If you just want to donate to the project without purchasing any product you can donate here.

Your donations will be used for the following purposes
Finance the distribution
Pay for things like website maintenance
Purchase Equipment
Fund the work of developers

Why donate? Black Lab Linux is free of cost to download and funding is necessary to keep Black Lab Linux free to download as well as aid in costs of maintaining a distribution

How much should I donate? Anything you want to donate, the amount doesnt matter.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Black Lab Linux MATE 6.1 released

Today we are pleased to announce the release of Black Lab Linux MATE 6.1.  Black Lab Linux MATE 6.1 is a distribution of Black Lab Linux that utilizes the Mate Desktop environment.

What is Mate?

Developed by users for Arch Linux the Mate Desktop is a continuation of GNOME 2 that has support for GTK2 and GTK3 applications.  Frustrated by the inconsistencies and lack of polish of the GNOME3 desktop environment the Mate Desktop team set out to develop a desktop that continued with the reliability of GNOME2 while enhancing it with modern technologies. They have created one of the most widely accepted competitors to GNOME3.

With Black Lab Linux MATE 6.1 you get the same application lineup that you get with Black Lab Linux.  Included are the following:

Linux Kernel 3.13.0-45
Mate Desktop 1.8.1
Firefox 35
Thunderbird 32
Steam Gaming Desktop
LibreOffice 4.4
Pidgin IM client
App Grid appstore

As well as all security updates until February 14, 2015 included.

Performance with the Mate Desktop is widely on par with XFCE.  Ram usage on initial boot is 301mb used. Black Lab Linux MATE 6.1 is built on the same LTS technologies as the rest of our distributions.

How do I get it?

You can download Black Lab Linux MATE 6.1 from our Sourceforge Page:

Black Lab Linux MATE 6.1 x86_64

Size: 1.7 gb

md5sum: 5f2c7ab443984230dcb4d51545406f49
SHA1: 33731252d9358741f1edbe92753e7270d7087cf4

If you have bandwidth restrictions or would like to support the Black Lab Linux project you can also purchase a bootable LiveDVD, LiveUSB, LiveSD card or you can get it on a preinstalled hard drive from our store:

Buy it Now

Live Mode

Like our GNOME Shell release to enter live mode you have to enter the following username:

Username: custom
Password: Leave it blank

Press enter and you will be into the Live desktop and you can start your testing or start installation.

Known Issues

- Slideshow is branded Ubuntu.  This will be changed in Black Lab Linux MATE 6.5

- Touchpad functionality has to be enabled in the Mouse dialog in the control center

- The installer will sometimes pick the largest disk for installation.  This includes any attached USB or Firewire Hard Drives.  If you have any external hard drives that are larger than your desired target drive please disconnect before boot.


We caught up with the lead developer and project lead for Black Lab Linux, Roberto J. Dohnert, and asked him a few questions about Black Lab Linux MATE 6.1.

Q) Why are we releasing Black Lab Linux MATE?
A) We are releasing Black Lab Linux MATE because of user demand.  Aside from KDE it has been one of the most requested desktop environments from our users.

Q) How long have we been working on this release and what made you decide to release it now?
A) We have actually produced a Mate build since Black Lab Linux 5 but that was produced for 1 specific customer.  We had updated it to 6.0 to bring that customer up to date with what we were doing with 6.0.  But the conversation about using Mate really started when we released Black Lab Linux 6.0 with GNOME3 which was a very popular release we had users write us and ask us if we wouldn't mind doing a Mate or Cinnamon build.  I gave one of our Facebook users a copy of the Mate build we were doing (without that customers customizations and specific apps) and it got passed around and so we decided to release an official build.

Q) Will Mate replace GNOME3 on the Pro Desktop and Education Desktop?
A) No.  There will not be a standalone Mate version for Pro Desktop.  We are looking at integrating Mate in with our Pro Desktop build as a "classic" experience for users who want it but lets face it, GNOME2 was extremely popular with business customers.  I can tell you that.  Red Hat, Oracle and SUSE can tell you that.  Go look at their customer forums.  You find plenty of topics asking them to integrate Mate.  Customers were using GNOME2 for years and they loved it, thats what they got used to and they dislike GNOME3 very much.  So if I can give them GNOME3 as an option along with the experience they  know and love I will do that.  Will it replace GNOME3?  Thats up to the customers and the users.  Will Education be changed?  Probably.  We sent out this build to Education users who are more open to experimentation than others and so far the Mate build has gotten high marks.  A solid 'A' if you will.

Q) Will this be updated as a standalone distribution or will it be released with our current distribution lineup?
A) When we release 6.5 we will be releasing GNOME3, KDE, XFCE, Mate builds.  We will continue to release KDE as a 32 bit build and we will start releasing a Mate 32 bit build.  All at the same time.

Q) Have you become a Mate fan and what desktop environment do you use the most?
A) Mate is a great desktop.  Its like XFCE on steroids.  I have been using KDE since 1999 with KDE 1.  I'm still a KDE fan.  I used XFCE quite a bit when KDE4 was first released because of the issues KDE4 had on its initial release.  I went back with KDE 4.6 and currently all my workstations use KDE 4.14, GNOME3 3.10 and now Mate but I always find myself booting into KDE4 more.  But Mate is very compelling because of its speed, its beauty and its all around functionality.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Black Lab Linux 6.0 SR1 Released

Today we are pleased to announce the release of Black Lab Linux 6.0 SR1, which is Service Release 1.  The purpose of our service releases is to focus on security and application updates rather than new features.  Service Releases are provided every two to three months in between our 6 month release schedule.  Black Lab Linux 6.0 is based on LTS technologies so users can be rest assured that you will receive feature and functionality updates until 2017 and security updates until 2020.

With Service Release 1 we have tweaked the user experience per user and customer feedback to move from a Unity type look to a more traditional GNOME/Mate experience.  You also have all security updates from October to December 14, 2014.  These include.

Linux kernel 3.13.0-43.50
Linux kernel 3.17.6 for kernel 3.17 users
Firefox 34
Thunderbird 31.3
GNOME 3.10.4
GTK 3.10.8

All together there are about 200 updates to the  system.

Users who dont need a new ISO can simply update their systems with the following commands:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Users and new users who would like to get a new ISO can download it from our Sourceforge page, 64 bit only.

Black Lab Linux 6.0 SR1 x86_64

If you would like to support the Black Lab Linux Project you can purchase install media and preinstalled hard drives from us.  Our holiday pricing is still in effect until January 3, 2015.

Buy It Now

Monday, November 24, 2014

Black Friday and Cyber Monday specials

Today we are starting our Black Friday and Cyber Monday specials.  This sale runs Nov 24 - Dec 2

Black Lab Linux 6.0

Black Lab linux 6.0 on installable USB key, SD card or Live DVD.  $35.00 USD $25.00 USD + Shipping

Black Lab Linux 6.0 preinstalled Hard Drive SATA interface.  $99.00 USD $75.00 USD + Shipping

Black Lab Linux Boxed Set
Install Media

Preinstalled Computers

Black Lab Consumer Hardware

Black Lab Professional Hardware

Black Lab Refurbished Hardware 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Black Lab Linux 6.0 Released

Today we are pleased to announce the immediate availability of Black Lab Linux 6.  Black Lab Linux 6 is the fruit of over a year of labor and brings about many exciting new features and some big changes to the Black Lab Linux platform.  In Black Lab Linux 6 we focused on a few core improvements.  Usability, by changing to a UI that has strong features, accessibility, and speed.  We also have improved driver support and multimedia features that set Black Lab Linux apart from the rest.  Black Lab Linux 6.0 has also improved how we deliver updates to our users.  Being based on LTS technologies Black Lab Linux 6.0 is supported until April 2020.  All incremental updates will be released via apt-get.

Black Lab Linux 6 has the following new features:

Ubuntu 14.04.1 Base
GNOME 3 replaces XFCE as the default desktop
Thunderbird 31.2
Firefox 33
AppGrid - an alternative app store available for Black Lab Linux
TimeShift - A system restore feature for allowing full system backups
Linux kernel 3.13.0-37, Kernel 3.17.1 is available as an easy to install script
Steam Integration
GNOME Tweak tool integration
Arista Transcoder

Among these we have built in all security updates up to October 23, 2014.

Get it now

You can download Black Lab Linux 6 from our Sourceforge page

Download Black Lab Linux 6.0 (64 bit) ISO

If you are under bandwidth restrictions you can order a copy of Black Lab Linux on installable media or on preinstalled hard drives

Purchase Black Lab Linux 6.0

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Black Lab Linux 6 Beta 2 is released

Today we are pleased to announce the availability of Black Lab Linux 6 Beta 2.  As we march on to the release date of November 1, 2014 we have introduced a few new features for Black Lab Linux 6 Beta 2.

First, this is a build of our XFCE version.  We have modified XFCE so that it looks completely different different then what we have done with Black Lab Linux in the past.  It has a unique deskbar feature that makes the desktop more intuitutive and functional as well as the app dock at the bottom. 

The following fixes have been introduced in the new release:

1.  Fixed full screen Youtube
2.  USB drivers for Sun keyboards
3.  Erratic mouse behavior in virtual machines
4.  We fixed the installer crashes that were happening with previous releases
5.  Fixed HDMI flicker on Intel Based Macs
6.  Initial support for Steam machines

This will be the last beta before the release cadidate on Oct 15, 2014 which will be a feature complete release.

You can download the Beta from Sourceforge.  It is 64 bit only

Black Lab Linux 6 Beta 2 XFCE

If you would like to donate to the Black Lab Linux project.  You can view what we need help with at the Fall Fundraiser Page

Friday, September 19, 2014

Why we went with GNOME 3

Over the past few days since I made the announcement that we were switching to GNOME 3 as our primary user interface we have been e-mailed, called and publicly spoke against. We made this decision based on 3 very important factors. 1) XFCE development has slowed to a crawl. Its pretty much non-existant and there hasnt been a release since 2012. 2) customers and users kept telling us that they wanted certain features built in.  So we were faced with a dilemna.  Wait for the XFCE team to wake up or fork the XFCE desktop.  Now I dont like forking a project. I will do it as a last resort and when a project has been totally abandoned and when it makes sense. I dont like forking because it leads to resentment, hurt feelings and an all out internet flamewar which I have no desire to participate in. Forking also has a tendency to incorporate incompatibilities between the fork and the mother project when the mother project has not been abandoned. So I dislike forking. 3) We had to make the tough choice of either staying stagnant and falling behind or move forward.

Now we looked at several desktop environments and we had a list of 30 criteria. The top 3 on that list are the most important to us. 1) Stay compatible with the mother project. 2) Build in the features our customers and users wanted. 3) Not break everything when an update was released. The fourth one was also essential to me which was avoid Mir like the plague. Out of all the desktops we tried over the last year, there was only one that matched all 30 criteria. That was GNOME. We changed it, made it better and reduced resource consumption and the most important thing when we bolted on our changes and performed an update nothing broke. We stayed compatible with all extensions that came released for GNOME 3.

I understand as a developer that other developers dont like it when we put a bullet in the head of something you are working on. I get it, I feel your pain. But at this juncture, I had to take the leadership role and being a leader is not knowing when to say yes its knowing when to say no. And when you say no, you piss people off. They then go out and bash you in reviews they make a video or podcast and tell the world you dont know what you are doing, etc. etc. But I roll with the punches, I can take my lumps. I have been taking them for the last 8 years.

So with that said. We will do one XFCE release for the free release, in 64 bit only. The GNOME release will be the default we ship on our hardware unless otherwise notified. Enterprise users who subscribe to custom builds will continue to have XFCE as an option because at that point you pay me and I give you what you want. In education, they will continue to get XFCE as the primary because that is what they want and GNOME will be an option.

Try the Public Beta. Dont bash an idea. Try it out, if it sucks tell me why it sucks and I fix it. You may like it and you may find it needs just a few tweaks and tell me what I need to do to make it more to your liking. Feedback. An endless rant of why you dislike the idea itself doesnt help me do what needs to be done which is ... fix it. To those that dislike GNOME just in principle alone, Im sorry. but I encourage you to download the product and help us make it better. For those of you that like what we are doing and are supporting us. Thank you for the support and we thank you for your feedback.

Moving forward.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Black Lab Linux 6.0 Beta 1 Released

Today we are pleased to release the Beta 1 release of Black Lab Linux 6.  This release has been in planning over the last several months and while we have been slaving away over it we have introduced some unique features.

 With this release we changed the core system we have also changed our default desktop environment .  Many of the core packages have remained the same and have been updated to newer versions.

1.  Heavily customized GNOME 3.10 interface
2.  Ubuntu 14.04 LTS base
3.  Firefox 32
4.  System Restore
5.  Abiword and GNUMERIC
6.  Scribus
7.  Inkscape
8.  Openshot
9.  DVD and full multimedia codec playback
10. Java 7
11. VLC
12.  Audacious
13.  Pidgin IM client
14.  Updated WINE packages ready for installation
15.  Full LSB compliance and all basic development packages installed with a focus on letting people with custom kernels install them with minimal fuss and issue.

Now there have been some issues fixed since the Preview releases that needed to be addressed.

1.  Virtual Machine performance with GNOME 3 has been improved.
2.  The issue with Sun Microsystem USB keyboards not being picked up has been fixed.
3.   RAM consumption on bootup has been improved.  It was using over a gig of RAM but we have trimmed it down to 535 mb.
4.  DKMS would fail when building the modules for VirtualBox, that has been fixed.
5.  All of our Expansion kits and the Black Lab SDK have been adapted to work with Black Lab Linux 6 Beta 1 and still work with Black Lab Linux 5.x

You can download this release from our sourceforge page or can be ordered on a USB key for those with bandwidth restrictions.  Those who order the USB key will get a free USB or liveDVD shipped to them when final gets released.  The Beta release is 64 bit only.

Download Black Lab Linux 6 Beta 1 (Sourceforge)

If you wish to donate to the Black Lab Linux Project during our Fall Fundraiser you can do so through this page which lists all our plans and what we need.  We especially have a focus on acquiring hardware.  All donations are accepted and appreciated.

Black Lab Linux Fall Fundraiser