Sunday, August 20, 2017

Black Lab Enterprise Linux 11.0.3 released

Today we are pleased to announce the release of Black Lab Enterprise Linux 11.0.3 for general availability.

Black Lab Enterprise Linux 11.0.3 is targeted to small to medium sized businesses and is used in production environments around the world ranging from businesses, education facilities, research laboratories, and multimedia production facilities.
 
There have been many changes to Black Lab Enterprise Linux that were requested by customers and users.  We have four official builds:

Black Lab Enterprise Linux
Black Lab Linux for Education
Black Lab Embedded Linux
Black Lab Studio

While our official builds are based on the GNOME desktop with the exception of Black Lab Embedded Linux, which is based on LXDE, we do offer desktop spins for users. that include KDE Plasma 5, XFCE, LXDE and Mate.

Black Lab Enterprise Linux focuses on the following changes.

Kernel 4.10.0-37
Google Chrome 60
Thunderbird 52.3
LibreOffice 5.4
Webmin 1.8
ksplice for rebootless kernel updates
Samba 4
OpenLDAP
Container support
Web container support
Support for the XFS, JFS and BTRFS file systems for installation targets

Black Lab Linux for Education contains all  the Edubuntu and Debian Edu packages for K-12 facilities.

Black Lab Studio contains many of the tools available for Ubuntu Studio and more.  It contains tools for audio editing and composition, 3D rendering tools and video editing utilities and is aimed at the creative market.

Current licensee's can request a new USB Installer to be sent of they can download the new release from their digital locker

You can purchase hardware with Black Lab Enterprise Linux preinstalled from
http://www.pc-opensystems.com

You can download Black Lab Enterprise Linux and its flavors from here:

Black Lab Enterprise Linux

http://distro.ibiblio.org/blacklab/enterprise/bll-1103-ent-x64.iso
http://distro.ibiblio.org/blacklab/enterprise/bll-1103-ent-x64.iso.md5
http://distro.ibiblio.org/blacklab/enterprise/bll-1103-ent-x64.iso.sha256

Black Lab Linux for Education

http://distro.ibiblio.org/blacklab/education/bll-1103-edu-x64.iso
http://distro.ibiblio.org/blacklab/education/bll-1103-edu-x64.iso.md5
http://distro.ibiblio.org/blacklab/education/bll-1103-edu-x64.iso.sha256

Black Lab Embedded Linux

http://distro.ibiblio.org/blacklab/embedded/bll-embedded-1103-x64.iso
http://distro.ibiblio.org/blacklab/embedded/bll-embedded-1103-x64.iso.md5

Black Lab Studio

http://distro.ibiblio.org/blacklab/studio/bll-1103-studio-x64.iso
http://distro.ibiblio.org/blacklab/studio/bll-1103-studio-x64.iso.md5
http://distro.ibiblio.org/blacklab/studio/bll-1103-studio-x64.iso.sha256

Black Lab Enterprise Linux desktop spins

KDE Plasma 5

http://distro.ibiblio.org/blacklab/spins/bll-1103-kde-x64.iso
http://distro.ibiblio.org/blacklab/spins/bll-1103-kde-x64.iso.md5
http://distro.ibiblio.org/blacklab/spins/bll-1103-kde-x64.iso.sha356

LXDE

http://distro.ibiblio.org/blacklab/spins/bll-1103-lxde-x64.iso
http://distro.ibiblio.org/blacklab/spins/bll-1103-lxde-x64.iso.md5
http://distro.ibiblio.org/blacklab/spins/bll-1103-lxde-x64.iso.sh256

XFCE

http://distro.ibiblio.org/blacklab/spins/blacklab-11-x86_64.iso
http://distro.ibiblio.org/blacklab/spins/blacklab-11-x86_64.iso.md5
http://distro.ibiblio.org/blacklab/spins/blacklab-11-x86_64.iso.sha256

Mate

http://distro.ibiblio.org/blacklab/spins/bll-1103-mate-x64.iso
http://distro.ibiblio.org/blacklab/spins/bll-1103-mate-x64.iso.md5
http://distro.ibiblio.org/blacklab/spins/bll-1103-mate-x64.iso.sha256

You can purchase a Physical copy of Black Lab Enterprise Linux from here 


Black Lab Enterprise Linux License
Install Media
Order notes


or our webstore

http://www.pc-opensystems.com/p/webstore.html 

Saturday, June 3, 2017

ukuu - KSPlice updates your kernel on the fly, ukuu lets you pick your version

Black Lab Linux tests its new releases rigorously and generally tries to balance the demands of new hardware with what's tried, true and stable. When I asked lead developer Roberto J. Dohnert about ukuu (Ubuntu kernel update utility) this was his response :


Even so, a BLL user might find themselves with a piece of hardware that might be better supported on a non-LTS kernel. These are provided by Canonical, but are not tested through its HWE (hardware enablement stack) process which allows LTS release users to periodically update to more recent kernels which have been vetted. Ukuu simply allows for mainline, untested kernels to be installed. Look for the article on how to install it here and use this PPA (Personal Package Archive) :




After installation, the utility is found in Black Lab's System menu and after launching it, the utility begins to update sources and search for available mainline kernels. As shown in the picture below, the kernel that the current session, Live or installed, is running on is shown. The graphics give the rest of the information : if Tux is displayed in normal colors, it's a stable selection; if Tux is red, it's an unstable, or testing kernel.







Selecting Hide unstable or RC releases under Setttings hides the unstable kernels and only the stable mainline releases are shown :


Since I'm currently running in a Live session on an experimental release, I'm not actually going to install any of these 4.10 or 4.11 series kernels. But I have tested ukuu on a recently released IoT (Internet of Things) build to see if it would improve throughput on a TP-Link AC wireless card; it didn't, appreciably. But it was an interesting exercise and the IoT build was otherwise unaffected. 
To the reader, emphasis PC-Opensystems LLC : try this at your own risk. Black Lab Linux does not support using Canonical's mainline kernels in its consumer or enterprise builds. Roberto J. has mentioned that he might add the utility to future testing builds, but again, user beware!
Take care updating that kernel!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Black Lab Enterprise Linux vs Red Hat Enterprise Linux


Many customers have asked us.  What are the benefits of Black Lab Enterprise Linux vs Red Hat Enterprise Linux.  Below we have prepared a chart that outlines the differences between Black Lab Enterprise Linux vs Red Hat Enterprise Linux.




KSplice Uptrack - kernel updating is necessary, not optional

Even on Black Lab Linux, with its ever-vigilant development squad.
KSplice is an Oracle utility, primarily designed for Linux servers that need frequent patching but can't afford even the the momentary downtime of a reboot.
Roberto J. Dohnert has incorporated this utility at the desktop level to give the desktop user of his Enterprise Desktop a similar ability to update-minus-reboot. I'm using an earlier IoT (InternetofThings) build optimized for single-board systems, which doesn't include KSplice by default. So to install it, I downloaded the .deb from this link and installed it using Gdebi :




After installation, launch the program and from the Accessories -> System submenu in Xfce or Accessories menu in MATE, System Tools submenu. You will be prompted to enter the admin / sudo password and KSplice will begin searching its database :



After installation completes, the utility will open and show available updates to the kernel. Detailed view shows recent patches such as CVE-2017-7308, memory corruption in AF_PACKET socket options. The last sentence in the description of the Common Vulnerability Exposure is cuts to the heart of the matter "A local user could this flaw to elevate privileges." More information can be found here and  here. Linux, because of its basic security model, is a more hardened platform than Windows, but privilege-escalation exploits are the most persistent threat that a Linux server admin or (less likely) desktop user faces. And this is the end result :


Check out Black Lab, it's stable, well-designed and secure. And if you're using a different distro, download KSplice here. Linux has a smaller attack surface, and the average user is unlikely to be hacked, but ransomware and malware are constantly changing threats whose vector can't be anticipated; secure now doesn't necessarily mean secure always.




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PC/OpenSystems LLC. is a small consulting firm and the only Linux retailer in NC for Linux PC's and custom systems located in Franklinton North Carolina. We specialize in hardware repair and we resell custom Linux based computers, software maintenance as well as custom application development.