| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 74, 8 November 2004
Welcome to this year's 44th edition of DistroWatch Weekly. With FreeBSD 5.3 finally out of the door and Fedora Core 3 just around the corner, there is plenty to keep all BSD and Linux fans occupied for weeks to come. Besides covering the above two releases, we'll also bring you an interesting comparison of the existing RHEL 3 derivatives, news about a Knoppix live CD for gamers, and the usual roundup of distribution news. Happy reading!
New stable releases by FreeBSD, Fedora Project
FreeBSD 5.3-RELEASE is finally out of the door. The intense development cycle was concluded last weekend when the ISO images started to appear on FreeBSD mirrors with the official announcement following shortly afterwards. Of course, work on FreeBSD never stops and the developers are already busy implementing new features in the current (FreeBSD-6) tree, all in the elusive quest to bring you a truly perfect operating system. This is from an email message by Scott Long, sent to FreeBSD-current last week:
"5.x was a tremendous undertaking. SMPng, KSE, UFS2, background fsck, ULE, ACPI, etc, etc, etc were all incredible tasks. Given that many of these things were developed and managed by unpaid volunteers, the fact that we made it to 5-STABLE at all is quite impressive and says a lot about the quality and determination of all of our developers and users. However, 4 years was quite a long time to work on it. While 4.x remained a good work-horse, it suffered from not having needed features and hardware support. 5.x suffered at the same time from having too much ambition but not enough developers to efficiently carry it through."
The same email message also discusses the project's future plans:
"The current plan is to branch RELENG_6 (aka 6-STABLE) sometime around May or June 2005. That will begin a 1-3 month freeze and stabilization process for the 6.0 release. After that is released, we will do 6.1, 6.2 and onwards at likely 4 month intervals. In May/June 2006 we'll look at doing RELENG_7, or we might wait until Nov/Dec 2006 (12 months vs 18 months). The 5.4 release will likely be in Feb/March 2005, with a 5.5 release possibly in June/July, depending on where 6.0 is. There may be 5.x releases after 6.0 if 6.0 turns out to not be as stable as needed (as is often the case with a .0 release)."
With FreeBSD 5.3 out of the door and Fedora Core 3 just around the corner, there is only one major release to wait for this year - Debian 3.1 "Sarge". Will it arrive before Christmas? Or is it still months away? Your guess is as good as ours.
* * * * *
Shortly after Red Hat Linux was discontinued and replaced with a more community oriented Fedora Project, many developers went on to take advantage of the source RPMs used to build the official Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) distribution. Soon, RHEL clones began appearing on the Internet, starting with the best-known White Box Enterprise Linux, developed by a public library in DeRidder, USA, to a more recent product by StartCom, a Linux company from Eilat, Israel. So which one to choose? If you haven't decided yet, this white paper published by Lineox might be of help. Although it presents several controversial opinions that many will disagree with, it highlights an important problem with some of the existing RHEL clones - e.g. very slow response to security updates by White Box Enterprise Linux, or lack of commitment by some of the volunteer development efforts, such as the cAos project. All in all, a good read, especially if you are in the market looking for a RHEL-like distribution without the 3-digit price tag.
* * * * *
The developers of the Knoppix project have built a new specialist live CD catering to gamers: "In the current German PCH Hardware magazine, you can find a Knoppix PCGH-Edition of Knoppix, which is graphics-accelerated and preconfigured for over 30 games." Although the CD is only released as part of the magazine and not available for download (not yet, anyway), it is nice to see that a mainstream gaming magazine is giving exposure to Linux as a gaming platform. Hopefully, it will also bring in a few new converts.
* * * * *
Having suffered from bad press recently, it seems that Lycoris is taking serious steps to mend the situation. In the announcement entitled Changes in Lycoris as a company, the Lycoris CEO Joseph Cheek gives an honest analysis of the current situation and outlines some radical changes. The company will no longer outsource the distribution of boxed products to customers - this has caused quite a few grievances to some users who paid for the product in June, but still haven't received what they ordered. Some of the Lycoris products will be discontinued, with only its flagship ones -- Lycoris Desktop/LX, as well as the recently acquired SME Server -- receiving serious attention and more frequent updates. Some personnel changes were also mentioned in the announcement. Overall these look like positive moves, but we'll wait for their implementation before giving the company a resounding applause.
* * * * *
Is Ark Linux dead? That's what some of the users have been asking recently, given the lack of news and updates from the project: "Absolutely not - it's actually more active than ever," replied Bernhard Rosenkraenzer, the lead developer of Ark Linux. "We haven't made a new release for a while because we've been making many changes to the core system (kernel 2.4.x -> 2.6.x, gcc 3.3.x -> 3.4.3, linuxthreads -> NPTL, XFree86 -> X.Org, KDE 3.2 -> 3.3.1, ...) that required finishing and stabilizing before making a new release. You can still check out the current progress by upgrading an existing system to the dockyard-devel branch - or, if you don't want to try the new stuff yourself, by subscribing to the build-watch at arklinux.org mailing list, which receives mail every time something is changed." Now, if only someone could fix the Ark Linux Support Forum at arklinux.info, that would be even better news!
* * * * *
Would you be interested in running Linux from within Windows? While the concept is not new, now it has become easier than ever thanks to a new Damn Small Embedded Linux release that runs under any recent version of Microsoft Windows. Tuxs.org has published a simple tutorial with download links to get you started. Don't expect neck-breaking speed running Damn Small Linux like this, but it is fun nevertheless.
Damn Small Linux 0.8.3 running from within Microsoft Windows 2000.
(full image size: 106kB)
On boycotting LinuxToday.com
As many of our regular readers know, last week we issued a call to boycott LinuxToday.com. This was in response to the web site carrying large anti-Linux advertisements sponsored by Microsoft Corporation. The decision to call for a boycott was not taken lightly and, as always, any such drastic action is bound to create some controversy. Some readers emailed us to express disagreement with the action, citing various arguments why our call was wrong.
Some of the arguments went along the line saying that these Microsoft advertisements are harmless, simply because we know better than believing the content of their messages. Yes, you can certainly look at it that way. But we don't see them as just "advertisements" - we see them as a targetted anti-Linux FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) campaign directed against our favourite operating system. This is carried out by an extremely resourceful company which has a long history of eliminating many a competitor that stood in its way, a powerful monopoly which is hell-bent to use all necessary measures to discredit Linux at every opportunity. Do you still see it as "just advertisements"? Yes, their messages will have no effect on you and me, but would you send your less technically inclined boss to LinuxToday.com to collect information about Linux?
But this is not really about Microsoft (we wouldn't mind Microsoft sponsoring LinuxToday.com if they simply chose to advertise one of their products). It is about a Linux web site that accepts money to disseminate somebody's anti-Linux agenda. Some people argue that LinuxToday.com needs the cash to stay in business and therefore there is nothing wrong with their displaying any advertisements they can get. Wrong. LinuxToday.com doesn't need Microsoft's money to keep alive. LinuxToday.com is the largest Linux news site on the Internet, with a substantial percentage of their pages devoted to advertising. Compare that to DistroWatch, which is a comparatively small site with a much more narrow focus, but we still manage to bring home two to three thousands of dollars every months, just from advertising. Based on current advertising prices and the amount of sponsored content on LinuxToday, I'd venture a conservative guess that LinuxToday.com earns in excess of US$10,000 per month. I wouldn't be surprised if Microsoft's sponsorship of the site amounted to several thousands of dollars per months.
Where does this money go? How do we, the Linux community, benefit from this? Does LinuxToday.com sponsor any open source projects? No, the money probably goes straight into the back pockets of the corporate decision makers at Jupitermedia Corporation, the company running LinuxToday.com. They couldn't care less about being responsible and happily display blatantly anti-Linux content on a Linux news and advocacy site! This is nothing if not pure greed!
At the end of the day, this is a moral issue. In a way, it is not unlike having an affair - some people wouldn't think twice about having one, while others would find such action completely unacceptable. The former will no doubt have plenty of reasons and arguments why there is nothing wrong with their actions. Who is right and who is wrong? If you are one of those who find it reasonable that a Linux news and advocacy web site helps spreading anti-Linux propaganda, then by all means feel free to disregard our call for boycotting LinuxToday.com.
As for the rest of us (and if you are still reading then you probably agree with most of the above points), here is an excellent link that you can use to replace your LinuxToday.com bookmark - LXer.com. In fact, LXer is maintained by the original founder of LinuxToday.com - Dave Whitinger (Dave was actually the first person to call for a boycott of LinuxToday.com in June this year). LXer is a great site - it doesn't carry much advertising, it is much faster than LinuxToday.com in publishing up-to-date news, and it doesn't force you to click on the second page just to get to linked URLs. It even has original content on occasions.
In short, don't visit LinuxToday.com or any other so-called "Linux" site that helps with spreading anti-Linux propaganda (no, Slashdot is not considered a Linux web site). LinuxToday.com needs to be expunged from the Linux community until it starts behaving in a responsible manner and until it stops disseminating anti-Linux FUD on its pages.
|Featured project of the week: FreeBSD
Although this section featured another BSD product just last week, it is hard not pick FreeBSD as the featured project of this week's DistroWatch Weekly. Why? The first stable release of FreeBSD 4.x series was version 4.0, which came out in March 2000. Some four and a half years later, the first production release of FreeBSD 5.x -- version 5.3 -- was finally released last weekend.
As many BSD fans know, this operating system has a long and turbulent history, tainted by a copyright infringement law suite that ultimately led to the creation of FreeBSD from freely available source codes back in 1993. It has a reputation for being an extremely stable and reliable operating system, especially suitable for web hosting and other server intensive tasks. In fact, FreeBSD is frequently ranked as the top operating system in Netcraft's web server uptime survey. Of course, it can be used as a desktop or workstation system just as well (even some commercial applications, such as NVIDIA graphics driver, Opera browser or Acrobat Reader are available for FreeBSD). Although it requires a no small amount of technical expertise and command line tweeking before it can be turned into a pleasant-looking, graphical desktop system, it is worth the effort.
What's new in FreeBSD 5.3? If you need technical details, you can read this recent LWN article or this comprehensive migration guide. But very briefly, some of the more interesting changes include SMPng (an improved support for SMP systems), Kernel Scheduled Entities (a kernel-supported threading system), support for new architectures (AMD64, IA64, PC98 and SPARC64 are now also supported in addition to i386 and Alpha), UFS2 file system (with extended file attributes and support for larger file sizes), new compiler toolchain (GCC 3.4.2), support for Mandatory Access Control, support for Bluetooth and wireless networking, switch to X.Org as the default X window system, inclusion of OpenBSD's excellent "pf" firewall application, and many other improvements.
Even if most of the world nowadays seems to prefer Linux over BSD, there is little doubt that FreeBSD has its rightful place among the UNIX and UNIX-like operating systems. It is fast, reliable and strangely addictive. Try it - you'll like it.
The much awaited FreeBSD 5.3-RELEASE is finally available.
(full image size: 744kB)
|Released Last Week
Buffalo Linux 1.5.0
Buffalo Linux 1.5.0 has been released: "The new Buffalo 1.5.0 is a 2-CD release. The main reason for going to 2 CDs is to provide both kernel 188.8.131.52 and 2.6.9. The new 2.6.9 kernel has known issues with some video drivers (24-bit color problems with i810 for example). The GNOME bundle containing 85 packages was moved to the second CD. Since there was additional space on the second CD, over 250 packages were added (basically the rest of Slackware current as of 30 October). These additional packages provide other desktops such as KDE 3.3.1, Blackbox, FluxBox, WindowMaker 0.80.2, ... and other useful utilities. To load packages from the second CD simply run 'Buffalo Software' on the System menu. Added to CD1 were Firefox 1.0PR and Thunderbird 0.8 with over 80 package upgrades." Visit the distribution's home page to read the rest of the announcement.
Frugalware Linux 0.1
This is from the announcement about the release of Frugalware Linux 0.1, a new distribution only recently included in DistroWatch: "The Frugalware Developer Team is pleased to announce the immediate availability of Frugalware 0.1, our first stable release. A short list of improvements and fixed bugs since rc2: added support for using a separate /boot partition; moved all removable media entries from /mnt to /media; updated KDE to 3.3.1. Setup: fixed cleaning up cache when only the first CD used; added support for displaying detailed information about MS partitions; now short descriptions are available for packages; support for USB keyboards." Read the release announcement and changelog for more details.
Tao Linux 3.0 Update 3
An updated ISO image set of Tao Linux is now available: "OK, the fall semester at AU has been a bear, but I've finally managed to get the u3+ respin out. This includes all updates current to 11-2-2004. While GFS is available via yum install, it wasn't integrated because it caused odd kernel dependencies (this would need more hacking, and may not be worth it). I've split the DVD into separate binary & source DVDs - I hope that eventually the source ISOs are common for all platforms. Due to an issue with 'yum update' breaking, update 3 for non-i386 is not currently available, but may be available later." The release announcement.
Red Flag Linux 4.1
After a lengthy beta testing period, the final release of Red Flag Linux 4.1 Desktop Edition is out and available for free download. This is the first Red Flag release based on the recently formed Asianux, a common development platform maintained by China's Red Flag Linux, Japan's Miracle Linux and South Korea's Hansoft. Red Flag Linux 4.1 brings many improvements over its earlier release, including easier installation, better hardware support, improved kernel performance, and more intuitive desktop configuration options. It is designed for use in government offices, schools and on home computers. Here is the full announcement (in simplified Chinese), inclusive of download links.
Four and a half years after 4-STABLE, the first production release of FreeBSD 5 is now available for your downloading pleasure: "It is my great pleasure and privilege to announce the availability of FreeBSD 5.3-RELEASE. This release marks a milestone in the FreeBSD 5.x series and the beginning of the 5-STABLE branch of releases. Some of the many changes since 5.2.1 include: a binary compatibility interface has been introduced for the i386 platform that allows running Microsoft Windows NDIS network drivers natively in the kernel; the network and socket subsystems are now multi-threaded and reentrant; the development environment has been updated to GCC 3.4.2, Binutils; 2.15, and GDB 6.1; the choices for graphical environments have been updated to include X.org 6.7, GNOME 2.6.2 and KDE 3.3.0." The announcement, release notes, hardware notes and installation instructions.
Novell Linux Desktop 9
The new SUSE-based Novel Linux Desktop has arrived: "Novell today announced the availability of its next-generation Linux desktop for enterprise customers: Novell Linux Desktop 9, Powered by SUSE LINUX. Backed by Novell's extensive enterprise-level support, training and consulting services, Novell Linux Desktop 9 provides an end-user desktop platform designed specifically to help businesses leverage Linux* and open source software with confidence. ... Novell Linux Desktop 9, Powered by SUSE LINUX, will be available Nov. 12 through Novell channel partners for a suggested price of US$50 per system, which includes upgrades and updates for one year." Find more details in the press release, on Novell Linux product pages, and in this NewsForge report. A 30-day trial edition is available for free download (3 ISO images), after registration.
Development and unannounced releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Fedora Core 3 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 Beta2
A brand new version of Fedora Core -- version 3 and code name "Heidelberg" -- will be out later today. Rumour has it that the release will be officially announced at 8pm GMT, so keep an eye on a mirror near you to grab the 4-CD image set or the DVD. Also expected this week is the second beta release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4, code name "Nahant".
The all new Fedora Core 3 final will be released later today.
(full image size: 153kB)
Yellow Dog Linux 4.0 ISO images
The boxed sets of Yellow Dog Linux are now shipping, while downloadable ISO images will be made available later this month: "Yellow Dog Linux v4.0 is now shipping from the Terra Soft Solutions on-line store and will be available to our domestic and international resellers soon. The box set includes: 4 install and 4 source CDs; revised Guide to Installation; 290 page 'Getting Started with Yellow Dog Linux'; a sticker and flexible flier. v4.0 ISOs will be made available via public mirrors in roughly two weeks." Here is the full announcement and the obligatory link to the Terra Soft Online Store.
* * * * *
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|Web Site News
A DoS attack by Impi fans?
Some of you might have noticed a severe slow-down of the DistroWatch.com server over the weekend. This was due to a Denial of Service (DoS) attack, presumably by fans of Impi Linux who were attempting to retrieve the Impi Linux page at a rate of about 10 requests per second. The attacks were coming from the following IP addresses, all located in South Africa:
• 184.108.40.206 - garm.mip.co.za
• 220.127.116.11 - gateway.mip.co.za
• 18.104.22.168 - revolution.co.za
Our apologies for any inconvenience caused. Unfortunately, Internet vandalism seems to be alive and well.
New distribution additions
New on the waiting list
- X/OS Linux. X/OS Linux is a GNU/Linux distribution for business and enterprise users, featuring: a rock solid enterprise-grade operating system for reliable, high-performance computing; enterprise compatibility for easy migration of third-party applications; long-term availability of security updates and software enhancements. The distribution is compiled from source RPMs for Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
DistroWatch database summary
- Number of Linux distributions in the database: 356
- Number of BSD distributions in the database: 9
- Number of discontinued distributions: 42
- Number of distributions on the waiting list: 73
That's all for today; see you again next Monday!
|• 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|
|• Issue 522 (2013-08-26): Look at gNewSense 3.0, Ubuntu Edge fundraising failure, exploring GPL|
|• Issue 521 (2013-08-19): Review of Korora 19, Fedora considers return to "Core", Haiku package management|
|• Issue 520 (2013-08-12): Salix OS 14.0.1 "KDE", Xubuntu experiments with XMir, managing passwords with KeePass|
|• Issue 519 (2013-08-05): Review of Porteus 2.0, Kubuntu lays out plans for Wayland adoption, adjusting system swappiness|
|• Issue 518 (2013-07-29): MidnightBSD 0.4, Razor-qt, Ubuntu Edge, mounting infected drives|
|• Issue 517 (2013-07-22): Zorin OS 7 "Lite", Slackware turns 20, UbuntuForums compromise, Raspbian as home server, Tor|
|• Issue 516 (2013-07-15): Review of Fedora 19 "KDE", Shuttleworth on Mir, Seth Vidal, Kingsoft Office for Linux|
|• Issue 515 (2013-07-08): Whonix 0.5.6 and Deepin 12.12, MintBox, processor capabilities, distros for Raspberry Pi|
|• Issue 514 (2013-07-01): Peppermint Four, Mir, Mandriva forks, ThinkPenguin on libre hardware|
|• Issue 513 (2013-06-24): Look at ROSA, PC-BSD updates, Xen4CentOS6, Slacko vs Precise, Mageia interview, shells|
|• Issue 512 (2013-06-17): Trisquel 6.0, RHEL 7 with GNOME Classic, from Linux to FreeBSD, first look at Wayland|
|• Issue 511 (2013-06-10): Mint 15 impressions, GNOME Classic, Ubuntu Community portal, Absolute OpenBSD|
|• Issue 510 (2013-06-03): Impressions of aptosid 2013-01, Wayland comes to Raspberry Pi, maintaining DNS settings|
|• Issue 509 (2013-05-27): Mageia 3, Debian GNU/Hurd, RebeccaBlackOS with Wayland, ports|
|• 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|
|• Full list of all issues|
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