Spring Fundraiser

Today we start our Spring Fundraiser which runs until May 31, 2015. Our fundraiser goal is $2,o00.00 USD which will help in paying for:

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 support@pc-opensystems.com for details.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Kernel 4.0 Update Kit for Black Lab Linux

Today we are announcing the immediate availability of the 4.0 kernel update kit for Black Lab Linux.

The 4.0 Kernel brings some important updates and features here is a list of just a few of them:

  • Live Kernel Patching, ability to install security kernel updates WITHOUT REBOOT.
  • DisplayPort Audio, and better better fan control support for the Radeon DRM driver.
  • Graphics and power-management support for Intel’s Skylake processors
  • Intel Quark SoC support
  • PlayStation PS 4 Controller support.
  • Better Toshiba laptop support, improved Logitech HID support, and more.
System Requirements

Black Lab Linux 5.x/6.x, Ubuntu 14.x/15.x, Linux Mint 17.x
32 bit or 64 bit processor
1 gb of RAM - 64bit  512mb of RAM - 32 bit

You can download the 4.0 Kernel update package from Sourceforge

Kernel 4.0 Update Kit x86 and x86-64

Install Instructions

For a list of Known Issues download the 4.0 Known Issues Document

Known Issues

For those of you wanting to download and modify the kernel source code you can get that here as well

Kernel 4.0 Source Code

Monday, March 30, 2015

Changes to the Black Lab Linux Project

There are a few things I want to discuss here.  Some are changes to the Black Lab Linux Project itself, and to the class of hardware that we sell.

Due to the lack of donations to the Black Lab Linux project and lack of outside funding for the Black Lab Linux project we are cutting ALL desktop options for Black Lab Linux except for one.  We decided that we will continue with developing with the Mate desktop.  Mate will be the default desktop for 32 bit and 64 bit on the free downloads.  After Black Lab Linux 7.0 coming out in July, development will be prolonged to a new release every 7 to 9 months.  We are utilizing the Mate desktop because we understand users have different classes of machines.  Some have older hardware, some have newer hardware, some want to use VM’s and some want to utilize terminal services and we feel like the Mate desktop is both advanced enough and resource friendly enough to satisfy ALL usage scenario’s.  On the commercial side, we will develop the Mate Desktop and the KDE desktop.  For Education we will continue to develop Mate and KDE as the base systems and we will produce, XFCE, LXDE and GNOME builds for Education ONLY and these will be utilized to teach students about Linux.  We are keeping KDE on the commercial side because we do have customers and users who do subscribe to support for KDE.  Black Lab Professional Desktop, Black Lab Secure Desktop and Black Lab Education Desktop will get a Service Release every 3 months as we have been doing it for the past year.  Users of the free releases will have to rely on themselves and community support to  update between new releases.  The free release will get an ISO refresh for any critical bug fixes and security threats that could compromise the system.  We have lowered the price of the distribution on media to $19.99 + 5.00 S&H for US delivery and $30.00 USD + $5.00 S&H for all international orders.

As of today Tuesday, March 31, 2015 we are discontinuing ALL home system options.  We will continue to carry the Black Lab PUP while supplies last, I have 47 of them in case anyone is interested.  We will continue to sell our refurbished systems that are well tested and fixed and we will continue to sell our commercial hardware line.  So if you want a cost effective solution for getting into the Linux space do check out our refurbished hardware line.  We sell these machines a lot to local businesses and schools and they do have warranty options and are generally no older than a few years.  We also donate 10% of sales to various Open Source projects.

While we are a for-profit company, we have always wanted to at least keep Black Lab Linux as a free download as our way of saying thank you to the community and I will continue that trend.  I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of our users and customers who have supported us and who continue to support us.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Black Lab Linux 6.5 Released

Today we are pleased to announce the release of Black Lab Linux 6.5.  With this release we continue to enhance and improve Black Lab Linux for public consumption.  While the base is the same, the Open Distribution Release comes in 4 flavors.  GNOME, MATE, XFCE and KDE.  The XFCE release is built into the GNOME release because of customer demand.  Some of our users who run things like legacy 64 bit hardware, terminal services and certain systems where GNOME may not run all that great.  So with that said here are some of the new features of Black Lab Linux:

1. GNOME 3.10.4
2. MATE 1.8.1
3. KDE 4.14.2
4. XFCE 4.12
5. Kernel 3.13 LTS Compatible
6. Kernel 3.16.0-31 Default Boot kernel
7. VLC 2.2
8. Firefox 36
9. Thunderbird 31.5
10. Rhythmbox 3.1
11.  FFmpeg 2.6
12.  Google Chrome 41
13.  exFAT support
14.  UEFI Secureboot support

You can find a full package listing here:

Black Lab Linux 6.5 Package List

You can download all the desktop releases from our Sourceforge Page (64 bit only.  32 bit will be released in 2 weeks)

Download Black Lab Linux 6.5 (64 bit)

You can also purchase Black Lab Linux 6.5 on Live USB, LiveSD, Live MicroSD, or LiveDVD to support the project and you get 6 months of e-mail and phone support.  You can also purchase the digital download edition for $12.99 USD which also gives you the 6 months of e-mail and phone support.

Order Notes:

Monday, February 16, 2015

Black Lab Linux MATE 6.1 Released

Today we are pleased to announce the release of Black Lab Linux MATE 6.1.  Black Lab Linux MATE 6.1 is a distribution of Black Lab Linux that utilizes the Mate Desktop environment.

What is Mate?

Developed by users for Arch Linux the Mate Desktop is a continuation of GNOME 2 that has support for GTK2 and GTK3 applications.  Frustrated by the inconsistencies and lack of polish of the GNOME3 desktop environment the Mate Desktop team set out to develop a desktop that continued with the reliability of GNOME2 while enhancing it with modern technologies. They have created one of the most widely accepted competitors to GNOME3.

With Black Lab Linux MATE 6.1 you get the same application lineup that you get with Black Lab Linux.  Included are the following:

Linux Kernel 3.13.0-45
Mate Desktop 1.8.1
Firefox 35
Thunderbird 32
Steam Gaming Desktop
LibreOffice 4.4
Pidgin IM client
App Grid appstore

As well as all security updates until February 14, 2015 included.

Performance with the Mate Desktop is widely on par with XFCE.  Ram usage on initial boot is 301mb used. Black Lab Linux MATE 6.1 is built on the same LTS technologies as the rest of our distributions.

How do I get it?

You can download Black Lab Linux MATE 6.1 from our Sourceforge Page:

Black Lab Linux MATE 6.1 x86_64

Size: 1.7 gb

md5sum: 5f2c7ab443984230dcb4d51545406f49
SHA1: 33731252d9358741f1edbe92753e7270d7087cf4

If you have bandwidth restrictions or would like to support the Black Lab Linux project you can also purchase a bootable LiveDVD, LiveUSB, LiveSD card or you can get it on a preinstalled hard drive from our store:

Buy it Now

Live Mode

Like our GNOME Shell release to enter live mode you have to enter the following username:

Username: custom
Password: Leave it blank

Press enter and you will be into the Live desktop and you can start your testing or start installation.

Known Issues

- Slideshow is branded Ubuntu.  This will be changed in Black Lab Linux MATE 6.5

- Touchpad functionality has to be enabled in the Mouse dialog in the control center

- The installer will sometimes pick the largest disk for installation.  This includes any attached USB or Firewire Hard Drives.  If you have any external hard drives that are larger than your desired target drive please disconnect before boot.


We caught up with the lead developer and project lead for Black Lab Linux, Roberto J. Dohnert, and asked him a few questions about Black Lab Linux MATE 6.1.

Q) Why are we releasing Black Lab Linux MATE?
A) We are releasing Black Lab Linux MATE because of user demand.  Aside from KDE it has been one of the most requested desktop environments from our users.

Q) How long have we been working on this release and what made you decide to release it now?
A) We have actually produced a Mate build since Black Lab Linux 5 but that was produced for 1 specific customer.  We had updated it to 6.0 to bring that customer up to date with what we were doing with 6.0.  But the conversation about using Mate really started when we released Black Lab Linux 6.0 with GNOME3 which was a very popular release we had users write us and ask us if we wouldn't mind doing a Mate or Cinnamon build.  I gave one of our Facebook users a copy of the Mate build we were doing (without that customers customizations and specific apps) and it got passed around and so we decided to release an official build.

Q) Will Mate replace GNOME3 on the Pro Desktop and Education Desktop?
A) No.  There will not be a standalone Mate version for Pro Desktop.  We are looking at integrating Mate in with our Pro Desktop build as a "classic" experience for users who want it but lets face it, GNOME2 was extremely popular with business customers.  I can tell you that.  Red Hat, Oracle and SUSE can tell you that.  Go look at their customer forums.  You find plenty of topics asking them to integrate Mate.  Customers were using GNOME2 for years and they loved it, thats what they got used to and they dislike GNOME3 very much.  So if I can give them GNOME3 as an option along with the experience they  know and love I will do that.  Will it replace GNOME3?  Thats up to the customers and the users.  Will Education be changed?  Probably.  We sent out this build to Education users who are more open to experimentation than others and so far the Mate build has gotten high marks.  A solid 'A' if you will.

Q) Will this be updated as a standalone distribution or will it be released with our current distribution lineup?
A) When we release 6.5 we will be releasing GNOME3, KDE, XFCE, Mate builds.  We will continue to release KDE as a 32 bit build and we will start releasing a Mate 32 bit build.  All at the same time.

Q) Have you become a Mate fan and what desktop environment do you use the most?
A) Mate is a great desktop.  Its like XFCE on steroids.  I have been using KDE since 1999 with KDE 1.  I'm still a KDE fan.  I used XFCE quite a bit when KDE4 was first released because of the issues KDE4 had on its initial release.  I went back with KDE 4.6 and currently all my workstations use KDE 4.14, GNOME3 3.10 and now Mate but I always find myself booting into KDE4 more.  But Mate is very compelling because of its speed, its beauty and its all around functionality.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

New Hardware Lineup

Today we are pleased to announce a revamp of our hardware lineup.  We have eliminated 80% of the systems we used to sell and have stayed with the most popular systems.  As of today our hardware lineup of new systems is comprised of the following.

Consumer Desktops

Black Lab BriQ rev4 is a very powerful "Mac mini" type PC that can be used anywhere.  Whether you use it in your office, dorm room, living room or as a gaming PC you have all the power you need for productivity or gaming and the ability to utilize all the great content that the web provided.  This is a very affordable system which sells for a base price of $550.00 USD

Professional Desktops

Black Lab BriQ Pro has all the features of the consumer version and adds enough power for the professional.  Whether you need a design station or a productivity station the Black Lab BriQ Pro will fit in any office, warehouse floor or lab that you need it to fit in.  This system which sells for a base price of $700.00 USD is a very affordable system which will not only make your employees happy, but the company accountants as well.   Do you need to set up a Hadoop cluster or does your lab need to do extensive number cruching where you need to do multi-machine simulations?  The Black Lab BriQ Pro is also available in an 8 node cluster configuration with a price that beats conventional cluster systems.

Black Lab Powerstation sells for a base price of $1,500.00 USD.  This system is just as the name implies.  Its a high performance, rack mountable workstation.  It is a high performance workstation that can take on and accomplish high density workloads very quickly and efficiently.

With Black Lab Software Inc. and the high performance OS Black Lab Linux, you now have the Power, Affordability and Reliability you and or your company needs and deserves.

Visit our hardware sections for pricing.

Black Lab Professional Hardware

Black Lab Consumer Hardware

Do you want a lower cost entry to the world of Linux?  Check out our refurbished hardware section.

Black Lab Refurbished Hardware

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Black Lab Professional Desktop 6.0 SR3 Released

Today we are pleased to announce the release of Black Lab Professional Desktop 6.0 Service Release 3 or SR3. Black Lab Pro Desktop 6.0 SR3 is a major upgrade to our pro desktop line of distributions. With this release we worked on a few issues with memory consumption, security and speed. With the Black Lab Pro Desktop we deliver it in two different desktops, KDE and GNOME Shell . While these are commercial releases we do offer a cut down version of it available for download from our website. While we do not release for download all of the features of the retail release it is far from being crippled. The KDE release boots only consuming 480 mb of RAM and the GNOME Shell release boots using only 545 mb of RAM

With the Service Releases we introduce all the new updates since our last release which was in October 2014.
  • GNOME Shell 3.10.4
  • KDE 4.14.2
  • Firefox 35.0.1
  • Thunderbird 31.4
  • GTK+ 3.14
  • QT 5
  • LibreOffice
  • Pidgin
  • GLOM
  • Kexi with PostgreSQL and MySQL drivers
  • Simple Screen Recorder
  • GNUCash
  • Kmymoney
  • Updated Flash Player
  • Kernel 3.13.0-45
  • DWM
  • Nanny parental controls for
    system access controls
  • Gnome EncFS Manager for creating
    encrypted data folders

Kernel 3.18.4 is available for both systems for users who want the latest stable kernel

These are just some of the updates available. Overall we have over 400 system and application updates since our last release.

So whats lacking from our free download vs our retail release? With the retail release you get 12 months of phone and e-mail support, Skype integration, all the Oracle 12c prerequisites set up, Active Directory integration. With the community release you get community support.

You can download Black Lab Pro Desktop from our Sourceforge page

We encourage everyone to join our Facebook groups, Twitter and Google Plus pages to keep up with the latest news, join our community, and learn of the latest developments. Also, if you run into a bug report it on our bug reporting system.

Or if you want the retail release which also comes with a user guide you can purchase that here.

If you wish to purchase support for the download release please contact us at sales@pc-opensystems.com

Users of Alternative Desktops: We will remaster and deliver under a custom configuration agreement the following desktops; XFCE, Cinnamon and Mate.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Black Lab Linux and Tax Season

Ok so its that time of year again and once again Americans have to do the one thing we hate.  File taxes.  With all the talk of taxes and in Wal-Mart, Target and other fine retailers you find the tax preparation software.  For the last 3 years Black Lab Software Inc. has worked with Intuit and H&R Block and TaxACT to make sure that the websites work flawlessly with Black Lab Linux which has also helped users of alternative distributions and OS's and this year has been no different.  We have completed testing of TurboTaxes online web app, H&R Blocks online web app and TaxACTS online web app.  And they all work properly and as they should.  So users will have no problem filing their taxes using the web applications.  Some users have asked us can they use the retail releases under Wine.  The answer is an unfortunate no.  We have offered our assistance to Intuit and H&R Block to make a retail version available and there has been 0 interest in doing so.  Even with making it compatible with Wine.  So with that said, the Web applications work very similarly to the retail versions and users should have no issues.  I have had a few people I know use an alternative Tax preparation software called Open Tax Solver.  They are currently updating for the 2015 tax season.  I did use it one year and I didnt get audited  but thats not an official endorsement.