Episode 400 Show Notes

Welcome to mintCast

the Podcast by the Linux Mint Community for All Users of Linux

This is Episode 400!

This is Episode 400.5!

Recorded on Sunday the 13th of November, 2022

Beginning the Freeze Cycle, I’m Bill; still confused, I’m Moss; Its freaking cold in Texas I’m Joe; using European spelling in the notes to confuse the other hosts – as it was pointed out to me –, I’m Norbert

— Play Standard Intro —

  • First up in the news: New Mint Stuff, Nitrux gets 6.0, Linux Steams forward, exFAT repair is now possible, LXQt gets Wayland, a pioneer passes, Mastodon blossoms, Nouveau and Nvidia updates, Clonezilla gets a new kernel, and Fedora refreshes Live Creation;
  • In security and privacy: OpenSSL3 Patch Arrives
  • Then in our Wanderings: I get my head out of the cloud, Moss unMints his Studio and then reMints it, Joe sadly loses a Beto, and Norbert improvises (with European spelling, but not written by Norbert this time)
  • 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 —

The News

20 minutes

  • From 9to5Linux
  • Powered by 6.0 kernel and 5.26 Plasma
  • proprietary NVIDIA 520.56.06 graphics driver for the Wayland session
  • ships with an updated KDE Neon repository to coincide with their latest release, adds the Bismuth KWin plugin to transform KDE Plasma’s window manager into a tiling window manager, updates the AMD Open Source Driver for Vulkan (AMDVLK) to the latest version, and adds Distrobox to the default installation for those who want to create containers using the Linux distribution of their choice.
  • removed the linux-firmware package from the Minimal default installation to provide a smaller Minimal ISO image, which means that some hardware may not be recognized by default so you’ll need to manually install this package when customizing your Nitrux distro with another desktop environment.
  • Steam Linux Use Rises Thanks to Steam Deck (Joe)
    • From Phoronix
    • After Steam on Linux hit 1.27% in August, it fell to a 1.23% marketshare in September. The August high at 1.27% was healthy considering it was 1.02% in August of 2021. Now for October the overall Steam on Linux usage ticked up to a new recent high of 1.28%. For the October 2022 stats, Steam on Linux was at 1.28% to macOS at 2.23% and Windows at 96.5%
    • This 1.28% marketshare for Linux gaming is a high of recent years and certainly in absolute numbers for the lifetime of Steam on Linux considering Valve’s continuously growing userbase. Unrelated but worth mentioning: we are also hitting the mark next week of ten years since Steam’s Linux client beta went public. 
  • Linux Gains Ability to Repair exFAT Drives (Moss)
    • From The Register
    • A version of Microsoft’s FAT filesystem called exFAT forms part of the specification of SDXC (32GB—2TB) and SDUC (2—128TB) cards, and is the default format of SD cards over 32GB in size.
    • A forthcoming version of the Linux exFAT utilities will make fsck able to repair the filesystem on those devices and other storage.
    • At one point, using exFAT meant buying a license, but it later got an official free open description and indeed was adopted by the Open Invention Network. Microsoft’s own description eases you in quite gently. Essentially, exFAT is to FAT32 as FAT32 is to the old 16-bit FAT of the DOS era. It’s not totally unfair to call it FAT64.
    • The Linux kernel gained the ability to mount exFAT volumes in version 5.4, via a Samsung driver that the company donated. This later got a substantial upgrade. So, for instance, while in Ubuntu 18.04 you had to load a driver, since Ubuntu 20.04 appeared exFAT-formatted media should Just Work™.
    • That’s great. The problem is if it Just Doesn’t™. The exFAT system allows for disks up to 128PB – although 512TB is the recommended maximum. That’s a lot of data to risk losing. This is where the exfatprogs tools come in. The forthcoming version 1.2 promises a handy new feature: a fsck.exfat command that can repair filesystem damage.
  • LXQt 1.2 Arrives with Wayland Support (Norbert)
    • From 9to5Linux
    • LXQt introduces initial support for the Wayland display server in an attempt to keep up with the times
    • LXQt’s file manager now also offers easier file selection in the Detailed List mode by dragging the mouse cursor inside non-name columns. In addition, it’s now possible to deselect items with the Ctrl+D shortcut.
    • Furthermore, the file manager now features a “Categories” entry and a “What’s-This” help item in the launcher creating dialog, new options for locale-awareness and zero-padding, support for customizing margins of the desktop workspace, as well as the ability to remember the result of execution prompts with multiple files.
  • Kathleen Booth, inventor of Assembly Language, passes (Moss)
  • From The Register
  • Obituary: Professor Kathleen Booth, one of the last of the early British computing pioneers, has died. She was 100.
  • Kathleen Hylda Valerie Britten was born in Worcestershire, England, on July 9, 1922. During the Second World War, she studied at Royal Holloway, University of London, where she got a BSc in mathematics in 1944. After graduating, she became a junior scientific officer at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, a research organization in Farnborough. Two years later she moved to Birkbeck College, first as a research assistant, and later a lecturer and then research fellow.
  • She also worked at the British Rubber Producers’ Research Association (BRPRA), where she met and worked with mathematician and physicist Andrew Donald Booth, who later became her husband. After studying with X-ray crystallographer Professor J D Bernal – inventor of the Bernal Sphere – A D Booth was working out crystal structures using X-ray diffraction data, and finding the manual calculations very tedious; he built an analog computer to automate part of this.
  • In 1946, Britten and Booth collaborated at Birkbeck on a very early digital computer, the Automatic Relay Calculator (ARC), and in doing so founded what is now Birkbeck’s Department of Computer Science and Information Systems.
  • The ARC was constructed in Welwyn Garden City, close to the BRPRA’s headquarters. A D Booth designed it, but Kathleen Britten and her fellow research assistant Xenia Sweeting built the hardware. Bernal obtained funding from the Rockefeller Foundation for Booth and Britten to visit the Institute for Advanced Study located in Princeton, NJ, where Booth reported that only Bernal’s friend John von Neumann gave them any time. Von Neumann explained his concept of what is now called the von Neumann computer architecture.
  • Mastodon exceeds 1 Million Users following Twitter tensions  (Joe)
    • From Phoronix
    • Mastodon, the free, open-source, decentralized micro-blogging social media platform, has surpassed a million monthly active users for the first time in its history.
    • The platform’s explosive growth was announced today by Eugen Rochko, the creator of Mastodon, who noted that almost half of the new users (489,000) joined the platform since October 27, 2022, when Elon Musk sealed the purchase of Twitter.
    • The sudden influx of users to Mastodon is caused by a notable wave of migration from Twitter, as it uses a similar interface and social feed format.
    • Mastodon features 500-character posts called “toots” arranged in a chronological feed, user tagging (mentions), privacy posting options, a hashtags system, and more.
    • Some people are leaving Twitter because its new owner, Elon Musk, decided to impose controversial account verification and freedom of speech policy changes, announcing them almost immediately upon completing the takeover.
    • The new policies brought a measurable rise in hate speech and aggressive trolling as various parties tested the limits of moderation under Elon Musk’s management.
    • A second, even more, voluminous wave of migration to Mastodon came when Twitter announced massive layoffs of personnel, which didn’t resonate well with the community.
  • Big Nouveau Update for Linux 6.2 Kernel (Norbert)
    • from 9to5Linux
    • The upstream Nouveau driver in the Linux kernel providing this open-source, reverse-engineered driver support hasn’t changed much in recent years. In particular, since the GeForce GTX 900 series and the signed firmware requirements, those GTX 900 Maxwell and newer GPU series have been stuck to running at the low boot clock frequencies with the inability to ramp up to the higher performance states. As a result, the open-source driver graphics performance has been horrible for the GTX 900 series and later… All blocked up by the signed firmware requirements and lack of PMU access.
    • The Nouveau kernel driver has added support for newer generations of GPUs over time, but usually months after the GPUs premiere. Initially it’s also usually been limited to just display/mode-setting support and then after the long process of publishing new signed firmware, usually the Nouveau driver support moves on to supporting hardware acceleration — again though, limited to the slow boot clock speeds and in user-space limited to the Nouveau OpenGL Gallium3D driver while in recent months the “NVK” Vulkan driver has been started but not yet ready for end-users. 
  • Nvidia makes PhysX 5.1 SDK open source (Bill)
    • From Phoronix
    • Back in 2019 NVIDIA open-sourced the PhysX 4.1 SDK and was working on a PhysX 5.0 open-source code drop while we haven’t heard anything more on the matter in the past two years. Coming out this morning (8 November 2022) as a surprise is the NVIDIA PhysX 5.1 SDK open-source release.
    • More than a decade ago NVIDIA bought Ageia as the company behind PhysX and at the time focused on trying to push physics accelerator cards for gaming. Since NVIDIA’s acquisition, PhysX has been focused on GPU acceleration and for the once-proprietary SDK, more than a half-decade ago NVIDIA began open-sourcing it as far as the SDK and CPU paths are concerned. 
    • Released November 8 is the PhysX 104.0 / PhysX SDK 5.1 release. This amounts to a big 662k lines drop of code, documentation, and related assets. The code can be found at the GitHub page.
  • Clonezilla 3.0.2 released, powered by Kernel 6.0 (Joe)
    • from 9to5Linux
    • Steven Shiau announced November 8th the release and general availability of Clonezilla Live 3.0.2 as the latest stable version of this Debian-based live system for disk imaging/cloning tasks based on the powerful Clonezilla software.
    • Based and synced with the Debian Sid (Unstable) software repository as of November 3rd, 2022, the Clonezilla Live 3.0.2 release is powered by the Linux 6.0 kernel series. Linux kernel 6.0.6 is included by default for better hardware support.
    • This release also adds the UFW firewall in the live system, adds the -sfs option in the dialog menu, along with the corresponding language files, and enables the -k0 and -k1 options in ocs-onthefly’s restoring action for the beginner mode.
    • Other than that, the devs disabled the glances service in the live system and fixed an issue in /etc/default/espeakup by modifying default_voice instead of VOICE. Various language translations have been updated, including German, Spanish, Greek, French, Polish, Japanese, Turkish, and Slovak.
    • This is a small update to the Clonezilla Live 3.0 series, which was released in May 2022 with APFS and LUKS support, as well as various other new features and improvements.
  • Fedora 38 to Modernize Live Media Creation (Norbert)
    • From Phoronix
    • The Fedora Engineering and Steering Committee (FESCo) has signed off on a plan to modernize the Fedora Linux live image creation. Fedora 38 plans to switch to a new live environment setup scripts and new functionality within Dracut to enable support for automatically enabling persistent overlays on USB flash drives.
    • The change proposal, which received the go-ahead this week from FESCo, sums up the work as:
      • “Since we introduced live media in Fedora Linux 7, the actual mechanism in which the live environment sets itself up has been complex and intricately tied to the method in which we produce the media (using Kickstarts). The nature of the implementation of those scripts means that they are hard to understand and debug, which has caused problems in the past whenever we’ve needed to update them.
      • “As we look forward to new and better tooling for producing images (such as kiwi and osbuild), we cannot continue to rely on kickstart-driven image builds that construct shell scripts on the fly to embed in the image as we do now. With livesys-scripts, those scripts have been simplified and turned into systemd services that activate only in live environments.
      • “This also gives us the opportunity to introduce new functionality for live media. New functionality was added to dracut and backported to Fedora so that we can retire the remaining usage of livecd-iso-to-disk.sh and provide a better experience with our live media, particularly for portable backup and rescue environments by introducing the ability to automatically setup persistence on boot when unpartitioned space is detected on a USB stick on boot.”
    • It’s looking like Fedora 38 in the spring is going to be yet another big feature release for Fedora Linux for this bleeding-edge and innovative Linux distribution. Meanwhile next week Fedora 37 is set to finally debut.

— Play Security Transition Bumper —

Security and Privacy

10 minutes

  • OpenSSL 3 patch, once Heartbleed-level “critical,” arrives as a lesser “high” (Joe)
    • From ArsTechnica
    • An OpenSSL vulnerability once signaled as the first critical-level patch since the Internet-reshaping Heartbleed bug has just been patched. It ultimately arrived as a “high” security fix for a buffer overflow, one that affects all OpenSSL 3.x installations, but is unlikely to lead to remote code execution.
    • OpenSSL version 3.0.7 was announced last week as a critical security fix release. The specific vulnerabilities (now CVE-2022-37786 and CVE-2022-3602) had been largely unknown until today, but analysts and businesses in the web security field hinted there could be notable problems and maintenance pain. Some Linux distributions, including Fedora, held up releases until the patch was available. Distribution giant Akamai noted before the patch that half of their monitored networks had at least one machine with a vulnerable OpenSSL 3.x instance, and among those networks, between 0.2 and 33 percent of machines were vulnerable.
    • But the specific vulnerabilities—limited-circumstance, client-side overflows that are mitigated by the stack layout on most modern platforms—are now patched, and rated as “High.” And with OpenSSL 1.1.1 still in its long-term support phase, OpenSSL 3.x is not nearly as widespread.
    • Malware expert Marcus Hutchins points to an OpenSSL commit on GitHub that details the code issues: “fixed two buffer overflows in puny code decoding functions.” A malicious email address, verified within an X.509 certificate, could overflow bytes on a stack, resulting in a crash or potentially remote code execution, depending on the platform and configuration.
    • But this vulnerability mostly affects clients, not servers, so the same kind of Internet-wide security reset (and absurdity) of Heartbleed won’t likely follow. VPNs that utilize OpenSSL 3.x could be affected, for example, and languages like Node.js. Cybersecurity expert Kevin Beaumont points out that the stack overflow protections in most Linux distributions’ default configurations should prevent code execution.
    • What changed between the critical-level announcement and high-level release? OpenSSL’s security team writes in a blog post that in roughly a week’s time, organizations tested and provided feedback. On some Linux distributions, the 4-byte overflow possible with one attack overwrote an adjacent buffer not yet used, and so could not crash a system or execute code. The other vulnerability only allowed an attacker to set the length of an overflow, not the content.
    • So while crashes are still possible, and some stacks could be arranged in ways that make remote code execution possible, it’s not likely or easy, which downgrades the vulnerabilities to “high.” Users of any 3.x OpenSSL implementation, however, should patch as soon as possible. And everybody should be looking out for software and OS updates that may patch these issues in various subsystems.
    • Monitoring service Datadog, in a good summary of the issue, notes that its security research team was able to crash a Windows deployment using an OpenSSL 3.x version in a proof of concept. And while Linux deployments are not likely exploitable, “an exploit crafted for Linux deployments” could still emerge.
    • The National Cyber Security Centrum of the Netherlands (NCSL-NL) has a running list of vulnerable software to the OpenSSL 3.x exploit. Numerous popular Linux distributions, virtualization platforms, and other tools are listed as either vulnerable or under investigation.

— Play Wanderings Transition Bumper —

Bi-Weekly Wanderings

30 minutes (~5-8 mins each)

  • Bill
    • Well, the Nextcloud saga continues… Anyone who decides to embark on the de-googling adventure should understand that the journey will not be an easy one. Nextcloud is a fine Option, and arguably the most feature rich. I myself have been using Nextcloud for personal cloud storage for some time now. I use the Android app to back up my photos as well as other documents to my own Instance. I even use the WebDav functionality to sync my calendar and contacts to it. All of that runs fine, and because of my success with it I believed it was production ready enough to employ for use on this show. It seems as though I was over-zealous. 
    • A peek behind the curtain with regards to how we make this show would reveal that we use Google Drive to manage our show notes as well as a place to upload our show audio, which includes our discrete recordings as well as the completed .mp3. I’m quite certain that Nextcloud is fit for the purpose of storing the audio files, but an initial self-destructive dive into the deep end with the document management options of Nextcloud revealed the offering was either not ready to be deployed in the wild, or we venerable nerds of the Linux culture were simply not doing it right. 
    • One of the first shortcomings to be revealed was that the “default” Nextcloud Office option did not allow basic functionality such as “copy and paste.” This is vital functionality for our use case because we need to use it to add articles to the notes from News sites, and such. I’m still not sure if the reason we ran into this problem is because I’m running the Nextcloud behind an NGiNX reverse proxy. Nextcloud has to be set up with lots of extra faff when run behind a reverse proxy. The first solution I landed on was to install the “Edit with LibreOffice” app which basically allows users to edit files on the cloud with locally installed LibreOffice in real-time through WebDAV which essentially connects the app to the document on the cloud. Although this was an acceptable work-around for me, not everyone on the team uses LibreOffice, making the work-around unusable. The next option was to drop Nextcloud Office completely and go with the alternative “OnlyOffice” integration. This gave us back our copy and paste functionality, but an initial use revealed it isn’t going to be a painless evolution from Google Docs to Nextcloud. None of us are sure what actually happened, but during the copy and paste process some of the content on the Google Doc to the Nextcloud doc over-wrote some of the work that was only done on the Nextcloud document. I’m sure this wouldn’t have happened if we were all using the Nextcloud doc from start to finish, but at any rate, it’s clear there is a learning curve to be overcome if we are to brave this new world. 
    • Google feels like a drug addiction to me the way they make things work, that is seemingly a huge challenge to anyone wishing to break free of the dependence. Anyway, our struggle will continue, while perhaps less sudden. Watch this space – we’ll certainly have more to share on this subject in the future. I’m not giving up. Nextcloud is one of the darling free-software projects that I love to talk about. Watch this space. The saga will no doubt continue. Or, perhaps not – we’ll see.
  • Moss
    • I’ve had a few more teaching assignments since last show. However, things could be a lot thinner over the next two months, as there are a lot of holiday weeks off.
    • I also got my car back, it cost a lot but it was worth it. Still trying to find a house and figure out what we have to do to get it. 
    • Going through various distros on my various computers – I got OpenMandriva Lx 4.3 installed on a partition of the T540p now. For some reason, Ventoy won’t complete the installation, and a single stick does.
    • I have continued to have troubles losing my panel in Mint on two machines, quite frequently now. Restoring it actually resets it, and finally got upset enough that I have replaced Mint on my studio machine with Ubuntu MATE. After yesterday’s meeting and the issues with my microphone, I installed Mint 20.3 Cinnamon. Hope it’s working today. On my T560 I have replaced Mint MATE 20.3 with Mint Cinnamon 20.3.
    • With this episode, I have caught Harrison and Joe Ressington in the hosting list, and am only a couple episodes behind Leo. I will be gone next episode, as I will be playing music in – get this – Normal, Illinois, so it will be Episode 402 before I can once more add to my tally.
  • Joe
    • Not as much has been going on this time around as last time.  Mostly just the picking up and putting down of heavy things in a cautious manner as my elbow heals.  It’s just a bit of tennis elbow but it is painful and limiting. 
    • I did get a couple of things done though
    • I decided that I needed to get out of the house and see people so I went block walking for Beto.  Some people from when I was campaigning for school board approached me and asked me to help out.  It mostly involved driving to the house of people that were Dems that had not voted yet and reminding them of the last day to vote and also seeing if they were planning on supporting Beto.  Most houses were empty so it was just a matter of dropping off lit and marking the house in an application called ‘MiniVan’ which would then give me the next location that I needed to go to. 
    • I also pulled out the caliper and got started on the second series of DIY BT headsets and adapters.  I really enjoyed doing the last set of them even though I would have to consider the final iterations to be a failure since the buttons decided to quit working after a couple of days and since they were glued together I have no way to repair them without destroying them.  Though as a last gasp I may strip it down, see what needs fixed and then replace the buttons and reprint.
    • So far i have done two different headsets with the new sets of headsets that i was able to get for 3 dollars a piece 
    • The first one, I only 3D printed the neckband and I cut the ear pieces off and replaced them with an external 3.5mm female adapter.  These are then double sided taped to the headband and that worked very well for a very simple mod.  The sound quality is excellent with the MMCX headphones that I use with it.
    • The second one, I 3D printed a casing to go around the original casing and allow a space for a different battery and an internal 3.5mm female jack.  I also reused the printfile for the shirt clips from the last set and printed one of those and glued that to the back.  I also made sure that this time the casing was snap together instead of needing to be glued together so that I can do repairs or strip it for parts later if I decide that I don’t like it.  Also I was not able to find a battery that I want to use with it yet so that will need to get updated later.  This one was a little bulky and the clip stuck out a bit too far for comfort but it is still usable and I can use it as a BT adapter as well. 
    • The next one is going to have thinner walls on the print, a smaller shirt clip and should lose most of the original casing.  I like the buttons that are on this one and I think that with some work and some measuring I can incorporate that piece of plastic into the next one. 
    • I still have a few more of these to go through to try and get a version that I like and maybe enough to reproduce the final model.  I was not planning on doing another set after these 3 dollar ones because I did not think I would find anything cheaper.  Then I found a bunch of new ones for less than 2 dollars each. I got 6 of them for $11.11. They are a different brand but the boards might match the first ones I did, which would be interesting as there are some modifications that I would love to make.
    • But after that I have to find something new and different to do.  Maybe do some coding since it has been a long time.  Have to find something that I want to code though.  Unless i find some BT devices that are sub 1 dollar which seems unlikely
    • I do want to redesign the neck piece so that it is a bit stronger as i have my concerns and I would not mind making a version that has the whole package put together 
    • I got Octo4a working.  This is Octoprint for an android phone.  I had tried it on 2 older phones but it would not install correctly so I pulled out my backup phone which is the oneplus nord n200 running android 11.  I am going to grab the s7 that I have sitting around and see if that one works but for now using the oneplus I am able to use all the functionality of Octoprint.
      • I have set up so that I can load files into the micro sd card and start a print from another computer.  So I can slice and load it into the device from my main PC
      • It spins up a lot more quietly then it does on its own which is greatly appreciated
      • I am able to stream the video footage to any device to monitor my prints and I should be able to setup a recorded time lapse if I wish
      • I do still need to add some extensions and see how well they work.  Such as the extension for automatically stopping the print when you start to make spaghetti.
      • I also ended up using a USB C hub that I had planned for a different build so I am looking into another one to order that isn’t that expensive
  • Norbert
    • Btrfs is very nice, snapshots are very convenient
    • On my fourth attempt over two years, I finally got into Mastodon
    • Went to a friend’s house to install Linux yesterday
    • It’s that time of the year when I listen to metal
    • Podcasts:
      • Lateral by Tom Scott
      • Linux Daily by Niccolo Venerandi
      • The Opinion Dominion by JT Pennington and Jeff Propes

— Play Innards Transition Bumper —

Linux Innards

30 minutes (~5-8 minutes each)

  • Debian (Norbert)
    • Debian GNU/Linux is a community driven distribution and the second oldest, still actively maintained distro, only beaten by Slackware by about a month. Debian was founded by Ian Murdock on 16 Aug 1993 and was sponsored by the GNU project for one year between November 1994 and November 1995.
    • “the most significant distributor of Linux that is not a commercial entity, and the only large project with a constitution, social contract, and policy documents to organize the project”
    • “the only distribution which is ”micro packaged” using detailed dependency information regarding inter-package relationships to ensure system consistency across upgrades”
    • Debian 0.91 (January 1994)
  • “It had a primitive package system that allowed users to manipulate packages but that did little else (it certainly didn’t have dependencies or anything like that). By this time, there were a few dozen people working on Debian, though I was still mostly putting together the releases myself.”
  • No release in 1995, the year was spent with organising the project to make contribution easier
  • Debian 0.93 (multiple releases throughout 1995)
    • The first “modern” release, dpkg was used to install and maintain packages, about 60 devs
    • Members considered distributing source-only packages, packages would consist of upstream source + Debian patch file -> untar, apply patch and compile. Binary distribution was needed.
    • During the pre-production of 1.0, Ian Murdock stopped actively working on the project in March 1996, appointing Bruce Perens as the next leader, who had already been maintaining the base system for nearly a year.
    • The Debian Free Software Guidelines and the Debian social Contract were formed at this time. Bruce Perens also spearheaded the creation of the Software in the Public Interest Inc. non-profit organisation, which helps Debian and other similar organisations develop and distribute open software and hardware.
    • August 1995: Hartmut Koptein started the first port for Debian, for the Motorola m68k family, reporting that ”Many, many packages were i386-centric and it was a hard time to get a starting base of packages on my machine (Atari Medusa).
  • Debian 1.1 (June 1996)
    • What was called 1.0 during production was released as 1.1, this was to avoid confusion after a CD-ROM manufacturer mistakenly labelled an unreleased version as 1.0. This incident led to the concept of ”official” CD-ROM images, to help vendors avoid this kind of mistake.
    • Debian releases are named after Toy Story characters. Bruce was working at Pixar and at this time Toy Story had already been released.
    • 1.1 Buzz
    • 1.2 Rex
    • 1.3 Bo
    • Bruce Perens was replaced by Ian Jackson as Project Leader in January 1998
  • 2.0 Hamm (July 1998)
    • First multiarchitecture release: Intel i386 and Motorola 68000 series
  • 2.1 Slinky (March 1999)
    • Two more architectures: Alpha and SPARC
    • Project leader: Wichert Akkerman
    • 2250 packages on 2 CDs in the official set
    • Apt was introduced as a new package management interface
  • 2.2 Potato (August 2000)
    • New architectures: PPC and ARM
  • 3.0 Woody (July 2002)
    • New architectures: IA-64, HP PA-RISC, MIP and S/390
    • First release to include cryptographic software due to exportation being lightened in the US
    • Also first release to include KDE, with the Qt license issues were resolved
    • November 2002: Around 08:00 CET on November 20th, 2002, the University of Twente Network Operations Center (NOC) caught fire. The building burnt to the ground. The fire department gave up hope on protecting the server area. Among other things the NOC hosted satie.debian.org which contained both the security and non-US archive as well as the new-maintainer (nm) and quality assurance (qa) databases. Debian rebuilt these services on the host klecker, which was recently moved from the U.S.A. to the Netherlands.
  • 3.1 Sarge (June 2005)
    • No new archs, but there was an unofficial AMD64 port
    • New installer: debian-installer (automatic hardware detection)
    • First release with a full office suite, OpenOffice
    • Project leader: Branden Robinson
  • 4.0 Etch (April 2007)
    • AMD64 officially added as an architecture
    • 18000 binary packages over 20 CDs (3 DVDs) + 2CDs for other DEs
  • 5.0 Lenny (February 2009)
  • 6.0 Squeeze (February 2011)
    • introduced a dependency based boot sequence, which allowed for parallel init script processing, speeding system startup
  • 7 Wheezy (May 2013)
    • First release to support booting using UEFI firmware
  • 8 Jessie (April 2015)
    • Systemd as the init system
    • December 2015: Ian Murdock, the founder of the Debian Project and its community, died
  • 9 Stretch (June 2017)
    • Dedicated in the memory of Ian Murdock
    • PPC dropped
  • 10 Buster (July 2019)
    • Debian for the first time included a mandatory access control framework enabled per default (AppArmor)
    • first Debian release to ship with Rust based programs such as Firefox, ripgrep, fd, exa, etc. and a significant number
    • of Rust based libraries (more than 450)
  • 11 Bullseye (August 2021)
  • 12 Bookworm (sometime in 2023)
  • 13 Trixie (future)
  • 14 Forky (future)
  • Debian Code of Conduct
    •  Be respectful
    •  Assume good faith
    •  Be collaborative
    •  Try to be concise
    •  Be open
    •  In case of problems
  • Raspberry Pi OS / Raspbian (Joe)
    • Raspbian was first developed by Mike Thompson and Peter Green
    • Raspbian was first released in July 2012 as an unofficial port of Debian to the Raspberry Pi which has been around since February of the same year.  The Raspberry Pi Foundation built on this work and started producing and releasing their own version of it which became the official operating system of the Raspberry Pi.  The first release was officially announced on September 10th of 2013. 
    • One of the interesting things about Raspbian is that it was made to be compatible with all the versions of the Pi as the Pi was released.  So if you had an image and program that worked on the Pi B it would work on any other Pi all the way up through the Pi 4.
    • But then a new version of the OS was released, on May 28th, 2020, which was 64 bit beta and was not based on the original Raspbian build. So it was renamed to Raspberry Pi OS which the 32 bit version that is still based on the original Raspbian also adopted as the name of the OS.  The first official release was February 22nd of this year.
  • MEPIS/ AntiX/ MX (Joe)
    • MEPIS was first released in 2003 based on Debian. It was originally designed to be an alternative to SUSE, Red Hat and Mandrake.  It was developed by Warren Woodford and made to be simple enough for average users to reduce the barrier to entry for new users
    • In 2006 It made the transition from using Debian to using Ubuntu packages on the backend. But only for a couple of releases before going back to Debian.
    • This led to SimplyMEPIS which is designed for everyday desktop and laptop computing purposes. Released in May 2011 it did not last long and the final release was July 2013
    • AntiX was also a variant of MEPIS and is based on Debian Stable.  Made to be lightweight and considered to be suitable for older computers while using a modern kernel and applications.
      • Interesting to not that it does not ship with systemd support with SysVinit as the default
    • MX Linux was based on the various versions of Antix joined together by MEPIS in 2014 with the first public beta being released in November 2016
      • It is what i use for older 32 bit systems 
      • It uses Debian as the backend and while it does ship with systemd it is not enabled by default.  At least in the versions that i used to use
      • It was originally meant to fit onto a CD which limited the number applications that could be included but the limitation was lifted from later releases
  • Ubuntu (Moss)
    • You can’t talk about Ubuntu without first talking about Mark Shuttleworth.
    • Mark Shuttleworth obtained a Bachelor of Business Science degree in Finance and Information Systems at the University of Cape Town. As a student, he became involved in the installation of the first residential Internet connections at the university.
    • In September 2000, Shuttleworth formed HBD Venture Capital (Here be Dragons), a business incubator and venture capital provider now managed by Knife Capital.
    • In the 1990s, Shuttleworth participated as one of the developers of the Debian operating system. In 2001, he formed the Shuttleworth Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to social innovation which also funds educational, free, and open source software projects in South Africa, such as the Freedom Toaster.
    • In March 2004, he returned to the free-software world by forming Canonical Ltd., for the promotion and commercial support of free software projects and especially funding the development of Ubuntu, a Linux distribution based on Debian. In 2005, he founded the Ubuntu Foundation and made an initial investment of 10 million dollars. In the Ubuntu project, Shuttleworth is often referred to with the tongue-in-cheek title “Self-Appointed Benevolent Dictator for Life” (SABDFL). To come up with a list of names of people to hire for the project, Shuttleworth took six months of Debian mailing list archives with him while traveling to Antarctica aboard the icebreaker Kapitan Khlebnikov in early 2004. On 15 October 2006, Mark Shuttleworth became the first patron of KDE, the highest level of sponsorship available. This relationship ended in 2012, together with financial support for Kubuntu, the Ubuntu variant with KDE as main desktop.
    • Ubuntu is built on Debian’s architecture and infrastructure, based on Debian Testing, but adds a number of tools and utilities as well as making some proprietary software available. It comprises Linux server, desktop and the now-discontinued phone and tablet operating system versions. The phone and tablet version, Ubuntu Phone, has been picked up by the community, which has formed the UBPorts community. 
    • Ubuntu releases updated versions predictably every six months, and each release receives free support for nine months (eighteen months prior to 13.04) with security fixes, high-impact bug fixes and conservative, substantially beneficial low-risk bug fixes. The first release was in October 2004, and was numbered appropriately 04.10 (codenamed Warty Warthog). The first LTS release was 06.06 (Dapper Drake).
    • Ubuntu’s default desktop changed from GNOME 2 to the in-house developed Unity Desktop in 2007, but in 2017 was changed back to GNOME (3) for the release of version 17.10.
    • Ubuntu is released every six months, with long-term support (LTS) releases every two years. As of October 2022, the most-recent release is 22.10 (“Kinetic Kudu”), and the current long-term support release is 22.04 (“Jammy Jellyfish”).
    • Besides the regular Ubuntu distribution, various teams have re-engineered Ubuntu Core to work with other popular desktops. Most of these teams started out as community organizations, but many of them have become “official flavours”, including Kubuntu, Ubuntu MATE, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu Studio, Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu Kylin, and, with release 22.10, a community-driven Ubuntu Unity. There are others out there which are still unofficial. Most of these, such as Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix, have hopes of becoming official flavours; others, such as Rhino OS (a rolling distribution based on Ubuntu), have decided to remain outside the Canonical umbrella.
    • Many other distros are based on Ubuntu Core, the most popular being Linux Mint and Zorin OS, and other distros may be based on those, such as Feren OS.
    • Flavours
      • Ubuntu – the Main Distro, currently GNOME Desktop
      • Kubuntu – uses KDE Plasma Desktop
      • Xubuntu – uses Xfce Desktop
      • Lubuntu – used to use LXDE Desktop, now uses LXQt
      • Ubuntu Kylin – special Chinese desktop
      • Ubuntu Studio – supplies more tools for video and audio creators. Used to use Xfce Desktop, now uses KDE Plasma.
      • Ubuntu Budgie – uses Budgie Desktop, developed for Solus OS.
      • Ubuntu Unity – uses Unity Desktop, now in a new version also developed by Rudra Saraswat
      • Spins
      • Cinnamon Remix – uses Cinnamon Desktop, pioneered by Linux Mint. Current version is 20.04 LTS on download link, blog lists 22.04 and 22.10 versions.
      • Rhino Linux – Rolling distro. No desktop environment out of the box.
      • Ubuntu Phone – originally an official Canonical product, now maintained by the UBPorts Community. Uses a variant of Unity Desktop, currently being rewritten, retooled, and renamed as Lomiri.
  • Linux Mint (Bill)
    • According to Wikipedia, Linux Mint is a community-driven Linux distribution based on Ubuntu (which is in turn based on Debian), bundled with a variety of free and open-source applications. It can provide full out-of-the-box multimedia support for those who choose to include proprietary software such as multimedia codecs.
    • The Linux Mint project was created by Clément Lefèbvre and is actively maintained by the Linux Mint Team and community
    • Linux Mint 1.0 “Ada” was released in August of 2006
    • It wasn’t until the release of 3.0, “Cassandra” we started seeing the Mint Logo we know and love today.
    • One of the most effective “claims to fame” was that Mint came pre-installed with a full set of multimedia codecs that was the driving force behind its reputation. 
    • Although the distro almost immediately began gathering a strong user-base, Mint wasn’t considered the most stable Linux distro out there. Many attribute this to the fact that it was initially based on Kubuntu Dapper. It was for this reason Clem released Mint 2.0 “Barbara” – based on Ubuntu 6.10 “Edgy Eft” later the same year as Ada, which was a considerable improvement in stability.
    • Mint enjoyed some success in the early years presumably because of the Windows release of “Vista” which to this day is not considered one of Microsoft’s bright shining achievements. It was because of Mint’s effort to make the distribution comfortable for users accustomed to the Windows paradigm, many early adopters used it rather than Ubuntu itself. 
    • 2011 Linux Mint 12 “Lisa” was a significant release, as it was the first version to sport the Desktop Environment MATE. MATE, pronounced ma-tay and named after the South American beverage Mate, is a fork from the popular GNOME 2 desktop that became popular due to controversy over GNOME 3’s new design and operation.
    • 2012 Shortly after the release of Mint 12, Mint 13 “Maya”, a Long Term Support version, was released, which was the first to introduce the Cinnamon desktop. KDE and Xfce were still options as well at this point.
    • 2013 Linux Mint 15 “Olivia” arrived, based on Ubuntu 13.04 and sporting a choice of Desktop Environments. Cinnamon and MATE were the defaults, MATE designed for older systems, while Cinnamon for more powerful, modern computers. KDE and Xfce were also available, covering a wealth of user preferences.
    • On February 20, 2016, the Linux Mint website was breached by unknown hackers who briefly replaced download links for a version of Linux Mint with a modified version containing malware. The hackers also breached the database of the website’s user forum. Linux Mint immediately took its server offline and implemented enhanced security configuration for their website and forum.
    • Each Mint release is given a version number and a female, Eastern-European name, ending in “a.”
    • In the beginning, there were two Linux Mint releases per year. Following the release of Linux Mint 5 in 2008, every fourth release was labeled a long-term support (LTS) release.
    • On May 31, 2014, with the release of Linux Mint 17, the Linux Mint team adopted a new release strategy. Starting with the release of Mint 17, all future versions were planned to use a LTS version of Ubuntu as a base, until 2016. Under this strategy, Mint 17.1 was released on November 29, 2014, Mint 17.2 was released on June 30, 2015, and Mint 17.3 was released on December 4, 2015. The 17.x releases are intended to be an easy, optional upgrade. All three versions included upgrades to the Cinnamon and MATE Desktop Environments and various Mint tools. In addition, Mint 17.2 and 17.3 included an upgrade to the LibreOffice suite. The 18.x series follows the pattern set by the 17.x series, by using Ubuntu 16.04 LTS as a base. This is the pattern that is still in place as of today
    • The latest release is Linux Mint 21 “Vanessa”, released on July 31, 2022. As an LTS release, it will be supported until 2027.
    • As of Linux Mint 13, there are two main editions developed by the core development team and using Ubuntu as a base. One includes Linux Mint’s own Cinnamon as the desktop environment while the other uses MATE. There is also a version with the Xfce desktop environment by default. Since the release of version 19 (Tara) in June 2018, the three editions are released simultaneously.
    • LMDE is a second, alternative version of Linux Mint that uses Debian stable as a back-end rather than Ubuntu.
    • Users would notice a similarity between the two versions in terms of look and feel, but that’s where much of the similarity ends.
    • LMDE is simply the added customizations of Mint on top of a Debian base.
    • While opinions abound concerning whether LMDE is an improvement or not over the default version a couple of things are clear and should be considered when deciding whether or not a user should install LMDE:
      • 1.  LMDE requires a deeper knowledge and experience with Linux and Debian package management.
      • 2.  Debian is less user-friendly and desktop-ready than Ubuntu, with some rough edges.
    • Beginning with the release of Linux Mint 19, the KDE edition was officially discontinued; however, the KDE 17.x and 18.x releases were supported until 2019 and 2021, respectively. Older releases, now also obsolete, included editions that featured the GNOME, LXDE, and Fluxbox desktop environments by default.
    • Some Final Thoughts:
    • Mint was not the first distro I (Bill) ever installed, however it is the first distro I used in the wild. Much of the reason for that was the out-of-the-box availability of many multimedia codecs needed to watch videos and listen to mp3’s, as Ubuntu didn’t ship with these in the early days. As time went on, and eventually Ubuntu started shipping with the necessary codecs, some began to question the relevance of a distro like Mint in the Linux desktop space, those questions were once again answered when the Gnome project arguably went off the rails with Gnome 3, a complete re-imagining of the desktop metaphor. The Mint team was prompt to introduce two usable offerings to the desktop space; Cinnamon, which was based on the new GTK 3, and MATE which was at the time based on the still relevant GTK 2. MATE has since moved on to more recent versions of the GTK+ toolkit. Mint continues to maintain its relevance by offering a well-curated desktop experience that “just works” ignoring the usual hype surrounding new technologies, and changing tool-chains. Mint continues to be a solid option for the general-purpose Linux desktop user.
  1. History of Linux Mint «. (n.d.). TOP NEW Review. Retrieved November 6, 2022, from https://topnewreview.com/history-of-linux-mint/
  2. Wikipedia contributors. (2022, November 4). Linux Mint. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_Mint

Next Episode:

  • Arch
    • 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.
    • Manjaro JOE
      • Manjaro was first made in july 2011 and stayed in beta through 2013
      • Although Manjaro is arch based and arch compatible it is not Arch Linux
        • It is developed independently from Arch by a separate team
        • It is designed to be usable by new users while arch is made for experienced users
        • Has independent repositories and contains many software packages not provided by arch
      • After version 0.90 at the end of August 2015 the team decided to switch to year and month designations for the version scheme instead of numbers.  
      • In 2017 Manjaro dropped support for x86 systems which lead to the community project “manjaro32” which continued the 32bit support
      • There are 3 official Manjaro editions maintained by the Manjaro devs
        • XFCE
        • KDE Plasma
        • Gnome
      • But there are many more community maintained versions that are also available
        • Awesome
        • Bspwm
        • Budgie
        • I3
        • LXDE
        • LXQt
        • MATE
        • Openbox
    • Bridge Linux
    • Antergos / Endeavour
    • ArcoLinux
    • Garuda
  • Other Indies
    • Solus
    • Gentoo
  • LFS
  • Did we cover Gentoo?

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