| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 72, 25 October 2004
Welcome to this year's 42nd edition of DistroWatch Weekly. This week we'll bring you extensive coverage of the newly released Ubuntu Linux 4.10 and we'll also look forward towards new releases expected later this week: SUSE LINUX 9.2 is now reportedly shipping in Germany, while the much awaited FreeBSD 5.3-RELEASE shouldn't take much longer. Happy reading!
The inaugural release of Ubuntu Linux
The first stable version of Ubuntu Linux was released last week. For some, this might have been just another release on the long list of new distributions lining up for our attention. However, there is little doubt that Ubuntu is one of the most significant development efforts that has hit the Linux distribution scene for a long time. The initial impressions of users seem to be extremely favourable. Reviews and related community web sites and forums have started appearing on the Internet. The level of technical support the Ubuntu developers provide on the mailing lists is unparallelled (a significantly more pleasant experience than the heated debates one often witnesses on the Debian lists). Overall, Ubuntu is a winner, especially for those who prefer Debian and GNOME as their working environment.
The only controversy that Ubuntu generated prior to the final release was related to some of the artwork included with the distribution. Many users seemed to have been offended by the Ubuntu wallpaper and considered the "nudity" inappropriate for the otherwise excellent product. Ubuntu's founder Mark Shuttleworth explains: "The background to the theme is the idea of 'spirit of humanity'. ... I'm aware the images might be controversial. So is any work of art." Following a round of discussion on the Ubuntu IRC channel, a decision was made to drop all artwork from the default desktop, but make it available as an option after installation. Mark Shuttleworth: "In the pantheon of ideas about which it could be asked 'which dumbnut dreamed this up?' the idea of strong human imagery in Ubuntu would appear to feature prominently, and the dumbnut in question would be me. I'll have to shoulder any blame for the original idea and its execution."
Ubuntu Linux 4.10 - the otherwise excellent release was marred by controversy over some of the included artwork
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While we are all eagerly waiting for the FreeBSD 5.3-RELEASE, here is something to kill the time: LiveBSD's new live CD (based on FreeBSD 5.3) with KDE 3.3.0 and the BSD Installer: "FreeBSD 5.3 LiveCD, KDE 3.3 and the BSD Installer from BSDInstaller.com. Please note that this is a beta release and we plan on tweaking it further with suggestions over the next week or two. We have added many math programs to the newest version and we are TRYING to cram OpenOffice.org in but it's going to be close. Everything installed via 'make install' from the FreeBSD ports system." Find more information and download links on the project's development page.
* * * * *
The home page of Slackware Linux has been updated. This wouldn't be news, but since it happens no more than a few times in a year, we deemed it newsworthy enough. What happened? "First of all, there's a new official Slackware Port, it's Slack/390 (for the s/390 architecture obviously). Mark Post and Mike Kershaw began porting Slackware to the mainframe early in 2001; Mark is currently the sole developer/maintainer of the Slack/390 project. Further information about the S/390 port can be found on the slack390 official website. Second, the mirrors list (getslack) has been updated...." There is more, so visit Slackware.com to read all the latest news from the Slackware project.
* * * * *
A new version of Mandrakelinux Move is now available for free download from the distribution's many mirrors: "The new Mandrakelinux Move is now publicly available for download. The full commercial version is available on Mandrakestore, bundled with various USB keys and now also without any key. Additionally, Mandrakeclub Silver Members (and above) can download the commercial ISO. Remember: Mandrakelinux Move is the perfect way to introduce your friends to Linux, and a must-have for all of you - Linux experts - who need to bring a full Linux system everywhere with you!" Although this release of Mandrakesoft's very own live CD is based on Mandrakelinux 10.0 (as opposed to the newer version 10.1) and many applications are somewhat out of date, Move is still a nice live CD to carry around, especially for users who are familiar with the company's other products. More information is available on the Move page.
* * * * *
StartCom Enterprise Linux has announced the availability of an updated version of StartCom Linux 3.0.3 MultiMedia Edition. This follows the product's successful launch two weeks ago: "StartCom decided to invest even more resources in this distribution and offers today an updated version, with many additional drivers, specially for sound and video cards, namely the inclusion of ALSA modules and the NVIDIA driver. The current version can be downloaded from one of our mirrors. Choose the iso images with the -i386-[1-3].iso extension." The updated release has the same version number as the earlier release (3.0.3) and existing installations can be upgraded through StartCom Network. Visit StartCom.org for more information about this distribution and to find out about the company's other products - StartCom Enterprise Linux and StartCom Linux Developer Edition.
* * * * *
Finally, what do you think about the ongoing effort to promote the Firefox browser and take out a full-page advertisement in the New York Times? We briefly thought about supporting it with a small donation, but then... something didn't sound right. That 'something' was the choice of the advertising medium. Why New York Times? In other words, why limit the exposure to a regional newspaper that only reaches a tiny percentage of the world's population? Wouldn't a globally available publication be more appropriate for such a move? Perhaps something like International Herald Tribune, Financial Times or maybe Newsweek? While we agree with, and wholeheartedly support the effort to promote Firefox to the masses, the people behind the initiative should remember that Linux, Firefox and the vast majority of other open source software projects were not created in New York, many of them not even in the USA. They are truly global efforts, spanning the globe and the Internet. It's a shame that the Firefox promoters can't see beyond their own country.
|Featured distribution of the week: Ubuntu Linux
Ubuntu Linux has stormed the Linux distribution scene like no other project before. It has done so in a fashion resembling a highly sophisticated player: it seems to have first observed all the other major projects, learnt from their mistakes and combined the best features of all of them into one superior product. A six-month's release cycle, up-to-date package set, a clearly set product lifetime (at 18 months), fast download mirrors, great documentation, even free CDs and free shipment of CDs anywhere in the world to those interested in the distribution. That's Ubuntu.
The Ubuntu Linux project is funded by Mark Shuttleworth. Those who have never heard the name, Mark is a South African entrepreneur who made a fortune when he sold his company, Thawte Consulting, to Verisign, for US$575 million in late 1999. He appears to be a generous person: after the sale, he reportedly paid bonuses of one million Rand each (about US$163,000 at the time) to every one of his employees. He also founded several educational and open source initiatives around South Africa, including Go Open Source. While it is not yet clear how Mark's Canonical Limited intends to make money from Ubuntu, the distribution is certainly off to a good start, at least in terms of getting the name into public consciousness and offering a solid alternative to more established Linux distributions.
On the technical side of things, Ubuntu is based on Debian Sid (unstable branch), but with more up-to-date packages, including GNOME 2.8. The distribution is designed to be used on desktops and servers, with a supported upgrade path from Debian 3.0 (Woody). One of its more interesting features is the fact that the "root" account is disabled by default; the first registered user after installation is granted superuser privileges through the "sudo" command. This measure, while it might sound like an inconvenience at first, has to be applauded since it encourages good security practices.
To find out more about Ubuntu, please visit the distribution's web site, read its FAQs, subscribe to the already highly active mailing lists, check out its unofficial user forums (Spanish speakers can visit Ubuntu-es.org and Foro no oficial de Ubuntu Linux en castellano) and peruse its Wiki pages with all the documentation. Most importantly, download the latest release, or order free Ubuntu CDs (shipping is also free). Finally, visit our own Ubuntu page with links to recent reviews and other related information.
The inaugural release of Ubuntu Linux has turned out to be a great success.
(full image size 609kB)
|Released Last Week
Ubuntu Linux 4.10
The first ever stable release of Ubuntu Linux, code name "Warty Warthog", is out: "The warm-hearted Warthogs of the Warty Team are proud to present the very first release of Ubuntu! Ubuntu is a new Linux distribution that brings together the extraordinary breadth of Debian with a fast and easy install, regular releases (every six months), a tight selection of excellent packages installed by default and a commitment to security updates with 18months of security and technical support for every release. Warty can be installed in a minimalist mode for servers, or in full desktop mode. It works well on laptops and desktops." Read the rest of the release announcement. ISO images for AMD64, i386 and PPC architectures, as well as BitTorrent seeds are available from the Ubuntu download page.
Rocks Cluster 3.3.0
A new version of the Rocks Cluster distribution has been released: "Rocks 3.3.0 released. If you are building a compute cluster, grid endpoint, or a visualization cluster please choose from our following selection. For example, to build a Pentium compute cluster you must download the base, hpc+kernel, and area51+java+sge rolls. If you wish to build something not on the menu you must choose from our à la carte selection, but make sure to download the required base, hpc, and kernel rolls." See the release announcement with download links for information on which files to download to suit your environment.
Puppy Linux 0.9.6
Puppy Linux version 0.9.6 is out: "Puppy version 0.9.6 released. Release notes: Xine-libs plugin backend and Gxine media player is now in Puppy, as well as a plugin for Firefox. Puppy has the full suite of Xine plugins, that support a wide range of audio and video formats as well as streaming audio and video, video DVDs and audio CDs. Puppy now has two very powerful vector graphics editor applications: Dia and Sodipodi. Dia is superb for organisational/hierarchical diagrams and Sodipodi is a SVG-native vector editor that can also be used for generic image creation. TkDVD and growisofs have been added to Puppy...." Read the rest of the release notes for further details.
SLAX 4.2.0 has been released, together with several new "special editions". From the changelog: "New special SLAX editions released: 'Kill-Bill' edition with WINE and DosEMU, 'Popcorn' edition with XFce and Mozilla, 'Professional' edition with GCC, more coming soon! Added Linux kernel 2.4.28-pre4 with SATA support; added some missing cheatcodes to cheatcodes.txt on the CD; added 'toram' boot option, a synonym for copy2ram; added X.org 6.8.1, KDE 3.3.1, KOffice 1.3.3; added ndiswrapper 0.10 (allows using Windows drivers for WiFi cards); added sudo, guest can start GUI by using it; added user 'guest' with password 'guest'. Please understand that guest is a non-root user so you can't start any software in SLAX which would need root privileges. GUI can be started (sudo is used)...." For the above-mentioned specialist editions please visit the SLAX download page.
The "Kill Bill" edition of SLAX 4.2.0 with WINE, FreeDOS, DosEMU and Qemu
(full image size 266kB)
A new version of vnlinuxCD, a Vietnamese live CD based on Mandrakelinux, has been released. This version includes kernel 2.6, GNOME 2.4 (as the default desktop environment), OpenOffice.org 1.1 office suite (with AbiWord and Gnumeric also present), pre-configured multimedia plugins, and the graphical user interface in Vietnamese. Although vnlinuxCD is designed to be a live CD, it can be installed on one's hard disk with the help of a simple 6-step wizard. More information about the release is available in the release announcement and on the distribution's web site (both links in Vietnamese).
SUSE LINUX 9.2 Live CD/DVD
The upcoming SUSE LINUX 9.2 has yet to hit the retail stores, but the product's two live CDs (with either KDE or GNOME) and a live DVD are now available for free download: "This directory contains three different versions of Live media for SUSE LINUX Professional 9.2. LiveDVD.iso: the LiveDVD that comes with both GNOME and KDE desktops and a number of popular applications. LiveCD-Gnome.iso: This is LiveCD with only GNOME. LiveCD-KDE.iso:This is a LiveCD with only KDE. The LiveDVD supports the following languages: Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Greece, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, Slovenian, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish. The two LiveCDs only support English and German languages." The README file also contains instructions for burning the ISO images.
Development and unannounced releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
After some reader feedback last week, this section has undergone some modifications: besides publishing all the upcoming release announcements, it will also serve as a reference point for expected future releases.
SUSE LINUX 9.2
Although Novell announced that SUSE LINUX 9.2 would only be available in early November, customers in Germany have reportedly been getting their new SUSE boxes late last week. Amazon.de officially starts shipping the boxes today, while Amazon.co.uk will do so on November 5 and Amazon.com on October 11. Besides the Professional Edition, ISO images of SUSE LINUX 9.2 LiveCD (with GNOME or KDE) and LiveDVD are now available for free download.
According to this revised schedule, the first stable release of FreeBSD 5.x is imminent. Keep an eye on your favourite mirror and don't forget to get a bottle of champagne for the occasion. After all, it has been more than 4.5 years since the release of the first stable version of FreeBSD 4.x series.
Fedora Core 3
The final release of Fedora Core 3 has been delayed by a week - it will now be released on November 8. This is mainly due to kernel updates: "Because a good amount of kernel work for FC3 happened after the FC3test3 release, the release of the final FC3 has been delayed to November 8. The extra time will be used only to give extra attention to the kernel, and to find any showstopper bugs in other parts of the distribution." On a related note, a quiet release candidate of Fedora Core 3, "that looks pretty close to what FC3 will be," was announced on Friday; the ISO images are available from testing.fedora.redhat.com or from fedora.linux.duke.edu.
Xandros Desktop 3.0
Xandros Corporation has announced a new beta program for testing the upcoming Xandros Desktop 3.0: "Xandros, the leading developer of easy-to-use Linux solutions, today announced its beta test program for the forthcoming version 3.0 of the award-winning Xandros Desktop Operating System (OS). Novice to expert users interested in beta testing the latest enhancements to Xandros desktop technology are invited to apply at the Xandros web site. Xandros will select a beta test team that covers a broad range of user experiences, as well as a diversity of hardware and networking scenarios." Interested parties should apply here. The final release of Xandros Desktop 3.0 is expected before the end of this year.
Vine Linux 3.1CR
Following the recent release of Vine Linux 3.0, the project has announced that a commercial release (CR) of Vine Linux 3.1 will be available on November 11. Pre-orders for the i386 and PPC editions are now accepted, with prices starting at ¥6,400.
ASPLinux has announced the availability of a beta release of ASPLinux 10. The new version is based on Fedora Core, which the company considers to be the highest quality distribution with frequent updates. The major components are: Linux kernel 2.6.8, glibc 2.3.3, GCC 3.3.3, Xorg-X11 6.8.1, GNOME 2.8.0, KDE 3.3.0, Mozilla 1.7.3, Evolution 2.0.2. ASP Linux strives to release only well-tested and bug-free products. Due to the fact that the company's development and testing resources are limited, interested public is invited to join in the beta testing process of the new distribution release. Testing will last until November 1st and bugs should be reported in the Bugzilla. This is the full press release (in Russian). The final release of ASPLinux 10 is scheduled for the second half of November.
ClarkConnect Broadband Gateway 3.0
The developers of ClarkConnect Broadband Gateway have published a roadmap leading towards version 3.0. The expected release time of the final version is November 2004.
* * * * *
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|Web Site News
New distribution additions
New on the waiting list
- Frugalware Linux. Frugalware Linux is general purpose Linux distribution designed for intermediate users. Some of its elements were borrowed from Slackware Linux and Arch Linux.
- grml. grml is a bootable CD (live CD) based on Knoppix and Debian. grml includes a collection of GNU/Linux software especially for users of text tools and system administrators. grml provides automatic hardware detection. You can use grml as a rescue system, for analysing systems/networks, or as a working environment. It is not necessary to install anything on a hard disk. Due to on-the-fly decompression, grml includes about 2GB of software and documentation on the CD.
- Julex. Julex is a Knoppix-based live CD distribution. Its aim is to be light-weight so that it works on older computers and is a small file to download.
- APODIO. APODIO is a live bootable CD containing major audio tools (GNU/Linux). The goal of APODIO is to build a free powerful audio workstation.
- iBox. iBox is a Gentoo-based live CD with user interface in simplified Chinese.
Eagle Linux (a set of scripts for building a complete live CD from an existing Linux installation) and WinBi (an Indonesian distribution based on Trustix Linux) have been placed on the list of Discontinued Distributions. Their web sites have been dead for several months with no indication of any ongoing development work.
DistroWatch database summary
- Number of Linux distributions in the database: 344
- Number of BSD distributions in the database: 9
- Number of discontinued distributions: 42
- Number of distributions on the waiting list: 77
|DistroWatch in the News
Our announcement about the availability of SUSE Linux 9.2 Live CDs and DVD on Sunday generated plenty of interest and we've experienced an unusually high number of visitors, unseen on most Sundays. Some of the more active referrers included OSNews, Hungarian Unix Portal, Linux.org.ru, BR-LINUX.org, La Cofradía Digital, and other news sites. Thank you all for linking to us :-)
With this, we'll say good-bye for today; see you again next Monday!
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