| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 16, 22 September 2003
Debian releases Sarge "netinst" CDs
Debian has released new netinst.iso images for the upcoming stable release, code name Sarge. Although the installation is still in text mode, one major improvement over the Woody netinst CD is the autodetection of hardware. This is a very useful enhancement as it will no longer be necessary to manually select the correct kernel modules during installation. Of course, those who prefer the old manual way and those who need to pass optional parameters to modules can still do so. The netinst CDs are still under development so don't expect everything to work flawlessly. They come in two sizes - 60MB or 120MB and you can download them from here.
How to upgrade to Mandrake Linux 9.2 without re-installing
Since a new Mandrake release should be out any time now, I decided to see how easy it is to upgrade -- without re-installation -- a vanilla Mandrake 9.1 release to version 9.2 (or more precisely, to the current "Cooker" version). At the time of writing, Mandrake Cooker is probably very close to what Mandrake 9.2 will look like, sans some last minute bug fixes. I followed these two documents to help me with the upgrade: Cooker HOWTO and How to upgrade Mandrake easily with only one reboot, but to sum it all up: after updating the urpmi source to point to the nearest mirror containing the "cooker" directory, only three commands were needed to upgrade the entire distribution:
urpmi --auto-select --no-verify-rpm --auto
The process took several hours, but it did eventually complete without a hitch. The upgrade process with urpmi was a surprisingly positive experience, similar to upgrading Debian. Upon reboot, I found myself in a brand new Mandrake Linux 9.2 (almost final). As soon as the final version is released, I will simply update my urpmi sources to point to the 9.2 directory (instead of the "cooker" directory) and run the above three commands again. This will bring my Mandrake system up to 9.2 final, without going through the re-install process with a new set of ISO images. It seems that Mandrake developers have done an excellent job with their urpmi utility and the hard work of splitting the binary packages into core packages and libraries has paid off.
Has anybody been using Cooker instead of the stable release? What are your experiences? Please discuss below.
Encouraged by the success of updating Mandrake, I went on to try the same with other major distributions - Debian, Red Hat, Slackware and SuSE. It was a very interesting experiment and you will find the full report about the successes and failures in this week's edition of Linux Weekly News on Thursday.
|Released Last Week
A very busy week for distribution releases, both stable and development versions.
A new GNOPPIX release: "The GNOPPIX project proudly announces the release of version 0.5.4 of the GNOPPIX Linux live CD. Version 0.5.4 come with lots of improvements compared to the 0.5-x series. This version includes lots of additional software to make it more usable and it's capable of some languages (pass "lang=LG" where LG is your country code). Grab it from the download section." See the announcement on the distribution's home page and further details in the changelog.
Kurumin Linux 2.03
The Kurumin project released Kurumin Linux 2.03 with two major new features. The first one ("knoppix toram") is the ability to load the entire system into RAM without having to keep the Kurumin CD in the CD-ROM drive. This option requires at least 256MB of memory. The second new feature (e.g. "knoppix tohd hda2") is the ability to run the system from free space within a temporary partition on a hard disk (currently only FAT, ext2 or ext3 file systems are supported). As for package updates, MPlayer has been upgraded to version 1.0pre1. Find more information in the announcement and on the Kurumin 2.03 page (both links in Portuguese).
Cool Linux 2.3
Cool Linux 2.3 was released. From the changelog: "Fixed mount CD problem, now first CD is Cool Linux CD; added timeouts in bootup procedure - 30 seconds for kernel select and 15 seconds for other options select; if detected PS/2 mouse, then you can select mouse wheel present; XFree86 now works without font server (xfs); updated e2fsprogs, reiserfsprogs and xfsprogs; DVD desktop shortcut now launches xine; updated MPlayer to version 1.0pre1; added avidemux2 video converter..." The rest of the changelog.
Plamo Linux 3.3
The Plamo Linux project, a Slackware-based Japanese Linux distribution, released Plamo Linux 3.3. Besides upgrades to Linux Kernel 2.4.22 and KDE 3.1.3, this version is mostly a bug fix release. Plamo 3.3 information and errata (in Japanese).
Yellow Dog Linux 3.0.1
Terra Soft Solutions updated its Yellow Dog Linux product to version 3.0.1: "Yellow Dog Linux v3.0.1 ships with all errata as of 2003/09/04, kernel 2.4.22 (Xserve rev2, PowerBook 17" rev1 sans fan support), and improved installer (no more dual drive bug!). Available now from the Terra Soft Store and YDL.net Enhanced accounts." See the announcement on the distribution's home page and the YDL 3.0 errata page for further details.
Lycoris Desktop/LX Update 3
The long awaited Lycoris Desktop/LX, Update 3 was finally announced late on Friday. This is the distribution's first stable release for almost 14 months. Unlike the last stable release - Update 2, this one is not available for free download, although according to community information, it will be possible to update a recent beta build to the final version with Lycoris's update utility later this week. The full ISO images will be released to general public on 1 November 2003, claims this post. The pricing has changed too, the single-CD edition now costs US$40 (Update 2 was US$20) and the Deluxe edtiion, which includes development libraries and source code now retails for US$50 (Update 2 was US$40). Users who had previously purchased Lycoris Desktop/LX and have a valid license can take advantage of a special upgrade price of US$15 (media only). Read the full release announcement.
Puppy Linux 0.7
A new distribution on our list, Puppy Linux is a minimalist distribution that can boot off a flash card or any USB memory device, CDROM, Zip disk or LS/120/240 Superdisk, floppy disk or from an internal hard drive. Version 0.7 was released on Sunday: "Puppy Linux version 0.7 has just been uploaded. The Puppy web pages need to be updated - allow me some time to sift through them. This is the 'big K' version, which has The Qt library v2.3 and two applications that use the library, Konqueror-embedded web browser and Scribus desktop publishing v0.6. Konq-e is about 6MB, Qt about 5MB, Scribus about 1.2MB." See the rest of the announcement.
A brand new Knoppix 3.3 (V3.3-2003-09-22) was released early this week. From the changelog: "Added AX25 protocol support on request; boot option tohd=hda1 changed to tohd=/dev/hda1 for consistence; new and improved unofficial installer "knoppix-installer" from Fabian Franz; service menu for Samba export; re-added xchat; ddcxinfo-knoppix now uses extended monitor modelines from Kano by default." See the complete changelog and package list.
A new Slackware-Live was also released early this week. New in version 188.8.131.52: "Added new kernel 2.4.22 with XFS support, precompiled from Slackware; added new hotplug 2003_08_05; added alsa sound drivers, kernel modules and binaries; added cups, dvd+rw tools, fluxbox 0.9.6pre1, mplayer 1.0pre1; fixed some configsave, configrestore and proftpd config bugs." More details in the changelog and package list. Besides the release, another new addition to the Slackware-Live web site is a discussion forum.
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Red Hat Linux
Expect a major announcement from Red Hat later today - yes, again. That's because preparations for hurricane Isabel threatening North Carolina last week were more important than public relations so the much expected announcement about the new name and future direction of the Red Hat Linux Project was postponed by 1 week: "We are excited to announce that we are working on an alliance with another well-known provider of Red-Hat compatible packages. We are doing work on renaming the project and will re-launch the web site after that renaming is done. In the meantime, a wide range of updates to the first test release of Severn, including GNOME 2.4, are available on RHN in the "Red Hat Linux (Severn) 9.0.93 - Beta Updates" channel. Please subscribe and update! We will update our web site with the new name and new schedule by Monday the 22nd of September, weather permitting. The exact timing of the next test release of Severn will depend on the weather and on our weather preparations; for now all we know for sure is that our weather preparations will not allow us to make a release this week."
SuSE Linux 9.0 available for pre-order
If you live in Germany or neighbouring countries, you can now pre-order SuSE Linux 9.0 from Amazon.de:
According to Amazon.de, the product is scheduled to start shipping on 23 October. Also check out the new look SuSE web site, which has been re-designed - quite possibly for the upcoming official announcement of SuSE Linux 9.0. As always, we'll keep you up-to-date.
Onebase Linux 2.0
Onebase Linux has announced version 2.0, due to be released tomorrow: "The next major release Onebase 2.0 is expected to be released on September 23rd. It will include a number of changes like replacing the buggy install-log logging utility, improvements to the installer, bringing a major change to the OLM with a new framework by providing global variables, three-script to one-script formulae, new features and much more. Post your suggestions, todos and changes you require for the 2.x."
|Web Site News
New on the waiting list
- Puppy Linux. Yes, Puppy Linux is yet another Linux distribution. What's different here is that Puppy is extraordinarily small, yet quite full featured. Puppy boots into a 48MB ramdisk, and that's it, the whole caboodle runs in RAM. Unlike live CD distributions that have to keep pulling stuff off the CD, Puppy in its entirety loads into RAM. This means that all applications start in the blink of an eye and respond to user input instantly. Puppy Linux has the ability to boot off a flash card or any USB memory device (flash-Puppy), CDROM (live-Puppy), Zip disk or LS/120/240 Superdisk (zippy-Puppy), floppy disks (floppy-Puppy), internal hard drive (hard-Puppy).
DistroWatch database summary
- Number of distributions in the database: 175
- Number of discontinued distributions: 24
- Number of distributions on the waiting list: 66
On Probatus Spectra Linux
- Raimo Koski has sent in this information regarding the Probatus Spectra Linux distribution: "Probatus as a company will be soon gone, but Spectra Linux has been sold with two books by me and Tomi Kajala in Finland. In fact it has been the most sold Linux distribution in Finland with approximate market share of over 60% (might be as high as 90%). Spectra Linux is still somewhat supported and Finnish speakers can use the address http://www.raimokoski.com/. My site has limited international bandwidth and downloading Spectra should be impossible from outside Finland. HTML pages can be viewed from anywhere."
On Sun's Java Desktop System
According to this page, Sun's new Linux distribution called Java Desktop System will only be available in December 2003. Sun does not provide much technical information about the product at this stage, but according to a few early beta reviews, the Java Desktop System is based on SuSE Linux 8.2. It goes without saying that as soon as Java Desktop System is released, it will be added to this site's database.
- "Is it possible to have the new Sun distribution to be listed?"
That's all for this week, keep well and see you next Monday :-)
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