| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 32, 19 January 2004
Welcome to this year's third edition of DistroWatch Weekly.
Debian-based versus Red Hat-based
Our statistics pages provide an interesting insight into various aspects of Linux distributions. One of them is the distribution's "independence", listing distributions and their relationships or dependence on other distributions, if any. This table is not nearly as simple to put together as it might seem. As an example, answer this questions: what is Mandrake Linux based on? Many readers will probably answer "Red Hat", simply because that's how Mandrake Linux started - as a modified version of Red Hat. But is true today? Of course not. Mandrake Linux is not based on Red Hat, it is based on "Cooker", Mandrake's own, independently maintained development tree.
Other common misconceptions include statements, such as "Xandros is based on Corel". Among those of you who still remember Corel Linux and have tried Xandros Desktop, how much resemblance there is between the two? Not much. In fact it seems that the only thing that Xandros developers are still using from the old Corel code is the modified lilo boot loader, and perhaps snippets of code from the Corel file manager, but not much beyond that. Similarly, some people are quick to assert that LindowsOS is in fact based on Xandros. Yes, there might have been some code sharing and cooperation between the two at some point, but to claim that they have a parent-child relationship is a complete nonsense. The simple truth is that both of them are based on Debian, period. Without Debian, there would be no Xandros and no LindowsOS, at least not in the present form.
Which brings us to an interesting discovery found this week on the statistics page: Red Hat/Fedora is no longer the most popular distribution to be used as a base for a new distribution. It has been overtaken by Debian. This is primarily due to two factors:
Of course, this is not to say that there are now more people using Debian and Debian-based distributions than those who prefer Red Hat/Fedora. But if this trend in distribution development is anything to go by, we might soon see a similar trend in usage.
- The success of the Debian-based Knoppix at introducing Linux to a wide audience has resulted in dozens of attempts at remastering the original Knoppix and releasing it under a different name. Some might argue that these are not real distributions; yet they play an important role in the Linux ecosystem, good examples of which include support for less widely used languages (Ankur Bangla, Arabbix, Kinneret, Shabdix, Soyombo...) or a complete redesign to fit a certain niche (Damn Small Linux, Gnoppix...). All these projects get their packages from the Debian archives and use the Knoppix technology of hardware autodetection and cloop file compression to create a new product.
Screenshot: Hebrew speakers will feel right at home with the Debian/Knoppix-based Kinneret GNU/Linux.
(full image size 220kB)
- The second factor is the quality of Debian packages. It is no coincidence that Knoppix, MEPIS and even commercial Debian derivatives such as Libranet, LindowsOS and Xandros are quite happy to base their products on the Debian's so called "unstable" branch. While it is certainly not without its bugs, Debian "unstable" is probably a lot more stable than the development branches of other distributions, such as Red Hat's Rawhide or Mandrake's Cooker.
Happy Chinese New Year!
DistroWatch.com 祝您猴年行大運, 新年快樂! To all our visitors from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, Singapore and all Chinese communities from around the world: we would like to wish you a happy and prosperous New Year and lots of Linuxing in the Year of the Monkey! Thank you for visiting and supporting DistroWatch!
|Released Last Week
ThePacketMaster Security Server 1.2.0
A new version of ThePacketMaster Security Server has been released: "The new release of the TPM security server, 1.2.0, is now out. It includes: kernel 2.4.24 to address issues found in 2.4.23 and earlier; added new packages for forensic analysis and vulnerability testing; /usr is now in a cloop file system for a smaller ISO image; XFree86 X-window system is now included, as well as the enlightenment window manager, Mozilla web browser and Java." Read the rest of the release announcement.
L.A.S. Linux 0.4.1
This is a new release of Local Area Security Linux, version 0.4.1: "I am pleased to announce the release of the first of the 210MB images of L.A.S. Linux! With this release come many improvements, in terms of all packages being upgraded to current, as well as a new theme and other cosmetic additions. Special thanks to iceman81 for his help in getting this release out. (For those curious of when 0.4.1-185MB will be released, it will be in a few days.) With this release it also marks a new direction we are headed in when it comes to L.A.S. Linux as a whole. As always, we are dedicated to providing a no-frills security toolkit distribution aimed at PROFESSIONALS free of most fat." Read the rest of the release announcement.
Bonzai Linux 3.2
Bonzai Linux 3.2 has been released: "Due to the great interest in the KDE version of the Bonzai Linux distribution, this is a KDE release again. Version 3.2 includes the current stable version of K Desktop Environment 3.1.4. It also includes all current security patches and proposed updates from debian.org. Bonzai Linux is now 100% compatible with Debian 3.0r2." Read the release announcement in English or German.
A new version of DeMuDi, a sub-project of the AGNULA GNU/Linux Audio Distribution project has been released: "AGNULA/DeMuDi 1.1.0, the Debian-based GNU/Linux distribution for audio/video, has been released. The 1.1.x series of AGNULA/DeMuDi mark a major infrastructural change from the 1.0 release. While the latter was based on Debian GNU/Linux 3.0 (aka 'Woody'), AGNULA/DeMuDi 1.1.0 (and subsequent releases) are/will be based on a snapshot of Debian GNU/Linux Unstable (aka 'sid'). Instructions on how to download and install AGNULA/DeMuDi 1.1.0 are available here." The full release announcement.
STUX GNU/Linux 0.6.1
STUX GNU/Linux 0.6.1 has been released. Changes: "OpenOffice added. Peripherals: drivers and configuration saving has been added for printers, modems and scanners. Scripts added for: sound volumes saving, ample server (MP3 streamer) configuration, apache web server configuration; MySQL db configuration, ProFTPd FTP server configuration, ssh server configuration, Samba server configuration, swaps manager, passwords setting and saving, loop filesystems creation, Flash plugin installation, Tcl/Tk installation, AMSN installation. X-CD-Roast has been replaced by K3b (for CD/DVD burning)..." The full changelog.
Buffalo Linux 1.1.1
A new version of Buffalo Linux has been released: "The main new features are the 2.6.1 kernel, a 'newkernel' GUI rebuild feature, and a new modutils 3.0.0 (with a Buffalo wrapper for switching back to the old version if needed). All other packages are the same as 1.1.0. There are many minor bugfixes and a few new features, such as a 'RUN Program' option on the main menu which supports adding desktop icons and Programs entries for both Linux and MS Windows programs."
Lunar Linux 1.3.3
Lunar Linux has been updated to version 1.3.3: "An updated Lunar install/rescue ISO is now available. Linux kernel 2.4.24 based. glibc recompiled with 2.4.24 kernel headers. No more /usr/include/linux symlinks to /usr/src/linux. SATA is supported in the kernel on the ISO. More kernel modules for ethernet, SCSI, IDE, fusion, firewire, USB, ppp now included on the ISO. BitchX is now included. For full details of all the changes please see ISO.Changelog. A xdelta patch is also available from 1.3.2 ISO to the 1.3.3 ISO." Read the rest of the official announcement.
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
The GoboLinux project has published a roadmap leading towards the release of version 011: "GoboLinux 007 and 010 featured large improvements, namely the installer and hardware detection. These would be hard to top on 011: the plan is to have smaller things as new features, and focus on improving these larger features that were introduced in the last releases. So, what's new to be expected? New bootscripts. They are going to be as simple as the current ones, but more modular than the current ones. While some scenarios need extra complexity (daemon management, dependency-based boot, runlevels) others just need a few programs to be launched in a certain order at startup and "that's it". We believe it is possible to support both in an elegant manner. And do all of this in a themeable way, of course. ;-)" More details about the release can be found here.
|Web Site News
In addition to "distrowatch.com", you can now also access DistroWatch via "distrowatch.org".
Cheats from Poland
It has come to our attention that there has been a massive effort at increasing the page hit count of the Debian page by visitors from Poland. This has been going on since early in October last year, but it has accelerated dramatically during the last three weeks (with brief high-hit periods during late November and early December. During this time, the number of visitors from Poland represented some 30% of all visitors on the Debian page, while on the main page they only represented less than 1.6%. Although the hits came from varying IP addresses, the visitors were invariably using a version of a popular Windows browser to access the Debian page.
After examining the log files for the period between 2003-10-15 and 2004-01-17, the number of illegal hits on the Debian page by visitors from Poland was determined to be 9756. This number has been deducted from data on the statistics page. The overall number of hits on the Debian page, as calculated for the Page Hit Ranking (PHR) statistics, has been reduced by an average of 37 hits per day during the above period (this number is lower because the counter already ignores hits from identical IP addresses). The adjusted count will be displayed after the next PHR update scheduled for Saturday, 24 January.
As a result of the above fact, all visitors from Poland trying to access the Debian page while using Windows are currently banned from loading the page, and are being redirected to debian.org instead. This will remain in effect until all extraneous hits from Polish IP addresses stop (which hasn't, even some 48 hours after the redirection came into effect!).
Unfortunately, cheating is a way of life for many people and I doubt that appealing to visitor's conscience will change that. The Page Hit Ranking was never meant to be taken seriously, yet some people are prepared to go to great lengths to promote their favourite distribution. Any blatant attempts to manipulate the distribution ranking will result in deduction of page hits, and in more serious cases, we'll call on the FBI to investigate the breach of rules. Unless of course this is all a big mistake and there has suddenly been a massive increase of interest in Debian among the Windows users in Poland, in which case please leave an explanation below. (Don't take the FBI threat too seriously though, just grow up, prosze bardzo!)
New on the waiting list
- Ares Desktop. Ares Desktop is a free operating system for people looking for a polished desktop environment for the educational, business desktop and home user fields. Ares Desktop is based on the Linux core system. Ares Desktop offers more than just an operating system: It comes with many packages that are used daily by desktop educational, business and home users. All these packages are bundled up in an easy installation program.
- Zeus Linux. Zeus Linux is a Greek Linux distribution based on Slackware Linux. It includes many fixes, such as remaking init scripts, new precompiled kernels for workstation machines, several tools that we believe should be included in all distributions (Zebra for advanced routing, FreeSwan ipsec tunnels, Open-nms for network monitoring, Ntop, Mailscanner, Sophos Antivirus, Mrtg, Rrdtool for graph making, sawmill log analyser and many other useful tools for power users).
- Condorux. Condorux is a Peruvian Linux distribution based on Knoppix.
DistroWatch database summary
- Good-Day GNU/Linux. Good-Day GNU/Linux is a free Japanese server distribution based on Debian GNU/Linux.
- Number of distributions in the database: 239
- Number of discontinued distributions: 26
- Number of distributions on the waiting list: 60
DistroWatch server slow?
No, not as far as I know. It seems to be just general overload caused by a surge of interest. We've had a major influx of visitors just after publishing the Knoppix review (that wasn't the first time the site was slashdotted, but it was by far the most intense "attack" on the server; no wonder Knoppix is at No 3 in our Page Hit Ranking!). Last week, following the appearance of PHLAK on TechTV, we had an incredible amount of people accessing the PHLAK page. In fact, the number of visitors interested in this relatively unknown distribution was as high as the number of visitors on the Mandrake or Red Hat pages shortly after a release! Also of note was the massive effort of some visitors from Polish IP addresses to increase the page hits on the Debian page (see the "Web Site News" section above). All this contributed to the general sluggishness of the server hosting DistroWatch.
- "Hey Ladislav, I (and several of our readers) have noticed your site being
very unresponsive the past week or so. Are you having server issues?"
The solution? I am going to spend some time on the PHP code to see what I can speed up, but in the meantime, simply bookmark and visit one of the mirrors. The main reason we have everything in text files, rather than a proper database is the ease of mirroring. Most mirrors rsync hourly, including the ones in Bratislava, Budapest, Cluj-Napoca and Vienna, as well as our newest mirrors in Prague and Florida (see the very top of this page for links).
That's all for this week, see you next Monday :-)
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