| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 47, 3 May 2004
Welcome to this year's 18th edition of DistroWatch Weekly. I hope you are not getting tired of the BSD coverage on what used to be a Linux only web site, because we have some more for you in this edition. On the Linux front, the third revision of Debian GNU/Linux "Woody" is expected to be released this week. Happy reading!
FreeBSD feedback (by Robert Storey)
Since my review of FreeBSD was published (Tuesday, 27 April), I have received considerable feedback. Most of it was surprisingly non-hostile - my flame-proof suit hardly got warm, my eyebrows barely got scorched. I am encouraged. Many of the respondents were experienced FreeBSD users, and several of them pointed out a couple of minor errors in the review, as well as offering useful suggestions for future articles. I value reader feedback, especially when it doesn't make me look like a dork. Now I'd like to share with everyone some of the more important issues that were raised.
* * * * * * * *
In my original article, I said the following:
"Despite the lack of a Linux kernel, most (but not all) Linux binaries can be run on FreeBSD thanks to a special Linux compatibility package that you (optionally) install. It's not foolproof, and a couple of my favourite apps (Mailfilter, for example) refuse to compile."
As several readers pointed out to me, Mailfilter is in fact in the ports collection. However, it has been renamed "Filtermail", apparently to avoid confusion with another program in the ports collection which is also called Mailfilter. It was pointed out to me that one can search the ports collection on a particular keyword (such as "mailfilter"), as follows:
make search key=mailfilter
Interestingly, the original Mailfilter program which caused all this trouble in the first place has now been removed from ports. No word yet on whether this means that Filtermail will revert to being Mailfilter again - time will tell.
* * * * * * * *
I mentioned how to edit ~/.profile to change the pager:
"Change 'PAGER=more' to 'PAGER=less'"
The first time I installed FreeBSD (version 5.0), "more" and "less" were totally different, but apparently they have been merged. You can see this by checking the inode number:
robert@sonic:~> ls -i1 /usr/bin/more /usr/bin/less
Both files have the same inode number, which means that they are in fact the same file. Therefore, it won't make any difference if your pager is more or less - your man pages will behave the same. This was not the case in the past, but times change.
Ah, but wait, I've got a better idea. Have you ever heard of "most"? It's another pager, not installed by default, but you can find it in the ports collection. Go to /usr/ports/misc/most and do a "make" and "make install", then edit ~/.profile and change the pager to "most". Logout and login again, and your man pages will be displayed in stunning color.
* * * * * * * *
In the section on installing CUPS, I originally said the following:
"You've got to install four packages from ports. You can find them here:
root@sonic:# ls -d1 /usr/ports/print/cups*
A couple of readers pointed out to me that /usr/ports/print/cups is a meta-port - that is to say, if you install it, the other three CUPS ports will install automatically.
* * * * * * * *
Finally, on the issue of FreeBSD's lack of a GUI firewall tool, my attention was called to Firewall Builder. This, as the name implies, builds firewalls, and it's a GUI tool as well. Furthermore, this program is unique in that it's basically firewall-neutral. That is to say, it allows you to write a set of firewall rules and then export them by "compiling" (this requires that a "policy compiler" has been written for your firewalling software). There is a policy compiler available for IPFILTER (which is available for FreeBSD, though it's not the default firewall), as well as OpenBSD's PF (which is now being ported to FreeBSD and will be available with the next release).
You can find Firewall Builder in /usr/ports/security/fwbuilder - the good old ports collection comes through again. Or does it? In this case, the port is "broken" and will fail if you try to install it. The cure is to update your ports collection. That's a process I didn't go into, and I'll have to save it for a future article.
Another little "gotcha" is that Firewall Builder is not really an easy point-and-click tool for the typical desktop user. It's a system administrator's tool and, though useful, don't expect to master it in 30 seconds. I'm not really sure this is the answer for FreeBSD punters who just want an easy way to get a basic firewall up and running so they can hop on the web and start surfing.
Nevertheless, I will be giving Firewall Builder a close look when I begin work on my next OS review, which will be OpenBSD. See you then.
Tips and tricks: cracking Microsoft boxes with AUSTRUMI
What do you do if you need to get into a Microsoft Windows machine, but don't know the password? Simple: use Linux. A small Latvian live CD called AUSTRUMI provides a utility which allows you to change (or blank) any password, including that of the Administrator, on a partition occupied by Windows NT, Windows 2000 or Windows XP. Simply boot the CD and when you get to the initial boot prompt, type:
This will launch a console utility that will detect Windows partitions on the hard disk and provide you with a menu to modify any user or Administrator passwords on the Windows system. It will even give access to the Windows registry for recovery purposes. Quite a handy utility to keep in your wallet (AUSTRUMI is small enough to fit on a business card-size CD) if you are unfortunate enough to having to deal with Windows machines in your line of work.
The latest version of AUSTRUMI is 0.8.4 and you can download it from SourceForge.
|Released Last Week
Aurox Linux 9.3.1
Aurox Linux 9.3.1 has been released: "We'd like to announce the availability of Aurox Linux 9.3.1 version. The distribution is on 2 CDs. The main purpose of this issue was to gather fixes and updates that were made after the 9.3 release. The default language is set to Polish, however, you can use the 'selectlang' option during boot, and choose English. Choosing other languages won't make any sense, because localisation packages for them (kde-i18n, mozilla-i18n, etc.) are not present. So if you are using Aurox 9.3 -- please update your system, if you plan to install Aurox -- use 9.3.1 instead of 9.3."
Munjoy Linux 0.5.4
Munjoy Linux is a new Linux distribution based on Debian GNU/Linux and KDE. This general-purpose desktop distribution focuses on user interface consistency, automation, and ease-of-use. Munjoy Linux is created by David Chester, a developer renowned for his famous Xft and FreeType hacks. The distribution includes a new set of TrueType fonts based on Bitstream Vera. Visit MunjoyLinux.org for more information and screenshots.
Gentoo Linux 2004.1
Gentoo Linux 2004.1 has been released: "The Gentoo Linux Release Engineering team is proud to announce the release of Gentoo Linux 2004.1! Please consult our mirror index for download locations and the Gentoo Linux Installation Handbook for detailed installation instructions. Support for Gentoo Linux 2004.1 can be found through our user community by way of the Gentoo Forums, IRC, and various community mailing-lists. Release notes for each architecture can be found linked from the Gentoo Linux Release Engineering project page." The full press release.
LinuxTLE 5.5 Live CD
Thailand's first Linux live CD, based on LinuxTLE 5.5, has been released: "The National Electronic and Computer Technology Center (NECTEC) and the Thai Linux Working Group (TLWG) have released LinuxTLE 5.5 Live CD. The product is based on Fedora Core with elements borrowed from Knoppix and full support for the Thai language. The default desktop is GNOME 2.6.0. The live CD is customisable and offers support for SMP systems." The full announcement (in Thai).
LinuxTLE 5.5 - life is a (Thai) beach
(full image size 885kB)
Linux LiveCD Router 1.9.3
Version 1.9.3 of Linux LiveCD Router has been released. From the changelog: "Version 1.9.3 Apr 2004. New webmin web interface version 1.140; new web modules for network configuration and log rotation; added ndiswrapper driver to use WiFi windows drivers at /opt/drivers; minor dbdif config bugfixes."
Buffalo Linux 1.2.1
Buffalo Linux 1.2.1 has been released: "The new features added to this version are: Ximian Evolution included in the GNOME bundle, GIMP 2.0.1, MYSQL 4.0.18 and a Buffalo version of 'swaret-1.6.2'. This release includes 55 minor package upgrades to bring Buffalo 'insync' with Slackware-Current (as of 24 Apr 2004). A 56MB upgrade from 1.2.0 to 1.2.1 (upgrade-1.2.1-buff-1.bz2) is available (download via patch-1.2.0-buff-3.tgz)." Read the complete changelog for more details.
Eadem Enterprise AS 3.0
Eadem Enterprise is a new Linux distribution rebuilt from Red Hat Enterprise Server's (RHEL) source RPMs: "Eadem Enterprise AS V3.0 is the core operating system and infrastructure enterprise Linux solution. Supporting the largest commodity-architecture servers--with up to eight CPUs and 16GB of main memory--and available with the highest levels of support, Eadem Server is the ultimate solution for large departmental and datacenter servers." Eadem differs from Red Hat in that it uses Blackbox as the default desktop environment and it includes MPlayer, Gtk-gnutella, mailman, amsn and other applications useful for a workstation. Find out more information on Eadem.com.
It has been a while since we brought you news about a Sorcerer release, but that's because the developers don't publish a changelog and don't normally announce new releases. However, version 20040428 was announced on the distribution's mailing list: "I have rolled out a new Install/Rescue disk. The importance of libpcap is that ppp now requires it. In addition to more than some 12 spells on the Install/Rescue disk being updated the new disk has four text editors to choose from: elvis/vi, nano, jed and joe. Excited yet? Okay how about being able to install: linux,v2.6 or linux,v2.6-grsecurity or linux,v2.4 or linux,v2.4-grsecurity straight from the Install/Rescue disk? Choose only one of course."
Peanut Linux 9.6
More than a year after the last stable release, a new release of Peanut Linux, version 9.6, is now available for download: "Latest version: Peanut Linux 9.6. A 100% pure Linux, glibc, libc6 ELF system. The entire system when installed is less than 999MB! Enlightenment Exp. v0.16.7-53, XFree86 4.4.x, kernel 2.6.5 with USB. Plus a lot more cool graphical, interesting, friendly, fun stuff." Find out more about the project on the Peanut Linux web site.
tinysofa enterprise server 1.0
The inaugural version of tinysofa enterprise server has been released: "The culmination of more than a month of development and testing, tinysofa enterprise server 1.0 ('Emily') has finally been released. Building on the proven rock solid basis of Trustix Secure Linux, tinysofa enterprise server is the new benchmark in Linux based server operating systems. Major new features include a complete distribution port to python 2.3 and rpm 4.2, an overhauled pam authentication system providing system-wide authentication configuration, the latest upstream packages, the replacement of ncftp with lftp, the addition of gdb and screen, feature additions to the swup updater..." Visit tinysofa.org to learn more about the project.
XoL is a live CD based on Server optimized Linux. New features in version 18.00 include: "Multilanguage: XoL features a full English and German desktop and OpenOffice.org environment. USB-TO-GO: The unique USB-TO-GO feature offers you the freedom to continue your work on any other system using XoL and a USB storage device. KDE and GNOME: With XoL you can work with your favourite desktop environment; XoL features both! Easy network: When XoL starts it connects to the next DHCP server to configure your network - being online was never that easy. OpenOffice.org: The best free office suite available. Design your folders, create your presentations, type your papers! On XoL you have the choice of the English and the German versions..." Read the announcement and visit the product's features page for further details.
OpenBSD 3.5 has been released: "We are pleased to announce the official release of OpenBSD 3.5. This is our 15th release on CD-ROM (and 16th via FTP). We remain proud of OpenBSD's record of eight years with only a single remote hole in the default install. As in our previous releases, 3.5 provides significant improvements, including new features, in nearly all areas of the system." Read the full announcement or the release notes for a comprehensive list of improvements. As always, the full set of OpenBSD ISO images is only available from the project's online store (US$40), but the full release can be installed via FTP from one of the OpenBSD mirrors.
Overclockix 3.4 has been released: "A new version of Overclockix is now available, based on the unofficial Knoppix 3.4 CeBIT edition, Overclockix 3.4! This remaster features the latest packages available for the sid (unstable) branch of Debian. Some highlights are captive-NTFS (write support), install on demand scripts, 2.4.23-xfs and 2.6.1 kernel, XFce, GNOME 2.4, KDE 3.2.2 with noia icons, Fluxbox, IceWM, Enlightenment, GIMP 2.0, and all the usual Overclockix packages (ml-donkey, BT, MPlayer, Firefox, Thunderbird, Karamba, stress-testers and DC clients)." The distribution's home page has more details about the release.
Feather Linux 0.4.1
Feather Linux 0.4.1 has been released. From the changelog: "Updated list of documentation and organised scripts; added bcrypt, xmms-cdread; added scripts to download Audacity, and to remove the dpkg structure (rm-dpkg); added serial mouse option to X setup; updated Monkey to 0.8.2 and changed daemon script accordingly; added memory checks to some scripts; fixed error with /opt on bootup; changed dillo homepage; added 'xdef' boot option - boots with 1024x768, 3 button mouse, 16-bit depth; replaced XCDRoast with Gcombust..."
Development and unannounced releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Debian GNU/Linux 3.0r3
The third revision of Debian GNU/Linux "Woody" is expected to be released this week: "I am preparing the third revision of the current stable Debian distribution (woody) and will infrequently send reports so people can actually comment on it and intervene whenever this is required. The regulations for stable are quite conservative. The requirements for packages to get into stable are: the package fixes a security problem; the package fixes a critical bug which can lead into data loss, data corruption, or an overly broken system, or the package is broken or not usable (anymore)..." See the and the proposed timeline for additional information.
Impi Linux 2.0
InfoWorld reports about the upcoming release of South Africa's Impi, Linux: "Developers in South Africa have installed the firewall component of the next version of a variant of Linux, called Impi 2, in a high-profile installation within the country, as the beta testing cycle for the software gets under way, according to the head of the project, Ross Addis. While Impi comes with the GNOME desktop window manager, Impi 2 will offer both GNOME and KDE, from the K Desktop Environment (KDE) Project, Addis said. In the meanwhile, South African open source developers have released a chain of other applications." See African open source projects gather steam.
|Web Site News
April donation: Quanta Plus receives US$200
Continuing with our programme under which 10% of DistroWatch.com's income from advertising and sale of merchandise is donated to various Free Software projects, the recipient of the April donation is the Quanta Plus project. Quanta Plus is a web development tool for the K Desktop Environment. Quanta is designed for quick web development and is rapidly becoming a mature editor with a number of great features. Here is the receipt for US$200:
Total Amount: $200.00 USD
Transaction ID: 2B948608EV400622P
Item Title: Quanta Donation
Message: This is a donation by DistroWatch.com under the web site's program to offer financial assistance to Free Software projects.
Readers are welcome and encouraged to nominate a Free Software project for the next donation.
On BSD terminology
The vast majority of readers seems to have welcome the inclusion of BSD distributions in DistroWatch. The only exception was the email published in the Reader Feedback section of last week's edition of DistroWatch Weekly, but that of course won't affect the fact that BSD is here to stay.
However, to differentiate between Linux distributions and the BSD projects, we need a common term referring to all of the BSD projects. This has resulted in some conflicting opinions, so I would like to discuss it further before making a final decision, especially because I have a feeling that we will be setting a trend here. As those of you who read DistroWatch regularly noticed, I am inclined to refer to all the BSD projects as "BSD distributions". The main reason for this is the definition of the word "distribution" in the Linux world, which in simple terms refers to a complete operating system with Linux at its core, and hundreds, sometimes even thousands of independent end-user applications. In BSD we have a similar situation - there is the BSD kernel, a base system, and hundreds or thousands of independent end-user applications.
Nevertheless, there are users who would object to referring to BSD projects as BSD distributions. One of the reason is that the term BSD, which stands for "Berkeley Software Distribution" already includes the word "distribution". Of course, BSD was created more than 25 years ago and some of the software terminology invented back in those days is no longer used in the same way today. But the biggest objection by BSD folks seems to come from the fact that the world "distribution" is generally associated with Linux, which is something that some of them would like to avoid at all cost. I wouldn't consider this as a valid reason.
While the term "BSD distributions" is a strong favourite, let's also examine some alternatives for the headline announcements (instead of using "BSD Distribution Release: OpenBSD 3.5", what other term could we consider?
What else? Any other suggestions? I don't want to make this into a big story, but the truth is that there seems to be a lack of a collective name for all of the BSDs, so we need to invent one. I would appreciate your input.
- BSD Operating System Release: or BSD OS Release: This might be a good name, except that a "distribution" is an operating system too. Besides, there is proprietary OS by Wind River called BSD/OS, which might cause confusion.
- BSD Project Release: or BSD Release: This is not too bad, although it gives an impression that there is only one BSD project. The truth is however that there are many more BSD-based projects than just FreeBSD, NetBSD and OpenBSD; one source I was reading recently claimed that there might be as many as 2500 BSD-based projects, including many embedded and proprietary systems. Remember that the BSD licence is very liberal when it comes to what one can do with the source code.
- BS Distribution Release: Well, this one will probably generate a few objections too :-)
More BSD-related feedback
"BSD is an operating system, not a distribution. The only problem I have is calling the BSD releases 'distributions.' This confuses new readers. Call them operating systems or releases, not distributions."
"'BSD distributions' will cause less confussion among those who are new. This will convey the message that there are two type of distros one is Linux and other BSD. With your listing all under two different groups will make the basic concept very clear. DistroWatch main focus is ordinary user who needs some bearings when s/he embarks upon any search, your terminology will help them IMHO. I will vote for using 'BSD Distributions'."
I would disagree with the first poster too, simply because by definition, a (Linux) distribution is an operating system.
"Correct me if I am wrong, but as I understand it (mostly from reading this) is that there is only one BSD 'distribution', namely that developed by UC Berkeley, and the myriad of projects like FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD are 'flavours' of the one discontinued distribution. Thus, calling each of the 'flavours' of BSD separate 'distributions' is **technically** wrong.
I read the document in full and it is indeed a very good read. But my understanding is that BSD is a kernel + a base system, both of which are now developed independently by the individual BSD projects. How does this model differ from the way Linux distributions are developed? In terms of individual components, it seems to me that BSD is equivalent to Linux, BSD + base is (roughly) equivalent to Linux + GNU, and a BSD "distribution" is equivalent to a Linux distribution.
"There will soon be a number of BSD distros on the lists, which will create confusion as to which of them are GNU/Linux and which are BSD. Please think of a way to mark this distinction. You could just precede their name by an asterisk ALLOVER, or better a TILDE (asterisks may create confusion.)"
I would be against such distinction. This would somehow indicate that the "distributions" with a tilde (~) in front of their names are something special, giving an impression that perhaps they don't quite belong there. I would much rather let them coexist alongside all the Linux distributions. Those who are not sure if the project is BSD or Linux can simply click on the link and find out from the description.
The bottom line is simple: both BSD and Linux are great free operating systems. By including BSDs on what has always been a Linux only site, I am hoping that we can contribute towards educating visitors about alternative operating systems and to show you how these can be used to you advantage. Even if we know Linux well, there might be a situation where a high-performance and reliable OS such as FreeBSD is better suited for a certain task than Linux. If you need to deploy a high-security system, but SELinux in Fedora sounds too complex or buggy, why not consider OpenBSD? Instead of fighting over why one is better the other, let's accept that each of them has a place on our servers and desktops, in our OS ecosystem. We are indeed lucky to have so much great choice!
New on the waiting list
DistroWatch database summary
- SmartPeer. The SmartPeer project is a free, open source load balancing solution that runs off a single bootable CD-ROM. SmartPeer allows you to easily balance your web traffic to distribute the load across multiple servers, effectively reducing bandwidth bottlenecks that could potentially overload a single server. SmartPeer also gives you an easy way to keep your website running while individual web servers are removed from production for maintenance, replacement, or due to failure.
- Tablix on Morphix. Tablix on Morphix is yet another bootable CD based Linux distribution. As the name suggests, it is based on Morphix, a modular CD distribution based on Debian GNU/Linux. What is special about Tablix on Morphix is the automatic cluster configuration. This means that all you need for a functioning PVM3 cluster is a bunch of computers and a pile of Tablix on Morphix CDs. You just have to boot the master node of the cluster from the CD, click a few options on the screen, then boot as many slave nodes as you want and click OK on each. Tablix on Morphix comes preinstalled with all programs that are needed for solving timetable problems with Tablix, a GPL timetabling software using parallel genetic algorithm.
- Number of Linux distributions in the database: 287
- Number of BSD distributions in the database: 5
- Number of discontinued distributions: 33
- Number of distributions on the waiting list: 71
Nothing newsworthy this week.
That's all for this week, see you next Monday :-)
1 • BSD (by Teh AntiMicrosoft at 2004-05-03 13:03:09 GMT) |
pfft Unix is as good as dead, SCO made sure of that
2 • BSD distributions (by Penguin on 2004-05-03 13:58:27 GMT)
This site is called DistroWatch so calling the various BSD distributions BSD distributions seems like the obvious and best choice. There are huge technical differences between various Linux distributions too, so some technical differencies between BSD and Linux distros is not a valid argument. (For example, Debian can use various other kernels too (including BSD kernels) besides of Linux kernels.)
You can always explain the differencies between BSD and Linux in more detail on individual distro pages and so on.
Unless - and that's another option, you would want to clearly separate the BSD distributions from the rest of the Linux-centered content, maybe to their own BSD sub page or something like that - but I don't support that.
3 • Distrowatch highjacked (by GP at 2004-05-03 13:59:33 GMT)
First get the attention of all people interested in Linux, than divert it to the BSDs, this great OS Bill Gates luvs so much, pretending it's pretty much the same spirit, just freer.
4 • Great Job of Teaching us old guys (by Bill Savoie at 2004-05-03 14:37:35 GMT)
I am an old engineer (58) who learned how to bias tubes in College. To stay working in a fast moving world like we now live in, one must constantly be learning new things. Some of the 'new' things are really old things, but I missed learning them when they were really new. I really enjoy this website. I have diversified because of this website. I have feather running on an old laptop that will soon be sent to my 80 year old Mom. I look forward to learning about BSD systems. Thanks for making learning fun! I may never retire.
5 • Donation (by Alan Baghumian at 2004-05-03 15:12:10 GMT)
First, I want to thank you for your support to FLOSS.
I suggest these two projects for your next donations:
6 • The BSD flavours (by bystander on 2004-05-03 16:11:41 GMT)
For every BSD flavour (FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, etc.) 'project' is the general term that signifies the same thing that 'distro' stands for in Linux world. Then there are special 'releases' that are like chronolonical snapshots prepared from the development branch of the project (for example, FreeBSD release 5.2.1). Then there are the 'operating system' (that doesn't include third party applications) and the 'package collection' (that includes only the third party applications and package management tools).
Now what is so difficult to understand in this simple scheme? Just call them 'BSD flavours'.
7 • GP vs Bill Savoie (by DiegoG at 2004-05-03 17:01:52 GMT)
I don't agree with GP's zealotry, I think knowledge can only benefit you. Besides, the only OS Bill Gates loves is Windows.
I'd like to have Bill Savoie's spirit when I'm a few years older.
As I posted last week, I support "BSD distributions" as the logic label choice, being "DistroWatch" the site's name.
8 • Projects vs Flavors/Flavour (by Anon on 2004-05-03 17:10:20 GMT)
Not sure if I like calling them flavours, I am some what parital to "Projects".
9 • Firewall and more (by Anon on 2004-05-03 17:23:50 GMT)
Some tools that might be of interest:
They are all in the ports collection.
FYI: portsman located in sysutils. (search utility and more).
10 • financial support for aspell (by rahul on 2004-05-03 17:49:01 GMT)
Please consider this project for the following months
11 • BSD distribution release (by EmDee on 2004-05-03 18:42:41 GMT)
well, I'd say BS(D) distribution release as the abbreviation "BSD" already contains the word "Distribution". I mean this is almost as bad as "LCD display" or "SMS message" ;-)
BTW, the letter "L" in that Slo-Tech Linux screenshot kinda looks like a "C", anybody else noticed?
12 • Livux 1.2 is out there (by Teobromina on 2004-05-03 19:09:24 GMT)
Livux has released the version 1.2b1 for testing.
Amongh its features you can find the possibility to merely copy their 'Livux' directory to C: or to the root of any other partition, and then use the CD as the key or booting element. Linux starts from the hd releasing the CDreader.
This is one of the best Knoppix derived distros I have ever seen, and it is in Spanish (castellano).
Congratulations to David for his good job!
13 • BSD terminology (by Ed at 2004-05-03 19:35:33 GMT)
How about BSD based Operating System projects releases
14 • BSD Kernel and Operating System (by lingmuhebo0 on 2004-05-03 19:50:12 GMT)
'Chapter 9 Configuring the FreeBSD Kernel'
'The kernel is the core of the FreeBSD operating system.'
I think the above two quotes from this page show that BSD is not merely the kernel itself, like Linux is, but also the entire operating system. Other web sites stating the same concept are:
'Not just a kernel; a coherent base system including kernel and userland software'
'Each BSD distribution is considered a single project. Linux distributions on the other hand are combined from a multitude of separate projects, many of which aren't even Linux-specific ... On BSD, the developers are also the integrators ... In the Linux world, the system integrators who combine many different projects into a distribution are generally not developers of those projects.'
'The concept of the "base system" is something that, I think, causes the most trouble for people used to the Linux methodology ... Linux, from the start, was just a kernel ... Linux has never had any sort of separation between what is the "base system" and what is "addon utilities". The entire system is "addon utilities" ... By contrast, BSD has always had a centralized development model. There's always been an entity that's "in charge" of the system. BSD doesn't use GNU ls or GNU libc, it uses BSD's ls and BSD's libc ... They've never been developed or packaged independently.'
I think all of the above quotes clearly show a difference in philosophy which causes calling BSD a 'distro' technically wrong.
However, having said that, I do not necessarily think that calling the BSD OSes 'distros' in this site is a bad idea. However, should you settle with 'distro', could we not have 'distribution' in quotes, and possibly a link to another page describing BSD terminology, e.g. like this:
This way, Linux users can relate to BSD using Linux terminology, and BSD users can rest assured that BSD is not being misrepresented.
15 • BSD phraseology (by Ezra at 2004-05-03 21:45:37 GMT)
Since the 'big three' (FreeBSD, NetBSD, & OpenBSD) all refer to their "releases", isn't this the best term to use? The term 'distro' brings up images of Linux rather than BSD in my mind. Perhaps many other people feel the same way.
In the grand scheme of things, either term makes sense since your site is "www.distrowatch.com."
Either way, I applaud your move to include BSD flavors as they represent an important contribution to the world of free software and BSD code is an integral part of the internet. Thanks again.
16 • How about... (by Just Dave on 2004-05-03 21:52:15 GMT)
BSD based distribution?
EmDee, I wouldn't suggest anything that could be read as "BS distribution"...
17 • FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD = "The BSDs" (by Rich at 2004-05-03 22:11:32 GMT)
Not really an original thought on my part -- I've seen them referred to as "The BSDs" on other sites. Just my $.02, and thanks for including them on your site...
18 • Smaller BSDs (by Penguin on 2004-05-03 23:03:34 GMT)
I suppose you could call OpenBSD, NetBSD and FreeBSD different operating systems - though they do have more in common than differ from each other. But what about EkkoBSD, MirBSD, Dragonfly BSD and various live CD BSD projects? Those distros are mostly just based on some of the three main BSD flavors, usually the basic system is directly borrowed from FreeBSD. The word distribution seems to me quite appropriate in most of those cases.
19 • Don't call the BSD's "BS Distribution" (by Anonymous on 2004-05-03 23:11:09 GMT)
I don't think that the BSD's should be put under that name. The "BS" may imply something else, often used on forums and newsgroups.
20 • No subject (by Stan on 2004-05-03 23:16:07 GMT)
I'm glad that somone else likes Austrumi!
I think its a great little live distro. Another usefull little trick it has is that it loads entirely to RAM and then ejects the CD. THis means I can use it to watch VCD's on any PC even when the PC doesnt have the right codex installed. Austrumi has MMplayer with latest DivX codex so its very usefull.
I used to always carry DamnSmallLinux in my wallet on a 50mb disk now i carry Austrumi.
MMplayer, abiword, gnumeric and Gimp all under 50mb with a 2.6.4 kernel? Not bad at all.
Also of note for me is the new version of LUIT LINUX.
THis is also under 50mb and this one has Xfce4 and Abiword etc. Very cool. It hasnt been anounced on distrowatch yet so hopefully people will now notice it and give it a go.
anyone know any other sub 50mb distros with this many features?
21 • Knoppix 3.4 (by Anonymous on 2004-05-04 03:40:55 GMT)
from Slashdot ... torrent urls:
22 • BSD release (by Feargal Reilly at 2004-05-04 09:54:29 GMT)
Whatever you do, please don't say BSD distribution. It's completely redundant, and should be avoided purely for grammatical reasons.
'Project' is probably the best term to use. 'Release' doesn't work as it only applies to actual releases, and too many people have different understandings of the term 'OS'.
23 • BSD Projects (by Ariszlo at 2004-05-04 11:15:18 GMT)
I don't think redundancy is wrong so I would vote for Distributions.
Just my two cent.
(Cents would be redundant after two, which already expresses plurality.)
24 • BSD - GNU/Linux Discrimination (by Smett on 2004-05-04 12:07:00 GMT)
When I suggested the ~ thing i didn't mean to discriminate between the two of them or to say BSD's wouldn't belong here.
I guess it's kinda cumbersome to check for each distro at its own page. Then maybe you could use different formatting like different colors (dark blue / dark green).
Maybe the best idea would be to add "(BSD)" or "BSD" also whenever it is not a part of the name itself. What do you think about this?
As for BSD Distro "redundancy issue" it's ridiculously easy to solve the "problem". "BSD" doesn't mean "a distribution from Berkeley" anymore. It really means "the BSD operating system". So it's not improper to say "BSD Distro", since "BSD" is already a label which has a meaning in itself. Don't confuse the whole with it's parts :)
Yes, just think of it this way: BSD is already an INDIVISIBLE label. So don't play with it and with it's meaning: just use it, "inflect" and "agglutinate" it: there's no redundancy in freely speaking English. Let's not be pleonasm hunters, like the guys that say: "don't say 'go home' -- it's redundant" :))
Also, don't forget about DISTROwatch. I think it's the DISTROwatch meaning that is more important than the tragical calamity of... redundancy. Keep on the great work, Ladislau.
By the way, what is "WTO"? Right, it still is an "Organization", although it... already contains the "O[rganization]" in its name. There's no redundancy in the world which could make it not be a [grammatically] "valid" organization :)) What about www.wto.org ? Isn't it a "redundant" address? ;)
And here's my wish: let's now _watch_ the BSD _Distros_ arriving one by one at _DISTROwatch_.org! Quite a redundancy, huh?
BSD's _ARE_ DISTROS, no matter what else they may call them.
25 • BSD 'Distribution' -- Against (by lingmuhebo0 on 2004-05-04 15:48:22 GMT)
I am starting to inch more and more against calling the BSD projects 'distributions'.
BSD and Linux both are based on UNIX, but are developed under a different philosophy. Due to this, both use different terms because it reflects upon each of its own philosophy. Mixing these terms up may work now, but somewhere down the road, it surely will cause unneeded confusion.
I think 'DistroWatch', as a major Linux web site, has a major responsibility in releasing accurate information and reducing confusion. Using 'distribution' for the BSDs because of aesthetic purposes, or for convenience, does not seem like something a responsible web site should be doing.
Today as we see more and more people using computers, we find many who freely use incorrect terms to describe different things. For example, 'Internet' for the web, and 'home page' for web page. To make matters even worse, mass media often fails to correct such mistakes and even goes ahead using the incorrect terms. I do not wish to see DistroWatch doing the same thing.
26 • DON'T use "projects," please... (by torque2k on 2004-05-04 15:56:15 GMT)
Whatever you choose to use, please don't use the term "BSD Projects"... this brings to mind the many application projects available for ANY OS. (Mozilla project, OpenOffice.org project, The GIMP project, etc.)
I think it would make the BSD 'whatever' sound like a small gathering of apps instead of an all-encompassing OS.
Maybe "BSD System" or "BSD Release"? I'm not against "BSD Distribution", but I'm sure if you decided to start calling Linux distros "Linux Releases", there would be many a ruffled feather. The BSD people would probably feel the same.
BTW, my compliments on adding BSD's! I've been a fan of FreeBSD since Apple started utilizing their talents (which goes a long way in my book for endorsing BSD).
And to Ariszlo, ROFL!!!
"Just my two cent.
(Cents would be redundant after two, which already expresses plurality.)"
Finally, my plug for project funding: Scribus.
27 • What is wrong with you people? (by BSD_boi on 2004-05-04 18:43:21 GMT)
Look how much time you are wasting on deciding weither to use "Distribution" or not.
IT REALLY ISN'T THAT IMPORTANT!!!
28 • Linux Trial on CD on Windows PC (by Norman S. Ince at 2004-05-04 20:05:17 GMT)
I heard just enough to spur me to this site, but cannot find what the story was about. It seems that there is a CD which will allow you to run Linux in a Windows system, for your own evaluation. This site, distrowatch.com was given, but I did not get any other information.
This may not be the correct place to ask such information, but if you can direct me to the correct site, would appreciate it very much. Have been wanting to try Linux.
29 • You could use any live cd (by rahul on 2004-05-04 21:13:49 GMT)
you can use knoppix for trying out Linux in any PC.
30 • Re: Linux Trial on CD on Windows PC (by Leo on 2004-05-04 22:15:36 GMT)
You are talking about Linux Live CD's, I would start by exploring knoppix. See the link to knoppix in the main page here at DistroWatch, there is a lot of nice info. There are other Live CD's, but Knoppix is hands down the most popular.
31 • Re: Linux Trial on CD on Windows PC (by P. Pearson on 2004-05-05 13:05:27 GMT)
Here's a list of the "Live CDs":
You can find this list from the main DistroWatch page (http://www.distrowatch.com), select "Search" and then under "Distribution Categories" select "CD-based Distributions (Live CDs)".
Knoppix *is* the Big Boy On The Block for live CDs.
32 • Forums, suggestion for DW (by Leo on 2004-05-05 17:54:31 GMT)
I know I suggested this before, but you said it wasn't a priority at the time. But have you reconsidered lately to add a discussion forum for each news item that appears in the front page ?
Say for instance that a new Distro is released, people could click on the news article, and discuss installation issues, download mirrors and what not.
All this activity will probably increase the number of visitors and this in turn could increase the profits from ads.
Just 2 cts, cheers
33 • Re: BSD 'Distribution' -- Against (by lingmuhebo0 on 2004-05-04 15:48:22 GMT) (by n0dez at 2004-05-05 19:11:07 GMT)
Linux is NOT based on UNIX.
FreeBSD, NetBSD and OpenBSD are OSes derived from BSD, the version of UNIX developed at the University of California at Berkeley.
34 • BSD derived projects and their names (by Keith McAfee on 2004-05-05 23:07:34 GMT)
For people who say "BSD Distrobutions" is completely redundant, don't you realize it is simply a gramatically incorrect shorthand which means this:
A distrobution based upon the original Berkley Systems Distrobution. So "BSD based Distro" or "BSD derived Distro" would be the closest thing. The most verbose way I can think of expressing this correctly would be to call the various BSD brands "BSD Derived Operating System Projects", and their releases would be "BSD Derived OS Releases". Any sane person would probably see that "BSD Project" and "BSD Distrobution" mean the same thing, but "BSD Release" does not, because FreeBSD 5.1 and FreeBSD 4.8 are different releases of the same product. Another term (which we won't use for purely political reasons) is Brand. That's really what these things are: FreeBSD, Mandrake, NetBSD, they are all Brands used for OSes. Mandrake 9 and SUSE 9 are both Linux 2.4 based Distrobutions or Releases, but Mandrake 9 and Mandrake 10 are both Mandrake Brand Linux Distrobutions / Releases.
So my question to Distro Watch is: Which way do you use the term Distrobution? Is "Mandrake" a Distrobution, or is "Mandrake 10" a distrobution? Everything I see here leads me to believe the word distrobution, as used on this site, means the same thing as brand. So FreeBSD is a Distrobution in the same sense. Just like BSD 4.4 was "Berkely Systems Distrobution, release 4.4".
And they ARE distrobutions for 3 reasons: 1) They are distributed, 2) they are branded releases of operating systems (Windows 98 SE is a distro too), 3) This site is called 'distro' watch, and it's reason to exist is to discuss the types of thing that a "BSD Derived Project OS Release" is.
35 • RE: Distrowatch highjacked (by hughesjr at 2004-05-07 01:04:51 GMT)
It's Ladislav website ... if he wants to write about BSD and Linux, then so be it. If you don't like it, don't come back!!!
Problem solved :)
36 • BS Distribution (by Phil on 2004-05-07 03:26:11 GMT)
My vote is for BS Distribution. Mass market appeal galore.
37 • FreeBSD feedback feedback (by Steven Masta at 2004-05-08 02:19:38 GMT)
In the FreeBSD feedback it was mentioned that more and less are the same file - true, but they react differently. Don't know all of the differences, but more exits at end of file, whereas less doesn't. That's reason enough for me to use the less version. Oh yeah - This is in FreeBSD version 5.2.1
38 • what is Linux? (by Ari Maniatis on 2004-05-08 23:55:37 GMT)
Your FreeBSD article was interesting, but you fell into the same trap many technical writers do. There is an increasing public perception that KDE, Apache, Gnome, etc., etc. are all part of "Linux". In your article you talk about running "Linux applications" on FreeBSD. The reality is very different - Linux is really a kernel and associated modules, filesystems, etc - all the other applications you refer to may be installed on a Linux operating system or distribution (like Debian, Gentoo, etc) but they just as well might be compiled and installed on Irix, FreeBSD, Solaris, etc.
In fact, many of these applications were first written for other environments and have been ported to Linux. That doesn't make them any less valuable running under Linux or another Unix OS.
Although the distinction may appear to be small, it is important because there is a perception that FreeBSD needs to be "linux compatible" in order to be useful. That KDE, etc. is somehow part of Linux and not a project unto itself.
39 • portupgrade and FreeBSD ports (by Ari Maniatis at 2004-05-09 00:01:06 GMT)
I am suprised no-one has mentioned "portupgrade". Go to /usr/ports/sysutils/portupgrade and type "make", then "make install". From now on, in order to install a port type:
That's it. Ports deserve much more attention; more than anything else they are what set FreeBSD apart from Linux. They make system administration a breeze.
To see what ports need updating, type:
portversion -v -L =
And finally, to track the current ports tree, make sure you look at cvsup. It is, of course, another port.
40 • distributions vs releases vs flavors (by n00ber at 2004-05-09 04:18:50 GMT)
i think that they should be called BSD Fun Packs or BSD Kid's Meals
41 • I'm going to get flamed for this, but... (by Xerxes on 2004-07-09 17:39:33 GMT)
Look, would some of the BSD users please stop being so elitist about your operating system? We're all in the same boat, working on the same goals; a free operating system, and a cooperative community. Everywhere i go, I see BSD users taking this pointlessly elitist attitude about how much better and more "pure" BSD is than Linux. I've often seen *many* BSD users rip on Linux, when there is no need for it.
The saying is really true about the OS "pecking order": Linux users rip on Windows users, and BSD users rip on Linux users. That's not to say that there aren't any Linux elitists; in fact there are many. But you don't see nearly as many Linux users having a go at BSD as vice versa.
On a recent ofb.biz article, someone was describing their experiences with their first try of FreeBSD, moving from Linux. At the start, they specifically said "FreeBSD is certainly no worse than any other OS I've used", and went on to describe how much quicker to boot he found it than Linux, and how superb the ports system is. He even was so complimentary as to say that he was more or less content to work through his problems until he found solutions, saying:
"What really keeps me working with all this is not some hard-headed persistence, but that I found in FreeBSD at least two things that I came looking for: a speedy system on my aging hardware, and a chance to get off the upgrade merry-go-round."
But unfortunately for him, he posted some problems that he encountered, such as problems with CUPS, and with the Linux emulation.
As usual, the Linux users were replying to the story, suggesting various linux distros to be used as alternatives. But did the BSD users welcome him into the fold, compliment him on his choice, or attempt to help him resolve any of the issues he described?
No. Instead, the BSD users flamed him for having the audacity to suggest that there might be a flaw in the OS, or that a new user might have problems. They insulted him and said he was stupid for using FreeBSD 5.x instead of 4.x. They said he was stupid for not reading the manual more thoroughly. No help whatsoever was offered, just criticism.
And now with this situation, instead of being happy and indeed grateful that a site as prominent as DistroWatch has chosen to support the BSDs, all anyone can do is sit and complain about what they should be called, and proposing a variety of ways to try and set it apart from Linux. It's pure OS elitism and snobbery, and it's pointless. They are very different base systems, but they are ultimately both free (as in freedom) Unix-like operating systems, which share many of the same functionality and applications, which is what people want at the end of the day, all politics aside. It was already mentioned that *very* little complaint had been received about inclusion of BSD, so why start fighting to set yourselves apart from a community that welcomes your inclusion with open arms?
Ladislav, as far as I'm concerned, you can call it whatever you feel is the most appropriate, because you are being courteous enough to support the BSD community on a site which has until recently been entirely Linux based. I for one am glad to see their inclusion, because I think that BSD (FreeBSD in particular) is a very fine OS, and I have a lot of respect for the community, and the operating system itself. I simply see no need for *some* members of that community to consider themselves to be better than other communities working towards the same goal.
Apologies for the rant, this is an issue that has been bothering me for some time.
Number of Comments: 41
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