| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 53, 14 June 2004
Welcome to this year's 24th edition of DistroWatch Weekly. It was another quiet week with only Xandros disturbing the distribution scene with its Open Circulation Edition. Have you download it yet? If so, what are your impressions?
Xandros goes freeware, Lindows goes bundle
The release of Xandros's Open Circulation Edition (OCE) came as a surprise to many, not only because the company gave no advanced warnings about it, but also because the product is freely distributable and completely free for non-commercial use. It even comes bundled with the Xandros NTFS partitioning tool, which as many of you will recall, is absent from the company's US$39 Xandros Desktop Standard edition. The only functional restriction of OCE is in the integrated CD burner which only supports very low burning speeds. This, however, shouldn't be of much concern (you do use the command line to burn CDs anyway, right?) and the OCE seems like an excellent deal. It also removes the often heard argument by some users who maintain that they won't buy a Linux distribution unless they can try it first. Overall, a very good move by Xandros, especially now that many distributions seem to be moving away from being "free".
Xandros OCE - a free edition of Xandros Desktop for home use
(full image size 229kB)
While we found the announcement by Xandros very exciting, we were surprised that a different announcement, by Lindows.com, received much more attention in the Linux media. In case you've missed it, Lindows.com is now bundling 8 CDs with Linspire 4.5, Mandrakelinux 10.0 and Fedora Core 2, and selling the bundle for US$39.95. This is designed to to give us an opportunity to evaluate different distributions and choose the one that fits our needs best.
But is this news?
If some of you are tempted by the offer, then let us remind you that you can get Mandrakelinux 10.0, Fedora Core 2 and SUSE LINUX 9.1 Professional, a total of 13 CDs, for US$25.88 at LinuxCD.org. Even better, get their LinuxCD Pack - 22 CDs of all major distributions for US$35. Of course, there is nothing wrong with Lindows.com selling their bundle. But there is something seriously wrong with the journalists who found the Lindows.com's announcement a newsworthy topic to cover in so much depth.
Tips and tricks: multiple distros HOWTO
A reader wrote in asking for a feature about setting up multiple Linux distributions on a hard disk. "You probably do this more than anybody in the world making you the most qualified to do this," he claimed and, as the 25 Linux and BSD partitions on my two hard disks would be happy to confirm, he probably wasn't too far from the truth. If I was to set up a multiple distribution hard disk now, this is how I'd go about it:
- Partition your hard disk. If you have a new, empty hard disk, you can partition it with a tool like Partition Magic, or more cheaply, with QTParted included with SystemRescueCD, Knoppix or other distributions. SystemRescueCD is particularly suitable for this - it is a small download and it doesn't mount any of your existing hard drives or partitions by default. QTParted is a graphical tool, so if you can drag a mouse, you can partition hard disks. I normally create my first primary partition (/dev/hda1, about 10GB) right at the beginning of the hard disk (reserved for my primary OS), followed by another primary partition (/dev/hda2, also about 10GB) reserved for /home, followed by another primary partition (/dev/hda3, around 1GB) reserved for swap. The rest of the drive is then taken up by a large extended partition (/dev/hda4), which can be sliced up to contain up to 64 logical partitions (/dev/hda5, /dev/hda6, /dev/hda7, and so on). Since most modern distributions seems to be quite large nowadays, I'd recommend giving the logical partitions around 4 - 6GB each.
- Consider the OSs. Linux is particularly easy about where it resides on the hard disk, but other operating systems are much more picky. If you intend to keep Windows on your system, remember that it must be installed on the first partition of the first hard disk (at least that's how it was with Windows 2000 and earlier versions, I am not sure about Windows XP). FreeBSD is not that strict, but it definitely wants to be placed on a primary partition, rather than a logical one. If you still need Windows, you'll be wise to install it first, before installing any Linux distribution or BSD.
- Install distributions. Once your system is partitioned, you can start installing the distributions you want. Even the simplest installers (such the one that comes with Linspire) will give you an opportunity to specify where to install the distribution, although you might have to select an "advanced installation" option to do so. Let's say you have installed Debian on /dev/hda1 (with its /home partition on /dev/hda2) and now you are adding Mandrakelinux to /dev/hda5, Fedora Core /dev/hda6, Linspire on /dev/hda7, and Slackware on /dev/hda8. Since your hard disk is already partitioned, you can safely skip any partitioning questions the installer might provide.
- Keep the same swap partition. No matter how many Linux distributions you install on your hard disk, you only need one swap partition. Many distribution installers will detect and set it up automatically, but if not, you will have to specify it manually (in our case it's at /dev/hda3). It is safe to format the swap partition - no important data are kept on it after you end your current Linux session and reboot the system.
- Don't keep the same home partition. As convenient as this might sound, sharing the same home partition among multiple distributions is asking for trouble. The reason is that each distribution comes with a slightly different set of application versions, the settings of which might not always be compatible with another distribution's set. Yes, you might very well get away with it, especially if all your distributions are reasonably recent, but I would still advise against this. If I want to share data between different distributions (e.g your email folders), I normally use symbolic links - just mount your main home partitions (in our case 'mount /dev/hda2 /mnt/home' then link your mail directory with 'ln -s /mnt/home/Mail ~/Mail'). As for application settings (e.g. bookmarks, browser settings, etc.), I normally copy them from my main distribution's home partition to any new distribution's home partition.
- Choose a boot loader. Historically, lilo was the only bootloader on Linux, but this has changed and nowadays you are more likely to see grub as the recommended boot loader on most distributions (although lilo might still be provided as an option). It doesn't matter which one you choose (it is one of those vim vs emacs battles), both can serve equally well for your purpose. The important thing is to place the boot loaders of different distributions in the correct place, while placing your main distribution's boot loader into the master boot record (MBR). In our case, we'll place the Mandrakelinux boot loader on /dev/hda5, (not /dev/hda), the Fedora boot loader on /dev/hda6, the Linspire boot loader on /dev/hda7 (Linspire is a bit more troublesome than most; more on this in the next paragraph), and the Slackware boot loader on /dev/hda8. Again, it doesn't matter which boot loader you use - you can have lilo in /dev/hda, but use grub in /dev/hda5 and vice versa.
- Reset your main boot loader. Some distributions' installers are particularly inflexible in the way they set things up. Ark Linux and Linspire are among those that insist on overwriting your master boot record without any consideration for your other partitions. If that happens, don't panic - the fix is quite simple. Boot into Linspire (alternatively, boot any live CD, such as Knoppix), log in as root, create a temporary directory with 'mkdir /mnt/tmp', mount the partition occupied by your main distribution (in our case /dev/hda1) with 'mount /dev/hda1 /mnt/tmp', and chroot into it with 'chroot /mnt/tmp'. If your main boot loader on that partition is lilo, then simply execute 'lilo' on the command line; if it is grub, then execute 'grub', then type 'setup (hd0)'. That should restore your master boot record to what it was before you installed Linspire. However, you still need to make changes to the Linspire boot loader, so type Ctrl + D (to get out of the chroot-ed partition), then open /etc/lilo.conf with your favourite text editor. Change the line that reads 'boot=/dev/hda' to 'boot=/dev/hda7' (that's because Linspire is installed on /dev/hda7 in our case), save the modified file, then execute 'lilo' on the command line.
- Install new distribution. Every time you add a new distribution to your hard disk and install its boot loader on the same partition as the distribution itself, you will need to add the two lines to the /etc/lilo.conf of your main distribution's (Debian in our example) lilo, but you won't need to modify /etc/lilo.conf of your newly added distribution. For example, after installing Mandrakelinux on /dev/hda5, you will add these two lines to your Debian's /etc/lilo.conf:
Later you'll decide to install Fedora Core in /dev/hda6, which will mean that you will add another two lines to your Debian's /etc/lilo.conf:
Don't forget to execute 'lilo' after any change you make to /etc/lilo.conf.
- Don't panic. If all of the above seems complicated at first, rest assured that after you've installed your 20th distribution, you'll be a multiboot expert advising all of your local LUG members on these matters. As always, practice makes perfect :-)
Get free SUSE LINUX 9.1 direct from Novell
If you don't have the bandwidth or the patience to perform a SUSE LINUX FTP install, you can get the entire distribution (and other Novell products) for free as part of Novell's Linux Technical Resource Kit:
"The Novell Customer Communities organization provides tools and resources to technical professionals all over the world. In order to continue to provide effective Linux resources from Novell, please answer the following questions to help us understand your Linux experience - and operating environment. Please be as thorough and accurate as possible in your response."
Interested? Then visit this page to find out more.
|Released Last Week
A new version of SystemRescueCD is out. From the changelog: "Added menu that helps choosing boot options; allow to boot harddisk and floppy at prompt; compressed bootdisk images (saved a lot of space); Partimage available in two versions (with or without SSL); updated hotplug and hardware detection; updated e2fsprogs to 1.35; added joe (editor); added telnet (cchangeent and server); added tcpdump (network analyser); removed the warning at startup; many minor updates."
Linux LiveCD Router 1.9.4
A new version of Linux LiveCD Router has been released. From the changelog: "Version 1.9.4 Jun 2004. Added Frottle (Freenet Throttle) Packet Scheduling and QoS for Wireless Networks and Mesh WiFi at /opt/frottle; new default config for MRTG graphical network statistics; updated documentation."
Xandros 2.01 Open Circulation Edition
Xandros has released a free edition of Xandros Desktop, called Open Circulation Edition (OCE): "The Open Circulation Edition is a limited version of Xandros Desktop OS that can be downloaded at no charge and freely distributed to others. It is strictly for non-commercial use, and no e-mail installation support is included." Read the full release announcement and the product pages for more information.
SoL 18.00 Desktop
A desktop edition of Server optimized Linux (SoL) 18.00 has been released: "antitachyon - Manalo & Willner OEG proudly announces the release of SoL-desktop 18.00, the desktop expansion package for the SoL 18.00 series. With this package SoL will convert into a powerfull workstation for development, home, and office use. Features of SoL-desktop 18.00: KDE 3.2 desktop environment + security patches, GNOME 2.4 desktop environment, Mozilla 1.8a1, OpenOffice.org 1.1.1..." The full announcement.
BLAG Linux 10000
A new version of the Fedora-based BLAG Linux is out: "BLAG10000 has been released. BLAG10000 (borrow) is the next major branch of BLAG. It is based on Fedora Core 1. It uses packages from DAG, FreshRPMS, Newrpms, Dries and ATrpms. BLAG is a single CD GNU/Linux distribution based on Fedora Core 1. It includes everything a desktop user would 'expect' on a system and more. It has common server packages and handy utils that admins like." Read the complete release notes for further information and download locations.
Basilisk Live CD 1.3
The newly released Basilisk 1.3 (formerly known as RPM Live CD) is possibly the first live CD based on Fedora Core 2: "This is version 1.3 of the linux4all basilisk workstation live CD. Please consider this release to be currently in testing stage. The 1.2 live CD was ported to Fedora Core 2 packages, 2.6 kernel as default (with 2.4 as fallback), and the X server changed from XFree86 to XOrg due to recent license changes of the XFree86 Project. The disc contains KDE 3.2 like the previous version." Read the rest of the announcement.
knopILS is an Italian variant of the Knoppix live CD. Version 0.6 was released earlier today with the following changes: synchronised with the latest available version of Knoppix 3.4; updated knopILS HOWTO; updated index.html, knoppix-cheatcodes and readme-SECURITY (all Italian versions), new method of compressing the files on the ISO image. Read the full announcement on the distribution's home page (in Italian).
knopILS - the Knoppix live CD in Italian
(full image size 315kB)
Feather Linux 0.5.1
A new version of Feather Linux has been released. From the changelog: "Changes from 0.5 to 0.5.1: reincluded Chipmunk Basic and iftop; the command "xterm" is now functional; added script to download Brag; added cdparanoia; fixed Opera and HD install scripts; fixed xpdf; fixed all scripts that require the dpkg structure."
Development and unannounced releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Knoppix 3.5 is in the works: "Announcing KNOPPIX 3.5 LinuxTag 2004 DVD Edition. LinuxTag 2004 is the leading conference and expo about Linux and Free Software in Europe, and takes place in Messe- und Kongresszentrum Karlsruhe/Germany from 23.-26. June. LinuxTag e.V. is producing, exclusively for this event, a maxi edition of KNOPPIX as conference DVD. Features of the LinuxTag 2004 edition: over 5 GB of live Software from the Debian distribution, running directly from DVD; updated hardware autodetection (based on kernel 2.4.26 and 2.6.6 with ACPI); m23 software distribution system as boot option; talk papers from the free conference program of LinuxTag 2004, lots of LinuxTag-featured software, online books & videos. The KNOPPIX 3.5 LinuxTag DVD Edition is only available at the entrance of LinuxTag within a kit containing the LinuxTag 2004 collector's pin and an entry ticket for the free conference and exhibition. The kit can be obtained for a fee of 10,- EUR (including funding of the free project booths), as long as supply lasts." Find out more on the Knoppix home page.
|Web Site News
New distribution additions
New on the waiting list
- HKLPG Linux. HKLPG (Hong Kong Linux Player Group) Linux is a Linux distribution based on Mandrakelinux (version 2.0 is based on Mandrakelinux 10.0 Official), but with improved support for Chinese, browser plugins and other enhancements (web site in traditional Chinese).
- Freedows. Freedows is a Brazilian commercial distribution based on Fedora Core. Several editions are available, including Lite, Standard, Thin Client, Professional, and SMB. Among them only the Lite edition is available for free download via BitTorrent.
- K-DEMar. K-DEMar is a live CD distribution based on Knoppix and fully translated into Catalan (included messages and help files).
DistroWatch database summary
- CHAOS. CHAOS is a CD or PXE-based Linux and openMosix cluster distribution. The CHAOS distribution fits on a single business card-sized CD-ROM. This tiny disc will boot any i586-class PC (that supports CD or PXE booting), into a working openMosix node, without disturbing (or even touching) the contents of any local hard disk. Ideal for large-scale adhoc clusters, once booted, CHAOS runs from memory allowing the CD to be used on the next node (and allowing for automated rebooting into the host OS). CHAOS aims to be the fastest, most compact, secure and straight-forward openMosix cluster platform available.
- CCux Linux. CCux Linux is a German distribution project, targeting desktop users. It should be easy to use, especially for users with no prior Linux experience. CCux is optimised for i686 processor architectures.
- Number of Linux distributions in the database: 306
- Number of BSD distributions in the database: 7
- Number of discontinued distributions: 32
- Number of distributions on the waiting list: 79
The "Get the Facts" ads on DistroWatch
As a response to our last week's criticism of Linux sites that accept money for displaying anti-Linux messages on their web sites, a reader in Canada pointed out that Microsoft's advertisements also appear on DistroWatch:
"The ad on the upper left of the attached screenshot has appeared on the site from time-to-time (here in Canada at least). Google seems to be the culprit in this case. Ad placement based upon some contextual idea, where there are relatively few advertisers for the placement service (Google in this case) will cause this."
Here is the screenshot:
Desperation? Fear? Whatever it is, we have only limited control over the advertisements that Google's contextual ads places on the site and Microsoft owns many domain names in various countries around the world. If you happen to spot any more of their infamous "Get the Facts" ads, please let us know so that we can put those particular domains on the list of blocked advertisers.
That's all for this week, see you all next Monday :-)
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
(Tips this week: 0, value: US$0.00)
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|• Issue 655 (2016-04-04): Parsix 8.5, Sabayon's Community repository, Red Hat offers free subscriptions, Ubuntu tablets, command line tips|
|• Issue 654 (2016-03-28): PCLinuxOS 2016.03, Using signatures to create a web of trust, Arch Linux rolls out Pacman update, GuixSD packages GNOME|
|• Issue 653 (2016-03-21): Antergos 2016.02.21, Debian prepares for election, a Unix-like OS written in Rust, watching Netflix on FreeBSD|
|• Full list of all issues|
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