slackware 12.2.
- Slackware packages are tarballs compressed using various methods. Starting with 13.0, most packages are compressed using xz and use the .txz filename extension. Packages contain all the files for that program, as well as additional metadata files used by the package manager.
- The package management system does not track or manage dependencies. For custom installations or 3rd-party packages, Slackware relies on the user to ensure that the system has all the supporting system libraries and programs required by the program. Since no official lists of dependencies for stock packages are provided, if users decide to install a custom installation or install 3rd-party software, they will need to work through any possible missing dependencies themselves. Since the package manager doesn’t manage dependencies, it will install any and all packages, whether or not dependencies are met. A user may find out that dependencies are missing only when attempting to use the software.
- There are no official repositories for Slackware. The only official packages Slackware provides are available on the installation media. However, there are many third-party repositories for Slackware; some are standalone repositories and others are for distributions that are Slackware-based but retain package compatibility with Slackware. Many of these can be searched at once in pkgs.org. However, mixing and matching dependencies from multiple repositories can lead to two or more packages that require different versions of the same dependency, which is a form of dependency hell. Some projects will provide a list of dependencies that are not included with the files for the package, commonly with a .dep extension.
- Salix is a Slackware-based Linux distribution that is simple, fast, easy to use and compatible with Slackware Linux. Optimized for desktop use, Salix OS features
- one application per task on the installation ISO
- fully backwards compatible with Slackware
- optimized for desktop usage
- high quality package repositories with dependency support
- incredibly fast package tools
- simple & fully localized system administration tools
- supports 32-bit and 64-bit architectures
- Slackware users can benefit from Salix repositories, which they can use as an “extra” quality source of software for their favorite distribution.
- The installation is text dialog based, but easy to navigate and complete. It is also very fast; a “full” mode installation will take less than 5 minutes on any modern PC.
- Salix is a Slackware-based Linux distribution that is simple, fast, easy to use and compatible with Slackware Linux. Optimized for desktop use, Salix OS features
- Vector – Joe
- VectorLinux is a small, fast, Intel based Linux operating system for PC style computers.
- Originally developed by Canadian developers Robert S. Lange and Darell Stavem. Since version 7 the Standard Edition is also available for the x86-64 platform, known as VLocity64 7.
- One prominent feature that all VL versions have in common is the standard installation of system administration applications: VasmCC handles system configuration, while slapt-get with its GUI front-end Gslapt manages software installation and removal.
- VasmCC stands for ‘Vector Administrative and Services Menu Control Center’, and it configures everything from disk partitions to X.Org Server. In addition to offering a GUI interface, a text mode parallel to the GUI VasmCC is available. VasmCC has been available since Vector 2.0 was released and has been upgraded continually over the years, with the addition of GUI functionality in SOHO 3.2. Configuration tools like netconfig and alsaconf are also available in Vector.
- Gslapt is a GUI front-end to the slapt-get software management tool. Combined with lzma-compression and dependency tracking, the inclusion of Gslapt offers VectorLinux users the ability to quickly install and remove software while avoiding ‘dependency hell.’ File compression via lzma allows low and high bandwidth users alike to minimize download times.
- VectorLinux is currently available in Standard, Light, and Live editions.
- Plamo – Joe
- Plamo Linux is a Japanese Linux distribution based on Slackware Linux. The installer, and many text-based and graphical tools have been updated to include Japanese language support. Several prominent desktop environments are available. More information is available at plamolinux.org … if you read Japanese.
- Zenwalk – Joe
- Zenwalk Linux (formerly Minislack) is a Slackware-based GNU/Linux operating system with a goal of being slim and fast by using only one application per task and with a focus on graphical desktop and multimedia usage. Zenwalk features the latest Linux technology along with a complete programming environment and libraries to provide an ideal platform for application programmers. Zenwalk’s modular approach also provides a simple way to convert Zenwalk Linux into a finely-tuned modern server (e.g. LAMP, messaging, file sharing).
- On February 4, 2022, Zenwalk released version 15, based on and compatible with Slackware 15.
- What you get is a pure Slackware system with the following main changes :
- Focused on Desktop usage, XFCE and Chromium based
- Just one app for each task, latest version of the most user-friendly apps
- Optimized in size / RAM footprint : Zenwalk is very fast on latest hardware and can even run fast on old PCs
- Flatpak and AppImage ready (almost all existing apps can be installed either via right-clicking on AppImg or flatpakref file)
- Automated packages updates (daily check at startup)
- Simplified setup with no nonsense animated pink ponies
- All donations to Zenwalk are forwarded to Patrick Volkerding for use in developing Slackware.
- SUSE and OpenSuse (Bill)
- SUSE Linux is a computer operating system built on top of the free and open source Linux kernel and is distributed with system and application software from other open source projects. SUSE Linux is of German origin, its name being an acronym of “Software und System-Entwicklung” (software and systems development), and it was mainly developed in Europe. The first version appeared in early 1994, making SUSE one of the oldest existing commercial distributions. It is known for its YaST configuration tool.
- The developing Gesellschaft für Software und System Entwicklung mbH (Lit. Company for Software and System Development) was founded on September 2, 1992 in Nuremberg, Germany, by Roland Dyroff, Thomas Fehr, Burchard Steinbild, and Hubert Mantel. Three of the founders were still mathematics students at a university; Fehr had already graduated and was working as a software engineer. The original idea was that the company would develop software and function as an advisory UNIX group. According to Mantel, the group decided to distribute Linux, offering support.
- Their name at founding was “S.u.S.E.” (Software und System-Entwicklung “Software and systems development”); however, the full name has never been used. “S.u.S.E.” was shortened to “SuSE” in October 1998 and restylized to “SUSE” in 2003. The official logo and current mascot of the distribution is a veiled chameleon officially named GEEKO (a portmanteau of “gecko” and “geek”). As with the company’s name, the GEEKO logo has evolved to reflect company name changes.
- The company started as a service provider, regularly releasing software packages that included Softlanding Linux System (SLS, now defunct) and Slackware and printing UNIX and Linux manuals, and offering technical assistance.
- These third-party products SUSE initially used had those characteristics and were managed by SUSE in different fashions:
- In mid-1992, Peter MacDonald created the comprehensive Linux distribution known as SLS, which offered elements such as X and TCP/IP. This was distributed to people who wanted to get Linux via floppy disks.
- In 1993, Patrick Volkerding cleaned up the SLS Linux distribution, releasing a newer version as Slackware.
- In 1994, with help from Patrick Volkerding, Slackware scripts were translated into German, which was marked as the first release of S.u.S.E. Linux 1.0 distribution. It was available first on floppies, and then on CDs.
- To build its own Linux distribution, S.u.S.E. used SLS in 1992 and jurix in 1996 as starting point. This was created by Florian La Roche, who joined the S.u.S.E. team. He began to develop YaST, the installer and configuration tool that would become the central point of the distribution.
- In 1996, the first distribution under the name S.u.S.E. Linux was published as S.u.S.E. Linux 4.2, a reference to the answer to “The Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything” from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. YaST’s first version number, 0.42, was a similar reference.
- Over time, SuSE Linux incorporated many aspects of Red Hat Linux, such as its RPM Package Manager and its file structure.
- S.u.S.E. became the largest Linux distributor in Germany. In 1997, SuSE, LLC was established under the direction of president and managing partner James Gray in Oakland, California, which enabled the company to develop Linux markets in the Americas and Asia. While Red Hat was ubiquitous in the United States, SuSE Linux continued to grow in Germany as well as in Nordic countries such as Finland and Sweden. In October 1998, the name was changed officially to, SuSE (without periods). Linus Torvalds, the creator of the Linux kernel, used it fairly often. SuSE entered the UK in 1999. In 2001, the company was forced to reduce its staff significantly in order to survive.
- Novell bought the SuSE brands and trademarks in 2003, although it is rumored that the money for purchasing the project came from rival Microsoft when it was determined that their own purchase of the project might involve antitrust issues. Novell employed more than 500 developers working on SUSE in 2004. On 27 April 2011, Novell (and SUSE) were acquired by The Attachmate Group, which made SUSE an independent business unit. In October 2014 the entire Attachmate Group, including SUSE, was acquired by the British firm Micro Focus International. SUSE continued to operate as an independent business unit. On July 2, 2018, it was announced that Micro Focus would sell SUSE to Blitz 18-679 GmbH, a subsidiary of EQT Partners, for $2.535 billion. The acquisition was completed on March 18, 2019.
- On 4 August 2005, Novell announced that the SUSE Professional series would become more open, with the launch of the openSUSE Project community. The software always had been open source, but openSUSE opened the development process, allowing developers and users to test and develop it. Previously, all development work had been accomplished in-house by SUSE. Version 10.0 was the first version that offered public beta testing.
- SUSE Linux 10.0 included both open source and proprietary applications and retail boxed-set editions. As part of the change, YaST Online Update server access became free for all SUSE Linux users, and also for the first time, the GNOME desktop was upgraded to equal status with the traditional KDE.
- In November 2005, SUSE founder Hubert Mantel announced his resignation from the company. He stated that Novell’s acquisition had changed SUSE beyond his expectations and that he did not believe it was the same company that he had founded 13 years earlier. The resignation apparently stemmed from a dispute over the implementation of Ximian products in the GNOME-based default desktop environment for the Linux distribution. He rejoined the company a year later.
- On November 3, 2006 (renewed July 25, 2011), Novell signed an agreement with Microsoft covering improvement of SUSE’s ability to interoperate with Microsoft Windows, cross-promotion/marketing of both products and patent cross-licensing. The agreement is considered controversial by some in the Free Software community.
- When Attachmate bought Novell, the US government required changes in the patents and license, to wit:
- All of the Novell patents will be acquired subject to the GNU General Public License, Version 2, a widely adopted open-source license, and the Open Invention Network (OIN) License, a significant license for the Linux System;
- CPTN does not have the right to limit which of the patents, if any, are available under the OIN license; and
- Neither CPTN nor its owners will make any statement or take any action with the purpose of influencing or encouraging either Novell or Attachmate to modify which of the patents are available under the OIN license.
- SUSE provides a thirteen-year product life cycle for SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 & 12. SLES also features versions for specific uses, such as Point of Sale versions. openSUSE has a theoretical development cycle of 8 months and a lifetime of 18 months from the date of release. It is fully and freely available for immediate download.
- openSUSE is a freely available, community project that releases versions on a comparatively frequent basis, and generally uses the latest versions of the various open source projects that it includes. It currently is provided in static, called Leap, and rolling, called Tumbleweed, versions.
- SUSE and OpenSuse (Bill)
- Gecko (Joe)
- GeckoLinux is a Linux distribution based on openSUSE. It is available in two editions: Static, which is based on openSUSE Leap, and Rolling, which is based on openSUSE Tumbleweed. Releases tend to be nearly in sync with openSUSE releases and are numbered the same. The intention is to make it easier to install but have the resulting installation as similar to openSUSE as possible.
- Some of GeckoLinux’s features include:
- “improved” font rendering
- live ISO’s with various desktop environments
- offline calamares installer
- PackageKit is not used or installed by default
- pre-configured Packman repository
- proprietary media codecs & drivers are pre-installed
- recommended packages are not forcefully installed as recommended dependencies after installation
- TLP for power management
- Gecko is known to have an easier installation and learning curve to openSUSE, but with a much smaller development team it may be slow at responding to issues.
- EasyNAS (Joe)
- This Israel-based distro is little known but highly regarded as a Network Appliance Server (NAS).
- EasyNAS is a storage management system for home or small office. It uses openSUSE Leap as a base with the Btrfs advanced file system. EasyNAS is managed through a web-based interface and offers such features as on-line growing of file systems, snapshots and copy-on-write.
- Linux Mint
Episode 401 or later:
- Raspberry Pi OS / Raspbian
- According to Wikipedia, Arch Linux is an independently developed, x86-64 general-purpose Linux distribution that strives to provide the latest stable versions of most software by following a rolling-release model. The default installation is a minimal base system, configured by the user to only add what is purposely required. What does this mean? Well put simply, Arch is a distribution that assumes nothing about its users, and has no “distribution level” enhancements, customizations, or modifications. When you install Arch, you’re presented with a completely vanilla Linux experience. Desktop elements, and applications are presented as nothing more, and nothing less than what the upstream development people intended. Arch doesn’t even ship with a configured .bashrc file in the user’s home directory. As such, it is up to the user to do all the necessary configuration to the system to get it set up they way he or she likes. This is the methodology the Arch team has adhered to since the beginning, and there seems to be no plans to change.
- Arch was started in March 2002 by the then lead developer Judd Vinet.
- Bridge Linux
- Antergos / Endeavour
- Other Indies
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Vibrations from the Ether
20 minutes (~5 minutes each)
- Hank Barta
Thanks for covering VPSs in a recent episode. But I’m not sure that some of the claims are accurate. The language I heard was along the lines of “you only pay for hosts that are running.” I’m 99% certain that the user is charged for hosts that are configured whether or not they are running. That could lead to a rude surprise if someone configures a powerful host and then shuts it down thinking they are not going to be charged.
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Check This Out
LURE is a rather ambitious Open-source project which aims to bring the benefits of Arch
Linux’s AUR to other distros. It appears as though there’s even builds for Android, and
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Before we leave, we want to make sure to acknowledge some of the people who make mintCast possible:
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