Monday, October 6, 2014

Kernel 3.17 for Black Lab Linux 5.x/6.x released

Today we are very pleased to bring you the latest stable kernel, 3.17 for users of Black Lab Linux 5.x and Black Lab Linux 6.x.  While Black Lab Linux ships with an LTS kernel by default we do provide our Kernel Enablement Kit for users that include the latest stable kernel as well as the header and source files.

Users of proprietary video card drivers and VirtualBox users will have to reinstall those drivers and applications.

So whats new with kernel 3.17?

  • Radeon R9 290 “Hawaii” GPUs finally play nicely with the open-source AMD Linux driver.
  • Microsoft Xbox One controller support.
  • Improvements to the Sony SIXAXIS support
  • Toshiba “Active Protection Sensor” Support, a driver to detect if Toshiba laptops are in a free-fall.
  • Open-source NVIDIA driver improvements.
  • DMA-BUF cross-device synchronization support
  • Broadcom BCM7XXX-based board support
  • ACPI 5.1 activity and other power management improvements.
  • Audio support includes Wildcatpoint Audio DSP on Intel Broadwell Ultrabooks.
 You can download the Kernel Enablement Kit from Sourceforge available immediately.

Kernel Enablement Kit 3.17

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Black Lab Linux 6 Beta 2 Released

Today we are pleased to announce the availability of Black Lab Linux 6 Beta 2.  As we march on to the release date of November 1, 2014 we have introduced a few new features for Black Lab Linux 6 Beta 2.

First, this is a build of our XFCE version.  We have modified XFCE so that it looks completely different different then what we have done with Black Lab Linux in the past.  It has a unique deskbar feature that makes the desktop more intuitutive and functional as well as the app dock at the bottom. 

The following fixes have been introduced in the new release:

1.  Fixed full screen Youtube
2.  USB drivers for Sun keyboards
3.  Erratic mouse behavior in virtual machines
4.  We fixed the installer crashes that were happening with previous releases
5.  Fixed HDMI flicker on Intel Based Macs
6.  Initial support for Steam machines

This will be the last beta before the release cadidate on Oct 15, 2014 which will be a feature complete release.

You can download the Beta from Sourceforge.  It is 64 bit only

Black Lab Linux 6 Beta 2 XFCE

If you would like to donate to the Black Lab Linux project.  You can view what we need help with at the Fall Fundraiser Page

Friday, September 19, 2014

Why we went with GNOME 3

Over the past few days since I made the announcement that we were switching to GNOME 3 as our primary user interface we have been e-mailed, called and publicly spoke against. We made this decision based on 3 very important factors. 1) XFCE development has slowed to a crawl. Its pretty much non-existant and there hasnt been a release since 2012. 2) customers and users kept telling us that they wanted certain features built in.  So we were faced with a dilemna.  Wait for the XFCE team to wake up or fork the XFCE desktop.  Now I dont like forking a project. I will do it as a last resort and when a project has been totally abandoned and when it makes sense. I dont like forking because it leads to resentment, hurt feelings and an all out internet flamewar which I have no desire to participate in. Forking also has a tendency to incorporate incompatibilities between the fork and the mother project when the mother project has not been abandoned. So I dislike forking. 3) We had to make the tough choice of either staying stagnant and falling behind or move forward.

Now we looked at several desktop environments and we had a list of 30 criteria. The top 3 on that list are the most important to us. 1) Stay compatible with the mother project. 2) Build in the features our customers and users wanted. 3) Not break everything when an update was released. The fourth one was also essential to me which was avoid Mir like the plague. Out of all the desktops we tried over the last year, there was only one that matched all 30 criteria. That was GNOME. We changed it, made it better and reduced resource consumption and the most important thing when we bolted on our changes and performed an update nothing broke. We stayed compatible with all extensions that came released for GNOME 3.

I understand as a developer that other developers dont like it when we put a bullet in the head of something you are working on. I get it, I feel your pain. But at this juncture, I had to take the leadership role and being a leader is not knowing when to say yes its knowing when to say no. And when you say no, you piss people off. They then go out and bash you in reviews they make a video or podcast and tell the world you dont know what you are doing, etc. etc. But I roll with the punches, I can take my lumps. I have been taking them for the last 8 years.

So with that said. We will do one XFCE release for the free release, in 64 bit only. The GNOME release will be the default we ship on our hardware unless otherwise notified. Enterprise users who subscribe to custom builds will continue to have XFCE as an option because at that point you pay me and I give you what you want. In education, they will continue to get XFCE as the primary because that is what they want and GNOME will be an option.

Try the Public Beta. Dont bash an idea. Try it out, if it sucks tell me why it sucks and I fix it. You may like it and you may find it needs just a few tweaks and tell me what I need to do to make it more to your liking. Feedback. An endless rant of why you dislike the idea itself doesnt help me do what needs to be done which is ... fix it. To those that dislike GNOME just in principle alone, Im sorry. but I encourage you to download the product and help us make it better. For those of you that like what we are doing and are supporting us. Thank you for the support and we thank you for your feedback.

Moving forward.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Black Lab Linux 6 Beta 1 Released

Today we are pleased to release the Beta 1 release of Black Lab Linux 6.  This release has been in planning over the last several months and while we have been slaving away over it we have introduced some unique features.

 With this release we changed the core system we have also changed our default desktop environment .  Many of the core packages have remained the same and have been updated to newer versions.


1.  Heavily customized GNOME 3.10 interface
2.  Ubuntu 14.04 LTS base
3.  Firefox 32
4.  System Restore
5.  Abiword and GNUMERIC
6.  Scribus
7.  Inkscape
8.  Openshot
9.  DVD and full multimedia codec playback
10. Java 7
11. VLC
12.  Audacious
13.  Pidgin IM client
14.  Updated WINE packages ready for installation
15.  Full LSB compliance and all basic development packages installed with a focus on letting people with custom kernels install them with minimal fuss and issue.

Now there have been some issues fixed since the Preview releases that needed to be addressed.

1.  Virtual Machine performance with GNOME 3 has been improved.
2.  The issue with Sun Microsystem USB keyboards not being picked up has been fixed.
3.   RAM consumption on bootup has been improved.  It was using over a gig of RAM but we have trimmed it down to 535 mb.
4.  DKMS would fail when building the modules for VirtualBox, that has been fixed.
5.  All of our Expansion kits and the Black Lab SDK have been adapted to work with Black Lab Linux 6 Beta 1 and still work with Black Lab Linux 5.x

You can download this release from our sourceforge page or can be ordered on a USB key for those with bandwidth restrictions.  Those who order the USB key will get a free USB or liveDVD shipped to them when final gets released.  The Beta release is 64 bit only.

Download Black Lab Linux 6 Beta 1 (Sourceforge)

If you wish to donate to the Black Lab Linux Project during our Fall Fundraiser you can do so through this page which lists all our plans and what we need.  We especially have a focus on acquiring hardware.  All donations are accepted and appreciated.

Black Lab Linux Fall Fundraiser

Monday, September 1, 2014

Black Lab Linux 5.1 Released

Today we are pleased to release the next in the 5 series of Black Lab Linux.  Black Lab Linux 5.1 contains many updates, new features and enhancements to the Black Lab Linux distribution.

Since this is an incremental release we are also making it available for download immediately instead of waiting the 30 day period in where we normally deliver it.

Here is a list of some of the new features of Black Lab Linux 5.1

1.  Linux Kernel 3.11
2.  Firefox 31
3.  Thunderbird 31
4.  Mixxx DJ software (Requested)
5.  Updated XServer with newer hardware support
6.  System Restore
7.  Updated Steam Client

We have applied all security and application fixes throughout the system.

We have also tweaked the UI with the same look and feel that you will find in our future XFCE releases as well as our upcoming GNOME 3 release.

You can download Black Lab Linux 5.1 today, or if you are under bandwidth restrictions you can purchase Black Lab Linux 5.1 on a USB key or LiveDVD

Get Black Lab Linux 5.1 (32 bit and 64 bit)



USB Key
Medium

We have also launched our Fall fundraiser.  If you are interested in helping us out and making sure Black Lab Linux continues to be freely available please visit the Fall Fundraiser page.

Black Lab Linux Project Fall Fundraiser

Friday, August 29, 2014

Black Lab SDK 1.8 Released





Today we have released the new Black Lab SDK 1.8.  With this release we added a lot of new tools for developing applications for Black Lab Linux and Ubuntu.  The Black Lab SDK 1.8 has been tested and is supported on the following distributions:

Black Lab Linux 5.x/6.x

Ubuntu 14.04

Kubuntu 14.04

Here is a list of tools included with the Black Lab SDK 1.8:

QT Creator - for QT 5
Gambas 3 - Visual Basic for Linux
Ubuntu Quickly - Quick and dirty development tool for python
emacs and Xemacs - Advanced Text Editor
Anjuta and Glade - C++ RAD development tool for GTK
Netbeans - Java development environment
GNAT-GPS - IDE for the following programming languages.  Ada, C, JavaScript, Pascal and Python
Idle - IDE for Python
Scite - Text Editor
xfce4 developer tools - Development tools to aid in developing and writing addons for the XFCE environment
Monodevelop - IDE for the MONO and .NET programming languages on Linux
Code::Blocks - supports multiple compilers, including GCC, MinGW, Digital Mars, Microsoft Visual C++, Borland C++, LLVM Clang, Watcom, LCC and the Intel C++ compiler. Although the IDE was designed for the C++ language, there is some support for other languages, including Fortran and D. A plug-in system is included to support other programming languages. Some of Code::Blocks features are targeted at users migrating from other IDE's - these include Dev-C++, Microsoft Visual C++ project import (MSVC 7 & 10), and Dev-C++ Devpak support.


You can download the Black Lab SDK from Sourceforge.net

Black Lab SDK 1.8 (Works with PowerPC, ARM, 32 and 64 bit)






Friday, August 22, 2014

Black Lab Linux Project Fall fundraiser



Today, August 22, 2014 - November 20, 2014 we start the Black Lab Linux Projects Fall Fundraiser.

Goal: $1,500.00 USD

Purpose:  Replace aging equipment.  The build servers are quite aged and 2 are in need of replacement. How much is needed $800.00 USD.  We are also up for hardware donations from any company or public hardware donation

Net presence, the URL's are coming up for renewal in December of this year and so they need to be renewed.  $150.00 USD

Advertising:  Advertising the distribution and getting recognition for Black Lab Linux.  $100.00

The rest of it gets split up between the main developers.

If you donate $10.00 or more you get listed on the site

If you donate $25.00 or more you get listed on the site you also get a USB key with Black Lab Linux 5.1 or a preorder of Black Lab Linux 6

If you donate $100.00 or more you get a free starter kit.

FAQ

How much should I donate?  we accept any donations from $1.00 to however much you wish to donate.

How do I know that my donation went to the project and not in your pocket?  On October 1, 2014 when the Fall Fundraiser ends we will list ALL donations that have been made as well as provide receipts publicly for everything that was purchased via donations.  NOTICE:  Purchases will be based upon actual amounts of donations, the above figures are estimations, actual costs may be different than what was spent.