| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 57, 12 July 2004
Welcome to this year's 28th edition of DistroWatch Weekly. This issue departs from the usual format in some peculiar ways, due to a new maintainer and an almost unbelievable string of weird circumstances that have occurred in the past week. Details of this exciting tale and other (more relevant) subjects can be found below. Enjoy!
|Holidays in Hell - Robert Storey's First Week at Distrowatch
As was announced in last week's Distrowatch Weekly News that - after three years of non-stop slaving in front of his computer - Ladislav Bodnar (and his "significant other") have finally decided to take that long-planned badly-needed summer vacation to Europe. Obviously not wanting to see all his hard work go down the tubes during his absence, Ladislav recruited me (Robert Storey) as a substitute website maintainer. I was honored to be entrusted with this sacred task! In preparation, I spent a week camped out on the floor of Ladislav's apartment, and diligently paid attention as he carefully instructed me on all the technical details. As the date of the "handover" approached, I felt a growing sense of confidence - it was going to be a piece of cake.|
Perhaps you've heard of Murphy's Law? The first indication that all might not go smoothly occurred on the eve of Ladislav's departure, when I was rushed to the hospital doubled up in pain. I got to spend the entire night on a morphine drip (much less fun than it sounds), but was released the next morning and allowed to go home with the understanding that I would follow up with a doctor's appointment and some tests. I went back to Ladislav's house and began updating Distrowatch, but within a few hours I was back at the hospital with more of the same. I'd like to point out that this is not something I usually do.
The hospital misdiagnosed my condition, and indeed almost did a (wrong) emergency surgery. I'll spare my readers all the gory details, but to make a long story short, I got on my cell phone and called "the little woman," who hopped on a plane and retrieved me from the clutches of the medical staff. We made it as far as the airport, where I collapsed again, and we were thus unable to board our flight. We took a taxi to a nearby (different) hospital, and actually this proved to be a good move. The staff at this medical institution were far more competent, and within the hour I was properly diagnosed with a (drumroll, please) kidney stone. After spending one more fun-filled evening in the emergency room, I (we) finally succeeded in getting on an airplane and flew back home.
Until a few days ago, I barely knew the difference between a kidney stone and the Rosetta Stone, but needless to say I've boned up on the subject considerably (thank you, Google). Indeed, I almost feel like an expert (again, I'll spare readers the details). Although my original plan to house-sit for Ladislav (and enjoy his broadband connections) is now in tatters, I believe I can maintain Distrowatch from home with my slow 56K modem. Fortunately, every cloud has its silver lining, and I actually was very happy to leave the BIG city (where Ladislav lives) and get back to my rural backwater to play with my desktop computer, my motorcycle, my two dogs, and "the little woman," though not necessarily in that order.
Not surprisingly, during the past week I was remiss in my duties of updating Distrowatch, which really needs to be done on a daily basis. I also neglected to answer my email, including a few really important ones. In all fairness, I must say that I had a splendid excuse. However, time waits for no one, so (assuming no more nasty surprises) I'm going to put my nose to the grindstone and see if I can clear out the backlog of news which has been piling up in my inbox.
So that's how I spent the first week of my summer vacation. I hope yours was better.
By the way, if anyone is interested, I'm running Distrowatch on Knoppix. I don't mean the Distrowatch server (which resides in a web hosting service half-a-world away), but rather my own machine on which I build the website. I chose Knoppix in large part because the server runs on Debian, and it's very convenient to have both my desktop and the server so nicely compatible (everything in the same directories). Aside from all that, I really like Knoppix.
|Little Known Open Source Apps
Normally every week we like post a topic that triggers some readers' discussion and debate. As you now all know, I didn't get to spend any time in front of the computer last week reading tech news, or any other news - indeed, had World War III broken out, I probably wouldn't have heard about it. However, I did get to spend a considerable amount of quality time lying in bed thinking about Distrowatch, and one interesting topic that flashed through my mind was "useful open source applications." In particular, open source applications which are not well known.
Sure, everyone has heard of Mozilla, The Gimp and OpenOffice (well, at least everyone who reads this website). But I wonder how many people here have ever heard of Gramps (a genealogy program)? Not that I personally use it (since I'd rather not know who my ancestors were), but my brother is a real genealogy buff and he says that Gramps is good. I'll take his word for it.
Since I'm a writer by profession, I'm always interested in tools that can help me write more intelligibly (even if not more intelligently). A good example of a little known open source gem is Wordinspect, a GTK-based dictionary client (this is not to be confused with a spelling dictionary). Although it can be used to look up words online, I find it even more useful to combine it with a dictionary package (like Dict-gcide) - this creates a standalone reference dictionary on my hard disk. If you're running a Debian-based distro (as I currently am), you would install it like this:
apt-get install wordinspect dict-gcide
Back in the days when I was using MS-DOS, I went out and bought the American Heritage Dictionary for about US$100. That was a fine tool, but it's not available for Linux or the BSDs. Now I run Wordinspect, which has the added advantage of being free:
Wordinspect is a fairly large application. On the opposite extreme is Antiword, a tiny little applet that I use frequently. The sole function of Antiword is to turn Microsoft Word documents into ASCII text files.
How does one go about discovering these hidden gems? Aside from word-of-mouth or dumb luck, you can also browse through the massive list of packages in Debian unstable. You can download this as a text file:
Do realize that it's a very long list (over 16,000 packages at this time). There is also the inconvenient little fact that the names assigned to packages by the Debian maintainers don't always coincide with the names that other (rpm-based) distros use. Nevertheless, the Debian package list is a good place to start your search.
But like I said, there is always word-of-mouth, and I would certainly like to hear the opinion of readers. What useful barely known open source apps have you discovered?
|Released Last Week
As already mentioned, I've got a lot of stuff piled up in my inbox. It's 3 am here (time zone +8), I've been munching on pain-killers and I'm almost ready to fall out of the chair. But before I go, here's a brief synopsis of what's sitting in the inbox (more details will be forthcoming in the next few days):
Release version '0.5.4c' of 'redWall Firewall' is available through freshmeat.net. All URLs and other useful
information can be found at:
Version '0.7.2' of 'Damn Small Linux' has been released and can be downloaded via freshmeat.net. All URLs and other useful information can be found at:
Lormalinux 5 64-bit version beta is now available at:
Again, apologies for the hiatus. I know it was very unprofessional of me to almost drop dead on the job this week. I'll try to make sure that doesn't happen again. Until later...
1 • mm ok (by Vectrox at 2004-07-12 20:11:09 GMT) |
Okay, different DistroWatch Weekly than normally...
2 • a kidney stone (by John Coombes at 2004-07-13 01:50:52 GMT)
Robert Storey wrote
very unprofessional of me to almost drop dead on the job this week
No worries, these things happen - keep up the good work running DistroWatch while Ladislav is away.
3 • Yoper underwhelms The site isn't even working (by distrowatch reader at 2004-07-13 17:11:50 GMT)
Clicking on the links yields "Warning: mysql_connect(): Access denied for user: 'root@localhost' (Using password: NO) in /var/www/localhost/htdocs/forums/ips_kernel/class_db_mysql.php on line 115"
4 • distrowatch weekly note on the main page (by Vince on 2004-07-14 04:38:34 GMT)
been there done that (with the kidney stones i mean).... was no picnic for me either....
just a question.... did i miss the notice that there was a new distrowatch weekly available on the main page, or did you omit to put it up. the reason i ask is that i normally only check there to see if there's a new one before heading over to its page....but then, that's probably just me.
anyways, hope you're on the mend....
5 • re: distrowatch weekly note on the main page (by P.F.Pearson on 2004-07-14 12:29:01 GMT)
I didn't miss the notice, because I noticed Ladislav always puts it out early Monday Morning (GMT-0600). I've got the "current weekly" bookmarked, so that I can track the comments (I need a life!). I did look today, and the notice doesn't appear to be on the announcements page.
6 • We're with you... (by Soloact at 2004-07-15 08:32:50 GMT)
Robert, we're with you all the way. Been there with a k-stone, not a bit of fun at all.
You're doing a great job!
Best to you and yours!
7 • Not to worry (by Zor on 2004-07-15 12:08:21 GMT)
Don't worry, be happy, Robert!
You're doing a great job and you shouldn't worry about the site too much. First things first, your recovery is much more important. 'Cause in this life, you've only got one body...
Number of Comments: 7
|• Issue 573 (2014-08-25): SolydXK 201407, VPN gateway with FreeBSD, Ubuntu MATE, Raspbian, trusting binary packages|
|• Issue 572 (2014-08-18): ZFSguru 10.1, Fedora's Flock, beta installer for "Jessie", Ubuntu Core, rolling releases|
|• Issue 571 (2014-08-11): HandyLinux 1.6, LMDE update, default desktop in "Jessie", running out of disk space|
|• Issue 570 (2014-08-04): Neptune 4, Kubuntu's KDE Plasma 5, FreeBSD and UEFI, Linux servers|
|• Issue 569 (2014-07-28): Deepin 2014, Ask Fedora, Gentoo and LibreSSL, encrypted package downloads|
|• Issue 568 (2014-07-21): Antergos 2014.06.24, Mint based on Debian stable, upgrading CentOS, BinaryTides|
|• Issue 567 (2014-07-14): Manjaro 0.8.10, PC-BSD jails, Debian and glibc, Fedora's DNF, Xiki and Opera 24|
|• Issue 566 (2014-07-07): LXLE 14.04, OpenBSD's SimpleDE, openSUSE artwork, home security basics|
|• Issue 565 (2014-06-30): Chakra 2014.05, Fedora on BeagleBone, Matthew Miller interview, e-book readers|
|• Issue 564 (2014-06-23): Antergos 2014.05.26 and Q4OS 0.5.11, Debian LTS and glibc, Fedora DNF|
|• Issue 563 (2014-06-16): Mint 17, CentOS 7 pre-release, Debian MATE, accessing encrypted content|
|• Issue 562 (2014-06-09): GoboLinux 015, Gentoo interview, Fedora leader change, climagic tricks|
|• Issue 561 (2014-06-02): OpenMandriva 2014.0, Debian GNU/Hurd, Lubuntu and LXQt, Final Term, TrueCrypt|
|• Issue 560 (2014-05-26): KaOS 2014.04, Wayland and KDE 5 on Fedora, distros with commercial support, DenyHosts|
|• Issue 559 (2014-05-19): VortexBox 2.3, LTS-only Linux Mint, FreeBSD 11 ambitions, KDE 5 beta|
|• Issue 558 (2014-05-12): RHEL 7 Workstation impressions, LXQt and Lumina, Haiku interview|
|• Issue 557 (2014-05-05): Xubuntu 14.04, Ubuntu 14.10 roadmap, Fedora Workstation, ownCloud|
|• Issue 556 (2014-04-28): Ubuntu 14.04, LibreSSL, Lumina desktop, Deepin interview|
|• Issue 555 (2014-04-21): Robolinux 7.4.2, Ubuntu release day stats, Debian security, Porteus update|
|• Issue 554 (2014-04-14): Review of FreeNAS, OpenSSL bug, Fedora.next, Robolinux Stealth VM, measuring memory|
|• Issue 553 (2014-04-07): Puppy 5.7 "Slacko", end of Ubuntu One, file encryption with GPG|
|• Issue 552 (2014-03-31): Tanglu 1.0, Ubuntu GNOME LTS, SliTaz for ARM|
|• Issue 551 (2014-03-24): Linux Mint "Debian" 201403, call for end to proprietary firmware, LVM|
|• Issue 550 (2014-03-17): Review of NixOS 13.10, Lubuntu seeking feedback, Android-x86 4.4-rc1 impressions|
|• Issue 549 (2014-03-10): ClearOS 6.5 and UCS 3.2, Gentoo interview, Ubuntu app contest, Into the Core|
|• Issue 548 (2014-03-03): Review of Mageia 4, FreeBSD console driver, filtering web content, Pitivi fundraiser|
|• Issue 547 (2014-02-24): Chakra 2014.02, Ubuntu privacy, preventing unwanted remote logins|
|• Issue 546 (2014-02-17): Review of PC-BSD 10.0, Red Flag closure, Ubuntu and systemd, SlackE18, Fedora book review|
|• Issue 545 (2014-02-10): Impressions of FreeBSD 10.0, Debian votes systemd, Ubuntu file manager, server security|
|• Issue 544 (2014-02-03): Netrunner 13.12, openSUSE future, Ubuntu Touch in emulator, running commands in multiple places|
|• Issue 543 (2014-01-27): Review of Korora 20, FreeBSD 10.0, DNF, ZFS rescue CD, Bridge Linux interview|
|• Issue 542 (2014-01-20): QupZilla, Ubuntu with MATE, Arch on Raspberry Pi, best applications|
|• Issue 541 (2014-01-13): openSUSE 13.1 and Zentyal 3.3, CentOS joins Red Hat, Bodhi on Chromebooks|
|• Issue 540 (2014-01-06): SMS 2.0.6 and SME Server 8.0, Hawaii desktop, PHR statistics 2013, more on multi-part archives|
|• Issue 539 (2013-12-23): Centrych 12.04.3, Fedora 20 and its spins, dividing archives across multiple discs|
|• Issue 538 (2013-12-16): Mint 16 review, RHEL and CentOS 7 plans, SteamOS, Windows XP replacement suggestions|
|• 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|
|• Full list of all issues|