| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 76, 22 November 2004
Welcome to this year's 46th edition of DistroWatch Weekly. This week we are pleased to present our readers with two new and noteworthy resources for novice Linux users, and introduce Berry Linux, one of the few Fedora-based live CDs. Happy reading!
New resources for Linux beginners
Let's start with a report about two new resources for novice Linux users (and two possible gift ideas for the fast approaching Christmas holidays). The first one is a new book called Point & Click Linux by Robin "Roblimo" Miller of NewsForge fame, while the second resource is a new Linux magazine for beginners called TUX. Point & Click Linux is available for immediate purchase from Amazon.com (US$17.99) and other retailers, while TUX will launch early next year with the inaugural February issue.
Point & Click Linux includes SimplyMEPIS 2004 on its cover CD: "MEPIS is proud to announce that Prentice Hall is now shipping Point & Click Linux by Robin Miller. The cover of the book proclaims, 'Have Linux up and running in 5 minutes or less with the incredible MEPIS bootable CD-ROM'. 'Robin's book will show you the benefits of switching to Linux immediately,' according to the publishers. 'Your computer will run faster and more reliably than you ever believed possible. Surfing the net will no longer be an exercise in paranoia. And you'll discover a whole new world of powerful, free software that can run rings around the programs available for windows.'"
The TUX magazine promises to be another great Linux resource to tame that learning curve: "SSC Publishing today announced the launch of a new monthly print and online publication, TUX, the First and Only Magazine for the New Linux User. The magazine will launch February 1, 2005. TUX will address the needs of the vast numbers of people who use Linux as the operating system of choice on their PC desktops. Although Linux's fame stems primarily from its success as a rock-solid, corporate server platform, millions of people worldwide have quietly decided en masse that Linux is the desktop OS that meets their home and office needs most effectively. In fact, market analysts have been reporting for years that Linux is the world's fastest-growing operating system, and they peg its marketshare above that of Mac OS from Apple Computer, Inc."
Point & Click Linux - a new book by Robin "Roblimo" Miller is now available.
* * * * *
Late last week, the familiar colours and design of SUSE.com finally became history when SUSE's English language web site was fully integrated into Novell's. Although the SUSE logo is still prominently displayed on the new web site, one has to wonder: is this the beginning of the end of SUSE as a brand name? Is is going to be Novell Linux all the way from now on? Interestingly though, the German language web site at SUSE.de and other non-English SUSE web sites have remained unchanged for the time being.
* * * * *
As reported last week by many Linux news sites, the founder and developer of Slackware Linux Patrick Volkerding is seriously ill and is fighting for his life. Unfortunately, according to this unconfirmed forum post at Dropline Systems, Patrick's situation has turned for worse: "Wish I had a better report. They've done absolutely nothing to rule out an anerobic infection, and the heart pains are getting more severe every hour. With Marfan's, you are born with a defective heart. It's such a red herring that I'm stunned. Hope this isn't my last email." Is this a terrible tragedy in the making or do we still have hope? Words don't come easily in these situations, so let's just say: good luck, Patrick, we'll keep our fingers crossed!
Microsoft intensifies anti-Linux FUD
If you still believe that the anti-Linux propaganda as displayed on web pages of some of the so-called "Linux" web sites is just a little Microsoft "advertisement" not worth getting worked over, then consider these two signals coming out of the Redmond-based company last week. The first one was an open threat by Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer: "Ballmer told Microsoft's Asian Government Leaders Forum that Linux violates more than 228 patents. 'Some day,' he continued, 'for all countries that are entering the WTO [World Trade Organization], somebody will come and look for money owing to the rights for that intellectual property.'"
The second signal was even more bizarre - Microsoft has decided to launch an attack (link in Portuguese) on Kurumin Linux, an innocent, but increasingly popular Brazilian community project that aims to educate users about the advantages of Libre Software. The project has produced a quality Linux distribution/live CD and many pages of superb documentation for novice users. Unbelievably, Kurumin has now become a thorn in the eye of a multi-billion dollar corporation in some far-away country!
As the above examples illustrate, Microsoft's sponsorships of these so-called "Linux" web sites is not a small matter we can simply laugh off and forget about. They are part of a carefully orchestrated attack with the goal to discredit Linux at every opportunity and by whatever means. If this is what we are seeing now, when Microsoft's profits are barely affected by Linux and Libre Software, imagine what will happen once Linux makes real inroads into corporate desktops and cuts hard into Microsoft's bottom line! As a Linux community, we need to guard against these types of anti-Linux FUD campaigns, not help to disseminate them!
|Featured distribution of the week: Berry Linux
When it comes to live CDs, Debian users have long had a huge advantage over those who prefer other distributions - a mind-boggling number of Debian/Knoppix-based live CDs exist for just about every taste and purpose. But what about those who prefer Fedora or Red Hat? Well, the truth is that there just isn't much to choose from. We have ADIOS, a more or less internal project by an Australian university, Basilisk, a semi-dormant distribution formerly called "RPM Live", and Berry Linux, a Japanese project by Yuichiro Nakada (中田裕一朗). Of these three, Berry Linux is the most active and up-to-date Fedora-based live CD.
Despite coming out of Japan and defaulting to Japanese, English in Berry Linux is fully supported. All you need to do is to hit "A" at the GRUB boot prompt, then type "lang=us" as a boot parameter and press "Enter". The CD will then boot into an English-language KDE by default. For older computers, the light-weight Fluxbox desktop is also provided ("desktop=fluxbox"). As is the case with most live CDs these days, it is possible to install Berry Linux on hard disk by means of one of the two available installation scripts.
Applications in Berry Linux are kept highly up-to-date, thanks to the developer's policy of releasing new ISO images often - around one new release every 3 - 4 weeks. The latest version is 0.50 and it comes with kernel 2.6.9, X.Org 6.8.1, KDE 3.3.1, Firefox 1.0, GIMP 2.0.6 and other useful software. Several Japanese true type fonts are also included. Certain applications, such as the NVIDIA driver RPM, can be downloaded separately from the project's development page on SourceForge.
For more information about Berry Linux please visit the distribution's home page.
Berry Linux - one of the very few Fedora-based live CDs.
(full image size: 699kB)
|Released Last Week
Hakin9 Live 2.3.D
A new version of the Hakin9 Live CD is now available for download. Changes since the last release: "New kernel (2.4.26 + squashfs + cryptoloop + orinoco), better WiFi support, more applications. We've also managed to fix problems with booting Hakin9 Live on certain hardware platforms. If you happened to have problems with booting Hakin9 Live 2.0.1 on your machine, try the new version. We've used a new window manager: XFce 4. It definitely looks nicer and we've managed to hold on to low memory usage. Most of the tools are still available, some were added. If you'd like to see some new tools on Hakin9 Live, email us." The release announcement and a list of download mirrors can be found on the distribution's home page.
Berry Linux 0.50
An updated version of Berry Linux, a Fedora-based bootable live CD with support for Japanese and English, has been released. Version 0.50 runs the Linux kernel 2.6.9 with devfs and bootsplash, and it comes with newly included hwdata 0.145 and translucency 0.7 (an original version for kernel 2.6). The default desktop is KDE 3.3.1. Several packages have been upgraded to their latest versions, the more notable among them are GIMP 2.0.6, Firefox 1.0, K3B 0.11.17 and xine-lib 1-rc7. Three new Japanese fonts - YOzFont, Konatsu and Aoyagikouzan - have also been included. For further details and current changelogs please visit the distribution's home page.
Gibraltar Firewall 2.1
Gibraltar Firewall 2.1 has been released: "As from now the new version 2.1 of the security solution 'Gibraltar Firewall' is available. Besides some significant improvements in Gibraltar's spam filter, the main focuses of enhancements were the advancement of the web interface usability and the stabilization and extension of some basis functions. The most important enhancements: improved spam filter; SMTP authentication; black and white lists for mail checking; more concise representation of firewall rules; support of different WLAN adapters by a new kernel; SPF support in the mail server (for recognition of counterfeited e-mail addresses); support of SMTP-TLS...." Here is the full release announcement and changelog.
CRUX Evolution 188.8.131.52 (PPC Edition)
The PPC edition of CRUX 184.108.40.206 (codename Simona) has been released: "Inspired, in the beginning, by CRUX Evolution for i686, it's an extended version of the CRUX PPC 2.0 GNU/Linux distribution for the Apple and Pegasos II systems that, in addition, comes ready with printing utilities, common libraries and contains pre-compiled packages for the GNOME and KDE desktop environments. This ISO contains CRUX PPC 2.0 plus pre-compiled CLC packages for GNOME, KDE, OpenOffice.org, ALSA and printing." CRUX PPC Evolution is the project's first attempt at providing a full desktop environment on top of base CRUX PPC.
IPCop Firewall 1.4.1
An updated release of IPCop Firewall 1.4 is out: "IPCop 1.4.1 is now available. Updates in the release include: new pulsar driver (4.0.15); Squid 2.5.STABLE7; Conexant driver update; ECI ADSL Nortek support; DNSmasq 2.17; latest versions of Apache, OpenSSL; many bug fixes to the CGI scripts and upgrade procedures. For a full list of updates, check out the CVS logs." Read the complete release announcement for further information.
Following the successful initial release of the Damn Small Linux-based live CD dedicated to players of "Go" of all levels, an updated version of Hikarunix has now been released: "Announcing Hikarunix 0.2. Hikarunix is a live Linux CD dedicated to learning, studying, and playing Go. New features of 0.2: qGo 2.2 added; ngo ncurses IGS client added; glGo added; full Sensei's Library Snapshot; GoGrinder with 5500 problems that actually work; GNU Go upgraded to 3.5.10; Firefox upgraded to 1.0PR (with Java and Flash plugins); WINE added for compatibility with some Windows Go software; 100% read/write to NTFS via the captive driver; kernel upgraded to 2.4.26; based on DSL 0.8.2 with all of its new features; many DSL applications returned (like Sylpheed, a mail client and Ted, an RTF editor)." See the full release announcement for more details.
Hikarunix - a live CD dedicated to the fans of "Go"
(full image size: 137kB)
Development and unannounced releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Lycoris SME Server
Lycoris has published a brief roadmap and feature list of the recently acquired SME Server distribution: "For our first release, we do minor touch-up to the current 6.01 Contribs.org release. We have both a GPL edition for free download and a Lycoris-branded commercial release. Here's what we plan to do: add RH/Fedora errata, Samba 3, and a newer kernel with SMP and bigmem; update the backup software, e-smith-* packages; update Squid, qmail, Python, ProFTPd, dovecot, horde, Netatalk, LILO; add logwatch, Lazy Admin Tools." Read the full message at Contribs.org for further details.
* * * * *
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|Web Site News
DistroWatch has moved, part II
Last week we reported about the reasons behind the DistroWatch.com server move - from Debian to FreeBSD. We also mentioned that Ubuntu Linux was a strong contender to replace the aging Debian Woody installation, but we were hesitant about the upgrade process to a fast-growing, but still very young distribution. After the site was safely on the new machine, we decided, out of curiosity, to upgrade the old Debian Woody installation to Ubuntu Warty. We are pleased to report that the upgrade went without a single hitch. First we installed the Ubuntu base system, then upgraded the remainder of the installed applications, before proceeding with the kernel upgrade - from 2.2.20 to 220.127.116.11. All went well and we were able to boot into the new kernel and new operating system without any hassles at all. Well done, Ubuntu developers, we are impressed!
Solaris in DistroWatch?
The recent high-profile press releases by Sun Microsystems about open-sourcing Solaris and releasing it under some kind of "freeish" license (the details of which are yet to be communicated) has prompted several readers to suggest that Solaris should be included in DistroWatch. This is a possibility - if there is demand, we don't see a reason to reject a traditional UNIX OS to compliment all the Linux and BSD operating systems already under the DistroWatch loupe. However, bear in mind that Solaris is no longer what it used to be. While its name still has a certain resonance with experienced UNIX system administrators, its future is less than reassuring. Last week's edition of Linux Weekly News had a very interesting analysis of the situation (subscribers only until Thursday), with a rather pessimistic outlook for the once powerful OS player. Still, we shall revisit the issue once Solaris 10 final is released and the details of its license are known.
New distribution addition
Hikarunix. Hikarunix ["hee-kah-roo-nix"] is a Linux live CD based on Damn Small Linux and dedicated to Go - a popular East Asian strategy game. It is known as Baduk in Korea and Wei Qi in China where the game started somewhere between 3,000 and 4,000 years ago. Today it is played in nearly every country in the world and has even been played in space. This CD was designed especially for Go players of all levels. Whether you've been playing for decades or have never heard of the game until now, this CD is for you. Any machine that can boot to CD can boot to Hikarunix instead of the computer's regular operating system. Since it boots entirely in RAM and only borrows the peripherals, Hikarunix doesn't touch the host machine at all.
New on the waiting list
Linux-EduCD. Linux-EduCD is a Knoppix-based live CD developed by Poland's SIMP Studium Techniki. It focuses on education, graphics, office and multimedia use.
Shabdix GNU/Linux. The development of Shabdix GNU/Linux, the Iranian Knoppix-based live CD with support for Farsi, has been discontinued: "Basically due to many personal reasons and more importantly lack of interest to Shabdix among its main intended audience i.e Iranians, the original team developing Shabdix has been disintegrated and currently there are no plans to produce a new version." Here is the mailing list post explaining the decision.
DistroWatch database summary
- Number of Linux distributions in the database: 357
- Number of BSD distributions in the database: 9
- Number of discontinued distributions: 43
- Number of distributions on the waiting list: 76
That's all for today; see you again next Monday!
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|• Full list of all issues|
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