| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 156, 19 June 2006
Welcome to this year's 25th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! There is a lot to look forward to this week - a brand new release of Xandros Desktop is expected to start shipping on Wednesday, while the first test build of Fedora Core 6 should be available from Fedora mirrors on the same day. In other news: Slackware 11.0 nears its release point, OpenSolaris celebrates its first birthday, and SCO becomes a victim of a strangely believable hoax that excites some of the former users of Caldera OpenLinux. In the "First Looks" section you'll find a round-up of currently available BSD-based live CDs, while in the "Site News" area we present the list of packages that have been selected as new entries into the database of software packages tracked by DistroWatch. Happy reading!
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(The Podcast edition is provided by Shawn Milo.)
Join us at irc.freenode.net #distrowatch
Fedora 6 Test1, Slackware 11.0, OpenSolaris birthday, Dapper sources.list, Caldera hoax|
With the release of the first alpha build of SUSE Linux 10.2 last week, the beginning of a new development cycle for the major Linux distributions is now officially in progress. This week, it's the turn of the Fedora Project which is expected to release Test1 of Fedora Core 6 on Wednesday. Although very little information has been published about the new release, looking through the package list of the Fedora development tree, we can see that parts of GNOME 2.15, a pre-release version of glibc 2.5, and the brand new X.Org 7.1 have all entered the testing branch. The Fedora developers have yet to move to the new kernel 2.6.17, while the KDE is the slightly older 3.5.2, but most other packages are highly up-to-date. Interestingly, a recent beta release of GnuCash 2.0 has now replaced the "behind-the-times" 1.8 series, which suggests that GTK+ 1.x libraries are likely to be removed from the distribution before the final release of Fedora 6. A word of caution: all recent Test1 releases of Fedora Core have been rather buggy and should only be installed by serious beta testers willing to report bugs.
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It shouldn't be too long before the fans of Slackware Linux are greeted with a new release of the world's oldest surviving Linux distribution. According to the latest Slackware Current ChangeLog, Patrick Volkerding believes that the "current" tree is very stable and almost ready for release: "Although there's still quite a bit in the TODO queue here I'm making my steps carefully as -current is very stable, and I think it should ship as a stable 11.0 soon so that we can get back to the business of breaking things in -current. :-)" Despite the major version number change, those who expect Slackware 11.0 to default to kernel 2.6 will be disappointed - the "current" tree still deploys kernel 2.4.32 (compiled with GCC 3.4.6), with kernel 126.96.36.199 stubbornly remaining in the "testing" directory. Among other important packages, glibc is the older 2.3.6, X.Org is version 6.9.0 and PHP 5 is also in the testing directory, but the rest of the system is up-to-date. For more details please check out the above-mentioned changelog and the Slackware page here on DistroWatch. The official Slackware 11.0 DVD is available for pre-order from the distribution's online store (US$59.95).
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The OpenSolaris Project is 1-year old. To celebrate the project's birthday, ZDNet has published an article entitled OpenSolaris one year on: Success or failure?, which looks at the events of the past year: "In June 2005, Sun Microsystems released core elements of its flagship Solaris operating system as open source software, making public more than five million lines of code. The announcement sparked intense interest among developers." The article quotes statistical evidence and several external contributors to indicate a growing developer community and general success of the project. Although released under a special license, OpenSolaris is considered Free Software. During the past year, several OpenSolaris-based distribution were listed on DistroWatch; these include the excellent BeleniX graphical live CD, the non-graphical SchilliX live CD, and the promising Nexenta OS, which is probably the best Solaris-based desktop distribution created to-date. There is little doubt that the availability of OpenSolaris has given us another great, free operating system, which can't be a bad thing. So happy birthday, OpenSolaris! We are glad you've joined the Free Software community!
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Several web sites have published entertaining interviews with major distribution personalities last week. Pro-Linux.de, a German Linux web site, has interviewed Anthony Towns, the current Debian Project Leader (DPL), and Steve McIntyre, one of DPL's deputies, about the current status and future plans of Debian GNU/Linux. In the meantime, the ever so busy Kevin Carmony of Linspire has answered dozens of questions for the Free Software Magazine about the new Freespire distribution. Finally, KDE Dot News has published an interview with Tomáš Matějíček, the founder and lead developer of the popular SLAX live CD. Enjoy!
* * * * *
If you are looking to enhance your Ubuntu and Kubuntu 6.06 Dapper Drake installation with extra packages from external repositories, this web log post is the most comprehensive list of available software for Dapper we've seen. It includes repositories for the Opera browser, Penguin Liberation Front packages, the latest KDE, KOffice and amaroK, up-to-date packages for VLC, Compiz, Skype, Freevo, MythTV and other popular software, as well as a number of unofficial and experimental repositories created by volunteers all over the world. As always, these packages are unsupported and some might even break your system, so proceed with caution. But if you absolutely need a package for your Ubuntu or Kubuntu system, getting it from the repositories listed in the above-mentioned link might be a better option than compiling the required package from source code.
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Development of Tao Linux, a distribution built by re-compiling the source RPM packages for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, has been terminated. As explained by the project's founder David Parsley, a change of employment means that he will no longer have the time to maintain the distribution, which was originally launched with a promise to deliver 5-years' worth of security updates for each new release: "After nearly three years of the Tao Linux project, I'm undergoing an unexpected change in employment that will effectively take away my time for working on Tao Linux." As a result, all Tao Linux users are now encouraged to migrate to CentOS, a community project with similar objectives as Tao Linux. For more information and instructions about how to switch to CentOS please visit the project's web site at TaoLinux.org.
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Finally, a little late for April Fool's, but nevertheless an entertaining hoax announcing that SCO will resume the development of Caldera OpenLinux, a Linux distribution first launched back in 1996. Although Caldera OpenLinux never reached the popularity of Red Hat Linux, it was the first distribution incorporating a graphical installer and its eDesktop 2.4, released in February 2000, was widely considered to be one of the best desktop-oriented and stable Linux operating systems at the time. Unfortunately, after merging with SCO, the company changed its strategy from developing software to pursuing dubious copyright and patent violation claims against IBM and other companies in courts. While SCO still offers a range of UNIX products for sale on its web site, the company's income and share price have dropped considerably in recent years.
Caldera OpenLinux 3.1.1, released in January 2002, was the last distribution version released under the Caldera brand name
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A comparison of BSD live CDs (by Andrei Raevsky)
GNU/Linux live CDs are increasingly playing an important role in the free software community. They serve as advocacy tools, they make it possible for newbies to try out software without having to install anything and they make fantastic rescue disks. While all the best known live CDs are GNU/Linux variants, there are also several *BSD live CDs out there. I decided to give them a test run.
I tested all the BSD live CDs I could get my hand on: FreeSBIE 1.1, FreeBSD LiveCD 1.2, Frenzy 0.3, AnonymOS 2006, OliveBSD 3.8 and NetBSD Live! 1.6 (editor's note: a newer release of NetBSD Live!, version 3.99.7, is available from here). Each distro was tested on two desktops (a home-built AMD Duron 850MHz, 256MB RAM with generic components and a Hewlett-Packard Intel Celeron 500MHz, 256MB RAM) and two laptops (a Dell Inspiron 8200, Intel Pentium 4 1.8GHz and 885MB RAM and a Quantex N30W, Intel Pentium 3 450MHz and 192MB RAM). I pre-tested all my computers for possible problems with a KANOTIX 2005-04 live CD before beginning my evaluations.
First, I wanted to see how these distributions would perform in terms of hardware recognition (in particular video configuration) and smooth installation, ease of use, documentation, speed and overall versatility (capability to dial-up, software choice, etc.). My second goal was to see whether these live CDs would be adequate advocacy tools for free software in general and for *BSD in particular.
FreeSBIE only booted properly on the home-built machine and the Quantex laptop. When it can successfully boot, FreeSBIE offers a great choice of applications on the XFce desktop (Fluxbox is also available), runs rather fast and comes with some good configuration scripts. On the down side, the documentation is minimal and the video configuration is less than stellar.
FreeSBIE 1.2 - the original live CD based on FreeBSD
(full image size: 700kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
FreeBSD LiveCD immediately showed its major drawback: it is wholly CLI which is a show-stopper for the newbie I assumed. On the positive side I noted good hardware recognition and a solid choice of CLI software. On the FreeBSD live CD website it says that "we had even made a Live CD ISO that could run as a desktop environment - with lots of graphical applications. This version was a first one that could even be used as a FreeBSD demonstration disk". Sadly, I was unable to obtain this version.
Frenzy is the only distribution which seamlessly booted up on all my computers. Frenzy is fast, comes with an excellent choice of software including games, word-processing (AbiWord), network and security applications and can be booted in either of two languages: English and Russian (the latter is the default and English speakers have only 5 short seconds during the boot up process to hit the "e" key to select English). Frenzy also features a simple but very good documentation. But the most amazing thing about Frenzy is that it completely fits on a 200MB 3" mini-CD. Developed by on person, Sergei Mozhaisky, Frenzy version 1 should be released in the near future (editor's note: Frenzy 1.0 was released in early June 2006) with, hopefully, a 'toram' cheatcode making it possible to load it completely into the RAM and free the CD drive.
Frenzy 1.0 - a FreeBSD-based live CD with tools for system and network administrators
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AnonymOS is, like FreeBSD Live CD, a specialized distribution whose sole aim is to make surfing private and safe. After an (endless) boot-up process, AnonymOS correctly loaded up on only two out of four computers (the home-built machine and the Dell laptop). While AnonymOS offers some otherwise very interesting software, such as Tor and Privoxy, its highly specialized goal makes it inadequate as distribution aimed at BSD newbies.
AnonymOS - an OpenBSD-based live CD with tools for anonymous web surfing
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OliveBSD was the biggest disappointment of all my tests. It was unable to boot-up on any of my computers: each time it simply froze and only a manual reboot could unlock the machine. After seeing that there are quite a few very happy OliveBSD users on the distribution's discussion group I decided that the problem with OliveBSD was probably simply due to bad luck and that another set of computers might have yielded better results.
OliveBSD - a general-purpose live CD based on OpenBSD
(full image size: 118kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
NetBSD Live! booted on two of my machines, the home-built computer and the Quantex laptop. The choice of software is excellent as NetBSD Live! is the only BSD live CD which comes with the complete KDE desktop suite, something which, I guess, any user would very much appreciate. NetBSD Live! is not the fastest distro I tested (Frenzy won in this category too), but it runs at a decent speed. Another strong point for NetBSD is that it did a great job automatically configuring the video.
NetBSD Live! - the only BSD live CD using the KDE desktop
(full image size: 399kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
My overall impression was that BSD live CDs are not on par (yet) with their GNU/Linux cousins, but that they are catching up fast. The clear winner from my, admittedly unscientific, evaluation was Frenzy, which was the only distribution to perform (almost) flawlessly on all my machines. Although clearly intended as a security/rescue tool for administrators, Frenzy is certainly the distribution which would offer the most to the newbie (including very good documentation).
I hope that the final version of Frenzy 1.0 will iron out some of the remaining issues (such as not quite perfect video configuration) and will offer the 'toram' cheatcode. Considering how solid Frenzy 0.3 has proved to be so far I would also hope that Sergei Mozhaisky would consider developing a less specialized 700MB version of his distro.
One small improvement which, I believe, all these distros could make to help newbies would be to add a simple mount/unmount tool like, for example, what is found in the Damn Small Linux distribution.
|Released Last Week
Ubuntu 6.06 LTS Server SPARC64
A specialist server edition of Ubuntu 6.06 designed for high-end SPARC64 processors has been released: "The Ubuntu team is proud to announce the release of Ubuntu 6.06 LTS server for Sun SPARC 64-bit architecture. Highlights of this release include: new kernels targeted at server platforms, the server kernels are tuned differently than the desktop kernels (providing better performance for server applications); turn-key LAMP installation for this common deployment scenario; improved support for clusters and SANs." Please refer to the release announcement for further information and download links.
GParted LiveCD 0.2.5-1
Patrick Verner has announced the availability of an updated version of GParted LiveCD: "GParted LiveCD 0.2.5-1. I think this might be the best version of the live CD released so far. Many issues have been fixed and I spent some time making it look better. Junel Mujar made a very cool wallpaper for the desktop. Changes: updated to Linux kernel 188.8.131.52, Parted 1.7.1, e2fsprogs 1.39, GTK+ 2.8.19, Fluxbox 1.0rc, udev 094; Added xfce4-panel 184.108.40.206 to Fluxbox, Thunar 0.3.0beta1; rebuilt X.Org to be smaller; the source for the CD is located in /usr/src/." Read the rest of the changelog for further information.
STUX GNU/Linux 0.9
Giacomo Picconi has announced the release of STUX GNU/Linux 0.9, a Slackware-based live and installation CD designed desktop use: "STUX GNU/Linux 0.9 released. Main changes: Linux kernel upgraded to 2.6.12 from KNOPPIX CD 4.0.2; based on Slackware current as at 10 June 2006; added KNOPPIX hardware autodetection; Unionfs: with Unionfs it's now possible to use STUX from Live CD without the read-only limitation; all STUX utilities fully debugged and reviewed; multimedia keyboards now working and configurable; added WINE; installed remastering tools; Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support...." Read the complete changelog on the project's news page.
* * * * *
Development and unannounced releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Xandros Desktop 4
Xandros Corporation has created a pre-orders page for the upcoming Xandros Desktop 4, expected to start shipping later this week. Despite the imminent release, details about the new versions are hard to come by - the Xandros product pages have yet to be updated, while the pre-orders page only lists general features, such as "integrated security suite" and "updated included applications". On a positive side, those readers who pre-order their copy of Xandros Desktop 4 before the release date will qualify for a $5 discount on Xandros hats and T-shirts. See the pre-orders page for full details.
The PC-BSD project has published a release roadmap for the upcoming versions 1.2, 1.3, 1.4 and 1.5, with an outlook towards version 2.0. Among the changes in PC-BSD 1.2, scheduled for release in July 2006, are: "Incorporate DBSD network / user toolset into Control Panel; convert PC-BSD specific tools to Control Panel modules; change default wallpaper / splash screen to something more professional; update KMenu / merge PBI with KDE application categories; set up Windows key to launch K-menu; bind ctrl-alt-delete with KDE System Guard; improve printing support with CUPS." There will be four new releases before the end or 2006, with version 2.0 planned for the first quarter of 2007. For more information please see the PC-BSD roadmap.
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Summary of expected upcoming releases
The annual package database update|
Our call last week for suggestions to add new packages to the list of software tracked on DistroWatch met with surprising apathy, especially given that this time last year we were flooded with requests for new packages. Nevertheless, we evaluated the few comments and emails we received and this is the final list of packages that will be added to distribution tables later this week:
The following packages will be removed from the tables: bin86, bochs, galeon, ipvsadm, licq, webalizer and xcdroast.
Many thanks to all who have made the effort to email us and who posted requests in the forum!
* * * * *
New distributions added to database
- BU Linux. Boston University Linux (or BU Linux for short) is a Fedora-based distribution specifically tailored for the Boston University environments. Among the more interesting enhancements are network installation, Kerberos authentication, tight default security, automatic security updates, apt-get package management front-end, OpenAFS file system, and extra software applications.
* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list
- Sharif Linux. Sharif Linux is a bilingual English/Persian operating system. It is based on GNU/Linux and is customized for the computing requirements of Iran and the Persian language, specially for enterprise-level and educational uses.
- Swecha LiveCD. Swecha LiveCD is a Knoppix-based distribution with support for Telugu, the official language of the state of Andhra Pradesh in India.
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DistroWatch database summary
That's all for today. The next issue of DistroWatch Weekly will be published on Monday, 26 June 2006. See you then :-)
|• Issue 555 (2014-04-21): Robolinux 7.4.2, Ubuntu release day stats, Debian security, Porteus update|
|• 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|