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Debian Announces The Best Linux Distros for 2017 ( 224

Friday published their list of "what might well be the best Linux distributions to be found from the ever-expanding crop of possibilities... according to task." Here's their winners (as chosen by Jack Wallen), along with a short excerpt of his analysis.
  • Best distro for sysadmins : Parrot Linux. "Based on Debian and offers nearly every penetration testing tool you could possibly want. You will also find tools for cryptography, cloud, anonymity, digital forensics, programming, and even productivity."
  • Best lightweight distribution: LXLE. "Manages to combine a perfect blend of small footprint with large productivity."
  • Best desktop distribution: Elementary OS "I'm certain Elementary OS Loki will do the impossible and usurp Linux Mint from the coveted 'best desktop distribution' for 2017."
  • Best Linux for IoT: Snappy Ubuntu Core "Can already be found in the likes of various hacker boards (such as the Raspberry Pi) as well as Erle-Copter drones, Dell Edge Gateways, Nextcloud Box, and LimeSDR."
  • Best non-enterprise server distribution: CentOS. "Since 2004, CentOS has enjoyed a massive community-driven support system."
  • Best enterprise server distribution: SUSE. "Don't be surprised if, by the end of 2017, SUSE further chips away at the current Red Hat market share."

Wallen also chose Gentoo for "Best distribution for those with something to prove," saying "This is for those who know Linux better than most and want a distribution built specifically to their needs... a source-based Linux distribution that starts out as a live instance and requires you to then build everything you need from source." And surprisingly, he didn't mention his own favorite Linux distro, Bodhi Linux, which he describes elsewhere as "a melding of Ubuntu and Enlightenment".


Penetration-Testing Distro Kali Linux 2016.2 Released ( 54

prisoninmate writes: What's Kali Linux 2016.2? Well, it's an updated Live ISO image of the popular GNU/Linux distribution designed for ethical hackers and security professionals who want to harden the security of their networks, which contains the latest software versions and enhancements for those who want to deploy the OS on new systems. It's been quite some time since the last update to the official Kali Linux Live ISOs and new software releases are announced each day, which means that the packages included in the previous Kali Linux images are very old, and bugs and improvements are always implemented in the most recent versions of the respective security tools. Best of all, the new Kali Linux 2016.2 release comes in KDE, MATE, Xfce, LXDE, and Enlightenment E17 flavors.
Their blog also points out that Kali recently appeared in an episode of Mr. Robot.

Fresh Wayland Experiences With Weston, GNOME, KDE and Enlightenment 133

jones_supa writes: Software developer Pavlo Rudyi has written a blog post about his experiences with the various desktop environments currently supporting Wayland. The results are not a big surprise, but nevertheless it is great to see the continued interest in Wayland and the ongoing work by many different parties in ensuring that Wayland will eventually be able to dominate the Linux desktop. To summarize, Pavlo found Weston to be "good," GNOME is "perfect," KDE is "bad," and Enlightenment is "good." He also created a video from his testing. Have you done any testing? What's your experience?

Enlightenment E20 Released With Full Wayland Support ( 56

An anonymous reader writes: Enlightenment DR 0.20 has been released. The most significant change is full Wayland support where E20 can act as its own Wayland compositor and the whole shebang. Enlightenment 0.20 also has better FreeBSD support, introduces Geolocation support, new screen management, and other changes.

Enlightenment Mysteriously Drops Wayland Support 152

jones_supa writes: According to Enlightenment 0.19.12's release notes, it's an important release that fixes over 40 issues, which is quite something, considering that previous versions had only a few improvements, with most of them being minor. However, the big news is that 0.19.12 drops support for the Wayland display server. Unfortunately, the Enlightenment developers have omitted to mention why they decided to remove any form of support for Wayland from this release, and if it will return in upcoming releases of the software.

When Schools Overlook Introverts 307

Esther Schindler writes: A few years ago, Susan Cain's book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking seemed to give the world a bit of enlightenment about getting the most out of people who don't think they should have to be social in order to succeed. For a while, at least some folks worked to respect the needs and advantages of introversion, such as careful, reflective thinking based on the solitude that idea-generation requires.

But in When Schools Overlook Introverts, Michael Godsey writes, "The way in which certain instructional trends — education buzzwords like "collaborative learning" and "project-based learning" and "flipped classrooms" — are applied often neglect the needs of introverts. In fact, these trends could mean that classroom environments that embrace extroverted behavior — through dynamic and social learning activities — are being promoted now more than ever." It's a thoughtful article, worth reading. As I think many people on slashdot will agree, Godsley observes, "This growing emphasis in classrooms on group projects and other interactive arrangements can be challenging for introverted students who tend to perform better when they're working independently and in more subdued environments."
Open Source

OpenSUSE 13.2 Released 42

MasterPatricko writes The latest version of the openSUSE distribution, 13.2, has been officially released. Key features include integrated support for filesystem snapshots, enabled by a switch to btrfs as the default file system, a new network manager (Wicked), as well as the usual version updates. This release includes seven supported desktop environments (KDE 4.14, GNOME 3.14, Xfce, LXDE, Enlightenment 19, Mate and Awesome) and even preview packages of Plasma 5.1, all presented with a unified openSUSE theme. Download LiveUSB and DVD images now from

Samsung 'Smart' Camera Easily Hackable 62

An anonymous reader writes "The blog has a post about the incredibly poor job Samsung did securing its new NX300 'smart camera.' One of the camera's primary features is that it can join Wi-Fi networks — this lets it upload photos, but it also lets you use your smartphone to access the photos on the camera directly. You can also connect with NFC. Unfortunately, the way they set it up is extremely insecure. First, there's an NFC tag that tells the camera where to download the app, and also the name of the access point set up by the camera. 'The tag is writable, so a malicious user can easily 'hack' your camera by rewriting its tag to download some evil app, or to open nasty links in your web browser, merely by touching it with an NFC-enabled smartphone.' Things aren't much better with Wi-Fi — a simple port scan reveals that the camera is running an unprotected X server (running Enlightenment). When the camera checks for new firmware, it helpfully reports your physical location. Its software also sets up unencrypted access points."

Enlightenment E19 To Have Full Wayland Support 140

An anonymous reader writes "Full Wayland support has been added to Enlightenment 0.19. Building upon earlier Wayland support, Enlightenment can now act as its own Wayland compositor by communicating directly with the kernel's DRM drivers instead of having to rely upon Weston. The Wayland support is still considered experimental but it's now the first Linux desktop with full Wayland support." Quick README on building and using it.

Enlightenment E19 Pre-Alpha Released 89

An anonymous reader writes "While it took over a decade for E17 to come out, Enlightenment E19 is being readied for release just two months after E18's debut. The Enlightenment DR 0.19 update has a rewritten compositor that can fully act as its own Wayland compositor (not dependent upon Weston). The update integrates OpenGL canvas filters support, contains many bug-fixes, and has other improvements for both X11 and Wayland users. The 1.9.0 alpha1 pre-release was issued today as the initial testing version of the new window manager."

Galileo: Right On the Solar System, Wrong On Ice 206

carmendrahl writes "Famed astronomer Galileo Galilei is best known for taking on the Catholic Church by championing the idea that the Earth moves around the sun. But he also engaged in a debate with a philosopher about why ice floats on water. While his primary arguments were correct, he went too far, belittling legitimate, contradictory evidence given by his opponent, Ludovico delle Colombe. Galileo's erroneous arguments during the water debate are a useful reminder that the path to scientific enlightenment is not often direct and that even our intellectual heroes can sometimes be wrong."

13 Years After DeCSS Case, Congressional IT Endorses VLC 106

New submitter robp writes "After a link to VLC showed up in one of HBO's DMCA takedown requests, I recalled how often I've linked to VLC in my own copy, and how often I've seen that app noted across traditional-media outlets — even though you could make the same arguments against linking to it that Judge Kaplan bought in 2000. Now, though, even the House's own IT department not only links to this CSS-circumventing app but endorses it. Question is, what led to this enlightenment?"

Enlightenment Terminal Allows Video Playback, PDF Viewing 114

An anonymous reader writes "The E17 Enlightenment project has released a new version of its Terminology terminal emulator. With Terminology 0.3 comes several fancy features, including the ability to preview video files, images, and PDF files from within the terminal. There's new escape sequences, inline video playback, and other features to this terminal emulator that's only built on EFL and libc."

Book Review: Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief 353

benrothke writes "In its first week, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief was #3 on the New York Times Best Sellers list and will likely be #1 soon. The fact that the book is in print is somewhat miraculous given the voracious appetite Scientology has for litigation. It is the first time that such an expose could have been written and found such wide-scale reading. An interesting analysis of this fact is found in Why the Media Is No Longer Afraid of Scientology by Kim Masters. But as mesmerizing an expose as the book is, I doubt that this will be more than a speed bump to Scientology's growth and fund raising." Keep reading to be clear about what Ben has to say.

After 12 years of Development, E17 Is Out 259

The Enlightenment front page bears this small announcement: "E17 release HAS HAPPENED!" The release announcement is remarkably spartan — it's mostly a tribute to the dozens of contributors who have worked on the software itself and on translating it into many languages besides system-default English. On the other hand, if you've been waiting since December 2000 for E17 (also known as Enlightenment 0.17), you probably have some idea that Enlightenment is a window manager (or possibly a desktop environment: the developers try to defuse any dispute on that front, but suffice it to say that you can think of it either way), and that the coders are more interested in putting out the software that they consider sufficiently done than in incrementing release numbers. That means they've made some side trips along the way, Knuth-like, to do things like create an entire set of underlying portable libraries. The release candidate changelog of a few days ago gives an idea of the very latest changes, but this overview shows and tells what to expect in E17. If you're among those disappointed in the way some desktop environments have tended toward simplicity at the expense of flexibility, you can be sure that Enlightenment runs the other way: "We don't go quietly into the night and remove options when no one is looking. None of those new big version releases with fanfare and "Hey look! Now with half the options you used to have!". We sneak in when you least expect it and plant a whole forest of new option seeds, watching them spring to life. We nail new options to walls on a regular basis. We bake options-cakes and hand them out at parties. Options are good. Options are awesome. We have lots of them. Spend some quality time getting to know your new garden of options in E17. It may just finally give you the control you have been pining for."

Call for Questions: Rasterman, Founder of the Enlightenment Project 124

Since before all other interfaces, Enlightenment has been making computers look and feel like they're from the future. On December 21, the decade long effort to rewrite Enlightenment will see the first officially stable release. With e17 a few days away, project founder and master of X11 graphics hacking Carsten Haitzler (the Rasterman) has agreed to answer your questions. Ask as many questions as you like, but only one per post please.

Book Review: Version Control With Git, 2nd Edition Screenshot-sm 116

kfogel writes "Two thumbs up, and maybe a tentacle too, on Version Control with Git, 2nd Edition by Jon Loeliger and Matthew McCullough. If you are a working programmer who wants to learn more about Git, particularly a programmer familiar with a Unix-based development environment, then this is the book for you, hands down (tentacles down too, please)." Read below for the rest of Karl's review.

Rasterman On The Impending Release of Enlightenment 17 117

In development for the better part of the last decade, the 0.17 release of the Enlightenment window manager is slated for November 5th. Leading up to this, the H has an enlightening interview with project lead Rasterman on what to expect. From the article: "Today Enlightenment offers most of what you get from GNOME and KDE, and probably the same if not a bit more than XFCE. It just doesn't try and ship a suite of apps with it. It is the desktop (Window manager, settings, file manager, application launching and management) minus the apps. ... The biggest thing E17 brings to the table is universal compositing. This means you can use a composited desktop without any GPU acceleration at all, and use it nicely. We don't rely on software fallback implementations of OpenGL. We literally have a specific software engine that is so fast that some developers spent weeks using it accidentally, not realizing they had software compositing on their setup."

OpenGL Becoming a Requirement For the Linux Desktop 229

An anonymous reader writes "Modern Linux desktops like Ubuntu's Unity and the GNOME Shell have placed a requirement on OpenGL 2.0+ support for handling their compositing window managers and desktop effects. Wayland's Weston also needs OpenGL ES 2.0 support. Now with modern Linux distributions like Ubuntu 12.10, rather than falling back to a 2D unaccelerated desktop if you don't have a sufficient GPU or graphics driver, users are being forced to run LLVMpipe as a CPU-based software rasterizer. LLVMpipe works fine if you are on a new PC with a fast x86-64 CPU, but the OpenGL-based Linux desktops are causing growing pains for ARM hardware, virtual machines, servers, multi-seat computers, and of course all older hardware. LLVMpipe is a Mesa Gallium3D driver that uses LLVM for run-time code generation as an attempt at accelerating graphics faster on the CPU. So much for Linux being good for old computers?" The KMS based graphics stack is already effectively unusable on AGP systems (if you have SMP + AGP, there are race conditions somewhere leading to really hard crashes that appeared a couple of years ago and dozens of years old open bugs with no resolution other than "use PCI mode" which cuts bus bandwidth by 4 or 8 times, and still doesn't work with SMP), but for those with older PCIe/IGP systems you could always runs Window Maker, Sawfish, Enlightenment, Open Box, or one of many other window managers without a compositor. Of course then you lose compositing, and there aren't any usable external compositors for some reason. The flipside to this is that moving to OpenGL as the primary interface to the GPU means one fewer driver that has to be written, and will probably lead to an overall improved experience for those with supported hardware given the limited resources Free Software drivers authors have.

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