Russian state agencies switching to Astra Linux

Forum Forums General Other Distros Russian state agencies switching to Astra Linux

  • This topic has 17 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated Dec 21-10:17 pm by Brian Masinick.
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  • #44907
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    Dzhigit

    Several agencies are undergoing large-scale transition to Astra Linux, a Debian-based distribution developed by RusBitTech. This is to replace importation of foreign IT solutions. A complete ban on foreign IT solutions in federal agencies is being considered. I could not find any articles in English.

    https://www.linux.org.ru/news/russia/15997513
    https://www.cnews.ru/news/top/2020-11-12_gosorgany_rossii_massovo

    I used Astra Linux before but left because its desktop environment is proprietary and Qt-based.

    #44909
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    ModdIt
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    :D

    I know little about astra,
    any state keeping US software products in use has no secrets or security
    so to me a move makes a lot of sense, both on that basis and on cost savings.
    US hardware is just as big a security risk, phones computers, communication
    systems, all purposly security comprimized or backdoors, EU same soon, where
    not already.

    Privacy is a dream of yesterday for citizens.

    #44913
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    olsztyn
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    :D

    Thanks Dzhigit for the info. Frankly this is news to me and seems quite interesting after watching a YT video review.
    I would like to test myself this distro… Performance, memory use, etc…
    Would you know if it has a Live version as well?
    Thanks and Regards…

    #44914
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    Dzhigit
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    :D

    Thanks Dzhigit for the info. Frankly this is news to me and seems quite interesting after watching a YT video review.
    I would like to test myself this distro… Performance, memory use, etc…
    Would you know if it has a Live version as well?
    Thanks and Regards…

    The only version I remember they had was standard Debian installer. I’ll look again tomorrow. I remember it felt very fast. Sometimes it seemed the file manager opened before I clicked it. But AFAIK, it is still based on Stretch, and the Buster version either came recently or is still in testing. There isn’t much software in the repo, but I think the Yandex mirror has more software, including Steam, and Stretch repos should work, even backports. And it uses systemd :(. But your question made me curious about running the antiX LiveUSB system with other Debian distros like Devuan and Astra.

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 1 week ago by Dzhigit.
    • This reply was modified 7 months, 1 week ago by Dzhigit.
    #45003
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    olsztyn
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    :D

    Unfortunately, after a number of attempts, both from DVD and USB, I was not successful installing Astra general vesrion Oriol.
    Overall my impression was that the install process was quite buggy and lastly failed at installing selection of software packages, regardless what I picked from that screen. The first bug before that point was that it did not allow me to select local time zone, in spite of choosing English and US…
    Any hints will be appreciated…

    #45085
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    Dzhigit
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    :D

    I decided to install it in a vm because it has been a long time, and document the installation process. It is localized in:

    English and US

    I was thinking maybe your ISO was corrupted. I could not find the checksums. So I downloaded it twice to reduce the chance it was corrupted. The result:

    • 6f0102e904a793b3674f8d0fedd6d93f orel-current.iso
    • bc14f85c40ba32718fdbd3891e3889f9668b2dd0a1646291c82667ca2bb461c7 orel-current.iso

    First I made the virtual storage with qemu-image create -f qcow2 storage.qcow 20G

    I started the virtual machine with this command:

    qemu-system-x86_64 \
    -device virtio-serial-pci \
    -spice unix,addr=/tmp/vm_spice.socket,disable-ticketing \
    -device virtserialport,chardev=spicechannel0,name=com.redhat.spice.0 \
    -chardev spicevmc,id=spicechannel0,name=vdagent \
    -machine q35,accel=kvm \
    -m 8G \
    -cpu host \
    -smp 4 \
    -vga qxl \
    -nic user,model=virtio-net-pci \
    -audiodev pa,id=snd0 \
    -device ich9-intel-hda \
    -device hda-output,audiodev=snd0 \
    -drive file=storage.qcow,if=virtio \
    -cdrom orel-current.iso

    And in another terminal tab remote-viewer spice+unix:///tmp/vm_spice.socket

    1. F1 menu shows language selection. You can choose Russian or English.
    2. Select “Install” (I did not select the graphical installer)
    3. Select English language in the installer
    4. Select United States for locale settings
    5. Accept the license agreement (this is part of the reason why I do not use the system)
    6. Select American English keymap (the installer hung on an empty blue screen for a while)
    7. I kept the default host name, “astra”
    8. For the user name, I typed “dzhigit”
    9. For the password, I chose 123
    10. Reenter password to verify
    11. Error about entering password less than 8 symbols, I changed to 12345678 (why didn’t it do this before verify the password?)
    12. For the time zone, select “Go Back” in the bottom left
    13. Go to “Choose language”
    14. Select English
    15. Country or territory, select United States
    16. Time zone, I chose Eastern (screen was blank for a while after this)
    17. Partitioning method, I chose “Guided – use entire disk”
    18. I selected the only disk in my list, the VirtIO storage device
    19. Usually I put /home on separate partition, but this is quick installation, I put all in one partition
    20. Finish partitioning and write changes to disk
    21. Select “Yes” to answer “Write the changes to disks?” (also it created a swap partition)
    22. Wait for it to copy the files
    23. I kept defaults but deselected “Fly apps for working on devices with touchscreen” (this OS is also meant for phone/tablet) I had “Base packages,” “Fly desktop,” “Games,” “Internet suite,” “Office suite,” and “Multimedia”
    24. Wait for files to copy (I think it said 1347 files but the number disappeared too quickly for me to say for sure)
    25. “Additional OS settings,” I did not select anything, but normally I would consider “Enable password entry for sudo” (you may also want “Enable autologin to X session”)
    26. I installed GRUB to MBR
    27. I selected my VirtIO disk, /dev/vda
    28. Installation is complete, I selected “Continue”
    29. The installer took some time to run postinst steps
    30. In the GRUB menu I selected the generic (non-hardened) kernel
    31. Enter user name and password into Fly desktop manager and it will take you to Fly desktop environment
    32. After installation, I purged i386 packages to free up storage and removed the i386 architecture
    33. I tried to find neofetch or screenfetch, but it wasn’t in the repo, so I added Yandex mirror, but it still wasn’t there
    34. Installed debian-archive-keyring and after large update, I added Stretch mirror in Synaptic and installed screenfetch and neofetch from Debian Stretch

    No bugs were encountered.

    #45088
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    Dzhigit
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    :D

    What is interesting to me is this distribution is being adopted in military (Russia conscripts all males so this is a large number) government agencies, etc, so this could surpass Ubuntu in usage and become the number 1 distro. I will not use it because of proprietary software but Debian (and antiX) could benefit from having this derivative.

    Also at https://astralinux.ru/ you can change language to English in the top right corner or click the big red download button.

    #45154
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    olsztyn
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    :D

    Thanks Dzhigit for meticulous documenting steps. I think I did follow this sequence. I also made two separate downloads, just to eliminate corrupt ISO.
    I will give it another shot. One difference is you are doing this in VM while I was installing on real hardware….
    Regards.

    #45176
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    olsztyn
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    :D

    Thanks again Dzhigit.
    Another my attempt, following your detailed steps, failed again. Failing step is Select and install software. I followed your selection. The number of files in my case was 1375 rather than 1347.
    I am not giving up though, considering it worked for you. I am again re-downloading ISO…
    Regards.,

    #45179
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    olsztyn
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    :D

    Update:
    I was finally able to install it. On different machine, the same model laptop.
    It appears the installation issue on the first machine was due to hard disk.
    Now I am testing Astra on the second machine and my first impression is good. Fly desktop seems interesting…
    Questions to you:
    – What proprietary software were you referring to? Fly Desktop?
    – How do you see this distro to benefit antiX as you mentioned?

    Thanks again and Regards.

    Update:
    So far after short testing I have nothing but only good results:
    – If I can trust the included system performance monitor the initial memory use is in my case about 225M. With FF open – just over 500M. Excellent for such capable DE.
    – Fly DE seems elegant and polished.
    – Network printers detected without a hitch.
    – SMB shares detected in the FM.
    – Networking WiFi works fine for me.
    – All I tested seems snappy, no delays on my T410 laptop, on which I am currently typing this update.

    I do not know yet what this Fly DE is but would be great if possible to add to antiX…

    Thanks again and Regards…

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 1 week ago by olsztyn.
    #45233
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    Dzhigit
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    :D

    – What proprietary software were you referring to? Fly Desktop?

    Yes, I think this is the license, they do not provide source code, decompilation, disassembly, and redistribution not allowed 🙁 (I am not certain it applies to Fly DE specifically)

    – How do you see this distro to benefit antiX as you mentioned?

    Such a large government and military adopting a Debian-compatible system may increase software and hardware support to Debian, the base distribution for antiX and Astra, and also make Debian systems more mainstream.

    So far after short testing I have nothing but only good results:

    I had similar results, it impressed me that RAM usage is maybe slightly higher than antiX, and yet it is a fully capable DE. It is made to be similar to Windows so it will feel familiar to government staff.

    I do not know yet what this Fly DE is but would be great if possible to add to antiX…

    If the DE is proprietary that will be a problem, what makes me curious if possible to add antiX LiveUSB system to other distros.

    • This reply was modified 7 months ago by Dzhigit.
    #45236
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    olsztyn
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    :D

    If the DE is proprietary that will be a problem, what makes me curious if possible to add antiX LiveUSB system to other distros.

    Adding antiX Live-USB tools to some other Linux distros is an excellent idea, if can be done at all. This antiX developers would know.
    I think only very few Linux distros are lean enough to make good Live systems, antiX being at the very top.
    Astra also seems a good candidate, being also very lean. The installed system takes 8GB, which is just 3GB more than installed antiX, so linuxfs Live USB would be about 4GB.

    The fact Fly DE is proprietary is a setback and discouraging to open source developers, however. Nevertheless it is Debian compatible so perhaps adding antiX Live USB tools would not be too much problem, just that I think Linux open developers would not want to touch it due to not being open source.
    This is unfortunate, because proprietary Fly seems excellent and high quality to me. None other ‘modern’ DE I tested comes close to it in terms of resource requirements. It appears to be originating from KDE 3.4 as I read somewhere, which could be the last good KDE before it got bloated by irresponsible subsequent development of newer bloated versions. So making it proprietary may not be bad, if meant to protect.
    Just want to highlight that also from my testing Astra seems to not exhibit any memory leaks, just as antiX. It reclaims release memory immediately, which I do not typically find in current bloated DEs.
    Thanks again and best regards…

    #45313
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    olsztyn
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    :D

    what makes me curious if possible to add antiX LiveUSB system to other distros.

    It looks like there is a Live CD/USB creation process in Astra Linux:
    https://wiki.astralinux.ru/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=71839247
    However when I ran the process I am not clear where this Live CD ISO was actually created. I have read the ‘Создание Live-CD/Live-USB в Astra Linux’ and it appears the creation process ran fine but where the resulting Live ISO actually is remains a mystery to me…
    That said I am not necessarily counting on any help in this forum if the Fly is proprietary but hopefully some hint will eventually emerge…
    Thanks again…

    #45323
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    Dzhigit
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    :D

    Thank you, I will try and document the process

    #45335
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    olsztyn
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    :D

    I will try and document the process

    Thanks very much. Greatly appreciate your help…
    Astra seems more and more interesting. Uncommon maturity is really surprising…
    Regards.

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