Saturday, 17 March 2018

Qt 5 on 32-bit x86

To all Adélie Linux users with 32-bit x86 processors,

During testing of LXQt on a Pentium III, I noticed a repeated "Illegal instruction" error being raised by all Qt 5 applications. This is due to Qt 5's build system overriding CFLAGS and building with SSE2 by default. This meant that most 32-bit x86 processors, including all 32-bit AMD, Cyrix, and UMC processors, and all Intel processors before the Pentium 4 "Willamette", could not run any software that utilises Qt 5 or QML.

While the majority of the onus for this issue lies with Qt 5, I want to deeply apologise for the oversight that allowed these packages to ship with Adélie Linux 1.0-ALPHA5. In the future, packages will be tested on a wider variety of systems before they are shipped to the public. Rest assured that we are working diligently behind the scenes to ensure a pleasant experience for users of all supported hardware.

The affected Qt 5 packages have been rebuilt and should no longer cause issues on any supported 32-bit x86 processor. If you encounter an "Illegal instruction" error while using the Adélie Linux distribution with any software, on any architecture, please file an issue on the BTS.

Thank you for your continued support of Adélie.

Best regards,
A. Wilcox
Project Lead

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Adélie Linux 1.0-ALPHA5: PCMCIA cards now supported for installation on 32-bit x86

The Adélie Linux Release Engineering Team is pleased to announce that new ISOs have been uploaded for the 32-bit x86 (pmmx) architecture containing the pcmciautils package. This allows you to use PCMCIA cards during installation; for example, network interfaces, FireWire cards, and USB cards.

This change has been tested on IBM and Compaq laptops. More testing is welcome. You may also learn more about Adélie Linux on our Web site.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Adélie Linux 1.0-ALPHA5 is now available

The Adélie Linux Release Engineering Team is pleased to announce the immediate release of Adélie Linux 1.0-ALPHA5 for the 32-bit and 64-bit x86 and PowerPC platforms. Learn more about Adélie Linux on our Web site.

An important milestone for this release is that all architectures have the same package set. You can now run Firefox, KDE Plasma 5, LXQt, Fluxbox, NFS, and more on any computer that Adélie supports.

Please note: This is an early test release of Adélie Linux. While every care has been taken to ensure the stability of the system, features and packages may be missing or may not function correctly. You should always back up your computer's data before you install a new Linux distribution. This release is being actively tested on multiple platforms. It is highly recommended that you use a dedicated computer or virtual machine to learn the environment until you are comfortable with using the Adélie Linux system and its package manager, apk.

Release notes

All architectures

  • Easy Kernel has been updated to 4.14.19-mc4.
  • Firefox has been updated to 52.6.0.
  • KDE Applications Suite has been updated to 17.12.2, including the latest enhancements and fixes.
  • KDE Plasma has been updated to 5.12 LTS. This release includes many exciting features and improvements, including reduced memory consumption, KDE Connect phone integration, and Vaults to keep your data private and secure.
  • Qt has been updated to 5.9.3.
  • SDDM is fully supported, allowing the use a graphical login screen where desired.
  • XSANE is once again available, providing an easy-to-use, performant scanning solution for all users of Adélie.

Intel x86 (32-bit)

  • Firefox and Otter are now officially supported on the 32-bit x86 architecture.
  • KDE and LXQt are now available on the 32-bit x86 architecture.
  • The ISO images can now be written to USB media, for use on computers without functional optical drives.

Intel x86_64

  • Easy Kernel 4.14.19-mc4 includes the latest KPTI security patches for Meltdown on Intel CPUs.

PowerPC (32-bit)

  • The full set of PowerPC-supported software is now available for 32-bit computers.
  • Experimental support for Old World Apple Power Macintosh G3 (Beige, AIO) systems, using the NetBSD ofwboot to chain-load GRUB.

PowerPC (64-bit)

  • Firefox is now available.

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Adélie Linux 1.0-ALPHA4: Now available on four architectures

The Adélie Linux Release Engineering Team is pleased to announce the immediate release of Adélie Linux 1.0-ALPHA4 for the 32-bit and 64-bit x86 and PowerPC platforms. Learn more about Adélie Linux on our Web site.

An important milestone for this release is the official support of the 32-bit x86 CPU. Our current release is optimised for the Pentium M and requires a Pentium MMX or later CPU. Builds that are optimised for the Pentium 4, and generic builds for 486 and 586 level CPUs, will be released later. Note that currently only a limited subset of packages are available for the 32-bit x86. More packages will be built as time permits.

Another very important milestone for this release is support for run-from-RAM on the live CD. You can install and modify packages in the live environment by using a RAM disk, without writing to your hard disk. Any changes made to the run-from-RAM environment will be erased on the next boot, while changes made to the hard disk will persist. This provides a degree of freedom with what you can do with the Adélie boot media and we are very excited to have this capability.

Finally, this release is also the first known public distribution release that supports LXQt on big-endian processors. The LXQt desktop on the 64-bit PowerPC CPU is officially supported. We are very proud to make this announcement, and it would not be possible without the great communities involved in this effort: LXQt, KDE, Qt, Alpine, musl, and of course our own.

Please note: This is an early test release of Adélie Linux. While every care has been taken to ensure the stability of the system, features and packages may be missing or may not function correctly. You should always back up your computer's data before you install a new Linux distribution. This release is being actively tested on multiple platforms. It is highly recommended that you use a dedicated computer or virtual machine to learn the environment until you are comfortable with using the Adélie Linux system and its package manager, apk.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Short announcement: Self-hosting parts of our infrastructure

We are proud to announce that effective immediately, all official Adélie Linux mirrors and our Bug Tracking System (Bugzilla 5) are all being run on Adélie Linux 1.0-ALPHA3. We feel that the best way to ensure our distribution is reliable and ready for production loads is to run it on our own production infrastructure, and we feel that the lighttpd package is now stable enough for this level of testing. We do not expect to have any issues with the new infrastructure; however, if you experience any, please do contact us on IRC or social media.

Happy hacking!

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Adélie Linux 1.0-ALPHA3: Now available for the 64-bit PowerPC

The Adélie Linux Release Engineering Team is pleased to announce the release of Adélie Linux 1.0-ALPHA3 for the 64-bit PowerPC platform. Learn more about Adélie Linux on our Web site.

This release is our first release to fully support the 64-bit PowerPC, and we are honoured to be the first distribution to ship native 64-bit PowerPC support with the musl libc.

Important notice: We have noted that on certain releases of IBM pSeries PAPR (qemu pseries-2.5), SLOF returns an error when attempting to boot the ISO. We are still investigating this issue.

There are a lot of packages still being built for the 64-bit PowerPC platform. At the time of this writing, only the basic userland utilities (enough to install and boot the system) are available. X, KDE, LXQt, LLVM, and others are not yet available, but should be built in the coming days. Please also note that due to an upstream bug, GRUB packages installed from the mirror may not be reliable; you may need to use the 32-bit PowerPC GRUB package until this bug is fixed. Further information will be released on our wiki, and this article will be updated with a link when available.

Please note: This is an early test release of Adélie Linux. While every care has been taken to ensure the stability of the system, features and packages may be missing, or not function correctly. You should always back up your computer's data before you install a new Linux distribution. This release is being actively tested on multiple platforms. It is highly recommended that you use a dedicated computer or virtual machine to learn the environment until you are comfortable with using the Adélie Linux system and its package manager, apk.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Our official stance on the Rust programming language

A few people have asked us about when the Rust programming language will be packaged for Adélie. The short answer is that the Rust programming language fails the requirement that it can be packaged on all tier 1 architectures, and additionally fails to meet our libre source requirements. These issues are not insurmountable, and I hope that Mozilla will continue to work with the community to find answers to them. A more detailed explanation follows.

Issue #1: Rust requires binary Rust to compile

Our guidelines strictly require that all packages must be built from source code, without the requirement to trust upstream binary packages. You can read a few papers on the reason for this; a good starting point is Countering "Trusting Trust" by Bruce Schneier. Put simply, a compiler binary may be malicious, and the only way to prove that it is not is to compile it with a separate compiler. Rust is implemented in Rust, and there is currently only one implementation of it: Mozilla's. A community effort to create a second implementation is underway, but it is not yet sufficient and supports only x86_64 currently. There is no way to know right now that Mozilla's binaries do not have malicious code embedded without an independent Rust compiler.

Issue #2: Architecture support

Our guidelines strictly require that all packages support all Tier 1 platforms to be built as a supported package. (Packages that don't may be maintained by the community at a site like APK Fission.) Rust, as of the time of this writing, does not support any non-x86 architectures; as of 1.8 (the last time triplets were documented), the PowerPC musl platforms were not supported even for custom builds.

Issue #3: Cargo now requires Cargo

As described in issue #1, our guidelines strictly require that all packages must be built from source code. As of the latest release, Cargo now requires itself to build, which again requires us to trust an upstream binary package. With this specific package, it may be possible to bootstrap using an older version of Cargo that still supported source builds without itself. This has not been investigated yet as the other two issues are far more pressing.

In Conclusion

We would truly enjoy the ability to provide the Rust environment to our users, and we hope that Mozilla will continue to improve Rust's tooling to allow this. Until such a time, the security and integrity of our distribution is paramount. To preserve that security and integrity required to create a truly libre Linux distribution, we are required to delay any packaging efforts for Rust.