Author Archives: Ferdinand Thommes

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

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.