| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 5, 7 July 2003
The Year of Linux
The year 2003 is turning to be something that many people predicted before - The Year of Linux. While our favourite operating system has been taking over the server rooms for some time, it is only now that it is beginning to make huge inroads into personal computing. Europe seems to be leading the way with several regional and local governments in various countries moving their public administration infrastructure to desktop Linux and many schools are replacing proprietary software with free one. It is ironic that all this is happening despite (or perhaps because of) SCO's current onslaught against Linux. The Economist has put things nicely in a recent issue of their magazine - if an obscure company in Utah decides to sue IBM for 3 billion dollars over Linux, it only shows one thing: how big an important Linux has become.
Will Debian survive the rise of Linux? Such was the title of a lengthy article in linmagau.org, Australia's online Linux magazine. The author expressed a worry that one day, when Linux is a lot more ubiquitous, Debian GNU/Linux will no longer be around. Unlikely as this scenario sounds now, none of us knows how the rise of Linux will impact on the volunteer and non-commercial Linux projects. Debian is a base that supplies the code and infrastructure to many other projects and even commercial companies. Can you imagine that one day there is no Knoppix, Xandros, Lindows.com, Libranet and a dozen of other Debian-based distributions?
Speaking about Lindows, the story of the last weekly edition regarding LindowsOS 4.0 did not go down well with many LindowsOS fans. While I don't believe that the story covering the release of LindowsOS 4.0 was overly negative, a few critical remarks in it were taken as a sure sign that the author is nothing but a massively biased anti-Lindows zealot. Admittedly, that was the case during the times when Lindows.com was long on promises and short on delivery, but as I've argued elsewhere, the times have changed. LindowsOS is a real product and, if the Lindows.com user forums are anything to go by, there are many happy and satisfied users who have successfully made the switch. If Lindows.com has finally delivered on those promises and has built a distribution that brings the power of Linux to non-geeks, then they deserve our respect.
That was another way of saying that you are going to see a LindowsOS 4.0 review on this site. Yes, I know - it will be reviewed to death by many other publications in the next month or two and most of you are probably not interested in it anyway. That's fine, just don't read it. But I want to make it clear that this site is not only for geeks and operating system junkies, but also for those who use their computers to accomplish tasks. If LindowsOS 4.0 is a good product, you deserve to hear it from a site that monitors the development of Linux distributions. If it isn't, then don't accuse us from being anti-Lindows, but try to see how the product can be improved. All distributions are striving to be perfect, but that's an elusive goal that cannot possibly be reached.
As for the Arch Linux review, you'll get that too. There is still no word on when Arch 0.5 will be out, but if things go right, it will hopefully coincide with the completion of the LindowsOS review. Why Arch Linux? Because it's the year 2003 and if you are still using an operating system where upgrades are done by inserting a CD and rebooting your system, then you are using a wrong OS. Even if the upgrade succeeds (which is by no means certain), you still have to go through the upgrade anxiety and take your computer off-line for the upgrade. With source-based distribution, you only ever install once. With binary distributions, the picture is grim and unless you are a Debian user and want to keep your OS up-to-date, you have little choice besides going through the scary upgrade procedure every time your distributor releases a new version. This can't be right. If Debian can do it -- and as will be revealed in the upcoming review, Arch Linux can do it as well -- why not the rest? If you know the answer, please share it in the forums below.
|Released Last Week
Trustix Secure Linux
It was a quiet week as far as new distribution releases are concerned and the only big news was the release of Trustix Secure Linux 2.0. Trustix is one of the more mature distributions around; the first release of the Norway-based company was announced in March 2000. However, it has been nearly 2 years since the company's last stable release, version 1.5. Trustix 2.0 is fairly cutting edge for a distribution with a security focus and the release was quickly followed by a long list of bug and security fixes. Be sure to apply them if you have Trustix 2.0 installed in a production environment.
SmoothWall 2.0-beta5 and Ark Linux 1.0-alpha8.1 (followed by a 1.0-alpha8.2 bug fix release two days later) were released last week. A word of warning for those who are interested in trying out the latest Ark - users report that the installation program does not allow for custom partition selection and the only two options for installing Ark Linux are "System Install" (takes over the entire hard drive) and "Express Install" (installs in available free space). This is a known issue with the installer, which is still under heavy development.
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
What's up with Yoper? Andreas Girardet, the Yoper developer, has posted some information about future plans for Yoper and its transformation from a commercial distribution into a community project: "I have been offered a position in the Linux Project Team for IBM in New Zealand last week and have started to work on various Yoper unrelated projects. Yoper is as such second priority. To continue this project I need users like yourself and people with technical skills to make it grow further. Since Yoper as a commercial entity is put on hold for the moment I have to ask you all how you want Your Operating System to continue from here." Version 2 of Yoper is planned to be released within the next 6 - 9 months, it will be purely community-based and available for free download immediately after release. Find more information here.
Momonga Linux celebrated its first anniversary last week. The project was created by former developers of Kondara Linux, a popular Japanese distribution, which was discontinued in July 2002. The announcement contains a development roadmap with a beta release planned for September and final release one month later. See Momonga's press release for further information.
Definity Linux has announced an imminent release of version 2.0, which has been in beta testing for the last two months. Definity Linux is a Brazilian commercial distribution based on Slackware; Definity's web site and its changelog (both in Portuguese) provide more information about the product.
|Web Site News
Three new distributions have been added to the database last week.
New on the waiting List
- Adamantix (formerly known as "Trusted Debian") is a Debian-based extension of the stable Debian branch, providing security-conscious users with tools such as PaX for preventing buffer overflow exploits and RSBAC for creating access control rules, among other features.
- Happy MacLinux is a Japanese distribution for PPC and m68k processors. It is based on another Japanese distribution called Holon Linux.
- TrX Live Firewall is a Turkish project created by Gürkan Sengün. TrX produces a Debian GNU/Linux-based desktop router and firewall package. This package is bootable directly from CD-ROM, so hard disk installation is not necessary. TrX is designed to work completely off the CD-ROM, with configuration data stored on a floppy disk, hard disk partition or, in future versions, on a USB storage device.
If you've ever worried that you'll run out of new distributions to play with, never fear - this week has brought in a flood of new ones, all of which have been added to the waiting list. Here they come, in alphabetical order:
DistroWatch database summary
- Aurora SPARC Linux. The SPARC devotees have so far been neglected by DistroWatch, but this is about to change.
- Burapha Linux. A free Linux distribution based on Slackware. The Burapha Linux project is developed at the Burapha Linux Lab at Burapha University in Thailand. It isn't a new distribution, but has not been submitted before.
- Knoppix STD. This is a customised distribution of the Knoppix Live Linux CD with security tools.
- LGIS GNU/Linux. A new Mexican distribution by LG Internet Solutions, based on Red Hat 9 with Ximian desktop as its default desktop environment.
- Momonga Linux. This is a Japanese RPM distribution started by former developers of Kondara Linux; see also the note in the "Upcoming Releases" section above.
- NBROK ZIP-drive-Linux. If you have an unused 100 or 250 MB ZIP-drive around, here is your chance to do something with it! Give your ZIP-drive a new goal, use it to run Linux! No hard disk required!
- Oralux. An audio GNU/Linux distribution for visually impaired persons, based on Knoppix.
- Panthera GNU/Linux is a new Linux distribution and that's all we know about it.
- Zeus Linux. A new Slackware-based distribution from Greece; version 1.0 is due for release shortly.
Number of distributions in the database: 154
Number of discontinued distributions: 19
Number of distributions on the waiting list: 41
Yes, the Timesavers are being worked on. The Timesavers programme was introduced to get the fans and frequent visitors of DistroWatch support this site in exchange for extra benefits. These include custom comparisons, searches, up-to-date mirror lists and other features, which are still being developed. However, in its unfinished state, the idea has yet to prove itself - only 140 people have signed up for it since its launch in January this year.
- "Mostly because of DWW I decided it was time to sign up for timesavers and support a worthwhile resource. But I see you haven't had anything new to say about it since April. Is it still a going concern?"
As a result, I have been forced to concentrate some of my efforts on other income generating activities, such as building up an advertising clientele and writing for third-party publications. I am pleased to report that this effort has paid off and several satisfied advertisers now provide much of the financial support for running DistroWatch.
This means that I can turn my attention to Timesavers. The most often requested feature is a custom comparison table listing up to 10 distributions side-by-side for easy comparison. The highest priority at the moment is to update the package list and include all the new packages (this will kill a few days), but as soon as that is done, I will get to creating the custom comparison page -- and that's a promise. The price of admission to Timesavers is US$17.50, which is a one-off payment for unlimited access to all areas of DistroWatch, including all new features. The information on this site will of course remain free for all, but those of you who are willing to support it, will get a few extra features, which hopefully save you time and money in the long run. Read about the Timesavers in more detail here.
On DistroWatch icons
Anybody out there with logo design talent? As you can see, my "creativity" last week came under some criticism and I need your help. If you can design an original logo, banner or any artwork for DistroWatch, please send them in; I'd really appreciate your work. Authors of the best efforts will be rewarded with free access to Timesavers.
- "It seems the new icon is not as beautiful as the previous one." "Hate the new Watch logo, tho. Keep trying."
On font sizes
A possible explanation is that unlike most other web sites, DistroWatch uses Unicode (UTF-8) encoding for all text on the site. This is to make it more accessible to audience using non-Latin alphabets by providing navigation menus in their native languages. In your Mozilla preferences dialog, navigate to Appearance/Fonts, then select "Unicode" from the "Fonts for" drop-down box. This is where you
should set a minimum font size and adjust other font properties. Most other browsers provide similar options for adjusting font sizes.
- "My version of Mozilla (1.3) set at the default Text Zoom size [100% (Original Size)] renders DistroWatch main body text at an unusually small font size (I would venture 8-pt). I
rarely come across sites that display text so small, whatever the organiation's intention."
That's all for this week, see you next Monday,
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(Tips this week: 0, value: US$0.00)
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 718 (2017-06-26): Debian 9, support for older hardware, Debian updates live media, Ubuntu's new networking tool, openSUSE gains MP3 support|
|• Issue 717 (2017-06-19): SharkLinux, combining commands in the shell, Debian 9 flavours released, OpenBSD improving kernel security, UBports releases first OTA update|
|• Issue 716 (2017-06-12): Slackel 7.0, Ubuntu working with GNOME on HiDPI, openSUSE 42.3 using rolling development model, exploring kernel blobs|
|• Issue 715 (2017-06-05): Devuan 1.0.0, answering questions on systemd, Linux Mint plans 18.2 beta, Yunit/Unity 8 ported to Debian|
|• Issue 714 (2017-05-29): Void, enabling Wake-on-LAN, Solus packages KDE, Debian 9 release date, Ubuntu automated bug reports|
|• Issue 713 (2017-05-22): ROSA Fresh R9, Fedora's new networking features, FreeBSD's Quarterly Report, UBports opens app store, Parsix to shut down, SELinux overview|
|• Issue 712 (2017-05-15): NixOS 17.03, Alpha Litebook running elementary OS, Canonical considers going public, Solus improves Bluetooth support|
|• Issue 711 (2017-05-08): 4MLinux 21.0, checking file system fragmentation, new Mint and Haiku features, pfSense roadmap, OpenBSD offers first syspatch updates|
|• Issue 710 (2017-05-01): TrueOS 2017-02-22, Debian ported to RISC-V, Halium to unify mobile GNU/Linux, Anbox runs Android apps on GNU/Linux, using ZFS on the root file system|
|• Issue 709 (2017-04-24): Ubuntu 17.04, Korora testing new software manager, Ubuntu migrates to Wayland, running Nix package manager on alternative distributions|
|• Issue 708 (2017-04-17): Maui Linux 17.03, Snaps run on Fedora, Void adopts Flatpak, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, Debian elects Project Leader|
|• Issue 707 (2017-04-10): PCLinuxOS 2017.03, Canonical stops Unity development, OpenBSD on a Raspberry Pi, setting up a VPN for privacy|
|• Issue 706 (2017-04-03): Super Grub2 Disk, Snap packages of deepin applications, Subgraph OS routes network traffic for one application, announcements from Linux Mint|
|• Issue 705 (2017-03-27): Minimal Linux Live, sharing control of the operating system, new KaOS features, Uplos32 provides 32-bit fork of PCLinuxOS|
|• Issue 704 (2017-03-20): ToarusOS 1.0.4, Linux Mint's security record, Debian starts Project Leader election, Ubuntu 12.04 reaches end-of-life|
|• Issue 703 (2017-03-13): SolydXK 201701, CloudReady, Solus announces new features, KDE Connect sends text messages from desktop, openSUSE's YaST module for Let's Encrypt|
|• Issue 702 (2017-03-06): Fatdog64 Linux, elementary OS bundled with new netbook, Haiku announces new features, security and the size of a distro's development team|
|• Issue 701 (2017-02-27): OBRevenge 2017.02, Mageia 6 delays, NetBSD reproducible builds, questions about swap space, trying to steam video on a Raspberry Pi|
|• Issue 700 (2017-02-20): RaspBSD, Debian replaces Icedove with Thunderbird, Fedora's licensing guidlines, tips for switching shells, finding battery charge, getting IP address and killing processes|
|• Issue 699 (2017-02-13): Clear Linux, GhostBSD network utility ported to FreeBSD, Ubuntu coming to Fairphone, elementary OS crowd funding an app store|
|• Issue 698 (2017-02-06): Solus 2017.01.01, comparing containers with portable applicatins, Tails dropping 32-bit support, Debian Stretch enters freeze|
|• Issue 697 (2017-01-30): Subgraph OS 2016.12.30, running Ubuntu on an Android phone, Arch Linux phasing out 32-bit support, Linux Mint testing updated LMDE media|
|• Issue 696 (2017-01-23): GoboLinux 016, remotely running desktop applications, Solus adopting Flatpak, KDE neon using Calamares, TrueOS tests OpenRC|
|• Issue 695 (2017-01-16): Zorin OS 12, Peppermint team fixes installer bug, Debian refreshes Jessie media, Ubuntu improves low graphics mode, Exciting things coming in 2017|
|• Issue 694 (2017-01-09): MX Linux 16, Fedora considers systemd security features, DragonFly BSD to support massive swap space, Ubuntu Touch roadmap, Puppy's newsletter, sudo's password prompt|
|• Issue 693 (2017-01-02): Comparing small distros, fig language, video driver comparsion, Debian+PIXEL, Wayland on FreeBSD|
|• Issue 692 (2016-12-19): Bodhi Linux 4.0.0, Cappsule containers, Calculate's new Utilities package, Solus and Ubuntu MATE build new application menu|
|• Issue 691 (2016-12-12): SalentOS 1.0, openSUSE improves YaST, Fedora considers slower release cycle, KDE neon gets LTS branch|
|• Issue 690 (2016-12-05): Fedora 25, Ubuntu adopts rolling HWE kernel, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, Haiku working toward EFI support|
|• Issue 689 (2016-11-28): openSUSE 42.2, Fedora's upgrade path, plans for Korora 25, transitioning from PC-BSD to TrueOS, Webconverger's reproducible builds|
|• Issue 688 (2016-11-21): Endless OS 3.0.5, KDE neon fixes security hole, FreeBSD's Quarterly Status Report, Rolling release trial #2 concludes|
|• Issue 687 (2016-11-14): NAS4Free 10.3.0.3, Fedora gains MP3 playback, budgie-remix becomes Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu flavours compared, Rolling release trial #2|
|• Issue 686 (2016-11-07): FreeBSD 11.0, rolling release trial #2, Debian announces supported architectures, Simplicity switching to antiX base, farewell to Mythbuntu|
|• Issue 685 (2016-10-31): elementary OS 0.4, SUSE gains ARM support, Mint improves language support, Dirty COW explained, Rolling release trial #2|
|• Issue 684 (2016-10-24): Ubuntu 16.10, Linux popularity in different markets, Fedora runs on Raspberry Pi, Ubuntu features live kernel patching|
|• Issue 683 (2016-10-17): Refracta 8.0, making packages for distributions, Alpine switches to LibreSSL, 386BSD website publishes classic code|
|• Issue 682 (2016-10-10): KDE neon 20160915, Android-x86 6.0, Fedora warns of update bug, HandyLinux drops English translation, LXQt benchmarks|
|• Issue 681 (2016-10-03): OpenBSD 6.0, DragonFly BSD to support LibreSSL in ports, systemd denial of service bug, upgraded Mintbox Mini|
|• Issue 680 (2016-09-26): Uruk GNU/Linux 1.0, blocking applications at the firewall, Lenovo controversy, Ubuntu running on the Nextcloud Box|
|• Issue 679 (2016-09-19): OpenMandriva 3.0, 32-bit vs 64-bit performance, openSUSE updates, KaOS unveils first run wizard|
|• Issue 678 (2016-09-12): Apricity 07.2016, Mageia adopts DNF, KDE neon to use Wayland, FreeBSD updates Linux compatibility, creating cron jobs|
|• Issue 677 (2016-09-05): Peppermint OS 7, Manjaro updates leadership, TrueOS becomes rolling release, organizing files, creating torrents|
|• Issue 676 (2016-08-29): Korora 24, Fedora 25 to use Wayland by default, Linux turns 25, PC-BSD becomes TrueOS, finding software licensing information|
|• Issue 675 (2016-08-22): Gentoo LiveDVD "Choice Edition", moreutils, Ubuntu improves terminal convergence, MATE packaged for Openindiana, FreeBSD improves video support|
|• Issue 674 (2016-08-15): Zenwalk Linux 8.0, Ubuntu phone follow-up, Lubuntu transitioning to LXQt, Steam running on FreeBSD|
|• Issue 673 (2016-08-03): noop linux and EasyNAS, Debian's GnuPG switch, Fedora "Flock", using "nice"|
|• Issue 672 (2016-08-01): Ubuntu Phone 15.04, Solus embraces rolling release model, interview with Jane Silber, FreeBSD Quarterly Report|
|• Issue 671 (2016-07-25): Slackware 14.2, Point Linux 3.2, OpenBSD disables usermount, KaOS releases significant changes, Fedora 22 reaches end of life.|
|• Issue 670 (2016-07-18): Linux Lite 3.0, Bodhi team plans 4.0.0, pfSense changes licensing, running software across distributions, Linux Mint upgrade path|
|• Issue 669 (2016-07-11): Linux Mint 18, proving a system is secure, LibreSSL in FreeBSD, Ubuntu plans phasing out 32-bit, pfSense status report|
|• Issue 668 (2016-07-04): Fedora 24, Linux Mint plans for 18.1, FreeBSD and DragonFly BSD improve their file systems, comparing Flatpak, Snap and AppImage|
|• Issue 667 (2016-06-27): GeckoLinux 421, Fedora supports Flatpak, Solus unveils new features, running GNU/Linux on tablets|
|• Full list of all issues|