| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 65, 6 September 2004
Welcome to this year's 35th edition of DistroWatch Weekly. If you had trouble reaching us during the past few days, please accept our apologies - the combined effect of a unannounced DNS change by our DNS provider and a power cut caused by Hurricane Frances over the weekend has put the server beyond the reach of many. Everything should be back to normal now.
- Mandrakelinux, Fedora prepare new releases, Apache and Debian reject Sender ID
- Featured distribution of the week: Feather Linux
- Released last week
- Upcoming releases: Vidalinux 1.0, L.A.S 0.6, Rocks Cluster 3.3.0
- Donations: Vidalinux and Fluxbox receive US$200 each
- New distribution additions: CCux Linux, DARKSTAR Linux, ZerahStar, TrianceOS
- New on the waiting list: OpenIDS, Pollix LiveCD, Skippy Linux, ZoneCD
- DistroWatch in the news: a press release by Conectiva
Mandrakelinux, Fedora prepare new releases, Debian rejects Sender ID
The first week of September proved to be no more eventful on the distribution scene than much of July and August - the proverbial calm before the storm? Of the major distributions, Mandrakesoft brought out the first release candidate of Mandrakelinux 10.1 and the announcement indicated that this would probably be the last test before the 10.1 Community Edition is released to Mandrakeclub members. Many readers were happy to see that the Mandrake Control Center has been reverted to its original design with a side menu for easy navigation (see this screenshot, as part of a 142-page slide show by LinuxBeta.com).
Voices of disappointment appeared too, however - this time because Mandrakelinux 10.1 will not include the latest KDE 3.3. The decision here is purely pragmatic - it has turned out that KDE 3.3 is one of the buggiest KDE releases in recent history. Klaus Knopper of Knoppix has decided to stay with KDE 3.2.3 in Knoppix 3.6, because "[KDE3.2.3] is still more stable than 3.3 in Debian", while Slackware's Patrick Volkerding has placed it into /testing, due to "...a few problems I've had with it (like crashes on logout, and no anti-aliased fonts no matter what kpersonalizer settings are chosen). I think it's a good idea to test it for a while and wait for patches (or for kde-3.3.1)." In short, if you haven't upgraded to KDE 3.3.0 yet, you'll save yourself some frustration if you wait for KDE 3.3.1.
On the Fedora front, we should be able to download Fedora Core 3 Test 2 (version 2.91) at about this time next week. In fact, some pre-release builds have already appeared on a public mirror, as per this mailing list announcement: "I've just started uploading the latest 'release candidate' for FC3test2. This is _NOT_ the final FC3test2 tree. If you're interested in helping with testing for the FC3test2 milestone, wait until it finishes uploading." The "release candidate" has been uploaded here and the tree also includes these release notes.
Following the Apache Foundation's rejection of Microsoft's Sender ID Patent License Agreement, the Debian GNU/Linux project has also issued a formal statement explaining their position: "We believe the current license and resulting encumbrances are incompatible with the Debian Free Software Guidelines (DFSG), unlike other Internet standards that Debian is able to support. Therefore, we cannot implement or deploy Sender ID under the current license terms." The full press release is available here.
Discontent is brewing among loyal supporters of Lycoris Desktop/LX due to company's unwillingness to update their users and customers on the progress of its yet-to-be-released Desktop/LX 1.4. The company started taking pre-orders for their brand new product in early June, promising the final release before the end of July. This date was later postponed to 16 August and the release of Desktop/LX 1.4 was formally announced on 18 August. Yet, the product never shipped. The usually good-mannered and loyal supporters of the distribution have turned to the Lycoris Greenhouse to vent their frustration; some claimed to have pre-ordered the product and had their credit cards charged as early as beginning of June. However, the company is still tight-lipped about the status of Desktop/LX 1.4 and about the "real" release date.
A communication break-down? Lycoris would go a long way towards eliminating their users' frustration if the company released an open and honest statement about the status of the product. Is there more to the delay than just a few last-minute bugs? Then tell us about it! Nothing contributes more towards discontent of users and customers than the endless waiting with no information about the reasons behind the delay. This is the world of open source code and open communication should be an integral part of it.
An advertising board spotted in South Africa.
|Featured Distribution of the Week: Feather Linux
Judging by the feedback of visitors and also by the number of page hits on several light-weight distributions, the ability of Linux to be deployed on old hardware is one of its great advantages. Do you have an old laptop stashed away in a cupboard? Take it out, it's time to revive it with one of the small distributions designed specifically for this purpose. One of them is Feather Linux, a distribution that fits on a less than 64MB media, be it a CD or a USB pen drive. As such, it was originally designed to be used as a live CD, but the developers have also created a simple hard disk installation script for those who want to give it a permanent place on their hard disks.
Feather Linux is developed by Robert Sullivan. The project was derived from ideas found in Damn Small Linux, but Feather Linux is slightly larger, contains a different set of applications and has a distinct look and feel. One advantage of Feather Linux over Damn Small Linux is its ability to boot from a 64MB USB pen drive (correction: not true, Damn Small Linux boots from a USB pen drive as well), provided that the computer's BIOS supports it. Failing that, it can be burned to a CD, which is more likely to boot on older computers. With Fluxbox as its chosen desktop environment, the performance of Feather Linux is decent, even on something like a 100MHz Pentium machine.
Feather Linux is based on Knoppix, complete with excellent hardware auto-detection. Like Knoppix, the entire distribution can be loaded into RAM for faster performance and it can be used on computers with no (or faulty) hard disks. The set of included applications is carefully chosen to comply with the distribution's goal to be as light as possible; on Feather Linux one can find Dillo for web browsing, Sylpheed for email,Ted and ABS for word processing and spreadsheat calculations, and other similarly low-resource programs.
Find out more about Feather Linux on the distribution's web site and on our Feather Linux page.
Feather Linux: simple, but elegant, a perfect mini distribution for old computers
(full image size 73kB)
|Released Last Week
Burapha Linux 5.4
A new version of Burapha Linux, a Slackware-based distribution from Thailand, has been released: "Burapha Linux is a distribution of Linux originally derived from Slackware Linux. Burapha Linux has a completely different installation system, and contains additional packages, some Thai language related. Burapha Linux is a product of Burapha University Computer Science Department. This is the 5.4 release of Burapha Linux. Burapha Linux is theoutput of our research on building computer systems for use within the Burapha community and for other Thai people such as like teachers and students in school, computer administrators, network administrators, etc." See the announcement and changelog for details.
Following the recent release of Knoppix 3.6, the developers of clusterKNOPPIX have also updated their openMosix-based live CD. From the changelog: "Sync with latest Knoppix release; openmosix 2.4.27-om-20040808 from tabs patches; openmosix-tools 0.3.6-2; tyd 1.5; added: openswan 2.1.5, ipw2100, drbd, fuse, bcm4400 (Debian package); new feature: option to boot 2.4.27-om-migshm-20040808, type migshm after the boot prompt; new feature: option to boot chaos nodes as PXE clients (chaos kernel upgraded to openmosix 2.4.27-om-20040808 and 2.4.27-om-migshm-20040808)."
Feather Linux 0.5.8
Feather Linux 0.5.8 has been released and here are some excerpts from its changelog: "Replaced udhcpd with dnsmasq; added a script to eject the Feather CD while Feather is running, without loading anything into RAM; updated the Monkey webserver to 0.8.5; fixed an fpkg bug relating to /etc/skel and HD installs; made loading of custom packages quieter; added 'exclude' boot option: simply create a file called exclude.list in the root directory of your CD or USB drive, and inside place the files and directories you wish toexclude, one per line; added script to change the background easily - found in the Tools -> Scripts menu...."
Development and unannounced releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Vidalinux Desktop OS 1.0
If you enjoy Gentoo Linux, but hate its installation routine, you'll be pleased to know that Vidalinux Desktop OS 1.0, with its port of Red Hat's Anaconda to Gentoo, will be released later this month: "We want to announce that on September 30 2004 we will publish the first release of Vidalinux Desktop OS." You can find more details in this list of features. The project has also appealed for financial help; if you think the project is worth a few pennies, pre-order the Vidalinux 1.0 CD from the distribution's online store or give a small donation to reward the developers.
Local Area Security (L.A.S.) Linux 0.6
The developers of Local Area Security (L.A.S.) Linux have published details about their upcoming release, version 0.6: "Just a quick update for everyone in regards to the status of the upcoming 0.6 versions of L.A.S. Linux. We are currently rebuilding the base OS framework to allow for many new features. Along with the 210MB and 185MB versions of L.A.S. Linux. we will also be introducing a larger 400+MB 'Auditor's Desktop' version to round out our offerings." More details here.
Rocks Cluster Distribution 3.3.0
A new beta version of Rocks Cluster Distribution is in the works: "We are planning on releasing a beta of Rocks 3.3.0 in the next few weeks. If there are any bugs (or features) from 3.2.0 that are troubling you please post something on our mailing list and let us know. Thanks." Visit the distribution's home page for further details.
|Web Site News
Donations: Vidalinux and Fluxbox receive US$200 each
Continuing with our programme under which 10% of DistroWatch.com's income from advertising and sale of merchandise is donated to various Free Software projects, the recipient of the July 2004 donation is the Fluxbox project and the recipient of the August 2004 donation is the Vidalinux project. The donations programme is now a joint initiative between DistroWatch.com and LinuxCD.org, which contributed US$100 towards the programme. LinuxCD.org is an online store selling low-cost Linux/BSD CDs - they have the largest selection, inclusive of all the latest releases, and they offer the lowest prices. Next time you need to order your favourite Linux or BSD CDs, get them from LinuxCD.org.
As for Fluxbox, it is an increasingly popular, light-weight desktop environment, excellent for older computers with low amounts of memory. It was originally based on Blackbox, but it has surpassed its parent's popularity. Many of the specialist distributions for older computers now ship Fluxbox as their preferred desktop environments, these include Damn Small Linux, Feather Linux and many others. Find out more about Fluxbox on its project page.
Here is the receipt for US$200:
This email confirms that you have paid Vidalinux.com $200.00 USD using PayPal.
Total Amount: $200.00 USD
Transaction ID: 87885050UA585293N
Item Title: Vidalinux Desktop OS
Vidalinux Desktop OS is a new Gentoo-based distribution that has been climbing rapidly up our page hit ranking - it seems that many people appreciate the developers' efforts to port the Anaconda installer to Gentoo and allow for fast and easy Gentoo installation. The project is scheduled to release its first stable version at the end of this month. Find out more about Vidalinux on the distribution's home page and on this site's Vidalinux page.
Here is the receipt for €160:
This email confirms that you have paid fluxgen at fluxbox.org 160.00 EUR using PayPal.
Total Amount: 160.00 EUR
Transaction ID: 5NJ490573E064293S
Item Title: Fluxbox
And this is the list of projects that received a DistroWatch donation since the launch of the programme:
Readers are welcome and encouraged to nominate a Free Software project for the next donation.
New distribution additions
- CCux Linux. CCux Linux is a free i686 distribution optimised for speed. All packages are built from scratch and not derived from any other distribution. It features a graphical QT/X11 based installation to provide an easy installation procedure even to unexperienced users. CCux Linux is especially designed for desktop use.
- DARKSTAR Linux. DARKSTAR Linux is a Romanian Linux distribution based on Slackware Linux.
- TrianceOS. The TrianceOS operating system is a full-featured, open source, UNIX-like operating system descended from FreeBSD 5. Currently, TrianceOS runs on Intel i386 architectures. TrianceOS is a highly integrated system. In addition to its highly portable, high-performance kernel and derivation from FreeBSD, TrianceOS features a complete set of user utilities, compilers for several languages, the X Window System, kernel firewall software and numerous other tools built especially on top of GUI (Graphical User Interface), all accompanied by full source code. The TrianceOS Packages Collection contains over 175 pre-compiled open source software binary packages and thousands of softwares available around the world.
- ZerahStar Zesktop. ZerahStar Zesktop is a research and development project of ZerahStar, a Singapore-based Linux company. Its goal is to achieve a totally automated computing system that is capable of maintaining and fixing itself without any need for human intervention. Other possible features would include a highly portable and virus-free environment. Zesktop is still a project and concept under development; currently, only a simple, Gentoo-based live desktop CD exists.
New on the waiting list
DistroWatch database summary
- OpenIDS. OpenIDS is a OpenBSD-based operating system with Snort and ACID to demonstrate intrusion detection.
- Pollix LiveCD. Pollix is a live CD with many programming tools (for Java, Python, Perl and Tcl/Tk). Based on Knoppix, Pollix boots from the CD and detects hardware automatically - there is no need for installation. Features: includes many programming tools: J2SE SDK (full with documentation), Jikes, Netbeans, Eclipse, BlueJ, JGrasp, JSwat, Tomcat, JBoss, Boa-Constructor, IDLE, SPE, VisualTcl, SWIG, SciTE, etc, and several Java, Python and Perl libraries; includes XCIN to support Chinese character input; updated software from Debian testing/unstable.
- Skippy Linux. Skippy Linux goal is to become a base for Linux desktop distributions by using a file system structure that is easy for users as well as administrators to understand. The file structure is based on the ideas of LinuxSTEP, MacOS X, as well as NextStep using GNUStep as a desktop.
- ZoneCD. If you are searching for a free free WiFi access solution for your location... you can stop here. Public IP's ZoneCD is freely distributed open source software that has been created to help implement safe, free, WiFi hotspots. The ZoneCD can be used by all levels of free WiFi providers, from experienced programmers to coffee house cashiers. Setting up a free WiFi Hotspot can be as easy as hooking up an access point, popping in a CD and rebooting....
- Number of Linux distributions in the database: 331
- Number of BSD distributions in the database: 8
- Number of discontinued distributions: 35
- Number of distributions on the waiting list: 81
|DistroWatch in the News
A press release by Conectiva
Our last week's "Featured Distribution of the Week (Conectiva Linux) story attracted plenty of attention and feedback in Brazilian Linux media: see BR-LINUX.org, Guia do Hardware, LinuxDicas, Comunidade Conectiva and other web sites, while Conectiva itself published a press release about our coverage:
"This week, Conectiva, a leader of Linux solutions in Latin America, received a compliment from DistroWatch.com for the company's achievements in their nine years of existence, dedicated to the development of Free Software. The site recommends that users try Connectiva Linux 10 and its live CD, mentions some of the prominent personalities of the Linux world formerly employed by Conectiva, and praises the company for releasing all of its software under the GPL."
It looks like we've made some friends in Brazil :-)
And this is where we'll end this issue of DistroWatch Weekly. See you all next week!
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(Tips this week: 0, value: US$0.00)
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|• Full list of all issues|