Author Archives: Ferdinand Thommes

Release Notes for siduction 2017.1.0

Today we are proud to release siduction 2017.1.0 with the flavours KDE, LXQt, GNOME, Cinnamon, MATE, XFCE, LXDE, Xorg and noX. The fact that Debian is in deep freeze for Debian 9 »Stretch« allows us to release the whole stack. As I posted before not too long ago, we planned the release before going to CLT-Conference on 11./12. of March, and voila – here it is.

The released images are a snapshot of Debian unstable, that also goes by the name of Sid, from 2017-05-03. They are enhanced with some useful packages and scripts, a brand new installer and a custom patched version of the linux-kernel 4.10, accompanied by X-Server 1.19.2-1 and systemd 232-19.

Retiring the 32-bit architecture
As already mentioned in the news section, with this release we are retiring the 32bit architecture. The work that takes to build and maintain that architecture is in our humble opinion better put in other places. Users that still need 32-bit can come talk to us and we will try to find a solution for these particular cases.

New Installer
Work on the new installer built from the Calamares Installer Framework, which we are very happy about was pretty much straight forward. So, with this new release, our old installer, that was often critisized as not being very clear in its graphical appearance, is being retired and Calamares takes its place.

UEFI installs made easy
With Calamares we can offer full implementation of UEFI-Installs, which were still a bit cumbersome with the old installer. Besides that it offers almost everything, the old installer did. For now we have turned off encryption with LUKS, which Calamares offers as an option. We want to be on top of that feature before we offer it to you. Offering it means we need to be able to support this critical functionality. We do not feel we can do this adequatly at the moment, but we will further look into it for our next release.

Shortcomings
What Calamares cannot do at this point of its development is LVM, but that is being worked on. so hopefully when we feel comfortable with encryption in the installer, LVM will be ready and they can go hand in hand. That leaves two things that will not be included in the new installer. One is the option to turn on SSH before installing the system. Calamares does not offer that and before writing a calamares module for this, we decided to just build 2 small packages to turn SSH on and off. They are aptly named SSH Activate and SSH Deactivate and you can find them in your menu.

We also need to mention a bug in the KDE Partition Manager that is used by calamares. If you chose a partition, lets say, sda6 to install and there is partitions beyond sda6, you might end up with your install being named anything bigger than sda6, like e.g. sda8. That means that the names of partitions beyond sda6 might be garbledS. This could be annoying for some users, but it has no other ill effect. We hope this gets fixed soon.

Non-free software
The other option that the installer does not offer anymore is the decision is to opt-out to allow software to be installed that does not comply with DFSG, the Debian Free Software Guidelines. If you did not use the opt-out, non-free packages with non-free-firmware enabling your wifi were installed on the system. As there is no option to do that in Calamares, for now we have added a script called remove-nonfree to siduction-scripts, that will remove any non-free packages during installation. A list of the packages involed can be seen below. The command apt purge $(vrms -s) will also list these packages, should you want to remove them manualy after install. Besides running the script, this can be achieved by issuing apt purge $(vrms).

The following nonfree packages are installed by default:
Nonfree packages
amd64-microcode Processor microcode firmware for AMD CPUs
firmware-amd-graphics Binary firmware for AMD/ATI graphics chips
firmware-atheros Binary firmware for Atheros wireless cards
firmware-bnx2 Binary firmware for Broadcom NetXtremeII
firmware-bnx2x Binary firmware for Broadcom NetXtreme II 10Gb
firmware-brcm80211 Binary firmware for Broadcom 802.11 wireless card
firmware-crystalhd Crystal HD Video Decoder (firmware)
firmware-intelwimax Binary firmware for Intel WiMAX Connection
firmware-iwlwifi Binary firmware for Intel Wireless cards
firmware-libertas Binary firmware for Marvell Libertas 8xxx wireless car
firmware-linux-nonfree Binary firmware for various drivers in the Linux kernel
firmware-misc-nonfree Binary firmware for various drivers in the Linux kernel
firmware-myricom Binary firmware for Myri-10G Ethernet adapters
firmware-netxen Binary firmware for QLogic Intelligent Ethernet (3000)
firmware-qlogic Binary firmware for QLogic HBAs
firmware-realtek Binary firmware for Realtek wired/wifi/BT adapters
firmware-ti-connectivity Binary firmware for TI Connectivity wireless network
firmware-zd1211 binary firmware for the zd1211rw wireless driver
intel-microcode Processor microcode firmware for Intel CPUs
Contrib packages
b43-fwcutter utility for extracting Broadcom 43xx firmware
firmware-b43-installer firmware installer for the b43 driver
firmware-b43legacy-installer firmware installer for the b43legacy driver
iucode-tool Intel processor microcode too.

Disclaimer
You need to be aware that this behaviour is not in accordance with the Debian Free Software Guide (DFSG). We offer an opt-out by script from this to go back to a DFSG-compliant installation.

Changes to our release model
Besides that, we will slightly alter our release model. During the past release cycles we learned that with as many flavours as we have and with the ressources we can muster, we find it very hard to release all flavours together in one release. This made it hard to release in the past, which leaves new users with growing first upgrades as time moves on. To prevent that from happening again, in the future we will release flavours as soon as they are ready and benefit the user. We will still try to release more than one at a time, but not neccesarily wait for a chance to release all of them together.

Credits for siduction 2017.1
Core Team:
Alf Gaida (agaida)
Angelescu Ovidiu (convbsd)
Axel Beu (ab)
Ferdinand Thommes (devil)
Torsten Wohlfarth (towo)
J. Theede (musca)
Maintainers of the siduction Desktop Environments:
GNOME: Angelescu Ovidiu (convbsd)
KDE: Ferdinand Thommes (devil)
LXDE: Alf Gaida (agaida)
LXQt: Alf Gaida (agaida)
XFCE: Torsten Wolfahrt (towo)
Cinnamon: J. Theede (musca)
noX: Alf Gaida (agaida)
MATE: J. Theede (musca), Angelescu Ovidiu (convbsd)
Art Team:
Bob
Hendrik Lehmbruch (hendriKL)
We need more contributors for siduction release art!
Code, ideas and support:
ayla
bluelupo
der_bud
Hendrik Lehmbruch [hendrikL)
Markus Schimpf (arno911)
Thank you!

Also thank you very much to all testers and all the people giving us support in any possible way. This is also your achievement.

We also want to thank Debian, as we are using their base.
And now enjoy!

On behalf of the siduction team:
Ferdinand Thommes

Next release plans

We are planning™ to release a full set of siduction images with all flavours before going to CLT (Chemnitzer Linux-Tage) next month. There are at least three reasons for that:

  • We can boast about it at the conference
  • We will have a new installer for you to try
  • We promised to do so

And here are the gory details: Six years ago we thought it would be a cool idea to have our installer running in a browser with the help of a tiny http server. Today for some reasons we do not think it is quite that cool. One of the reasons for that being the fact, that the guy who initialy wrote the installer is not available anymore.

Then, about three years ago someone by the name of Teo Mrnjavac had a marvelous idea, that will, similar to systemd, unify linux in a in my humble opinion positive way. I am talking about the Calamares Installer Framework. As you can see at the bottom of their webpage, your favorite distro is listed there already. It is used more and more by distributions and every one of them makes the code better. Sharing one installer eases a lot of problems for smaller distributions. The partitioning is done by KDE’s partition manager. What it does not do yet is LVM and RAID, but those are in the pipeline. Also, Calamares will make it’s way into Debian soon.

So for the past weeks that is what we have been working on. Calamares is C++, Qt 5 for the user interface and python modules to pick what you need and configure to your liking. Then apply a branding and you are done. Of course this was the fast-forward-mode, but we managed to get it up and running in less than two weeks. We are doing more testing to make sure it lives up to it’s reputation with siduction as well.

It also works fine with BIOS and UEFI, which kills another problem for us: The integration of UEFI in the old installer was far from perfect and included manual setup work before starting the installer. Given that we do not run into any blockers with the installer, we are confident that the freeze for Debian GNU/Linux 9 »Stretch« will allow us a release of all flavours without too many problems.

We also plan to make this next release our first release with 64-bit only. Yep, we think the time is right to drop the 32-bit plattform without making too many users unhappy. Should you be one of those not happy with our plan, please let us know your reasons on our forum. If you have a good reason to still run 32-bit, you might even be able to talk us into a custom build. But overall, dropping this architecture saves us a lot of time that can be better spent elsewhere.

Flatpak with siduction

Yesterday I wrote about how to install and use Snap to install the latest LibreOffice 5.3. I promised to do the same with Fedora/GNOME’s alternative package format Flatpak. Needless to say this also applies for pure Debian Unstable and Debian Testing installs. For Debian Jessie you would need backports enabled. For yesterdays post on Snap, the same goes for Unstable and Testing, whereas Jessie is left out in the rain for now.

Even though there is no flatpak for the latest version 5.3 of LibreOffice yet, we will install LO 5.2.5, which then can be updated to 5.3 in a few hours or days. Setting the base framework for flatpak is a little more work as you have to install the basic runtime (at least on a KDE system, maybe it comes automaticaly with a GNOME install. OK, lets get started withthe package itself:
# apt install flatpak
Now we need to get the runtime:
$ wget https://sdk.gnome.org/keys/gnome-sdk.gpg
$ flatpak remote-add --user --gpg-import=gnome-sdk.gpg gnome https://sdk.gnome.org/repo/
$ flatpak install --user gnome org.gnome.Platform 3.20

Now you can download the flatpak package for Libreoffice from the Flatpak-Apps page. Move to the directory where the download landed and install it:
$ flatpak install --user --bundle LibreOffice.flatpak
When that is done, you can start LO from the same directory by running:
$ flatpak run org.libreoffice.LibreOffice

Updates can be performed by running:
$ flatpak update --user org.libreoffice.LibreOffice

These alternate packaging formats are ideal for installing software that is not (yet) available in your distribution or versions not yet available, like LO 5.3 in our example. Developers can install different versions of a software that do not interfer with each other for testing. Which one of the new self-contained package formats (there is also Appimage) you prefer is totaly up to you. They offer a sandboxing model that is supposed the keep them separated from the environment. In the case of Flatpak they can talk to each other by means of Flatpak Portals.

Snaps with siduction

I am sure, everyone has heard about Ubuntu’s new package format snap by now. Today I wanted to try the brand new and still hot off the press LibreOffice 5.3 for a review. So I found that the Document Foundation had a snap ready for deployment. The prerequisites for siduction are not many:
# apt update && apt install snapd
After that, you can check, which snaps are avaialable for LibreOffice with:
$ snap info libreoffice
As you can see, the new version 5.3 is in the edge-channel. That is all you need to know to install it with:
# snap install libreoffice --channel=edge
Afterwards a repeated
$ snap info libreoffice
will reflect the installed packages. As you might have a version of LibreOffice already installed through your package manager, you will need to start the snap, using the full path:
$ /snap/bin/libreoffice &
Later on you can refresh them with
$ snap refresh libreoffice

Just a day or two ago, the first snaps of KDE apps turned up in the KDE-Store Tomorrow I will give flatpak, the alternative new package format by Fedora a try with libreoffice. You can read the results here tomorrow

New fast siduction mirror in the US

As of today we are happy to share with you a new mirror in the United States. It is located at Princeton University and should be our fastest mirror in the US.
The URLs are:

  • Princeton University

    http://mirror.math.princeton.edu/pub/siduction/iso/
    https://mirror.math.princeton.edu/pub/siduction/iso/
    deb https://mirror.math.princeton.edu/pub/siduction/extra unstable main
    deb-src https://mirror.math.princeton.edu/pub/siduction/extra unstable main
    deb https://mirror.math.princeton.edu/pub/siduction/fixes unstable main contrib non-free
    deb-src https://mirror.math.princeton.edu/pub/siduction/fixes unstable main contrib non-free

  • Direct links are to be found on our website.
    Please let us know if any problems arise.

    Release Notes for siduction 2016.1 »Patience«

    Today we present to you the first batch of siduction 2016.1, which consists of the flavours noX, Xorg, LXDE, Xfce and Plasma 5. We attempt to release a 2nd batch with the flavours Gnome, Cinnamon, Mate and LXQt as soon as possible in the new year. This release of siduction 2016.1 is named Patience, because that is what you and us both needed to find the right point in time to ship this to you.

    The released images are a snapshot of Debian unstable, that also goes by the name of Sid, from 2016-12-23. They are enhanced with some useful packages and scripts, our own installer and a custom patched version of the linux-kernel 4.9, accompanied by X-Server 1.19.0-3 and systemd 232-8.

    Changes that affect all flavours
    In the wake of the upcoming Wayland display server, that will replace the old Xorg-Server, the way input devices are handled, has changed. The new way to handle devices like Mice, Touchpads, Wacom Tablets, and the like was developed by Red Hat developer Peter Hutterer and is called libinput If you look into /etc/X11/xorgconf.d/60-libinput.conf, you will see that we implemented a basic config, that supports some touchpad actions, but not all. If you miss anything, look at the above link, that has ways to set up other actions. Another change over all flavours is the use of SDDM as Display- and Login-Manager, which is the new default for Plasma, but suits the other flavours fine as well.

    A brief look at the flavours

    Plasma 5
    Some still call it KDE, but to be correct, we want to call it Plasma 5, KDE Frameworks and KDE Applications. Plasma 5 is the part that we mostly interact with. Frameworks is the former kdelibs and Applications speaks for itself. Today we ship Plasma 5.8.4-1, Frameworks 5.28 and Applications 16.08-3

    No other desktop environment was as keeping us from a release as much as Plasma 5. Transitions and lots of upgrades made it really hard to find a calm spot in time to release for us. Our friends from the debian-kde-qt team stayed very close to upstream releases (thanks for that!). That enables us to release a very uptodate KDE experience and it is not too far fetched to say this is the best release of KDE software ever. Latest changes include the use of single keys like CTRL, ALT or the super key to create actions that usualy needs a key combination. This new feature is not yet fully configurable, but one example that is already implemented is the super key, that will open the dashboard for you. Plasma 5.9, to be released in January 2017.

    Another little x-mas candy is the integration of KDE Connect into siduction. This is a nifty little tool to connect your mobile devices with your desktop, including nice features like turning down the volume of whatever is playing when a phone call comes in or answering text messages (sms) from your phone on the desktop. To use KDE Connect, you need to install the android app on your phone and then configure the widget sitting in the system tray on your desktop.

    There is a little tear mixed into the joy and that is wept because of KDEPIM. As most Plasma users know, the PIM-Suite was plagued with bugs for a long time. That has not really changed to a point where it just works out of the box. We put MySQL in place of sqlite for the Akonadi backend. Kmail works on the live media, but anything you set up for Kmail or Akonadi before installing to hard disk will be lost. The reason for that is that at install time we drop the database to make it Kmail work after install. Also, be carefull, should you use Kmail with pop3, mails marked as read might disappear. More improvement might come as soon as Applications 16.12 enters Sid. The PIM-Suite was split into 18 packages and that change is shipped with the latest update to Applications.

    LXDE and Xfce
    The lightweight flavour LXDE, which stands for Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment is shipped in the latest version 0.99.1, released in February 2016, with parts being updated throughout 2016. XFCE, which is a bit heavier, but still considerably leaner than Plasma, GNOME or Cinnamon, comes in version 4.12.3. Xfce is the last desktop environment that still builds from GTK+ 2, since MATE recently migrated to GTK+ 3.

    noX and Xorg
    These two flavours are for users who like to have custom build setups. noX has no Xorg-stack, so no desktop environment or window manager. Xorg is equipped with a Xorg-stack and the Fluxbox window manager. Besides that both flavours deliver the same full set of tools as the bigger flavours.

    Downloads
    The images are, as always available on our website at Downloads

    Known Bugs
    The KDE splash, when it first shows, claims the release to be a alpha version. This is a small bug in the splash that we will fix asap.

    Changes to our infrastructure from 2015, that you should be aware of
    After long discussions that go back as far as two years, we have finaly made the decision to ship with contrib and nonfree enabled and nonfree-firmware preinstalled to enable the user to use his wifi chip or graphics card right from the start without the need to aquire software without being able to have an internet connection on the device you are installing on.

    The following nonfree packages are installed as default:
    amd64-microcode Processor microcode firmware for AMD CPUs
    firmware-amd-graphics Binary firmware for AMD/ATI graphics chips
    firmware-atheros Binary firmware for Atheros wireless cards
    firmware-bnx2 Binary firmware for Broadcom NetXtremeII
    firmware-bnx2x Binary firmware for Broadcom NetXtreme II 10Gb
    firmware-brcm80211 Binary firmware for Broadcom 802.11 wireless card
    firmware-crystalhd Crystal HD Video Decoder (firmware)
    firmware-intelwimax Binary firmware for Intel WiMAX Connection
    firmware-iwlwifi Binary firmware for Intel Wireless cards
    firmware-libertas Binary firmware for Marvell Libertas 8xxx wireless car
    firmware-linux-nonfree Binary firmware for various drivers in the Linux kernel
    firmware-misc-nonfree Binary firmware for various drivers in the Linux kernel
    firmware-myricom Binary firmware for Myri-10G Ethernet adapters
    firmware-netxen Binary firmware for QLogic Intelligent Ethernet (3000)
    firmware-qlogic Binary firmware for QLogic HBAs
    firmware-realtek Binary firmware for Realtek wired/wifi/BT adapters
    firmware-ti-connectivity Binary firmware for TI Connectivity wireless network
    firmware-zd1211 binary firmware for the zd1211rw wireless driver
    intel-microcode Processor microcode firmware for Intel CPUs
    Contrib packages installed on siduction
    b43-fwcutter utility for extracting Broadcom 43xx firmware
    firmware-b43-installer firmware installer for the b43 driver
    firmware-b43legacy-installer firmware installer for the b43legacy driver
    iucode-tool Intel processor microcode too.

    Disclaimer
    You need to be aware that this new behaviour is not in accordance with the Debian Free Software Guide (DFSG). We offer an opt-out from this to go back to a DFSG-compliant installation. For the dev-release, apt purge $(vrms -s) shows you the installed packages. Running the command without the -s will remove them all. For the final release we will ship a more comfortable solution.

    Changes to our release model
    Besides that, we will slightly alter our release model. During the past release cycles we learned that with as many flavours as we have and with the ressources we can use, we find it very hard to release all flavours together in one release. That resulted in no release at all for 2016 so far, which leaves new users with growing first upgrades as the year moves on. To prevent that from happening again, in the future we will release flavours as soon as they are ready and benefit the user. We will still try to release more than one at a time, but not wait for a chance to release all of them together.

    Credits for siduction 2016.1
    Core Team:
    Alf Gaida (agaida)
    Angelescu Ovidiu (convbsd)
    Axel Beu (ab)
    Ferdinand Thommes (devil)
    Torsten Wohlfarth (towo)
    J. Theede (musca)
    Maintainers of the siduction Desktop Environments:
    GNOME: Angelescu Ovidiu (convbsd)
    KDE: Ferdinand Thommes (devil)
    LXDE: Alf Gaida (agaida)
    LXQt: Alf Gaida (agaida)
    XFCE: Torsten Wolfahrt (towo)
    Cinnamon: J. Theede (musca)
    noX: Alf Gaida (agaida)
    MATE: J. Theede (musca), Angelescu Ovidiu (convbsd)
    Art Team:
    Bob
    Hendrik Lehmbruch (hendriKL)
    We need more contributors for siduction release art!
    Code, ideas and support:
    ayla
    bluelupo
    der_bud
    Hendrik Lehmbruch [hendrikL)
    J. Hamatoma (hama)
    Markus Schimpf (arno911)
    Thank you!

    Also thank you very much to all testers and all the people giving us support in any possible way. This is also your achievement.

    We also want to thank Debian, as we are using their base.
    And now enjoy!

    Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones and peace for the planet. On behalf of the siduction team:
    Ferdinand Thommes

    Structural changes coming up

    As you may have sensed by now, we are having problems this year getting out a proper release of the desktop environments we ship. There is more than one reason for that. For one it was really hard to get things in shape for a release. KDE for example was in heavy developement most of the time. Now that we have Plasma 5.8.x with longtime support, things settle down a bit and we will hopefuly get a release of that flavour out until the end of the year. GNOME and Cinnamon are also in steady movement, Xfce and MATE don’t move that much.

    On the other hand the time that siduction team members have at their hands have lessened over time. Speaking for myself, my workload has grown a lot during the past two years. Another team member joined a team that took on the job to bring LXQt in shape and into Debian (and they succeeded). A third team member got himself a job whereas before he was unemployed for some time (and of course we are happy for him). All these constraints make it harder to achieve our goals of releasing siduction in the way we did until now. That does not mean in any way that siduction is unmaintained. We steadily work on it as is needed and try to guide you through shallow waters. Just the big tasks like releases get left behind.

    There were no new contributors joining the team, so that does not help either. So we have come up with an idea that will lessen our workload a bit. The idea is for flavour maintainers to determine when a flavour is good and ready for release. We know in advance what is going to happen in critical flavours and if there is transitions or other big changes coming up, that might brake things. So, e.g. when KDE seems in good shape to be released to the public, so may be another flavour. Then those two could go out as a snapshot. Possibly a month later some other flavours are good to go.

    We found a long time contributor, who is willing to manage these kind of releases. That means checking if the flavour(s) are in releasable shape, coordinate a release and ship them on their way to you. That will help us and our users. You as a user get fresher snapshots as entry points to the distribution, which also attracts new users. For us as the team behind siduction it raises the visibility of the distribution, which also attracts new users and maybe even contributors. So we will give this a try and see how it goes. Like I said before, we hope to get results out before the end of the year.

    One other thing that is in dire need of love is our manual. Once a wealth of knowledge, it is now vastly aging and mostly unmaintained. The way it is technicaly set up makes it hard to contribute to and very unwieldy for us to maintain the infrastructure. There is two things to do here: We need to do the heavy lifting of transferring the content to a multilingual wiki like MediaWiki. We have languages in the manual, that are totaly unmaintained because noone in the team speaks the language (nor has the time) to work on these. Those languages are Portugese, Italian, Romanian, and Polish. We still need to decide what to do with them. Right now they are counterproductive because in parts they are by now plain wrong or misleasing. My idea is to archive them until maybe someone later picks up a language.

    The second task is to go over all German and English items in the manual and correct them where needed and bring them up to current, also write new ones (e.g. for systemd). All this needs manpower. So if you would like to help with any of this, you are very welcome, please reach out to us on our forum or on IRC on the OFTC network in #siduction-core. Working over the manual can be done as your time allows, there is no ETA to this. We are also always looking for artists. This is also a commitment that does not take up much of your time, it is mostly about creating an icon here and there.

    Debian fell over

    With systemd 230, released a couple of days ago, the developers changed a default setting, that eliminates one of the few annoyances I experienced with systemd. Many a forum thread all over the net tried to solve the problem. This annoyance resulted in a message during reboot or shutdown, that the system is waiting for a process to shut down. This could take up to 90 seconds, if you did not set the level lower manually. These were stray background processes, that belonged to one or more users on the system and should have been shut down, when the owning user gets logged out.

    The systemd developers with systemd 230 set the option KillUserProcesses in /etc/systemd/logind.conf to yes. That means that 95 percent of desktop users will not see these delays anymore, because all processes of a user will be closed when the user gets logged out. On the other hand, users of tools like screen, tmux and some others will find their processes also killed server-side, even though these were meant to be long-running background jobs. That being said, the devs did explain in the release note for systemd 230 under the third bullet, what users of such tools need to do to keep KillUserProcesses on yes and still have their long-running jobs stay alive. The problem at hand was being layed out in detail in a bugreport and it’s follow-up discussion already in April.

    In Debian and Fedora this new behaviour led to long discussions (and the usual systemd laments of course). The bug report for Debian on this matter now led to the new standard setting being reverted in Debian with systemd 230-2 as of today. So, if you like your processes being stopped when your user logs out, you need to manualy revert the setting in /etc/systemd/logind.conf to yes again after updating to systemd 230-2. We decided months ago to have this set to yes as default for siduction. This will take effect with our next release. But if you want to set this to yes now, you need to do so yourself.

    Should you be one of the users of screen, tmux, mosh and maybe a few other affected tools, there is ways to keep the setting at yes and still keep long running processes alive when logging out. You need two things to do this: first you set enable-linger [USER1 USER2...] for your respective users, as shown in the manpage to loginctl. PAM has been adapted to allow this as normal user. Then you can follow the manpage of systemd-run to start e.g. screen with the command systemd-run --scope --user screen in it’s own scope. This will keep the job running after logout, even though other user processes are stopped.

    We admired Debian for deciding pro systemd, but we think, reverting this new default is the wrong decision in the face of desktop users.

    Release Notes for siduction 2015.1 Dev-Release for Plasma5, GNOME and LXQt

     

    We present to you today the second part of the dev-release 2015.1, which, with it’s final release in a couple of weeks will be named siduction 2016.1. siduction is a distribution based on Debian’s unstable branch. With a heavy heart we dedicate this release to the memory of the founder of Debian, Ian Murdock, who passed away on Dec. 28 2015, aged 42. We will try to keep his vision alive.

    Important for testing in VirtualBox: Due to a bug in VirtualBox 3D-acceleration has to be disabled prior to booting the image.

    The missing flavours of the first batch of dev releases are Plasma 5, GNOME and LXQt, which we present to you today. Before looking into the changes of our three released flavours, here are some changes to our infrastructure that you should be aware of:

    First of all, 32-Bit versions will be shipped with the final release only. If you need one now, come see us at #siduction on IRC and we will build one for you.

    After long discussions that go back as far as two years, we have finaly made the decision to ship with contrib and nonfree enabled and most of the nonfree-firmware preinstalled to enable the user to use his wifi chip or graphics card right from the start without the need to aquire software without being able to have an internet connection on the device you are installing on. Because of this, save settings are not needed anymore for AMD graphic cards. The menu item will be moved from Syslinux for the final release.

    The following nonfree packages are installed as default:

    amd64-microcode – Processor microcode firmware for AMD CPUs
    firmware-amd-graphics – Binary firmware for AMD/ATI graphics chips
    firmware-atheros – Binary firmware for Atheros wireless cards
    firmware-bnx2 – Binary firmware for Broadcom NetXtremeII
    firmware-bnx2x – Binary firmware for Broadcom NetXtreme II 10Gb
    firmware-brcm80211 – Binary firmware for Broadcom 802.11 wireless card
    firmware-crystalhd – Crystal HD Video Decoder (firmware)
    firmware-intelwimax – Binary firmware for Intel WiMAX Connection
    firmware-iwlwifi – Binary firmware for Intel Wireless cards
    firmware-liberta – Binary firmware for Marvell Libertas 8xxx wireless car
    firmware-linux-nonfree – Binary firmware for various drivers in the Linux kernel
    firmware-misc-nonfree – Binary firmware for various drivers in the Linux kernel
    firmware-myricom – Binary firmware for Myri-10G Ethernet adapters
    firmware-netxen – Binary firmware for QLogic Intelligent Ethernet (3000)
    firmware-qlogic – Binary firmware for QLogic HBAs
    firmware-realtek – Binary firmware for Realtek wired/wifi/BT adapters
    firmware-ti-connectivity – Binary firmware for TI Connectivity wireless network
    firmware-zd1211 – binary firmware for the zd1211rw wireless driver
    intel-microcode – Processor microcode firmware for Intel CPUs

    Contrib packages installed as default:

    b43-fwcutter – utility for extracting Broadcom 43xx firmware
    firmware-b43-installer – firmware installer for the b43 driver
    firmware-b43legacy-installer – firmware installer for the b43legacy driver
    iucode-tool – Intel processor microcode tool
    virtualbox-guest-dkms – x86 virtualization solution – guest addition module source for dkms
    virtualbox-guest-source – x86 virtualization solution – guest addition module source
    virtualbox-guest-utils – x86 virtualization solution – non-X11 guest utilities
    virtualbox-guest-x11 – x86 virtualization solution – X11 guest utilities

    Disclaimer

    You need to be aware that this new behaviour is not in accordance with the Debian Free Software Guide (DFSG). We offer an opt-out from this to go back to a DFSG-compliant installation in the installer.

    Changes to our release model

    Besides that, we will slightly alter our release model. During 2015 we learned that with as many flavours as we ship and with the ressources we can use, we find it very hard to release all flavours together in one release. That resulted in no release at all for 2015, which leaves new users with growing first upgrades as the year moves on. To prevent that from happening again, in the future we will release flavours as soon as they are ready and benefit the user. We will still try to release more than one at a time, but not wait for a chance to release all of them together.

    SDDM

    Another change over all flavours is the use of SDDM as Display- and Login-Manager, which is the new default for LXQt and KDE, but suits the other flavours fine as well. KDE has a module for SDDM in the system settings. For the other flavours, find the config file in /etc/sddm.conf. The manpages to sddm and sddm.conf are also quite helpful.

    UEFI

    Also the images released today have very basic support for UEFI. You can boot with it and install with it. Prerequisites are a partition layout with GPT and a boot partition formatted with Fat32 and marked as efi partition. Grub with UEFI still needs some love, so this functionality is still highly experimental. Find out more here

    A brief look at the flavours

    The released images are a snapshot of Debian unstable, that also goes by the name of Sid, from 2016-01-16. They are enhanced with some useful packages and scripts, our own installer and a custom patched version of the linux-kernel 4.4, accompanied by X-Server 1.17.3, Mesa 11.1.1-2 and systemd 228.4

    Plasma 5

    Friends of KDE will be happy to see our first release of the fifth iteration of the project. People will keep calling it KDE5, but that will prove to be not saying much about the contained parts. As we have done now for siduction, KDE has decided some time ago that the KDE Software Collection is getting much to unwieldy to release in one piece. To bring new code to the users as fast as possible, KDE was broken up into three parts that are developed and released independently from now on. These are KDE Frameworks, Plasma and KDE Applications. The part that the user actualy is in touch with is Plasma and so we will call the latest KDE Plasma 5. KDE Applications is shipped in version 15.08

    We were hoping to be able to ship Plasma 5.5 or even 5.6, but the holidays delayed things to the point where we decided to ship Plasma 5.4.3 with the dev release and probably 5.6, which will have a lot more fine tuning to it, with our final release.

    KDE-Next

    From now on the base of our KDE releases is Debian unstable. We had to close down our KDE-Next repository, because it is not maintained anymore. Our thanks go to Santa, who packaged KDE for siduction in the past and will from now on work directly with upstream. We wish him the best of luck on his way.

    With Plasma 5.4.3 we believe we have the most elegant KDE of all times. More importantly, it is ready to be used in production for most users. There will be some tidying over the next few months still, but basicaly it is ready to rock.

    Plasma Dash

    One of the novelties of Plasma5 is not easily discovered on first sight. That’s why I like to introduce it here. Plasma5 gained a third menu, which is accessible if you right click K-Menu and hit Alternatives. There you find a fullscreen dash with integrated desktop search, which is fully usable just with a keyboard.

    LXQt

    A lot has also happened regarding LXQt. As you might know, our own Alf Gaida is involved in the developement of LXQt. In the course of that in 2015 he became official Debian Maintainer to be able to easier get LXQt into Debian and maintain it there. As a result of these efforts, LXQt is now in Debian Unstable and Testing, the current version being a freshly released, hot off the plates 0.10.

    GNOME

    Last but by no means least with GNOME we have the antidote to KDE. GNOME is shipped in a well matured version 3.18. One of the highlights is that you can run a Wayland session from the login page of the display manager. There is still a few crashes and glitches involved, but mostly, Wayland runs quite stable with GNOME.

    Our Resources

    siduction Forum
    siduction Blog
    Git Archive

    Distro News
    Bug-Tracker
    siduction-Map

    Support can be obtained on our forum as well as on IRC. The relevant channels on
    OFTC-Network are #siduction for english support or #siduction-core, if
    you like to join in and participate. On your desktop you also find an icon that takes
    you to the right channel for support, depending on the chosen language.

    To be able to act as a testbed for Debian, we are making us of our own bug-tracker.
    Let me explain how you can help us and Debian by submitting bugreports for broken
    packages. Weathered users will know how to file bugs directly with the Debian BTS
    (Bug Tracking System). For users not so comfortable with the system we have
    reportbug-ng preinstalled.

    If you think, you found a bug in a Debian package,
    please start reportbug-ng and put the name of the package in the adressline on
    top. The app will now search through the already filed bugs for that package and show
    those. Now it’s up to you to determine, if “your” bug has already been reported. If
    it is, ask yourself if you have anything relevant to add to this report or maybe even a
    patch. If not, you are done for this time. If the bug has not been reported yet
    and you are not familiar with the BTS yet, you may report the bug in our

    Bug-Tracker.

    That obviously goes for siduction packages as well. We will sort the bugs for you
    and file them in the appropriate place, if it’s reproducible. Please look out for
    a forum post with more detailed info on the bug-tracker soon. If all this seems
    to complicated for now, feel free to use the bugs-thread on the forum for now,
    it will keep working until final release.

    As we are always looking for contributors, here is what to do: Come to IRC to
    channel #siduction-core and talk to us about what you would like to do within
    the project, or where you think you could help. As you will notice if you scroll down, we have no art-team at the moment. If you are willing and capable, talk to us.

    Hardware Tips

    If you should own a ATI Radeon graphics accelerator, please use the failsafe option, when booting the Live-ISO. This option will add the cheatcodes radeon.modeset=0 xmodule=vesa to the Kernel bootline, so that you can boot to X.

    Last but not least a hint for users of the kernel based virtual machine KVM. The developement of a frontend for the kernelbased virtual machine (kvm) has begun as a fork of qemu with the name qemu-kvm or short “kvm”. Since qemu version 1.4 all patches of the kvm fork have been integrated back into the qemu source. Also there has been much progress in the field of virtualization. So there is a lot of outdated documentation around. We have a current worksheet for Qemu in our wiki.

    Credits for siduction dev-release 2015.1

    Core Team:

    Alf Gaida (agaida)
    Angelescu Ovidiu (convbsd)
    Axel Beu (ab)
    Ferdinand Thommes (devil)
    Tom Wroblewski (GoingEasy 9)
    Torsten Wohlfarth (towo)
    J. Theede (musca)

    Maintainers of the siduction Desktop Environments:

    GNOME: Angelescu Ovidiu (convbsd)
    KDE: Ferdinand Thommes (devil)
    LXDE: Alf Gaida (agaida)
    LXQt: Alf Gaida (agaida)
    XFCE: Torsten Wolfahrt (towo)
    Cinnamon: J. Theede (musca)
    noX: Alf Gaida (agaida)
    MATE: J. Theede (musca), Angelescu Ovidiu (convbsd)

    We need contributors for siduction release art!

    Code, ideas and support:

    ayla
    bluelupo
    der_bud
    dibl
    hendrikl
    J. Hamatoma (hama)
    Markus Schimpf (arno911)
    piper

    Thank you!

    Also thank you very much to all testers and all the people giving us support
    in any possible way. This is also your achievement.

    We also want to thank Debian, as we are using their base.

    And now enjoy!

    On behalf of the siduction team:
    Ferdinand Thommes

    Release notes for 2015.1 Dev-Release

    Release Notes for siduction 2015.1 Dev-Release

    We present to you today a dev-release at the last possible point in time for this year and inform you of some changes in our release model. siduction is a distribution based on Debian’s unstable branch. With a heavy heart we dedicate this release to the memory of the founder of Debian, Ian Murdock, who passed away on Dec. 28 2015, aged 42. We will try to keep his vision alive.

    For 2015 we can just release this dev-release, even though we would have liked to do more. Due to the course that Debian Unstable and some desktop environments took over the course of the year, we had no chance to get a release ready with all flavours, following our release model. So we need to make a change here and release flavours when they are ready to release and not wait for the other flavours. Following the old release model, we now sit on final images released one year ago, where the first upgrade is bigger than the image itself. That is a far from ideal situation, hence the change.

    Today we present dev-releases of noX, Xorg, LXDE, Cinnamon, Mate and Xfce. Plasma 5, GNOME and LXQt will follow on the weekend or shortly after, given there is no blockers.

    Even though these release notes do not go into depth, there is one change I need to communicate. After long discussions that go back as far as two years, we have finaly made the decision to ship with contrib and nonfree enabled and nonfree-firmware preinstalled to enable the user to use his wifi chip or graphics card right from the start without the need to aquire software without being able to have an internet connection on the device you are installing on.

    The following nonfree packages are installed as default:

    amd64-microcode Processor microcode firmware for AMD CPUs
    firmware-amd-graphics Binary firmware for AMD/ATI graphics chips
    firmware-atheros Binary firmware for Atheros wireless cards
    firmware-bnx2 Binary firmware for Broadcom NetXtremeII
    firmware-bnx2x Binary firmware for Broadcom NetXtreme II 10Gb
    firmware-brcm80211 Binary firmware for Broadcom 802.11 wireless card
    firmware-crystalhd Crystal HD Video Decoder (firmware)
    firmware-intelwimax Binary firmware for Intel WiMAX Connection
    firmware-iwlwifi Binary firmware for Intel Wireless cards
    firmware-libertas Binary firmware for Marvell Libertas 8xxx wireless car
    firmware-linux-nonfree Binary firmware for various drivers in the Linux kernel
    firmware-misc-nonfree Binary firmware for various drivers in the Linux kernel
    firmware-myricom Binary firmware for Myri-10G Ethernet adapters
    firmware-netxen Binary firmware for QLogic Intelligent Ethernet (3000)
    firmware-qlogic Binary firmware for QLogic HBAs
    firmware-realtek Binary firmware for Realtek wired/wifi/BT adapters
    firmware-ti-connectivity Binary firmware for TI Connectivity wireless network
    firmware-zd1211 binary firmware for the zd1211rw wireless driver
    intel-microcode Processor microcode firmware for Intel CPUs

    Contrib packages installed on siduction

    b43-fwcutter utility for extracting Broadcom 43xx firmware
    firmware-b43-installer firmware installer for the b43 driver
    firmware-b43legacy-installer firmware installer for the b43legacy driver
    iucode-tool Intel processor microcode tool

    Disclaimer

    You need to be aware that this new behaviour is not in accordance with the Debian Free Software Guide (DFSG). We offer an opt-out from this to go back to a DFSG-compliant installation. For the dev-release, apt purge $(vrms -s) -s shows you the installed packages. Running the command without the -s will remove them all. For the final release we will ship a more comfortable solution.

    The released images are a snapshot of Debian unstable, that also goes by the name of Sid, from 2015-12-31. They are enhanced with some useful packages and scripts, our own installer and a custom patched version of the linux-kernel 4.3, accompanied by X-Server 1.17.3. and systemd 228.2

    Besides the desktop environments we also ship noX, which is an environment without X and Xorg which features the minimal window manager Fluxbox on top of X.

    A brief look at the flavours

    Xfce is the reliable work horse it always was, shipping in Version 4.12.2. The same goes for LXDE, a lightweight desktop, that just works. Xorg and noX need no further words, they are special purpose releases for people who like custom installs. MATE is following the tracks of GNOME 2. We ship version 1.10.2.1, which is stable enough to work with Cinmnamon, which follows GTK 3 rather than 2, ships with version 2.6.13.1.

    Our Resources

    siduction Forum
    siduction Blog
    Git Archive

    Distro News
    Bug-Tracker
    siduction-Map

    Support can be obtained on our forum as well as on IRC. The relevant channels on
    OFTC-Network are #siduction for english support or #siduction-core, if
    you like to join in and participate. On your desktop you also find an icon that takes
    you to the right channel for support, depending on the chosen language.

    To be able to act as a testbed for Debian, we are making us of our own bug-tracker.
    Let me explain how you can help us and Debian by submitting bugreports for broken
    packages. Weathered users will know how to file bugs directly with the Debian BTS
    (Bug Tracking System). For users not so comfortable with the system we have
    reportbug-ng preinstalled.

    If you think, you found a bug in a Debian package,
    please start reportbug-ng and put the name of the package in the adressline on
    top. The app will now search through the already filed bugs for that package and show
    those. Now it’s up to you to determine, if “your” bug has already been reported. If
    it is, ask yourself if you have anything relevant to add to this report or maybe even a
    patch. If not, you are done for this time. If the bug has not been reported yet
    and you are not familiar with the BTS yet, you may report the bug in our

    Bug-Tracker.

    That obviously goes for siduction packages as well. We will sort the bugs for you
    and file them in the appropriate place, if it’s reproducible. Please look out for
    a forum post with more detailed info on the bug-tracker soon. If all this seems
    to complicated for now, feel free to use the bugs-thread on the forum for now,
    it will keep working until final release.

    As we are always looking for contributors, here is what to do: Come to IRC to
    channel #siduction-core and talk to us about what you would like to do within
    the project, or where you think you could help. As you will notice if you scroll down, we have no art-team at the moment. If you are willing and capable, talk to us.

    Hardware Tips

    If you should own a ATI Radeon graphics accelerator, please use the failsafe option, when booting the Live-ISO. This option will add the cheatcodes radeon.modeset=0 xmodule=vesa to the Kernel bootline, so that you can boot to X.

    Last but not least a hint for users of the kernel based virtual machine KVM. The developement of a frontend for the kernelbased virtual machine (kvm) has begun as a fork of qemu with the name qemu-kvm or short “kvm”. Since qemu version 1.4 all patches of the kvm fork have been integrated back into the qemu source. Also there has been much progress in the field of virtualization. So there is a lot of outdated documentation around. We have a current worksheet for Qemu in our wiki.

    Credits for siduction 2015.1

    Core Team:

    Alf Gaida (agaida)

    Angelescu Ovidiu (convbsd)

    Axel Beu (ab)

    Ferdinand Thommes (devil)

    Tom Wroblewski (GoingEasy 9)

    Torsten Wohlfarth (towo)

    J. Theede (musca)

    Maintainers of the siduction Desktop Environments:

    GNOME: Angelescu Ovidiu (convbsd)
    KDE: Ferdinand Thommes (devil)
    LXDE: Alf Gaida (agaida)
    LXQt: Alf Gaida (agaida)
    XFCE: Torsten Wolfahrt (towo)
    Cinnamon: J. Theede (musca)
    noX: Alf Gaida (agaida)
    MATE: J. Theede (musca), Angelescu Ovidiu (convbsd)

    We need contributors for siduction release art!

    Code, ideas and support:

    ayla
    bluelupo
    der_bud
    J. Hamatoma (hama)
    Markus Schimpf (arno911)
    musca

    Thank you!

    Also thank you very much to all testers and all the people giving us support
    in any possible way. This is also your achievement.

    We also want to thank Debian, as we are using their base.

    And now enjoy!

    On behalf of the siduction team:
    Ferdinand Thommes