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, February 26, 2014

User contributed Extension Paks

Today we have implemented user-contributed extension paks.  Users can now develop and make their own extension paks and we will post them to the website and give users recognition for their work.

They are througly tested and examined to ensure security and safety.

User-contributed extension paks must meet the following criteria:

  • You must list system requirements in the extension paks data sheet, this includes RAM and hard drive requirements as well as 64 or 32 bit
  • List of applications provided
  • Contact information
Also, all extension paks must be licensed under the LGPLv3 and GNU GPLv2

Because of the nature of user contributed extension paks no warranty is expressed or implied.

You can get more information and download existing User-contributed extension paks from our website

Now a few questions:

Why are you instituting these contributed user extension paks?
This allows users to contribute their own ideas and applications that they use in everyday life that others may like and find useful to use as well.  Users can make electronics labs, medical desktops, pro movie production desktops, music production systems etc.  This will also help cut down on user respins and lower the number of distributions that they create to satisfy personal requirements and save them the costs of getting into Linux distribution maintenance.

Can users still make respins?
Of course they can, they are free to do what they wish this is just a tool that they can use and a way for them to express themselves and answer the question, Wouldn't it be nice if this was included?  System Imager is still included and they can make a backup copy for installation or make a distributable copy.

Will you offer payment?
If they wish to be financially compensated, right now, we dont.  But depending on how popular this gets and if someone can suggest ideas we will implement something.  But we at PC/OpenSystems LLC always believe in empowering users creativity so they will get the credit for that and like I said, at some point we may offer a way for them to get compensated.

Can we order user-contributed extension paks preloaded like we can with Pro-Desktop and Server Extensions

Not right now, but we have talked to a user who is willing to do this himself so that may become available at some point.

When is this service available?
As of today, Feb 26, 2014

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Black Lab Linux Visual Subsystem 6.2.2 Released

Today we have finalized the Black Lab Linux Visual Subsystem 6.2.2 for Black Lab Linux 4.3.

This includes, HD wallpaper expansion
128x128 icon sizes for high def TV's
New Default themes
Black Lab Radiance and Ambiance themes included

These will be available for Black Lab Linux 4.2 in a few days from our SRC directory

What does the team use

This is a fun post.  We have had some people ask me, what systems does the Black Lab Linux development team use.  So I asked and here is what the Black Lab Linux development team uses to get the job done.

Roberto Dohnert

I have three systems and 2 laptops I use, while I have several systems, these are the systems I use the most

Main Developer System is a system I just picked up, Dell PowerEdge T320 which has 8 intel Xeon cores, 32 gb of RAM and 3 internal 1 tb hard drives, and two external 1 tb USB hard drives, this runs Black Lab Linux 4.3 + Pro Desktop Extensions Pak and some server components installed.  This machine runs 8 VM's through Virtual Box, these include.  Windows 7, Ubuntu 13.10, Linux Mint 16, IcAROS, Red Hat EL 6.5, Black Lab Linux Core, Black Lab Linux Embedded, Debian Linux 7

My daily desktop that I use just for getting stuff done, IRC, e-mail, posting to the web and just a little dev work is a Black Lab VR64 Desktop with 8 gb of RAM, 500 gb of Hard Drive space and runs Black Lab Linux 4.2 + Pro Desktop Extensions Pak

Third desktop is the Black Lab PowerStation, 16gb of RAM, 2 2tb hard drives and Black Lab Linux 4.3.  This is my test machine.  This is where I do much of my testing of new stuff.

My two laptops.  One Acer and one Lenovo Thinkpad both run Black Lab Linux 4.2


iMac 27 inch dual boot OS X and Black Lab Linux 4.2.  He also runs a MacBook Pro with Black Lab Linux 4.2 as the solo OS.

Mike Vale

Sun X-42 running Black Lab Linux 4.3, Macbook Air running Black Lab Linux 4.2

Dana Dice

2007 iMac running Black Lab Linux 4.2,  Lenovo Thinkpad dualboot Windows Vista and Black Lab Linux 4.2

Brian Litchner

HP Proliant and HP Dx550 running Black Lab Linux 4.2, HP laptop running Black Lab Linux 4.2

Simon Linoln

Mac Pro running Black Lab Linux 4.2 with Pro Desktop Extensions solo, 2007 white MacBook, running Black Lab Linux 4.2 solo

Dan Burcaw

Black Lab VR64 Desktop, and the Black Lab Omega Netbook, both running Black Lab Linux 4.2

So yeah guys, that is what the team uses and as you can see from this Black Lab Linux runs on an extensive range of hardware.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Changes to Black Lab Enterprise Linux and Black Lab Linux Server

Today we are pleased to announce the introduction of the Black Lab Pro Desktop Extensions Pak and the Black Lab Server Extensions Pak.

So what are these new initiatives?

To simplify development and resource management and to offer more for our users and customers we have discontinued, Black Lab Enterprise Linux and Black Lab Server.   Black Lab Linux is now the base distribution and we now have what we refer to as Extension Paks.  So far we have 2 available:

Pro Desktop Extensions Pak
Server Extensions Pak

They are easy to use script installers and these installers download and install all the necessary applications, drivers and utilities to essentially turn Black Lab Linux into a high performance pro desktop or a high performance server.

This helps keep our base distro smaller, yet it allows the users and customers to completely automate and customize the script to add whatever applications they want, need and use.

You can download the Extension Paks from Sourceforge

You can also purchase Black Lab Linux with the Extensions Pak preinstalled from our Where to Buy page.  These releases of Black Lab Linux come with either extensions pak preinstalled and customized so users who just want one release without having to apply the Paks themselves wont have to worry about it we take care of it for you.  In the purchased copies we also apply the Commercial Certifications Framework which adds all the support libraries and prerequisites to run and get your official support for, Oracle Database, IBM WebSphere, Oracle Hyperion,, Apple WebObjects and Red Hat JBoss Application Server.  The cost will remain the same as Black Lab Enterprise Linux and Black Lab Server and we have multi-seat licensing available.

So now, a few questions:

Will this void my support contract for Black Lab Enterprise Linux or Black Lab Server?
No, it will not.  You will continue to get the same support and renewal functions that you got with Black Lab Enterprise or Black Lab Server.

Will I continue to get the same support options with this solution versus Black Lab Enterprise and Black Lab Server
Yes you will, this solution is covered by our support subscriptions and are covered by the commercial certification process.  Those vendors see it as the distribution not as parted out.  So as long as you buy a license, you get our 90 day initial warranty from us at PC/OpenSystems and you get your six month warranty from the other vendors. 

Can I still get Black Lab Enterprise Linux?
Until May 20th, yes.

Can I still order preinstalled hardware with these Extension Paks?
Yes, if you tell us you want it we will also make your recovery image with the Extensions Pak preloaded

Will this affect Black Lab Education?
No, unfortunately we cannot do this with Black Lab Education.  2 states require a certification process.  Oklahoma and Texas.  So unfortunately, I cant seperate it as the Black Lab Linux base has not passed certifications there, where Black Lab Linux Education as a distribution HAS achieved certification.

Does this affect your law enforcement and US Government certifications?
No, the US Government and LA County Sheriff are not affected because the state of California and the Federal Government also certify the base system as well as the distribution, in other words, they tear the whole thing apart and certify the base too.  North Carolina doesnt require a certification process so it doesnt affect those guys either way.

Can we install the Extension Paks on Linux Mint, Ubuntu, SteamOS or any deb based distribution?
No, it hasnt been tested.  If we get a need to test it we might but until then Black Lab Linux certified only.

Can we install this on the KDE version of Black Lab Linux?

As a commercial customer can I put this on Black Lab Embedded?
No, Black Lab Embedded uses an entirely different set of repositories and it does not even have the prerequisites for half those packages and considering that Black Lab Embedded is only shipped on hardware and because said hardware only has a maximum storage of 5 to 7 gigabytes of flash memory, it wont work at all.  You dont even have half the storage to download those packages much less install all the packages.

When are these available?

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Black Lab Linux consumer systems now available

Today we are pleased to announce the release of three consumer systems for users and customers of Black Lab Linux products.

One of the things that has been lacking in the Linux world is affordable low cost computing solutions for home users, and students.

Traditionally, when users wanted to run Linux on their system they had to download a release of Linux and install it themselves and for new comers that can be tedious, and if they run into problems that can be a definite turnoff.  If you ran into problems and needed a warranty claim the installation of Linux would force users to reinstall Microsoft Windows for service or on the extreme side manufacturers would void your warranty.

Until now.

Working with Cybernet,Dell, and ACER we are pleased to offer systems that come with Black Lab Linux pre-installed, full service warranties WITH Black Lab Linux pre-installed and the option of extended warranties through Squaretrade.

The systems that we offer are as follows:

The Black Lab BriQ   The Black Lab BriQ was only offered as a server system and available in an 8 node cluster.  We are offering it as a consumer system and withe the following features, its an elegant desktop computer

AMD E-450 Processor
2GB Memory
500GB Hard Drive
Built in Gigabit Ethernet
AMD Radeon HD 6300 graphics
 802.11a/b/g/n Wireless LAN
Wireless keyboard and optical mouse

With Black Lab Linux also preloaded with the XBMC Media System this system is the hub for your digital life. .  What is XBMC Media System?  XBMC turns this system into a home theater system.  It allows users to stream movies, listen to music, share photos and has plugins for many networks and services that users may want to enjoy, this includes ESPN, CBS News, CNET, the Discovery Channel and many many more.  You can use this system in the living room, the bedroom or anywhere.  While it is a desktop system, its truly portable.  Why do we call it the BriQ, because its about the size of a brick and weighs in at less than 2 lbs.  This system has both VGA and HDMI input so you can use this with any PC monitor and and or high definition or LCD television.

The Black Lab VR64 Desktop, is the premier system for consumer computing from the Black Lab Linux team.  While this system is the most powerful and sleek consumer desktop on the market today this all in one design delivers extreme power and performance coming in at a fraction of the cost of a premium workstation computers. This system includes the following features:

Intel i5 processor.
4gb of RAM
500gb hard drive
DVD RW Drive
SD Card Reader
Optional 20 inch  LCD monitor
Optical Wireless mouse.
VGA and HDMI Input


Rear of System
With the all in one nature of the VR64 Desktop, you can ditch the cables and not the performance.

For people on the go, they like portability.  They like small form factor devices and we agree.  The days of the 20 lb, noisy and hot notebook are gone.  The Black Lab Netbook R2 is the ultimate in portability.  Although a small package it is not lacking in power or performance.  Based on the Dell Inspiron 15, this netbook has the following specifications:

Intel Core i3 at 1.7 ghz
4gb of RAM
500 gb Hard drive
Internal Wireless A/B/G/N adapter
15.6 inch LED Backlit Display with Truelife and HD resolution (1366 x 768)

For lightweight, mobile and powerful computing.  The Black Lab Netbook R2 is just what you need.  Coming in at a fraction of the cost of Mobile Workstations.

With these products we hope to empower people to take back control of their digital life and with the power, stability and security of Black Lab Linux you dont have to worry about Spyware, viruses or having to reinstall your OS every six months.

For more information, and pricing.  Please visit our Pre-installed Computer Page.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Skunkworks site for Black Lab Linux

We have put up a site to handle the experimental, Alpha and Beta releases of Black Lab Linux.

This site is dedicated to new and upcoming technlogies for Black Lab Linux, this includes all releases of Black Lab Linux.

So if you wish to offer feedback, or download any alpha or beta releases  Black Lab Linux Experimental is the site you will want to visit. 

All major full releases will continue to be listed here on the website.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

E-mail questions February 2014

Hey guys,

We are going to answer the latest round of e-mail questions regarding Black Lab Linux and about Ami/LX.  A couple of questions regarding Ami/LX have been asked and its about time to answer those questions although most of the questions will be about Black Lab Linux.

Q) Roberto, I have tried Black Lab Server 4.2 and its pretty neat but what is the type of user you are trying to target with Black Lab Server and when will Black Lab Server 5 be released?

A) We target the small to medium sized business for Black Lab Server.  This includes customers who dont have a huge IT budget and just want something thats easy to administer and they dont have to be system administrators, developers or even power users to be able to work the system.  Its got a nice GUI for those that like a GUI but it boots into the command line for those hardcore users who just want a good development platform.  For users who want the GUI just remember 1 command 'startx'.  We are waiting for some beta testers to get back to us but the official release date is March 12, although we fully intend to beat that date.

Q) Your preinstalled system section is kind of confusing.  As a home user which system should I buy?

We have reworked the hardware section.  We have two sections, Commercial hardware and consumer desktops and portable systems.  Commercial has 3 systems.  The BriQ, The BriQ 8 node cluster and the PowerStation.  They ship with Black Lab Server or Black Lab Enterprise Linux.  The consumer hardware has two units, the Black Lab Vision Desktop and the Black Lab Omega Netbook 2.0.  All very competitively priced.  As a consumer of course you should look at the Vision, but we also have home users who have bought the BriQ for consumer use and gamers, power users and developers like the PowerStation.  If you just want a system to surf the web, write a term paper, watch videos and look at the stock market.  The Vision is definitely a system you should look at.

Q) When will Black Lab 4.3 be released.  What will be different?

May 20 is the official release date for Black Lab Linux 4.3 as well as Education and Enterprise.  There are a lot of updates, and new features coming so just stay tuned to the website.  We have recently released Alpha 0.2 which is kind of raw and definitely not for the faint of heart.  But we are making progress.  As always.  One change we made was the color scheme which we changed to green.  I like green, the users like green and it symbolizes that we are a green company.

Q) What happened to your refurbed systems?

They are coming back but they will be sold on the main PC OpenSystems site and will ship with Black Lab Linux (OSE).  Now, just because these systems are older does not make them junk.  They are refurbished, repaired and are no older than 5 years old.  They just need a new home.  But they are great for an entry level machine, 150 to 200 bucks.

Q) You guys ship OpenSSH 5, when will that be upgraded?

Black Lab Linux 4.3

Q) What is Ami/LX and how does that fit into your lineup?

When Commodore USA went out of business they left users of their hardware without a home to go to.  So what Ami/LX is, is a respin of Black Lab Linux that directly targets those users and legacy Amiga users who want to upgrade to a more modern system.  But these users demand a certain aesthetic, they want a platform where they can run their legacy AmigaOS applications and games.  Ami/LX provides that for them.  My Black Lab users and customers dont want those applications, they dont want that aesthetic.  So we decided a respin was necessary for legacy Commodore and Amiga users.  We were originally going to offer 3 releases, a consumer, professional and education edition but we cut the education edition and may cut the professional version as well.  That is determinate on the users and what they want to see.

Q) How do you plan to get Commodore USA customers to upgrade?

Right now we are working with Cybernet who provided the components of the original C64x.  They also provide the Black Lab Vision Desktop.  But we are working out a board deal with them so that we can get boards that fit in the C64x cases and while old Commodore USA customers  are out of warranty, we will offer them a warranty on the board itself.  We cannot offer a warranty on the cases because we dont have the molds.  Pricing is still being determined so get back with me in a few weeks and we will see where we stand.  Commodore USA customers who wish to upgrade the entire system but like that form factor, keyboard computer, can buy the Black Lab Vision desktop and we actually sell them much cheaper than the C64x was 3 years ago.  But you will get the same experience that you got with the C64x but lots of performance enhancements.

Q) Will you be working with Hyperion to port AmigaOS 4 to x86?

No.  We are not affiliated, nor do we want to be affiliated with Hyperion.

Q) Did you have to get licensing from Amiga Inc for Ami/LX?

No, we have not, nor do we use any of Amiga Inc.'s  intellectual property, if they even have any intellectual property, so a license was not necessary.

Q) What happens if Ami/LX becomes more popular than Black Lab Linux?

We dont forsee that happening.  If it does, then we will see where we stand at that time.  But at this time, Black Lab Linux is here to stay.

Q) Why did you cut GNUStep development out of Black Lab Enterprise Linux?

It wasnt being used.  Cocoa and Mac OS X development has surpassed GNUStep and GNUStep has not caught up to that pace.  So it was redundant.  If you want cross platform support we recommend QT or Gambas3.

Q) When will you use Ubuntu 14.04 as your base?

Black Lab Linux 6.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Linux Kernel 3.13.3 for Black Lab Linux Released

Today we are pleased to release the Linux kernel 3.13 for Black Lab Linux 4.x.  The install script has been tested on OS/4 OpenLinux 14.x, Ubuntu 12.04, Linux Mint 13.x, 14.x, 15.x, 16.x.  With this release comes many new advance features and updates.

Platforms Supported

This updater supports 32 bit and 64 bit systems


Open a terminal in the directory where you downloaded the compressed package.

In the terminal type:

$ tar -xvf kernel-3.13.3.tar.gz
$ chmod a+x
$ ./

And follow the prompts.


The following changes have been made to Linux kernel 3.13.

  •  The multi-queue block layer was merged. The multi-queue block layer (blk-mq) provides better disk (SSD) performance and with lower disk latencies by allowing I/O load to now be balanced across multiple CPU cores, supporting multiple hardware queues, etc. The multi-queue block layer can scale much better and developers have reported improvements in the range of 3.5 to 10 times greater IOPS and a 10 to 38x reduction in latency.
  • AMD HDMI audio improvements. This includes the AMD hardware on the open-source driver now supporting the reading of ELD audio information, 7.1 channel audio support on capable hardware, and DTS HD-MA and TrueHD audio support. The Radeon HDMI driver is now enabling HDMI audio support by default where as on earlier kernels it required a special kernel command-line switch due to some users experiencing problems.
  • AMD has published open-source Hawaii GPU support to allow the Radeon R9 290 series to work on Linux without Catalyst. Besides needing Linux 3.13, you will also need other new code in user-space.
  • Radeon DPM is now enabled by default. For users of the open-source Radeon driver there is now dynamic power management being enabled by default rather than being concealed behind a kernel command-line boot-time switch. Dynamic power management allows AMD GPUs to dynamically adjust their clock speeds and voltages based upon load, allowing for lower heat output and energy consumption while idling. This also allows newer, high-end hardware to operate faster as previously the Radeon driver wouldn't up-clock GPUs compared to their boot frequencies. More details are covered in Radeon DPM Is Fantastic For Power Use, Thermal Performance.
  • There's now NFTables as the eventual replacement to IPTables. After several years of work, NFTables will be in line for Linux 3.13 and it offers better error reporting, more efficient filtering rules support, a simpler kernel ABI, and will reduce code duplication over IPTables. IPTables isn't yet dead, but this should be a step in the right direction.
  • Intel has published open-source Broadwell support for the graphics in the 2014 processors succeeding Haswell. The code comments make us really excited for Intel Broadwell hardware with it said to bring "some of the biggest changes we've seen on the execution and memory management side...equally large and exciting changes for the userspace drivers." Additionally, Broadwell graphics "dwarf any other silicon iteration during my tenure, and certainly can compete with the likes of the gen3->gen4 changes." The Intel Broadwell support will be further refined over future Linux kernel releases and there's also new user-space code required for Broadwell graphics with hardware acceleration on Linux.
  • New power management and re-clocking code for the open-source NVIDIA (Nouveau) driver. With the new power management code is now fan management being enabled by default. The re-clocking work does include support for GeForce 400/500 "Fermi" and GeForce 600/700 "Kepler" GPUs, but this re-clocking support isn't yet ready for use or enabled by default. Right now video memory re-clocking isn't working right so there's still a huge performance handicap to Nouveau. Proper re-clocking will allow Nouveau to really compete with NVIDIA's driver.
  •  There's now an Armada DRM driver in the mainline kernel along with PRIME and Render Nodes improvements to the MSM driver, overall continuing to improve the open-source ARM graphics landscape on Linux. There's also mainline NVIDIA Tegra support for new hardware.
  • There's ongoing work with Btrfs performance tuning.
  • Samsung's F2FS supports new features as the promising Flash-Friendly File-System.
  • In making the Linux power efficiency and performance competitive, there's been a number of changes to ACPI and power management, including more hardware having CPUfreq drivers.
  • While part of the power management work, Linux 3.13 introduces a Linux Power-Capping Framework and Run-Time Average Power Liming driver from Intel. The RAPL driver allows limiting power consumption of certain components from exceeding defined thresholds.
  • Intel's open-source Direct Rendering Manager driver now supports HDMI Stereo/3D. This support is for the HDMI specification's handling of a standardized stereoscopic 3D display format since version 1.4.


You can download the updater and kernel source code  from our Sourceforge page.

Kernel 3.13.3 Updater

Kernel 3.13.3 Source Code

Monday, February 10, 2014

New Starter kit available

Today we are announcing a new starter kit that is available for Black Lab Linux customers.  This includes a baseball cap, a live USB install drive and an install guide for $45.00.  Great deal and great bargain, makes a great gift.

Black Lab Linux Starter kit - Hat, LiveUSB, Install Guide
Desktop Environment

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Black Lab Linux Networking: Samba and SSH

Today we are covering SSH and SAMBA networking in this tutorial.  We go over making connections, creating shares and how to use SSH from the command line.

If you use a platform where you cannot stream from YouTube you can download an .mp4 from our Sourceforge page.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Windows XP End of Life

With Windows XP ending life, there is a lot of uncertainty for home and business users.  With many Linux distributions striving to get people to switch to their distributions, we are encouraging users to upgrade to the most user friendly operating system on the planet.  Black Lab Linux is an award winning desktop oriented operating system.  What does this mean for users?  Its much more than a switch.  Its a system upgrade.

Here is all the information you need to upgrade today.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Black Lab Linux Podcast for January 2014

Sorry its a little late, it was a rough week and didnt have time to upload it.

You can download it from the Sourceforge page

We discuss the releases of Black Lab Linux 4.2
What you can expect in 4.3
Status of the New Year fundraiser

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Black Lab Linux 4.3

We have already started working on Black Lab Linux 4.3, right now a few select Alpha testers have the 0.1 release and we are looking forward to another successful release.  Some of the changes includes will be:

New Linux kernel revision
OpenJDK and JRE 8
New GUI enhancements
Touch centric UI
All updated applications
Shooting for XFCE 4.12

Right now we are just starting and we will have further news later on, stay tuned.