| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 71, 18 October 2004
Welcome to this year's 41st edition of DistroWatch Weekly. This issue talks about the Anaconda installer, features the Devil-Linux live firewall and looks forward to the release of FreeBSD 5.3, hopefully next week. Enjoy!
Is Anaconda becoming the "standard installer"?
Those of you regularly installing new Linux distributions have probably noticed how prevalent the Anaconda installer has become in the recent year or so. Originally developed by Red Hat, Anaconda is, of course, the natural choice for all distributions derived from Red Hat Enterprise Linux or Fedora Core, but ever since Progeny's successful port of the Anaconda code to Debian, several Debian-based distributions have also turned to Anaconda as their preferred installer. This is true about Progeny Debian, LIIS Linux, and several others. We have also seen some other (non-Fedora and non-Debian) projects utilising the Anaconda code for their purposes as well - it recently became the standard installer of the Gentoo-based Vidalinux Desktop OS and also in the independently developed Specifix Linux."
Why is Anaconda becoming so popular? While it is true that Anaconda is a logical and easy-to-follow installer, it is one of the very few that lacks an essential function - partition resizing. This is now a common feature in just about any other graphical installation program in the industry - Mandrakelinux and SUSE have had it for ages, even introducing resizing of NTFS partitions as soon as the code behind it was stable. There are some other installers that are impressive in their combination of simplicity and power - we especially like the installer created by Xandros (although, disappointingly, it is not released under the GPL) and also "Mongoose" by Turbolinux.
What are your thoughts? Do you think Anaconda deserves its current position as the leading installer for Linux distributions? And if you regularly install distributions, do you have a favourite installation program that you would recommend to others? Please discuss below.
* * * * *
Last week, the users and fans of Mandrakelinux had a chance to witness an interesting dialog with the top management of the company. François Bancilhon, the Mandrakesoft CEO, published an official reply to the recent online petition calling for improvements in quality control at Mandrakesoft. Although the response was interesting enough, it was even more intriguing to read the reaction of some of the readers replying to the CEO's letter. Here are some excerpts:
"Well, if the CEO really did write that response, I have more faith in Mandrake's long term survival. That was a technically savvy, well balanced response."
"You probably don't hear this enough, but I think Mandrake is great... I've literally spent years trying to find a Linux distro which would work *properly* with all my hardware, and give me the easy package installation/upgrade options I was looking for, all while working pretty much as it's supposed to. Thanks to Mandrake 10.0, my laptop is now 100% Windows-free."
"I wasn't aware of the petition but appreciate that it provoked François Bancilhon's clear and reasonable explanation of the rationale behind Mandrake's product cycles and its Community and Official Releases."
As this exchange shows, open and honest communication by a top company representative can go a long way in restoring faith in the company and in retaining appreciative customers. It makes for a sharp contrast compared to the way many companies developing proprietary software communicate with their users. As we all know, in that "other software" world, more often than not the only interaction between the company and users takes place through activation codes or other similar "honesty check" control mechanisms.
* * * * *
Although we have witnessed a dramatic rise in the popularity of MEPIS Linux over the last year or so, up until now we knew little about the founder and lead developer behind the highly successful project. This is about to change. Warren Woodford was recently interviewed by the Planète Linux magazine in France about the past, present and future of MEPIS Linux: "The name MEPIS is the result of a misunderstanding. A friend, Milad Doueihi, and I were planning to start a software company in Paris in 2000. Over the phone, we discussed possible names. I misunderstood in one conversation and thought Milad had suggested "mepis." When I googled the name, it was not being used for anything and it was not even a word in any major, and on the ear it sounded a bit French. So I registered the name and Milad agreed we should call our company MEPIS, SA. But then, Milad's financial backer had problems due to the recession and we did not get funding. I was very disappointed because I looked forward to living in Paris and even had found an apartment one block from Saint Sulpice. Also if that had happened, MEPIS Linux would be a Paris based project." You can find the English translation of the interview here.
* * * * *
Finally, if you ever needed to explain to your boss why you were browsing the Playboy web site during working hours, now you can have a legitimate reason: you were looking to download Linux and BSD software. That's because -- as reported by OSDir.com -- a Playboy web server is being used as a mirror for a number of open source projects, including the CPAN archives, FreeBSD, Fedora Core, Apache and mod_ssl. Here is the proof and the reason, as explained by Tim: "Howdy! I'm the guy at Playboy that put this online for the masses. We couldn't do a lot of what we do without open source software, and the development efforts that go into constantly improving what's out there. This is the end result of a pet project to make it easy for me to reach out and snag software I use on a daily basis and also say thanks and help spread the joy. :-)"
Have a great week!
|Featured distribution of the week: Devil-Linux
One of the pleasures of running a site like DistroWatch is in enormous variety of ideas that lead to building a Linux or BSD-based operating system. Devil-Linux is a perfect example of such an idea. Its creator, Heiko Zuerker (originally from Germany, but now living and working in the United States), needed a firewall that would run on an old computer without a hard disk and with only 32MB of RAM, and would be resistant to common vulnerabilities, such as the rootkit exploit. That's when he came up with an idea to build a "live" firewall on a bootable CD. Since a potential attacker would not be able to write to the CD itself, it goes without saying that the file system behind the firewall would never be compromised. Even if an attacker succeeded in breaking into the operating system, a simple reboot would restore the firewall to its original condition.
The development of Devil-Linux started in 2002, but new features were continuously added with every new release. It is now possible to store user settings on a floppy disk or a USB pen drive. With the Devil-Linux build system, users can customise their Devil-Linux CD by easily adding and removing applications from the default image, or add other desired features. Most binary packages on the CD are now compiled with the GCC Stack Smashing Protector to guard against buffer overflows and corruption of pointers. Additionally, the Linux kernel is patched with GRSecurity, which ads chroot restrictions, address space modification protection, and auditing and randomisation features to further protect against known exploits.
Although Devil-Linux is primarily designed to be used as a firewall or router, it also comes with a range of commonly used server applications, including a proxy server (Squid), DNS Server (BIND), Mail Server with TLS support and spam and virus filtering (Postfix), HTTP Server (Apache 2), FTP Server (vsftpd), and other applications.
Devil-Linux is released under the GPL and freely available from the project's web site and mirrors. For further information, please visit devil-linux.org and consult its product features page.
Configuring the Devil-Linux live firewall
(Screenshot courtesy of devil-linux.org, more screenshots are available here)
|Released Last Week
A new version of LinEspa, a Spanish Debian-based Linux live CD, has been released. Unlike the previous version based around Knoppix and the KDE desktop, LinEspa 0.20 was built on top of a minimal Debian Sarge system and kept light with the inclusion of XFce, rather than KDE as the distribution's preferred desktop environment. Some of the more interesting applications shipping with LinEspa 0.20 include AMSN 0.93, aMule 2.0.0 rc5, GIMP 2.0, Mozilla Firefox 0.9.3, Mozilla Thunderbird 0.7.3, Gaim 0.82.1, XMMS 1.2.10, MPlayer 1.0, XFce 4, Xffm 4 (with Samba). Here is the release announcement (in Spanish).
Linux para todos: Spain's LinEspa 0.20 with XFce desktop.
(full image size 109kB)
StartCom 3.0.3 MultiMedia Edition
StartCom Linux is a new Linux distribution based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, with various specialist editions, such as Advanced Server (AS), Developer Edition (DL) and MultiMedia Edition (ML). A new MultiMedia Edition, code name "Mishteh", was released today: "Based on the stability, reliability and security of its bigger Enterprise Server brother, StartCom released today its third Linux distribution - StartCom MultiMedia Edition. Featuring mostly modern desktop oriented software for the home user, this release is the direct result of a market research madewith teenagers, and promises fun and entertainment from the first hour on." Read the full press release.
Hancom Linux 4.0
The long delayed Hancom Linux 4.0 is finally released. The distribution comes in two editions - the Professional edition will be available from 30 October directly from Hancom's online store for 55,000 won (approximately US$68), and the Download edition, available now. The main components of Hancom Linux consist of Linux kernel 2.6.6, "Koreanised" KDE 3.2.3, Firefox web browser, MPlayer multimedia player, and a number of popular server applications. Additionally, the Professional edition comes with Hancom Office 3.0, as well as an online update service. Read the press release and visit Hancom's product page (both links in Korean) for further information.
Litrix Linux 2.0
Litrix Linux is a Brazilian live CD based on Slackware Linux. The following is from the just release Litrix Linux 2.0 release announcement (in Portuguese): "Litrix 2.0 is now available. New features and packages include Linux kernel 2.6.7, KDE 3.3.0, Java, Eclipse, NVIDIA drivers, slackpkg, etc. Litrix 2.0 is based on Slackware Linux 10.0, with the addition of KDE 3.3.0, and automatic hardware configuration." The distribution's boot options and user interface are in Brazilian Portuguese only.
This is a new release of INSERT - Inside Security RescueToolkit. From the changelog: "v1.2.16: the kernel with modules was updated to 2.4.27, along with the additional WLAN modules from Knoppix 3.6 and ndiswrapper - this brings much better support for wireless connections; added packages: lrzsz, dpcast, openvpn(!), cfdisk-utf8; replaced wmapm with wmacpi; updated packages: dvd+rw-tools, hdparm, jfsutils, (x)nmap, p0f, parted, rkhunter, smbmount, wavemon, xfsprogs; bugfix: the automatic network configuration was somewhatbroken - especially regarding wireless adapters, this should be fixed now; bugfix: memtest (boot option) works again; the virus database for clamav was updated to the latest version."
SAM Mini Live Linux 1.0
The first stable version of SAM Mini Live Linux, a Mandrakelinux-based live CD with XFce, is now available: "SAM 1.0 (final) is ready! There are small and big changes: now it is X.org-based (6.8.1), if you enable the composite extensions you can have your panel transparent and have very nice shadows of the windows. SAM 1.0 includes the new XFce 4.2 BETA release, straight from CVS. Also there is now a small section for developers with Scite, VIM-minimal, Tiny C and Lua. I am very proud to have the Skype telephony tool in SAM. Now you can make your Skype calls from anyhere!" The announcement and changelog. Note: the release was later withdrawn due to newly discovered bugs.
To celebrate the 10th birthday of the Italian Linux Society, the knopILS project has released a new version of the Knoppix-based live CD. Changes compared to 0.6: synchronised with Knoppix 3.7; removed non-essential packages; added User Mode Linux and a simple HOWTO describing how to create a small "live" LAN; added uml-utilities;added kdebluetooth; modified the boot splash script; included a new wallpaper commemorating the 10th birthday of the Italian Linux Society. For more information and changelog, please visit the distribution's web site (in Italian).
Kurumin Linux 3.3
Kurumin Linux 3.3 has been released. The main change is the update of KDE to version 3.3.0 with many usability enhancements and bug fixes. Users running an earlier version of Kurumin Linux can update to the latest version by following the instructions in Kurumin Tips #1. Also, various improvements to "Magic icons" and scripts for installing additional applications have been implemented. There is a new developers's forum to share ideas, contributions and bug fixes. In the meantime, work has already started on the next version which will see Kurumin Linux migrating to kernel 2.6. Further details are available inthe release announcement and changelog (all links in Portuguese).
Kurumin Linux 3.3 - the first release using KDE 3.3
(full image size 853kB)
A brand new Devil-Linux is out. This is from the announcement about the release of the popular live firewall (runs directly from a bootable CD), version 1.2: "I'm proud to announce v1.2 of Devil-Linux. The changes include kernel 2.4.27, many program updates, printing support, 32MB systems are supported again, Apache HTTP server, PHP, and many many other changes." Read the announcement and changelog for a more complete list of changes and package updates.
This is an updated release of KANOTIX 2004-09. It features some new add-ons like KaxTV (with DVB support), WPA client (wpasupplicant), and a further improved hard disk installer (now even live update is possible with kanotix-installer-latest-web), besides the usual driver updates like FreeNX 0.2.5, IPW2100 0.56, IPW2200 0.12and Ndiswrapper 0.11. Powernowd is now activated for Athlon XP Mobile (besides Pentium M and Athlon 64) at boot-up. The kernel was changed again to support PCTVSat (Tecalsat 0.5e as additional GUI is there too). The full announcement with detailed specifications and downloadlinks can be found here.
Development and unannounced releases
- Fedora Core 3 Test3, the release notes (i386)
- LinuxTLE 5.5.91, the release announcement (in Thai)
- Ubuntu Linux 4.10-rc, the release announcement
- Mandrakelinux 10.1-beta2 (x86_64), the release notes
- Ubuntu Linux 4.10-preview (Live edition), the announcement
- CCux Linux 0.9.4-alpha, the announcement
- Gnoppix 0.8.1-beta9, the announcement
- FreeSBIE penBSD, the announcement
- Kaella - Knoppix Linux Azur 1.2-beta2, the release notes (in French)
- Buffalo Linux 1.5.0-rc2, the announcement
- LIIS Linux 0.904, the announcement
- YES Linux 2.0.12, the announcement
- Sorcerer 20041012
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Gentoo Linux 2004.3
A new release of Gentoo Linux will soon become a reality: "Watch out for beta versions of the upcoming 2004.3 LiveCDs this week: Both x86 and PPC architectures are on the brink of releasing previews, and will eagerly await bug reports at Gentoo's bugzilla as soon as the test builds hit the mirrors. Comments from testers are highly welcome before marking the respective architectures ready for release." More information in this week's Gentoo Weekly Newsletter.
The stable release of FreeBSD 5.3, originally scheduled for yesterday (Sunday), has slipped by over a week. That's according to the updated release schedule. The first release candidate is expected any time time, while the final release should be officially announced a week from now, on Monday, 25th of October. As always, further delays are not unlikely.
The Gobolinux project has published a roadmap leading towards the next stable release, version 012: "Another version, another roadmap. We took a long time to write this one, which ended up delaying its release time after time after time. I usually like to take this space to write some looking-back review of the development of the project (release milestones are always a good moment for that), but I feel I just can't delay this roadmap any longer. On the bright side, this roadmap was more collaboratively written than any of the previous ones. :)" More details on this page.
|Web Site News
New distribution additions
New on the waiting list
- RAYS Linux. RAYS Linux, developed by Sun Wah Hi-tech (Nanjing) System Software Limited, is the first commercial operating system in China that is based on Debian GNU/Linux and utilises Debian package management tools. RAYS Linux provides users with a simple and stylish user interface by adopting the GNOME desktop environment. A variety of applications in RAYS Linux helps users fulfilling their demands for Linux migration.
- Kate Linux. Kate Linux is a Polish non-commercial and light-weight Linux distribution designed for power users. It is based on Slackware Linux with XFce as the main desktop environment.
DistroWatch database summary
- Number of Linux distributions in the database: 341
- Number of BSD distributions in the database: 9
- Number of discontinued distributions: 40
- Number of distributions on the waiting list: 80
|DistroWatch in the News
We didn't feature much in the news lately, so allow us to devote this space to some of the recent email by our readers:
Thank you all for your kind words and suggestions - it is always a pleasure to serve an appreciative community! As for the search features, this issue comes out on a regular basis so we are well aware of how inadequate the search features on this site are. As always, anybody who knows a scripting language and is willing to lend a hand, is welcome to contribute. Failing that, please be patient, we are continuously improving the site and adding new features, but our time and resources are limited, so miracles won't happen instantly. But rest assured that we are doing our best!
- Speel One: "I'd just like to thank you for DistroWatch.com. I think it's the best Linux distro site out there, I haven't found any other sites like this one. Keep up the good work and rock on!"
- Richard Winkler: "I just wanted to say thank you for your website. I haven't been into Linux very long, but I can say that your site is one of my favorites. I especially like DistroWatch Weekly. Through your site I have found some lesser known distros that I absolutely love. Your site contributes to the Open Source community like no other. Through your site, I have come to realize how dynamic and great Open Source can be. Thank you."
- Nix_user: "I just wanted to drop a line and say that the only reason I look forward to Mondays is because of DistroWatch Weekly."
- Dragon_K: "First of all I'd like to say DistroWatch is the best site about Linux distributions ever! Congratulations! There is one lack of feature though: I was looking for a particular type of distribution, i686-optimized and with powerfull updates support. The way I did it was by taking each distribution and reading its description. What I'd like to suggest now (perhaps I'm not the first) is to create a 'real' search engine for the distributions, a search engine which would be able to search by features."
That's all for today, see you again next Monday!
|• 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|
|• Issue 488 (2012-12-24): Reviews of Unity and Puppy Linux 5.4 "Slacko", FreeBSD 10|
|• Issue 487 (2012-12-17): Cinnarch 2012.11.22, OpenMandriva, Fedora Magazine, Tumbleweed, OpenJDK vs Oracle Java|
|• Issue 486 (2012-12-10): Linux Mint 14 review, Ubuntu "spyware" controversy, Haiku overview, troubleshooting Linux servers|
|• Issue 485 (2012-12-03): Kwort Linux 3.5, Mint bug-fix update, Fedora's new Anaconda, defining a distribution|
|• Issue 484 (2012-11-26): Look at SMS 2.0.1, Fedora pre-beta report, Illumos, Secure Boot update|
|• Issue 483 (2012-11-19): DragonFly BSD 3.2.1 and Xubuntu 12.10, Gentoo and udev, switching file systems|
|• Issue 482 (2012-11-12): Review of Zenwalk 7.2, Clang in FreeBSD, Omniboot 0.5, priorities on external drives|
|• Issue 481 (2012-11-05): Look at Tails 0.13, EFF on Ubuntu and privacy, Debian installer changes, ext4 data corruption bug|
|• Issue 480 (2012-10-29): Review of Ubuntu 12.10, Wayland 1.0, FreeBSD's pkgng|
|• Issue 479 (2012-10-22): Look at Zentyal 3.0, Debian bug reporting, initiating a halt|
|• Issue 478 (2012-10-15): Slackware 14.0 review, Ubuntu donations, connecting to multiple machines behind router|
|• Issue 477 (2012-10-08): Review of ODROID-X, OpenBSD's anti-Linux song, interview with Vincent Untz, Linux as operating system|
|• Issue 476 (2012-10-01): Review of openSUSE 12.2, Slackware 14.0 features, accessing home computer with SSH|
|• Issue 475 (2012-09-24): Look at PCLinuxOS 2012.08, Ubuntu and Amazon, SolusOS and PiSi, ownCloud|
|• Issue 474 (2012-09-17): Bodhi Linux 2.0.1, OpenIndiana interview, Frugalware history, update notifications|
|• Issue 473 (2012-09-10): The Linux Command Line, Slackware documentation project, Debian's new primary arch, Goobuntu|
|• Issue 472 (2012-09-03): Kororaa Linux 17, OpenIndiana and SchilliX, Ubuntu GNOME remix, home server tip|
|• Issue 471 (2012-08-27): Linux Mint 13 "KDE", Ubuntu 12.10 features, Slax update, folder quotas|
|• Issue 470 (2012-08-20): Liberté Linux 2012.2, Arch and systemd, NetBSD's sysbuild and sysupgrade, 19 years of Debian|
|• Issue 469 (2012-08-13): Peppermint OS Three, SUSE on Secure Boot, GNOME OS, moving email to Linux|
|• Issue 468 (2012-08-06): First look at CentOS 6.3, Debian installer beta, Fedora and MATE, Libtrash|
|• Issue 467 (2012-07-30): Ubuntu Made Easy, Debian "Jessie", OpenBSD on Secure Boot, Rawhide troubles|
|• Issue 466 (2012-07-23): Fuduntu 2012.3, Linux in PC-BSD jails, secure boot on older computers|
|• Issue 465 (2012-07-16): Netrunner 4.2, Mandriva's two codebases, firewalls and window frames|
|• Issue 464 (2012-07-09): Zorin OS 6, FSF's views on secure boot, Virtual PDF Printer|
|• Issue 463 (2012-07-02): TurnKey Linux 11.3, Red Hat and Btrfs, Sabayon's MATE spin, ZFS on Linux|
|• Issue 462 (2012-06-25): Sabayon 9, "Wheezy" freeze, Zorin OS overview, Vinux interview, mounting network shares|
|• Issue 461 (2012-06-18): Linux Mint 13, openSUSE 12. delays, Debian Multimedia, Mageia 3 roadmap|
|• Issue 460 (2012-06-11): Look at Fedora 17, PC-BSD and Slackware interviews, Openfiler and FuguIta|
|• Issue 459 (2012-06-04): Impressions of Mageia 2, Fedora updates, Debian or Raspberry Pie, improving software performance|
|• Issue 458 (2012-05-28): Impressions of SolusOS 1, Linux kernel 3.4, encrypting home folder|
|• Issue 457 (2012-05-21): Linux accessibility, Fedora 17 overview, MultiSystem, launching tasks|
|• Issue 456 (2012-05-14): Look at OpenBSD 5.1, Debian Installer 7.0 alpha, UDS news round-up|
|• Issue 455 (2012-05-07): Review of Ubuntu 12.04, "Quantal Quetzal" plans, Debian infographic|
|• Full list of all issues|