Wednesday, August 2, 2023

How we update our distributions


Many people have asked us; How often are your distributions updated?  Well we have two different ways we update our distributions.  One set of those distributions is for home and consumer use and the other one is our enterprise Linux distribution meant for businesses, schools, researchers and developers.

We base our distributions on Ubuntu's LTS release.  So we are just like Pop_OS, Linux Mint, ZorinOS and many more of your favorite community based distributions.  We take Ubuntu and strip out many of their default apps and add our own apps and features to the distribution.  We also strip out many of Canonicals own features that they add which includes; Ubuntu Advantage, SNAP's and much of Ubuntu's branding.   

While Linux Mint, ZorinOS and Pop_OS create distribution releases based on Canonicals non-LTS releases we stick with only LTS releases.

Our consumer and home distributions, Linspire and Freespire, follow every new LTS release.  So during 12 months after Canonical releases a new LTS release we go to work building the new releases and testing the new releases.  We also work with beta testers and partners to make sure we work out as many bugs as we can.  If we have to make any code changes they are submitted back to the proper channels.  So during every LTS release you can expect two distinct releases of Linspire and two distinct releases of Freespire.  Linspire is updated and released every 12 months with interim security releases "Service Packs" released every 4 to 6 months.  Linspire 12 and Linspire 14 are based on Ubuntu 22.04 and Linspire 15 and Linspire 16 will be based on Ubuntu 22.04.  We have been looking at basing our distributions on a different base such as Oracle Linux 9 or CentOS Stream 9 for right now we are sticking with Ubuntu.  Freespire is a distribution for Linux enthusiasts who dont want or dont need support.  It is totally free to use, deploy and redistribute on as many systems as you would like whereas Linspire you are paying us to support that distribution.  A new version of Freespire is released every 6 months.  Because those releases are so close together while we do monthly ISO refreshes those refreshes are not point releases or new versions.  Freespire 9 and Freespire 10 are based on Ubuntu 22.04, Freespire 11 and Freespire 12 will be based on Ubuntu 24.04 (Maybe Fedora 38 or CentOS Stream 9 depending)

Our enterprise distributions: PC/OS, Xandros Enterprise Linux and Xandros Community Edition are much much different.  We base these releases on every other LTS release as our business customers do not upgrade as often as our home and consumer releases.  You will get 4 distinct releases from these with new releases every 12 to 14 months and security updates every 6 to 8 months.  So while Xandros Enterprise Linux and Xandros Community Edition 2022.x, 2023.x, 2024.x and 2025.x are based on Ubuntu 22.04.  Xandros Enterprise Linux and Xandros Community Edition  2026.x, 2027.x, 2028.x and 2029.x will be based on Ubuntu 26.04.

Linspire and Freespire are supported for the entire life of that LTS release.  So Linspire and Freespire being based on Ubuntu 22.04 will be supported until 2027.  Our Enterprise distributions are supported for 10 years.  No more and no less.  So our Enterprise Distributions based on Ubuntu 22.04 will be supported by us until 2032.  We do this for all of our business class distributions.  We are one of the ONLY companies left that support our distributions based on Ubuntu 16.04 and Ubuntu 18.04. So how do we do this?  When an LTS release support ends from Canonical our distributions based on that LTS release enters maintenance mode.  There are no new distributions released based on that LTS.  We strip out all of Canonicals Ubuntu repositories and add our own which contains kernel bug fixes, recompiled kernels and updated browsers and other apps so in essence it becomes a franken-Ubuntu.  After that 10 years, it enters Archive mode which we strip out all repositories, updates stop completely and we keep images of that system for customers who still use it for whatever obscure reason.  We still have images for our Gentoo based distributions produced in 2006 and some of our Ubuntu distributions produced in 2008 and beyond and yes we still have some customers who request them.  

So this is how we release and maintain our distributions.  Our processes are unique and a lot of times people are surprised by how much work we actually do to maintain all of our distributions.

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Dedicated website for Xandros Enterprise Linux

 We have deployed a new dedicated website for Xandros Enterprise Linux.  You can find that here:

Friday, July 7, 2023

Revamping Xandros Enterprise Linux in a Red Hat world

 With the situation with Red Hat Enterprise Linux many of our customers and partners have asked us what is our policy and commitment to our community as well as our business partners.  But before we get into that we are revamping Xandros Enterprise Linux.  From how the distribution is built, what is included and even some of our support tiers.  We are going to start permitting customers and users of Xandros Community Edition to add those deployments to their support contracts.  So by the fall we will have massive changes to the Xandros Enterprise Linux lineup.

But back to the Red Hat situation.  Many of our customers and users have had questions and we are going to answer those questions and address some of their concerns.

1.  What do you do with Red Hat Enterprise Linux

We resell RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) on servers and workstations for customers who work within the Red Hat ecosystem.  We resell RHEL 99.9% of the time as a vanilla install.  The only modifications we do make for a customer is installing drivers that they need but that is only done for 2 customers.  We do offer support for RHEL and we have about 20 customers who run RHEL.  We used to make a CentOS/Fedora based distro for some of those customers but when Red Hat started giving out free releases of RHEL we ceased production of that distribution.

2.  Our commitment to open source software and the open source software community.

We firmly believe in the open source ethos and we support the open source community wholeheartedly.  We will always contribute any of our work back to their respective projects.  We do donate money to certain projects and we embrace the community as without the open source community we would NOT have a business.  Open Source Software and the community has allowed us to work in an industry we are passionate about.  When we first launched in 2006, I said then we will always have a free product for our users that is free to distribute, free to use and free to modify.  We have lived by that for 17 years and we will continue to live by that for 17 more.  

3.  What are our products and how do we sell them

We have Freespire and Linspire which are our home user distributions.  Freespire is free of charge and can be redistributed and used on as many systems as the user see's fit.  Linspire is a paid product and contains proprietary software that we do license.  Xandros Enterprise Linux which is for businesses does have a free release that is called Xandros Community Edition (XCE) that is free to use, redistribute, modify etc. Xandros Enterprise Desktop and Xandros Enterprise Server are paid releases.  We take feedback from users and customers of the free releases and make those changes and add functionality to our paid releases.  We also offer more business related functionality in our Enterprise Linux releases.   We, like Red Hat, sell service and support to our customers.  Currently we have about 280 customers of our Enterprise Linux products.  

4.  Do we make the source code available

All of the source code to our products with the exclusion of proprietary code that we dont have the source code to is made available 100% of the time.  Even to non-paying customers.  That will never change nor will the source code be put behind a paywall and we will never ask customers not to make source code publicly available.

5.  Our thoughts on rebuilders

We support rebuilders 100%.  There are thousands of workload implementations that we cant produce products for and we fully understand the value of customers making rebuilds of Xandros Enterprise Linux and we have NO issues with customers who do.  We actually have a few of them that modify it to add their own code, deploy newer kernels and alternative desktops (currently we offer GNOME) and they also understand that they are self-supporting that custom build because we cant.   We do even assist them by helping them build code, recompile newer kernels and helping to deploy that system.

So in closing we believe in Open Source.  We believe that our customers, partners, users and the community are vital to a healthy and thriving ecosystem.  We believe rebuilders are essential to this industry and others.  People who modify code, build custom distributions, and deploy specialized code are essential to a thriving industry.  Whether its community distributions to commercial distributions as long as they are not being unethical or breaking the law we support them 100%

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Introducing Xandros Enterprise Linux

 Today the PC/OpenSystems Development team is pleased to announce Xandros Enterprise Linux 22.04.2.  This line replaces our PC/OS line of products  for our Enterprise customers.  Xandros Enterprise products are based on the Ubuntu 22.04 base for LTS support. These releases are intended for our enterprise and business customers.  Customers can rest assured that Xandros Enterprise has a longer support cycle and is supported even past the Ubuntu End Of Life.  In these releases we utilize the Linux standard Flatpak application management vs the Ubuntu SNAP application management.  Xandros Enterprise Linux products are 64 bit Intel and AMD compatible with ARM support coming within the next year.  PC/OpenSystems LLC is a highly trusted distributor with clients in many educational facilities, law enforcement agencies, as well as small to medium sized businesses with some Fortune 500 customers among those ranks.  PC/OpenSystems LLC continues our tradition of providing our customers with easy to use and high performance software.  There are three releases for Xandros Enterprise Linux that we will break down right now.

Xandros Community Edition

Xandros Community Edition is free to download, free to distribute and free to install on as many systems as you like.  Xandros is a free community enterprise operating system.  We already distribute a free OS in the form of Freespire, so what is the difference?  Xandros Community Edition does contain binary only code and non-free drivers.  Freespire does not.  Xandros Community Edition follows the same release cycle as Xandros Enterprise Desktop meaning we release new versions every 12 to 18 months.  New releases of Freespire come out every 4 to 6 months.  

Xandros Community Edition contains the following features:

  • Kernel 5.19.0-42
  • Firefox ESR 102.11
  • Thunderbird 102.11
  • OnlyOffice 7.3
  • Additional UNIX shells, KSH, Fish, CSH
  • OpenJDK 19
  • DWM tiling window manager
  • Customized GNOME interface

A full list of packages is available here

You can download Xandros Community Edition here

This release is a self support release and aside from community and forum support no other support options are available

Xandros Enterprise Desktop

Xandros Enterprise Linux is an extremely easy to use Linux desktop.  Used by many of our Enterprise customers it is used for point of sale systems, developer workstations, and general purpose desktop use.   This a paid release of Xandros Enterprise Linux.  Users of PC/OS OpenDesktop will be upgraded to this release immediately and for subscription customers you will get an additional 12 months added to your subscription.  Xandros Enterprise Desktop is shipped via physical media only.  USB drive, MicroSD or SD card.  There are no digital download options BUT we will make a download available to customers upon request but you will get physical media regardless.

Xandros Enterprise Desktop has the following features

  • Kernel 5.19.0-42
  • Microsoft Edge 113
  • Thunderbird 102.11
  • OnlyOffice 7.3
  • Cockpit Remote Administration
  • Powershell 7.3
  • .NET 7 SDK
  • Visual Studio Code
  • Remmina Remote Desktop administration
  • OpenJDK 19
  • DWM tiling window manager
  • Customized GNOME interface
  • JFS, XFS, and ZFS Filesystem support

You can get a full list of packages from here

You can order a copy of Xandros Enterprise Linux from our webstore or contact  Xandros Enterprise Linux is supported for 10 years and paid support comes in 12, 21 and 26 month increments.

Xandros Enterprise Server

Xandros Enterprise Server is our premier server product.  Being a dedicated server platform it has been optimized for many of the server hardware configurations on the market.  Xandros Enterprise Server can be used in a headless configurations, command line interface or with a full graphical user interface.  This is our most popular release for our education clients as well as our small to medium sized clients.  Xandros Enterprise Server is a paid release.  PC/OS OpenServer customers will be upgraded to this release free of charge and an additional 12 months added to your subscription.

Xandros Enterprise Server has the following features:

  • kernel 5.19.0-42
  • GNOME interface with DWM as an alternative for lower resource systems
  • Zram enabled 
  • GNOME Web
  • Visual Studio Code
  • Powershell
  • KVM virtualization
  • Cockpit Remote Administration
  • OpenSSH Server and client
  • MySQL
  • Postfix
  • LDAP Directory Management
  • Samba

A full list of packages are available here

You can order a copy of Xandros Enterprise Server from our webstore or contact  Xandros Enterprise Server is supported for 10 years and paid support comes in 12, 21 and 26 month increments.

Welcome to PC/OpenSystems LLC

PC/OpenSystems LLC. is dedicated to providing top customer service including integration, providing Linux compatible hardware and enterprise desktop software solutions. We provide solutions tailored to your needs whether its building systems to suit your needs. Whether its a custom database solution, providing Linux powered PC and Server Solutions. Whatever you need you can rest assured that PC/OpenSystems LLC. will deliver a high performance and stable product

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About PC/OpenSystems LLC.

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.