| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 9, 4 August 2003
The innocent looking article on linmagau.org attempting to benchmark application speed on Gentoo, Debian and Mandrake opened a can of worms on Slashdot and other forums. It is one of those mysteries of our competitive nature which immediately raises a self-defence mechanism in cases where our choice is challenged. The world of Linux distributions is and excellent example of this - many of us spent months or even years on settling down on a particular distributions, just to be reminded every now and then that our choice might not be the best.
For those of you who didn't read the article, the simple benchmarks of launching applications or compiling a stock Linux kernel indicated that the source-based Gentoo was outperformed by either Mandrake or Debian (or both) in all of the conducted tests. While this raises a valid question about the testers' efforts to optimise Gentoo before conducting the tests, it also brings up another question: how many of the 24,000 Gentoo users registered on Gentoo forums are running their favourite distribution in an optimised state? Just because you are a Gentoo user, can you claim with confidence that your compiler options are exactly right for your hardware? Or did you just copy them from a forum post? The multitude of available options with cryptic names require some solid understanding and involved studying, which not everybody has time for.
On the other hand, even a superficial effort to understand these options, together with the pains required to install Gentoo will undoubtedly lead to greater understanding of your system - both your hardware and software. In this light, what really is the greatest benefit of Gentoo? Speed? The immediate availability of software? Or the "portage" package management? Maybe none of them. It's quite possible that the greatest benefit of a source-based distribution for most users is in its educational value.
Of course, some of us will never admit that Gentoo is not substantially faster then any other distribution, ever. Here come some amusing quotes from Slashdot and Gentoo forums:
- "This test is wrong and prooves nothing - I run Gentoo and I can see it's faster."
- "Either the authors of this article were completely ignorant on compiler optimizations, or they have an anti-Gentoo agenda, because they set it up to fail."
- "An owner of a Hummer once told the owner of a motorcycle that his Hummer got better gas milage. The motorcycle owner said this is ridiculous, and challenged him to a contest. The would each drive the same hundred miles of road and see who used more gas. They did, and the motorcycle used less gas. The Hummer owner immediately pointed out that the test was unfair 'Your motorcycle weighs far less than my Hummer. That's part of the reason you're getting better milage. Also, you're using a different engine with less horsepower. If your motorcycle weighed as much as my Hummer and used the exact same engine, you would see that I get better milage.'"
- "The best way to optimize gentoo is to bootstrap it yourself. This yields impressive performance gains. In my case I settled on these flags: -mcpu=pentium4 -march=pentium4 -mmmx -msse2 -Os -fomit-frame-pointer -pi pe -fforce-addr -fforce-mem -ffast-math -mpush-args -mfpmath=sse."
- "I think you'll find you forgot -O9 and -fomit-instructions. It might crash every now and then, but I swear bash is responsive in ways I never thought was possible."
|Released Last Week
Xandros Desktop 1.1
Xandros, Inc has released an update of Xandros Desktop Deluxe Edition: "Xandros, Inc. has released a 1.1 edition of Xandros Desktop Deluxe. Version 1.1 enhancements include: support for Microsoft Office XP and Adobe Photoshop 7.0; Mozilla 1.3.1 with spell checking and spam filtering; OpenOffice.org office suite 1.0.3; Evolution groupware client 1.2.4; Enhanced hardware detection; Intel i830/845/855 graphics drivers. Current users of Xandros Desktop can simply click the Xandros Networks icon on their desktop to obtain free updates of most of the items in the version 1.1 release. This free upgrade policy provides customers with the latest updates and enhancements, and resolves various support issues that have turned up since the initial release." See the release announcement for more details. The new Xandros Desktop 1.1 is available from the Xandros Store for US$99.
Damn Small Linux 0.4.2
Less than a week after releasing version 0.4.1, the developers of Damn Small Linux have released version 0.4.2. From the changelog: "After using GNU strip on some of my custom-compiled binaries I was able to make room for some nice new apps. I replaces XFMail with Sylpheed. Also new for 0.4.2 are Xpaint for image editing and Xzgv for image viewing." See the full changelog and package list for further information.
- Lycoris Amethyst Update 3 Release Candidate 0. Annouced on the Lycoris community site, this long awaited beta includes plenty of package updates, although as expected, KDE will remain at 2.2.2 until after the final release of Amethyst Update 3.
- Vector Linux 4.0 rc1 is now available for download and testing. More information here.
- SME Server 6.0 beta3, the announcement includes a full list of changes.
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Xandros Desktop 2.0
Xandros has updated their news page with three new items dated 5 August 2003. The first one is the announcement about two new beta programs: "Xandros, Inc., today announced the opening of the beta program for the 2.0 release of its award-winning Xandros Desktop. Users interested in testing Xandros Desktop 2.0 are invited to apply at the Xandros web site. Xandros is also looking for IT administrators considering mass deployment of the Xandros Desktop to test the forthcoming release of Xandros Networks Enterprise." The complete press release is here and you can register for beta testing of Xandros 2.0 on this page.
Xandros has also announced the release of a Spanish edition of Xandros Desktop: "Xandros, Inc., provider of the award-winning Xandros Desktop, has released the Spanish Edition of Xandros Desktop. In conjunction with the release, Xandros has teamed up with Pixart Argentina, a leading South American software distributor, to market Xandros products throughout the southern cone of Latin America."
|Web Site News
I hope you've enjoyed the interview with Judd Vinet of Arch Linux published over the weekend. I am still working on a full review of Arch Linux and I have just received the promised review copy of LindowsOS, so we'll cover both an advanced and a newbie distribution with the next two articles. You might also see a few new interviews in the near future, but this depends on the readers who are working on them. As always, feel free to conduct any interview with distribution maintainers on behalf of DistroWatch and send in the complete story for publishing.
Two distributions were removed from the waiting list. Plop Linux was removed at the request of the developers who cited lack of time for continued development. The MIOLUX distribution's web site has not been updated for over 6 months and no stable version has been released since 1.0 beta in January this year. It was also removed from the list.
Jollix is the only new distribution added to the DistroWatch database last week. Jollix is yet another live Linux CD with hardware auto-detection, cloop file system and KDE as its default desktop environment. It is based on Gentoo Linux. I haven't been able to locate the package list or find out how to list the versions of included packages - if anybody can help with this, I'd appreciate it.
New on the waiting list
Three new distributions were added to waiting list last week:
DistroWatch database summary
- clusterKNOPPIX is a modified Knoppix with the openMosix kernel.
- RUNT (The ResNet USB Network Tester) is Slackware Linux designed to run off of a 128 MB USB pen drive.
- ViruX is a live Linux CD based on Linux From Scratch and Knoppix; the web site is in Swedish.
- Number of distributions in the database: 162
- Number of discontinued distributions: 21
- Number of distributions on the waiting list: 53
On DistroWatch icons, logos and banners
Thanks everybody who commented on their banner/logo preferences. One more banner was submitted last week, so let's call this list final, before everybody gets tired of voting for banners :-)
- "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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|• 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|
|• Issue 666 (2016-06-20): Comparing more live update methods, Ubuntu's snap packages, Antergos drops 32-bit media, GeckoLinux unveils Rolling edition, learning Linux resources|
|• Issue 665 (2016-06-13): BunsenLabs Linux Hydrogen, Fedora 24 delayed, NetBSD grows in size, Clonezilla questions|
|• Issue 664 (2016-06-06): Sabayon 16.05, Debian updates install media, the cost of free software, Qubes explains secure build process|
|• Issue 663 (2016-05-30): Comparing live update methods, Ubuntu MATE's progress, distros debate systemd change, DistroWatch turns 15|
|• Issue 662 (2016-05-23): Clonezilla Live, new Fedora community repository, DragonFlyBSD runs Wayland, a live edition of Slackware and kernel components|
|• Full list of all issues|
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