| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 45, 19 April 2004
Welcome to this year's 16th edition of DistroWatch Weekly. The main upcoming attractions of this week are KDE 3.2.2 and, in certain countries, SUSE LINUX 9.1.
Debian Package a Day
Do you know how many packages are currently present in Debian Sid? Here is the number: 15,420. Yes, that's over fifteen thousand deb packages that are available at any time for your downloading pleasure. Granted, a significant portion of them are libraries, header files and development packages split from the original source code, but still... That's a lot of good software to play with.
Given the cryptic names that Free Software developers tend to give their products, it is hardly surprising that a lot of the included software is little known by most users. A quick quiz: how many of the following packages you know, use, or at least have heard of: pcregrep, arch-buildpackage, apt-watch, udev, readpst, netselect-apt, darcs, kmd, fam, fwatch, proxycheck, libnet-google-perl, pwgen? If your answer is close to zero, you might want to check out Debian Package a Day.
Debian Package a Day is a web site publishing daily descriptions of interesting applications to introduce people to cool packages in the Debian testing distribution. So far over 25 packages have been featured. Syndicated feeds are available in RSS and Atom formats. The applications mentioned in the above quiz are just some of the recently featured packages; they include a brief description and purpose, and readers are welcome to make comments. Even if you are not a Debian user, Debian Package a Day is a useful page to bookmark and visit regularly to learn about all the great, but little known software for Linux.
Slackware and the X Window System
A few weeks ago we talked about the unexpected inclusion of XFree86 4.4.0 in the Slackware current tree. Unexpected because Slackware was the only major Linux distribution that has accepted the new version of XFree86, despite the fact that its new license is generally seen as incompatible with GPL. Now it seems that Patrick Volkerding is having second thoughts about the issue and is soliciting ideas from users. This is from a recent entry in the Slackware's Current ChangeLog:
"testing/packages/x11/*: Added X11R6.7.0 from X.Org.
Got an opinion on what the future of X in Slackware should be? I'm curious about that myself, and welcome comments on the matter at firstname.lastname@example.org."
It will be interesting to see how users react. Could it be that Slackware ends up being the only distribution that lets users decided about that matter?
|Released Last Week
Buffalo Linux 1.2.0
Buffalo Linux 1.2.0 is out: "This release of Buffalo uses the new 2.6.5 kernel exclusively. Six kernels are provided for i586, Pentium 2, Pentium 3, Pentium 4, K6, and K7 (Duron/Athlon). Major package upgrades (74) including OpenOffice-1.1.1. Plus a bonus bundle GNOME package that contains another 73 packages. 44 little used packages were deleted to fit on a single CD. The 2.4.24 kernels are no longer included on the CD, available on website for download only. There is a 102MB upgrade from 1.1.6 to 1.2.0 available." The full changelog.
SLAX 4.0.7, 4.0.8 and 4.1.1
A busy week for SLAX as versions 4.0.7, 4.0.8 and 4.1.1 were all released within a few days: "The changes in this release are as follows: added smb4k (a Samba share browser for KDE); better font and sound handling in KDE; kernel 2.4.26; Netscape plugins 7.1; added parted. X can now handle three mice in parallel. The eject boot parameter was fixed along with the create_bootdisk.sh script (lilo no longer stores MBR backups). The memtest and ide-scsi module loading were also fixed." The full changelog.
Feather Linux 0.4.0
Feather Linux 0.4.0 has been released. From the changelog: "Updated OpenOffice.org script to 1.1.1; fixed localscript.sh; fixed xterm colours; fixed Synaptic script; added 'noicons' option to stop XTDesk loading on bootup; changed frequency option to DPI in X setup routine; added poor man's install script (type sudo pm_install) - very experimental; added xsri to set background (bsetbg now works); added whowto, a script to grab and view HOWTOs (e.g. type whowto 3-Button-Mouse) and wdict; added scripts to download aMSN, AbiWord and xpuyopuyo; included xmms-volnorm; added evilwm (run it by booting with knoppix evilwm)..."
Mandrakelinux 10.0 Official
"After nearly two months of polishing and enhancing the Mandrakelinux 10.0 Community release, Mandrakelinux 10.0 Official is now available. Mandrakelinux 10.0 Official offers the most advanced Linux features currently available. 10.0 Official provides increased performance with Linux kernel 2.6, an enhanced desktop experience with KDE 3.2, GNOME 2.4 and Mandrakegalaxy II, unbeatable hardware recognition, and support for Serial ATA, USB2 and IEEE 1394. Mandrakelinux 10.0 Official makes the latest and greatest Open Source technologies accessible to everyone!" The full press release. Get the brand new Mandrakelinux 10.0 Official either from the Mandrakeclub or the Mandrakestore.
Damn Small Linux 0.6.3
Damn Small Linux 0.6.3 has been released. From the changelog: "Added new applications: control-panel, hdparm; added new game: Xtris; enhanced xsetup: 'cancel' option to use wheel mouse if found, otherwise the 3 button mouse; enhanced dsl-hdinstall: added colors, check for actual Linux partition, prompts for multi-user otherwise boots into X as user damnsmall; enhanced knoppix-autoconfig: added toram and frugal options, embedded dsl-start into knoppix-autoconfig for faster boot up, added ftp boot time shortcut to start betaftpd; enhanced boot.img: changed from 'knoppix' to 'dsl', updated F2 screen to reflect new 'dsl', updated F2 added ftp to daemons options list..."
Aurox Live 1.4.4
A new version of Aurox Live has been released: "We are glad to announce a new live version of Aurox, numbered 1.4.4. This issue brings support for more winmodems. The most important changes in this release: Connexant HSF last free full speed drivers; lynx added for console browsing; better discovery of SmartLink USB modems; fixes in 'System Settings -> Network': you can activate and deactivate modem connections for some winmodems; Czech translations added; Czech OpenOffice.org help used for this release." The full release notes.
STUX GNU/Linux 0.7
STUX 0.7 has been released: "Changes: user 'gp' removed: now applications run with root privileges; MiniDesktop 0.1 released: MiniDesktop is an application that uses graphical interface to perform all operations required to manage Live CD sessions (devices setting, configuration save, hard disk installation, ...); all STUX codes have been rewritten and included in MiniDesktop; introduced Cheat Codes: Cheat Codes are used to pass values to STUX, to help with getting it working on difficult hardware, start with a different desktop manager, set root password, debug, ... (press F1 at boot prompt for a list of available Cheat Codes)..." See the rest of the changelog.
This is the first official release of LBA-Linux, a distribution created by Finland's Linux Business Alliance: "The Linux Business Alliance has released its inaugural GNU/Linux distribution, LBA-Linux. LBA-Linux R1 is a technologically advanced, versatile, easy-to-use operating system with high aesthetic appeal. Enhanced usability, hardened security, well-tested functionality and a legal safety check are some of the key features that distinguish LBA-Linux from other GNU/Linux distributions. The new distribution also comes with a useful update 'watcher' - a program that periodically notifies the user about updates to LBA-Linux software." Read the full press release and visit the product page for further details. LBA-Linux R1 is based on the second beta of Fedora Core 2 and developed by SOT Linux (formerly Best Linux).
A new version of Devil-Linux has been released. From the changelog: "1.0.6: added latest mremap and vmalloc kernel patches; fixed kernel ext3 info leak; fixed kernel iso9660 vulnerability; disabled netfilter optimization patches in the default profile as the pptp nat- and conntrack modules is killing the machine with them applied; fixed a long standing problem in that the netfilter patches did not get pplied."
Development and unannounced releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
SUSE LINUX 9.1
The much awaited SUSE LINUX 9.1 was released to manufacturing last week. The product will be officially launched later this week, at least according to a README file published for journalists and reviewers:
"The final product, including printed manuals and installation support, is scheduled to be available on
• 23 April - Germany, Austria and Switzerland
• 6 May - UK, US, Benelux and Scandinavia
• 10 May - Spain and Italy
SUSE LINUX 9.1 Personal is only available in English and German and contains: 1 Live CD for 32-bit x86, 1 installation CD for 32-bit x86, installation guide, 30 days of installation support.
SUSE LINUX 9.1 Professional contains: 5 CDs for 32-bit x86 (AMD Athlon, Intel Pentium systems), 2 double-sided DVD (containing binaries and sources for 32-bit x86 and x86-64 (AMD64 and Intel 64-bit Extended Technology))"
You can pre-order SUSE LINUX 9.1 from the SUSE Online Store, and also from Amazon:
Have a lot of fun!
SUSE LINUX 9.1 - promises to be the release of the year
(full image size 1,313kB)
|Web Site News
Does DistroWatch layout scare you away?
I made some cosmetic changes on the main index page. This was prompted by a not-so-flattering revelation by a poster on OSNews:
"I beg you pardon but the website distrowatch.com scared me away. What the hell where do I start reading its like this website is full of hyperlinks on the right/left/top/bottom with a little bit of text in the middle."
If there is anything else that can be done to make the main page clearer, please feel free to make a suggestion in the forums below.
Update on Google AdSense
Some of you will remember that two weeks ago the DistroWatch AdSense account at Google was terminated due to this site allegedly breaking AdSense language policies. The good news is that the account was re-activated - without any explanation. Thank you all who offered help by writing to Google to try to convince the responsible person that DistroWatch really is an English-language web site :-)
New on the waiting list
- LinEspa. LinEspa is a Spanish linux distribution, based on Knoppix and optimised for Spanish and Latin-American users. It includes a useful selection of software while featuring a Live-CD mode. The web site is in Spanish.
DistroWatch database summary
- Aberium Supervisor Security Linux. Aberium Supervisor features a firewall, DMZ, VPN (IPSEC and PPTP), QoS, an email server, a web server, a file server, a proxy, web content filtering, web user reports, and backup management. Aberium Supervisor rapidly transform any PC into an internet security appliance. Installation is automatic, taking 5 minutes and management is through a web-based interface. Among the main features are: firewall, DMZ, VPN (IPSEC & PPTP), QoS, email server (Integrated Webmail, antivirus, antispam, mail filter and reports), web server, file server, proxy, web content filtering, web user reports, backup management (emails, logs, files). No Linux knowledge required to configure.
- MAdrid_LinuX. MAdrid_LinuX (or MAX) is a new Linux distribution launched by the Council of Education in Madrid, Spain for use at schools. It is currently under development and will be based on Debian and Knoppix. The web site is in Spanish.
- KLA - Knoppix Linux Azur. KLA - Knoppix Linux Azur is new French distribution based on Knoppix. The web site is in French.
- Number of Linux distributions in the database: 281
- Number of BSD distributions in the database: 3
- Number of discontinued distributions: 33
- Number of distributions on the waiting list: 69
DistroWatch on Daily Rotation
Bob H writes: "Hi, just wanted to let you know, we think highly of DistroWatch, and so we just added its news headlines to Daily Rotation. Your users would probably like to know about us too, so a link back wouldn't be misplaced...."
Mandrakestaff mirror stuff-ups (again)
John C writes: "I have been watching DistroWatch during the last week, and expected to see at least some comment about the Mandrake's 're-invent the wheel' for the mirrors (including the updates paths). This has caused havoc for many many Mandrake users and wasted days for lots of people who have been trying to do an update (at least 9.2 and 10.0 community).
The whole point that I am getting to is that, except hidden in a cooker mailing list, Mandrakesoft (or Mandrakeclub) did not warn anyone about this. It may be coincidence but the club's posting 'Mandrakelinux mirrors, what's up with that mess?!' by Warly only got posted 2 hours after I put a complaint about the lack of communication in the Mandrakeclub forum.
I feel that, to be fair to all your DistroWatch visitors, you should put some sort of posting this week about the fiasco NOTING that this is not the first time that Mandrakesoft have screwed up the mirrors. The ideals of the Mandrake geeks wanting to restructure the mirror directory is bad enough; doing it all without mentioning it beforehand to their users, and especially the Mandrakeclub users, was irresponsible.
Anyhow that's my 2 cents worth, you can quote any of the this if you want to (so I get the blame) but I feel that, as a General Linux distro critic, you should put a posting about it at DistroWatch (and not minimising the fall out it has had - especially 'end users' waste of time'). You know I use and support Mandrake, but this was an inexcusable stuff-up, and could have been avoided by public announcements a week before :-("
That's all for this week, see you next Monday :-)
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|• Issue 709 (2017-04-24): Ubuntu 17.04, Korora testing new software manager, Ubuntu migrates to Wayland, running Nix package manager on alternative distributions|
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|• Issue 706 (2017-04-03): Super Grub2 Disk, Snap packages of deepin applications, Subgraph OS routes network traffic for one application, announcements from Linux Mint|
|• Issue 705 (2017-03-27): Minimal Linux Live, sharing control of the operating system, new KaOS features, Uplos32 provides 32-bit fork of PCLinuxOS|
|• Issue 704 (2017-03-20): ToarusOS 1.0.4, Linux Mint's security record, Debian starts Project Leader election, Ubuntu 12.04 reaches end-of-life|
|• Issue 703 (2017-03-13): SolydXK 201701, CloudReady, Solus announces new features, KDE Connect sends text messages from desktop, openSUSE's YaST module for Let's Encrypt|
|• Issue 702 (2017-03-06): Fatdog64 Linux, elementary OS bundled with new netbook, Haiku announces new features, security and the size of a distro's development team|
|• Issue 701 (2017-02-27): OBRevenge 2017.02, Mageia 6 delays, NetBSD reproducible builds, questions about swap space, trying to steam video on a Raspberry Pi|
|• Issue 700 (2017-02-20): RaspBSD, Debian replaces Icedove with Thunderbird, Fedora's licensing guidlines, tips for switching shells, finding battery charge, getting IP address and killing processes|
|• Issue 699 (2017-02-13): Clear Linux, GhostBSD network utility ported to FreeBSD, Ubuntu coming to Fairphone, elementary OS crowd funding an app store|
|• Issue 698 (2017-02-06): Solus 2017.01.01, comparing containers with portable applicatins, Tails dropping 32-bit support, Debian Stretch enters freeze|
|• Issue 697 (2017-01-30): Subgraph OS 2016.12.30, running Ubuntu on an Android phone, Arch Linux phasing out 32-bit support, Linux Mint testing updated LMDE media|
|• Issue 696 (2017-01-23): GoboLinux 016, remotely running desktop applications, Solus adopting Flatpak, KDE neon using Calamares, TrueOS tests OpenRC|
|• Issue 695 (2017-01-16): Zorin OS 12, Peppermint team fixes installer bug, Debian refreshes Jessie media, Ubuntu improves low graphics mode, Exciting things coming in 2017|
|• Issue 694 (2017-01-09): MX Linux 16, Fedora considers systemd security features, DragonFly BSD to support massive swap space, Ubuntu Touch roadmap, Puppy's newsletter, sudo's password prompt|
|• Issue 693 (2017-01-02): Comparing small distros, fig language, video driver comparsion, Debian+PIXEL, Wayland on FreeBSD|
|• Issue 692 (2016-12-19): Bodhi Linux 4.0.0, Cappsule containers, Calculate's new Utilities package, Solus and Ubuntu MATE build new application menu|
|• Issue 691 (2016-12-12): SalentOS 1.0, openSUSE improves YaST, Fedora considers slower release cycle, KDE neon gets LTS branch|
|• Issue 690 (2016-12-05): Fedora 25, Ubuntu adopts rolling HWE kernel, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, Haiku working toward EFI support|
|• Issue 689 (2016-11-28): openSUSE 42.2, Fedora's upgrade path, plans for Korora 25, transitioning from PC-BSD to TrueOS, Webconverger's reproducible builds|
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|• Issue 686 (2016-11-07): FreeBSD 11.0, rolling release trial #2, Debian announces supported architectures, Simplicity switching to antiX base, farewell to Mythbuntu|
|• Issue 685 (2016-10-31): elementary OS 0.4, SUSE gains ARM support, Mint improves language support, Dirty COW explained, Rolling release trial #2|
|• Issue 684 (2016-10-24): Ubuntu 16.10, Linux popularity in different markets, Fedora runs on Raspberry Pi, Ubuntu features live kernel patching|
|• Issue 683 (2016-10-17): Refracta 8.0, making packages for distributions, Alpine switches to LibreSSL, 386BSD website publishes classic code|
|• Issue 682 (2016-10-10): KDE neon 20160915, Android-x86 6.0, Fedora warns of update bug, HandyLinux drops English translation, LXQt benchmarks|
|• Issue 681 (2016-10-03): OpenBSD 6.0, DragonFly BSD to support LibreSSL in ports, systemd denial of service bug, upgraded Mintbox Mini|
|• Issue 680 (2016-09-26): Uruk GNU/Linux 1.0, blocking applications at the firewall, Lenovo controversy, Ubuntu running on the Nextcloud Box|
|• Issue 679 (2016-09-19): OpenMandriva 3.0, 32-bit vs 64-bit performance, openSUSE updates, KaOS unveils first run wizard|
|• Issue 678 (2016-09-12): Apricity 07.2016, Mageia adopts DNF, KDE neon to use Wayland, FreeBSD updates Linux compatibility, creating cron jobs|
|• Issue 677 (2016-09-05): Peppermint OS 7, Manjaro updates leadership, TrueOS becomes rolling release, organizing files, creating torrents|
|• Issue 676 (2016-08-29): Korora 24, Fedora 25 to use Wayland by default, Linux turns 25, PC-BSD becomes TrueOS, finding software licensing information|
|• Issue 675 (2016-08-22): Gentoo LiveDVD "Choice Edition", moreutils, Ubuntu improves terminal convergence, MATE packaged for Openindiana, FreeBSD improves video support|
|• Issue 674 (2016-08-15): Zenwalk Linux 8.0, Ubuntu phone follow-up, Lubuntu transitioning to LXQt, Steam running on FreeBSD|
|• Issue 673 (2016-08-03): noop linux and EasyNAS, Debian's GnuPG switch, Fedora "Flock", using "nice"|
|• Issue 672 (2016-08-01): Ubuntu Phone 15.04, Solus embraces rolling release model, interview with Jane Silber, FreeBSD Quarterly Report|
|• Issue 671 (2016-07-25): Slackware 14.2, Point Linux 3.2, OpenBSD disables usermount, KaOS releases significant changes, Fedora 22 reaches end of life.|
|• Issue 670 (2016-07-18): Linux Lite 3.0, Bodhi team plans 4.0.0, pfSense changes licensing, running software across distributions, Linux Mint upgrade path|
|• 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|
|• Issue 668 (2016-07-04): Fedora 24, Linux Mint plans for 18.1, FreeBSD and DragonFly BSD improve their file systems, comparing Flatpak, Snap and AppImage|
|• Issue 667 (2016-06-27): GeckoLinux 421, Fedora supports Flatpak, Solus unveils new features, running GNU/Linux on tablets|
|• Issue 666 (2016-06-20): Comparing more live update methods, Ubuntu's snap packages, Antergos drops 32-bit media, GeckoLinux unveils Rolling edition, learning Linux resources|
|• Issue 665 (2016-06-13): BunsenLabs Linux Hydrogen, Fedora 24 delayed, NetBSD grows in size, Clonezilla questions|
|• Issue 664 (2016-06-06): Sabayon 16.05, Debian updates install media, the cost of free software, Qubes explains secure build process|
|• Issue 663 (2016-05-30): Comparing live update methods, Ubuntu MATE's progress, distros debate systemd change, DistroWatch turns 15|
|• Issue 662 (2016-05-23): Clonezilla Live, new Fedora community repository, DragonFlyBSD runs Wayland, a live edition of Slackware and kernel components|
|• Full list of all issues|
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