Introducing GoboLinux 017

An exercise in software design freedom

GoboLinux was created out of a desire to try new approaches in the Linux distribution design space: the innovative filesystem organization allows us to use a radically different approach in package management — effectively doing away with the package manager.

GoboLinux 017 continues this journey. One of the principles of software freedom is the ability to modify and customize. Software isn't truly free if you need to rely on third-parties to integrate it for you. As Linux distributions get more and more complicated, GoboLinux asks this question: can a Linux system still be built from scratch by a small team — and most importantly, customized in non-trivial ways — and remain understandable by a single person?

The GoboLinux structure allows you to see how every building block of a Linux system is composed, and installs every package in a way for which they were never originally designed. The longevity of the GoboLinux project, 18 years in the making, puts the promise of free and open source software to the test, and continues to deliver.

Simplified compilation recipe management

This release introduces a simplified model for recipe management and contribution that's fully integrated with the Compile build tool.

The recipe tree is now a plain Git repository managed via GitHub cloned into your /Data/Compile/Recipes directory and used by the GoboLinux Compile tool directly.

Just like the Mac Homebrew project was inspired by GoboLinux in its inception, we now take a page back from Homebrew and move our recipe management model into becoming Git-centric, managed at GitHub.

Contributing is easier than ever

The existing ContributeRecipe tool, which used to package a recipe file and upload to the servers for review, now branches your local clone, commits your new recipe, and pushes it to your fork of the Recipes tree on GitHub.

This should make it easier for the GoboLinux community to contribute recipes to the tree: we are looking forward to receiving your pull requests!

An Awesome desktop

GoboLinux 017 continues to feature a minimalistic yet comfortable desktop based on the Awesome window manager. Awesome is well-known as an excellent tiling WM, but its Lua scripting capabilities makes it extremely customizable. In Gobo, we tuned it so it ships with a setup based on floating windows which should be familiar to all users, while keeping all the power features of Awesome at hand.

What's new

The desktop in 017 extends that of 016. We continue to include our custom widgets for Wi-Fi, audio (now using PulseAudio), battery status, laptop backlight, and we now bundle a new Bluetooth widget and screenshot functionality.

And of course, there's a new procedurally-generated wallpaper, which you'll have to boot into the Live ISO to check out! ; )

Hardware and software updates

This release also features updates on the hardware and software sides of things: kernel and driver updates ensure that more recent hardware are well-supported, and an overarching system update ensured a total revamp of the software dependencies, doing away with a bunch of legacy software.

Out with the old, in with the new

It's 2020, and this means Python 2 is no more! GoboLinux uses quite a bit of Python in its infrastructure, and we are happy to report that not only all of it was converted to Python 3, but Python 2 was entirely removed from the system. While we were on this cleaning spree, we also got rid of some other legacy packages:

  • GTK+ 2 is no longer included, only GTK+ 3 packages are shipped in the ISO
  • The graphical installer now uses Qt 5
  • On the terminal side, the latest NCurses is built only with wide-character support ( - the ASCII-only is no more.
  • Audio management now uses PulseAudio. Recent versions of PulseAudio are now quite stable and are able to provide a seamless user experience across multiple audio devices.

Of course, users are free to compile and install any version of any library they wish, and have them coexist nicely in the system thanks to Runner, GoboLinux's innovative lightweight filesystem virtualizer. But since GoboLinux has always been a forward-looking distro, we chose to provide a pristine base environment with only the latest libraries and no legacy cruft.

Sounds interesting?

Download the disc image and give it a spin! Be sure to read the documentation and check the wiki for more information, and join the community to talk about it, get help and exchange ideas.

This release is brought to you by

Lucas Correia Villa Real
GoboLinux 017 lead
and head of engineering.
Researcher, mountain biker,
father of three and Emmy Award winner.
Hisham Muhammad
GoboLinux 017 cheerlead
and head of design.
Project co-founder.
Creator of htop and LuaRocks.

GoboLinux wouldn't be where it is today if it wasn't for all the developers that worked on it over the years and the many users who submitted package recipes.

We'd also like to give special thanks to our community for their continued support over the years, and all feedback received on 017 pre-releases!

© 2002-2022
gobo AT gobolinux DOT org