| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 83, 17 January 2005
Welcome to this year's 3rd edition of DistroWatch Weekly! Lots of new releases over the weekend, especially for gaming enthusiasts, with new versions of Linux Live Game Project and Hikarunix. Also in this issue - a comment on the recent distribution comparison feature in Linux Format, news about the upcoming Fedora Core 4 and Beyond Linux From Scratch 6.0, as well as a review of DistroWatch by NewsForge. Happy reading!
"Distrowars" by Linux Format
Don't we all love "distrowars" and distribution reviews? The January issue of Linux Format features a mega-comparison of top 15 Linux distributions (Conectiva, Debian, Gentoo, Knoppix, Linspire, Lycoris, Mandrakelinux, MEPIS, Red Hat/Fedora, Slackware, SUSE, Turbolinux, Ubuntu, Yellow Dog and Yoper) with brief information about every one of them. After testing these distributions, the authors give a short verdict, then rate them according to various criteria. Although they don't explain how exactly they arrived at the final ranking, the article is an interesting read since the authors communicate various reasons for preferring a certain distribution over another.
Interestingly, the top three spots in the Linux Format ranking corresponds with the current page hit ranking on DistroWatch (the 6-month statistics). The top-rated distribution in the Linux Format article was Mandrakelinux, followed by Fedora Core and SUSE LINUX: "Mandrakelinux continues to have the best installation and configuration tools on the market, which is really what gives it the number one spot. Nothing beats DiskDrake for partitioning disks, very little comes close to the ease of use of the DrakConf URPMI package installer, and we can breeze through a Mandrakelinux install with our eyes closed." But not even Mandrakelinux is perfect: "Perhaps the key to Mandrakelinux's success is that its users keep hoping they'll fix the bugs - we love its tools but hate the stability issues, so we keep our fingers crossed that one day we'll have a bug-free Mandrakelinux. And when that day comes, there'll be angels singing in heaven..."
Below the top three spots, however, things differ somewhat from our own ranking. The 4th position is shared between Debian and, surprisingly, Yellow Dog (only 36th in our page hits), while our 4th most visited distribution page, that of MEPIS Linux, is only ranked at number 12 in the Linux Format article ("its lack of originality holds it back," claim the reviewers). The editors of Linux Format also enjoyed Linspire and Conectiva (6th and 7th respectively), although they do not fare particularly well on DistroWatch, where Linspire is currently on 24th and Conectiva on 36th position. Gentoo finished 6th ("takes long to compile") and Slackware 11th ("lack of innovation"), while the bottom spot was shared between Lycoris ("going too far in trying to please Windows converts") and Yoper ("lack of consistency").
Without doubt, there will be many readers who will disagree with some of the conclusions expressed in the magazine. As an example, the authors rated Yellow Dog Linux as the fourth best distribution (despite mixed reviews its version 4.0 received in the media), but then took away points from Slackware because it "remains a niche distribution"! The omission of Xandros Desktop from the list is also puzzling, especially since the very same magazine gave the distribution 10 out of 10 in an earlier review. And the 7th position for Linspire is perhaps another surprise - remarkably so, after the magazine asserted that "any distribution that bases its security model on Windows deserves a bit of kicking". But despite some controversial conclusions (and given that it is simply impossible to do such a feature and expect that everybody will agree), the authors did a good job with this comprehensive comparison of Linux distributions. If you've read the article, please leave a comment below; if you haven't, hurry up and get hold of the January issue of Linux Format while stocks last! (In case you are wondering, DistroWatch is not associated with Linux Format in any way.)
* * * * *
Linux From Scratch Printed Edition
It seems that many of you have taken an interest in Linux From Scratch after our recommendation in a recent issue DistroWatch Weekly, just before Christmas. After all, you can't be a real geek until you build your own distribution at least once, can you? If you tried it and find the project to be a great learning tool, you might consider supporting the project by buying a printed edition of Linux From Scratch: "A preorder price of $13.99 is being offered until February 15. After February 15, the price will be $19.99. For $13.99 you will get Linux From Scratch 2nd Printed Edition and the accompanying CD." More details about the book and how to order it are available on this page.
|Released Last Week
CentOS 3.4 has been released: "The CentOS Team is pleased to announce the official release of CentOS 3.4 for i386. This release includes all RHEL 3 updates (for U4) and errata up to January 5th, 2005. New ISO images are available as well as an installable DVD edition with source. In addition, this release is available via BitTorrent." Read the rest of the release announcement with release and upgrade notes, as well as download information.
grml is a Debian-based live CD with a collection of GNU/Linux software especially for users of text tools and system administrators. Version 0.2 (code name "Satura") has been released; this is from the release announcement: "Special new features: CPU-detection on startup and start of cpudyn/powernowd depending on type of CPU; htop running on tty11; improved zsh configuration (prompt, completion,...); zsh-lovers (see 'man zsh-lovers') updated and available in; PDF-, PS- and HTML-format; grml2hd: install grml to hard disk. Updated all packages to Debian Unstable branch by 20050109. Updated boot parameter 'memtest' to Memtest86+ V1.40...." Visit the project's web site to find out more.
A new version of ParallelKnoppix is out. What's new? "Added Ganglia monitoring, with web frontend. Here is a screenshot of the Ganglia report for the tracetest_example.m running on a 2 node cluster. Added maximum likelihood and generalized method of moments examples for MPITB for GNU Octave. Added GUI scripts for remastering. Facilitates personalization, adding/removing packages, etc. This is not in the tutorial yet, but if you just follow the scripts in order, you can easily use apt-get to add/remove packages and create your own ISO image. ISO has been trimmed down to about 500MB." Find the release announcement and other information on the project's home page.
Tao Linux 1.0 Update 4
Tao Linux is a distribution rebuilt from source RPM packages for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). With the recent release of RHEL 3 Update 4, Tao Linux is now offering new ISO images incorporating all Red Hat updates: "OK, now that the dust has settled from RHEL3 U4, I've created updated ISOs for Tao Linux. These ISOs have all updates as of 2005-01-05. There's not an awful lot new; the thing that excites me most is the Metacity update that fixes the long-standing window dragging bug. On another note, Pasi Pirhonen has left the Tao project, and will no longer be updating x86_64, ia64, & s390. I'm pretty keen to see somebody take over x86_64, which I perceive as the most used architecture next to i386. If interested, e-mail parsley at linuxjedi dot org." Here is the release announcement.
Lormalinux 5 LTSP Server
The developers of Lormalinux have released an LTSP Server edition of Lormalinux 5, based on Slackware: "A unique variant of LTSP based on Slackware with all-loved packages optimized and customized for ease of use and functionality. Give it a try and let the setup speaks for itself. A holiday gift for all educational and business institution willing to expand the capabilities of a thin-client network setting." Read the full release announcement which includes a list of features.
Rubyx 92 (also 94, 95)
A new release of Rubyx, a source-based Linux distribution written in Ruby, is out. Unlike the previous releases, which required a specialist peer-to-peer client, Rubyx 92 is available as an ISO image from the Rubyx FTP server: "In preparation for transition to DRUSS, ISOs/tarballs are now released by FTP. This version fixes several bugs, fixes the 'glibc double free' problem, and has significant improvements to the init system, especially for handling read-only root filesystems (CD and DVD based distros). The standard kernel now includes a patch to facilitate booting from a flash pen drive using the usb-storage driver." Read the announcement for details.
Kurumin Linux 4.0
Kurumin Linux 4.0 has been released. This is the first Kurumin release built on top of the 2.6 kernel series (version 220.127.116.11) with many other improvements, including auto-detection and auto-configuration of wireless network cards, software modems, and web cams, as well as many updated packages (KDE 3.3.0, Firefox 1.0, Thunderbird 1.0). See the Kurumin changelog (in Portuguese) for a complete list of changes and improvements.
A new version of Litrix, a Slackware-based live CD from Brazil, has been released. The new release includes OpenOffice.org 1.1.3 and Java 1.5, and comes with various improvements compared to the previous release. No more details are given, but you can visit the distribution's home page (site in Portuguese only) to read the release announcement and to gather more information about the product.
Knopperdisk 0.2.1 has been released: "Here goes another one in the 0.2.x range, several packages have been updated and there are some additions as well. Additions include: mc (midnight commander), Mutt (e-mail client) and Samba (file sharing). There's also an improvement in the shutdown/reboot process since I adjusted the scripts to unmount filesystems at shutdown a bit to be more sane. Booting directly from the USB stick is planned for version 0.3.0, so for those who are waiting for that feature, please be patient." See the announcement of the project's news page.
Navyn OS 2005.01
A new version of Navyn OS, a Gentoo-based live CD, has been released. From the changelog: "new kernel 2.6.9; SATA disks are now supported; fixed installation problems; all programs are updated; now you can choose framebuffer resolution during boot; added new programs: LFTP (ftp client), xfsprogs (for XFS partitioning), rar; new security programs gkrellmwireless, macchanger, hydra, stunnel, fping, nast; added script for automounting partitions; added support for mouse with scroll wheel.
Navyn OS 2005.01 - a Gentoo-based live CD with Fluxbox as its default desktop
(full image size: 1,349kB)
Every Go player's favourite distribution - Hikarunix - has announced a new release, version 0.3: "Announcing Hikarunix 0.3, a free (GPL) live Linux CD dedicated to learning, studying, and playing Go. Changelog: Firefox upgraded to 1.0 (with Java and Flash plugins); qGo upgraded to 1.0.0-r2; ngo upgraded to 0.1.15; GNU Go upgraded to 3.7.1; CGoban upgraded to 2.6.8; Sensei's Library Snapshot size decreased by two thirds (much lower memory footprint); Quarry 0.1.10 added; WINE removed; desktop and menu access directly to Kogo's Joseki Dictionary; desktop and menu access to start a local GNU Go game instantly; based on DSL 0.9.1 with all of its new features; menu options to upgrade CGoban, Jago, and gGo directly over the internet with Java Webstart." Read the rest of the release announcement here.
Xfld is a Linux live CD with the XFce desktop; the new version 0.2 comes with the just released XFce 4.2.0. From the release announcement: "Today, the team of os-cillation has released Xfld version 0.2. Plenty of changes and updates have been made: XFce Desktop Environment has been updated to version 4.2.0; the underlying OS has been updated to Knoppix 3.7; the Mozilla web suite has been replaced with Firefox and Thunderbird; various KDE applications have been replaced with lighter alternatives; all packages contained have been updated to their latest versions; most Knoppix packages have been replaced with Xfld packages; the startup time has been reduced; numerous suggestions from Xfld 0.1 users have been considered in the development process."
Xfld 0.2 - a Knoppix-based live CD with XFce 4.2.0
(full image size: 380kB)
Berry Linux 0.52
A new version of Berry Linux has appeared on the distribution's project page: "Berry Linux 0.52. Changelog: glibc 2.3.4; Beep Media Player 0.9.7; GIMP Version 2.2.2 (Gnu Image Manipulation Program); MPlayer 1.0pre6a; Xine 0.99.3 (xine-lib 1.0); K3b 0.11.18; Digikam 0.7.1; Mozilla 1.7.5 (Japanese and English); Whiz 0.49 (Monoceros) + SCIM 1.0.2." Read the full changelog and package list for more details.
Development and unannounced releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Fedora Core 4
Red Hat has published a preliminary release schedule for Fedora Core 4. The first test (i.e. beta) release should be out on February 21, 2005, followed by test2 and test3 in roughly monthly intervals. The final release of Fedora Core 4 is expected on May 16th, 2005. You can find the details of the Fedora 4 release schedule on this page.
Beyond Linux From Scratch 6.0
The developers of Beyond Linux From Scratch, or BLFS, are preparing for the release of version 6.0: "The BLFS development version is currently undergoing final checks in anticipation of the BLFS 6.0 release. The BLFS Editorial team recommends that users reference the development release if using LFS 6.0 as a base system. Although the development version changes daily, the instructions are mostly stable and will present a cleaner set of instructions for an LFS 6.0 foundation." Here is the announcement as published on the BLFS home page.
* * * * *
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|Web Site News
New distributions addition
New on the waiting list
- APLINUX. APLINUX is a Debian-based Brazilian distribution designed for mail servers.
DistroWatch database summary
- Number of Linux distributions in the database: 374
- Number of BSD distributions in the database: 9
- Number of discontinued distributions: 47
- Number of distributions on the waiting list: 84
|DistroWatch in the News
DistroWatch reviewed by NewsForge
Tina Gasperson at NewsForge has been reviewing various Linux-related web sites on the Internet and DistroWatch.com has also caught her attention: "DistroWatch is one of the best resources for people who want to choose a Linux distro they'd find suitable. The site also raises awareness for smaller distributions. It has a large database with just about every Linux distribution currently available, along with useful information about each one that will help Linux searchers find the best one for them. The most interesting feature of the site is the news -- and how convenient, it's right there on the home page. It features headlines from around the Internet spotlighting the most recently released Linux flavors, Linux reviews, and 'traffic' newsletters, like the link to the latest Ubuntu Traffic." You can read the rest of the review here.
That's all for today, see you all next week!
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|• Full list of all issues|
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