| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 8, 28 July 2003
The birth of the Red Hat Project
The releases of Red Hat's new beta versions last week were overshadowed by the upcoming changes at Red Hat, notably the creation of a more community oriented distribution and withdrawal from retail sales. While clear policies and guidelines have yet to be specified, there is little doubt that this is a good move, a win-win situation for both parties - the Red Hat developers on one hand and the company's customers and users on the other.
The developers on Red Hat's payroll will be able to concentrate on the more lucrative Red Hat's offerings - the development and support of the enterprise class products, as well as custom solutions for companies. Let's face it, the twice-a-year release schedule of an extremely popular operating system does put a strain on those responsible for quality control, so giving part of this responsibility to the user community makes a lot of sense. The users should also benefit by seeing the often requested features, which until now were hitting the stubborn wall of Red Hat, Inc and the company's interests. In fact, LinuxCompatible.org reports that an RPM front-end called yum (Yellow dog Updater, Modified) has been spotted in the latest Rawhide, the Red Hat's development branch, and it will more than likely be part of the next beta release. Red Hat's reluctance to include and support any dependency resolving installation utility meant that users had to install one of the third-party applications (yum, apt4rpm) to avoid dependency nightmares often associated with installation of binary packages on a Linux system. Similarly, the out-of-the-box multimedia support on any recent Red Hat release was less than satisfactory and this is another area which could change in the near future.
Gone from the shelves?
Red Hat's withdrawal from retail sales means that those bright red (and white) boxes will no longer occupy shelves of software stores. Is this a trend? Mandrake's recent history suggests that the French company is also less than enthusiastic about getting their boxes out to retailers, relying instead on the MandrakeClub and online sales for most income. Other consumer-friendly distributions such as Xandros, Lycoris and Lindows don't seem particularly keen to use the traditional brick-and-mortar way of selling their products either. This leaves SuSE as the only distribution relentlessly pursuing this route. It will be interesting to see whether this will continue in the future, especially since SuSE has been increasingly successful in getting large enterprise accounts. Surely, these high-profile, large-volume deployments will have to take precedence over high-cost and low-profit options generated by sales of retail boxes. On the other hand, being the only brand left on the shelves could be a strong motivator to continue producing them. What do you think?
|Released Last Week
LinuxInstall.org 1.4, a single CD, Red Hat-based distribution for novice users was released: "Here is a list of major changes from last release: First of all, release number has been changed back to 1.x to respect other distro cycles; Mozilla 1.4 RPM packages have been re-compiled to make sure they are fully compatible with existing plugins; as a new plugin family, QuickTime Movies can now be played in Mozilla with the help of MPlayer; Evolution 1.4.3 RPM packages are included; OpenOffice.org 1.1RC RPM package comes with custom design Gnome Office Menu icons for easy launching; Scribus 1.0 RPM package, which is a desktop publishing software, is included..." LinuxInstall.org 1.4 can be ordered from here (US$5 - 10).
Arch Linux 0.5
The Arch Linux 0.5, code name "Nova" was released: "Over the last seven months we've added a million package updates, PAM support, LVM support, GRUB support, and a ton of other little things that you may not notice, but are working behind the scenes to make your Arch Linux experience as smooth as possible. We've provided two ISO images with this release: the full-size image contains all official packages and the base-only image contains only base packages needed to get your system up and running." A review of Arch Linux 0.5 is in the works and this will be preceded by an interview with Judd Vinet, the creator of Arch Linux later this week. If you still have any questions you'd like to ask Judd, please mention them in the discussion forum.
Damn Small Linux 0.4.1
The developers Damn Small Linux, which is full CD-based distribution on a business card size CD, released version 0.4.1: "Now in 0.4.1 there is the choice of two X servers -- Xvesa and Xfbdev. Xfbdev uses the framebuffer provided by the Linux framebuffer device. That means it may be a much better choice for older laptops. In fact I have a couple of old laptops (Pentium I) that were completely incompatible with Xvesa but worked very well with the framebuffer server. The key is to use a FB that your laptop can support -- this has to be selected at boot time. In the case of these two Pentium Is fb800x600 did the trick. (If your hardware supports it, Xvesa is still preferred because it is more flexible and faster.) Also new for 0.4.1 is the emelFM file manager. I liked worker a lot, but emelFM is simpler and has practically no learning curve. Also, emelFM is smaller than Worker, and I needed the room!"
Not one, but three releases of Knoppix 3.2 appeared last week, the most recent is version 3.2-2003-07-06. See the changelog for information on what's new.
- Red Hat Linux 9.0.93, code name "Severn" - the first beta of the next stable version of Red Hat Linux, which will be known as "Cambridge" (version number has yet to be decided).
- Red Hat Enterprise Linux 2.9.5AS (Advanced Server), code name "Taroon", see the release notes.
- Red Hat Enterprise Linux 2.9.5WS (Workstation), code name "Taroon", see the release notes. Both enterprise class products come on 3 CDs of which the second and third CDs are identical. Download from mirrors.
- Mandrake Linux 9.2 Beta 1 "has arrived to offer you the opportunity of an entertaining summer bug squashing". See the beta information page for details.
- ClarkConnect Broadband Gateway 2.0rc2. The beta page provides the full changelog.
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Gentoo Linux 1.4 for PowerPC
The PowerPC edition of Gentoo Linux 1.4 is now available for pre-order: "Our new Gentoo store is now accepting pre-orders for Gentoo Linux 1.4 for PowerPC, PowerPC G3, PowerPC G4, and the KDE/GNOME PowerPC LiveCD, which now contains both desktop environments on one CD. Thanks to the Gentoo PowerPC team for their excellent work!"
Lorma Linux roadmap
The developers of Lorma Linux, a Red Hat-based, i686-optimised Linux distribution, have produced a road map and expected feature lists for their upcoming releases of both desktop and server editions. Version 4 is expected before the end of this year and version 5 about one year later.
|Web Site News
Five new distributions, three of which are live CDs, were added to the DistroWatch database last week:
New on the waiting list
- FIRE, formerly known as DMZS-Biatchux, is a portable bootable CD-based distribution with the goal of providing an immediate environment to perform forensic analysis, incident response, data recovery, virus scanning and vulnerability assessment.
- Onebase Linux is a new source distribution with a web-based interface for software installation. Although still in early development and a little rough around the edges, it promises to be user-friendly and powerful.
- Phayoune Linux is a Thai Linux distribution based on Linux From Scratch. Available editions include Desktop, Secure Server, Secure Firewall and Live CD editions.
- RPM Live Linux CD is a 120MB RedHat-based distribution that runs completely from CD, fits into around 80MB of RAM and is nearly indistinguishable from a system installed on a hard disk.
- Slackware Live CD is a 200MB Slackware-based live Linux distribution on CD. It features many add-ons, including scripts to create your own live CD.
Another bumper week of new submissions - six new distributions were added to waiting list:
DistroWatch database summary
- Dux Linux - the web site lacks information about the project, although Dux Linux 0.1beta is now available for download.
- Flonix - a French derivative of Knoppix.
- Kinneret - an Israeli Linux distribution for schools, fully localised.
- OpenSlackware GnuLinux - a Romanian Slackware-based distribution with security as its primary goal.
- Penguin Sleuth Bootable CD - a CD-based distribution with tools for data forensics.
- SPB Linux Bootable CD - a mini distribution running from a USB memory stick.
- Number of distributions in the database: 161
- Number of discontinued distributions: 21
- Number of distributions on the waiting list: 53
On DistroWatch icons, logos and banners
One more logo was submitted last week - time to make a decision?
- "I have created a banner, not sure where i should send it in to, I'll give you a link, tell me what you think."
All opinions are welcome.
That's all for this week, keep well and see you next Monday,
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
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