Article from Issue 214/2018

Honey, I shrunk Ubuntu, Linux Mint 19 released, Red Hat adds GPLv3 cure clause to Its codebase, SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 released, GitLab drops pricing after Microsoft GitHub acquisition, and KDE Plasma 5.13 is here.

Honey I Shrunk Ubuntu

Canonical is tightening its focus on cloud and enterprise markets. The company has released a new version of Ubuntu, dubbed Minimal Ubuntu, which it claims is optimized for automated use at scale, with a tiny package set and minimal security cross-section.

Canonical claims that Minimal Ubuntu is the smallest Ubuntu base image for cloud operations. These images are less than 50% the size of the standard Ubuntu server image and boot up to 40% faster.

Despite its reduced size, Minimal Ubuntu retains full compatibility with standard Ubuntu. Any Ubuntu package can be installed on Minimal Ubuntu.

"The small footprint of Minimal Ubuntu, when deployed with fast VM provisioning from GCE, helps deliver drastically improved boot times, making them a great choice for developers looking to build their applications on Google Cloud Platform," said Paul Nash, Group Product Manager, Google Cloud.

Images of Minimal Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and 18.04 LTS are available for use now in Amazon EC2, Google Compute Engine (GCE), LXD, and KVM/OpenStack.


Linux Mint 19 Released

The Linux Mint team has announced the release of Linux Mint 19, code named Tara. Linux Mint 19 comes in three flavors – Cinnamon, Mate, and Xfce. Linux Mint 19 is based on the Ubuntu LTS 18.04 release, which is supported until 2023.

Linux Mint gained popularity during the early days of Gnome 3 and the Unity desktop. Linux Mint created the Cinnamon desktop, which offered the good old WIMP (Windows, icons, mouse & pointer), as compared to touch-friendly, future proof Gnome 3 and Unity.

One of the highlights of Linux Mint 19 is Timeshift, a name and feature borrowed from Apple's Time Machine that enables users to create a system backup and restore the system if something goes wrong.

To make life easier for users, Linux Mint 19 simplifies the Update Manager. "The Update Manager no longer promotes vigilance and selective updates. It relies on Timeshift to guarantee the stability of your system and suggests to apply all available updates," said the official blog post.

The Linux Mint team has offered an update mechanism, so users running Linux Mint 18 can upgrade to Linux Mint 19.

Linux Mint has not been free of controversies. The team edits Firefox to remove Google as the default search engine and replace it with Yahoo!

You can download Linux Mint from the official download page:

Red Hat Adds GPLv3 Cure Clause to Its Codebase

Red Hat has taken the next step to ensure that users of its open source software are protected from any GNU GPL violations ( Many companies mix different open source codebases into their products and services. It could be challenging to keep up with the licenses used for each component, and any violation could lead to a court case and public shaming.

GNU GPLv3 added a cure clause that offers a grace period to violators to fix the violation and resume the right to use the codebase.

Red Hat said that all new Red Hat-initiated open source projects that opt to use GPLv2 or LGPLv2.1 will be expected to supplement the license with the cure commitment language of GPLv3. The cure language will live in a file in the project source tree and will function as an additional permission extended to users from the start.

There have been some cases where companies using GPL'd software were attacked by trolls and dragged into courts. However, the cure clause offers companies a grace period to fix any violation and avoid such a situation.

Red Hat said in a blog post, "We are extending the GPLv3 termination policy to users of our GPLv2/LGPLv2.1 code because we consider it the right thing to do. The cure permissions offer additional comfort level that users of our code have reasonable assurance of quiet use of that code, even if there is a temporary license noncompliance by a third party redistributing our code, due to misunderstanding or otherwise. We also believe that community adoption of these rights will reduce the opportunity for illegitimate forms of license enforcement. We hope that others will also join in this endeavor to reassure the open source community that good faith efforts to fix noncompliance will be embraced."

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