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.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Linux Kernel 3.11.2 for OS/4 OpenLinux and PC/OS Enterprise Linux

Today we are releasing the Linux kernel 3.11.2 for OS/4 OpenLinux and PC/OS Enterprise Linux.  With this update we bring new functionality and driver support for PC/OS Enterprise Linux and OS/4 OpenLinux.  Some of these new features are as follows:

  • The DRM driver changes dominate the Linux 3.11 kernel! The big feature is Radeon dynamic power management support has finally come to AMD’s open-source driver along with early support for the Radeon HD 8000 “Sea Islands” GPUs. Phoronix tests have shown Radeon DPM is successful at improving power use and lowering temperatures while delivering great performance.
  • There’s a new DRM display driver for the Renesas R-Car SoC.
  • Intel Haswell improvements and Valley View / Bay Trail support is now ready for Linux desktop usage.
  • H.264 / MPEG-2 video decoding for Nouveau with select NVIDIA GPUs bearing the VP2 engine as part of the PureVideo HD support. This is exposed in Gallium3D via the VDPAU state tracker. There’s also early GK110 GPU support. The NVIDIA GK110 is the firm’s latest high-end Kepler GPU.
Disk / File-System:
  • LZ4 compression support.
  • Zswap was merged for compressed swap caching.
  • Various XFS file-system improvements.
  • Performance tuning for Btrfs.
  • F2FS file-system updates.
  • EXT4 file-system updates.
  • The Lustre file-system client was merged for the first time.
  • AVX2 Crypto optimizations.
  • PowerPC improvements from IBM.
  • Continued ARM improvements.
  • Xen and KVM virtualization now work for 64-bit ARM.
General Hardware & Miscellaneous Improvements:
  • Input device improvements.
  • Lots of audio / sound improvements.
  • With Linux 3.11, Wine can now handle Windows RT applications.
As always this is an experimental service it is meant for users who want to try the latest kernels and should not be used in a production environment without full testing and planning.  Kernel 3.11.2 is supported through a support subscription only.

As always the source code is available from our download servers ( Download Here)

The install script is located in the kernel_updater folder on our download server as well

This has been tested on PC/OS Enterprise Linux 4.x and OS/4 OpenLinux 13.x/14.x

Saturday, September 28, 2013

AROS Subsystem 2.0 RELEASED

Today we are announcing the release of the AROS Subsystem 2.0 for OS/4 and PC/OS Enterprise Desktop.  While we discontinued AROS as a commercial product we are continuing our AROS work on a true open source platform.  So we will be delivering the AROS subsystem for free, as a download from the OS/4 website.

Built on the latest Nightly snapshot, the AROS Subsystem includes tools like

OWB for web browsing
Full MP3 and Audio playback
Directory Opus
Full development environment for compiling AROS apps and working on the AROS source code
An FTP client
E-UAE for running classic AmigaOS 68k games

Plus many many more kernel and core enhancements from our first release.

To download the AROS Subsystem for OS/4 you can download it from the download page

For more information visit the AROS home page


This package has been tested on:

OS/4 12.x/13.x/14.x

Linux Mint 15

Ubuntu 13.04

The AROS Subsystem for OS/4 is available on our new and refurbished hardware upon request.

Products discontinued

These are the following products that have been discontinued.  All current service agreements will be kept in place but there will be no new product sold.


Oracle Linux
The OS/4 OpenLinux + Amiga Forever bundle
AROS subsystem
AROS Virtual Machine
IcAROS Virtual Machine


The Indigo 2 All in one
The OS/4 Fire Desktop

These products will no longer be carried and have been discontinued as of Sept 28, 2013.  As stated all service agreements will be honored but no new product will be sold.  Warranty on the Indigo 2 and the OS/4 Fire Desktop will still be honored.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

OS/4 14.1 Themes released

We decided to release the new themes for OS/4 14.1 which will be used moving forward, they are based on the Radiance and Ambiance theme but reworked to work with the task tiles interface. To use, extract the contents to /usr/share/themes

You can download them here.

PC/OS Education Desktop 4.1.5 released

Today we are pleased to announce the new release of PC/OS Education Desktop 4.1.5.  This is the successor to OS/4 Education System and is built specifically for schools and education facilities.  Built using the award winning technologies in PC/OS Enterprise Linux, PC/OS Education enjoys those same benefits of long term support, superior security and bug fixes, long service deployments.  It also enjoys the perfect mix of cloud platform and on-site platform.  Some of the new innovations in PC/OS Education Desktop are as follows.

A new improved Linux kernel, with enhanced driver support and security fixes.
Chromium as the default browser
Skype for Instant Messaging
Tux Type
Support for Moodle
Support for the Alice programming language from Carnegie Mellon University
Calibre for ebook management
LibreOffice 4.11
Evolution mail client
Nitroshare for sharing files in the classroom
Integrated Dropbox
Clementine Music Player
Deja Dup backup service
Wii controller programmer
Small Basic
Gambas 3
Java Support
DVD and Blue-Ray support

Plus many many more fixes and features.

For more information on the features of PC/OS Education Desktop, please visit the home page.

PC/OS Education Desktop 4.1.5 is available today Sept 27, 2013 see below for pricing.  Its available for free on purchased hardware, both our new systems and refurbished systems.  Its also available with support subscriptions.

One more benefit of PC/OS Education Desktop is that if you purchase even just one copy, the ISO file is available to you to redistribute freely among your students and teachers for their own personal use on their own personal computers.

PC/OS Education

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

SteamOS and the death of the small Linux distros

This may seem like a little bit of a strange title and I will explain that in a in a minute.  First of all, this post is by Roberto J. Dohnert, only Roberto J. Dohnert and does not represent the opinions of the entire Black Lab Linux development team or the opinion of any investor, employee or administrator of PC OpenSystems LLC.

Valve has been causing a bit of an upheaval lately.  With SteamOS, the crows are already circling the corpses of the smaller Linux distributions and we will all get our eyes plucked out any second now.  OK, now I had to get that out of my system.  IRC and forums have been alive the last few days with folks asking whats going to happen.  Will SteamOS steam-roll the Linux distro market.  The answer of course is NO.

People who ask that question do not understand the Linux ecosystem very well.  The Linux ecosystem is built upon sharing.  Sharing concepts, code and ideas for the better of the computing industry and public.  Its not about being me 2, its not about being the first to gather 15 minutes of fame.  Its about working together.  Now, with over 500 Linux distributions in the world, how does that constitute working together.  Most of the smaller Linux distros get created because  the mainstream distros did not do what they needed to do.  Take Black Lab Linux for example, we didn't create Black Lab Linux to get rich quick.  Black Lab Linux started out as a private distribution for one company, for the rest of the world we standardized on SUSE Linux.  We distributed SUSE Linux, we liked SUSE Linux.  Then something happened, Novell took over SUSE Linux.  We released Black Lab Linux and Black Lab Enterprise Linux to the world because it became harder, predictability went out the window, quality went out the window and we were bleeding customers.  We tried Fedora, and it was difficult because Red Hat doesn't offer support, we tried PCLinuxOS and once again, support was an issue, PCLinuxOS didnt have support for enterprise applications.  So the decision was made, release our own or spend an arm and a leg on Novell Linux or Red Hat Enterprise and pass the buck onto our customers.  Red Hat Enterprise and Novell were also a problem because we couldn't predict an upgrade path if either one of those companies went out of business. Where would that leave our customers?  Red Hat and Novell also didn't have a predictable update schedule. So if a bug or vulnerability were found, we were at the corporate mercy.  If the OpenSUSE project had been back in 2006, what it is today, Black Lab Linux probably wouldn't exist.  But because it wasn't, and Fedora was too complex and buggy we decided to release our own.  So that's why Black Lab Linux was released. It was because we had a need that nobody else could fulfill.  Our success and creating the gold standard in desktop Linux systems came about because of my philosophy. If you are going to do all the work, be the best that you can be.

Now, because SteamOS is coming to fruition does not mean we are all dead.  Its a specialized platform for gaming.  I'm sure your favorite Linux distributions will be OK.  Now those that specialize on gaming may have an issue but from our standpoint we are a contemporary desktop operating system.  We run on contemporary hardware, we run on specialized high end hardware.  We are meant for work, play and everything between.  We have no aspirations to take over the living room; although some people do install XMBC, buy the BriQ and use us in that form but its not our only market.  

Forks that make sense are good in my opinion.  You have some good, you have some bad but most forks die out because the people figure out that what they want to do is sometimes just not worth the effort.  I welcome them because they can introduce new concepts, code and ideas.  That's part of the Linux ecosystem and I for one welcome Valves contributions to the Linux ecosystem as long as its done properly and (unlike some companies) they contribute back and Im sure they will.

Will the Black Lab Linux Project and PC OpenSystems support the Steam Machine aka Steam Box aka Valves gaming systems?  Of course we will.  That's a no brainer.  Some people will want a dual boot environment, some people will want the machine simply for its aesthetics.  Others will want it for the sheer power of the system but of course that's dependent on what they create.  Like the rest of you, I have to wait.

So no, I don't see it as an issue, I see it as an opportunity.  I may be right, I may be wrong but before we start carving out tombstones lets see whats going to happen first.  Follow the developments from Valve and instead of spreading fear and uncertainty; Breathe, be quiet and watch.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

OS/4 OpenLinux Podcast Sept 2013

Today we released our September podcast.  We talk about whats new, whats coming up and of course our progress.  So here it is and any feedback, leave it for me.

Download .mp3

Sunday, September 22, 2013

OS/4 OpenLinux Project giveaway

To help raise money for the project we are going to run a "raffle" every month.  Each month there will be something different from electronics to wearable apparel.

Here is how it works.  If you donate at least 10.00 USD you are entered once, for a donation of $20.00 USD or more, this includes purchase of OS/4 on an installable USB key, then you are entered twice.

Since its Sept 22, we will run this one until Oct 4 and we will draw the winner.  On Oct 4 we will announce next months prize and will draw the winner on Oct 31.

So this month what is the giveaway? A OS/4 tshirt, and a Tom Tom Start 55 GPS unit that is a brand new unit, no hand me downs.

To enter simply go to the where to buy page and donate, like I said $10.00 USD you get entered once for $20.00 USD or more and/or a purchase of a OS/4 Installable USB key, you are entered twice.  International users are encouraged to enter as well.  But for your GPS unit you will have to update with international maps since the unit has USA roadmap's.

Friday, September 20, 2013

OpenSystems marketplace

Our sponsor, PC OpenSystems has revamped the OpenSystems marketplace and added a few couple of new consumer desktops, the cheapest one is $350.00 USD so make sure you check it out.  There is also a cool new 2TB external hard drive called the PC/OS Databank that is really cool, and a brand new NAS device called the PC/OS Digital Librarian.  All this stuff is compatible with OS/4 OpenLinux as well as PC/OS Enterprise Linux.  Super cool stuff so if you need some new hardware check out the OpenSystems Marketplace

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Oracle 11g easy install coming to OS/4 14.1

Many of the users of OS/4 OpenLinux run Oracle Databases. While PC/OS Enterprise is certified to run Oracle 11g, OS/4 is not. Well because of customer demand and the fact we want to make it as simple as possible, starting with OS/4 14.1, we will be applying the same mechanisms to OS/4 OpenLinux that we do with PC/OS Enterprise to run Oracle 11g. Now, there are a couple of caveats to this.

1. It will be unsupported, subscription support will not be available. If you want a supported option you can purchase PC/OS Enterprise Linux from the OpenSystems marketplace. You have full forum support with OS/4 OpenLinux and thats it.

2. Its 64 bit only. The Classic 32 bit environment will not be modified to run Oracle 11g

3. We will not sell Oracle Database Software with OS/4 OpenLinux as we do with PC/OS Enterprise Linux Server.

4. You take full responsibility for your system.  If you blow up your system or trash it to the point of restoration you agree to hold OS/4 OpenLinux Project, PC OpenSystems, and especially Roberto J. Dohnert BLAMELESS for any data loss, hardware failure etc.

So for users who want to run Oracle 11g, and who want to use it for personal or small business, this is a great option. We are currently undergoing certification for Oracle 12c Database certification and while the process is underway we feel that product will do nicely. PC/OS Enterprise Linux already passes the 11g certification 100%, and might I add that we are the ONLY Debian based distribution to hold that certification as well as the ONLY Debian based distribution to hold Apple WebObjects certification.

Monday, September 16, 2013

OS/4 OpenLinux 14.0.2 released

Today we are releasing OS/4 14.0.2.  This includes the bug fixes that were troubling people with the last xserver update that was pushed down the line.  If you have 14 installed open Package Manager, refresh your sources and update your system and reboot.

We also went back to a 2 panel layout which everyone seemed to appreciate.

To download a new ISO go to the download site

Thursday, September 12, 2013

OS/4 OpenLinux 14 and PC/OS Enterprise Linux 4.1.5 released

UPDATE:  Do not use the download link on Distrowatch.  We have updated the OS/4 14 ISO to OS/4 14.0.2 which fixes a few critical bugs, you can download that from the rel1402 folder on the download site


Today we are announcing the new release of OS/4 OpenLinux 14.  With this release we bring many new enhancements to the OS/4 line.  OS/4 OpenLinux 14 is the result of a years worth of beta testing, kernel enhancements and has easily outnumbered the teams current record of 57 beta builds with 135 beta builds that we delivered to our beta testers.  The results have been astounding.

One of the things we try to improve on with our releases is the user experience.  We want to deliver a system that is beautiful, intuitive and that is easy to use for our users so with that we made some improvements to the iconset, we went with the radiance themes and ambiance themes for XFCE and we also introduced a bunch of new backgrounds so users can beautify their desktops any way they see fit.  We also went from a two panel layout to the one panel layout that Linux users have become accustomed to.  So you have a clearly distinguishable Menu icon, taskbar and indicator icons all along the bottom one panel.  This is what users seem to want and thats what we are delivering on our consumer desktop releases.  This also includes PC/OS Enterprise Desktop 4.1.5.

The package lineup in OS/4 OpenLinux is as follows:

kernel 3.5 +
Chromium Browser
Gimp 2.8
Claws Mail
Dates - a calendering app to store all your important events
Contacts - for storing your contacts
Maps has been enhanced with Google Maps
The Message Center so you can send SMS straight from your desktop
Parole, a video player
VLC a media center application
Pidgin for IM
Abiword and Gnumeric for word processing and spreadsheet
Software Center - We use the Lubuntu Software Center for right now, we are still researching a good market place to include in OS/4 OpenLinux with this you still get access to all the free apps just not to the paid applications...yet
Steam for gaming

OS/4 OpenLinux 14 is available in 32 and 64 bit releases

OS/4 OpenLinux 14 is available from our download servers here

Or if you want to purchase a bootable USB key to help support the project you can purchase that on the Where to Buy page

PC/OS Enterprise Linux Services

The commercial counterpart to OS/4 OpenLinux has been updated as well with a wide range of enhancements and improvements.

Along with the visual changes the following has also been updated in PC/OS Enterprise Linux Services.

Updated kernel, this has increased driver support as well as many bug fixes
Google Chrome as the default browser
Updated webmin
Integrated Oracle Virtualbox drivers so you can run PC/OS Enterprise Linux under VirtualBox as a guest from first install
Evolution with Exchange support
GNUStep, Eclipse, Mono, QT, Gambas3 development IDE's preinstalled
System Imager 1.2
APTonCD so you can make a local installation for your preinstalled apps
Access controls so you can control system access times
Caffeine to disable the screensaver and keep your system from going into hibernate or standby
Likewise Active Directory integration
Skype as the default IM application

Support for Oracle Weblogic 12g as well as support for H&R Block web based tax applications.

PC/OS Enterprise Linux is available for x86_64 bit machines ONLY

Current users of PC/OS Enterprise Linux Desktop and Server can update their systems from the Synaptic package manager

For more information regarding PC/OS Enterprise Linux Services please visit the Product Page

To purchase PC/OS Enterprise Linux please visit the OpenSystems Marketplace

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Possible gaming machine

We are looking at a product that we think will appeal to customers.  This machine will be a high end gaming system that will run a cut down version of OS/4 that will include Steam, many free and open source games and be the ideal platform for people who just want a gaming machine.  Of course internet connectivity, Opera Web browser and you can watch Youtube, surf the web, etc. 

We are planning to bundle this system with hardware only and will be a product we intend for retail sale as well as sale from the OpenSystems Marketplace.  So tell us what you think, any suggestions and as always we thank you guys.