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.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A few questions about Black Lab Linux

We have been getting a lot of questions regarding Black Lab recently.  We had a little press, we got listed on which has gotten some recognition.  So some of my newer users have asked several questions that we figured we would answer publicly.

So without further ado.

Q) Why isnt Black Lab Linux listed on Distrowatch?

A) Black Lab Linux was listed on Distrowatch and had quite a following.  We were number 11 on the list and it generated quite a buzz.  The USPTO among some complaints refused our trademark application for OS/4.  After that we changed the name to Black Lab Linux.  Ladislav Bodnar made the decision not to list Black Lab Linux at that time because of a few of his concerns.  We have helped relieve some of those concerns and we look forward to working with Ladislav to get it listed.  The most productive thing our users can do is e-mail Mr. Bodnar at and ask him nicely to relist it.   Otherwise keep up with Softpedia, LWN, our homepage and of course you can get all the news regarding Black Lab Linux.  You may also want to subscribe to our Mailing lists, our forum and our Facebook pages for news as well.

Q) How do you guys give back to Linux and why do you charge for your "Enterprise" release?

A) We either monetarily contribute to projects or contribute code.  You can get a complete list here.  While some people look at our price tag and think we are just an entirely commercial distribution we are not.  We offer Black Lab free of charge for download in 32 bit and 64 bit.  The price in the 'Where to buy' sections is for users who may not want to download due to bandwidth restrictions or who may not know enough about making their own install media and who would rather have a Live DVD or Live USB Flash drive.  Black Lab Linux Enterprise is a completely commercial distribution.  It is tailored to small to medium sized businesses and contains code that is not free to redistribute.  It also has attached several commercial certifications.

Q) Do you guys make a server or just a desktop?

A) While we are primarily a desktop distribution but we do offer the Server Extensions Pack which does add server capabilities and we have customers and users who utilize it and do run Black Lab Linux as a server.  Our 8 node cluster comes with Black Lab Linux with the server extensions pre-installed.  We are also a great developers platform.  We offer the Black Lab SDK for the developers out there.

Q) How do I get updates and how frequent are they?

A) You get updates through the Update Manager and sometimes you can have a few updates available through that on a weekly basis.  Whenever a major security issue is discovered and patched.  I think we were one of the fastest to patch the Heartbleed vulnerability.  Black Lab Linux has at least 3 service packs  every 6 months with new releases coming every 12 months,  Service Packs address cumulative updates, new kernels and adds new functionality.  Black Lab Linux Enterprise and Black Lab Linux Education get Service Pack updates every 12 to 18 months.

Q) What are the current releases of Black Lab Linux?

A) Black Lab Linux is currently at release 4.2.  Black Lab Linux 5 is under development and will be released May 5, 2014.  Black Lab Linux Enterprise and Black Lab Linux Education are at 4.2.5 with 5.0.1 being released April 23, 2014.

Q) Your distribution is based on Ubuntu 12.04, Ubuntu is now at 14.04.  When can we see the system updated?

A) Black Lab Linux is focused on stability, rather than cutting edge.  With that we also update the kernel, we update core system utilities and libraries.  We will be moving to a 14.04 kernel with Black Lab Linux 6, currently slated for a July 2015 release.  While we may use a 12.04 base we do include newer applications and core system functionality.  We also regularly release kernel updates to the newer bleeding edge kernels.  We also do not recommend that you try to upgrade Black Lab Linux to the 14.04 base as that will destroy your system.

Q) Why do you wait 30 days before you release your new releases as a free download?

A) We offer Black Lab Linux as a commercial product for the first 30 days after a new release.  Users who joined the Black Lab Network  and who participate in the preorder get their releases shipped 3 days before the official release date.  If you dont want to purchase the product and just want the free download you can get it after 30 days as a free download

Q) How can I contribute to Black Lab Linux?

A) You can contribute code, artwork and documentation.  You can also contribute money through the donate button or contact us and donate hardware.  You can also write reviews and download Black Lab Linux and pass it around.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Black Lab Linux 5.0 Preorder

Today we are taking preorders for the next release of Black Lab Linux 5.0.

This is for users who want to get the newest release without having to wait the 30 days before we put it up for free download.  If you are a member of the Black Lab Network your order will ship at the projected time.   All pre-orders will ship May 1st 2014 before official release of May 5 2014.

If you want access to the fastest growing commercial alternative to Red Hat Enterprise please visit the Black Lab Linux Enterprise website.

Black Lab Linux 5.0 along with our award winning intuitive interface ships with the following software.

Updated Linux Kernel
Google Chrome 34
Thunderbird 24.4
Gstreamer 1.2
Parole Media Player
LibreOffice 4.2.3
The Gimp2.10
OpenSSH 6
Steam Client
Built in Maps provided by Google
Built in Messaging Center provided by Google Voice
Bleachbit System Cleaner
Parental Controls

Plus much more.  Black Lab Linux also contains many user friendly system tools to help you manage your system quickly, efficiently with little to no IT staff.

When you pre-order Black Lab Linux 5.0  you get an installable USB Flash Drive or SD Card as well as a detailed install guide to walk you through the installation.

Black Lab Linux 5.0 Preorder
Install Media

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Black Lab Linux Enterprise new features and support explained

Today we are pleased to answer the questions regarding Black Lab Linux Enterprise and how Windows XP businesses can benefit from these changes.

With that we have released Black Lab Linux 5.0 Enterprise.

With this release we made several changes to the core of Black Lab Linux Enterprise

Updated Linux kernel
OpenSSH 6.2
PostgreSQL 9.3
Linux Firmware updates
PackageKit Package Management
Folder encryption
Wine 1.7
Glom 22

This release also includes all updates of its default productivity applications so users can be assured of full functionality and up to date applications.

Current customers can request an updated ISO and new customers can purchase a new license or licenses here.

Black Lab Linux Enterprise Licenses
We caught up with Mr. Roberto J. Dohnert and had a Q&A regarding the new changes in Black Lab Linux 5.0 Enterprise and Black Lab Linux 5.0 Education as well;

Q.  Why wasnt there a direct upgrade path for users of Black Lab Linux 4.2.5 Enterprise users
A.  Because, there were just too many functional changes to try to provide a direct upgrade path.  A lot of things changed, all the way to package management.  And in all of our test scenarios, out of 10 direct upgrade attempts 7 failed and so we decided to cut down on support tickets the best thing to do was release an entirely new ISO.

Q.  What about customers of 4.2.5?  How can they upgrade and will we still support 4.2.5?
A.  If you are happy with 4.2.5, you can continue to use it.  There will be no interruption in your service or your upgrades.  Updates will be delivered through the update manager and life will go on as usual.  If you decide you want more licenses then you will get Black Lab Linux 5.0 Enterprise or Education.

Q.  I know for Black Lab Linux 4.2.5 Enterprise and Education we gave a few customers a complimentary license, are they eligible for the free upgrade?
A.  Unfortunately no.  They are not. What they are eligible for is to run 4.2.5 as long as they would like.  But if they want Black Lab Linux 5.0 Enterprise and Education they must purchase a license.

Q.  Whats the new support features and how can Windows XP licensees take advantage of this?
A.  We talked to several enterprise users and our own customers.  One thing we heard was that they dont want a release often distribution.  They dont want to have to go and re-install machines every 6 months.  So we are introducing a new Service Pack support model.  Service Packs will be delivered every 12 to 18 months.  While users will still get critical updates through the update manager, Service Packs will include new functionality as well as updates.  During this time, customers can come along and make requests.  How this can benefit Windows XP users is that Linux has a reputation of being an OS that you have to upgrade every few months and we break that mold by offering long term, commercial support on the desktop which no other Linux distribution does.  We also offer  support for modern technologies, web applications, desktop database.  So for business desktops we offer a wealth of productivity apps that your users can utilize to get their work done more efficiently.

Q.  You say we are the only Linux distributor to offer a complete desktop experience for businesses but what about Linux Mint and SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop?
A.  Linux Mint does not offer commercial support.  They tailor mostly to the Linux community.  To the Ubuntu users who absolutely hate Unity.  Now, they are popular among home users because someone from the Linux community tells their friends to give it a try and when you see that you see two things happen.  They absolutely hate it and get off of Linux or they love it, and they dual boot with Windows.  Most of our users who try to go to Linux Mint and replicate what we do at PC/OpenSystems LLC, they get tired of it and usually come back.  I have seen most everyone return except maybe 1 or 2 and when we bid on a job, I never hear Linux Mint.  I hear SUSE, I hear Red Hat, I hear Ubuntu.  Now, Red Hat and Novell dont take the enterprise and business desktop seriously.  They throw in the fact that they have this desktop distribution as they call it.  But they only throw in a few applications for productivity.  An office suite, a browser and a mail client.  What we have discovered is that the business and enterprise desktops are more complex than that.  In a small business your secretary is a lot of times your graphic artist, they are your marketing team, they do videos on your product, they create your podcasts and more.  So they need the tools to satisfy their many roles and we are the only distributor to do that and offer a solution that is cost effective, and that is commercially supported and that is extremely easy to use and administer.

Q.  What is the custom builds and how do they satisfy users needs and how can a business who used Windows XP benefit from a custom build?
A.  Well first, here is the datasheet for custom configurations.  In a nutshell, a custom configuration is a service that we offer where we create a configuration per a customers request.  We add applications, artwork and drivers that they need and want.  We host it for them, we test it to make sure your applications work and that nothing breaks.  We also apply all the updates and we charge a yearly maintenance fee to keep it up to date.  Its cost effective because with this you get unlimited licenses and you can redistribute to whomever you see fit, but alas if you give it to somebody outside of your organization you have to provide them with support as we dont.

Q.  What else has the team done to make a migration from Windows XP to Black Lab Linux Enterprise easier?
A.  We provide new users with an interface that Windows users can come to and get working immediately.  We have always prided the fact that with our distribution new users can be up and running and completely understand the system in 10 minutes.  So we provide a very comfortable user interface.  Now, users and admins may want to run a certain Windows application like Photoshop, even Microsoft Office.  For that, we include in a copy of Wine which emulates the Windows API and allows certain applications to run at near native speeds.  Just because they are coming to a new platform does not mean they have to sacrifice applications they know and love.

Q.  What about Linux in general.  What makes the Linux ecosystem so enticing for new users?
A.  For many they look at the Linux ecosystem as everything is free.  To a point that is true, Linux does not mean free as in zero costs.  The code is free.  The code can be used any way people see fit as long as they respect the license.  I think the ecosystem itself is a good one because bugs get fixed faster, features are introduced at a faster rate, and there is someone out there who gives advice on how to fix something  While some see it as free as no cost users and customers get a definite cost advantage.  With Black Lab Linux we are 70% cheaper than Windows 7, we are 80 percent cheaper than Windows 8.  Plus, we offer a definitive upgrade path.  Not only are we cheaper to acquire but we are cheaper in TCO (total cost of ownership).

Q.  Where can business and education users find out more about Black Lab Linux Enterprise and Black Lab Linux Education?
A.  We have a couple of links to the product page.

Q.  Where does the free release of Black Lab Linux fit in to our strategy?
A.  The Black Lab Linux project is very similar to the Fedora Project from Red Hat and the OpenSUSE project from Novell.  What we do is we experiment with Black Lab Linux and test it and keep testing it.  The Black Lab Linux Project is completely unfunded and it survives off the donations from the community.  It is free of charge to download and free of charge to redistribute among your friends.  All donations and sales of the Black Lab Linux Project go back to the Black Lab Linux Project

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Kernel 3.14 released for Black Lab Linux

For those of you that like to play with the current kernels, we have uploaded kernel 3.14 with our easy to use installer to

Please visit the kernel for newbies website for a list of current changes and what is new.

This script supports Black Lab Linux 4.x, 5.x RC5 and final.

As always its recommended that you backup all your data and unload any third party modules before you install.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Black Lab Linux Project Podcast March 2014

The Black Lab Linux Podcast for March 2014.  Here are the topics

In this podcast we talk about Black Lab Linux.  The topics of discussions are:

Black Lab Linux 5

Black Lab Linux 6


New hardware

OS/4 OpenLinux 14.5

If you dont have flash or want to download and listen to later, you can download the mp3

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Black Lab Linux 5.0 Beta 2 released

Today we are pleased to announce the beta 2 release of Black Lab Linux 5.  This will be the last Beta for Black Lab Linux 5 until the final release.  While it contains all the functionality that will be released in the gold release in May, right now we are working on stability.   With that, lets go over what has changed with Black Lab Linux 5.

XFCE 4.11
Google Chrome 33
Revelation Password Manager
Google Maps
Messaging Center
LibreOffice 4.2
OpenSSH 6
Bleachbit Administrator

All these applications have been brought up to date and all bug fixes applied to the system.

You can download the new release from Sourceforge

This release is x86_64 only.  There will be a 32 bit release made available at launch.


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.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Black Lab Linux 4.3 Beta 1 XFCE released

Black Lab Linux 4.3 Beta 1 is being released.  This time there were a couple of focuses on this release.

Hardware Support

And with that we have made the following changes and updates to Black Lab Linux 4.3.

XFCE 4.11
Google Chrome 33/Chromium 32
OpenShot 1.4.3
 Linux kernel 3.5.0-47
Improved NVIDIA and ATI drivers
Improved Wifi support
Kinect and 360 wireless adapter support
Thunderbird 24.3
LibreOffice 4.2
Gimp 2.8.10

And many more application and system updates.

This release may have some missing functionality and may be feature incomplete.  Do not use it in a production environment

You can download Black Lab Linux 4.3 Beta 1 from the Sourceforge Page