"CrunchBang Linux is a Debian based distro with the Openbox window manager on top of it. So it is Debian under the hood with Openbox on the surface," says distro supporter Larry Cafiero. A glance through the #! (CrunchBang) forums showed an exceptionally fast response rate to problems posted there, so even if you haven't heard of #! (it's not in the DistroWatch Top 10), it has a strong and dedicated user community -- which is one of the major keys to success for any open source project. In order to learn more about #! Linux (and to share what he learned), Timothy Lord pointed his camcorder at Larry during LinuxFest Northwest and made this video record of their conversation.
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An anonymous reader writes "While complementing Debian APT/DPKG, Canonical is now developing their own package format. The new package format has promised highlights of having no dependencies between applications, each package would install to its own directory, root support wouldn't always be required, and overall a more self-contained and easier approach for developers than it stands now for Debian/Ubuntu packages. The primary users of the new packaging system would be those distributing applications built on the Ubuntu Touch/Phone SDK. The initial proof-of-concept package management system is written in Python and uses JSON representation." This quote from the post by Canonical's Colin Watson bears repeating: "We'll continue to use dpkg and apt for building the Ubuntu operating system, syncing with Debian, and so on."
An anonymous reader writes "Right on the heels of Debian's 7.0 ('Wheezy') release, the Aptosid team is proud to announce the immediate availability of the 2013-01 release. Aptosid is a rolling release built on top of Debian's most modern branch Sid, providing the most up-to-date kernel available with patches and stabilization not yet seen in mainline, along with many patched Debian packages, all while maintaining 100% compatibility with upstream Debian (unlike other distros based on Debian). If you think Debian Stable is too old to be useful, give Atposid a spin!"
First time accepted submitter anarcat writes "After two years since the last Debian release (6.0, nicknamed "squeeze"), the Debian release team has finally published Debian 7.0 (nicknamed "Wheezy"). A newly created blog has details on the release, which features multi-arch support (e.g. you can now install packages for both i386 and amd64 on the same install), improvements to multimedia support (no need for third party repositories!) and improved security through hardening flags. Debian 7.0 also ships with the controversial Gnome 3 release, and the release notes explicitly mention how to revert to the more familiar 'Gnome classic' interface. Finally, we can also mention the improved support for virtualization infrastructure with pre-built images available for Amazon EC2, Windows Azure and Google Compute Engine. Debian 7.0 also ships with the OpenStack suite and the Xen Cloud Platform. More details on the improvements can be found in the release notes and the Debian wiki." An anonymous reader points out (from the announcement) that "[t]he installation process has been greatly improved: Debian can now be installed using software speech, above all by visually impaired people who do not use a Braille device. Thanks to the combined efforts of a huge number of translators, the installation system is available in 73 languages, and more than a dozen of them are available for speech synthesis too. In addition, for the first time, Debian supports installation and booting using UEFI for new 64-bit PCs (amd64), although there is no support for Secure Boot yet."
First time accepted submitter jimshatt writes "I want my kids to play around with programming languages. To teach them basic concepts like loops and subroutines and the likes. My 8-year-old daughter in particular. I've tried Scratch and some other visual languages, but I think she might be turned off by the English language. Having to learn English as well as a programming language at the same time might be just a little too much. I'd really like to have a programming language that is easy to learn, and localized or localizable. Preferably cross-platform, or browser-based, so she can show her work at school (Windows) as well as work on in at home (Debian Linux). By the way, she speaks Dutch and Danish, so preferably one of those languages (but if it's localizable I can translate it myself). Any suggestions?"
An anonymous reader writes with this good news from the Debian developers who have been working hard to release the next version of the distro: "We now have a target date of the weekend of 4th/5th May for the release. We have checked with core teams, and this seems to be acceptable for everyone. This means we are able to begin the final preparations for a release of Debian 7.0 — 'Wheezy'. The intention is only to lift the date if something really critical pops up that is not possible to handle as an errata, or if we end up technically unable to release that weekend (e.g. a required machine crashes or d-i explodes in a giant ball of fire). Every other RC fix that does not make it in time will be r1 material. Please be sure to contact us about the RC fixes you would like included in the point release!" Of particular interest to casual users, from the list of changes in 7.0: "Debian wheezy comes with full-featured libav (formerly ffmpeg) libraries and frontends, including e.g. mplayer, mencoder, vlc and transcode. Additional codec support is provided e.g. through lame for MP3 audio encoding, xvidcore for MPEG-4 ASP video encoding, x264 for H.264/MPEG-4 AVC video encoding, vo-aacenc for AAC audio encoding and opencore-amr and vo-amrwbenc for Adaptive Multi-Rate Narrowband and Wideband encoding and decoding, respectively. For most use cases, installation of packages from third-party repositories should not be necessary anymore. The times of crippled multimedia support in Debian are finally over!"
An anonymous reader writes "In preparation for the "Steam Box" game console that will make necessary their own Linux-based software platform, Valve developers have started publishing Debian packages for their platform which looks like their first-generation operating system will be derived from Ubuntu 12.04.2 LTS. So far the packages being published include a new "Plymouth" boot splash screen as the operating system loads, a Steam desktop wallpaper, auto-updating system scripts, and experimental NVIDIA Linux graphics drivers."
jrepin writes "KDE is proud to announce the first release (1.0.0) of Plasma Media Center. Built on Plasma and KDE technologies. Designed to offer a rich experience to media enthusiasts. KDE's Plasma Media Center (PMC) is aimed towards a unified media experience on PCs, Tablets, Netbooks, TVs and other devices. Plasma Media Center can be used to view images, play music or watch videos. Media files can be on the local filesystem or accessed with KDE's Desktop Search." The screenshots look OK. You have to build it yourself to try it (looks easy on Ubuntu but not Debian unstable because of a few missing dev packages).
mask.of.sanity writes "Kali, the sixth installment of the BackTrack operating system has been launched. The platform is a favorite of hackers and penetration testers and has been entirely rebuilt to become more secure, transparent and customizable. Metasploit too has been rebuilt to be more stable with an optional noob-friendly interface. Kali even works on ARM devices and comes ready to go for your Raspberry Pi." The big new feature is that it's been repackaged as a flavor of Debian, instead of using their own custom packaging magic.
New submitter emilcho writes with news for anyone looking for a Free alternative to Skype "Among the most prominent new features people will find quality multi-party video conferences for XMPP, audio device hot-plugging, support for Outlook presence and calls, an overhauled user interface and support for the Opus and VP8 audio/video codec. Jitsi has lately shaped into one of the more viable open Skype Alternatives with features such as end-to-end ZRTP encryption for audio and video calls. The 2.0 version has been in the works for almost a year now, so this is an important step for the project." There are prebuilt packages for Debian, Ubuntu, Arch, Fedora, Windows, and OS X.
An anonymous reader writes "Gaming on Linux is growing fast right now, and most of that is thanks to Steam. Initially, Steam committed only to the most popular desktop distribution, Ubuntu, but more recently has opened the door to others. So what do you do when you want to game in Linux and you're using something a little less popular — at least, on the desktop? If you're a programmer called GhostSquad57, you rewrite the installer for Debian. GhostSquad57 uploaded his efforts to Github yesterday, and has since reached out to the Linux community."
sfcrazy writes "According to the new trademark policy, Debian logos and marks may now be used freely for both non-commercial and commercial purposes. Stefano Zacchiroli, current Debian Project Leader and one of the main promoters of the new trademark policy, said 'Software freedoms and trademarks are a difficult match. We all want to see well-known project names used to promote free software, but we cannot risk they will be abused to trick users into downloading proprietary spyware. With the help of SPI and SFLC, we have struck a good balance in our new trademark policy. Among other positive things, it allows all sorts of commercial use; we only recommend clearly informing customers about how much of the sale price will be donated to Debian.'"
An anonymous reader writes "With work done by ARM and Linaro, there is now a bootable image of Debian/Ubuntu that works for ARM64, the new 64-bit ARM architecture. There are still some caveats and work ahead, but Linux is once again the first platform that has software ready to run on a new architecture when released. This 64-bit ARM Linux support also includes the ability to run 32-bit ARM software side-by-side." You can grab a bootable rootfs, but there's no hardware to actually run it on now (the developers are using the free-as-in-beer simulator from ARM). Kernel support for the architecture was released around a year ago; this is more a tale of getting from a bootable kernel to a bootable operating system.
An anonymous reader writes "The first release candidate of Debian Installer 7.0 Wheezy was released this week. Debian 7.0 is set to introduce a number of new features including optional systemd support, a real-time Linux kernel option, UEFI installation support, and the Debian Installer now supports WPA/WPA2 wireless networks. More Debian 7.0 features are listed on the Debian Wiki and the 7.0 RC1 installer can be downloaded at Debian.org." Update: 02/21 16:12 GMT by S : Changed headline and summary to reflect that it was the Installer release candidate, not the distribution.
hypnosec writes "Mojang has officially released Minecraft: Pi Edition for the credit card sized Raspberry Pi. Back in November, Minecraft was ported to the Raspberry Pi, and it was revealed that Mojang would release a free version of the game. The game is completely free and is now available for download. Even though the game will carry only a limited set of features, the cost and complexity of building and hosting a Minecraft LAN-party has definitely dropped." From the looks of it, you should be able to run it on any ARM system that can run Debian Wheezy. More generally, the idea of a tiny box you can just turn on and have a server for a bzflag, Quake, etc. tournament is appealing.
An anonymous reader writes "Hurd, the GNU micro-kernel project that was founded by Richard Stallman in 1983, may finally be catching up with Linux on the desktop... Plans were shared by its developers to finally bring in some modern functionality by working on support for Serial ATA drives, USB support, and sound cards. There are also ambitions to provide x86-64 CPU architecture support. GNU Hurd developers will be doing an unofficial Debian GNU/Hurd 'Wheezy' release this year but they hope for the Debian 'Jessie' release their micro-kernel in Debian will make it as part of some official CDs."
An anonymous reader writes "The Arch Linux distribution has been modified to run off the FreeBSD 9.0 kernel as an alternative to using Linux. The developer of Arch BSD explained his reasoning as enjoying FreeBSD while also liking the Arch Linux philosophy of a 'fast, lightweight, optimized distro,' so he sought to combine the two operating systems to have FreeBSD at its core while being encircled by Arch. The Arch BSD initiative is similar to Debian GNU/kFreeBSD."
hypnosec writes "The Free Software Foundation is on an offensive against restricted boot systems and is busy appealing for donations and pledge in the form of signatures in a bid to stop systems such as the UEFI SecureBoot from being adopted on a large-scale basis and becoming a norm in the future. The FSF, through an appeal on its website, is requesting users to sign a pledge titled 'Stand up for your freedom to install free software' that they won't be purchasing or recommending for purchase any such system that is SecureBoot enabled or some other form of restricted boot techniques. The FSF has managed to receive, as of this writing, over 41,000 signatures. Organizations like the Debian, Edoceo, Zando, Wreathe and many others have also showed their support for the campaign."
dotancohen writes "I am tasked with building a few Linux machines for a small office. However, many the currently available motherboards seem to be Linux-hostile. For instance, in addition to the whole UEFI issue, my last install was a three-day affair due to the motherboard reporting a Linux-supported ethernet device (the common RTL8168) while it was actually using a GbE Ethernet device that does not work with the legacy drivers and didn't even work with a test Windows 7 install until the driver disk was installed. There are no current hardware compatibility lists for Debian or Ubuntu and I've received from Asus and Gigabyte the expected reply: No official Linux support, install Windows for best experience. I even turned to the two large local computer vendors, asking if they could provide Linux-compatible machines ready to go, but neither of them would be of any help. What globally-available motherboards or motherboard manufacturers can you recommend today?"
After two years of work, Debian m68k has working build servers, and is slowly working through the backlog of stale packages. "Contrary to some rumours which I've had to debunk over the years, the m68k port did not go into limbo because it was kicked out of the archive; instead, it did because recent versions of glibc require support for thread-local storage, a feature that wasn't available on m68k, and nobody with the required time, willingness, and skill set could be found to implement it. This changed a few years back, when some people wrote the required support, because they were paid to do so in order to make recent Linux run on ColdFire processors again. Since ColdFire and m68k processors are sufficiently similar, that meant the technical problem was solved. However, by that time we'd fallen so far behind that essentially, we needed to rebootstrap the port all over again. Doing that is nontrivial, and most of the m68k porters team just didn't have the time or willingness anymore to work on this; and for a while, it seemed like the m68k port was well and truly dead." The tales of acquiring the needed hardware are pretty interesting (one machine is an Amiga in a custom tower case).