Parsix GNU/Linux 8.0 review

In today's open source roundup: A review of Parsix GNU/Linux 8.0. Plus: GNOME Software will get new rating system. And Matthew Garrett is not forking Linux

Parsix GNU/Linux 8.0 review

Parsix GNU/Linux 8.0 is a Debian-based distribution geared towards providing an easy to install and use desktop Linux experience. DistroWatch has a full review of Parsix GNU/Linux 8.0 and, unfortunately, found it rather buggy.

Jesse Smith reports for DistroWatch:

Running Parsix 8.0 was a disappointing experience for me. It seemed as though every aspect of the distribution had serious bugs of one kind or another. From the system installer mangling my user name, to the Software package manager not handling updates and only providing access to a small group of applications, to the distribution refusing to run on my desktop computer. I experienced regular crashes from the GNOME desktop environment and Parsix did not work with my computer's implementation of UEFI. The GNOME Shell desktop crashed frequently enough to be impractical to use and the GNOME Classic desktop was slow to respond in my virtual environment, even with video acceleration enabled.

Perhaps the only nice feature Parsix presented was the default selection of software. The distribution ships with several useful desktop applications and multimedia support. It is unfortunate that these programs are mixed in with programs which simply refused to work, such as the Package Updater and the Services manager which, strangely, does not list any available services.

Quite often when I have poor experiences with a distribution readers will e-mail to ask if I checked to make sure the installation media wasn't corrupted while others might suggest my hardware was not working properly. I would like to head off those questions up front. I checked and then double-checked that the Parsix media not only passed its own integrity test, but the installation media also matched the project's published checksums. I perform the installation three times during the week to try to rule out problems during the install process. While I was trying to test Parsix 8.0 on this machine, and in a VirtualBox environment, I also ran Debian (Parsix's parent) on the same machine and in a virtual machine powered by VirtualBox. Debian displayed none of the issues I experienced with Parsix. Debian, in fact, worked smoothly and quickly on the same hardware Parsix was unable to boot on, which I found curious.

I ended up cutting my trial with Parsix short after five days. The system was too slow and too unstable to be practical for work and clicking on the wrong menu item would sometimes log me out, losing whatever I had been working on at the time. A few years ago I felt as though Parsix was one of the better Debian-based desktop projects available, but I'm sorry to say Parsix 8.0 caused me one headache after another.

More at DistroWatch

GNOME Software to get new rating system

The GNOME developers are planning a brand new rating system for GNOME Software. The new system might be a big help to users in terms of choosing the software they want to run on their GNOME systems.

Silviu Stahie reports for Softpedia:

The GNOME developers are preparing to reintroduce a rating system for GNOME Software, but nothing as simple as the old one. It will be a complex way of rating the applications so that users can make informed decisions.

One of the things that have been missing from GNOME Software is the ability to rate applications and users have been asking for this feature for a long time. Some of you might remember that this feature used to be present in GNOME Software a long time ago, but it was removed. The reason was quite simple: the rating system was not good enough to clearly mark the apps. Which is why the developers now want to have something more complex that should do a much better job, or at least this is the theory.

A simple rating system generates all kinds of problems that you wouldn't really anticipate. For example, some users would consider an application good enough to give it five stars, but others were giving it four just because it was a matter of opinion and usage and not something intrinsically wrong with it. Also, it seems that fans of other desktop environments would play the rating system, giving apps just one start to bring their ratings down. Even when measures were taken to prevent such situations, users would find another way to cheat the system.

More at Softpedia

Matthew Garrett not forking Linux

Recent media reports and online comments have led many to think that Matthew Garrett is planning to fork Linux. But a writer at ZDNet disagrees with that conclusion.

SJVN reports for ZDNet:

When Matthew Garrett, well-known Linux kernel developer and ‎CoreOS principal security engineer, announced he was releasing a [Linux] kernel tree with patches that implement a BSD-style securelevel interface, I predicted people would say Garrett was forking Linux. I was right. They have. But, that's not what Garrett is doing.

First, Garrett wrote a blog post in response to Intel developer Sarah Sharp leaving the Linux kernel development community. Garrett, like Sharp, has had his own run-ins with Linus Torvalds and others on the Linux Kernel Mailing List (LKML).

In Garrett's case, this conflict sprang from his work with getting Linux boot and install on PCs locked down with Windows 8's UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) Secure Boot using a shim approach. This method requires a Microsoft signed UEFI key. Torvalds "hated" the idea. Torvalds snapped, "If Red Hat wants to deep-throat Microsoft, that's *your* issue." Things went downhill from there.

Where does all this lead? Not into a fork, but I believe eventually that Garrett's work will be merged into the main kernel. It seems unlikely to me, however, that Garrett or Sharp will ever be working directly with Torvalds or LKML.

More at ZDNet

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