| 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 637 (2015-11-23): NixOS 15.09, Antergos introduces ZFS support, MINIX shares new features, copying an OS to a new computer|
|• Issue 636 (2015-11-16): openSUSE 42.1, Fedora uses Wayland by default, Debian replaces live CD project, Steam consoles launch|
|• Issue 635 (2015-11-09): Fedora 23, Cinnamon 2.8 released, a Fedora KDE packager quits, Red Hat signs deal with Microsoft|
|• Issue 634 (2015-11-02): Ubuntu 15.10, Chakra upgrades to Plasma 5, OpenMandriva plans new editions, MINIX plans conference|
|• Issue 633 (2015-10-26): GhostBSD 10.1, Bodhi Linux to get new settings panel, Fedora 23 delayed, creating live image of existing OS|
|• Issue 632 (2015-10-19): Linux Lite 2.6, 32-bit build of CentOS, OpenBSD turns 20, Bodhi Linux releases AppPack|
|• Issue 631 (2015-10-12): Parsix 8.0, Manjaro seeks new artwork, sending commands to multiple servers, Debian drops LSB support|
|• Issue 630 (2015-10-05): Android-x86 4.4-r3, Ubuntu's new installer, Raspbian defaults to GUI interface, cleaning out dot files|
|• Issue 629 (2015-09-28): Open source desktops and touch interfaces, locking down user accounts, OpenMandriva opens gaming documentation|
|• Issue 628 (2015-09-21): Neptune 4.4, changes to pfSense, Pinguy OS releases updated ISO images, accessing hard disk images|
|• Issue 627 (2015-09-14): Mageia 5, Snappy co-exists with Debian packages, creating PDF/A documents, Antergos previews Poodle|
|• Issue 626 (2015-09-07): Status of Wayland and Mir, Cinnamon improvements, an OpenBSD hypervisor, HAMMER2 gets deduplication|
|• Issue 625 (2015-08-31): OpenELEC 5.0.8, Fedora's new Wayland features, Tails releases update, the LILO boot loader|
|• Issue 624 (2015-08-24): Zorin OS 10, Sabayon's new features, Solus seeks funding, Debian turns 22, new PC-BSD repository|
|• Issue 623 (2015-08-17): VectorLinux 7.1, Ubuntu One source released, Moksha Desktop ships in Bodhi, Fedora developers debate Chromium|
|• Issue 622 (2015-08-10): antiX 15, Fedora tests kdbus, Debian tracks UEFI issues, word processors for the CLI|
|• Issue 621 (2015-08-03): Point Linux 3.0, Debian drops Sparc, Fedora package stats, VirtualBox 5.0|
|• Issue 620 (2015-07-27): Debian GNU/Hurd 2015, Linux Bible, Ubuntu MATE gets new Welcome app, Telegram on Fedora, Plasma Mobile|
|• Issue 619 (2015-07-20): SolydXK 201506, Tanglu's new bug tracker, FSF and Canonical negotiate licensing, Haiku unveils new init system|
|• Issue 618 (2015-07-13): Semplice Linux 7, openSUSE derivatives, Debian adopts GCC 5, Docker ported to FreeBSD|
|• Issue 617 (2015-07-06): Alpine linux 3.2.0, Fedora on MIPS CPUs, Solus offers daily builds, Ubuntu migrating to Snappy|
|• Issue 616 (2015-06-29): MidnightBSD 0.6, openSUSE's "42", encryption added to the ext4 file system, FreeBSD on a Raspberry Pi|
|• Issue 615 (2015-06-22): Raspbian 2015, Fedora works around Intel driver issue, openSUSE adopts GCC 5, frozen desktop while copying files|
|• Issue 614 (2015-06-15): Chromixium OS 1.0, Debian 8.1 released, OpenBSD running in the cloud, sudo myths|
|• Issue 613 (2015-06-08): Fedora 22, Cinnamon 2.6 released, FreeBSD's history, working around Secure Boot|
|• Issue 612 (2015-06-01): Manjaro OpenRC, Debian, Devuan and systemd, Fedora 22 released, Mandriva closes its doors|
|• Issue 611 (2015-05-25): Kubuntu 15.04, openSUSE adopts Plasma 5, Ubuntu's Snappy, words from Debian's Neil McGovern|
|• Issue 610 (2015-05-18): NethServer 6.6, interview with Neil McGovern, CentOS supports AArach64, Foresight discontinued|
|• Issue 609 (2015-05-11): OpenIndiana 2015.03, LXLE 14.04, PC-BSD Current, creating ISO images, Ask A Leader with Peter Ganten|
|• Issue 608 (2015-05-04): Debian 8.0, Bodhi forks Enlightenment, new Debian GNU/Hurd release, distribution release frequency|
|• Issue 607 (2015-04-27): Ubuntu 15.04, Chapeau 21, Debian 8.0 features, Fedora 22 Beta details|
|• Issue 606 (2015-04-20): Linux Mint 2 "LMDE", Matthew Miller, Debian's new Project Leader, Evolve OS name change|
|• Issue 605 (2015-04-13): SuperX 3.0, HAMMER2 features, Linux 4.0, Vince Pooley, Google Code closing|
|• Issue 604 (2015-04-06): Void 20150221, Haiku's commercial partners, Debian release date, Tumbleweed features|
|• Issue 603 (2015-03-30): Tails 1.3, LibreOffice Online, Linux Firewalls book review, Kubuntu with Plasma 5|
|• Issue 602 (2015-03-23): Bodhi Linux 3.0.0, distro popularity, OpenBSD's new web server, GNU Manifesto turns 30|
|• Issue 601 (2015-03-16): Ubuntu MATE 14.10, modern distros for old hardware, AppArmor in Debian, Fedora 22 Alpha|
|• Issue 600 (2015-03-09): Korora 21, distro diversity, Ubuntu gets systemd, PC-BSD security features|
|• Issue 599 (2015-03-02): Sabayon 15.02, creating good passwords, new YaST modules, LMDE preview
|• Issue 598 (2015-02-23): Netrunner 14.1, Vivaldi web browser, Debian election, Cinnamon improvements|
|• Issue 597 (2015-02-16): MakuluLinux MCDE 2.0, Ubuntu phones launch, m0n0wall ceases development, live Linux updates|
|• Issue 596 (2015-02-09): ArchBSD 2014.09.04, encrypted e-mail, Fedora upgrade stats, FreeBSD's support policy|
|• Issue 595 (2015-02-02): ExTiX 15.1, Destroying encrypted data, openSUSE election, OSDisc statistics|
|• Issue 594 (2015-01-26): KaOS 2014.12, Commercial distros, Snappy Ubuntu, PackageKit fixes|
|• Issue 593 (2015-01-19): ReactOS 0.3.17, Unity on Mir, Bluetooth support, openSUSE election|
|• Issue 592 (2015-01-12): Mint 17.1, load averages, binary logs, GNOME Software|
|• Issue 591 (2015-01-05): Manjaro 0.8.11, systemd, Devuan, Torrent Corner|
|• Issue 590 (2014-12-22): Fedora 21, Ubuntu phone, expanding ZFS storage, Able2Extract|
|• Issue 589 (2014-12-15): Parsix 7.0, Ubuntu "Snappy", PC-BSD upgrades, How Linux Works|
|• Issue 588 (2014-12-08): PC-BSD 10.2, rolling-release Ubuntu GNOME, Bitrig, systemd|
|• Issue 587 (2014-12-01): Trisquel 7.0, Kubuntu 14.10 "Plasma5", FreeBSD on 64-bit ARM, Jolla and UbuTab|
|• Full list of all issues|