| 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 658 (2016-04-25): Kali Linux 2016.1, elementary OS 0.3.2, Debian elects Project Leader, Fedora 24 feature preview, Nard reaches 1.0|
|• Issue 657 (2016-04-18): Redox, Linux Mint improves update manager, planned Fedora 24 features, Ubuntu 16.04 getting Snappy packages|
|• Issue 656 (2016-04-11): Qubes OS 3.1, Whonix offers bug bounties, Puppy's family tree, setting up disk partitions and running bash on Windows|
|• 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|
|• Issue 652 (2016-03-14): ReactOS 0.4.0, Debian swaps Iceweasel for Firefox, Fedora moving forward with Wayland, Verifying ISO files|
|• Issue 651 (2016-03-07): Korora 23, Linux Mint improves security, Ubuntu MATE on Raspberry Pi 3 computers, trying different file systems|
|• Issue 650 (2016-02-29): Haiku in 2016, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, 30 years of MINIX, Fedora plans Atomic Workstation|
|• Issue 649 (2016-02-22): Zorin OS 11, openSUSE launches new editions, Linux Mint website compromised, sandboxing applications using Firejail|
|• Issue 648 (2016-02-15): XStream Desktop 153, Raspbian unveils OpenGL feature, free hardware, Ikey Doherty talks desktop design|
|• Issue 647 (2016-02-08): Tails 2.0, KDE project launches Neon, Manjaro unveils ARM support, FreeBSD's quarterly report|
|• Issue 646 (2016-02-01): deepin 15, Mint plans X-Apps, FreeBSD to support boot environments, logging into the desktop as root|
|• Issue 645 (2016-01-25): Linux Mint 17.3 "Xfce", Chromixium changes its name, Ubuntu tablets coming soon, Linux vs BSD comparision|
|• Issue 644 (2016-01-18): Kwort 4.3, Sabayon tests ARM images, Slackware adopts PulseAudio, running Linux without GNU software|
|• Issue 643 (2016-01-11): Solus 1.0, Mint provide upgrade path to 17.3, Fedora developers work on stability, running the LXQt desktop|
|• Issue 642 (2016-01-04): paldo GNU/Linux, vetting distro repositories, Fedora plans to adopt GCC 6, Ian Murdock passes|
|• Issue 641 (2015-12-21): Arch Linux, Qubes OS to ship on Librem laptops, ALT offers start kit images, the spread of systemd and launchd|
|• Issue 640 (2015-12-14): Chakra GNU/Linux 2015.11, removing meta-data from files, Ubuntu to remove on-line dash searches|
|• Issue 639 (2015-12-07): OpenBSD 5.8, openSUSE gathers Summer of Code proposals, running WINE on a live disc, Enlightenment adds Wayland support|
|• Issue 638 (2015-11-30): Qubes OS 3.0, KaOS with Plasma, NetBSD 7.0, Fedora seeks Wayland testers, scheduling tasks|
|• 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|
|• Full list of all issues|