Feuding Developers, Dueling Distros Make Linux Lineage Revival Legendary

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GitHub gets the heave-ho by a software developer group. Meanwhile, a 12-year-old developer takes on the maintainer role of the near-abandoned Unity desktop.

The start of the summer season brought new and old Linux developments to the forefront. Long-time portable Porteus is freshly released after four years. It offers eight choices. Windows-like Linux Lite is newly released with fresh features.

Enterprise Linux has competition between newcomer AlmaLinux and Rocky Linux. Both contestants are wearing their nines.

Let’s delve into the latest OSS news.

SFC Parts Company with Git

The Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC), a non-profit focused on free and open source software (FOSS), has stopped using Microsoft-owned GitHub for project hosting and wants other software developers to stop using it as well.

In a June 30 blog post SFC officials complained that GitHub over the past decade became a dominant role in FOSS development by building an interface and social features around Git, a widely used open source version control software. That growth involved convincing FOSS developers to contribute to the development of a proprietary service that exploits FOSS.

SFC is pursuing a long-term plan to assist FOSS projects to migrate away from GitHub, according to Denver Gingerich, SFC FOSS license compliance engineer, and Bradley M. Kuhn, SFC policy fellow. They said the SFC will not accept new member projects without a long-term plan to migrate away from GitHub.

Like Phoenix Rising

Unity is undergoing new development, thanks to a youthful new developer who “grew up” using the once-popular Ubuntu default desktop.

In its heyday, Ubuntu’s previous default Unity desktop offered Linux users a refreshing alternative user interface. But Ubuntu’s Canonical leaders kicked Unity to the curb in favor of a more commercially viable GNOME replacement. Unity since then remained mostly idle as an independent, unaffiliated desktop.

Enter 12-year-old software developer Rudra Saraswat from India. This Linux Foundation Certified Developer and Ubuntu member decided to resurrect Unity’s development and is working on the release of Unity 7.6 — now six years after its major seventh release.

The focus is not on bringing new features, at least not yet. Instead, Saraswat’s goal for Unity 7.6 is to get this desktop environment to a stable operating state compatible with the other software libraries available today.

Linux ‘Oldie but Goodie’ Is Back Better

Slackware-based Porteus Linux 5.0 is now available in a choice of eight desktop options with the Linux 5.18 kernel and BusyBox 1.35.

This latest release is the first in more than four years after version 4.0. The update is welcomed news to those looking for the latest improvements for a portable Linux platform.

Porteus is a modular live CD/USB-based platform that started as a community remix of Slax, another Slackware-based live CD.

The eight desktop versions are available as separate ISOs, include some newer desktop environment releases. The choices are the latest versions of Xfce 4.16, LXQt 1.1.0, Cinnamon 5.4.2, and MATE 1.26. Two older versions are KDE Plasma 5.23.5 and GNOME 41.5. Also in the mix are the older LXDE desktop environment and the lighter Openbox window manager.

The main attraction to Porteus Linux, aside from its portability, is its support for older 32-bit (i586) computers.

Linux Lite 6.0 Favors Google Chrome Over Firefox

Linux Lite, a well-known Windows-like distro, is now available in 6.0 based on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS and the slightly older Linux Kernel 5.15 LTS.

This upgrade has a new window theme and assistive technologies. It also has an on-screen keyboard, screen reader (Ocra) and magnifier tools, a new grub menu, and accessibility improvements.

With the growing popularity of touch screen use for Linux, the added on-screen keyboard is a handy improvement. Perhaps one of the biggest changes is the Firefox web browser is no longer included by default. Google Chrome now has that role.

Enterprise AlmaLinux 9 Is Supercomputing Powerhouse

Community-owned AlmaLinux is becoming a popular replacement for Red Hat Enterprise Linux’s free CentOS version. This is the new OS’s fifth stable release.

The distro’s newest release, Emerald Puma, is available on all major public cloud platforms, including AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, and Oracle OCI. The AlmaLinux OS Foundation members supporting its rapid development include AMD, CloudFest, CloudLinux, and Codenotary.

AlmaLinux 9 releases are available for x86_64, aarch64, ppc64le, and s390x architectures. The OS is designed for production installations.

It comes with Linux kernel 5.14. Desktop environment users get GNOME 40, which runs on Wayland by default, and the Pipewire audio server.

AlmaLinux is listed in the June 2022 version of the TOP500 Supercomputer list four times. This well-known ranking site benchmarks supercomputing systems around the world.

AlmaLinux partner Megware uses AlmaLinux in its HPC cluster installations for its hyper security. AlmaLinux provides updates and security patches very quickly, according to Megware.

Rocky Linux 9 Reproducible From Scratch

Rocky Linux 9 is more than just binaries and an installer. Its open-source roots prevent the CentOS end-of-life issues.

Developers released the Peridot version on July 14, delivering new security, application, and networking features. But the feature most taking center stage is the availability of all the build chain infrastructure tools developers would need to extend or reproduce the operating system.

That hallmark lets any other Linux developer do something independently of the community or any upstream supporting organization. That, according to its release notes, makes Rocky Linux v9 a supported enterprise Linux platform for the next decade. It uses only open-source tools to deliver a completely reproducible operating system.

Red Hat’s CentOS Linux 8 reached end of life (EOL) on Dec. 31, 2021. Red Hat chose to not continue it in favor of a rolling release OS it dubbed CentOS Stream.

With Rocky version 8, CIO developers used Koji, the Fedora build system. But CIO created version 9 as a completely cloud-native build stack called Peridot, explained Gregory Kurtzer, CEO of CIQ and founder of the Rocky Enterprise Software Foundation (RESF) in a news release. The company gave it to the RESF, which released it as open source.

“This is our commitment to our users and community from day one, ensuring that Rocky Linux will always be freely available and community controlled,” Kurtzer said.

Jack M. Germain

Jack M. Germain has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2003. His main areas of focus are enterprise IT, Linux and open-source technologies. He is an esteemed reviewer of Linux distros and other open-source software. In addition, Jack extensively covers business technology and privacy issues, as well as developments in e-commerce and consumer electronics. Email Jack.

1 Comment

  • ‘Linux Lite 6.0 Favors Google Chrome Over Firefox”

    I used to install the minimal installation of PC Linux, It didn’t even come with a browser. Basically only Synaptic, and you added the software you wanted from there or the command line, Actually I miss that, with installation media reaching 3 gigs or more I spend more time removing what I don’t want than anything. I remember when the ISO’s all fit on a single CD.
    Personally as long as Firefox or Waterfox are available, even as a tarball, that is what I will use. A must for me is the Menu bar at the top. I also use Waterfox because of no telemetry. Chrome has neither of those features.

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