| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 24, 17 November 2003
It was a very interesting editorial by Brian Proffitt, the Managing Editor of Linux Today. In Forcing a Choice, the author expresses his views about the recent policy changes at Red Hat and his dilemma over choosing a distribution now that his previous choice - Red Hat Linux - is no more:
"Fedora is the planned successor to Red Hat Linux and I sincerely hope this turns out to be the case. But it is never going to be exactly like Red Hat. This is not me speculating based on one or two reviews. This is me after hearing it straight from the horse's mouth, when executives from Red Hat told me directly that Fedora will indeed serve as the testbed for much of the enterprise line of Red Hat. Fedora is their chance to try things on the bleeding edge and get the kinks worked out before they bring some new functionality into RHEL."
There is ample evidence that Brian Proffitt is not the only one who feels the pain. Many Red Hat Linux users have been left in a state of limbo: the product they got to know and appreciate over many years is gone, while its replacement - Fedora Core - has yet to prove itself to be an adequate replacement.
What are your thoughts? If you used Red Hat Linux in the past, have you switched to Fedora or are you in search for a new distribution? Please discuss below.
Impi Linux, Africa's first desktop Linux distribution was unveiled last week in Johannesburg (see more about the release in the "Released last week" section below). As one would expect from a 1.0 release, the distribution still needs a little polish before it can compete with the best, but it isn't bad for a first release. As you can see from the screenshot, the desktop icons are a little cluttered, both in their arrangement and in their style/size. The Impi Linux web site touts the fact that the distribution comes with a unique accounting package called Cubit, but hard as I looked, I could not locate it. The hard disk installation program is very limited in that it attempts to take over an entire hard disk - hardly the most flexible arrangement. Even worse, the web site lacks any user forums or mailing lists and the only support option is 24-hour local telephone support at premium rates. Nevertheless, Impi Linux is a promising start, especially as it plans to support all 11 official languages in South Africa. Good luck!
Screenshot: Impi Linux - Africa's first destkop Linux distribution (full image size 492kB)
My store - a story about a Linux-only computer store (Contributed by Benjamin Vander Jagt)
On November 2nd, 2003, Vander Jagt Computers opened up a new retail store in the middle of Berkeley Springs, WV. As you would expect, this store carries computer accessories, builds new systems, and provides in-shop and on-site computer service. You can find many a product, but one thing you will never find is Microsoft Windows.
"If it's fundamentally wrong, it can't be practically right. It's official company policy to sell no traditional copyright- or patent-restricted software. We will not sell systems with Windows preinstalled. Any new or used systems that we buy that include Windows will be wiped clean. Several people have called this a risky move, but the real risk would be to attach my name to systems that are equipped with shoddy software. Already, the majority of warranty-related service consists of reinstalling Windows or fixing Windows problems. Even a lot of commercial software is no match for the free Linux alternatives."
Granted, if a customer provides his own software and requests that it be installed, Vander Jagt Computers will comply, but in virtually all cases, free software is highly recommended over proprietary software.
Response has been overwhelmingly positive so far. Most customers who enter the store for the first time have heard of Linux but don't know what it is. On display for all to play and learn with is a sub $200 used system with Slackware 9.1 running. Slackware 9.1 is preferred for its standards compliance, speed, security, and support base. Every customer who has seen Slackware 9.1 perform on this system has become a Linux fan. Many ask if Linux can be installed on their old Compaq's. Some are interested in the most secure operating system available. Others like the performance of software. All are blown away by the far superior software. Of course, it takes several minutes to explain that it's actually, positively free.
Vander Jagt Computers has two more Linux projects in the works. Firstly, Benjamin Vander Jagt will try his hand at creating a Slackware-based Linux distribution. "Slackware is the best base that I've found so far, because of its standards compliance. The software packages are mostly vanilla, which is the ideal end result for my distribution. Slackware is only lacking in automation, such as hardware detection. LILO will be replaced with GRUB, and two entries will be created for boot, the default of which ending with 'telinit 4' to automatically boot into the GDM. Of course, the GNOME menu will be reworked in the Red Hat way, and ReallySlick Screensavers will be added."
Secondly, a web server will be established for the distribution of public-domain art. Art is where the free software movement is lacking most right now, and most artists need to discover that public-domain is the most profitable way to distribute their creations. This server will store any public-domain graphics, music, games, movies, 3D models, engineering diagrams, and more. Though this server is probably going to remain free, it could theoretically charge artists a fee in the future, when it's more widely accepted that public-domain saturation is worth much more than the meager sales that artists usually starve through to begin with.
|Released Last Week
A new version of the ResNet USB Network Tester, or RUNT, is now available: "RUNT 3.0 has been released! RUNT 3.0 is based on Slackware 9.1 including kernel 2.4.22. New additions include iptraf for network monitoring, iptables, allowing RUNT to be used as a firewall, and CD/DVD writing tools. SCSI controllers are now supported through hotplug. To use CD burning tools with an IDE drive, you must use ide-scsi by identifying your drive at the boot prompt. For example put 'usb hdc=ide-scsi' at the end of the boot prompt if your CD burner is your secondary master. I'm not certain the usefulness of CD burning abilities on a 128 MB drive, but I had the space, so I left it in. You can remove the package if you don't need it. Because of increased kernel size, memtest had to be removed from the boot disk, but it can still be run if you are able to boot directly off of the USB drive." See the announcement on the project's home page.
Damn Small Linux 0.5
Damn Small Linux 0.5 has been released. From the changelog: "Local .xinitrc, Save/Restore user settings menu option, boot time "restore" option (type "knoppix restore" at boot), mount.app program now recognizes the USB drive. Firebird now runs as user damnsmall, added sqlite, removed ispell, flwriter and replaced them with Ted-gtk w/ US English spell check, removed option to set frequency (didn't work quite right) and added option to set dpi. Thank you to Robert Shingledecker for the major code and debugging contribution in this release."
A bug fix version of a recently released Freeduc CD is available for download. Changes include the following: "WIMS fully working; GCompris sound and Python board working; Italian XFce Desktop back in good shape; DrGeo 0.9.11prerelease." Find out more on the distribution's web site.
A new Knoppix build, version 3.3-2003-11-14 is available. From the changelog: "V3.3-2003-11-14 (Updates/Bugfixes). Euro symbol works again in konsole, but font scanning at startup is slow (fontconfig?); added bittorrent ncurses client; ALSA package update; 'knoppix testcd' option is now more verbose; changed default timings in monitor detection (may give better results with DDC-capable monitors, but you will probably have to use 'knoppix vsync=60' for non-DDC-capable TFT displays); the usual bunch of Debian package updates."
Mandrake Linux 9.2 ISO images
The much awaited Mandrake Linux 9.2 ISO images are now available for free download from various mirrors worldwide. Please note the warning regarding the LG CD-ROM drives: "Warning: Some LG CD-ROM drives have a firmware bug and should be updated before any installation attempt. Please consult lgerrata"
Bonzai Linux 3.1
A new release of Bonzai Linux is out: "After hard and long nights of development, version 3.1 of the Bonzai Linux distribution has been released. Bonzai Linux is optimized to fit on a 180MB mini CD. It is based on the current stable Debian distribution called 'woody', containing a customized version of boot-floppies and an easy to use installer. Bonzai uses Kernel 2.4.20 and includes the light-weight windowmanager XFce4 to make installation on older machines possible. Login.app allows you to log in to your system. Synaptic has been added to make package installation easier. Bonzai Linux should be used as a strong and stable base for your Debian based Desktop PC and can be enhanced with all your favourite Debian packages." Read the complete announcement in English or German.
Impi Linux 1.0
Impi, a Zulu word for describing a group of warriors, has given the name to Africa's first desktop Linux distribution - Impi Linux. Version 1.0 has just been released: "Created by the Gauteng Linux Users Group in Johannesburg, Impi Linux is mainly based on Debian GNU/Linux with components borrowed from Knoppix. The desktop window manager is GNOME and the OS comes complete with OpenOffice.org as the office productivity suite, Cubit as the business accounting application and Mozilla as the web browser. Impi Linux was created from the best software available in the open source world, to give South African users a stable, virus free and very cost effective business operating system. Impi Linux is not just an operating system, it comes bundled with every application that you need to run your business. Impi Linux will eventually support all of the eleven official languages in South Africa." More information on the Impi Linux web site and in Africa's own Linux distribution by Tectonic.
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Debian GNU/Linux 3.0r2
Martin Schulze has posted an update on the upcoming Debian GNU/Linux 3.0r2 release: "I am preparing the second revision of the current stable Debian distribution (woody) which will probably be released soon. This report is to allow people to comment on it and intervene whenever this is required. If you disagree with one bit or another, please reply to this mail and explain why these things should be handled differently. There is still time to reconsider."
ASP Linux 9.2
The developers of ASP Linux have announced a new upcoming release - version 9.2. This will be based on Fedora Cora 1 and will be available for purchase or download in the middle of December. This announcement is part of an open letter to ASP Linux users published on the distribution's web site (in Russian).
EvilEntity Linux 0.3
A new release of EvilEntity Linux is under preparation: "DR-0.3.0 is coming along. Base6 is complete and we now need developers to build XGN packages to expand upon Base6. There are a number of things that would help us out tremendously. Maintaining, supporting, and advancing a top notch operating system is an overwhelmingly massive task. Currently EvilEntity is understaffed in the most explicit and drastic sense of the word. To help develop EvilEntity you need, 2-4 hours a month free time, to be able to follow simple directions, to be reliable, and to be able to research and solve problems. If you want to help, e-mail me." Find out more on the distribution's web site.
SUSE LINUX 9.0 FTP install
A message on the SUSE FTP server promises to have SUSE Linux 9.0 ready for FTP install before the end of this week: "This directory is the placeholder for the upcoming SUSE Linux 9.0-ftp distribution. As usual, it will be published some days after the product is available on CDROM/DVD media. The SuSE Linux 9.0-i386-ftp distribution will be available during the weekend of November 22/23 on the mirrors and on ftp.suse.com."
Turbolinux 10 Desktop, English edition
The world-wide release of Turbolinux 10 Desktop, originally scheduled for last week, was postponed until 25 November. Find out more on the distribution's product page.
Aurox Linux 9.2
Aurox Linux has announced a new release, version 9.2, the first beta of which should be available for testing this week: "We are very close to brand new Aurox Linux - 9.2 (Water). We're now testing our work, a beta version should be on FTPs in a couple of days. The most 'visible' changes are: OpenOffice.org 1.1 (with many dictionaries included), brand new GNOME 2.4.1 and Light Desktop - new group of packages for slower machines (Fluxbox, Mozilla Firebird, rox-filer and Sylpheed) - so no heavy environments are necessary. We have included NTFS support (built as a separate package) and several additional libraries. There are also some applications included in this version - the full list will be published with the beta release."
LinuxInstall.org now supports Fedora Core 1|
LinuxInstall.org now supports Fedora Core 1 by offering 3 CD-SET or 1 DVD for $10 anywhere in the world including shipping cost from http://linuxinstall.org/fedora.php.
2003 LinuxQuestions.org Members Choice Awards
The 2003 LinuxQuestions.org Members Choice Awards have begun. There are awards for Distribution of the Year, Browser of the Year, Multimedia App of the Year and many other categories. Winners will be able to pick up their awards at LinuxWorld. Last years winners include Red Hat, PostgreSQL and Mozilla.
|Web Site News
The truth about DistroWatch Timesavers
The Timesavers idea came about in January this year. It was meant to replace the donations button and give those who join some real value and extra features not available to non-members. Unfortunately, as the time progressed and the site expanded, I found myself severely short of time to code the promised features. With every day bringing in more and more work, it is extremely unlikely that I will be able to find the necessary time to do the work.
Also, the idea hasn't been all that well received - on average, we get about 2 new members per week. This brings in some US$30 odd every week, so you can see why Timesavers has not been a priority, especially since advertising and writing is a lot more lucrative. Granted, with lack of promised features, there isn't much incentive to join, but still.
In short, I need external help to implement the Timesavers features. Here is the deal: anybody who wishes to do the work, please email me. You'll get complete freedom to implement the features, including the choice of a coding language (PHP, CGI, Python, Ruby, whatever) and you'll get to keep 75% of the income generated by the new Timesavers Programme, which you helped implementing. You can even set the Timesavers admission fee. The promised features include custom comparison tables, search engines and other features, please see the Timesavers page for all the details.
If nobody is interested in helping, then we'll officially discard the idea. Those of you who have joined, but wish to have your joining fee refunded, please email me. Some of the planned features will still be implemented, but they will be free for all.
Many thanks to Luis Fonseca Carvalho De Matos to translate parts of the site into Portuguese (Portugal) and to
Jens H. Kruuse for corrections to the Danish translation. If you are interested in translating the site's introduction and navigation menus into your language, please see this page for details.
- Penguin Sleuth. Containing many useful tools, Penguin Sleuth is an adapted version of the Knoppix Linux Live CD. It includes tools that are useful when performing a forensic computer analysis.
- Plan B. Plan-B is a bootable Linux environment without the need for a hard drive, it runs entirely in ram or from the CD, based on a basic, stripped installation of Red Hat Linux and the fundamental workings of the SuperRescue CD. A list of tools and utilities are also included for projects such as: forensics/data recovery, system/network analysis and security scanning temporary network device/server, IDS/NIDS system, network status report creation.
- Impi Linux. Impi Linux is South Africa's first desktop Linux distribution. Created by the Gauteng Linux Users Group, Impi Linux (Impi is a Zulu word for describing a group of warriors) is mainly based on Debian GNU/Linux with components borrowed from Knoppix. The desktop window manager is GNOME and the OS comes complete with OpenOffice.org as the office productivity suite, Cubit as the business accounting application and Mozilla as the web browser. Impi Linux was created from the best software available in the open source world, to give South African users a stable, virus free and very cost effective business operating system. Impi Linux is not just an operating system, it comes bundled with every application that you need to run your business. Impi Linux will eventually support all of the eleven official languages in South Africa.
- Pingwinek. Pingwinek is a modern Linux distribution made in Poland. The main desktop is GNOME and it currently supports Polish and English languages. The project also provides a Live CD edition.
- PCLinuxOS. PCLinuxOS is a community based non-profit distribution initially based on Mandrake Linux. Just think of it as Mandrake Linux enhanced by Texstar on a single bootable live CD with 1.5GB of desktop applications and the ability to install right to your hard drive with everything ready to work out of the box. NVIDIA drivers, Flash, Java, urpmi setup, and of course all the cool application updates by Texstar. And if we get all the bugs out of the mklivecd program then YOU can make your own Mandrake-style bootable CD as well.
- SystemRescueCd. SystemRescueCd is a linux system on a bootable CD-ROM for repairing your system and your data after a crash. It also aims to provide an easy way to carry out admin tasks on your computer, such as creating and editing the partitions of the hard disk. It contains a lot of system utilities (parted, partimage, fstools, ...) and basic ones (editors, midnight commander, network tools). It aims to be very easy to use: just boot from the CD-ROM, and you can do everything. The kernel of the system supports most important file systems (ext2/ext3, reiserfs, xfs, jfs, vfat, ntfs, iso9660), and network ones (Samba and NFS). SystemRescueCd is based on the Gentoo Live CD.
New on the waiting list
- The SuperRescue CD. According to SuperRescue's developer H Peter Anvin, the SuperRescue CD is no longer in development: "At this time I don't see myself having time to work on SR, so unless someone takes it over I don't really expect to see another release." Those who found the SuperRescue CD useful might be interested in H Peter Anvin's Plan B rescue CD instead: "Plan B is not a continuation of SuperRescue, although it's to some degree a 'spiritual descendant' -- it borrows a fair number of concepts from SR. Plan B is more heavily focused on recovery and forensics."
Removed from the waiting list
- Dappix. Dappix is a Danish variant of Knoppix. The web site is in Danish.
- Echelonlinux. "Echelon Linux is a distribution which is able to monitor and to manage your network. It is based on Knoppix."
- Kalango Linux. Kalango Linux is a new Brazilian (or Portuguese?) distribution based on Kurumin.
- KDLC. KDLC (Khởi Động Là Chạy) is a Vietnamese variant of Knoppix. The web site is in Vietnamese.
- White Box Enterprise Linux. "This product is derived from the Free/Open Source Software made available by Red Hat, Inc but IS NOT produced, maintained or supported by Red Hat. Specifically, this product is forked from the source code for Red Hat's _Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3_ product under the terms and conditions of it's EULA."
- X-evian. X-evian is a Spanish variant of Knoppix. The web site is in Spanish.
DistroWatch database summary
- Edunix due to product unavailability.
- Number of distributions in the database: 199
- Number of discontinued distributions: 25
- Number of distributions on the waiting list: 69
On categorising distributions
Thank you all for suggestions about how best to categorise the distributions. This is taking shape and we'll probably have several categories and sub-categories to choose from:
If we left out any category that you would like to see included, please comment below.
- Package management (RPM, DEB, TGZ, SRC...)
- Parent distribution (Red Hat, Debian, Slackware...)
- Architecture (Intel, PowerPC, Alpha, AMD-64...)
- Target hardware (i386, i586, i686, old hardware...)
- Target focus (Server, Desktop, Firewall, Security, Multimedia...)
- Language (Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Portuguese...)
- Installation type (text mode, graphical, live CD, floppy-based...)
- Free download (yes, no)
On Red Hat/Fedora split
Counting the votes of those who commented about the issue of splitting Red Hat and Fedora, it seems that most posters (7) are in favour of creating a separate Fedora page, while 3 were against it and 6 voted in favour of delaying the split. As always, there are many valid arguments either way, so let's just keep things unchanged for the time being, but we will create a new Fedora page as soon as the project enters its next beta stage.
That's all for today, keep well and see you next Monday :-)
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|• 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|
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|• Issue 664 (2016-06-06): Sabayon 16.05, Debian updates install media, the cost of free software, Qubes explains secure build process|
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|• Issue 662 (2016-05-23): Clonezilla Live, new Fedora community repository, DragonFlyBSD runs Wayland, a live edition of Slackware and kernel components|
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|• Issue 657 (2016-04-18): Redox, Linux Mint improves update manager, planned Fedora 24 features, Ubuntu 16.04 getting Snappy packages|
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|• Issue 655 (2016-04-04): Parsix 8.5, Sabayon's Community repository, Red Hat offers free subscriptions, Ubuntu tablets, command line tips|
|• Issue 654 (2016-03-28): PCLinuxOS 2016.03, Using signatures to create a web of trust, Arch Linux rolls out Pacman update, GuixSD packages GNOME|
|• Issue 653 (2016-03-21): Antergos 2016.02.21, Debian prepares for election, a Unix-like OS written in Rust, watching Netflix on FreeBSD|
|• Issue 652 (2016-03-14): ReactOS 0.4.0, Debian swaps Iceweasel for Firefox, Fedora moving forward with Wayland, Verifying ISO files|
|• Issue 651 (2016-03-07): Korora 23, Linux Mint improves security, Ubuntu MATE on Raspberry Pi 3 computers, trying different file systems|
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|• Issue 645 (2016-01-25): Linux Mint 17.3 "Xfce", Chromixium changes its name, Ubuntu tablets coming soon, Linux vs BSD comparision|
|• Issue 644 (2016-01-18): Kwort 4.3, Sabayon tests ARM images, Slackware adopts PulseAudio, running Linux without GNU software|
|• Issue 643 (2016-01-11): Solus 1.0, Mint provide upgrade path to 17.3, Fedora developers work on stability, running the LXQt desktop|
|• Issue 642 (2016-01-04): paldo GNU/Linux, vetting distro repositories, Fedora plans to adopt GCC 6, Ian Murdock passes|
|• Issue 641 (2015-12-21): Arch Linux, Qubes OS to ship on Librem laptops, ALT offers start kit images, the spread of systemd and launchd|
|• Issue 640 (2015-12-14): Chakra GNU/Linux 2015.11, removing meta-data from files, Ubuntu to remove on-line dash searches|
|• Issue 639 (2015-12-07): OpenBSD 5.8, openSUSE gathers Summer of Code proposals, running WINE on a live disc, Enlightenment adds Wayland support|
|• Issue 638 (2015-11-30): Qubes OS 3.0, KaOS with Plasma, NetBSD 7.0, Fedora seeks Wayland testers, scheduling tasks|
|• Issue 637 (2015-11-23): NixOS 15.09, Antergos introduces ZFS support, MINIX shares new features, copying an OS to a new computer|
|• Full list of all issues|
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