| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 80, 20 December 2004
Welcome to this year's very last issue of DistroWatch Weekly. We will look at the newly launched Fedora Extras, newly released PCLinuxOS Preview 8, and newly introduced Ubuntu Rosetta internationalisation infrastructure. The featured distribution of the week is Linux From Scratch. Happy reading!
Fedora Extras, PCLinuxOS Preview 8, Ubuntu Rosetta
The Fedora project has launched "Fedora Extras", or to be more precise, "Fedora Pre-Extras", since the concept is still in a testing phase. What is "Fedora Extras"? It is meant to be place to store and maintain third-party RPM packages for i386 and x86_64 ports of Fedora Core, merged from fedora.us and freshrpms.net. The idea is to create a central, yum-enabled repository of many third-party packages that are not available in stock Fedora Core, but are maintained by dozens of contributors.
The "Fedora Pre-Extras" packages are currently hosted at FedoraProject.org. This is just a temporary location and the repository will move to download.fedora.redhat.com as soon as the testing is completed. Looking through the i386 repository, there is indeed an impressive number of ready-made RPM packages for Fedora Core 3, including many popular software items, such as BitTorrent, Bluefish, ClamAV, Scribus, dozens of Perl and Python modules, and many other applications. However, multimedia stuff is still missing, so it seems that if you need MPlayer, Xine or mp3 support in XMMS, you will still need to configure and use one of the third-party repositories.
More information about Fedora Extras is available in this mailing list post.
* * * * *
A new "Preview" version of PCLinuxOS hit the BitTorrent servers and download mirrors over the weekend. This was interesting news, especially because many consider PCLinuxOS to be one of the best Linux distributions for novice users. It was originally based on Mandrakelinux, but "Texstar", the distribution's lead developer, maintains many RPM packages independently and keeps most major components up-to-date. PCLinuxOS is an attempt to cure some of the ills of Mandrakelinux proper - it is free in every sense of the word, comes pre-configured with browser plugins, Java, NVIDIA driver, and multimedia support, and is very easy to keep up-to-date by retrieving new packages from one of the PCLinuxOS repositories. It also includes some of the Mandrakelinux utilities, such as Mandrake Control Centre (renamed to Master Control Centre). However, urpmi has been completely replaced with apt-get.
One of the nice things about PCLinuxOS (it shares this quality with MEPIS Linux) is that it also functions as a live CD. Users can download and boot the CD straight into a graphical environment with KDE (login as guest, with password "guest"), then, if they enjoy the experience, install it to a hard disk with a simple graphical installer. Synaptic is the preferred way to manage RPM packages. This powerful graphical utility not only provides ways to retrieve all the latest security updates, it also makes installing and uninstalling extra packages (not included on the CD, e.g. GNOME 2.8) an easy and painless task.
Although still labelled as a "development" release, PCLinuxOS has now matured to the point that it can be safely considered as a stable, quality distribution, perhaps one of the best-kept secrets of the Linux distribution world. Download and try it out - you are likely to be pleasantly surprised!
PCLinuxOS Preview 8 - finally released to mirrors over the weekend.
(full image size: 268kB)
* * * * *
If you enjoy Ubuntu Linux, but are disappointed by the lack of support for a particular language or by the lack of multilingual documentation, here is your chance to get involved - through Ubuntu's Rosetta Project: "The Rosetta Translation Portal team is pleased to announce that the portal is now ready for widespread use. Rosetta's goal is to make the process of translating free software as easy as possible for both translators and software maintainers. Maintainers can send us PO Templates and PO Files, which will be published through the web for translation. PO Files can then be downloaded at any time. Rosetta is part of the Ubuntu Launchpad." More information about the Rosetta Project is available in the release announcement.
* * * * *
There is a new entry on the Slackware's Current ChangeLog and it's good news - Patrick Volkerding is back, feeling much better: "Hi folks. Well, I'm back in California and I'm happy to let you all know that I'm feeling much better. :-) Here are a few updates so you can see that I'm trying to get back into the swing of things. Hopefully 10.1 won't be too far off (I'm still trying to figure out just how far behind we are, and what other fixes need to get merged in), and then we can look at what exactly needs to be done to try to switch over to the new kernel series for 11, or sometime later on. I still don't think it's time for that yet (it will be best to wait until 2.4 can be abandoned)." Some of the updates include kernel (2.4.28), KDE (3.3.2) and ALSA (1.0.7). Find out more in the Current ChangeLog.
The end-of-the-year note
This is the final issue of DistroWatch Weekly for the year 2004. On behalf of the team of maintainers, contributors and translators, I would like to wish all our readers who celebrate it, a merry Christmas and a happy, peaceful, and prosperous New Year. We are looking forward to bringing you more news, weekly summaries, features, reviews and interviews in 2005. With our readership up almost three times since the start of the year, there is little doubt that Linux, BSD, and open source software are on the right track and gaining increasing acceptance. We'll be here to cover all that excitement in the new year.
Thank you all for visiting us and happy holidays :-)
|Featured distribution of the week: Linux From Scratch
Linux From Scratch
What better distribution to feature in this year's final issue of DistroWatch Weekly than Linux From Scratch? Since many of our readers will be taking a break from work and perhaps have a bit more time on their hands than usual, why not spend some of the end-of-the-year holidays on building your own Linux distribution?
Of course, Linux From Scratch is not a distribution in the true sense of the word, but rather a book that teaches you how to build one. It guides you through some basic topics, including creation of partitions and file systems, describes how to obtain source codes for the Linux kernel, essential system libraries and packages, and offers detailed explanation on compiling them into a complete operating system that one can boot into and use. The book also explains the basics about bootscripts and initscripts, and provides instructions to setup networking, system logging, and other essential topics.
How long does it take to complete the entire book? Although, at over 300 pages, it might sound like a lot of reading and absorbing, but the truth is that much of the book consists of package listings and descriptions of the individual applications that make up a particular package. There is also a lot of introductory material, which adds up to the bulkiness of the book. However, depending on your prior Linux experience, it is possible to complete the book (i.e. build a Linux distribution from scratch) in as few as two days; add a day or two, if you are completely new to Linux. To follow the book, you will need either a pre-existing Linux distribution already installed on your computer (any recent release of a major distribution will do), or you can make use of a live CDs (such as Knoppix) for the purpose.
Much of the build process consists of copying and pasting of the individual build commands into a terminal application. While the package compiles, you can read up on the purpose of the package and find out why it is an essential part of any GNU/Linux operating system. Compiling most packages usually takes a few minutes, with the exception of the bigger ones, such as the Linux kernel, GCC, glibc and Perl. If you run into trouble, the Linux From Scratch project provides mailing lists where you can seek assistance and share your experiences.
Of course, the best part of this project is that you can go through an introductory Linux course at your leisure and absolutely free. If you get a little time during this holiday season, get the book and start learning all there is about Linux.
|Released Last Week
SAM Xmas Fun 2004
This is a special holiday edition of the SAM Mini Live CD:"At the end of the year here is a small gift to all game fanatics out there: SAM Xmas Fun 2004, a game-collection for your pocket with around 40 games. Only the best of the best in Linux games are included, like Supertux, Pingus, Frozen Bubble, Enigma, Gnocatan, Freeciv, Wesnoth, Slash'em, BZFlag, GLTron and much more. Also the basic things for having fun with Linux are there: Firefox 1.0, Gaim 1.1, Xchat, Totem, Leafpad... And again all together on a 210MB mini CD. Merry Christmas and have fun!" The release announcement.
Berry Linux 0.51
A new release of Berry Linux is out. Version 0.51 is the first Berry Linux live CD based on the recently released Fedora Core 3; some of the more visible changes include: "mini_fo 0.1; remove translucency 0.7 (original version for kernel 2.6); KDE 3.3.2 (Fedora Core 3/Stable); OpenOffice.org 1.1.3 (Japanese and English); Digikam 0.7; IPA Fonts; remove Kochi Mincho and Gothic fonts." Many other packages were updated to their latest versions; see the changelog and package list for more details.
SimplyMEPIS 2004.6 has been released: "MEPIS LLC has released SimplyMEPIS 2004.06. This latest CD adds font support for Simplified Chinese and Japanese. Additional CJ support is planned. Other CD improvements include an updated GRUB bootloader for better hardware compatibility and updated parted and qtparted for improved disk formatting support during installation. An updated version of alsa-modules for kernel 2.6 is preinstalled and also available in the MEPIS pool. meauto and meauto-data have been improved for better hardware compatibility, especially for sound card support." Read the official press release for further details.
MoLinux is a new Debian-based Linux distribution developed by the regional government of Castilla la Mancha, the land of Don Quijote, in central Spain. The distribution is designed primarily for desktop use; it ships with GNOME 2.6 as the default desktop environment and OpenOffice.org 1.1.2 as its principal office suite. In line with other regional governments in the country, the goal of the MoLinux project is to introduce a Linux-based operating system into offices and schools around the region and to reduce cost associated with use of proprietary software. More information is available on the project's web site and in this discussion on Barrapunto (both links in Spanish).
MoLinux 1.0 - a new Spanish distribution based on Progeny Debian with the Anaconda installer.
(full image size: 848kB)
SuliX is a Hungarian live CD developed by a small group of teachers and designed for use in schools. Unlike the previous releases, which were based on Knoppix, SuliX 2.0 is a remastered edition of Berry Linux with full support for the Hungarian language. It comes with kernel 2.6.9, KDE 3.3.0, Konqueror web browser, Hungarian edition of OpenOffice.org 1.1.2, GIMP 2.0.4, a wide selection of educational software and a digital school bag. More details are available in the release announcement (in Hungarian).
IPCop Firewall 1.4.2
A new bug-fix release of IPCop Firewall is now available. Some of the fixes include: "fix KA Advisory 0411291 in proxylog.dat; fix dhcp.cgi bug in header.pl; fix eciadsl-nortek to use correct USB alt interface in rc.red; fix insecure dependency related to Fritz DSL modems in rc.red; fix 'ends never' in DHCP lease; fix DOMAIN_NAME to DOMAIN_NAME_GREEN in rc.updatered rc.netaddressup; fix wireless.cgi when IP addresses in use; fix IBOD DOV deselection in pppsetup.cgi; fix doatmdial with STATICIP (start rc.updatered, reverse test with atmarp); fix status.cgi page menu without Java script; fix dhcp.cgi: read timesettings for correct test...." Read the release announcement for more details.
This is a new version of ParallelKnoppix, a Knoppix-based live CD that allows setting up a cluster of machines for parallel processing. The latest version is based on the recently released Knoppix 3.7. What's new? "Same functionality, but newer packages; image size is somewhat larger (550MB) - too lazy to trim fat, but now you can play frozen-bubble; the script to copy to hard disk for remastering has been improved a bit." Visit the distribution's web site to find out more about the latest release.
QiLinux live! 1.1
A new live CD edition of QiLinux has been released: "QiLinux live! 1.1 is ready and available for immediate download. The main features of this release are the enhanced usability (no more root or user password required), a lot of bugfixes since release 1.0, and two new applications added: Wine and Tux Racer. Detailed changelog: Italian and English versions are two distinct CDs; no root and user password needed anymore; enabled screen saver (random); default gateway is now correctly configured when manually configuring network; lisa daemon is now correctly configured (lan:/ browsing); fixed root icon and volume label as seen from Windows...." Read the release announcement for more details.
ROOT GNU/Linux 1.4
A new stable version of ROOT GNU/Linux is out: "ROOT GNU/Linux 1.4 has finally been released! This is the most stable, well-polished version of ROOT ever released. The 1.4 generation of ROOT contains many major changes from the previous release 1.3. This is a small list of new features or other changes: ROOT now includes a much more advanced package system with many new features based on pkgutils from CRUX; the system installer has been updated, it fixes many bugs and is generally more stable; the latest stable KDE, version 3.3.2, is included; GNOME1 and GNOME2 libraries are included for compatibility with programs. However, the GNOME2 desktop is not included because it's hard to maintain and takes up too much space on the CD." Read the full release notes for more details.
A new release of Inside Security Rescue Toolkit (INSERT) is now available: "Unlike planned, this release is another maintenance release with many updated packages and some tools added. The virus scanner clamav now comes in version 0.80 which makes use of all of the signatures of the new database format. The GUIavscan also has been updated to reflect this. The next major release is planned to come without the accelerated X-servers and instead delivering X from the KDrive servers. This would make room for exciting new tools and toys:) Also plans are to move to Linux kernel 2.6. Please give feedback on those two major issues!" See the full changelog for more information.
Development and unannounced releases
Kurumin Linux 4.0 - we just can't resist posting screenshots of the Kurumin desktop...
(full image size: 831kB)
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Vidalinux Desktop OS 1.1
The developers of the Gentoo-based Vidalinux Desktop OS (VLOS) have announced that version 1.1 will be released on December 20th: "The release date for VLOS 1.1 will be December 20 2004, this version include lots of changes and fixes including: Udev, NPTL, Kernel 2.6.9, Gnome 2.8, KDE 3.3.1, a new beautiful look and feel, and much more... So stay tuned for more updates regarding VLOS 1.1." Find out more in this announcement.
* * * * *
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|Web Site News
New distribution addition
- MoLinux. MoLinux is a Progeny-based Linux distribution developed by the government of Castilla la Mancha in Spain. It uses the Anaconda port for Debian and Componentized Linux packages as the base of the operating system.
- T2. T2 is an open source system development environment (or distribution build kit if you are more familiar with that term). T2 allows the creation of custom distributions with bleeding edge technology. Currently, the Linux kernel is normally used - but we are expanding to Hurd, OpenDarwin and OpenBSD; more to come. T2 started as a community driven fork from the ROCK Linux Project with the aim to create a decentralised development and a clean framework for spin-off projects and customised distributions.
New on the waiting list
- Arcane Linux. Arcane Linux is a distribution developed by the former developers of EvilEntity Linux. It is currently in early devlopemnt.
- DeadCD. DeadCD is minimalistic Linux live CD, based on Debian GNU/Linux. Its goal is to provide a small (the maximum size is 100MB), fast, feature-rich, and versatile operating system.
- StrongBox Linux. StrongBox Linux is a Linux-based operating system, incorporating tight version control, digital signatures, high security, and built-in change management.
- EvilEntity Linux. A reader pointed out that, according to this post, EvilEntity Linux is no longer in development: "Yes, it's true, EE is dead. It is dead because we have lost our leader. The distro was ready for a new release, except for a few key scripts. But after more than 3 months of waiting for our leader to return, those of us that remained and worked so long and hard have given up. EvilEntity is copyright Kloss Korban. If he ever returns, he may continue work on EvilEntity. However, those of us that were working with him are now working on arcanelinux (www.arcanelinux.org). It will have a new release every 6 months. It also has a decentralized developement system so that it doesn't die off like EvilEntity did." EvilEntity Linux has now been moved onto the discontinued distributions page.
DistroWatch database summary
- Number of Linux distributions in the database: 364
- Number of BSD distributions in the database: 9
- Number of discontinued distributions: 45
- Number of distributions on the waiting list: 84
That's all for today and for the year 2004. We will be back with the next issue of DistroWatch Weekly on January 3rd, 2005. In the meantime, enjoy your holidays!
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
(Tips this week: 0, value: US$0.00)
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|• 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|
|• Full list of all issues|
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