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SolydX and SolydK are Debian based distributions with the Xfce and KDE desktop. SolydXK aims to be simple to use, providing an environment that is both stable and secure.

SolydXK is an open source alternative for small businesses, non-profit organizations and home users.

The new SolydXK – Q+A

We currently have editions for two user groups: the Business Editions (BE) which is based on Debian stable (Wheezy), and the Home Editions (HE) based on Debian testing (Jessie).

Our last post, “The future of SolydXK“, has raised a lot of questions and unrest in our community. With this short FAQ, we hope to explain and clarify some of the resulting uncertainties.

  1. Q. What happens to SolydXK when Debian Testing (Jessie) is promoted to the new Debian Stable?

     

    A. On 5 Nov 2014, Debian Testing (Jessie) will be frozen and, for several months, will be go through an extensive testings and correction period during which most bugs will be ironed out. When Jessie becomes the new Debian stable, the current Home Editions automatically become the new Business Editions. With this change, we drop the identifiers “Business Edition” and “Home Edition” leaving just SolydX and SolydK. At the same time, the current Stable (Wheezy) will be come the “old stable.”

    Also, at that time, the current Home Editions automatically become the new Business Editions.

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  3. Q. Will there continue to be a SolydXK spin that tracks Debian Testing?

     

    A. Yes. When the current HE spins become the new SolydXK spins tracking Debian stable, we will create new ISOs, based on the new Debian testing, which we are going to name “Enthusiast’s Editions” (EE). Users of the current Home Editions who wish to continue with the new “Enthusiast’s Edition” will not need to download the new ISOs, but they will need to change their sources file instead. The “Enthusiast’s Editions” purpose is twofold:

    • It is a testing ground for our custom software, packages, and configuration for the upcoming new stable.
    • We also wanted to create a version for those who need more up-to-date software and know how to handle a breakage once in a while.

     

  4. Q. I’ve read in other posts and threads that it takes 3 to 5 years for the next Debian Stable to be released. What’s are the facts and what happens to SolydXK when that happens?

     

    A. Debian releases a new Stable every 2 years, so the next one should be in place in 2015. The SolydXK BE users will enjoy an automatic transition to the new release, but on their schedule. To take advantage of the new features of the new release, a system re-install will not be required.

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  6. Q. When will this happen?

     

    A. Debian Testing will freeze development on 5 Nov 2014. The release of the next Debian Stable Edition will happen sometime in 2015. There is no announced date at this time, but could be as early as late 1st quarter of 2015.

    Only after the new Debian Stable is released, and the SolydXK team has prepared and tested the transition, will the announced SolydXK changes become effective.

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  8. Q. For what users are the new SolydXK editions intended?

     

    A. The SolydXK target clients are governmental institutions, non-profit organizations, and small-to-medium sized businesses.

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  10. Q. Can anyone use the new SolydXK editions?

     

    A. Sure! If you need a stable and secure system at home that simply works, these editions will likely be very suited for your needs.

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  12. Q. So, then for whom is the “Enthusiast’s Edition” intended?

     

    A. The “Enthusiast’s Edition” is intended for those who love to tinker and for whom a small glitch or bit of breakage is not a concern.

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  14. Q. Will the “Enthusiast’s Edition” use SolydXK repositories or will they be moved to the Debian Testing repositories?

     

    A. A little bit of both! The “Enthusiast’s Edition” will use our own repository for the SolydXK specific packages and the Debian testing repository that will regularly bring new features.

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  16. Q. I’m using the Home Edition (HE). What do I have to do if I want to follow the new “Enthusiast’s Edition” in 2015?

     

    A. You will have to manually change your sources.list file to track the new release. Don’t worry, very clear step-by-step instructions will be published when the time is right for the move.

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  18. Q. I’m using the Home Edition (HE). What do I have to do if I want to follow the new “Stable Edition” in 2015?

     

    A. In short, nothing. When the time comes, the current HE will be automatically merged with the new Debian Stable. Because, technically, at that time both editions will be (basically) the same; the merge will be a smooth transition.

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  20. Q. I’m using the current BE. What do I have to do to continue using it? Do I have to do a re-install?

     

    A. No, you will not need to re-install your system. There will be a well-documented update process that can be easily accomplished using either the Update Manager (recommended) or a command-line terminal. Instructions and documentation will be published well in advance of the event to ensure all users have plenty of time to prepare for the transition.

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  22. Q. So, I really don’t have to do a re-install of my system, regardless of what I’m using now and what I want to use after the migration? Really?

     

    A. Yes, really! A re-install should not be required.

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  24. Q. What about security updates? Will the new editions continue receiving them? Will the new “Enthusiast’s Edition” also receive security updates?

     

    A. Yes! The new edtions will continue to receive security updates just as (and in the same manner) as they always have. The EE will receive all updates directly through Debian’s testing repository and our own repositories.

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  26. Q. OK, I like the idea of a solid, stable system, but there is work I do for which I need to have some “fresher” packages and applications. Can this be done with the new SolydXK editions?

     

    A. Yes. Another feature of the Debian stable editions is backporting, which essentially means that a more recent version of ‘older’ software is modified for use with the stable release. Debian itself provides a special backports repository and this should also be available for SolydX and SolydK. Details of how this will be done will be made available at a later date.

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  28. Q. What are backports anyway?

     

    A. Backports are packages taken from the next Debian release (called “testing”), adjusted and recompiled for usage on Debian stable. Because the package is also present in the next Debian release, you can easily upgrade your stable+backports system once the next Debian release comes out. (In a few cases, usually for security updates, backports are also created from the Debian unstable distribution.)

    Backports cannot be tested as extensively as Debian stable, and backports are provided on an as-is basis, with risk of incompatibilities with other components in Debian stable. Use with care!

    It is therefore recommended to only select single backported packages that fit your needs, and not use all available backports.

    SolydXK backports will be built on SolydXK systems and will be tested as much as possble to reduce the chances of introducing undesired behaviors (bugs!).

You can post your comments on our forum: http://forums.solydxk.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=4592

The future of SolydXK

There has been quite a bit of discussion in the community regarding the maintainability of the Home Editions. Over a year ago we started SolydXK with the ambition to create a stable distribution, for businesses and organizations, based on Debian testing. To realize the best of both worlds, having Debian’s stability and also have up-to-date software, we created regular snapshots called ‘Update Packs’.

Our team has done its utmost to achieve that ambition, but unfortunately we have come to realize, with the limited resources we have available, we cannot meet our standards and reach our goals.

Our main goal is to create a stable and secure distribution for businesses and organizations. We will need to focus on those things that will help us attain our goals. So, we have decided to make some changes:

  • When Debian’s current testing release (Jessie) becomes stable, our Home Editions and Business Editions will merge and become our new main editions. They will be based on Debian stable. We will provide businesses and organizations a subset of up-to-date software. Additionally, home users will be offered to use a complete set of up-to-date software through our complete backport repository which is not fully tested on SolydXK.
  • At that time, we will stop providing the Home Editions as semi rolling editions with Update Packs. We will however provide truly rolling editions following Debian testing directly. They will include snapshot ISOs, to be released at regular intervals, maybe twice or three times a year. Other than that, these rolling editions will not be officially supported! They will have to be carried by the community.

The current Home Editions with Update Packs and ISOs will continue as usual until these changes come into effect.

We will try to make the transition as smooth as possible by pointing the current Home Edition repositories to the new stable (i.e. Jessie) ones. The rolling editions may turn out to be far less stable than the old Home Editions were meant to be, so staying with the new rolling repositories should be a conscious decision. The current Business Edition repositories should remain with the current stable (Wheezy) to avoid unwanted major updates for businesses/organizations.

More details about these changes will be made available once they have been worked out.

New ISOs!

The Home Editions were upgraded to the latest Upgrade Pack and the Business Editions were upgraded with the latest security updates. This time I will not list the version changes of the major applications, but limit myself to the most important changes.

  • Debian has started to move testing to systemd. The Home Editions use systemd while the Business Editions continue to use sysvinit. For the Home Editions, you will notice the difference during boot, but especially during shut down which now takes a lot less time. We can still need your help to improve boot time, though. Samba is on by default, and that is causing no significant improvement in boot time.

    If you’re really into optimizing boot time, you can start by analyzing the output of these commands:

      systemd-analyze blame
      systemd-analyze critical-chain

  • As from the last update kdenext was removed from SolydK. We are now tracking Debian KDE.

  • The multimedia repository (deb-multimedia) has been removed from the ISOs. Some of the multimedia packages, and some codecs were added to our own repository. These packages might, or might not be legal to use in your country, but you can install them by checking the Multimedia check box during the installation. This option is selected by default.

    The current multimedia repository is still available, and you can continue to use it. If you want to remove the multimedia repository from your current system, and replace them with a Debian equivalent, you can use Grizzler’s script as described in this tutorial: http://forums.solydxk.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=4367

  • The KDE Display Manager (KDM) has been replaced with LightDM. If you want to replace KDM with LightDM on your current system, you can follow this tutorial: http://forums.solydxk.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=4368.

 

You can find more information, and download the ISOs on our product pages:
SolydX Business Edition: http://solydxk.com/business/solydxbe/
SolydK Business Edition: http://solydxk.com/business/solydkbe/
SolydK Back Office: http://solydxk.com/business/solydkbo/
SolydX: http://solydxk.com/homeedition/solydx/
SolydK: http://solydxk.com/homeedition/solydk/

For any questions or issues, please visit our forum: http://forums.solydxk.com/

 

Note: Not all mirrors are updated, yet.

 

A new team member!

May I introduce our new team member: Frank, on our forum known as Grizzler.

Welcome to the team!

 

Frank

 

Frank (grizzler) <grizzler@solydxk.com>
Security manager, tester.

After more than thirty years with a large semi-governmental organisation, mainly in Application Management for our state pension payment system, I’m now working (more or less) as a freelancer.

I’ve been using Linux for (almost) all my computing needs since 2008, but I’ve played with it off and on since the turn of the century.

 

UP and BE/BO 2014.07.15

On 15 July 2014 we have synchronized the production repositories.

kdenext
As from this UP, kdenext has been dropped.
To make the upgrade as smooth as possible, we need to downgrade some packages before we can start the upgrade. The Update Manager will handle this for you, but if you wish to use the terminal you need to follow the below mentioned steps carefully.

[IMPORTANT]
If the Update Manager does not open with the information page, but with the list of packages, you need to close the Update Manager, and run this command from terminal:

sudo apt-get update; sudo apt-get install updatemanager; updatemanager -u

This will force the Update Manager to run a full upgrade.

Those who haven’t upgraded from the testing repositories, and depending on whether you’re a SolydX or SolydK user you will have between 500MB and 1GB of packages to download.

After the go-live, I’ll start building the new iso’s.

You might have a slow download if people upgrade at the same time. Try again at a later date or time.

If you are following our mirrors: they will follow later, and I will keep you posted on their progress.

If you encounter any problems, post your findings here: http://forums.solydxk.com/viewtopic.php?f=32&t=4303

Below you find the Update Manager’s UP information page.
For users running BE/BO here is an adapted version of the information page.
I recommend to carefully read the below information before you start upgrading:


Update Pack 2014.07.15

Changes

  • LibreOffice
    LibreOffice has been updated to version 4.2.5-1.
  • Update Manager
    A system maintenance section was added to the UM main window, but because of its potential danger of breaking your system it has been disabled by default. You can enable maintenance in the preferences window.


Update information

Read this whether you update with the Update Manager, or terminal.

  • kdenext
    As from this UP, kdenext has been dropped.
    To make the upgrade as smooth as possible, we need to downgrade some packages before we can start the upgrade. The Update Manager will handle this for you, but if you wish to use the terminal you need to follow the below mentioned steps carefully.

    When upgrading, UM will show a list with packages that are going to be removed.
    For SolydK, it might look something like this:
    gdebi-kde kde-config-touchpad plasma-scriptengine-python plasma-widget-facebook python-kde4 python3-pykde4 software-properties-kde userconfig
    For SolydX:
    console-tools libcogl-pango12 libcogl12 libgoa-1.0-0

    The downgrade will prevent this. So, you can ignore that, and continue the upgrade.

  • After the upgrade you can only log out. Everything else is greyed out. Just log out, and log back in, and all options will be available again.
  • If you see double titles in some applications, you can enable compositing to get rid of it.
  • These are some warnings you can safely ignore:
    (frontend:13716): Gtk-WARNING **: Error loading icon: Couldn’t recognize the image file format for file ‘/usr/share/icons/oxygen/some.png’

    dpkg-query: error: –listfiles needs a valid package name but ‘libc6′ is not: ambiguous package name ‘libc6′ with more than one installed instance

    GdkPixbuf-WARNING **: Cannot open pixbuf loader module file ‘/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/gdk-pixbuf-2.0/2.10.0/loaders.cache': No such file or directory


Updating with the Update Manager

The Update Manager can be opened from the system tray by clicking on this icon: .
Most user choices are being done for you by the Update Manager. Depending on your system’s configuration, you find some user choices explaned below:

  • openssh-server
    You can safely select the check box to disable root SSH login.

  • libc6
    Leave the check box selected, and click “Forward”.
    On a 64-bit system you need to do that twice (for both the 64-bit, and 32-bit versions).


Updating with the terminal

We recommend using the Update Manager to update your system, but if you prefer using the terminal, please read the below steps carefully.

  • Pre upgrade
    You need to downgrade some packages first:

    wget http://home.solydxk.com/umfiles/prd/solydfixes; chmod +x solydfixes; sudo ./solydfixes -kduyft

    In depth information on the solydfixes script can be found here: http://duinsoft.nl/solydfixes.php

  • Configuration files
    You might be asked to replace certain configuration files. It is recommended to keep the currently installed file (default selected).
  • Post upgrade
    There is a new package that has all translations for our packages:
    sudo apt-get install solydxk-locale

    In SolydK, userconfig has been replaced by kuser:

    sudo apt-get purge userconfig; sudo apt-get install kuser

    If you’re using Nvidia, you run the following command before reboot:

    sudo apt-get install –reinstall nvidia-kernel-dkms

 

French mirror stops

The maintainer of the French mirror, solydxk.gnurra.com, has let us know he cannot longer maintain the SolydXK mirror.

Make sure you switch to another mirror before the next Update Pack is released on July 15.

If you would like to help us out and host a SolydXK mirror on your server, please contact us: http://solydxk.com/about/contact
You can read about mirroring here: http://solydxk.com/contribute/mirrors

SolydX Business Edition

The SolydXK Team is proud to announce the new SolydX Business Edition!

SolydX Business Edition (BE) runs the Xfce desktop, and like SolydK BE it follows Debian stable, rather then Debian testing. This ensures the most stable environment, especially suited for businesses, and organizations that require a reliable operating system.

Compared to SolydX Home Edition, SolydX BE is using LibreOffice as an office suite, rather then Abiword, and Gnumeric. As for all Business Editions, SolydX BE comes in a 64-bit version only.

Furthermore, we created our own stable repositories. In conjunction with our Update Manager, this will ensure greater control over package updates, and repository transitions. SolydX BE is using these repositories by default. The other Business Editions will follow after the next Update Pack. You can check your sources.list here: http://forums.solydxk.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1529

You can read more about SolydX BE, and download the ISO from the product page: http://solydxk.com/business/solydxbe

SolydX BE

Our first Community Edition: SolydX DKAS-SCAD

Escolar, a member of our community, has used SolydXK as base for his distribution: SolydX DKAS-SCAD.

SolydX DKAS-SCAD is a customization of SolydX to include DKAS-SCAD, a diabetic ketoacidosis simulator for training of junior doctors.

You can read all about this great Community Edition, and download the ISO here: http://solydxk.com/contribute/community-editions