| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 71, 18 October 2004
Welcome to this year's 41st edition of DistroWatch Weekly. This issue talks about the Anaconda installer, features the Devil-Linux live firewall and looks forward to the release of FreeBSD 5.3, hopefully next week. Enjoy!
Is Anaconda becoming the "standard installer"?
Those of you regularly installing new Linux distributions have probably noticed how prevalent the Anaconda installer has become in the recent year or so. Originally developed by Red Hat, Anaconda is, of course, the natural choice for all distributions derived from Red Hat Enterprise Linux or Fedora Core, but ever since Progeny's successful port of the Anaconda code to Debian, several Debian-based distributions have also turned to Anaconda as their preferred installer. This is true about Progeny Debian, LIIS Linux, and several others. We have also seen some other (non-Fedora and non-Debian) projects utilising the Anaconda code for their purposes as well - it recently became the standard installer of the Gentoo-based Vidalinux Desktop OS and also in the independently developed Specifix Linux."
Why is Anaconda becoming so popular? While it is true that Anaconda is a logical and easy-to-follow installer, it is one of the very few that lacks an essential function - partition resizing. This is now a common feature in just about any other graphical installation program in the industry - Mandrakelinux and SUSE have had it for ages, even introducing resizing of NTFS partitions as soon as the code behind it was stable. There are some other installers that are impressive in their combination of simplicity and power - we especially like the installer created by Xandros (although, disappointingly, it is not released under the GPL) and also "Mongoose" by Turbolinux.
What are your thoughts? Do you think Anaconda deserves its current position as the leading installer for Linux distributions? And if you regularly install distributions, do you have a favourite installation program that you would recommend to others? Please discuss below.
* * * * *
Last week, the users and fans of Mandrakelinux had a chance to witness an interesting dialog with the top management of the company. François Bancilhon, the Mandrakesoft CEO, published an official reply to the recent online petition calling for improvements in quality control at Mandrakesoft. Although the response was interesting enough, it was even more intriguing to read the reaction of some of the readers replying to the CEO's letter. Here are some excerpts:
"Well, if the CEO really did write that response, I have more faith in Mandrake's long term survival. That was a technically savvy, well balanced response."
"You probably don't hear this enough, but I think Mandrake is great... I've literally spent years trying to find a Linux distro which would work *properly* with all my hardware, and give me the easy package installation/upgrade options I was looking for, all while working pretty much as it's supposed to. Thanks to Mandrake 10.0, my laptop is now 100% Windows-free."
"I wasn't aware of the petition but appreciate that it provoked François Bancilhon's clear and reasonable explanation of the rationale behind Mandrake's product cycles and its Community and Official Releases."
As this exchange shows, open and honest communication by a top company representative can go a long way in restoring faith in the company and in retaining appreciative customers. It makes for a sharp contrast compared to the way many companies developing proprietary software communicate with their users. As we all know, in that "other software" world, more often than not the only interaction between the company and users takes place through activation codes or other similar "honesty check" control mechanisms.
* * * * *
Although we have witnessed a dramatic rise in the popularity of MEPIS Linux over the last year or so, up until now we knew little about the founder and lead developer behind the highly successful project. This is about to change. Warren Woodford was recently interviewed by the Planète Linux magazine in France about the past, present and future of MEPIS Linux: "The name MEPIS is the result of a misunderstanding. A friend, Milad Doueihi, and I were planning to start a software company in Paris in 2000. Over the phone, we discussed possible names. I misunderstood in one conversation and thought Milad had suggested "mepis." When I googled the name, it was not being used for anything and it was not even a word in any major, and on the ear it sounded a bit French. So I registered the name and Milad agreed we should call our company MEPIS, SA. But then, Milad's financial backer had problems due to the recession and we did not get funding. I was very disappointed because I looked forward to living in Paris and even had found an apartment one block from Saint Sulpice. Also if that had happened, MEPIS Linux would be a Paris based project." You can find the English translation of the interview here.
* * * * *
Finally, if you ever needed to explain to your boss why you were browsing the Playboy web site during working hours, now you can have a legitimate reason: you were looking to download Linux and BSD software. That's because -- as reported by OSDir.com -- a Playboy web server is being used as a mirror for a number of open source projects, including the CPAN archives, FreeBSD, Fedora Core, Apache and mod_ssl. Here is the proof and the reason, as explained by Tim: "Howdy! I'm the guy at Playboy that put this online for the masses. We couldn't do a lot of what we do without open source software, and the development efforts that go into constantly improving what's out there. This is the end result of a pet project to make it easy for me to reach out and snag software I use on a daily basis and also say thanks and help spread the joy. :-)"
Have a great week!
|Featured distribution of the week: Devil-Linux
One of the pleasures of running a site like DistroWatch is in enormous variety of ideas that lead to building a Linux or BSD-based operating system. Devil-Linux is a perfect example of such an idea. Its creator, Heiko Zuerker (originally from Germany, but now living and working in the United States), needed a firewall that would run on an old computer without a hard disk and with only 32MB of RAM, and would be resistant to common vulnerabilities, such as the rootkit exploit. That's when he came up with an idea to build a "live" firewall on a bootable CD. Since a potential attacker would not be able to write to the CD itself, it goes without saying that the file system behind the firewall would never be compromised. Even if an attacker succeeded in breaking into the operating system, a simple reboot would restore the firewall to its original condition.
The development of Devil-Linux started in 2002, but new features were continuously added with every new release. It is now possible to store user settings on a floppy disk or a USB pen drive. With the Devil-Linux build system, users can customise their Devil-Linux CD by easily adding and removing applications from the default image, or add other desired features. Most binary packages on the CD are now compiled with the GCC Stack Smashing Protector to guard against buffer overflows and corruption of pointers. Additionally, the Linux kernel is patched with GRSecurity, which ads chroot restrictions, address space modification protection, and auditing and randomisation features to further protect against known exploits.
Although Devil-Linux is primarily designed to be used as a firewall or router, it also comes with a range of commonly used server applications, including a proxy server (Squid), DNS Server (BIND), Mail Server with TLS support and spam and virus filtering (Postfix), HTTP Server (Apache 2), FTP Server (vsftpd), and other applications.
Devil-Linux is released under the GPL and freely available from the project's web site and mirrors. For further information, please visit devil-linux.org and consult its product features page.
Configuring the Devil-Linux live firewall
(Screenshot courtesy of devil-linux.org, more screenshots are available here)
|Released Last Week
A new version of LinEspa, a Spanish Debian-based Linux live CD, has been released. Unlike the previous version based around Knoppix and the KDE desktop, LinEspa 0.20 was built on top of a minimal Debian Sarge system and kept light with the inclusion of XFce, rather than KDE as the distribution's preferred desktop environment. Some of the more interesting applications shipping with LinEspa 0.20 include AMSN 0.93, aMule 2.0.0 rc5, GIMP 2.0, Mozilla Firefox 0.9.3, Mozilla Thunderbird 0.7.3, Gaim 0.82.1, XMMS 1.2.10, MPlayer 1.0, XFce 4, Xffm 4 (with Samba). Here is the release announcement (in Spanish).
Linux para todos: Spain's LinEspa 0.20 with XFce desktop.
(full image size 109kB)
StartCom 3.0.3 MultiMedia Edition
StartCom Linux is a new Linux distribution based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, with various specialist editions, such as Advanced Server (AS), Developer Edition (DL) and MultiMedia Edition (ML). A new MultiMedia Edition, code name "Mishteh", was released today: "Based on the stability, reliability and security of its bigger Enterprise Server brother, StartCom released today its third Linux distribution - StartCom MultiMedia Edition. Featuring mostly modern desktop oriented software for the home user, this release is the direct result of a market research madewith teenagers, and promises fun and entertainment from the first hour on." Read the full press release.
Hancom Linux 4.0
The long delayed Hancom Linux 4.0 is finally released. The distribution comes in two editions - the Professional edition will be available from 30 October directly from Hancom's online store for 55,000 won (approximately US$68), and the Download edition, available now. The main components of Hancom Linux consist of Linux kernel 2.6.6, "Koreanised" KDE 3.2.3, Firefox web browser, MPlayer multimedia player, and a number of popular server applications. Additionally, the Professional edition comes with Hancom Office 3.0, as well as an online update service. Read the press release and visit Hancom's product page (both links in Korean) for further information.
Litrix Linux 2.0
Litrix Linux is a Brazilian live CD based on Slackware Linux. The following is from the just release Litrix Linux 2.0 release announcement (in Portuguese): "Litrix 2.0 is now available. New features and packages include Linux kernel 2.6.7, KDE 3.3.0, Java, Eclipse, NVIDIA drivers, slackpkg, etc. Litrix 2.0 is based on Slackware Linux 10.0, with the addition of KDE 3.3.0, and automatic hardware configuration." The distribution's boot options and user interface are in Brazilian Portuguese only.
This is a new release of INSERT - Inside Security RescueToolkit. From the changelog: "v1.2.16: the kernel with modules was updated to 2.4.27, along with the additional WLAN modules from Knoppix 3.6 and ndiswrapper - this brings much better support for wireless connections; added packages: lrzsz, dpcast, openvpn(!), cfdisk-utf8; replaced wmapm with wmacpi; updated packages: dvd+rw-tools, hdparm, jfsutils, (x)nmap, p0f, parted, rkhunter, smbmount, wavemon, xfsprogs; bugfix: the automatic network configuration was somewhatbroken - especially regarding wireless adapters, this should be fixed now; bugfix: memtest (boot option) works again; the virus database for clamav was updated to the latest version."
SAM Mini Live Linux 1.0
The first stable version of SAM Mini Live Linux, a Mandrakelinux-based live CD with XFce, is now available: "SAM 1.0 (final) is ready! There are small and big changes: now it is X.org-based (6.8.1), if you enable the composite extensions you can have your panel transparent and have very nice shadows of the windows. SAM 1.0 includes the new XFce 4.2 BETA release, straight from CVS. Also there is now a small section for developers with Scite, VIM-minimal, Tiny C and Lua. I am very proud to have the Skype telephony tool in SAM. Now you can make your Skype calls from anyhere!" The announcement and changelog. Note: the release was later withdrawn due to newly discovered bugs.
To celebrate the 10th birthday of the Italian Linux Society, the knopILS project has released a new version of the Knoppix-based live CD. Changes compared to 0.6: synchronised with Knoppix 3.7; removed non-essential packages; added User Mode Linux and a simple HOWTO describing how to create a small "live" LAN; added uml-utilities;added kdebluetooth; modified the boot splash script; included a new wallpaper commemorating the 10th birthday of the Italian Linux Society. For more information and changelog, please visit the distribution's web site (in Italian).
Kurumin Linux 3.3
Kurumin Linux 3.3 has been released. The main change is the update of KDE to version 3.3.0 with many usability enhancements and bug fixes. Users running an earlier version of Kurumin Linux can update to the latest version by following the instructions in Kurumin Tips #1. Also, various improvements to "Magic icons" and scripts for installing additional applications have been implemented. There is a new developers's forum to share ideas, contributions and bug fixes. In the meantime, work has already started on the next version which will see Kurumin Linux migrating to kernel 2.6. Further details are available inthe release announcement and changelog (all links in Portuguese).
Kurumin Linux 3.3 - the first release using KDE 3.3
(full image size 853kB)
A brand new Devil-Linux is out. This is from the announcement about the release of the popular live firewall (runs directly from a bootable CD), version 1.2: "I'm proud to announce v1.2 of Devil-Linux. The changes include kernel 2.4.27, many program updates, printing support, 32MB systems are supported again, Apache HTTP server, PHP, and many many other changes." Read the announcement and changelog for a more complete list of changes and package updates.
This is an updated release of KANOTIX 2004-09. It features some new add-ons like KaxTV (with DVB support), WPA client (wpasupplicant), and a further improved hard disk installer (now even live update is possible with kanotix-installer-latest-web), besides the usual driver updates like FreeNX 0.2.5, IPW2100 0.56, IPW2200 0.12and Ndiswrapper 0.11. Powernowd is now activated for Athlon XP Mobile (besides Pentium M and Athlon 64) at boot-up. The kernel was changed again to support PCTVSat (Tecalsat 0.5e as additional GUI is there too). The full announcement with detailed specifications and downloadlinks can be found here.
Development and unannounced releases
- Fedora Core 3 Test3, the release notes (i386)
- LinuxTLE 5.5.91, the release announcement (in Thai)
- Ubuntu Linux 4.10-rc, the release announcement
- Mandrakelinux 10.1-beta2 (x86_64), the release notes
- Ubuntu Linux 4.10-preview (Live edition), the announcement
- CCux Linux 0.9.4-alpha, the announcement
- Gnoppix 0.8.1-beta9, the announcement
- FreeSBIE penBSD, the announcement
- Kaella - Knoppix Linux Azur 1.2-beta2, the release notes (in French)
- Buffalo Linux 1.5.0-rc2, the announcement
- LIIS Linux 0.904, the announcement
- YES Linux 2.0.12, the announcement
- Sorcerer 20041012
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Gentoo Linux 2004.3
A new release of Gentoo Linux will soon become a reality: "Watch out for beta versions of the upcoming 2004.3 LiveCDs this week: Both x86 and PPC architectures are on the brink of releasing previews, and will eagerly await bug reports at Gentoo's bugzilla as soon as the test builds hit the mirrors. Comments from testers are highly welcome before marking the respective architectures ready for release." More information in this week's Gentoo Weekly Newsletter.
The stable release of FreeBSD 5.3, originally scheduled for yesterday (Sunday), has slipped by over a week. That's according to the updated release schedule. The first release candidate is expected any time time, while the final release should be officially announced a week from now, on Monday, 25th of October. As always, further delays are not unlikely.
The Gobolinux project has published a roadmap leading towards the next stable release, version 012: "Another version, another roadmap. We took a long time to write this one, which ended up delaying its release time after time after time. I usually like to take this space to write some looking-back review of the development of the project (release milestones are always a good moment for that), but I feel I just can't delay this roadmap any longer. On the bright side, this roadmap was more collaboratively written than any of the previous ones. :)" More details on this page.
|Web Site News
New distribution additions
New on the waiting list
- RAYS Linux. RAYS Linux, developed by Sun Wah Hi-tech (Nanjing) System Software Limited, is the first commercial operating system in China that is based on Debian GNU/Linux and utilises Debian package management tools. RAYS Linux provides users with a simple and stylish user interface by adopting the GNOME desktop environment. A variety of applications in RAYS Linux helps users fulfilling their demands for Linux migration.
- Kate Linux. Kate Linux is a Polish non-commercial and light-weight Linux distribution designed for power users. It is based on Slackware Linux with XFce as the main desktop environment.
DistroWatch database summary
- Number of Linux distributions in the database: 341
- Number of BSD distributions in the database: 9
- Number of discontinued distributions: 40
- Number of distributions on the waiting list: 80
|DistroWatch in the News
We didn't feature much in the news lately, so allow us to devote this space to some of the recent email by our readers:
Thank you all for your kind words and suggestions - it is always a pleasure to serve an appreciative community! As for the search features, this issue comes out on a regular basis so we are well aware of how inadequate the search features on this site are. As always, anybody who knows a scripting language and is willing to lend a hand, is welcome to contribute. Failing that, please be patient, we are continuously improving the site and adding new features, but our time and resources are limited, so miracles won't happen instantly. But rest assured that we are doing our best!
- Speel One: "I'd just like to thank you for DistroWatch.com. I think it's the best Linux distro site out there, I haven't found any other sites like this one. Keep up the good work and rock on!"
- Richard Winkler: "I just wanted to say thank you for your website. I haven't been into Linux very long, but I can say that your site is one of my favorites. I especially like DistroWatch Weekly. Through your site I have found some lesser known distros that I absolutely love. Your site contributes to the Open Source community like no other. Through your site, I have come to realize how dynamic and great Open Source can be. Thank you."
- Nix_user: "I just wanted to drop a line and say that the only reason I look forward to Mondays is because of DistroWatch Weekly."
- Dragon_K: "First of all I'd like to say DistroWatch is the best site about Linux distributions ever! Congratulations! There is one lack of feature though: I was looking for a particular type of distribution, i686-optimized and with powerfull updates support. The way I did it was by taking each distribution and reading its description. What I'd like to suggest now (perhaps I'm not the first) is to create a 'real' search engine for the distributions, a search engine which would be able to search by features."
That's all for today, see you again next Monday!
|• Issue 554 (2014-04-14): Review of FreeNAS, OpenSSL bug, Fedora.next, Robolinux Stealth VM, measuring memory|
|• Issue 553 (2014-04-07): Puppy 5.7 "Slacko", end of Ubuntu One, file encryption with GPG|
|• Issue 552 (2014-03-31): Tanglu 1.0, Ubuntu GNOME LTS, SliTaz for ARM|
|• Issue 551 (2014-03-24): Linux Mint "Debian" 201403, call for end to proprietary firmware, LVM|
|• Issue 550 (2014-03-17): Review of NixOS 13.10, Lubuntu seeking feedback, Android-x86 4.4-rc1 impressions|
|• Issue 549 (2014-03-10): ClearOS 6.5 and UCS 3.2, Gentoo interview, Ubuntu app contest, Into the Core|
|• 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|
|• Issue 539 (2013-12-23): Centrych 12.04.3, Fedora 20 and its spins, dividing archives across multiple discs|
|• Issue 538 (2013-12-16): Mint 16 review, RHEL and CentOS 7 plans, SteamOS, Windows XP replacement suggestions|
|• Issue 537 (2013-12-09): OpenMandriva 2013.0, Gentoo developer interview, project Neon, Linux Mint and security|
|• Issue 536 (2013-12-02): Impressions of openSUSE 13.1, Ubuntu Touch, FreeBSD 10 delay, troubleshooting OS lock-ups|
|• Issue 535 (2013-11-25): GhostBSD 3.5, Debian and MATE, Ubuntu 14.04 features, security updates|
|• Issue 534 (2013-11-18): Review of OpenBSD 5.4, Fedora on ARM, menu names vs command-line names|
|• Issue 533 (2013-11-11): Point Linux 2.2, Pisi update, Debian and Xfce, Bruno Cornec interview|
|• Issue 532 (2013-11-04): Ubuntu and Kubuntu 13.10, Debian's init, FreeBSD's PKG-NG, Linux on ARM|
|• Issue 531 (2013-10-28): PC-BSD 9.2, openSUSE testing, nftables, upgrade pros and cons|
|• Issue 530 (2013-10-21): Kwheezy 1.2, DPL interview, Zenwalk's future, keeping up with vulnerabilities|
|• Issue 529 (2013-10-14): Ubuntu's Mir, dmesg and photorec tips, Tiny Tiny RSS|
|• Issue 528 (2013-10-07): Semplice 5, Haiku package management, Klaus Knopper interview, making custom distro|
|• Issue 527 (2013-09-30): Tiny Core Linux 5.0, SteamOS, moving operating system to new computer|
|• Issue 526 (2013-09-23): Look at ArchBang 2013.09.01, BSD Now, kernel stats, command-line tips|
|• Issue 525 (2013-09-16): The Official Ubuntu Server Book, FreeBSD 10 and OpenBSD 5.4, Skype alternatives|
|• Issue 524 (2013-09-09): Look at LXLE 12.04.3, Ubuntu's new package format, Secure Boot and dual-booting|
|• Issue 523 (2013-09-02): OpenIndiana 151a8, openSUSE "Evergreen", GNOME and DuckDuckGo, running apps from RAM|
|• Issue 522 (2013-08-26): Look at gNewSense 3.0, Ubuntu Edge fundraising failure, exploring GPL|
|• Issue 521 (2013-08-19): Review of Korora 19, Fedora considers return to "Core", Haiku package management|
|• Issue 520 (2013-08-12): Salix OS 14.0.1 "KDE", Xubuntu experiments with XMir, managing passwords with KeePass|
|• Issue 519 (2013-08-05): Review of Porteus 2.0, Kubuntu lays out plans for Wayland adoption, adjusting system swappiness|
|• Issue 518 (2013-07-29): MidnightBSD 0.4, Razor-qt, Ubuntu Edge, mounting infected drives|
|• Issue 517 (2013-07-22): Zorin OS 7 "Lite", Slackware turns 20, UbuntuForums compromise, Raspbian as home server, Tor|
|• Issue 516 (2013-07-15): Review of Fedora 19 "KDE", Shuttleworth on Mir, Seth Vidal, Kingsoft Office for Linux|
|• Issue 515 (2013-07-08): Whonix 0.5.6 and Deepin 12.12, MintBox, processor capabilities, distros for Raspberry Pi|
|• Issue 514 (2013-07-01): Peppermint Four, Mir, Mandriva forks, ThinkPenguin on libre hardware|
|• Issue 513 (2013-06-24): Look at ROSA, PC-BSD updates, Xen4CentOS6, Slacko vs Precise, Mageia interview, shells|
|• Issue 512 (2013-06-17): Trisquel 6.0, RHEL 7 with GNOME Classic, from Linux to FreeBSD, first look at Wayland|
|• Issue 511 (2013-06-10): Mint 15 impressions, GNOME Classic, Ubuntu Community portal, Absolute OpenBSD|
|• Issue 510 (2013-06-03): Impressions of aptosid 2013-01, Wayland comes to Raspberry Pi, maintaining DNS settings|
|• Issue 509 (2013-05-27): Mageia 3, Debian GNU/Hurd, RebeccaBlackOS with Wayland, ports|
|• Issue 508 (2013-05-20): Review of Debian 7.0, interviews with Clement Lefebvre and Gaël Duval, scripting with xdotool|
|• Issue 507 (2013-05-13): Impressions of Calculate Linux, 13.4, Ubuntu's portable packages, mintDrivers|
|• Issue 506 (2013-05-06): Ubuntu and Kubuntu 13.04, Debian "Wheezy", Slackware on systemd, distros for Raspberry Pi|
|• Full list of all issues|