| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 10, 11 August 2003
Invoice is in the Mail, Says SCO
According to this story by Computer Business, SCO Group Inc is preparing to invoice customers running or developing with Linux. "Those being billed will include 1,500 end-users who were earlier this year informed by SCO in writing they should seek legal advice as running Linux violated the company's copyright. Customers running Linux who were not on SCO's original mailing list will also be targeted. SCO last week announced customers would be charged $699 per server running Linux and $199 for a client."
Ah, the fools of Utah! Like the legendary Don Quixote blindly fighting the wind mills, the SCO's executives will go down in business history as a bunch of madmen taking wild chances at achieving impossible dreams - first by suing IBM, then by harassing small businesses and individual Linux users. It's amazing how some people will stop at nothing to satisfy their greedy needs, their insane desire for easy cash without offering a solid product or a superior service in return. One day, when "SCO" is no longer in news headlines and the masterminds of this hopelessly inapropriate get-rich-quick scheme are safely behind bars, we will have a good laugh before getting on with our lives.
But in case some of you worry that somehow SCO succeeds in shutting down your favourite web site covering Linux distributions, then worry not. DistroWatch is actually hosted by a web server running on Debian Woody and powered by Linux Kernel 2.2.20, which, for some strange reason, is excluded from the SCO's harassment claim -- er, I beg your pardon -- SCO's Intellectual Property License. Still complaining that Debian is behind the times and badly outdated?
Debian's 10th birthday parties
Speaking about Debian, don't miss the project's 10th birthday party, raunchy celebrations and other festivities on 16 August (Saturday). Even if you are not a Debian fan, you have to admit that Debian GNU/Linux is an awesome project, one of the largest collaborative efforts ever created, spanning hundreds of developers on all continents. Birthday parties will be held in many countries and cities around the world, so check the schedule and do your best to attend. It will be fun!
|Released Last Week
Gentoo Linux 1.4
The long awaited official release of Gentoo Linux 1.4 finally arrived last week: "Gentoo Linux 1.4 is now available. 1.4 includes automated kernel builds, CFLAGS generation, the Gentoo Reference Platform, and support for netless installation. Stages and LiveCDs are now available on our mirrors." The announcement was followed by quick bug-fix releases of the LiveCD editions for x86 and i686 architectures: "Updated 1.4 GRP CD1 LiveCDs for x86 and i686 are now going up on mirrors. These CDs are datestamped as 20030806 and contain an updated version of the genkernel utility, fixing a bug that only affects users of the x86 and i686 CDs. Users of the pentium3, pentium4, and athlon-xp CDs are unaffected." More information on gentoo.org.
Lorma Linux 3.1
The developers of Lorma Linux have announced the release of version 3.1: "Lorma Linux release 3.1 features: Realplayer - streaming media; Webmin - a web-based administration interface for Unix systems; development tools - compiler and libraries; Yahoo Messenger - problem on invisible messages fixed; added the module for development tools; GCC compiler and libraries; upgraded the Kernel to Kernel-2.4.20-18.9; updated the yahoo messenger to ymessenger-0.99.19-1..." This is the full announcement. Unfortunately, it seems that the developers uploaded an incorrect ISO image to their mirrors and those who downloaded the original image were unable to install Lorma Linux. A workaround has now been posted and the correct ISO image uploaded - see forum thread for further information.
The Kurumin live CD project released Kurumin 2.01. The long release notes are in Portuguese, as this increasingly popular distribution with the ability to install on hard disk is made in Brazil. More information on kurumin.org.
Damn Small Linux 0.4.3
Another week and another release of Damn Small Linux, version 0.4.3. From the changelog: "Now in 0.4.3 we have desktop icons! This is possible because of the fantastically small XtDesktop X Window desktop icon manager by Dmitry Ovechkin." See the full changelog and package list.
This is a brand new version of ClarkConnect Broadband Gateway, released late on Friday evening. 2.0 is based on Red Hat 9 and both the free Home Edition and the commercial Office Edition were released simultaneously. The distribution's web site is a little skimpy on detail, so head straight for the user forums if you are interested in all the latest news, discussions, fixes and workarounds.
Lunar Linux 1.3.2
This source-based distribution called Lunar Linux released a new install/rescue ISO image on Sunday. New in version 1.3.2, code name "Captain Raymo": "Lots of modules were updated. Some small bugs were fixed. gcc-3.2.3, glibc-2.3.2, openssl-0.9.7, gettext-0.12.1, all pre-installed so you don't have to watch your lunar box cycle through a LOT of recompiles. All the ISO apps that depend on openssl were recompiled as well." Read the full announcement here.
The mysterious DeMuDi (Debian Multimedia Distribution) project appears to have released version 1.0. There has been no release announcement, but the distribution's download page provides three ISO images of DeMuDi 1.0, dated 4 August 2003. DeMuDi's sister project ReHMuDi or Red Hat Multimedia Distribution (both DeMuDi and ReHMuDi are now part of the Agnula Project) has had a 1.0 ISO image available since 3 June 2003. Unfortunately, the Agnula web site is in dire need for updates and even the README file on the installation CD contains very little useful information about the project.
- The second beta of Mandrake Linux 9.2 was released; all the details, including download mirrors are on the beta page.
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Onebase Linux 1.0 Beta 2
Onebase has announced a planned release of Onebase Linux 1.0 beta 2 on 20 August 2003. You are invited to request new features in this forum thread.
TA Linux 0.2.0
TA-Linux has posted news about the upcoming stable release of TA-Linux 0.2.0: "Stable 0.2.0 will be released soon, sometime after the next stable kernel is released (2.4.22), if nothing major shows up in that kernel. When 0.2.0 is released the Collection CVS will branch, with a 0.2.0-stable branch and HEAD is up for big changes. The 0.2.0-stable branch will only get updates to stable versions of software (no development versions, unless there are some major bug or security fixes). Major software that is now as development versions (GNOME 2) will be updated up to the next stable version and stay as such on 0.2.0-stable." The full announcement.
|Web Site News
New DistroWatch banner
Without much fanfare, the winner of the banner contest is banner 4 by MadPenguin. Giving two points for "strong preference" and one point for a "second preference", banner 4 is was clear winner. Banner 7 was doing very well in the second week, but it did not get close to the number of votes banner 4 was getting during the first week of voting. I hope that its author will be willing to modify the size and colours to fit the overall colour theme of the site. Many thanks to all of you who have submitted banners and who took the time to vote.
- The much requested GoboLinux distribution has been included in this site's database. GoboLinux is a distribution with a fairly radical idea to break with the historical Unix directory hierarchy, such as /usr and /etc and group the executable programs in /Program. Read more about it on the distribution's web site, in this kuro5hin.org review and in this Slashdot discussion. GoboLinux is not a new distribution; it has been in development for over 2 years. The current stable version is 006 and development version is 007alpha.
New on the waiting list
- Eridani Star Systems has announced on its web site that Eridani Linux is discontinued: "The end of the road has come for Eridani Linux. There will be no further updates for Eridani Linux 6.3, and our advice to
existing users is to upgrade to a current supported distribution. As a direct effect of this, this mailing list will be disbanded and erased. The FTP repository will remain in place, space permitting. Eridani Star System is not disappearing, instead we are shifting our focus to our own Linux-based software projects." Eridani Linux has been moved onto the Discontinued Distributions page.
- MSC.Linux has announced that "The MSC.Software Systems Group has been shut down. Overall maintenance level support will be provided for MSC.Linux, plus some specifically requested updates. MSC.Linux will not be generally upgraded in anything approaching the manner expected for a Linux distribution. We thank you very much for your support." Read the full message here. It isn't clear whether this is a temporary situation or a slow and painful death of the MSC.Linux distribution.
DistroWatch database summary
- AL-AMLUG Live CD is a live CD with a pre-installed Arch Linux 0.5, developed by Ananda Margii's Linux User Group.
- cAos is a new Linux distribution whose purpose is to provide a stable Linux solution for organisations and individuals that do not need or want to purchase their Linux solution. A stable release is not expected before January 2004.
- INSERT is a complete, bootable linux system. It comes with a graphical user interface running the fluxbox window manager while still being sufficiently small to fit on a credit card-sized CD-ROM.
- O2 Linux is a Japanese distribution based on Slackware (web site in Japanese).
- Number of distributions in the database: 163
- Number of discontinued distributions: 22
- Number of distributions on the waiting list: 57
On adding new distributions to the "Major Distributions" page
The Major Distributions page has a limit of 10 distributions. It is primarily designed for new and potential Linux users who would probably feel confused by the sheer number of distributions out there, so we put together a page listing the 10 most "major" ones. The main criteria for selecting the top 10 distributions for this page was the page hit ranking on DistroWatch. Of course, this is hardly an objective way of evaluating a distribution's usage, quality, popularity, etc, but nevertheless, and because there is lack of other reliable data, we decided to use this criteria. It's not the only one though, other important factors include things like how long a distribution has been around, how much attention it gets in Linux media, number of reviews, number of community web sites in different languages, number of registered users on public forums (if available) and some other subjective criteria. It is not particularly easy to select the "top" ten distributions, but we probably wasn't too far from the reality.
- "I want to inquire into our status as a distro and ask how do we get listed in the "Major Distros" section of your page? We feel as does the Linux Community that we deserve a spot there."
On site navigaion menus and their default languages
The reason why the language of the navigation menus defaults to the language of the visitor's country (as determined by the visitor's IP address) is simple. We want to bring this site to as wide as audience as possible, irrespective of the visitor's fluency in English. While some content (e.g. reviews) will be largely inaccessible to those who don't understand English, certain other pages (e.g. the individual distribution pages) are fairly easy to understand by anybody. By making the default language the same as the language most widely used in the visitor's country, we hope to keep the visitor on the site for longer. Granted, this matters little in a country like Denmark, where English is widely spoken and understood, but it could make a substantial difference in countries such as China or Korea, where not many people feel comfortable in navigating web sites in foreign languages.
- "Super site! But, the "auto language" feature is not good. Just 'cause I'm sitting in Denmark today, does not mean I want the site in Danish! (At least a "back to English" button, please!)"
To change the default language, you have to go to the main index page and click on the graphic representing your preferred language at the very top of the page. Alternatively, you can select it from the preferences dialog found at the bottom right of the page. And while on the subject of languages, many thanks to Pasi Ruhanen who has helped to translate the menus into Finnish. Now even Linus Torvalds can browse DistroWatch in his native language :-)
That's all for this week, keep well and see you next Monday,
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