The Top 100 Linux Distros & Which of Their Websites Track You

My first Linux install, in high school, was MkLinux on a Macintosh Performa 6116CD. 'Mk' indicated it used the Mach microkernel, and it was the only Linux that could run on PowerPC NUBUS Macs. It came as a book and CD-ROM. Next was Slackware on a 486, where I had a perl script that searched eBay hourly for old computers. Not long after, I bought a Power Computing PowerTower Pro and set it up to triple-boot Mac OS, Yellow Dog Linux, and BeOS. In college, my dorm room server was a Motorola PowerStack running Debian PowerPC, and I've rarely strayed from Debian and its derivatives since.

Recently, I've been playing with Arch on an Orange Pi 5, and it has me itching to experiment with new distros again. Browsing DistroWatch, the distros and their descriptions blur together, but I realized you can infer a lot about a community's values by looking at what external content they embed in their website. Do they respect your privacy? Or are they willing to sell you out for nothing more than a couple of free fonts?

The table below lists the top 100 distributions on DistroWatch, at the time of this writing. Those in green do not embed any external content. Those in red embed content from Google or Cloudflare. This includes Google fonts, because "By using our APIs, Google may use submitted information in accordance with our privacy policies." Google's privacy policies allow them to track you.

If the distribution is not colored, you should look at it on a case-by-case basis. Some are embedding a pretty innocuous-looking CDN or using a local piwik server. Others are not.

I didn't include multiple subdomains from the same site, if they weren't interesting. For example, for MX Linux I listed, even though there are embeds for,, and Any embeds from are just listed as cloudflare.

Content Type: 

A Quick Delve into the Laser 128 EX/2

So last night, I was literally sitting awake thinking of the projects I have set for Apple stuff this summer - and I remembered I had a Laser 128 EX/2. 

From my understanding, these things are pretty much hen's teeth and there's little to no information about them on the internet. The Laser technical manuals I've found only go as far as the 128 EX, with no details on the EX/2. Unfortunately, this one did not come with a manual.

The one thing I do know about it, however, is that unlike the Laser 128 EX (which I have a couple of as well) - the EX/2 has a built in real-time clock.  Lots of documentation online alleges that the EX does as well, but it indeed does not. I ran a GBBS Pro BBS off of my Laser 128 EX in the late 80's, and I had to fit it with an SMT No-Slot-Clock in the ROM door underneath the machine.  The EX/2 also adds a built-in MIDI port.  Otherwise, I believe it's the same as the EX - running at 1.0, 2.8 and 3.6 MHz selectable speeds - selectable by holding down "1" "2" or "3" during reset. The EX/2 also lets you set the system speed in the control panel (control-P-reset, or hold down P when powering on) as "Slow" "Medium" and "Fast".Many online resources also say the EX and EX/2 came with a built in 3.5.. I imagine some did, but all my EX's and EX/2's have 5.25's built in.  Oddly though, I do remember specifically my original EX could format and read high-density disks.  I plan on experimemnting with that later as well. 


The EX/2, however, does indeed have a built in RTC. That got me to thinking.. Clock.. Battery.. Leakage.. Uh oh.


The first working(-ish) homemade MMU

Back in early march, I dug out my old Apple IIe computer from my parents's garage. That was a fantastic find and I wanted to play again all those games from my childhood. Unfortunately, the computer did not power on. While searching on the internet, I was sidetracked while reading on the MMU and IOU and their lack of replacements. And then I foolishly though that attempting to re-create the MMU and the IOU with a FPGA would be a good idea. Surely, it can't be that hard...


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