| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 51, 31 May 2004
Welcome to this year's 22th edition of DistroWatch Weekly. As DistroWatch celebrates its third birthday, we'll bring you our take on the best distribution release of the first half of this year. Happy reading!
- The Big Trio compared
- Slackware switches to X.org
- DistroWatch is 3 years old
- Released last week
- Upcoming releases: SUSE LINUX 9.1 FTP edition, Aurora SPARC Linux 2.0
- New tracked packages - the final list
- New distribution additions: Luit Linux, FAMELIX, Knoppel, Fermi Linux, N-iX Desktop Linux, Navyn OS, KlusTriX, MAX: Madrid_Linux, and Turkix
- New on the waiting list: VS Live GNU/Linux, redWall Firewall, PilotLinux and CERN Linux
- Reader feedback: Mandrakelinux in Hindi, Vienna Greens distributes Linux CD
The Big Trio compared
As has become the custom over the last few years, the big three commercial distributions - Mandrakelinux, Red Hat and SUSE - have all completed their development cycles for this time of the year and released their latest products to the public. Which can only mean one thing: time for some comparisons and "distro wars". Which of the three has done the best job? Which of them is the winner? Like everyone else, the maintainers of DistroWatch have an opinion about this too and we are going to share it with you.
Mandrakesoft was the first of the three to release a distribution based on the new 2.6 kernel. Despite a few obvious bugs in the Community edition, most of which were fixed by the time Mandrakelinux 10.0 Official came out, it turned out to be a surprisingly good release. We didn't have any major problems and several reviewers seemed equally pleasantly surprised with the product. In fact, apart from the fiasco accompanying the changes in the Mandrakelinux mirror structure, we would not hesitate to give Mandrakelinux 10.0 a perfect ten for their effort.
SUSE LINUX was the next one with a new release - a much awaited version 9.1. It too had switched to kernel 2.6 and did, for the most part, a very good job at that; the Linux Format magazine even gave the product a "Top Stuff" award. However, we were somewhat disappointed that GNOME was still treated as a second-class citizen by SUSE, while one of our leading contributors found a major show-stopper bug in SUSE's PPP, which prevented him to connect to the Internet. Still, if you are a KDE fan, SUSE will please you with a great collection of packages and many small cosmetic improvements made to enhance one's enjoyment. Although we don't agree with Linux Format that this is must-have upgrade, SUSE LINUX 9.1 continues in the tradition of fine releases that will satisfy most users.
Finally, it was Red Hat's turn to release Fedora Core 2, complete with kernel 2.6, GNOME 2.6, and even SELinux functionality to test the waters before incorporating these features into the next release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. A fairly large bite, some would say. The result? At the risk of making some enemies among the DistroWatch readers, we have concluded that Fedora Core 2 lags behind the other two. In fact, I wasn't even able to install it on my main system (possibly due to a rare bug incriminating a partition that had nothing to do with Fedora installation whatsoever). Although it installed fine on another machine, it was too late to compensate for the earlier failure. Also, some of our contributors reported various other problems ranging from the inability of Fedora to detect a standard serial modem to problems with sound and network cards. This is not to say that Fedora Core 2 is a bad distribution - it will likely work without any major troubles for the vast majority of users, but unfortunately, it didn't work for us.
So if we were to present a "best distribution" award to one of the Big Trio, it would have to go to Mandrakelinux 10.0 without much hesitation. Mandrakelinux 10.0 is fast, up-to-date, fast, pretty to look at, fast, and a great product overall. And before I forget, Mandrakelinux 10.0 is fast - probably the fastest distribution this machine has ever seen. Best of all, it is the only one of the three that lets you choose between the 2.4 and 2.6 kernels (in case of hardware compatibility problems), instead of dictating that all users move to kernel 2.6 (which clearly isn't ready for prime time). A great product overall; well done, Mandrakesoft!
What's your take? Do you agree with the above assessment? Or did you have vastly different experiences with the three? Please comment below.
Slackware switches to X.org
Regular readers of DistroWatch Weekly will remember our recent discussion about the current trend among the distributions to switch from XFree86 to X.org. Among the major ones, only Slackware moved on to XFree88 4.4.0, despite its news license which many see as incompatible with GPL. However, this changed last weekend when XFree86 was relegated to the Slackware's unsupported branch. Patrick Volkerding explains:
"Switched to X11R6.7.0 from X.Org. Thanks to those who sent comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Seems the community has spoken, because the opinions were more than 4 to 1 in favor of using the X.Org release as the default version of X. I think I've heard just about every side to this issue now, and it was only after careful consideration and testing that this decision was made. It's primarily (as is usual around here) a technical decision. Nearly everyone else is going with X.Org and it seems to me that sticking with XFree86 it spite of this would be asking for compatibility trouble (indeed, we saw some issues between X.Org and XFree86 4.4.0 until a few things in XFree86 were patched). I also noticed that the ATI Radeon binary drivers designed for XFree86 4.3.0 do not work with XFree86 4.4.0, but do work with the X.Org release. Something I'm *not* in favor of is dragging around two nearly identical projects, so XFree86 4.4.0 has been moved to the /pub/slackware/unsupported/ directory on the FTP site."
Certainly an interesting assessment and yet another blow to the XFree86 project.
DistroWatch is 3 years old
If you need a reason for a party, here it is: DistroWatch is exactly three years old today! The site was first announced on 31 May 2001 on LinuxToday as a simple table comparing a dozen major distributions. Although the original site no longer exists, it was mirrored by a kind soul, so you can still see its initial design. DistroWatch has come a long way since those early days - as feedback started filling up my inbox, I kept adding new features, new pages, began writing reviews, even included BSDs... until it has become a highly popular stop for many users researching the multitude of Linux and BSD distributions. As we look forward towards the next three years, I'd like to say a big "thank you" to all who have visited DistroWatch during the past three years and who helped us with ideas, bug reports, corrections, and other valuable feedback.
Happy birthday, DistroWatch!
|Released Last Week
CentOS-2 Final has been released: "At long last CentOS-2 Final is available for download from the CentOS mirrors. CentOS-2 is a freely distributable OS built from the source RPMs [of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 2.1 Advanced Server]. It strives to be as close to RHEL2.1AS as possible with the exception of removing trademark and copyright restrictions. CentOS-2 is both free as in beer and free as in speech. There are no trademarks restrictions on CentOS-2 and distribution is not only permitted but encouraged. More information on CentOS-2 can be found here." The full release announcement.
SLAX Live-CD version 4.1.2 has been released. From the changelog: "Based on Slackware-'almost'-current (with some exceptions); fixed xconf, modified mouse order to assure that the 1st CoreDevice will work; fixed kplayer icon; fixed dbdiff (configsave) to skip mounted partitions (or samba shares); fixed juk audio player - recompiled; fixed KDE audio ripper - lame is used now to encode to mp3; added tohd, fromhd and hdsubdir boot options; added /etc/slax-version file; added gpart (tool for guessing PC-type hard disk partitions); network services are not started automatically at boot; simple firewall is activated disallowing all incoming connections..."
ROCK Linux 2.0.1
ROCK Linux 2.0.1 has been released: "Maintenance release, security and non-intrusive version updates. This release features improved compilation on other distributions (SUSE, Red Hat), updates to KDE, GNOME, Linux, OpenSSL, OpenSSH, neon, Subversion, CVS, silo, and dietlibc, and some package additions. There were also single user mode improvements, ROCK Net and ROCK Plug updates (and speed optimisations), a re-inclusion of source CD creation, and some PowerPC and SPARC fixes." Read the full announcement as published on the rock-user mailing list. ROCK Linux is a source-based distribution, although a set of pre-compiled binary ISO images for desktop use (formerly known as dROCK) are also available for download; visit the distribution's download page for a list of mirrors.
FAMELIX is a new Linux distribution developed by Brazil's Faculdade Metropolitana de Guaramirim (FAMEG) and based on the work of Kurumin Linux. Its peculiarity lies in the adaptation of the KDE user interface so that it resembles Windows XP as much as possible (see screenshot below). FAMELIX 1.0 was released earlier this week and is available for download via BitTorrent (file size 410MB). If you can understand Brazilian Portuguese, visit the distribution's home page for further information and screenshots.
FAMELIX 1.0 - don't be fooled by the looks: underneath it's all Linux
(full image size 552kB)
Knoppel is a Knoppix variant designed for Greek users. Knoppel version 0.4, based on Knoppix 3.4, has been released; it comes with KDE 3.2.2, OpenOffice.org 1.1.1, Gimp 2.0,5 Mozilla 1.6; a choice of two kernels - 2.4.26 and 2.6.6; improved hardware autodetection; improved support for Greek; support for Bluetooth, ACPI and GPRS; support for writing to NTFS partitions. Many other packages have been upgraded to their latest versions, while newly added applications include Evolution and Kbabel. The Knoppel desktop now sports a brand new look. Read the full release announcement (in Greek) for further details.
FreeBSD 4.10 has been released: "I am happy to announce the availability of FreeBSD 4.10-RELEASE, the latest release of the FreeBSD -STABLE development branch. Since FreeBSD 4.9-RELEASE in October 2003 we have made conservative updates to a number of software programs in the base system, dealt with known security issues, and made many bugfixes. ... The current plans are for one more FreeBSD 4.X release which will be FreeBSD 4.11-RELEASE. It is expected the upcoming FreeBSD 5.3 release will have reached the maturity level most users will be able to migrate to 5.X." For more information, please see the release announcement and the release notes.
Kurumin Linux 3.0
After four beta tests, Kurumin Linux 3.0 has now been declared stable and released to public. The most visible change since Kurumin 2.x series is a move to KDE 3.2.2. Despite some clear advantages of the new 2.6 kernel, the Kurumin developers decided to stay with kernel 2.4 which has better support for softmodems and is compatible with certain proprietary drivers for USB ADSL modems and wireless network cards. See the complete changelog (in Portuguese) for full details.
Astaro Security Linux 5.010
The developers of Astaro Security Linux have released a new ISO image - version 5.010: "This ASL V5 ISO image includes all recently released Up2Date packages, bugfixes in the installer and new hardware support for SCSI RAID controllers (COMPAQ DL 360, Dell PowerEdge 1750, AHA-39160). Please check the HCL for a complete list. As an improvement the installer displays know the MAC address of the detected interfaces." The full announcement.
"Turkix is a Turkish live CD Linux distribution based on Mandrakelinux. As it uses Mandrake's configuration tools and KDE, it is extremely easy to use, and it has a fancy look and feel. Turkix aims to introduce Linux to Turkish and Azerbaijani speakers without any prior Linux experience. Although it is currently not an innovative distribution, it intends to bring new ideas into the Linux world in the future." The distribution's web site has more more information (in Turkish), as well as a few screenshots.
Development and unannounced releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
SUSE LINUX 9.1 FTP Edition
As reported earlier, the FTP edition of SUSE LINUX 9.1 will become available for free download on Friday, 4 June. The FTP edition is essentially equivalent to SUSE LINUX Professional minus any commercial applications shipping with the boxed edition. If you'd like to give SUSE 9.1 a partition on your hard disk, keep an eye on your favourite mirror later this week.
Aurora SPARC Linux 2.0
The Aurora SPARC Linux project has announced the upcoming release of their Fedora Core-based distribution for SPARC processors: "As promised, the first Fedora Core 2 based tree of Aurora SPARC Linux is now available. Like I've previously said, it's not an installable tree (this means, no ISOs). We'll get there eventually, this is just something so that people can get a baseline upgrade. Now, I have yumified the tree, so if you're feeling really brave, you can always point yum at it, and try to upgrade that way. A version of yum for Aurora 1.0 is here. If you're a listed mirror site, please sync the build-1.91 directory, and chime in. The primary directory is currently here." Read the rest of the announcement.
PLD LiveCD 1.0
Also expected within the next few weeks is a 1.0 release of the PLD Live CD - that's according to this post on the distributions home page: "The installer is almost ready. Version 1.0 of LiveCD will be available soon. There are some minor things unfinished by now, but I'm working on them."
|Web Site News
New tracked packages - the final list
Since today is the last day of May, we closed the annual request to submit new packages for tracking by DistroWatch. Based on your requests, this is what the final list looks like:
If your suggested package is not on the list, it's because nobody else suggested it (all packages that received at least two votes were included). The tables will be updated within the next two weeks.
- Packages for removal: gnome-core, netkit-base, netscape, ogle, wu-ftpd
- Packages for inclusion: audacity,
- Renamed packages: ghostscript --> gnughostscript, lvm --> LVM2, qmail --> netqmail, sane --> sane-backends.
New distribution addition
We added 9 new Linux distributions to the DistroWatch database last week; many thanks to Ben Hay who researched and submitted several of the new ones. This brings the total number of BSD and Linux distributions monitored by DistroWatch to 305, of which 273 are considered active. There are 77 more distributions on the waiting list.
New on the waiting list
DistroWatch database summary
- VS Live GNU/Linux. VS Live GNU/Linux is a Bulgarian distribution based on Knoppix and SLAX (web site in Bulgarian).
- redWall Firewall. redWall Firewall is a bootable CD-ROM Firewall. Its goal is to provide a feature-rich firewall solution together with a web-based interface for all the generated log files.
- Pilot Linux. PilotLinux is a thin client live CD. This means that when you boot from a PilotLinux CD, your PC has been temporarily transformed into a thin client machine. If a settings file is supplied, booting from a PilotLinux CD will automatically connect you to your Terminal Server. Otherwise the PilotLinux GUI will be displayed to give you the ability to manually enter the server address. Your PC will not be altered in any way. Just remove the PilotLinux and your machine is back to its original state.
- CERN Linux. The CERN certified distribution is a customised version of Red Hat Linux 7.3, including updated RPMs, newer kernel for better hardware support, and other fixes.
- Number of Linux distributions in the database: 298
- Number of BSD distributions in the database: 7
- Number of discontinued distributions: 32
- Number of distributions on the waiting list: 77
Mandrakelinux in Hindi
Dhananjaya Sharma emailed us about a new Mandrakelinux site for Hindi speakers:
"I have made this web-site titled "Linux-in-Hindi, Hindi-in-Linux". The aim of the web-site is to promote the use of Hindi in the computers via Mandrakelinux and other Open-Source Software. This is also a platform to share my personal experience on the use of Hindi in Mandrakelinux. The web-site is bilingual (Hindi & English). Your valuable comments/suggestions will improve this site further."
Vienna Greens distributes free Linux CD
Martin Willner of Server optimized Linux has sent us an interesting press release (in German) about the European Greens Party distributing a free live CD called gXoL (can be downloaded from here) based on SoL's recently released XoL live CD. It also discusses a possible decision of the Council of the City of Vienna to migrate to Linux:
Vienna Greens distributes Free Linux CD
Ringler and Lichtenberger demand the use of Linux and Open Source
Software as an alternative solution.
Every office and almost every home has a computer. Mostly, the users use
the operating systems of Microsoft. The European Greens present an
alternative solution: the operating system Linux and other free and
open source software on a CD for easy testing.
The Green Linux CD features a fully functional Linux operating system, which
can be launched from the CD ROM drive without installation on the hard disk of the computer.
The users can simply test Linux without changing their usual computer software.
Marie Ringler, Technology speaker of the Vienna Greens: "The operating
system Linux is a true alternative solution. As it is open source software,
its source code is freely accessible, it can and may be changed, extended and
improved. For the users there are no highly priced license costs. Open source
software guarantees higher data security and is less vulnerable against viruses
and worms. Additionally, there are no obligations to particular manufacturers.
"With this CD we are setting a signal towards the upcoming decision on the Migration
of the Vienna city council towards Linux.", Ringler continues. "Furthermore
we want to take away threshold anxiety from the users with this CD."
The top candidate of the Austrian Greens party for the European elections
Eva Lichtenberger also speaks for Linux: "Open source software stands for
openness and a free competition of ideas versus secrecy, monopolism and
dominance of few."
Furthermore Open Source Software stands for cooperative development of
software. It prevents monocultures, which provides for ecological
structures in information technology: "In such a fast-moving world,
where prosperity is more and more based on knowledge, 'Information
ecology' will be one of the great political challenges of our time.
The Greens demand free accessibility of information for all, the
promotion of media competence and a guarantee for non-commercial
use of the internet." continues Lichtenberger. "Because the internet
should not become a shopping mall for few, but must offer
all users a broad field for manifold discussions and exchanges."
The Linux-CD is based on XoL, a Live-Linux-Distribution developed
by the Austrian company antitachyon
can be ordered for free
(Austria only) or
downloaded as gXoL
Further information can be obtained:
That's all for this week, see you all next Monday :-)
|• Issue 537 (2013-12-09): OpenMandriva 2013.0, Gentoo developer interview, project Neon, Linux Mint and security|
|• Issue 536 (2013-12-02): Impressions of openSUSE 13.1, Ubuntu Touch, FreeBSD 10 delay, troubleshooting OS lock-ups|
|• Issue 535 (2013-11-25): GhostBSD 3.5, Debian and MATE, Ubuntu 14.04 features, security updates|
|• Issue 534 (2013-11-18): Review of OpenBSD 5.4, Fedora on ARM, menu names vs command-line names|
|• Issue 533 (2013-11-11): Point Linux 2.2, Pisi update, Debian and Xfce, Bruno Cornec interview|
|• Issue 532 (2013-11-04): Ubuntu and Kubuntu 13.10, Debian's init, FreeBSD's PKG-NG, Linux on ARM|
|• Issue 531 (2013-10-28): PC-BSD 9.2, openSUSE testing, nftables, upgrade pros and cons|
|• Issue 530 (2013-10-21): Kwheezy 1.2, DPL interview, Zenwalk's future, keeping up with vulnerabilities|
|• Issue 529 (2013-10-14): Ubuntu's Mir, dmesg and photorec tips, Tiny Tiny RSS|
|• Issue 528 (2013-10-07): Semplice 5, Haiku package management, Klaus Knopper interview, making custom distro|
|• Issue 527 (2013-09-30): Tiny Core Linux 5.0, SteamOS, moving operating system to new computer|
|• Issue 526 (2013-09-23): Look at ArchBang 2013.09.01, BSD Now, kernel stats, command-line tips|
|• Issue 525 (2013-09-16): The Official Ubuntu Server Book, FreeBSD 10 and OpenBSD 5.4, Skype alternatives|
|• Issue 524 (2013-09-09): Look at LXLE 12.04.3, Ubuntu's new package format, Secure Boot and dual-booting|
|• Issue 523 (2013-09-02): OpenIndiana 151a8, openSUSE "Evergreen", GNOME and DuckDuckGo, running apps from RAM|
|• Issue 522 (2013-08-26): Look at gNewSense 3.0, Ubuntu Edge fundraising failure, exploring GPL|
|• Issue 521 (2013-08-19): Review of Korora 19, Fedora considers return to "Core", Haiku package management|
|• Issue 520 (2013-08-12): Salix OS 14.0.1 "KDE", Xubuntu experiments with XMir, managing passwords with KeePass|
|• Issue 519 (2013-08-05): Review of Porteus 2.0, Kubuntu lays out plans for Wayland adoption, adjusting system swappiness|
|• Issue 518 (2013-07-29): MidnightBSD 0.4, Razor-qt, Ubuntu Edge, mounting infected drives|
|• Issue 517 (2013-07-22): Zorin OS 7 "Lite", Slackware turns 20, UbuntuForums compromise, Raspbian as home server, Tor|
|• Issue 516 (2013-07-15): Review of Fedora 19 "KDE", Shuttleworth on Mir, Seth Vidal, Kingsoft Office for Linux|
|• Issue 515 (2013-07-08): Whonix 0.5.6 and Deepin 12.12, MintBox, processor capabilities, distros for Raspberry Pi|
|• Issue 514 (2013-07-01): Peppermint Four, Mir, Mandriva forks, ThinkPenguin on libre hardware|
|• Issue 513 (2013-06-24): Look at ROSA, PC-BSD updates, Xen4CentOS6, Slacko vs Precise, Mageia interview, shells|
|• Issue 512 (2013-06-17): Trisquel 6.0, RHEL 7 with GNOME Classic, from Linux to FreeBSD, first look at Wayland|
|• Issue 511 (2013-06-10): Mint 15 impressions, GNOME Classic, Ubuntu Community portal, Absolute OpenBSD|
|• Issue 510 (2013-06-03): Impressions of aptosid 2013-01, Wayland comes to Raspberry Pi, maintaining DNS settings|
|• Issue 509 (2013-05-27): Mageia 3, Debian GNU/Hurd, RebeccaBlackOS with Wayland, ports|
|• Issue 508 (2013-05-20): Review of Debian 7.0, interviews with Clement Lefebvre and Gaël Duval, scripting with xdotool|
|• Issue 507 (2013-05-13): Impressions of Calculate Linux, 13.4, Ubuntu's portable packages, mintDrivers|
|• Issue 506 (2013-05-06): Ubuntu and Kubuntu 13.04, Debian "Wheezy", Slackware on systemd, distros for Raspberry Pi|
|• Issue 505 (2013-04-29): First look at PCLinuxOS 2013.04, Saucy Salamander, Remastersys and System Imager, Linux containers|
|• Issue 504 (2013-04-22): Look at Bodhi 2.3.0, Ubuntu 13.04 features, building OpenBSD ports, opening large files|
|• Issue 503 (2013-04-15): CentOS versus Scientific Linux, PCLinuxOS 64, Lucas Nussbaum, ZFS/Btrfs versus ext4|
|• Issue 502 (2013-04-08): Look at Mint 201303 "Debian", Ubuntu versus openSUSE, comparing ZFS and Btrfs file systems|
|• Issue 501 (2013-04-01): KANOTIX 2013 and GhostBSD 3.0, openSUSE Rescue-CD, Haiku package management, computer forensics|
|• Issue 500 (2013-03-25): Look at openSUSE 12.3, Ubuntu release changes, Debian backports, growing divide|
|• Issue 499 (2013-03-18): MINIX 3.2.1, openSUSE 12.3 on desktop, Ubuntu GNOME and UbuntuKylin, distros for musicians, KolibriOS|
|• Issue 498 (2013-03-11): Sabayon Linux 11, Ubuntu's Mir, Linux malware|
|• Issue 497 (2013-03-04): Rebellin Linux 1.00 "Adrenaline", rolling-release Ubuntu, Arch vs spin-offs, justification and diversity|
|• Issue 496 (2013-02-25): Review of Chakra 2013.02, The Book of GIMP, Ubuntu and privacy, FreeNAS vs NAS4Free|
|• Issue 495 (2013-02-18): SparkyLinux 2.1 "Ultra", Fedora 19 schedule, Xubuntu on DVD, cloud privacy|
|• Issue 494 (2013-02-11): FreeBSD 9.1, web server stats, Anaconda, rolling-release PC-BSD, fixing broken packages in Arch|
|• Issue 493 (2013-02-04): UberStudent 2.0, OmniBoot 1.0, MariaDB, Enlightenment 0.17|
|• Issue 492 (2013-01-28): Fedora 18 review, systemd, Kali Linux, Ubuntu Unleashed|
|• Issue 491 (2013-01-21): Fuduntu 2013.1, Fedora 18 desktop choices, Consort, accessing encrypted drive|
|• Issue 490 (2013-01-14): Look at Manjaro Linux 0.8.3, openSUSE on Chromebook, Able2Extract 8.0|
|• Issue 489 (2013-01-07): PC-BSD 9.1, Arch spin-offs, rolling-releases, year-end PHR stats, removing applications|
|• Full list of all issues|