Author Archives: Ferdinand Thommes

siduction 2021.1.1 »C-Blues« Point Release

To circumvent a bug that made the Calamares installer fail to create GPT partitions in EFI mode, we have released a siduction 2021.1.1 point release. For the technically inclined users among you let me dive into what happened behind the scenes of this bug. A new version 4.2 of dosfstools prevents kpmcore, which sits at the heart of KDE Partition Manager and gets utilized in Calamares, to create GPT partitions.

Dosfstools is to blame

Dosfstools no longer allows empty labels, but it also changed the way labels are reset. In the specific use case of creating a fat32 partition for the ESP, there is no label to reset as the partition does not exist yet. And so the installation fails, whereas if partitions are created before the installation and then pointed to in Calamares, things worked as expected.

Downgrade to the rescue

A fixed official version of dosfstools in the repositories will take a while, so we decided to downgrade dosfstools to 4.1.2, which resulted in the package dosfstools 4.2-1.1~really4.1-2. This point release is only important for fresh installs with Calamares. That is why noX did not get updated, it only has the cli-installer, no Calamares. Users, who have installed siduction already, don’t need to do anything.

Release notes for siduction 2021.1.0 »C-Blues«

The siduction team is proud to present to you siduction 2021.1. After a long hiatus of almost 3 years we are happy to be back with an official release. This one is dubbed »C-Blues«, and it should be easy to guess what the »C« stands for in these troubled times.

What have we got here?

The flavors we offer for siduction 2021.1.0 are KDE Plasma 5.20.5, LXQt 0.16.0-1, Cinnamon 4.8.6, Xfce 4.16, Lxde 10+nmu1, Xorg and noX. GNOME and MATE did not make it this time. They might be back at some point or not. Of course, they are still installable from the repository.

The released images are a snapshot of Debian unstable, that also goes by the name of Sid, from 2021-02-14. They are enhanced with some useful packages and scripts, an installer based on Calamares and a custom patched version of the Linux kernel 5.10.15, Systemd is at 247.3.

Plasma at the helm

Plasma is still our main offering, and it has made amazing progress over the past years. We have it staffed with the latest additions that will hit with Plasma 5.21 in a couple of weeks, like the new system monitor that will be the successor to ksysguard and the Conference Companion Kongress. Also, years in the making, finally there is kio-fuse.

The latter allows you to mount remote directories into the root hierarchy of your local file system, thereby exposing KDE’s access capabilities like SSH, SAMBA/Windows, FTP, TAR/GZip/BZip2, WebDav and others to POSIX-compliant applications such as Firefox, OpenOffice, GNOME apps, shell utilities and more. Quite the handy tool.

iNet Wireless Daemon

The Xorg and noX flavors come with a new tool to connect your wireless devices. Intels iNet wireless daemon (iwd) sends WPA-Supplicant into well-earned retirement. Ten times smaller and a lot faster, iwd will be the successor. If you like, you can use iwd in the other flavors too, either on its own or within Network-Manager. Further information can be found in the Arch Linux wiki.

If you want to use wpa_supplicant instead of iwd follow the steps below.

First stop and mask iwd.service, stop NetworkManager.service, rename /etc/NetworkManger/conf.d/nm.conf, unmask and start wpa_supplicant.service, start NetworkManager.service again:

  • sudo systemctl stop iwd.service
  • sudo systemctl mask iwd.service
  • sudo systemctl stop NetworkManager.service
  • sudo mv /etc/NetworkManager/conf.d/nm.conf /etc/NetworkManager/conf.d/nm.conf~
  • sudo systemctl unmask wpa_supplicant.service
  • sudo systemctl enable –now wpa_supplicant.service
  • sudo systemctl start NetworkManager.service

Now you should be able to connect your wireless device with wpa_supplicant.

Installing iwd

If you like, you can use iwd in the other flavors too, either on its own or within Network-Manager. To easily set iwd up, use these steps:

  • sudo apt update
  • sudo apt install iwd
  • sudo systemctl stop wpa_supplicant.service
  • sudo systemctl mask wpa_supplicant.service
  • sudo systemctl stop NetworkManager.service
  • sudo touch /etc/NetworkManager/conf.d/nm.conf
  • sudo echo -e ‘[device]\nwifi.backend=iwd’ > /etc/NetworkManager/conf.d/nm.conf
  • sudo touch /etc/iwd/main.conf
  • sudo echo -e ‘[General]\nEnableNetworkConfiguration=true\n\n[Network]\nNameResolvingService=systemd’ > /etc/iwd/main.conf
  • sudo systemctl enable –now iwd.service
  • sudo systemctl start NetworkManager.service

Now you should be able to start an interactive shell by running iwctl from a terminal. Entering ‘help’ in the shell gives you all the options to list, scan and connect to your device or simply use nmtui or nmcli on the command line or the graphical-interface of Network-Manager.

Why has there been no release since 2018?

When the pandemic hit, we were in early preparations for a new release. Changes were mostly worked on for the infrastructure. Shortly thereafter, around April 2020, Alf (agaida), our lead developer vanished from the face of the earth and has not been heard of ever since. We have no idea what happened to him, as all our inquiries into his whereabouts came up empty. So, Alf, if you are reading this, come by and say peep. We miss you.

That being said, after agaida being in the wind for the better part of a year, we thought it was about time to do a new release without him, but based on his former work before he disappeared. So we shook off our own corona blues and – tada – here it is, brand new, shiny and still hot off the servers.

Official Releases and Isobuilds

During our hiatus we built new images ever once in a while to keep the demand for fresh software for new installations covered. These images on isobuilds are unofficial, were and will continue to be tested by booting and installing them, but that’s the extent of testing for that platform. So far, there was no trouble with that scheme. You will still be able to find fresh releases of GNOME and MATE along with the others there about once per month.

The following non-free and contrib packages are installed by default:

Non-Free

  • 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

  • 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

Return to non-free

Right now the installer does not offer an opt-out for packages that do not comply with DFSG, the Debian Free Software Guidelines. That means that non-free packages like unfree firmware will be installed by default on the system. The command vrms will list these packages for you. You can remove not wanted packages manually or remove them all by issuing apt purge $(vrms -s) before or after installation. Else our script remove-nonfree can do that for you.

Installation hints and known issues

  • If you want to reuse your existing home (or any other data) partition, it would be wise to do so after installation and not in the Calamares Installer.
  • Calamares-Installer has a bug preventing it from creating GPT partitions. In those cases, please set up partitions manually or use cli-installer.
  • Encryption setups like LUKS and others are not yet supported by the Installer Framework, you should prepare your partition setup beforehand and might better use the cli-installer in a terminal.
  • With some Intel GPUs on some devices, you might encounter a frozen system on Live shortly after boot. To fix this, you need to set the kernel parameter intel_iommu=igfx_off before booting again.

Credits for siduction 2021.1.0

Core Team

Alf Gaida (agaida)
Axel Beu (ab)
Torsten Wohlfarth (towo)
Hendrik Lehmbruch (hendrikL)
Ferdinand Thommes (devil)

Code, ideas and support:

der_bud
Markus Meyer (coruja)
akli (for his work on getting the manual back in shape)

Thank you!

We want to thank all testers and all the people giving us support over the years. This is also your achievement. We also want to thank Debian, as we are standing on the shoulders of giants.
And now enjoy!

On behalf of the siduction team:

Ferdinand Thommes

Results of the Core Meeting

Photo by Levin on Unsplash

On the weekend we had a core meeting of siduction devs to talk about the future of the distribution. Proposed goals were the lessening of the workload, specialy for our main dev Alf (agaida) and more frequent releases. Other than that we had the revival of the siduction manual on the menu (which was in fact a fork of the excellent Bluewater Manual from the sidux days).

Lessen the workload

When it comes to lightening the workload, the only feasable way is to cut down on the number of images we produce. Reason for that is that some of the desktop enviromnents we ship have had no maintainer for a while. For the next release (which is not far away), we stop releasing images for the desktop environments GNOME, MATE and LXDE. That leaves us with images for KDE Plasma, Xfce, Cinnamon and LXQt. We also keep releasing the minimal entry points noX and Xorg.

That does not mean, users cannot use the desktops we dropped anymore. They are still available in the archives. We just stop customizing and producing images dedicated to them.

Advanced CI and CD

Besides that we will try to advance our Continuous Integreation and Delivery provided by Jenkins to churn out automated builds on a daily or weeky basis (no details decided yet) and make succesful builds available to our users. These builds will only be marginally tested, but we will make sure they boot correctly and the installer is in usable shape. These images will mostly work correctly, but are no replacement for the approved official releases. We have not yet decided, how these will be made available to you, but a dedicated forum section might be the easiest way.

Not a small feat

The siduction manual in it’s recent formfactor has been unmaintainable for a while now. Also some of the information in there is deprecated or needs to be adjusted. We plan to move the formfactor from (partialy badly written) HTML to Markdown (MD). Both of these tasks will have to be done manual and in conjunction in order not to move stuff to MD that will get kicked out afterwards. Once that is done, we will present the manual on a new platform that can turn MD into a visualy pleasing, easy to use and to maintain format. Volunteers wanted!

Artists in dire demand

Besided that we will be working on stabilizing the artwork in a way where it scales more correctly on all possible resolutions. Unless somebody with skills in the fine arts volunteers to supply us with artwork per release we will have to stick to what we are using now (which I find totaly acceptable) .

Contributors, step up

That being said, we have been keeping siduction rolling since 2011 with a small and more or less stable team and the support of you guys. What we would need is a stronger dev team to be able to work on new ideas and projects. So if you feel intrigued by working on the edge, come to IRC and talk to us. You do not need to be a software developer. We would love to have people with skills in art, translations, web-developement and maintainance, or just people with a passion for debian and siduction. We will for sure find something to do for you.

Last but not least we will try to get a booth at FROSCon 2019 in August, which is held in Siegburg, close to the German city of Bonn.

Core-Team Meeting in Berlin

Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash

Tomorrow, on March 30, the siduction core team meets in Berlin to do some brain storming about the future of siduction. There will be five participants: Alf (agaida). Axel (ab), Torsten (towo), Markus (coruja) and me (devil). Topics will be a release plan that involves less work, a way to revive the manual in a different form factor and ways to spread siduction to more users.

Anyone that is in Berlin on the weekend is invited to join in. We will be at Coffee Fellows from 14:00 to ~ 18:00UTC/GMT +1 hour. There is an offfice space on the first floor, where you can find us. You can also participate via IRC in that time frame, if you have suggestions or questions for us. your link into our channels is on your desktop.

Release Notes for siduction 2018.3.0

In the attempt to release more often, today we give you siduction 2018.3.0 with the flavours KDE, LXQt, GNOME, Cinnamon, MATE, Xfce, Lxde, Xorg and noX. The released images are a snapshot of Debian unstable, that also goes by the name of Sid, from 2018-05-12. They are enhanced with some useful packages and scripts, an installer based on Calamares and a custom patched version of the linux-kernel 4.16.8, accompanied by X-Server 1.19.6-1 and systemd 238.4.

KDE Plasma stands at version 5.12.5, while GNOME comes in at 3.28.1, with 3.28.2 waiting in the wings. LXQt ships at 0.12.0 and Xfce at 4.12.4, while Cinnamon comes in at 3.6.7-8 and MATE at 1.20.0.

This release comes with the name “patience 2018.3.0”. How we deal with release names in the future is unclear. The next release will ship whatever we come up with. Maybe it’ll be just numbers… But patience for a distribution based on sid is not such a bad moniker after all 🙂

Release Highlights

Plasma 5.12-5, KF 5.45

We are happy to say, KDE moved up a notch in Debian and Plasma 5.12.5 is well into its LTS cycle, accompanied by KDE Frameworks 5.45.0-1. Plasma 5.12 is a LTS release and has some nice improvements. The dash now has an extra tab which integrates plasmoids in the menu. Plasma 5.12-5 feels more snappy, needs less CPU and memory resources. Flatpak is fully integrated in Discover.

Ncurses

With the new version of ncurses 6.1-1, that we cherry-picked, users of Htop will be happy to find out, that this magnificent tool gained the ability to let you wheel through the processes with the mouse.

Connman 1.36

Our LXQt flavour will contain connman 1.36 which was released yesterday – one might not see differences in behaviour since we follow connman upstream very close – but it is nice to have a released version in.

New features from this years releases

Meltdown & Spectre

Shortly after our release 2018.1.0 the world made acquaintance with two vulnerabilities that will stay with us for a long time. In mitigating Meltdown & Spectre, siduction was as close to the kernel as possible to be able to get fixes in as soon as they roll out. Kernel 4.15 had most of the bases covered and now there is far more mitigation with 4.16. There is more patches for Sectre v1 already sent in for the upcoming 4.17.

We expect this to be going on for a while, specialy since 8 new vulnerabilities have just been discovered. For users to be able to easily check the status of their systems regarding Meltdown & Spectre, we added the package spectre-meltdown-checker to the image. Just call it as root and you will see at a glance where you are in that regard.

Ceni removed

We have removed Ceni (for setting up /etc/network/interfaces/) from all flavours but noX and Xorg. It interfers with Network-Manager and speaks only IPv4. Besides that it is easy enough to get a dhcp lease with dhclient, if you have a network cable at hand. You can still find Ceni in the archive, should you want to install it.

Recommends enabled

Years ago we decided to not install recommends anymore for our releases or when the user installs a package. The handling of that feature in Debian was not as we thought it should be. A lot of cruft was installed to the system and we wanted to prevent that. Times have changed and so has the handling of recommends. So now the recommends that the maintainer sets for a package are installed in siduction. If you would like recommends not installed, you can override our decision in /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/80-siduction in the line APT::Install-Recommends “1”;`.

Rotation for Journald

To prevent the journal from growing too large we have implemented a journal-rotation and a maximum size to the journal. You can overrule this setting by editing the files in /etc/journal.conf.d/. There will be a blog post on this topic within the next days.

SSH Handling

We built two small scripts to turn SSH on and off in the live and in the installed system. They are aptly named SSH Activate and SSH Deactivate and you can find them in your menu.

Calamares – our not all that new installer

This is the 4th release with the new installer built from the Calamares Installer Framework and we are quite happy with it. It is under steady developement and will in the near future improve quite a bit on LVM and LUKS2. The partitioning is done by the brand new kpmcore 3.3.1 (git), which is also at the heart of the KDE Partition Manager (KPM). The corresponding package for that is called partitionmanager.

UEFI installs made easy

With Calamares we can proclaim full implementation of UEFI-Installs since 2017.1.0. For now we still have encryption with LUKS and LVM turned off, 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, as it is an ongoing developement, that should be more mature with kpmcore 3.4.

Non-free software

Right now the installer does not offer the option to opt-out software that does not comply with DFSG, the Debian Free Software Guidelines. That means that non-free packages would be installed by default on the system. The command vrms will list these packages. One can remove not wanted packages manually or remove them all by issuing apt purge $(vrms -s) before or after installation.

The following non-free and contrib packages are installed by default:

non-free
  • 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

New paste script

We have retired the old paste-script, that ran under the name siduction-paste. It’s place was taken by what is now called simple-paste. Simple-paste is a cli swiss army-knife for pasting, written in bash, powered by pb. It supports command output, different kinds of screenshots, (auto-)deletable pastes and much more.

32-bit architecture was retired recently

As already mentioned in the news section, with the 2017.1.0 release we retired
the 32-bit architecture. The work that it took to build and maintain that architecture is in our humble opinion better invested in other places. Users that still need 32-bit can come talk to us on IRC or send a PM and we will try to find a solution for these particular cases.

Credits for siduction 2018.3.0

Core Team:

Alf Gaida (agaida)
Axel Beu (ab)
Ferdinand Thommes (devil)
Torsten Wohlfarth (towo)
J. Theede (musca)

Maintainers:

Kernel: Torsten Wohlfarth (towo)
Buildsystem/Installer: Alf Gaida (agaida)
Grub/Themes: Hendrik Lehmbruch (hendrikL)

Flavour Support:

Cinnamon: J. Theede (musca)
Gnome: J. Theede (muscca)
KDE: Ferdinand Thommes (devil)
LXDE: Alf Gaida (agaida)
LXQt: Alf Gaida (agaida)
XFCE: Torsten Wohlfarth (towo)
Mate: J. Theede (musca)
noX: Alf Gaida (agaida)
XFCE: Torsten Wohlfarth (towo)
XORG(fluxbox): Alf Gaida (agaida)

Code, ideas and support:

ayla
bluelupo
der_bud
Markus Meyer (coruja)
Hendrik Lehmbruch (hendrikL)

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 siduction 2018.2.0

Today we are proud to release siduction 2018.2.0 with the flavours KDE, LXQt, GNOME, Cinnamon, MATE, Xfce, Lxde, Xorg and noX. The released images are a snapshot of Debian unstable, that also goes by the name of Sid, from 2018-03-04. They are enhanced with some useful packages and scripts, an installer based on Calamares and a custom patched version of the linux-kernel 4.15.7, accompanied by X-Server 1.19.5 and systemd 237.4.

KDE Plasma stands at version 5.12.2, while GNOME comes in at 3.26 with some packages still at 3.24. LXQt ships at 0.12.0 and Xfce at 4.12.4, while Cinnamon comes in at 3.4.6 and MATE at 1.20.0. Sadly, right now, GNOME, MATE and LXDE are largely unmaintained. If noone steps up to keep them in a releaseable state, we might have to drop these flavours with our next release. The corresponding packages will stay in the archives.
This release comes with the name “patience 2018.2.0”. How we deal with this in the future is unclear. The next release will ship whatever we come up with. Maybe it’ll be just numbers…

Release Highlights

Meltdown & Spectre

Shortly after our last release 2018.1.0 the world made acquaintance with two vulnerabilities that will stay with us for a long time. In mitigating Meltdown & Spectre, siduction was as close to the kernel as possible to be able to get fixes in as soon as they roll out. Kernel 4.15.7 has most of the bases covered, even though there will be more coming with 4.16 expected in April.
For users to be able to easily check the status of your system regarding Meltdown & Spectre, we added the package spectre-meltdown-checker to the image. Just call it as root and you will see at a glance where we are in that regard.

Plasma 5.12, KF 5.42

We are happy to say, KDE moved up a notch in Debian and Plasma 5.12 entered Sid, accompanied by KDE Frameworks 5.42. Plasma 5.12 is a LTS release and has some nice improvements. The dash now has an extra tab which integrates plasmoids in the menu. Plasma 5.12 feels more snappy, needs less CPU and memory resources. Flatpak is fully integrated in Discover.

Ceni removed

We have removed Ceni (for setting up /etc/network/interfaces/) from all flavours but noX and Xorg. It interfers with Network-Manager and speaks only IPv4. Besides that it is easy enough to get a dhcp lease with dhclient, if you have a network cable at hand. You can still find Ceni in the archive, should you want to install it.

Features of siduction 2018.2.0

Recommends enabled

Years ago we decided to not install recommends anymore for our releases or when the user installs a package. The handling of that feature in Debian was not as we thought it should be. A lot of cruft was installed to the system and we wanted to prevent that. Times have changed and so has the handling of recommends. So now the recommends that the maintainer sets for a package are installed in siduction. If you would like recommends not installed, you can override our decision in /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/80-siduction in the line APT::Install-Recommends "1";.

Rotation for Journald

To prevent the journal from growing too large we have implemented a journal-rotation and a maximum size to the journal. You can overrule this  setting by editing the files in /etc/journal.conf.d/. There will be a blog post on  this topic within the next days.

SSH Handling

We built two small scripts to turn SSH on and off in the live and in the installed system. They are aptly named SSH Activate and SSH Deactivate and you can find them in your menu.

Calamares – our new installer

This is the 3rd release with the new installer built from the Calamares Installer Framework and we are quite happy with it. It is under steady developement and will in the near future improve quite a bit on LVM and LUKS2.
The partitioning is done by the brand new kpmcore 3.3.1 (git), which is also at the heart of the KDE Partition Manager (KPM). The corresponding package for that is called partitionmanager.

UEFI installs made easy

With Calamares we can proclaim full implementation of UEFI-Installs since 2017.1.0. For now we still have encryption with LUKS and LVM turned off, 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, as it is an ongoing developement, that should be more mature with kpmcore 3.4.

Non-free software

The installer does not offer the option to opt-out software that does not
comply with DFSG, the Debian Free Software Guidelines. That means that non-free packages would be installed by default on the system. The command vrms will list these packages. One can remove not wanted packages manually or remove them all by issuing apt purge $(vrms -s) before or after installation

The very same topic has ruffled feathers on the debian deverloper mailing list last month with two extensive threads and a possible future solution layed out by Russ Allbery.

The following non-free and contrib packages are installed by default: non-free

* 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

New paste script

We have retired the old paste-script, that ran under the name siduction-paste. It’s place was taken by what is now called simple-paste. Simple-paste is a cli swiss army-knife for pasting, written in bash, powered by pb. It supports command output, different kinds of screenshots, (auto-)deletable pastes and much more.

32-bit architecture was retired recently

As already mentioned in the news section, with the 2017.1.0 release we retired the 32-bit architecture. The work that it took to build and maintain that architecture is in our humble opinion better invested in other places. Users that still need 32-bit can come talk to us on IRC or send a PM and we will try to find a solution for these particular cases.

Credits for siduction 2018.2.0

Core Team:
Alf Gaida (agaida)
Axel Beu (ab)
Ferdinand Thommes (devil)
Torsten Wohlfarth (towo)
J. Theede (musca)

Maintainers:

Kernel: Torsten Wolfahrt (towo)
Buildsystem/Installer: Alf Gaida (agaida)
Grub/Themes: Hendrik Lehmbruch (hendrikL)

Flavour Support:

Cinnamon: J. Theede (musca)
Gnome: J. Theede (muscca)
KDE: Ferdinand Thommes (devil)
LXDE: Alf Gaida (agaida)
LXQt: Alf Gaida (agaida)
XFCE: Torsten Wolfahrt (towo)
Mate: J. Theede (musca)
noX: Alf Gaida (agaida)
XFCE: Torsten Wolfahrt (towo)
XORG(fluxbox): Alf Gaida (agaida)

Code, ideas and support:

ayla
bluelupo
der_bud
Markus Meyer (coruja)
Hendrik Lehmbruch (hendrikL)

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 siduction 2018.1.0

Today we are proud to release siduction 2018.1.0 with the flavours KDE,LXQt, GNOME, Cinnamon, MATE, XFCE, LXDE, Xorg and noX. The released images are a snapshot of Debian unstable, that also goes by the name of Sid, from 2017-29-12. They are enhanced with some useful packages and scripts, a brand new installer and a custom patched version of the linux-kernel 4.14.10, accompanied by X-Server 1.19.5 and systemd 236.

KDE Plasma stands at version 5.10.5, while GNOME comes in at 3.26 with
some packages still at 3.24. LXQt ships at 0.12.0 and Xfce at 4.12.4, while
Cinnamon comes in at 3.4.6 and MATE at 1.18.3. Sadly, right now, GNOME,
MATE and LXDE are largely unmaintained. If noone steps up to keep them in a releaseable state, we might have to drop these flavours with our next release. The corresponding packages will stay in the archives.

This release comes with the name “patience 2018.1.0”. How we deal with
this in the future is unclear. The next release, which might be there in March, in advance of CLT 2018, will ship whatever we come up with. Maybe it’ll be just numbers…

Release Highlights

Recommends enabled

Years ago we decided to not install recommends anymore for our releases or when the user installs a package. The handling of that feature in Debian was not as we thought it should be. A lot of cruft was installed to the system and we wanted to prevent that. Times have changed and so has the handling of recommends. So now the recommends that the maintainer sets for a package are installed in siduction. If you would like recommends not installed, you can override our decision in /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/80-siduction in the line APT::Install-Recommends “1”;.

Rotation for Journald

To prevent the journal from growing too large we have implemented a journal-rotation and a maximum size to the journal. You can overrule this  setting by editing the files in /etc/journal.conf.d/. There will be a blog post on  this topic within the next days.

SSH Handling

We built two small scripts to turn SSH on and off in the live and in the
installed system. They are aptly named SSH Activate and SSH Deactivate
and you can find them in your menu.

Calamares – our new installer

This is the 2nd release with the new installer built from the
Calamares Installer Framework and we are quite happy with it. It is under steady developement and will in the near future improve quite a bit on LVM and LUKS2.

The partitioning is done by the brand new kpmcore 3.3.0, which is also at the heart of the KDE Partition Manager (KPM). The corresponding package for that is called partitionmanager.

UEFI installs made easy

With Calamares we can proclaim full implementation of UEFI-Installs since 2017.1.0. For now we still have encryption with LUKS and LVM turned off, 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, as it is an ongoing developement, that should be more mature with kpmcore 3.4.

Non-free software

The installer does not offer the option to opt-out software that does not
comply with DFSG, the Debian Free Software Guidelines. That means that non-free packages would be installed by default on the system. The command vrms will list these packages. One can remove not wanted packages manually or remove them all by issuing apt purge $(vrms -s) before or after installation

The very same topic has ruffled feathers on the debian deverloper mailing list last month with two extensive threads and a
possible future solution layed out by Russ Allbery.

The following non-free and contrib packages are installed by default:

non-free

* 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

New paste script

We have retired the old paste-script, that ran under the name siduction-paste. It’s place was taken by what is now called simple-paste. Simple-paste is a cli swiss army-knife for pasting, written in bash, powered by pb. It supports command output, different kinds of screenshots, (auto-)deletable pastes and much more.

32-bit architecture was retired with last release

As already mentioned in the news section, with the 2017.1.0 release we retired the 32-bit architecture. The work that it took to build and maintain that architecture is in our humble opinion better invested in other places. Users that still need 32-bit can come talk to us on IRC or send a PM and we will try to find a solution for these particular cases.

Credits for siduction 2018.1.0

Core Team:

Alf Gaida (agaida)
Axel Beu (ab)
Ferdinand Thommes (devil)
Torsten Wohlfarth (towo)
J. Theede (musca)

Maintainers:

Kernel: Torsten Wolfahrt (towo)
Buildsystem/Installer: Alf Gaida (agaida)
Grub/Themes: Hendrik Lehmbruch (hendrikL)

Flavour Support:

Cinnamon: J. Theede (musca)
Gnome: J. Theede (muscca)
KDE: Ferdinand Thommes (devil)
LXDE: Alf Gaida (agaida)
LXQt: Alf Gaida (agaida)
XFCE: Torsten Wolfahrt (towo)
Mate: J. Theede (musca)
noX: Alf Gaida (agaida)
XFCE: Torsten Wolfahrt (towo)
XORG(fluxbox): Alf Gaida (agaida)

Code, ideas and support:

ayla
bluelupo
der_bud
Markus Meyer (coruja)
Hendrik Lehmbruch (hendrikL)

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