| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 18, 6 October 2003
Turbolinux turns 10
Turbolinux still has a name behind it. After reporting about the upcoming release of Turbolinux 10 Desktop, many other English language news sites picked up the story and deemed it newsworthy enough to run it on their own sites. This was somewhat surprising, considering that Turbolinux is now nothing more than a Japanese distribution catering almost exclusively for their domestic market (and China). Gone are the days when Turbolinux was a respectable player on the global market place (last time I heard, the company's US office was reduced to one support person). However, even in Japan, the distribution is an increasingly marginal player -- that's despite their effort to develop specifically for high-end users, while focusing on server and AMD64 editions of Turbolinux.
Will Turbolinux recover their former glory? A careful look at the release announcement shows signs of desperation. Firstly, Turbolinux went from version 8 (released in July 2002) to version 10, skipping 9 altogether and giving themselves a dubious honour of being the first well-known distribution to enter the era of double-digit versioning schemes. Secondly, they have made a risky decision to ship with a pre-release 2.6 Linux kernel (2.6.0-test5 to be exact). While Linux enthusiasts will no doubt applaud the decision - after all the product is a less critical "Desktop" edition - there will be those who will call it irresponsible to base the product on a poorly tested, pre-release kernel version. Thirdly, the release announcement goes out of its way to stress that the product is the ultimate Windows-to-Linux migration tool, clearly targeting those businesses which have never used Linux on their desktops before.
All in all, Turbolinux's version 10 marks a critical point in the distribution's long history. A quality release, coupled with effective marketing could indeed revive the distribution. Failing that, the first double-digit distribution version might be Turbolinux's last.
Distributions playing name games
Last week, the parent company of the Trustix Secure Linux distribution announced bankruptcy. This is an extract from a story, as told by one of the main Trustix developers, Erlend Midttun: "On July 25, Christian [Haugan Toldnes] got laid off and I went down to a 25% position. About a month later, I got laid off too. We have since maintained Trustix Secure Linux totally on a voluntary basis. The distribution as such is open source but the name is the property of Trustix AS, so we must continue the development under another name. We have found Tawie Server Linux (aka TSL :) to be the name we prefer." It is always a pleasure to report that a project is still alive and well, even if the company behind it goes out of business. This is one of the wonders of GPL.
But Trustix wasn't the only distribution undergoing a name change last week, even the much more popular SUSE AG found a valid reason for a name adjustment - from SuSE Linux to SUSE LINUX: "As part of the overall effort to update our look, it was felt that upper casing all of SUSE LINUX brought more attention to the name.", asserts Joseph Eckert, SUSE's VP of Corporate Communications. Let's take a look at some other distributions that have changed their names, continued under a new name or where the developers of an original project were forced to start a new project under a different name:
If you know of any others, please mention them bellow.
- Best Linux --> SOT Linux
- Caldera Open Linux --> SCO Linux
- Enoch Linux --> Gentoo Linux
- FreeLoader Linux --> eLearnix
- Kondara MNU/Linux --> Momonga Linux
- miniwoody --> Bonzai Linux
- Red Hat Linux --> Fedora Project
- Redmond Linux --> Lycoris Desktop/LX
- SuSE Linux --> SUSE LINUX
- Trusted Debian --> Adamantix
- Trustix Secure Linux --> Tawie Server Linux
|Released Last Week
The Dyne:bolic project has released a new bugfix version of Dyne:bolic GNU/Linux: "Version 1.1 is already out as a bugfix release, including fixes to the nesting mechanism and to the openmosix clustering, encryption support back in the mail program and better handling of X resolutions. Every user is encouraged to upgrade thru the 'spawn' tool present in dyne:bolic." See the announcement on the distribution's web site and a complete changelog in this mailing list post.
Definity Linux 2.0
The final version of Definity Linux 2.0 has been released. That's according to very brief messages on the distribution's home page and its mailing list (both links in Portuguese). Definity Linux is a commercial Brazilian distribution based on Slackware Linux.
Quantian 0.4 has been released: "The most recent version 0.4 is the result of three test releases since version 0.3, and corresponds to the last release 0.3.9.3." From the ChangeLog: "Comprises newer 2.4.22 kernel, a new OpenMosix patch and updated software throughout. Added RPy, ipe, giac, gap-character-tables, kile, lush, felt, mpb, wajig for the Gap CAS, kile, ent, added fonts for texmacs, and removed comedi as we do not have a matching kernel module for it." Check out the Quantian web site for more information.
Oralux, a Knoppix-based distribution for visually impaired persons, is now available: "Based on Knoppix 3.3 (2003-09-24). Emacspeak Festival MBROLA (EFM) is included. It supplies an English or French software synthesis. The Castillan Spanish or German files of the DECtalk software can be automatically installed. If the alsa driver is required, the alsa cheatcode will be typed once, and will be automatically restored for the following boots. The introductory menu is now available in 4 languages (Castillan Spanish and German have been added). Selecting another item in the menu: up or down arrow keys. Repeating an item: left or right arrow keys." See the announcement on the distribution's web site.
A community contributed, PPC edition of CRUX 1.1+ is now available. From the README file: "CRUX 1.1 for PowerPC platform with packages updated to September 2003. Some packages are added or modified to support special PPC features and some others are added from the CRUX 1.2 tree (e.g. gtk2, atk, pango and xchat2). The system boots on NewWorld machines. Updated install.txt to reflect the needed changes. Note that CRUX-PPC includes support for cvsup and httpup because it can use cvsup for the clc ports or zhware ports, but httpup is needed for the official 'base' and 'opt' ports."
stresslinux is a new distribution in out database: "stresslinux is a minimal Linux distribution that runs from a bootable CDROM or via PXE. It makes use of some utilities such as stress, cpuburn, hddtemp, lm_sensors, etc. It is dedicated to users who want to test their system(s) entirely on high load and monitor the health of these systems." Version 0.2.6 is now available; visit the distribution's web site for more information and its changelog for a complete list of changes.
- Sorcerer 20030930; this is a new Install/Rescue ISO image, Sorcerer's first stable release since May 2002.
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Turbolinux has announced the release of Turbolinux 10 Desktop. Skipping version 9 and inventing a term "High Windowsability" in the process, some of the notable features in Turbolinux 10 include complete Japanese support, interoperability and file sharing with Windows, and Turbo Update. Turbolinux 10 is the first distribution shipping with the new 2.6 kernel series (2.6.0-test5) as the default kernel and it also comes with KDE 3.1.3 and GNOME 2.4 desktop environments, as well as a number of commercial applications, including Acronis Partition Expert, StarSuite 7, ATOK X Japanese input server and a range of Japanese true type fonts. Turbolinux 10 will be available in two editions - Desktop, retailing at ¥15,800 (US$143) and Desktop Basic, selling for ¥3,980 (US$36); both editions are available for pre-order. Find out more in the official press release, on the distribution's product page and in this brief review with screenshots by ZDNet (all of the above links are in Japanese). Turbolinux 10 Desktop will start shipping on 24 October 2003.
SuSE Linux 9.0
SuSE Linux has officially announced the release of SuSE Linux 9.0, which will become available on 15 October in Europe and 24 October in other parts of the world. What's new? "Q: What are the three most important new features of SUSE LINUX 9.0? A: The installation tool of SUSE LINUX now enables resizing of hard disk partitions containing Windows 2000 and XP systems in order to make room for Linux. OpenOffice.org has made a giant leap ahead, and the support of Athlon 64 brings the advantages of 64-bit computing to your home office." The above comes from a brief interview with SuSE's Director of Distribution Development, Chris Schläger (also available in German). Read the official press release - in English or German.
|Web Site News
Many thanks to Eric Roosendaal for his effort to translate parts of the site into Dutch. The popularity page of the statistics section has now been updated to include the latest side-by-side page hit ranking statistics. This section be updated automatically every Saturday. There is an issue which prevents the main page from being displayed correctly on screen resolutions of 800x 600 pixels. Please bear with us while we are trying to find a suitable solution to accommodate both the visitors and the site's sponsors.
New on the waiting list
- Aurora. Aurora SPARC Linux is Red Hat-based Linux distribution ported to the Sun Microsystems' SPARC architecture.
- stresslinux. stresslinux is a minimal Linux distribution that runs from a bootable CDROM or via PXE. It makes use of some utilities such as stress, cpuburn, hddtemp, lm_sensors, etc. It is dedicated to users who want to test their system(s) entirely on high load and monitor the health of these systems.
Removed from the waiting list
- DietLinux is a distribution based on dietlibc. It contains a 2.4.x/2.6.x linux kernel, minit as init, embutils and some GNU stuff.
- The BBLCD Toolkit is a toolkit for building your own bootable Linux CD from your favourite distribution.
- knopILS is an Italian modification of Knoppix.
DistroWatch database summary
- MiniCD - its web site has not been updated since 17 March 2003.
- Number of distributions in the database: 179
- Number of discontinued distributions: 24
- Number of distributions on the waiting list: 67
As you can see from the above, there is no way I can please everybody. The solution? As suggested by one of the readers, I have removed all font-size specification from all CSS files. In other words, the font size is no longer specified on any of the pages on this site. If it appears too large, too small or whatever, please check your browser's preferences as the font sizes are now solely the function of your web browser's settings. One possible reason for the fonts appearing too large for some people is that DistroWatch uses Unicode (UTF-8) encoding on all of its pages. You need to find the Unicode or UTF-8 specific font options in your browser's preferences dialog and adjust the font size there. If you still have a problem with font sizes, please make a constructive suggestion below. Complaints that fonts are too large or too small will lead to nowhere.
- "Thank you for changing the default font size. I'm one of the many who never wrote in when the fonts were too small. You spend more than enough time providing such an amazing service without people like me clogging your mailbox with design critiques. However, with this recent change I wanted to be sure to voice my support."
- "Just wondering if anyone else has emailed you about the huge fonts. It looks the same whether I use Mozilla, Netscape, or Opera. You can't read the far right column on your website."
- "I know the font is browser controlled, etc, etc, but like (2) days ago the font got huge, I did not change anything, I recall reading in a forum that you guys might change the font, any chance it will go back to normal size?"
- "Thanks for upping the font size, it's much easier to read."
Distributions are generally very keen to send out free review copies (except for their enterprise-level offerings) to reviewers; all you need to do is write to them and ask. If you don't have a web site or if you don't feel comfortable asking for a review copy, let us know and we'll try to arrange one for you, in which case, we'll reserve exclusive rights to publish the review on DistroWatch. However, before asking for a commercial product to be shipped to you, consider writing a review of a non-commercial or a freely downloadable distribution as a reference of your writing style. Other web sites, such as OSNews also accept review submissions and can arrange product shipment.
- "I would like to write some distribution reviews. My question is how to obtain 'the latest and the greatest' distributions? I don't have the connections to arrange myself a pre-release of the upcoming SUSE LINUX version for example. How do other reviewers get this fancy stuff?"
As for review guidelines, there are two important things you should include in your review: hardware specification and a conclusion with recommendations. A few screenshots can spice up a review. Some reviewers develop a rating system (on a scale from 1 to 5 or 1 to 10), but it's not compulsory. Other than that, just enjoy writing it. Oh, one word of warning - no matter what you write, somebody will find fault with it or even call you an idiot. That's normal, no need to worry about it :-)
That's all for this week, keep well and see you next Monday :-)
1 • Font sizes (by Drogo Knotwise at 2003-10-06 15:16:59 GMT) |
Why not use alternate style sheets? The default could be no font size specified, then have a OldFontSize style sheet, and a LargeFontSize style sheet. That would allow those of us with browsers that support that kind of thing to see all the fonts like we want to, whilst not changing the current state of affairs for the rest.
2 • The worst folks can complain about is font size? (by Paul F. Pearson on 2003-10-06 15:23:07 GMT)
Ladislav, I'd say that if the worst thing about your size has been nit-picky stuff like font size and whether or not the distros are listed alphabetically, then you can know that you're providing a *darn good* service! Keep up the good work - I visit daily, sometimes more often.
3 • Re: The worst folks can complain about is font size? (by Paul F. Pearson on 2003-10-06 15:25:36 GMT)
Ummm... I meant to say "if the worst thing about your site[...]" Sorry :-)
4 • Reviews, etc. (by madhunter at 2003-10-06 18:44:49 GMT)
This comment is toward any/all people who are looking to do reviews for distributions, software, etc... First off, I do not want to take any writers away from Distrowatch, but I wanted to let everyone know that we are always looking for people to write reviews over at MadPenguin.org. MadAdmin usually writes them, but it's almost to the point that he has more reviews to write than the time to do so. We have some contact info with companies, and apart from looking over the review to be sure there isn't anything in there that would create a conflict of interest with our site, you can write what you want. Just pop over and let us know...
5 • Font Size (by Lee at 2003-10-06 19:23:30 GMT)
I love Distrowatch, i check it more than once a day, and monday has become one of my favorite days thanks to the weeklys, but the recent font change has made the site very difficult to read, the font used to be a little small, but i never had a problem, now the font is soo big that i need to zoom in as much as possible, and then i have to change back for other websites, I have no knowledge on web development and/or fonts so i'm not sure of a solution, but i'll tell you what i'm in favor of a change.
6 • Font Size (by Jochem Kossen at 2003-10-06 20:52:20 GMT)
Thanks for removing the font sizes ladislav...much better this way. Keep up the good work! :-)
7 • Alternate stylesheets (by Kobold on 2003-10-06 22:13:11 GMT)
If the fonts are too big, check your browser settings. From what I just checked in Moz and Opera, the default text size is 16 points, which tends to be higher then comfortable reading threshold. Of course, it's not DW that is supposed to be blamed - the problem is that authors of your browser decided that 16 points is appropriate size for regular text. It can be easily fixed by dropping normal text size to 12 points or so (and setting minimum font size to 10 or 8 to make sure that those xx-small letters won't degenerate into six messy pixels).
8 • Writing Reviews :-P (by LPH at 2003-10-07 00:13:37 GMT)
I wish anyone luck who wants to write a review. It is hard work and takes dedication to check and recheck facts. Best of luck.
9 • Font size (by Lee on 2003-10-07 00:29:59 GMT)
wow that was easy,I was using Firebird and the default font size as you said was 16, way too large, i fixed it and the site looks great.thanks, Kobold.
10 • Opera version updates (by Kobold on 2003-10-07 01:44:37 GMT)
A small thing I just noticed - you list Opera as being updated to 7.21. However, there is no 7.21 release. The files in ftp://ftp.opera.com/pub/opera/linux/721/final/ are considered to be 7.21 RC1: http://my.opera.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=33170 . It's released only when an announcement on opera.com appears.
11 • RE: Opera version updates (by ladislav at 2003-10-07 03:33:20 GMT)
It's released only when an announcement on opera.com appears.
You are right, of course. Just ignore the listing here and wait for the official announcement.
12 • Writing reviews (by Benjamin Vander Jagt at 2003-10-07 06:40:43 GMT)
"I wish anyone luck who wants to write a review. It is hard work and takes dedication to check and recheck facts. Best of luck." - Not all that much tedious work, thanks to Ladislav! :-D
13 • Font size (by Honaby at 2003-10-07 06:54:46 GMT)
Ever since I discovered DistroWatch I can never stop visiting this site. I'm a M$ Windows user but is struggling to move in to Linux. This site is most helpfull to me and the new font size is helping me read it better! But the small font size works for me too. Anyway, as most of you said already, it's just a browser adjustment.
14 • distributions that have changed their names (by Anonymous on 2003-10-08 04:39:25 GMT)
Corel Linux is now Xandros Linux due the the sale of the Linux assets by Corel to another corporation.
15 • re:ladislav (by Kobold on 2003-10-08 08:21:34 GMT)
The problem is that Distrowatch calls it a "release", while it is not - it is RC, and it can be pulled if a showstopepr bug is found. And this is exactly what happened - the buggy RC1 was replaced with RC2. Meanwhile, some people have downloaded the buggy RC1 because someone called it a "release" (I don't blame you, there are a lot of other sites that made the same error). I do understand that checking version of every program is hard and takes lots of time, but may I please ask you to be a little more careful in future?
Other then that, it's all nifty. Thanks for great site!
16 • re:ladislav (by Kobold) (by Vm. at 2003-10-08 09:57:16 GMT)
I think the checking is done automatically by bash scripts. I remember reading that somewhere on this site.
17 • Font Sizes (by L. Andrew Somerville at 2003-10-08 12:52:49 GMT)
I like big font. But that's just me. My website is in big font. If you like big font too, maybe we should start a collective.
Maybe I should start a big fint chat forum on Atlantica.
18 • Re: Opera 7.21 (by ladislav at 2003-10-08 13:19:14 GMT)
I don't see what the problem is. This site is here to inform you about new distribution (and package) releases and if a package is up on the FTP server and available for download, we 'll report it. Simple as that. This is how things have been here for a long time and I see no reason to change them. If you don't like this policy, nothing prevents you from waiting for the official announcement. We certainly won't force anybody to download and use an unannounced product, but we _will_ report about its availability.
19 • Big Font Chat Forum Is Up (by Andrew at 2003-10-08 13:28:54 GMT)
Go to: http://chat.andrewonline.ca and click on big font chat.
20 • DistroWatch THIRD in Google :-) (by Leo on 2003-10-08 16:27:49 GMT)
A search for "linux distributions" gets DistroWatch in the 3rd place. In singular form, "linux distribution", DW gets listed in 4th place. Very impressing, this speaks about the popularity of DW, good work Ladislav !
21 • Re: ladislav (by Kobold on 2003-10-10 05:20:48 GMT)
The problem is that the file on FTP is a Release Candidate snapshot, that usually does have last-moment regressions. It is not "we made the package and now someone has to write the announcement". It's "we uploaded a Release Candidate, tell us if it breaks your computer or eats your cat". That was the official position of Opera Software for a lot of time already.
The RCs are getting replaced with newer builds that have some bugs fixed (and maybe even introduced). For example, 7.21 for Windows is currently at RC4, and Linux one got pulled completely because of some showstopper bug. If you list packages with that grade of stability as "releases", some of your readers could possibly get burnt. This is the problem with your current treatment of Opera packages. Of course, I do understand your position and won't take any more of your time is you don't agree with me.
22 • Re: Opera 7.21 (by ladislav at 2003-10-11 02:41:23 GMT)
>i>The problem is that the file on FTP is a Release Candidate snapshot
Forgive me, but we are talking about a version of Opera which was uploaded to the "7.21/final" directory on the Opera FTP server. In fact, I downloaded it myself and this is what the "About" dialog reports:
Version 7.21 Final
If this was indeed a release candidate (as you claim) instead of a final version, then they sure tried hard to hide the fact.
As for users getting burnt, I believe that those people who are scared of playing with fire have already settled on using Woody or something equally well-tested. But those of us who choose to install something more recent are always in danger of installing a package with a critical bug or two. How many times it happened that a "final" release was pulled and replace with another one within 24 hours? It even happened with the Kernel:
That's just a way things are and that's another reason why we are here - enjoying the excitement of new software releases and new distributions to play with. Not so?
23 • re: ladislav (by Kobold on 2003-10-11 07:40:42 GMT)
YOu are correct, Opera guys don't bother changing that data in about box. As do, for example, OpenOffice guys (my old beta of 1.1 used to say just 1.1). Unfortunately, not many developers actually care about what the about box says :(
If you want confirmation of that version being an RC, look here: http://my.opera.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=33170 . An Opera developer clearly states that the RC is uploaded and it would be promoted to release if everything is fine, even though the directory is labeled "final".
I don't mean that DW should avoid publishing links to packages that appear without announcement. I just ask for clearly labeling Rcs as Rcs and releases as releases.
24 • Fonts again (by ladislav at 2003-10-11 10:06:21 GMT)
I am afraid to report that the font experiment turned out to be a disaster. Those who used to complain about the font sizes being too small were happy after all font-size specifications were removed from CSS files, but as you can see above, a new, fonts-are-too-large group of complainants quickly replaced them.
I looked at other web sites using UTF-8 encoding to see how they solve the problem. MandrakeClub.com goes around the font issue by specifying the font size at 12 pixels. I did the same here, so everybody who hasn't overridden the font size in their browser preferences should get the same font size - 12 pixels high.
Please let me know how thing look now. This is yet another experiment on the road to a perfect, flawless and bug-free web site full of useful information and no reasons for any complaints what so ever :-)
25 • Happy Camper (by John Lowell on 2003-10-11 17:46:37 GMT)
From this guy's perspective, the fonts are now just fine!
I'd been in the group of "the-fonts-are-too-large" complainers. And yes, my resolution is 800X600. If it is of any more help, I am currently viewing DistroWatch from Arch Linux using Firebird with Lucida fonts and a minimum setting of 12.
I'm pleased things are resolved.
26 • Maybe Not So Happy A Camper (by John Lowell on 2003-10-11 18:24:19 GMT)
Hello Again, Ladislav,
A closer look at the home page discloses one problem which continues to dog the site's appearance, even with the new font arrangement. The text on the right side of the main page encroaches onto the area set aside for listing the 100 distros vertically. This problem was considerably more pronounced earlier but has as yet to be resolved it would seem.
I was too quick to conclude that everything is fine.
27 • Opera and Font Size (by Honaby at 2003-10-12 13:37:23 GMT)
I think Ladislav is has the right to post Opera as "Release" because it is clearly marked as "Final" not "RC". If Kobold has a problem, I think he should direct it to the Opera Developers. Anyways, did Kobold encountered a problem when he downloaded and installed Opera 7.1 when he saw it here in Distrowatch?
Re: Fonts, I like it as it is! Not too small, and not too big!
More power to Distrowatch! By the way, can we start a "SUSE LINUX on ISO Initiative!" hehehe... for me, SUSE is the best! (I tried, RedHat, Mandrake, Yoper, Slackware, Debian, Knoppix, Lycoris, and Gentoo... already) SUSE seems to be the best alternative to Windows without limiting the power of Linux! (This is just a comment! hehehe!)
28 • Font Change (by pr0c on 2003-10-13 00:56:00 GMT)
Number of Comments: 28
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|• Issue 548 (2014-03-03): Review of Mageia 4, FreeBSD console driver, filtering web content, Pitivi fundraiser|
|• Issue 547 (2014-02-24): Chakra 2014.02, Ubuntu privacy, preventing unwanted remote logins|
|• Issue 546 (2014-02-17): Review of PC-BSD 10.0, Red Flag closure, Ubuntu and systemd, SlackE18, Fedora book review|
|• Issue 545 (2014-02-10): Impressions of FreeBSD 10.0, Debian votes systemd, Ubuntu file manager, server security|
|• Issue 544 (2014-02-03): Netrunner 13.12, openSUSE future, Ubuntu Touch in emulator, running commands in multiple places|
|• Issue 543 (2014-01-27): Review of Korora 20, FreeBSD 10.0, DNF, ZFS rescue CD, Bridge Linux interview|
|• Issue 542 (2014-01-20): QupZilla, Ubuntu with MATE, Arch on Raspberry Pi, best applications|
|• Issue 541 (2014-01-13): openSUSE 13.1 and Zentyal 3.3, CentOS joins Red Hat, Bodhi on Chromebooks|
|• Issue 540 (2014-01-06): SMS 2.0.6 and SME Server 8.0, Hawaii desktop, PHR statistics 2013, more on multi-part archives|
|• Full list of all issues|