| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 22, 3 November 2003
ROCK Linux in search for a new identity
Do we have too many distributions? You bet. The result is that some excellent projects are lost in the sea of distributions, most of which are nothing but modifications of other distributions. Take this interesting post by Clifford Wolf, the creator of ROCK Linux: "'ROCK Linux' fits too well into the common 'Foobar Linux' naming scheme for Linux distributions - so it's no wonder that it is so hard to promote ROCK Linux as 'built kit for Linux/whatever distribution' instead of 'yet another Linux distribution'. I'd suggest renaming the project to something different. My personal preference would be something like 'Open ROCK'. Suggestions, thoughts and feedback in any form are very welcome."
The above dilemma is not hard to understand. ROCK Linux is a unique and highly original project in that it provides a bunch of flexible bash scripts which allow users to create a new and customised binary distribution directly from source code. This can be as simple as a 10MB general purpose router, or as complex as a full-featured development workstation. Once the compile process is complete, the resulting distribution can either be installed on a remote computer via network or it can be burnt onto a bootable CD and deployed on any number of machines. It can even be compiled for an architecture different from the machine performing the compilation. While the project's documentation is certainly not as beginner-friendly and colourful as that of say Gentoo Linux, those who take their time to peruse the ever evolving ROCK Linux handbook might be pleasantly surprised to discover a true gem.
ROCK Linux is a not an ordinary rock. It is a rare diamond - precious and unique among the gravel that surrounds it.
How good or bad is Mandrake Linux 9.2?
Although it has been almost three weeks since the release of Mandrake Linux 9.2, we haven't seen many reviews of the most popular desktop distribution. Instead, we are getting a steady flow of reports about the highly publicised problem affecting users with LG CD-ROM drives and various generalised complaints about issues such as the number of bug fixes issued shortly after the final release. While the unfortunate matter of damaged CD-ROM drives is certainly a valid complaint, much of the general negativity about Mandrake Linux 9.2 on various forums, often coming from former staunch supporters of Mandrake, is not. Does the high number of bug fixes bother you? Chances are that, as with the LG CD-ROM drives, many of them only affect a small percentage of users. In fact, it is nice to see that Mandrake developers are hard at work, looking over the issues and working out the problems. I would certainly not look at the number of bug fixes as a negative point - it would be a lot worse if Mandrake developers ignored their users and went on holidays!
What are your experiences with Mandrake Linux 9.2? Any surprises or disappointments? Is it going to stay on your desktop or are you here to look for another distribution? Please discuss below.
|Released Last Week
Source Mage GNU/Linux 0.7.1
A new version of Source Mage GNU/Linux, version 0.7.1 is out: "The Source Mage GNU/Linux developers team is proud to announced the new release 0.7.1. The main difference with 0.7 is the native support of devfs (mounted on /dev as you would like to expect). Have fun!" More information on the distribution's web site, release announcement and ISO release changelog.
Aurox Live 1.0.2
A stable version of Aurox Live CD, version 1.0.2 (based on Aurox Linux 9.1), has been released: "What's new in Aurox 9.1-Live-1.0.2? It is now possible to run Aurox Live on 233MHz Pentium II with 96 MB RAM! (use 'aurox fluxbox' command when booting). Updated: Knoppix X Window autoconfiguration, Evolution (1.4.5), CD recording tools. Added: educational software (lum, tuxpaint, tuxmath, geg), Qt-designer, Qt-documentation, KDE libs API documentation, Kdevelop and extra header files - you can now generate and build an example application using Aurox Live! Fixed: /dev/ppp and other devices created, starting fluxbox is now available, mouse wheel should work now, KDE shows CUPS printers." See the complete release notes.
Devil-Linux 1.0 and 1.0.1
Devil-Linux 1.0 has been released: "The Devil-Linux development team is pleased to announce the release of version 1.0 this Halloween, October 31, 2003. Devil-Linux is a distribution which boots and runs from CDROM. The configuration can be saved to a floppy diskette or a USB pen drive (new in 1.0). Devil Linux was originally intended to be a dedicated firewall/router but now Devil-Linux can also be used as a server for many applications. Attaching an optional hard drive is easy, and many network services are included. New Features: kernel 2.4.22 with FreeS/WAN and Netfilter patches applied; kernel Security through GRSecurity; almost all software compiled with the GCC stack smashing protector; new 'setup' program for basic configuration..." More details in the release announcement. A bug-fixed Devil-Linux version 1.0.1 was released three days later.
After 9 beta releases, the new Freeduc 1.4 live CD is now ready for public consumption: "OFSET, the organization for the development of free software for education and teaching, is working with UNESCO to set up an international version of its FREEDUC distribution. FREEDUC is a GNU/Linux distribution which can be used without installation. It is specifically dedicated to the world of education and it enables an easy introduction for stakeholders of education to the 40 free software packages included on the cd-rom. The software was selected for its pedagogical values and ergonomic qualities." See the rest of the official press release. There is a bug in the Italian implementation of Freeduc 1.4, which will be fixed in the upcoming version 1.4.1.
Yoper Ydesktop 1.2
Yoper Ydesktop 1.2 is out. From the release notes: "Yoper Limited is proud to announce the release of version 1.2 of Yoper Ydesktop V1. This release contains a large number of bugfixes and software changes which include: Yoper synced with LFS-5 and recompiled from scratch with gcc-3.3.2.; supermount on the fly CD mounting, no CD unmount or eject required any more, new Yoper boot splash screen; emerge world implemented; new Qt-3.2.1 and KDE 3.1.4; new Kernel 2.4.22 used to compile Yoper; update all packages to latest as of 20.10.2003; NVIDIA ethernet drivers; shadow passwords set not to expire; new OpenOffice 1.1..."
OpenNA Linux 1.0
After nearly two years of development, OpenNA Linux 1.0 has been released. From the release notes: "The version 1.0 contains many new features and enhanced functionality as compared with previous versions of OpenNA Linux. Security notes: All components of the operating system are protected against the exploitation of buffer overflow vulnerabilities in process stacks. All permission files and directories have been reviewed and improved for high security. All configuration files and software have been rewritten & rebuild with high security in mind. The Grsecurity kernel patch with most of the entire security features that it provides has been implemented into the kernel." More features.
A new version of the SULIX live CD is now available. The most important changes in version 1.1 are: new Linux kernel 2.4.22, support for USB pen drives, implementation of Knoppix's "Persistent Home" for easy restoration of saved settings, inclusion of SHFS kernel module, new lm-sensors and Hungarian implementation of OpenOffice 1.1. More information on the distribution's web site (in Hungarian).
Flonix is a new distribution on our list, a live CD based on Damn Small Linux. The developers have just released build 17, with the following changes (changelog in French): "Updated web server; addition of xnet to develop dynamic PHP-based web sites (with libmysql); new server menu." Find out more on the distribution's web site.
The ISO image of Lycoris Desktop/LX Update 3 has reportedly been released for general enjoyment. Since the lycoris.org site seems to be down at the moment, here is a quick list of some of the mirrors that carry the ISO: planetmirror.com (Australia), sunet.se (Sweden) and ibiblio.org (USA).
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Xandros Desktop 2.0
Xandros Desktop 2.0 will be released on 24 November. That's according to this ZDNet report: "Xandros sells a version of Linux geared for the average desktop user. The company plans to release version 2.0 of its software on Nov. 24, said Dave Finklestein, vice president of sales and marketing for the 35-person company." The product is currently undergoing closed beta testing.
Fedora Core 1
The first official release of Red Hat's Fedora Core 1 is expected before the end of this week - instead of today, as originally planned - due to a schedule slip: "We had to respin FC1 today for a non-technical issue (that's all I can say, sorry), which resets the clock for release. We have to start over again with the export process, and I don't think they work weekends, so we have to slip until after we hear back from them and then sync to mirrors. Wednesday the 5th is slightly possible, a day later more likely."
Texstar's PC Linux OS?
Something is cooking over at PCLinuxOnline: "I've been working on a live bootable Knoppix style CD based on Mandrake 9.2 with all of my cool mods and updated applications/desktop programs and everything setup to work right out of the box such as Java, Flash, urpmi and NVIDIA drivers. Hopefully the ability to also install directly to your hard drive. A complete desktop solution featuring over 1.5 gigs of desktop applications. I've already had a successful preview last week and if everything goes good this weekend maybe another preview that more people can test next week. What is neat about this is if we can get all the issues ironed out with the mklivecd project then YOU can make your own bootable live CD as well." The above post is by Texstar, a well-known contributor of up-to-date RPM packages for Mandrake Linux. Certainly something to look forward to, no?
|Web Site News
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Thank you all for helping to spread the word to all corners of the globe :-)
New on the waiting list
- Flonix. Flonix is a light-weight GNU/Linux operating system for personal computers. It is based on Knoppix. There are two editions: Flonix USB Edition can be installed on an USB flash drive or compact flash card (64MB and more) and Flonix CD Edition, which is a live CD.
DistroWatch database summary
- Lunatix GNU/Linux. "The idea behind Lunatix is to supply a small, clean Linux distribution for expert users. No nonsense, with an extremely fast install; just simple. There are no networking daemons distributed by default in order to ensure maximum security on a network level after the initial installation. The user (or system administrator) has to compile optional programs or daemons himself (or herself) which allows the user to build a system specific to their needs while maintaining a clean secure Linux core distribution. To serve expert users, enough basic tools for networking and C++ coding are included for a quick start. All core features are listed below."
- Number of distributions in the database: 190
- Number of discontinued distributions: 24
- Number of distributions on the waiting list: 65
No reader feedback items this week.
That's all for now, keep well and see you next Monday :-)
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