Linux in The News 1-1-24

Last Updated on January 1, 2024 by KC7NYR

MX Linux Raspberry Pi Edition Officially Released for Raspberry Pi 5 and 4 SBCs

The system is based on Debian GNU/Linux 12 “Bookworm” and uses Xfce 4.18 as the default desktop environment.
MX 23 Raspberry Pi

The developers behind the Debian-based MX Linux distribution have released a Raspberry Pi edition today for those who want to run the operating system on Raspberry Pi single-board computers.

Initially announced in mid-November 2023, the MX Linux Raspberry Pi Edition has been tested on Raspberry Pi 4, Raspberry Pi 400, and Raspberry Pi 5 single-board computers. It uses the Chromium open-source web browser by default and a first-time setup wizard in TUI mode to configure your installation.

The MX Linux devs explain the use of Chromium instead of Mozilla Firefox as the default web browser for the Raspberry Pi edition in a blog post, saying that their choice was due to the startup speed of Chromium versus Firefox on the Raspberry Pi hardware.

The Raspberry Pi edition is based on the MX Linux 23.1 “Libretto” release, which is derived from the Debian GNU/Linux 12 “Bookworm” operating system series. Xfce 4.18 is used as the default desktop environment and the system runs on top of Debian Bookworm’s long-term supported Linux 6.1 LTS kernel series.

Users who want to try the MX Linux distribution on their Raspberry Pi computers will need an SD memory card or USB driver with at least 16GB of free disk space. The system includes the official MX Tools and gives users access to the official MX Linux repositories.

However, users should keep in mind that this MX Linux edition comes with a smaller set of default applications as the devs want to offer a lightweight and fast solution for the tiny computers. Of course, you will be able to install more apps using the MX Package Installer utility.

As a known issue, the devs note the fact that the first-time setup wizard of the Raspberry Pi edition is currently available only in the English language. Despite this, users of non-English languages will be able to choose the system language during the setup.

Without further ado, you can download the official Raspberry Pi edition right now using the direct download link below for your convenience or from the official website. Please note that this edition is only available for the AArch64 (ARM64) hardware architecture.

Gentoo Linux Takes a Big Leap: Official Binary Packages

Breaking free from the source-only tradition, Gentoo Linux introduces binary packages for a faster and more convenient user experience.

Gentoo Linux, the beloved source-based distro, has just unveiled a groundbreaking move: official binary package support alongside its traditional compilation magic.

Yes, you read that right! Portage, the legendary Gentoo package manager, now lets you seamlessly blend pre-built packages with your own source-code-wielding ways.

Traditionally known for its source-based approach, Gentoo Linux’s package manager, Portage, has long supported both source and binary package installations. However, the latest development focuses on providing binary packages to expedite processes on slower machines and for general user convenience.

For most architectures, the binary package availability is limited to the core system with weekly updates. However, the real game-changer lies in the support for amd64 and arm64 architectures, boasting an impressive collection of over 20 gigabytes of packages, which is already available as of the note from the team. From productivity tools like LibreOffice to desktop environments like KDE Plasma and Gnome, and even containerization with Docker, Gentoo’s binary packages offer a diverse range of options to users.

This brings several benefits:

  • Faster Installations: No need to spend hours or days doing compilations. The core system and weekly updates on amd64 and arm64 architectures now boast pre-built key applications – from LibreOffice to KDE Plasma.
  • Smoother Workflows: Got slow hardware or just want to save precious time? Binary packages are your new best friends. They’ll get your system up and running in a flash, freeing you to focus on the fun stuff.
  • Flexibility Reigns Supreme: Don’t worry, die-hard Gentoo fans, your beloved source-based experience isn’t going anywhere. Think of binary packages as an extra tool in your arsenal, letting you mix and match pre-built packages with your own custom-compiled apps. Gentoo remains as customizable as ever!
Gentoo Linux
Gentoo Linux

Getting Started: Quick Setup and Installation Guides

Curious about integrating these binary packages into your Gentoo installation? The Gentoo team has provided quick setup instructions for existing installations, which are available on their wiki. Additionally, those starting fresh with a new stage or installation will find that the necessary configuration files are already included, ensuring a smooth start.

To initiate the update, the Gentoo team recommends running the following command:

emerge -uDNavg @world

Compile Settings and Use Flags

For the amd64 architecture, binary packages are compiled using specific CFLAGS, providing compatibility with any amd64/x86-64 machine. Similar settings and use flags are applied for arm64 packages, accommodating a broad range of arm64/AArch64 machines.

Users who prefer customization and optimization for their CPU can still compile packages manually, maintaining the flexibility Gentoo is renowned for.

Signed Packages and Verification

To ensure the integrity and authenticity of the packages, Gentoo’s binary packages are cryptographically signed with the same key as the stages. The cryptographic signatures, a crucial security aspect, are verified before installation, with support for the latest GPKG format.