Release Notes - 

12.04.3
This release includes the packages from the Centrych upgrades repository. The notable changes with this release are:
  • Xfce4 4.10.2+ Includes several packages/changes from 4.11
  • LibreOffice 4.1.3 Current 4.1 release
  • Linux kernel 3.2.0-56 The current Ubuntu security/updates release
  • open-vm-tools 9.4.0 Current stable release
  • grub2 2.00-19 Modified kernel selection when running update-grub
As with previous Centrych releases, you do not need to download this disc if you have already downloaded and installed the system to your computer. Please refer to the upgrade notes for details on how to upgrade your system to 12.04.3.


Xfce4
Includes the following 4.11 packages; xfwm4, xfce4-session, libxfce4ui, and the following changes:

xfwm4
The 4.11 release allowed several patches from Ruslan Kabatsayev's kde49 release to be integrated, which were removed in 4.8 due to undesirable artifacts when a menu opened over an adjacent window.

xfce4-session
The 4.11 release has been modified with a refactored GNOME keyring startup and individual control for the keyring components. The GNOME and KDE service startup controls are no longer enabled by default for this release.

xfce4-notifyd
Includes a custom notify theme for the Centrych desktop profile.


open-vm-tools
The LTS enablement stacks, which includes the 3.5, 3.8, and soon to be released 3.11 kernel, present a unique problem for packages like open-vm-tools that build kernel modules. In the case of this package a change occurred with the 3.11 kernel, which added the vmci and vsock modules. The package will not install if it tries to build its own version of these modules.

Unfortunately, the release included with 13.10, which is compatible with 3.11, does not build properly under the earlier kernels available with LTS. It also, mistakenly, includes the vmxnet module that, according to the 9.4.0 stable release documentation, should not be built for 3.x kernels. The kernel provides the vmxnet3 module, which should be used instead.

The package included with Centrych has been modified to adaptively build across all LTS kernels. It has also been changed to hook the vmxnet3 module for the pcnet32 network interface, which previously linked to the no longer included vmxnet module.

grub2
This package uses a modified kernel selection routine that selects from multiple Centrych kernels in a preferred order for each CPU architecture as follows:

i386         bfs-pae, bfs, pae, desktop, non-Centrych kernels
amd64     bfs, desktop, non-Centrych kernels

The non-Centrych kernels; generic, etc. are selected using original grub2 selection code.


Software Sources
This tool and an underlying package, python-apt, have been modified to present the entries in the Other Software tab in sorted order.


12.04.2
This release was made in support of the LibreOffice recommendation that the recently released, and final update to the 4.0 series, 4.0.6, be used for "conservative" needs.

Unlike the 12.04.1a release, this release has both the Ubuntu and Centrych updates repositories active and comes with the following applications that were present in the Centrych updates repository at the time the disc was created:
  • LibreOffice 4.0.6 This is the final update of the 4.0 release
  • GIMP 2.8.6 This version is a backport of the release included with Saucy
  • Clementine 1.2.0 This is the most recent upstream release
  • Linux kernel 3.2.0-55 The current Ubuntu updates version
The updates repository will continue to receive updated applications, with the exception of LibreOffice, which will only be updated according to the LibreOffice release notes.


12.04.1a
This is a re-release of 12.04.1 with the following changes:

Live Session Desktop Profile
The UEFI and BIOS boot menus now provide the option of selecting the Xcentrych desktop profile for use with the live session. Booting to the UEFI menu occurs by default. To access the menu when booting with a BIOS-based system press any key while the logo at the bottom of your screen is visible.
If you elect to install the system to hard disk the current desktop profile will be used as the default profile.
Xfce Whisker Menu Plugin
This plugin has been added to the system, but it is not the default. You can add it to your desktop by right-clicking the panel and selecting Panel → Add New Items...

Note: This release is now positioned in-line with LibreOffice recommendations that the 3.6.7 release, which is the last of that series, be used for "extra conservative" needs. As such, this release is configured to only receive security updates. Both the Ubuntu and Centrych updates repositories are inactive by default in this release.


12.04.1

Desktop Optimized Kernels
Centrych provides two custom kernels that have been optimized for desktop use.  The live DVD comes with the conservatively optimized desktop kernel.  An experimental optimized kernel is also available that includes the BFS process scheduler, it can be selected during installation.

Both kernels also include the experimental BFQ I/O scheduler, which can be selected for use during installation.


Full Disk Encryption
The Centrych installer offers the ability to install the system with full disk encryption. Additionally, the front-end used by Centrych when using full disk encryption provides user-friendly prompts and status/error messages.

Full disk encryption is also available for UEFI enabled systems and can successfully enter/exit hibernation, (to the extent permitted by the hardware it is running on), as well.


Simplified-Sign-On (SSO)
Systems installed with full disk encryption can enable auto-login and have their password passed to their desktop via the Linux kernel key service to automatically unlock their GNOME keyring.


Quasi Two-Factor Authentication
Systems installed with full disk encryption and SSO can also add a removable flash drive, typically a USB thumb drive or SD card, for quasi two-factor authentication. Several read-only values in the device are combined with your login password to form a stronger LUKS passphrase for unlocking your encrypted drive(s).


Hardware Compatibility
The following fixes have been added for improved hardware compatibility in Centrych.

Broadcomm Wireless (bcmwl driver)
Version 6.30 of this driver is included to address a kernel panic that may occur when using a wireless connection during installation.
Thinkpad W/T/L/520 VT-d support
A kernel patch has been backported to allow VT-d to be enabled on this series of Thinkpads.


GNOME Keyring
The startup handling of the keyring has been modified so that only the secrets component is activated when launching GNOME services. The GPG, SSH, and PKCS#11 components are now options that are individually activated in the Advanced tab of Xfce Settings → Session and Startup.

This allows for peaceful coexistence of the GNOME secrets keyring, the OpenSSH agent, and the GnuPG2 gpg-agent (optional install).


Accessibility
The live DVD includes several accessibility tools for people with physical and/or sensory impairment(s) with each tool associated with a hotkey for easy startup.  For people who do not need these tools the installer provides an option to have them removed during installation.


Virtualization
If you are installing Centrych within a VMWare or VirtualBox virtual machine, the installer will also install the appropriate support software and make several configuration changes for optimal virtualized performance.


Updated Software
Centrych is committed to providing the latest upstream releases of important software as they become available.

Included software
• Xfce4 4.8 with several fixes for improved operation
• LibreOffice 3.6.7 (4.0.6 is available in the updates repository, 4.1.3 in the upgrades repository)
• GIMP 2.8
• Gufw 13.10.0
• PasswordSafe 0.92b
• Openclipart 0.18
• Openclipart2 2.0

Notes:
• Additional software and plugins are listed on the LibreOffice and GIMP pages in the Centrych help document (included on the live DVD).
• A somewhat reduced set of languages are included with each release of LibreOffice due to constraints in the Launchpad.net build service.

Additional software
The following additional upstream applications, while not included on the live DVD, are available for download after Centrych has been installed:

• Avidemux 2.6.6 (in the proposed repository)
• Clementine 1.2 (in the proposed repository)
• GNU Privacy Assistant 0.9.2
• Q4Wine 0.121
• SMTube 1.7
• TrueCrypt 7.1a (installs actual binary from TrueCrypt's website)
• Wine 1.4

Optional software
Centrych provides a proposed PPA for software that is scheduled for later release, once additional testing has been completed.
From time to time it may also contain newer versions of the optimized and LTS enablement stack kernels, and backports-modules.


Installer
Centrych uses a modified version of the Qt-based Ubiquity installer packaged with Kubuntu, those changes are:
• The 13.04 installer is used, which provides full disk encryption and UEFI support
• The Prepare panel has an additional option:
• Remove accessibility utilities for those with physical or sensory impairment(s)
• System panel (new) with support for:
• Desktop, laptop, or virtual system type
• Kernel options; BFS scheduler, PAE kernel (i386 only)
• I/O scheduler (Includes BFQ)
• Dynamic ticks
• Tick rate
• Options panel (new) with support for:
• Solid State Disk (SSD) support, see below
• Hibernation, see below
• zRAM, see below
• Zcache, see below
• tmpfs, see below
• Ability to create /var and /home partitions with guided partitioning
• Mount options noatime and nodiratime for /etc/fstab entries
• Root Account panel (new) with support for:
• Optionally assigning a root account password
• Enable/disable root email forwarding once a password is assigned, permanently enabled otherwise
• Added to the Primary User panel are:
• Option to enable/disable sudo privileges once a root password has been assigned, permanently enabled otherwise
• Guided partitioning uses advanced swap and partition sizing algorithms
• Fixed sha256 and added sha1 and md5 package checksum verification


UEFI
The Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) is the next generation of computer firmware intended to replace the Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) firmware that is present in all IBM PC-compatible computers.  A modified UEFI is used with MacOS as well.

The Centrych Live DVD (amd64 version only) is capable of booting from a computer with UEFI enabled, and will install Centrych properly for EFI boot.

Centrych comes with a backported version of GRUB from the 13.04 (raring) release.  It has also been patched so that graphics are enabled during boot.  This is required in order to support the full disk encryption passphrase prompt during boot, or when restarting a hibernated system.

All guided partitioning methods and hibernation have been confirmed to work with amd64 compatible systems, but no testing has been performed on MacOS hardware that we are aware of.


LTS Enablement Stack
LTS Enablement Stack are point releases to support newer hardware via an updated kernel and X stack. Both must be installed at the same time.

LTS Quantal
The Ubuntu 12.04.2 release includes the 3.5 kernel and X stack from quantal.  It is currently available as an optional download for Centrych.  If you want to upgrade to this release please execute the following command: sudo install-lts-quantal

LTS Raring
The Ubuntu 12.04.3 release includes the 3.8 kernel and X stack from raring.  It is currently available as an optional download for Centrych.  If you want to upgrade to this release please execute the following command: sudo install-lts-raring

Optimized Kernels
Centrych provides the same optimized kernels for its version of the LTS stack.  This includes both PAE and non-PAE i386 kernels as well.

UEFI Secure Boot
Secure boot is not available in the 12.04.1 point release.  It appears that minimal functionality is present in the 12.04.2 point release, but may not be fully working until the 12.04.3 point release.
No testing with secure boot under Centrych has been done yet.


Solid State Disks
Centrych provides several features that can improve the performance and extend the longevity of solid state disks (SSD), they are:
• Udev rule to use the noop I/O scheduler when an SSD is detected
• A weekly cron job that calls fstrim for each mounted SSD partition
• Configures all partitions, except /tmp and /var, with the noatime mount option
• Enables ram-based swap and /tmp, see below


Hibernation (suspend-to-disk)
Enabling hibernation in Centrych will allocate sufficient disk space to support hibernation, and enable the Xfce panel menu item that is disabled by default.

Note: the installer will override this option if there is insufficient free disk available.


tmpfs
This is a ram-based filesystem that will dynamically grow and shrink as data is written to or deleted from it.  If enabled, which is the default, the size assigned during installation is 50% of RAM + Swap partition size.


zRAM
This Linux kernel module creates a ram-based, compressed filesystem.  Centrych uses this filesystem as high-priority swap space that, because of compression, can increase the amount of total memory (real + virtual) available.  It also provides a net performance gain since swapping to RAM is much faster than to hard disk, or even an SSD.

By default, Centrych creates a zRAM swap space that is sized to 50% of actual available memory up to a maximum of 2GB, although it can be configured to use a different amount and can also be disabled.


KDE
Centrych uses several methods to prevent installation of certain KDE packages and disables several services that would lead to instability if they were installed or enabled on your system.


Plymouth Details Package
An optional package can be installed to configure plymouth to display boot messages during start-up.  The mountall package has also been modified so that filesystem check (fsck) operations are displayed properly with the plymouth details mode.


Local Email
The Postfix MTA is configured for local-only email and Thunderbird will auto-configure your local mailbox on first use.  Centrych also provides an optional package that includes several periodic security audits that will email summary reports to the root user (set to forward to the primary user by default during installation).


Multimedia
Certain restricted media format software must be installed separately because Centrych is unable to distribute them due to patent and/or copyright restriction.  Unless they or commercially available alternatives are installed, the multimedia software installed in your system cannot play copy-protected DVDs, MP3 audio, Flash and other media formats.

Please refer to multimedia section of the Centrych help document for details on how to obtain and install this software.


Firewall
Centrych comes with UFW firewall enabled and configured to block all incoming network traffic by default.  Also included is an updated release of the Gufw firewall configuration tool.