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.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Black Lab Linux Podcast March 2014

The Black Lab Linux Podcast for March 2014.  Here are the topics

In this podcast we talk about Black Lab Linux.  The topics of discussions are:

Black Lab Linux 5

Black Lab Linux 6


New hardware

OS/4 OpenLinux 14.5

If you dont have flash or want to download and listen to later, you can download the mp3

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Why we support Mono in the Black Lab SDK

Some people have asked us why we support Mono and Monodevelop in the Black Lab SDK.  Well, first let me say Im not a huge fan of Mono.  While I like the principle behind Mono, I dont think it has a place in the Linux world.  When ever someone comes to me and wants to know whats the best cross-platform development tool, I always recommend QT.   We actually dont have any Mono apps in the base Black Lab Linux distribution.

We include Mono and the Monodevelop IDE specifically for customer and user demand.  These customers and users are coming from the Windows world and the Windows developer world .NET and that environment are king.  Now, in Windows .NET and Visual Studio are the perfect marriage and I hold nothing against anyone who wants to use Visual Studio.  But, corporate developers coming to Linux want to bring along their investment and it falls on us, the Linux developers and the community, to make that transition as painless as possible.  I dont fully expect, personally,  any corporate developer to immediately rewrite their application in QT or GTK.  The whole mode of thinking of you are with us or against us is totally obscene.  We have to show them the benefits of these different development environments.  We have to work together by offering them code, assistance and share technical resources.  These are the basic building blocks of the Linux philosophy, this is what defines Linux and its what the Linux ecosystem is built on.  This whole attitude of .NET  sucks, thats its inferior and the developers who use it are stupid needs to go out the proverbial window.  Its detrimental to the Linux ecosystem, its detrimental to the Linux community.

So while not my first choice for development, I cant dictate to users what the CAN or CANNOT do.  I can only help establish that there are alternatives and if they need help porting, offer them that assistance.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Black Lab Linux 5.0 Beta 2 released

Today we are pleased to announce the beta 2 release of Black Lab Linux 5.  This will be the last Beta for Black Lab Linux 5 until the final release.  While it contains all the functionality that will be released in the gold release in May, right now we are working on stability.   With that, lets go over what has changed with Black Lab Linux 5.

XFCE 4.11
Google Chrome 33
Revelation Password Manager
Google Maps
Messaging Center
LibreOffice 4.2
OpenSSH 6
Bleachbit Administrator

All these applications have been brought up to date and all bug fixes applied to the system.

You can download the new release from Sourceforge

This release is x86_64 only.  There will be a 32 bit release made available at launch.


If you just want to donate to the project without purchasing any product you can donate here.

Your donations will be used for the following purposes
Finance the distribution
Pay for things like website maintenance
Purchase Equipment
Fund the work of developers

Why donate? Black Lab Linux is free of cost to download and funding is necessary to keep Black Lab Linux free to download as well as aid in costs of maintaining a distribution

How much should I donate? Anything you want to donate, the amount doesnt matter.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Black Lab Linux 5.0 delivery and pricing

Black Lab Linux 5.0 will be shipped on May 5, 2014 as planned.

Pricing will be as follows:

Live USB and Live SD $30.00 + shipping

Preinstalled on Toshiba 7200 RPM 500 GB SATA Hard Drive, 64 bit only:  $99.99 - This is a new delivery method and comes firmly packaged and able to plug into any desktop PC or any Black Lab desktop system (excluding the BriQ) If you want it preinstalled on a SSD contact us for pricing.  Warranty available

Digital Download $10.99

The free download of Black Lab Linux 5.0 will be available;  May 19, 2014

Pre-orders will start on April 15, 2014 and Pre-order pricing is:

Live USB and Live SD Card:  $19.99 USD

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Revised Roadmap for Black Lab Linux

Revised Roadmap for Black Lab Linux

March 1st 2014 Black Lab Linux Enterprise and Black Lab Linux Education 4.2.5 released

March 24,2014 Black Lab Media Center released

May 5, 2014 Black Lab Linux 5.0 released

Oct 3, 2014 Black Lab Linux EDU and Enterprise 5.0 Service Pack 1 released

Oct 31, 2014 Black Lab MC/OS 2.0 released: Media Center Revision 2

Dec 3, 2014 Black Lab Linux 5.0 Service Pack 1 released

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The new layout and other changes to the Black Lab Linux Project

Hey guys,

I figured I would answer these questions in bulk vs independent responses as to answer any overlapping questions.  If you need clarification on some issues just shoot me a new mail.

First and foremost why the new change?  Isnt it boring?  Will the one panel look differentiate from the uniqueness?

No, it wont.  At least I dont feel it will but there was a logical reason for it.  As many of you know we started the whole migrate from Windows XP to Black Lab Linux.  Well thats been partially successful but one thing that we hear constantly is that the setup is "quirky" "weird" "Strange" which I can understand but this being someones introduction to Linux its easy to get scared away due to Quirky, Strange and Weird.  So the concensus was made, lets make it look more traditional and the power users know how to tweak and theme the desktop.  The thought behind this was not boring vs exciting but the fact I want people to be able to sit down and say, "Ok I know how this works, this works and that works" without introducing any kind of fear or anxiety over having to learn something new.  With Black Lab Linux we let our feature set, application lineup and stability speak for itself.  We will be doing a tutorial on theming the XFCE desktop, so users who want to delve into that type of functionality can.  Plus, we left it up to a community vote and a whopping 84 percent said one panel.

As we market more to the mainstream, do we plan to exit the Linux community like Linspire did?

No, we dont.  I have always wanted a free version of Black Lab Linux to exist, thats for the Linux community.  Now, we hear constantly from people in the Linux community that they will NEVER buy Linux and thats fine with us.  No matter what we always intend for a free release as long as donations keep coming in and as long as the project can sustain itself.  So that depends on the users.

Are we exiting the server market?

No, while we have renewed our push on the desktop, which is what we excel at, we will still do what the customer wants so if they want a Server system they can get that.  With the new Black Lab BriQ and the introduction of Pro systems coming out with Black Lab Linux, and as we make our systems cheaper then I expect more adoption.

32 bit support will continue to be XFCE.

While we wanted to make a 32 bit release of the KDE desktop, too many users have come to us and said that they rely on 32 bit non-PAE kernel, so we will continue down the route until Black Lab Linux 5, which is scheduled for release January 2015 and then we will re-evaluate the need for 32 bit.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Black Lab Linux 4.3 Beta 1 XFCE released

Black Lab Linux 4.3 Beta 1 is being released.  This time there were a couple of focuses on this release.

Hardware Support

And with that we have made the following changes and updates to Black Lab Linux 4.3.

XFCE 4.11
Google Chrome 33/Chromium 32
OpenShot 1.4.3
 Linux kernel 3.5.0-47
Improved NVIDIA and ATI drivers
Improved Wifi support
Kinect and 360 wireless adapter support
Thunderbird 24.3
LibreOffice 4.2
Gimp 2.8.10

And many more application and system updates.

This release may have some missing functionality and may be feature incomplete.  Do not use it in a production environment

You can download Black Lab Linux 4.3 Beta 1 from the Sourceforge Page

Monday, March 10, 2014

Black Lab Linux 4.3 Beta 1 and Black Lab SDK 1.2 released

Hey guys,

Today we have released the Black Lab SDK 1.2 and Black Lab Linux 4.3 Beta 1.  The reason we have an SDK was that many of you told us that while in the professional releases you liked having it, in all instances it wasnt necessary.  So while you have all the command line developer tools we now have the SDK which installs all the developer IDE's and all the developer tools you will need.    You can download the Black Lab Linux SDK from the Sourceforge Page.

Now, Black Lab Linux 4.3 Beta 1 is being released.  This time we are doing a few things differently.  For this beta we are concentrating on the KDE desktop, so KDE is the default desktop for both the 32 bit and 64 bit builds.  There were a couple of focuses on this release.

Hardware Support

And with that we have made the following changes and updates to Black Lab Linux 4.3.

KDE 4.12.2
Google Chrome 33/Chromium 32
KDenlive 0.9.6
Linux kernel 3.5.0-47
Improved NVIDIA and ATI drivers
Improved Wifi support
Kinect and 360 wireless adapter support
Thunderbird 24.3
LibreOffice 4.2
Gimp 2.8.10

And an overall total of 380 application and system updates.

This release may have some missing functionality and may be feature incomplete.  Do not use it in a production environment

You can download Black Lab Linux 4.3 Beta 1 from the Sourceforge Page

Black Lab Linux Education 4.2.5 and Black Lab Professional Desktop 4.2.5 released

Today, we are announcing the release of our signature releases, Black Lab Linux Education, and Black Lab Professional Desktop for the masses.

So what changes have been made?  There have been quite a few changes to these distributions in terms of updates and functionality.  First, we have focused more on the desktop computing spectrum.  While we will continue to offer Black Lab Linux + Server Extensions Pak on our server hardware and the Server Extensions Pak as an additional download, we have decided to stick with what we do the best.  Which is the desktop systems.  We have heard from customers and users that those are the best releases we do, and while we arent totally lost on the server, we feel we have alot of contributions on the desktop.

So with that, why Black Lab Professional Desktop?  We got feedback from users and customers of Black Lab Enterprise Linux.  They wanted a professional desktop distribution that was easy to use, integrated and had awesome hardware support.  This included touch screen utilization and best of breed hardware support.  Instead of having to integrate the system themselves.  Black Lab Pro Desktop is our answer for small to medium sized businesses, based on our ultra-fast XFCE desktop we include many applications that users want and need for business computing, this includes accounting, database management, graphics, multimedia and presentations.  It truly is the ultimate package for users who need a professional and professionally supported desktop.  Its a low cost alternative to Windows and Mac OS X and includes many of the professional level applications that you would spend extra on for Microsoft Windows.  We also include legacy support for Windows and superb support for web technologies.  Speaking of support, we have made a change to the support features of Black Lab Pro Desktop.  Instead of 6 month phone and e-mail support, customers now get 12 months of phone and e-mail support and you get free upgrades both incremental and major releases within that one year.  So whats new with this release:

XFCE 4.11
Google Chrome
Thunderbird + Google Apps support
OpenShot 1.4.3
Calibre e-book management
Messaging Center
Glom Database Manager
Active Directory Support
Samba support
Updated kernel and drivers

Along with 370 application and system updates

You also get Oracle 11g, Apple WebObjects, IBM Websphere, Red Hat JBoss Studio, as part of your support.

For users who need Cluster services and NFS support you can download our Advanced Networking Extensions Pak from our Sourceforge Page.

Users can download the Black Lab Linux SDK from our Sourceforge page as well for all the development tools

We have formulated this new XFCE release so that it utilizes a familiar panel layout and should be familiar to users of GNOME,  Microsoft Windows and the KDE desktop system.

Although we dont offer an evaluation copy for download, we do have the Pro Desktop Extensions Pak, that is free to download but it is desktop independent and doesnt include support and some of the applications may differ since its for a general audience and we take KDE as well as XFCE into account.  We just updated that to release 1.2 and it can be downloaded from our Sourceforge Page as well.


Black Lab Professional Desktop + 12 months of support is $99.99 we also have discounts available for multiple licenses

Black Lab Professional Desktop Licenses

Now, onto education

Black Lab Linux EDU, is a desktop Linux based distribution for the education market.  One of our most popular releases, we have helped bring the Linux desktop to school systems  spanning, North Carolina, New Jersey, Oklahoma, New Mexico, California.  We bring a professionally supported distribution across all those segments and the results have been terrific.  My mother being a school teacher for 35 years, has brought a great deal of inspiration and advice and lost of feedback regarding the education release.  We have listened to the frustrations of educators and administrators and one of the issues we constantly hear is cost.  Schools are on a budget and we have addressed that issue greatly.   We offer a low cost alternative to Windows and Mac OS X for general education that allows schools to utilize the best that the open source community and commercial industry have to offer, as well as legacy and web application support that is untouched by any other education focused distribution.  Lets go over some of the changes and updates of Black Lab Linux EDU.

XFCE 4.11 for thin clients and older computers and presented in a way that is familiar to users of legacy Microsoft Windows based systems.
Chromium Web Browser
Ubuntu Software Center
Calibre e-book management
Celestial Simulation
Wii controls
XBox Kinect Support
Updated NVIDIA and ATI Driver support

We have over 230 updates to the kernel and applications in this release.

We have also changed the support options for Black Lab Linux EDU.  When you purchase Black Lab Linux EDU, you get 12 months of phone and e-mail support. 


Black Lab Linux Education + 12 months of Phone and e-mail support $80.99.  Multi-seat licensing discounts available.

We also offer a free 60 day evaluation copy upon request.

Black Lab Linux for Education
Delivery method

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Black Lab Media System now available

Today we are announcing the release of the Black Lab Media System.  The Black Lab Media System institutes a small form factor system that creates a convergence of your digital life..  Powered by the new Black Lab MCOS 1.0 which is a cut down release of Black Lab Linux, The Black Lab Media System is the ultimate set top system that allows you to listen to music, surf the web, watch videos, view photos and with XBMC it allows you to access all the great streaming content the web has to offer.  

The Black Lab Media System is a combination of hardware and software so lets go over what the hardware has to offer.   Below is a visual representation of what the system looks like:

The system specifications are as follows:

AMD Dual-Core E2-1800 1.70GHz
320GB HD
Integrated wifi
HDMI Output
DVI Output
VGA output (With Included Adapter)

DVI output and the VGA adapter are for users who want to connect the set top box to some LCD and CRT monitors so they can use a dedicated monitor.   This also helps users who may want to find a use for an old CRT and LCD monitor they may have laying around.

The keyboard is a  fully functional mini wireless keyboard and touchpad mouse combination that easily fits inside your pocket.  It is a great portable solution for presentations, gaming, HTPC control, mobile device control, lectures, and classroom teaching. The touch pad can be flipped
for use when the keyboard is held either vertically like a remote control, or horizontally. and it is slimmer than many TV remote controls. The system comes with the options of a 3 or 4 year warranty with SquareTrade.

Black Lab Media Center OS


MC/OS is an operating system thats based on the Black Lab Linux distribution but optimized for the hardware and half the size of the Black Lab Linux distribution.  This system upon boot uses less than 512 mb of RAM and takes up less than 2 gb during the installation.  We build in XMBC as our media hub, and we also have Google Chrome and web apps links to Youtube and  Facebook so it really becomes a digital hub.  Users can program as many web app shortcuts they want and take advantage of all the great apps that Google Chrome offers, as well

For starters, users can download the OS from our locker, with the SDK coming in a couple of weeks.  The SDK will have three programming flavors, Java, QT and Gambas 3.  We all like Gambas and feel like Gambas is a powerful enough tool, yet simplistic enough so that developers can create their own applications.
This is truly a user experience and its a system that they can do what they want.  If they want a full fledged PC experience, they can hook up a full size PC keyboard and download a multitude of apps from the Ubuntu Software Center which is included in this release.


Now, how do we intend to bring developers to this platform besides just offering a ISO download?  Well, we will have the system boards which will be available for developers to enhance, and make their own cases and they can deploy the platform on any form factor that they want.  Speaking with web developers, game developers and conventional developers they all want to see tools that they can all use and we feel like we made a great choice of those technologies.  Interoperability.  Users can connect through Samba to other Black Lab Linux and other Linux systems, Windows and Macintosh.  Applications written for a desktop PC can run on MC/OS and vice versa.  So while the system is developed for the general public we have also taken developers into account.


Now, some people have asked us.  Whats the cost?  We have played with pricing and worked with Zotac and others on the price.  The Black Lab Media System with keyboard and adapters will cost $400.00, which we feel is pretty reasonable for a system of this class.  The system boards will be $200.00 and of course if you want the OS only on a USB key, the cost is $25.00 USD.  Pre-orders will be taken starting today, with delivery and general availability starting on the 25th of March 2014.  The software will be made available today, and the SDK coming in a short time.

Future developments.

Right now, we work as a great web technologies platform.  We are working with partners and others to bring live TV viewing with this system.  Other form factors will be decided on as this product get enhanced and when you, the users tell us what you would like to see.

If you have any questions don't hesitate to contact myself, or Roberto J. Dohnert at or drop in on our forums and Facebook page as well as twitter for updates.

Thank you.

Black Lab Media System

New default desktop system

Today we are announcing our new default desktop for Black Lab Linux.  While XFCE will continue to be showcased and used for releases these new changes will mean the following.

All videos will be shot from KDE
Unless specified all shipping products will be shipped with the KDE desktop
All Extension Paks will be tested and certified against KDE and Kubuntu.
KDE will be released first in new releases of Black Lab Linux

Why are we doing this.  Most of our Windows XP upgrade users, want KDE because it resembles Windows so much and as more systems move to touch screens, KDE has more than proven that touch is in its DNA and the integration of QT has more than become the developers choice.  And, our KDE release is a contender and ranks as number 2 FASTEST KDE implementation in the Linux market.

Now, does this mean we are abandoning XFCE, absolutely not.  XFCE is preferred by many of our users and early adopters and it would be foolish to abandon those guys so XFCE will still be developed for and against and since Black Lab Linux for Education users and customers prefer XFCE because of its relatively small foot print and versatility.  Whether we stream line it to look more like Windows, we will wait and see what those users want.

But, lets go back over our changes release by release.

Black Lab Linux - KDE 64bit, XFCE 64bit, KDE 32 bit

Black Lab Linux for Education - XFCE 64bit

Live USB Install flash drives and SD Cards - KDE unless otherwise specified

New systems and hardware - KDE Unless otherwise specified

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Black Lab Linux Podcast February 2014

We have our podcast for February 2014. In here we discuss:

Extension Paks
Whats coming in Black Lab Linux 4.3
Also the results of our new years fundraiser.

Show Notes:

Refurbished Systems 

MorphOS and AROS users can download the file from sourceforge