| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 1, 9 June 2003
|Welcome to DistroWatch Weekly
Last week, DistroWatch.com completed its second year in existence. In the beginning, this site was nothing more than a single-page table comparing basic characteristics and most important packages included in 10 popular Linux distributions. Many people found the page a useful reference and suggestions for improvements soon started coming in. Two years later, with 10,000 unique visitors each day and 100GB of file transfer every month, DistroWatch truly is a popular Linux distribution news and reference site. A big THANKS to all of you who have loaded the pages and took the time to write in with suggestions.
We have a useful news and reference site, but where to go next? Up until now, and with the exception of several reviews, DistroWatch has been a factual site, presenting little besides figures, tables, statistics and comparison charts. Perhaps one thing missing from the menu was some sort of an opinion column, a discussion about recent issues and happenings in the Linux distribution world. This is how the idea to publish DistroWatch Weekly came about.
How will the column be structured? The section you are reading now will either comment about a recent event or focus on a particular distribution we find worth mentioning. The next section, called Released Last Week will re-cap all distribution releases over the past week. In the Expected This Week section, we'll try to alert users on any upcoming releases that might appear within a week or so. This is a miss-and-hit thing as a released-when-ready philosophy is a dominant form of coding for most non-commercial and even many commercial Linux projects. The Web Site News will highlight any web site changes, including new features, new distributions added to the database and anything that could go to a web site changelog. Finally, the Reader Feedback section will answer some of the questions brought up by visitors over the past week.
DistroWatch Weekly will also have an area for reader comments. It will be experimental at first, to see how things go. While it is impossible to expect completely flame-free and sucks/rulez-free comments when the topic of discussion is "Linux distributions", please try your best to use common sense when posting. There is a reason why there are over 300 Linux distributions out there. There are people who spend enormous amount of their time coding something they strongly believe in and provide the rest of us with hours of great entertainment once the product is released. If the result sucks, give those developers feedback by providing suggestions and reporting bugs. If it rulez, explain the reasons. There are no guidelines for posting, but all comments that intend to insult, are irrelevant or provide no value, will be deleted.
|Released Last Week
Lorma Linux v.3. The effect of v.3 release took the developers of this Red Hat-based distribution by surprise as many people swarmed the main FTP server in order to download the ISO image. Luckily, new mirrors appeared swiftly so if you have been unsuccessful in getting Lorma Linux, visit the download page again. Why would a new distribution attract so much attention? It seems that the Lorma Linux developers have successfully addressed issues that some users of Red Hat consider as drawbacks - they've eliminated the bloat, replaced Gnome with KDE as the default desktop, included multimedia applications together with the DVD decoding library (one of the great advantages of developing a Linux distribution outside of US) and recompiled all packages for the i686 architecture. We have yet to see any reviews, but Lorma Linux seems like an excellent effort at a distribution designed for home use.
Trustix Secure Linux 2.0 Beta 3. The third beta of Trustix 2.0 still includes many package version updates, which is a good indication that more betas/release candidates will follow. Linux distributions with security as their primary feature tend to have very long development cycles and Trustix is no exception. Don't expect the final release of Trustix 2.0 very soon.
Knoppix 3.2-2003-06-06. Late Friday in Europe saw another Knoppix update with the usual range of package version upgrades, improved hardware detection database and other minor new features.
|Expected This Week
Two popular Linux firewalls should release new development versions of their products. ClarkConnect Broadband Getaway will announce the first beta of the upcoming 2.0 release - based on Red Hat 9, this promises to be a major upgrade. The release has been delayed several times, so expect a long development cycle. In the meantime, SmoothWall has announced an imminent release of the fifth beta of SmoothWall 2.0, code name "Orient". No other details are available at this stage.
|Web Site News
Two new distributions have been added to this site's database last week. One of them was Lorma Linux, a Red Hat-based Linux distribution developed by a small group of Linux enthusiasts at Lorma Colleges in San Fernando City in the Philippines. The other one is LinuxConsole, a Debian-based Live CD from France, developed with a primary objective to satisfy gamers and multimedia users.The total number of distribution on this site's database has risen to 148, of which 17 have been either discontinued or inactive for more than 2 years.
As usual, several new distributions were submitted for inclusion. These have all been queued up and if you haven't seen the long queue, it is available here (as part of the "About" page). It lists 31 new distributions, which are currently on a 3-month waiting list. New in this week's queue: EduLinux, Quantian and Sentry Firewall CD.
Last week has seen the return of Mandrake Linux back to the top of the Page Hit Ranking statistics. This will no doubt cheer up many readers who have written in with complaints and disbelief over Yoper's prolonged stay at number one. Yes, Yoper is not even close to being a widely used distribution, it is probably not the best distribution either. But the Page Hit Ranking simply counts how many times a distribution-specific page on DistroWatch has been visited and Yoper's page count has been very high over the last few months -- and no, it wasn't due to somebody's cheating or manipulating the counter. It was due to a combination of Yoper's clever advertising and catchy press releases that attracted visitors' attention. If anything, it shows that people are still hungry for new products and new distributions.
This being the first issue of DistroWatch Weekly, we don't have any reader feedback just yet, but maybe we could give you some background about DistroWatch and its team. I did say "we", but up until fairly recently, the entire web site was developed and maintained by myself. Things have become more of a team work after several regular contributors have offered help. I have to mention Robert Storey, who is in fact a professional writer of travel guide books and mad about everything Linux. More of his excellent reviews will follow soon. Also many thanks to Andrew Balsa who contributed the recent Mandrake 9 development series of reviews.|
The site has also become more internationalised with several volunteer translators joining the team. There are too many to list them all, but my special thanks go to Ossama Khayat in Kuwait and Zhu Wen Tao in China, who have made the most effort to bring Arabic and Chinese readership to this site and offer content in their native languages. Knowing that even people in countries where English is not widely spoken can benefit from the information here is perhaps the greatest satisfaction coming out from maintaining DistroWatch. (On a related note, if there is somebody who can offer help with translation of a few common terms into Korean, please email me - I'd really appreciate your help).
Finally, a few past reader comments -- to keep in line with this section's title:
"Just a little mail to tell you how impressed I'm about your site. This is such of a HUGE work, I don't know how you're doing to handle all that by yourself and so perfectly! It's so complete and accurate! It's the only web site I visit everyday and I advice it to all the people asking me a good web site about Linux. Keep the good work :-)" (Nicolas Heinen)
"This site is extremely well done and has obviously been very well thought out, executed, and maintained. It looks like maximum effort went into making this page easy to use and easy to understand. The information presented has saved me an enormous amount of time and effort, and made it very easy for me to select the Linux system I want. Thank you so very much for providing such a great service." (Catalina Ramos)
Unfortunately, we cannot satisfy everybody:
"DistroWatch is a site that is esthetically bad. I don't like it." (a poster on linux-egypt.org forum)
Until next week,
1 • keep up the good work (author: Mahmut Sedat Erogul, email/web site: email@example.com, date & time: 2003-06-09 12:56:15 GMT) |
Distrowatch is the main source for me about new distributios, and new versions of distributions. I visit it at least twice a day for learning whats new in distributions; and news about evaluations of distributions. Thanks for your efforts; keep up the good work :)
2 • Applications (author: Anonymous, email/web site: not supplied, date & time: 2003-06-09 01:11:06 GMT)
As I visite this site (also) to keep up with the newest released major application versions, how about including applications into the "Released last week"/"Expected this week" sections (the latter of course being more interesting :-)?
Also does already any result exist which new applications will be tracked in future?
3 • Esthetic web site... (author: Yusuf Miroglu, email/web site: firstname.lastname@example.org, date & time: 2003-06-09 13:39:39 GMT)
Distrowatch is the best web site with great content. No need to worry about esthetic! Thanks distrowatch!
4 • RE: Applications (author: ladislav, email/web site: http://www.distrowatch.com, date & time: 2003-06-09 13:45:38 GMT)
There are several excellent specialist package tracking sites (Freshmeat, Icewalkers...), so I think that we should keep DistroWatch for monitoring distributions and leave package monitoring to other sites. As for the annual package revision - I've received about 150 requests to include in the tables. Most of them won't make it, I am afraid. I haven't finalised the list, but those packages that received more than one vote will more than likely get in: vsftpd, apt4rmp, blender, scribus, imapd, zlib, cinelera, libogg, libvorbis, netbeans, eclipse, tomcat and a few others - I am still going to look at them in more detail before making the final decision.
5 • Thanks (author: Brian Wallace, email/web site: email@example.com, date & time: 2003-06-09 14:17:16 GMT)
For over a year I have eagerly anticipated each new article, ditribution really. This is my favorite web site - linux and-or-not.
Keep up the great work.
6 • Congratulations on a job well done! (author: Quan, email/web site: not supplied, date & time: 2003-06-09 14:21:15 GMT)
I visit the site practically daily to check for new releases. You are right about one thing: I am one of those people who are curious not just about the new release, but also the introduction of new distributions. These new distro not only shows creativity but make it very clear that there isn't a single distro that meets everyone's expectation.
Thanks for all your hard work to make this site an enjoyable visit.
7 • Serious Linux Journalism :-) (author: Leo, email/web site: not supplied, date & time: 2003-06-09 15:24:00 GMT)
What I love about DistroWatch is that it is a serious attempt at comparing Linux distributions. Ladislav has his own opinions, but he does a great job at putting his opinions apart from the selection of information. This is a rare quality in Linux on-line journalism (except for the LinuxJournal and a few other exceptions). Keep it going. And thanks a lot !
8 • Give Ladi an applause! (author: Maurice, email/web site: not supplied, date & time: 2003-06-09 16:08:47 GMT)
Distrowatch is the only Linux website I look through every day!
9 • Site (author: Madcrutch, email/web site: not supplied, date & time: 2003-06-09 16:36:58 GMT)
I have recommended your site to anyone and everyone interested in linux. I check it daily for new distros.
Maybe you could create a separate frame for news links. Keep up the good work.
10 • Two Suggestions (author: Paul, email/web site: not supplied, date & time: 2003-06-09 20:18:08 GMT)
Okay, so one I may get trolled for but that is why I love forums. First, you could have an "in the news" section that shows everything about Linux, and really OSS in general, being in the news, like SCO stuff.
Secondly, since there is only 3 BSD ops, it would be nice if they were added. More importantly, FreeBSD. I think it would be nice to compare those. In truth, it runs linux software better then some of the distros on here.
Well, I love the site and keep up the good work.
11 • Bravo Zulu (author: justaguynsrq, email/web site: firstname.lastname@example.org, date & time: 2003-06-10 02:29:04 GMT)
Great site, Zero complaints. Your hard work and committment is greatly appreciated. Need I say more?
12 • BSD (author: Nathaniel McCallum, email/web site: http://www.natemccallum.com, date & time: 2003-06-10 02:51:12 GMT)
I also echo the request for a BSD section! They are a valuable part of the open source community.
13 • Good luck (author: LPH, email/web site: email@example.com, date & time: 2003-06-10 03:32:13 GMT)
Good luck with this new section. Keep up the good work and thanks for all of your support.
14 • Excellent site (author: Andrew, email/web site: firstname.lastname@example.org, date & time: 2003-06-10 05:41:25 GMT)
Let me take this opportunity to say this is a great site I visit almost every day, and it has been of great use to me. Where else could I find all these little distros all under one roof? I like the idea of DistroWatch weekly, too. But I would vote against including general news, BSD stuff and the like. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against BSD - it's great. But as for DistroWatch, remember: "Do one thing and do it well", this is the Unix way :) I would be more interested in reviews of some of these less known distros. For example, this new Lorma. What's it like? How would it compare to, say, JAMD Linux? These are the types of articles I'd love to see, perhaps in the weekly column.
Keep up the good work - much appreciated (yes, I did become a member)
15 • your new forums (author: shanon, email/web site: www.irvinehosting.net, date & time: 2003-06-10 05:47:01 GMT)
Congrats ladislav, I like the new reader comment area. Remember when I requested this feature earlier this year? Glad you decided to try it anyway!
This site is ready to take off. I would suggest offering this reader comment area for every news item. I would love to read about what people think of knoppix and all the new releases out there.
Build it and they will come. Good job!
16 • RE: BSD (author: ladislav, email/web site: http://www.distrowatch.com, date & time: 2003-06-10 05:49:41 GMT)
OK, here is the deal, guys: If I get 5 new people to join Timesavers http://www.distrowatch.com/timesavers.php before the next edition of DistroWatch Weekly is out (next Monday), I'll include FreeBSD, NetBSD and OpenBSD straight away. Adding new pages, extracting package version numbers and monitoring releases takes time and effort - I am sure your realise that. Same with new packages - it's easy to write and say "could you include this packages, I really need it". But consider how much effort it takes to check 150 distributions, some of which have had 10 or more releases to get to the package versions. It's only fair that I get paid for the work. I think.
Any takers? It only costs US$17.50 to join Timesavers and you'll get plenty of other benefits (as soon as the new features are implemented).
17 • Sco / Linux / Distrowatch (author: Ghost S.A., email/web site: email@example.com, date & time: 2003-06-10 08:32:03 GMT)
Sco must stop their claims and let the big "Linux" loose.
It is about to change the why computing is being done.
Distrowatch keep up the good work. With a site like this you and us (All Linux users) will make Linux a household name and OS of choice.
Linux to rule , Wind*ws to fall.
18 • Package tracking (by Nitroushhh at 2003-06-10 13:38:24 GMT)
I'm sure its a discusion that has no end but hopefully it wont fill up this comment list.
I saw that mplayer wasn't listed in the possible additions to the package tracking list.
Personally I've had much more success with mplayer than xine and its also the default player in SuSE so I think it would be worth tracking. Especially as both players have not yet reached 1.0 and an often mentioned negative for Linux is poor media support.
And can i make a suggestion: For areas of Linux news/information out of the scope of distrowatch could you provide links. Say for Freshmeat as you mentioned above.
for info i have no link with mplayer or freshmeat and I'm still very interested in Xine.
19 • RE: Package tracking (by ladislav at 2003-06-10 14:20:30 GMT)
I saw that mplayer wasn't listed in the possible additions to the package tracking list.
That's because mplayer is already tracked and has been so for over a year - see the packages page at http://www.distrowatch.com/packages.php.
20 • Doh !!! (by Nitroushhh at 2003-06-10 16:31:37 GMT)
How did i miss that ???
I must be working too hard.
21 • THANKS (by Brian Plummer on 2003-06-11 02:27:18 GMT)
Thanks so much for making a quality website!!!!!!!!! I visit the site every couple of days to stay on top of the latest releases and really enjoy the wide range of coverage. I am really thankfull that this site has almost become a definitive list of linux distros. Whenever i'm bored i look through the list and try and find an interesting distro to try out. Thank You!!!
I am a big fan of the livecd and mini section. Thank you for catering to these two crowds.
Whatever new features you add to the site be sure to keep them simple and don't wander away from what you do best!!!!!!!!!!!!!
An opinion column would be a nice addition and offer some insight behind the different distros. Please be sure to differentiate in a clear and obvious way between the opinion columns and news columns:-) I'm sure you will though:-)
p.s. I think that the layout of the site is very logical and quite pleaseing to the eye!!! You've done a marvelous job all the way around!!!!!!!
Thanks again for the wonderfull site!!!!!!
22 • mplayer (by Visitor on 2003-06-11 07:25:54 GMT)
posted by Nitroushhh
[QUOTE]I saw that mplayer wasn't listed in the possible additions to the package tracking list.[/QUOTE]
havn't mplayer gone final...
...and stopped in development... i think so..
23 • mplayer (by Nitroushhh on 2003-06-11 10:37:17 GMT)
I think this is getting a bit detailed and off subject but...
The mplayer website has changes in cvs area of the download page. Some just a few days old so things would appear to be moving forward still.
24 • Comentarios desde Chile (by Jaime Carvajal at 2003-06-11 13:43:25 GMT)
Hace un poco más de un año, alguien me habló de ésta página y me he convertido en un adicto.
Gracias a ella descubrí el enorme y rico mundo detrás de GNU/Linux y me asombré con la gran cantidad de proyectos existente y, al fin, logré salir de RH y MDK.
La website es fácil, concentrada en el contenido, y no te entretiene con "monerías". Valor agregado es que puedes monitorear el desarrollo de las distros y extraer valiosa información para presentaciones y exposiciones.
Como feedback, podría señalarse el acceso a Distrowatch Weekly en el home.
Genial la idea de concentrar la semana en ésta sección.
Cuenten con mi apoyo.
25 • Great Site (by Winston Lake at 2003-06-11 19:42:19 GMT)
I just wanted to take a moment to tell you what a great job you're doing here. This is the ONLY site needed to keep up to date on the various distros!!
You've got my subscription, KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK!!
26 • BSD (by Paul on 2003-06-12 20:13:53 GMT)
Only 2 more people are needed to get BSD rollin
"won't somebody think of the children!"
Number of Comments: 26
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