| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 79, 13 December 2004
Welcome to this year's 48th edition of DistroWatch Weekly. Plenty of exciting news last week, with brand new releases from Knoppix, Xandros, NetBSD and Linux From Scratch, as well as new development releases from MEPIS and Fedora Core 3 for PowerPC, and the appearance of Mandrakelinux 10.1 Official on public mirrors. Also in this issue, we'll look at one of Asia's most successful open source projects - LinuxTLE from Thailand. Happy reading!
New KNOPPIX version, Debian release pressure
A new version of the popular KNOPPIX live CD was finally released last week. Version 3.7 comes with many new features, such as the newly added "Samba Network Neighbourhood" menu shortcut to launch Konqueror with a window listing available Windows shares, or the ISDN line configuration script. As always, the new release means that many of the included packages have been brought up to their latest versions (kernel 2.6.9, KDE 3.3.1...).The scripts for installing additional software while running KNOPPIX as a live CD now includes Flash, NVIDIA driver, Quanta, Tuxracer, MS True Type fonts and a number of other applications.
If that's not enough, there is always klik. klik is a KDE-based live installer for KNOPPIX (as well as KANOTIX) which contains an amazing number of programs that can be installed with a simple mouse click. While not quite as sophisticated as Linspire's Click-N-Run Warehouse, the end result is the same - easy installation of many popular applications missing from the KNOPPIX or KANOTIX CD, including Blender, Firefox, KMyMoney, nVu, RealPlayer, Scribus, Thunderbird and many others. klik is a surprisingly powerful extension of the above-mentioned live CDs and certainly worth a visit if you need extra software to enhance your working environment.
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Debian needs to release. That's the message given to the project leaders by one of the developers - Andreas Barth, as published on Planet Debian: "It is necessary that Debian itself releases. That some spin-offs (or subprojects, or however you want to call them) like Ubuntu release is not enough. No, Debian itself need to release. We need to do that for the sake of our users and for our own sake. There are two major reasons for that...." As if that wasn't enough, further pressure on the Debian release team came from the Release Proposals page, published on DebianWiki: "The goal of this suite of pages is to gather the collective wisdom of Debian developers on new release methodologies for Debian, with an aim toward reversing the current trend of it taking longer and longer for us to make a release."
Elsewhere, several new Debian-related articles have been published over the last week: Debian on AMD64 by LWN: "Although still labelled as beta, Debian's AMD64 port has so far proved to be a trouble-free, high-quality distribution that is certainly ready for deployment on high-end developer workstations." An apt-get primer by NewsForge: "If any single program defines the Debian Linux project, that program is apt-get." Debian Women: Geek feminists in action by NewsForge: "Debian Women began after Clark and Amaya Rodrigo, two of the few female Debian package maintainers, began privately discussing the lack of women in Debian last spring." A constructive critique of Debian Linux by Desktop Linux: "Overall, I consider Debian to be a competent, robust distribution -- having few flaws as an operating system, but possessing some critical ones that have led to the unfortunate perception of it being an elitist distribution."
* * * * *
If you believe that small, community-driven development project cannot possibly succeed while competing for the attention of big businesses and government organisations, then consider this success story of Kurumin Linux. As reported by Portal I-Consultores (link in Portuguese), Brazil's Caixa Econômica Federal, a government savings bank, has officially adopted Kurumin Linux for use by bank employees in branches around the country. Carlos Morimoto, the founder and lead developer of Kurumin Linux joined the official ceremony, which was also attended by the bank's acting governor, and gave a presentation explaining the superiority of open source software solutions while demonstrating the use of many applications to be used by the bank's employees. Our warmest congratulations to the developers of Kurumin Linux!
* * * * *
Have you tried the Ultimate Boot CD? If not, then do yourself a favour and download the full edition of the most recent release - version 3.1, made available just last week. The CD contains an incredible number of excellent hardware diagnostic and rescue utilities, together with several small Linux distributions. The tools include Memtest86, hard disk installation and test suites by all major hard disk manufacturers, disk wiping, cloning and partitioning utilities, CPU testing and benchmarking tools, and many other must-have system-level applications. Once you've done your testing, you can continue booting one of the included Linux distributions - choose between INSERT, Recovery Is Possible, Basic Linux and Trinux. The Ultimate Boot CD is a fantastic tool that no computer geek should be without!
|Featured distribution of the week: LinuxTLE
In terms of Linux awareness and adoption in Asia, there can't possibly be many more advanced countries than Thailand. The Kingdom has developed a number of Linux distribution, its government has been known to promote Linux and even subsidise low-cost computers shipping with Linux pre-installed, and its main English-language newspaper -- Bangkok Post -- carries regular Linux-related articles and features. Linux community portals have sprung up all over the country - see Thai Linux Cafe or Thai Linux Working Group. No wonder that Thailand was one of the first countries where Microsoft offered a deeply discounted special version of Microsoft Windows XP!
But the major driving force behind the adoption of Linux in Thailand is the OpenTLE project. Originally started as just a Thai extension to Red Hat Linux (TLE = Thai Linux Extension), it has now evolved into several sub-projects, including a full-blown distribution with complete support for the Thai language and character set, as well as OfficeTLE, a Thai-enabled edition of OpenOffice.org. Much effort has also been put into creating Thai fonts and dictionaries, and to integrate them all into a complete package that any Thai speaker can use without a steep learning curve.
Although LinuxTLE is essentially based on Fedora Core, it includes many independently maintained and more up-to-date RPM packages. Even better, it comes pre-configured with Java and NVIDIA binary drivers, and it includes multimedia support and many non-free, but useful applications, such as Acrobat Reader. The Anaconda installer has been somewhat simplified and enhanced with extra modules - many users will appreciate LinuxTLE's single-click setup of Samba networking. Hardware support has been taken to a new level with the inclusion of Bluetooth, wireless networking modules, and automatic detection and setup of common hardware. Overall a great distribution immediately usable without the need of extensive tweeking. (English is also supported, by the way.)
If you can read Thai, the OpenTLE web site provides plenty of information about the project's activities, documentation, download mirrors, user forums, screenshots, and other resources.
LinuxTLE 7.0 - Thailand's answer to easy and efficient computing, all for free.
(full image size: 649kB)
|Released Last Week
kmLinux is a SUSE-based distribution developed by the regional government of Germany's Schleswig-Holstein and designed for educational institutions. Version 5.1 was released last week. The most significant changes include modifications to the installer and package upgrades. The installer is now capable of resizing NTFS partitions and supports installation to existing partitions, while USB mice are now also supported during installation. Problems with touchpads on notebooks have been fixed. Many packages were upgraded to their latest versions; these include KDE 3.3.1, KOffice 1.3.5, OpenOffice.org 1.1.3, Mozilla 1.7.3, Firefox 1.0.... Read the release announcement (in German) for further details.
A new version of Overclockix, the "eye-candy" live CD based on Knoppix, has been released: "Brand new Overclockix 3.7 debuts. Lots of new features. You'll find this release a seamless blending of version 3.4 with LTSP (Linux Terminal Server Project) 2.1. Not quite as tweaked as 3.4, but featuring all the enhanced folding features found in LTSP 2.1. Some new package highlights such as Knoppix firewall, VLC, SuperKaramba, KDE 3.3.1 and many more." Find the full release announcement on the distribution's home page.
Overclockix 3.7 - the "eye candy" distribution.
(full image size: 1,332kB)
Xandros Desktop 3.0
Xandros, Inc. has announced the release of Xandros Desktop 3.0: "Xandros, the leading developer of easy-to-use Linux solutions, today announced the version 3 release of the Xandros Desktop Operating System (OS). Xandros Desktop 3 provides the ultimate Linux desktop experience for laptops and PCs with enhanced wireless support, drag-and-drop DVD burning, and automatic alerts to Xandros Networks updates. Employing a Xandros-enhanced KDE 3.3 and an underlying 2.6.9 Linux kernel, the new version also provides enhanced security with a Personal Firewall wizard, simple access to virtual private networks, and automatic encryption of user home folders." Here is the full press release.
Linux From Scratch 6.0
The first Linux From Scratch release built around kernel 2.6 is now available for your compiling pleasure: "The Linux From Scratch community is pleased to announce the release of LFS 6.0. This major revision of the book includes a number of major package upgrades, including GCC 3.4.x, Linux kernel 184.108.40.206, and the udev software package, allowing for dynamic creation of device nodes. The text has also been vastly re-written for improved readability. You can read the book online, or download to read locally." Here is the changelog for more detailed information.
LinuxTLE version 7.0 (code name "Waghor") has been released. LinuxTLE is a project of OpenTLE, Thailand's premier open source development community, partly sponsored by the Thai government. The distribution is loosely based around Fedora Core, although many of the included packages are independently maintained. Version 7.0 includes kernel 2.6.9, GNOME 2.8, KDE 3.3.1, Thai-enabled OpenOffice.org, pre-configured apt, scripts for easy installation of the NVIDIA driver, Flash plugin, wireless network card drivers and other applications. For more information, please read the release announcement and release notes (both links in Thai) and visit the screenshots page.
KNOPPIX 3.7 has been released: "KNOPPIX Version 3.7 public download release. The public download edition of 3.7 of KNOPPIX is now available via BitTorrent, and on the KNOPPIX mirrors. Some of the current features include: lots and lots of package updates; kernel 2.4.27 + 2.6.9 (with ACPI); KDE update: 3.3.1 from Debian unstable; FreeNX 0.2.5 (Fabian Franz); Java security update (1.4.2_06); more supported graphics cards; isdntool-knoppix for easier text+GUI based ISDN configuration." The full announcement is available on the distribution's home page.
The all new Knoppix 3.7 - with many new features and updated packages
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The long awaited NetBSD 2.0 has been released: "The NetBSD Project is pleased to announce that release 2.0 of the NetBSD operating system is now available. NetBSD 2.0, the tenth major release of the NetBSD Operating System, has been released, with binary distributions for 48 architectures. More information is available in the 2.0 release announcement. NetBSD 2.0 continues our long tradition with major improvements in file system and memory management performance, major security enhancements, and support for many new platforms and peripherals. The addition of a native threads implementation for all platforms and symmetrical multiprocessing (SMP) on i386 and other popular platforms were long-standing goals for NetBSD 2.0. Both of these goals have now been met -- SMP support has been added for i386, SPARC, and PowerPC, and the SMP support on Alpha and VAX has been improved." A large number of screenshots can be viewed here.
ROCK Linux Live CD rev4860
A pair of new live CDs have been put together by the ROCK Linux development team. The most interesting part is that one of them is designed for PPC systems; as far as we know, this is the first full bootable live CD designed and tested to run on iBooks and PoweBooks. From the release announcement: "The current default package selection uses the minimal-desktop template, which incorporates a full KDE desktop and some other applications like MPlayer, xine, etc. Of course this package selection can be altered to fit your needs. In the default configuration the system takes up only about 400MB, so there's still some space left."
Development and unannounced releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
PCLinuxOS Preview 8
Texstar's message on the main PCLinuxOS download site indicates that a new version of PCLinuxOS can't be too far off: "PCLinuxOS Preview 8 will be available via BitTorrent shortly." If everything goes well, look for the brand new release as soon as today, or later this week.
* * * * *
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|Web Site News
New distribution addition
- Recovery Is Possible. Recovery Is Possible (RIP) is a Slackware-based CD or floppy boot/rescue/backup/maintenance system. It has support for a lot of filesystem types (Reiserfs, Reiser4, ext2/3, iso9660, UDF, XFS, JFS, UFS, HPFS, HFS, MINIX, MS DOS, NTFS, and VFAT) and contains a bunch of utilities for system recovery. It also has IDE/SCSI/SATA, PCMCIA, RAID, LVM2, and Ethernet/DSL/cable/PPP/PPPOE network support.
New on the waiting list
- Amber Linux. Amber Linux is a Latvian Linux distribution based on Debian GNU/Linux. It aims at being the first business desktop Linux distribution that is tailored specifically to the needs of Latvian users. Features include automatic hardware detection and storage device mounting; GNOME as the default desktop environment; OpenOffice.org as the default office applications suite; Hansa Financials accounting software.
- Evinux. Evinux is a new French live Linux CD based on Knoppix.
- MCNLive CD. MCNLive CD is a mini Linux live CD based on Mandrakelinux with support for Dutch and English.
- Nexedi Desktop Linux Server. Nexedi Desktop Linux Server (DLS) is a Live CD which instantly provides 500+ Linux desktop applications to all PCs in a Local Area Network (LAN). It is compatible with Windows, MacOS, Unix or GNU/Linux environments as well as with eBox thin clients. Nexedi DLS also includes a complete network infrastructure solution (file server, mail server, collaboration server, directory service, etc.) based on modern protocols (ex. LDAP, Samba 3, IMAP, etc.). Nexedi DLS Live CD allows small and medium size organisations to implement a high-end Linux desktop and network infrastructure solution in one minute.
- Slackintosh. A reader has written to say that the Slackintosh project (Slackware for PowerPC) has been inactive for some time: "Development on this project has been suspended indefinitely. Recent changes have limited my free time (for working on free software), and this is one of the victims." Slackintosh has now been moved onto the discontinued distributions page.
DistroWatch database summary
- Number of Linux distributions in the database: 362
- Number of BSD distributions in the database: 9
- Number of discontinued distributions: 44
- Number of distributions on the waiting list: 84
That's all for today; see you again next Monday!
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|• Full list of all issues|
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