Donate to the Black Lab Linux Project

When you donate to the Black Lab Linux Project it helps us with many things:

Domain renewals
Aging equipment replacement

How much should you donate? Any amount you wish. No matter how large or small it goes to the project. We also take hardware donations as well. Contact for details. We thank you for your support.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Black Lab Linux 8.0 RC1 Released

Today the Black Lab development team has released Black Lab Linux  8.0 RC1 bringing us closer to our November 1st release of Black Lab Linux 8.0.  We have worked on a number of bug fixes and have now made it to RC1.  Some changes to the package lineup include:

16.04 LTS Base
kernel 4.4.0-42
Chromium Web Browser
Thunderbird E-Mail client
LibreOffice 5.2
Full UEFI support
Full SNAP support

Among those changes numerous bugs have been fixed:

Resolved:  GNOME 3 crashes when installing Steam
Resolved:  Prolonged disk selection
Resolved:  HPE Proliant DL20 Grub installation

Although we have fixed many bugs we have a few left to fix before the November 1st release date.

You can download Black Lab Linux 8.0 RC1 from

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Changes to Black Lab Linux

Due to lack of funding for the Black Lab Linux Project we have decided the best way to move forward for Black Lab Linux is to provide it as a commercial only software product.  Hardware and systems that come with Black Lab preinstalled will be provided by PC/OpenSystems LLC

So with that there are a few changes being made to the delivery of Black Lab Linux.  Effective today net/OS is discontinued.  We will honor our support contracts for net/OS and as Service Packs are released we will be rolling out to you Black Lab Enterprise Linux.

Black Lab Linux will continue on and from the Black Lab Linux team you will be provided with your choice of Black Lab Linux and Black Lab Enterprise Linux.


When a new release of Black Lab Linux is rolled out, for the first 45 days it will be a for purchase only product.  You can purchase a boxed set for $19.99 USD or you can purchase a digital download for $9.99 USD.  The purchased box set will provide the GNOME 3 desktop environment ONLY.  After 45 days we will provide a free download of Black Lab Linux.  Black Lab Enterprise Linux will be a for purchase product only.  There will be no digital download and you must purchase a boxed set.  Digital downloads of Black Lab Enterprise Linux will be provided under only special circumstances such as overseas purchases or if you are in a temporary location.  Black Lab Server will only be made available via hardware from PC/OpenSystems LLC.


Black Lab Linux 8.0 will be released November 1st 2016 to RTM on December 15, 2016 we will be providing it as a free download to users .

Black Lab Enterprise Linux 8.0 SP1 will be RTM October 24, 2016 and will be available for purchase on that day

We have prepared a Q&A from the lead system designer Roberto J. Dohnert

Q)  What prompted this change?
 A) It was a purely financial reason.  We love to provide software.  To continue to provide the BEST software I need to retain developers and talent.  To do that they need to get paid.  We had 16 developers working on net/OS.  We had 7 developers working on Black Lab Linux.  Many times their work intersected each other and we were basically paying for the same result twice.  If they arent getting paid then this is a hobby and they need to go to work someplace to be able to provide for their families.  People with that kind of talent tend to go work for more mature software companies and many times software companies like that and yes I mean Apple and Oracle specifically  wont let their people contribute to any kind of software product OR project that directly competes with their products unless they are so directed.  For example, they can go work on things like webkit, the Linux kernel team, GNOME and KDE.  They cannot contribute to Black Lab Linux or openSUSE because we provide products that compete directly with macOS and Solaris.  Thats why we started the new intern program.

Q)  Whats the intern program?
A)   We have trimmed down the number of paid developers to 10 and we have 5 intern slots open.  Basically, they come to work for us for their school credits the only difference is that when they graduate we get first dibs.  We get the first chance to offer them a paid job.  We make our offer if they decide to go work for Apple, Microsoft, Oracle, IBM or anyone else who offers them more money so be it.  I wish them the best of luck.  Now this works out for us, we get to retain our talent and it benefits them. When they graduate and during their internship if they make it known they want to join the team after they graduate they know they have a job.

Q)  What other benefits do we have from these new changes?
A) Well there will be no more fall fundraisers, winter fundraisers or summer fundraisers.  This will also help us replace aging and obsolete hardware as well as advertise more and more importantly and MOST importantly our developers they get paid.  They get to provide for their families and they get a days dollar for a days work.

Q)  How do you plan to compete with Red Hat and others who are in the same business?
A) We already compete with them and quite effectively.  We have deployments in 4 out of 5 US Military branches, numerous law enforcement agencies and educational facilities and in enterprise.  We have successful deployments in telecom and there are two press agencies that use Black Lab for EVERYTHING on all levels of their business.  Thats what we want to see and thats what we want to see more of.

Q) You always said you want to provide a free release of Black Lab Linux, how does these changes affect that?
A) You just have to wait 45 days to get it.  But lets face it, with Black Lab Linux $19.99 for a box set is reasonable.  $9.99 is reasonable for a digital download you are not only just supporting the developers, you are getting the best Linux distribution in the world.  When you buy Black Lab Enterprise Linux you are getting one of the fastest growing and albeit the ONLY enterprise desktop Linux distribution on the market today and when you buy our hardware you are getting tested high performance hardware.  So its a win/win.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Black Lab Linux 8 Beta 3 Released

The development team is pleased to announce the new Beta release of Black Lab Linux 8 – our latest OS offering to bring the best Linux desktop distribution currently on the market. This release moves the kernel and application set away from the prior LTS 14.04 base to the new 16.04 LTS base. Black Lab Linux 8 will showcase 3 desktop environments : MATE, LXDE and GNOME 3. Other improvements include:

Full EFI support
Kernel 4.4.0-38
LibreOffice 5.2
Firefox 49
Full multimedia codec support

As always with an early Beta release, there are known issues:
1 : Installation stalls when connected to the Internet. Workaround : do not connect to the Internet during install, since an Internet connection is not a requirement for EFI systems
2 : Live boot stalls when more than one USB drive is plugged into the system. Workaround : during Liveboot unplug all USB drives, and if the target drive is USB, boot the system fully and only then plug the drive in.
3 : When you install on an HPE Proliant DL20 Gen 9 server, the installation will generate an error installing GRUB – the installer will prompt to Retry or cancel, click on Retry and installation will conclude successfully.
4 : When installing on an SGI Ice Server disk selection is prolonged. We recommend unplugging all drives except for the main target.

You can download ALL desktop flavors from the download site :



Or you can download the release from

Thank you.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Black Lab Linux 7.7 Released

 Today the development team is pleased to announce Black Lab Linux 7.7, the latest release in our stable 7 series. 7.7 is best-suited for users who want to standardize on a Linux distro that’s powerful, easy to use, and offers LTS (Long Term Support).

Updated core apps:

Kernel 3.19.0-68
Chromium Browser 51
Thunderbird 45.2

Included webapps:

Google Maps
Google Contacts
Google Calendar
Google Hangouts
Google Drive

Black Lab Linux 7.7 incorporates all upstream security updates as of September 16, 2016 as well as full support for multimedia codecs.

Black Lab Linux 7.7 can be downloaded from our mirror in ISO format


Q) Why does 7.7 still use the 3.19 kernel?
A) Because this is a security and app update.  If you need a newer kernel or Java 8 we have the preview version of Black Lab Linux 8 available which have those new features

Q) How many more releases of 7 do we have left?
A) Black Lab Linux 7.8 will be released in February 2017.  After that mainstream support ends for the 7.x series and we will have one more rolled ISO, 7.9, and then after that it will be up to users to update their systems but we will make update packs available for 7.x until it goes EOL in Dec 2018.

Q) When will we seen an upgrade to 16.04?
A) that will happen in Black Lab Linux 10.  After that we are moving to Debian as our OS base moving forward.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Black Lab Linux 8 "Onyx" Beta 2 released

Today the Black Lab development team is pleased to release “Onyx” Beta 2 - this brings us one step closer to the stable release of Black Lab 8 due in late November.  Our team is continuously dedicated to bringing you the best Linux desktop – Black Lab is and will continue to be the standard bearer, introducing cutting-edge features without sacrificing usability and stability or a unique, intuitive desktop interface.

New features of “Onyx” Beta 2 :

Local apps

Chromium Web Browser 51
Thunderbird E-Mail client
OpenJDK 8

System Updates

Kernel 4.2
full XFS support
full exFAT support

Web apps

Google Maps
Google Hangouts
Google Photos
Google Contacts
Google Translate

All security updates until Sep 3, 2016

“Onyx” Beta 2 can be downloaded from our website

The Black Lab Linux project needs your support

All contributions go to:

Domain renewals
Aging equipment replacement

How much should you donate? Any amount you wish. No matter how large or small it goes to the project. We also take hardware donations as well. Contact for details. We thank you for your support.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Black Lab Linux 8 Beta 1 Released

Today the Black Lab Linux development team is pleased to announce the release of Black Lab Linux 8 “Onyx” Beta 1. Bringing us one step closer to our goal of a stable, secure, and long term supported Linux desktop for the masses. “Onyx” Beta 1 is a culmination of over 6 months of user collaboration and feedback; by popular demand, the following application packages are included :

Local apps

Kernel 4.2.0-36
Chromium Web Browser

Web apps

Google Maps
Google Hangouts
Google Photos
Outlook Web Access
Google Play Music
Google Contacts
Google Translate

With all these innovations coupled with the most gorgeous Linux desktop on the planet, Black Lab Linux 8 “Onyx” Beta 1 continues its success as the leader of Linux desktop computing.

Download Onyx Beta 1 here :

The Black Lab Linux project is taking donations and contributions.  When you donate to the Black Lab Linux Project it helps us with many things:

Domain renewals
Aging equipment replacement

How much should you donate? Any amount you wish. No matter how large or small it goes to the project. We also take hardware donations as well. Contact for details. We thank you for your support.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Q&A with the Black Lab Linux developers

Today we are sitting down with the main 3 developers of the Black Lab development team.  Roberto Dohnert, Layla Davidson and Simon Lincoln to discuss Black Lab Linux development, our new netOS products and what changes we can be expecting.  So thank you guys for joining me.

When did you first get involved in OSS development?

Roberto:  1994. That was my first exposure to Linux. About 1996 I started playing around with open source code. I was more of a traditional UNIX guy back in the early 90’s with NeXTStep, IBM AIX and SGI Irix.

Simon:  When I worked at DEC back in the 80’s, it wasn't called “open source” - you had either a commercial license with AT&T or you had Berkeley which required you to have an AT&T license in order to get it. I started working with”open source” and the FSF GNU offerings in 1989 or 90.  I’m old so my memory banks are failing me on the exact timeline.

Layla:  My ninth grade year in high school, 2002.  My first exposure to UNIX was through my computer teacher’s SGI Irix Octane machine.  I was using Red Hat Linux 9 at home that my boyfriend at the time helped me set up because I lost the Windows install CD’s and didn't have money to go buy a new set. So I went to CompUSA, which at the time was on Glenwood Avenue, Raleigh and they had Windows for 99 dollars, Turbolinux for 60 bucks, Corel Linux for 40 or a Red Hat boxed set for 29.99. I grabbed Red Hat. As for coding, I didn't start doing it seriously until 2006.

What's your favorite Linux desktop?

Simon: Bash or KSH

Roberto: KDE and XFCE

Layla: KDE, although now I use XFCE.

What are your jobs with Black Lab Linux?

Roberto:  Well we have anywhere from 12 to 16 contributors and I deal more with management. I do a lot less coding than I used to but I still do more than my fair share. I also deal a lot with the hardware and commercial aspect.

Layla: I do a lot of the package management work. I deal a lot with the user applications and the choices we make there. I also do a lot of work with the look and feel.

Simon: I am the kernel guy.  I do a lot of the kernel work and I am the PC/OpenSystems and Black Lab Linux liaison with the guys. Of those contributors that Roberto mentioned I deal with about 6 of them, Layla deals with about 7 who do the artwork, the useless stuff, and Roberto deals with 2 directly, Rich who does documentation and Jeff, who handles the social media end.

What are the differences, kernel wise, with the Black Lab Linux kernel and the netOS kernel?

Simon:  We try to keep the binary blobs down to a minimum with the Black Lab Linux kernel and while the driver set in Black Lab is not as robust as netOS, it's still substantial. I use Debian and Trisquel GNU/Linux a lot to model our driver set. netOS and netOS Enterprise contain a lot of the non-free drivers that RMS and other free software purists complain about and it contains a lot of driver support for hardware that you find in the Enterprise. My goal is to have Black Lab Linux in line as an FSF-certified distro by next year. That's why we re-branded the enterprise offerings to netOS.

Why was the decision made to go with primarily web based applications?

Layla:  Well it was due to customer changes in their organizations : a lot of our customers are adopting Chromebooks. But, the Chromebook is nowhere near as usable as a complete desktop for their purposes. In conversations with customers, we found that they wanted to use a mix of online apps and traditional applications. Chrome OS doesn't allow the use of traditional applications - unless you want to remote into another machine and use its apps. Which is very inefficient. So with Black Lab and netOS, you have the cloud based apps you need along with the traditional applications you know and love. Also, when we were doing certifications, web apps became a major component that we were testing against.

Right now Black Lab Linux is based on 14.04 LTS, when will we see an upgrade to 16.04 LTS and we heard 10 will be the last version based on Ubuntu, have you guys decided what distribution it will be based on?

Roberto:  Black Lab Linux 7 and 8 are based on 14.04 but with different kernels.  Black Lab 9 in 2017 will be based on Ubuntu 16.04.  Next summer we will start beta testing Black Lab 10 which will be based on Debian Linux. We can actually go any route we want since we are moving towards cloud technology - the team even discussed Gentoo, but I think we all formally agreed on Debian. If we were going to just providing hardware with software like Apple does with the Mac or like Google does with Chrome OS we would have chosen Gentoo.

What are some future plans for Black Lab Linux?  Any new architectures?

Roberto:  Well I guess I can go ahead and announce, Black Lab Linux and netOS are coming to to the Raspberry Pi, coming Winter 2016.  netOS Server and netOS Core Server are coming to the SGI UV and the SGI Ice product lines coming spring 2017.  I want to thank ARM Works and SGI for their work and for becoming partners with us.

Layla:  On the package management front we are bringing Snapd and Snap packages to Black Lab 7/8/9.  7 just made the cutoff point since the last mainstream version of 7 will be June 2017.

Simon:  With Black Lab Linux 9 and netOS 9 you will see that we won't have an installation anymore. You will boot a live session, use GNOME Disk Utility to transfer that image onto a hard drive and then reboot and it's done.  That's the approach we will be taking with the Pi and the approach we will take with the PowerPC version. But that's still in planning..

Where do you guys want to see Black Lab Linux and netOS go?

Simon: I personally want to see them grow to become mainstream players in the Linux community. We recently launched an OEM program where vendors can get netOS Standard for free and include it on any supported hardware platform they see fit. Personal computers, netbooks, notebooks, routers, embedded systems and tablets - no royalty to us.  Enterprise and Education they have to purchase, but it's a single purchase and install on as many systems as they can sell. While of course Roberto and Rich want to sell systems and prefer that they buy OURS we all recognize we live in a community and OEMs are a necessity.

Roberto:  I want to see Black Lab Linux grow and thrive as an open development product.  netOS has already matured into a great product, with broad customer acceptance and it’s doing well in the marketplace. Much better than I thought it would, to be honest.

In the vast sea of Linux why should people use Black Lab Linux or netOS?

Roberto:  Because we aim to make Black Lab Linux or netOS everyone's choice as their go-to distribution. Our user base looks for a stability and ease-of-use. Distro hoppers may find Black Lab rather boring and “old-school” our goal is for the user to plug it in, power it on and not to worry about whether it’s a deb or rpm - just get to work, fire it up, use it for what you want.

How can someone contribute to Black Lab Linux?

Roberto:  Contact and tell us what you want to do and where you wish to contribute.  Whether it is code, documentation and or artwork. We are always receptive to contributors.

What is the Black Lab Linux project in need of now?

Roberto:  Well, we need hardware and we are always taking monetary donations. Right now we are in the middle of the Summer Fundraiser for the project and we are attempting to raise money to keep the distribution afloat.  Our minimum goal is $1,000.00 USD but we are shooting for $5,000.00.

Thanks guys.