| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 55, 28 June 2004
Welcome to this year's 26th edition of DistroWatch Weekly. Everybody's favourite distribution, Slackware Linux, reached version 10.0 last week, which means that it is time for some serious "slacking" ;-) Happy reading!
The new Slackware 10.0
The fans of the oldest surviving Linux distribution once again had a reason to celebrate last week as Slackware Linux entered the double-digit release figures with version 10.0. If you haven't tried it yet, do yourself a favour and get the release; unless you insist on having graphical utilities for all configuration tasks, you won't be disappointed - Slackware 10.0 continues in its tradition of simplicity and reliability. It comes with KDE 3.2.3, GNOME 2.6.1, and many other up-to-date applications.
Some users might be disappointed about the fact that the Linux kernel in Slackware 10.0 remains at version 2.4. But as we have seen with other distributions, the 2.6 kernel still has a long way to go before it becomes a truly stable kernel that can be given the responsibility to power important servers and desktops. Trust Patrick Volkerding on this one - he has been developing Slackware for over 10 years and he knows. At Slackware, technical decisions usually take precedence over marketing ones, which is not always the case with the big commercial distributions.
Of course, many of the more advanced users are already running Slackware Linux 10.0 with kernel 2.6.7. The relevant package can be found in the testing/packages/linux-2.6.7 directory on the second CD. There is no option to select this kernel during installation so you will have to install it manually with 'installpkg':
You can also install the alsa-driver, kernel-headers and kernel-modules packages with the same command. Before you can boot the new kernel you will need to do two more things. Firstly, you will have to create initrd so that you can load certain kernel modules before mounting the root partition. The details are in the README.initrd file in the same directory as the kernel 2.6.7. The required command depends on the root partition's file system - you were given a choice between ReiserFS (default) and ext3; if you chose ext3, then navigate to the /boot directory and issue the following command:
mkinitrd -c -k 2.6.7 -m jbd:ext3 -f ext3 -r /dev/hdb3
The /dev/hdb3 in the above command should of course be replaced with the root partition of your Slackware installation. If you chose ReiserFS, you can achieve the same with this command:
mkinitrd -c -k 2.6.7 -m reiserfs
Secondly, you will have to update your /etc/lilo.conf file to look something like this:
image = /boot/vmlinuz-ide-2.4.26
root = /dev/hdb3
label = Linux-2.4
image = /boot/vmlinuz-generic-2.6.7
initrd = /boot/initrd.gz
root = /dev/hdb3
label = Linux-2.6
Again, you need to replace /dev/hdb3 with the root partition of your own Slackware installation. Don't forget to execute the 'lilo' command after saving the modified lilo.conf file.
When you reboot, the lilo prompt will give you a choice to select between the two kernels. While the majority of users are unlikely to experience problems with the newer one, some hardware combinations are known to cause problems. If this is your case, the tried and tested kernel 2.4 is still available for your booting pleasure.
Whatever your choice, happy Slacking ;-)
Slackware 10.0 with GNOME 2.6.1. (full image size 432kB)
(No, the wallpaper is not part of the distribution, but you can find this one and others at KDE-Look.org.)
Installing Gentoo the easy way
As reported on NewsForge and other web sites late last week, a new Gentoo-based distribution called Vidalinux Desktop OS has made its debut. The distribution is made by the same developers that have created a port of Red Hat's Anaconda installer for Gentoo Linux, creating an installation CD which makes installing Gentoo Linux as fast and simple as installing Red Hat/Fedora. It is no longer necessary to spend hours following the otherwise excellent Gentoo installation manual; with Vidalinux you will have Gentoo Linux up and running in less than an hour.
This is not to say that everybody should use this method to install Gentoo; in fact the Gentoo installation method, if started from "Stage 1", is highly educational and most recommended to all users who are interested in learning about Linux internals. But for those who just want to have a working Gentoo Linux, or for those who have installed Gentoo before, but no longer wish to go through the tedious installation process again, Vidalinux is certainly a great choice. Once installed, the system can be recompiled, upgraded and maintained in the same fashion as any Gentoo installation.
Vidalinux comes with kernel 2.4.20, XFree86 4.3.0, and GNOME 2.6.0 as its preferred desktop. More surprisingly, the ISO images is complete with most multimedia applications, RealPlayer, Flash Player, browser plugins and other desktop applications that make the operating system instantly useable without any further tweaking. While the latest release is labelled as "beta" and some more work is still needed on the Anaconda port, Vidalinux appears to be a solid distribution already. Three ISO images, compiled for AMD, Pentium 4, and i686 processors respectively, are currently available for download via BitTorrent.
Vidalinux: a quick and easy installation of Gentoo Linux with Anaconda
(full image size 150kB)
|Released Last Week
Asianux is a recently announced Asian Linux distribution, a collaborative effort between Japan's Miracle Linux and China's Red Flag Linux. It is a server-oriented distribution based on Red Hat Linux, aiming to become a standard enterprise Linux platform for Linux servers throughout Asia. Asianux 1.0 is now available for free download from the distribution's web site. To find out more about the product, see the Asianux 1.0 release notes (PDF format). The upcoming releases of Miracle Linux 3.0 and Red Flag Linux 4.1 will be based on Asianux, but bundled with extra localisation features in their respective countries. Find out more at asianux.com.
Linux LiveCD Router 1.9.5
A new version of Linux LiveCD Router has been released. From the changelog: "The new default language is English. A new version of linux-wlan-ng 0.2.1-pre21 for Prism2 wifi cards is included. USB webcam driver support was added, including ov511, ov51x, nw802, spca5xx, philips, pencam, and more. Hotspot, Samba, and webcam server documentation was added."
Slackware Linux 10.0
Slackware Linux 10.0 has been released: "The first Slackware release of 2004, Slackware Linux 10.0 continues the more than ten-year Slackware tradition of simplicity, stability, and security. Among the many program updates and distribution enhancements, you'll find two of the most advanced desktop environments available today: GNOME 2.6.1 (including a collection of pre-compiled GNOME applications), and KDE 3.2.3, the latest version of the award-winning K Desktop Environment." Read the release announcement and changelog for further details.
SAM Mini-Live-CD 0.2.1
This is a new release of the Mandrakelinux-based SAM Mini-Live-CD, version 0.2.1. From the changelog: "Installed: nvidia kernel-module, eagle-usb kernel-module, needed packages for ISDN and ADSL connection (PPPoE), XawTV, nfs-utils. Removed: xfdesktop, some unnecessary files. More: configured ROX-Pinboard for desktop icons, added new mouse-cursor theme. Important: normal modem connection not possible in this release!"
Berry Linux 0.44
Berry Linux is a live CD based on Fedora Core 2, with hardware autodetection and hard disk installer borrowed from Knoppix. Although the default language is Japanese, specifying 'berry lang=us' at the lilo boot prompt will boot the CD into an English environment with KDE as the default desktop. This is probably one of best Fedora-based live CD available at the moment. The latest version is the just released Berry Linux 0.44; it includes kernel 2.6.7, XOrg 6.7.0, KDE 3.2.3, Mozilla 1.7 and other highly up-to-date applications. Visit the distribution's home page for details about the project and to read the changelog.
Plamo Linux 4.0
Plamo Linux 4.0 has been released. All major components have been updated; this release comes with kernel 2.4.26, glibc 2.3.2, GCC 3.3.3, XFree86 4.4.0 and KDE 3.2.2. There is a new network management utility called "Planet" for setting up all aspects of networking (including wireless) in one place, while the hotplugging utility "murasaki" can now used for managing PCI cards, including network and sound cards. The GRUB bootloader has been improved and is able to set up a multiboot system automatically. Plamo Linux 4.0 comes on two CDs, with KDE and the entire contrib directory on the second CD. The release announcement and the changelog (both links in Japanese) have all the details.
The Inside Security Rescue Toolkit project has released INSERT 1.2.13: "This is a major new release. The kernel was updated to version 2.4.26. INSERT is now based on KNOPPIX 3.4. The result is even better hardware support and detection. The bug with the file system on the image not being readable from Windows OS is fixed. Also other minor issues have been addressed. Various feature requests have been dealt with. Support for virus scanning is improved with clamav being updated to the latest version. Most of the other packages come in newer versions now." Read the rest of the announcement and changelog.
Puppy Linux 0.9.0
Puppy Linux 0.9.0 has been released: "This is a new complete rebuild, compiled on Mandrake 9.2. Release notes. For anyone upgrading from an existing USB, Zip or hard drive installation of Puppy, please upgrade both image.gz and vmlinuz files. Puppy is still using the Linux kernel version 2.4.22 but I recompiled it for a default ramdisk size of 61440kB. If your isolinux.cfg or syslinux.cfg file has a 'ramdisk_size' entry, either change it to 61440 or delete it entirely. Puppy users booting off the live CD can ignore this advice." The complete release notes are available on the Puppy Linux news page.
Development and unannounced releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
IDMS Linux 3.0.2
IDMS Linux, the Red Hat-based server-only distribution made in South Africa, has announced an upcoming release 3.0.2: "Just an update on the status of IDMS Linux. IDMS Linux is being actively developed and as soon as we see it is stable enough, we release. There is a second release of version 3.0.2 due, call it a maintenance release. This release supports the 2.6.6+ kernel and makes use of YUM to keep the distribution up to date. Another thing that was done is the bootable rescue/install CD has been stripped of the RPMs in the file system itself used for installing." You can find the rest of the announcement here.
|Web Site News
Package list update
As promised in an earlier issue of DWW, we have updated the list of tracked packages. Among the new packages are audacity, bochs, epiphany, firefox, module-init-tools, nessus, thunderbird, xorg and yum. Adding zero-install has been postponed; it seems that very few (if any) distributions ship the package, so we felt that its inclusion wasn't justified. Also postponed was the move from lvm to LVM2; the reason is that Sistina, the developers of the Logical Volume Manager, has been bought by Red Hat and the current status of LVM2 is somewhat unclear. It seems that Red Hat has launched a new commercial product called Global File System (GFS) of which LVM2 is a part. If anybody knows more about the subject, please comment below. The individual distribution tables will take a while to get updated (it is no small task to check the version numbers of all newly added applications in over 300 distributions, most of which have widely varying naming and versioning schemes).
New distribution additions
New on the waiting list
DistroWatch database summary
- Linux Live Game Project (LLGP). LLGP is a Knoppix-based live CD that makes it easy to play games on Linux. It includes a solid collections of free and open source games, such as TuxRacer, Cube, Egoboo, FreeCiv, Pingus, Chromium, Foobillard, Frozen Bubble, Power Manga and many others.
- Linxp Desktop. Linxp Desktop is a Chinese live CD distribution based on Kurumin Linux.
- Number of Linux distributions in the database: 311
- Number of BSD distributions in the database: 7
- Number of discontinued distributions: 32
- Number of distributions on the waiting list: 83
Slashdot poll versus DistroWatch Page Hit Ranking
Not much feedback this week, except perhaps a comment about the recent Slashdot poll on "Favorite Linux Distro for 2004". The poll lasting a few days generated over 35,000 votes. Debian won with 22%, just ahead of Gentoo (21%) and Fedora (13%). Slackware, Mandrake and SUSE received 10% each, while Knoppix was the last of the "choice" distributions with only 6% of all votes. One of the posters expressed curiosity about the poll's results when compared with our own Page Hit Ranking statistics:
"I find it interesting how much different the hits per day counter is on DistroWatch. I'm curious if anyone has a good explanation for this. I realize that the people visiting the sites regularly may be different, but this is almost a reversal of the order! On Distrowatch, Mandrake is on top and Gentoo is on the bottom of these top 7 distros. The results were quite different in this poll."
All opinions about this phenomenon are most welcome; please comment below.
That's all for this week, see you all next Monday :-)
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