| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 85, 31 January 2005
Welcome to this year's 5th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! In this issue we will bring you a couple of resources that can help with building a custom live CD, introduce the Debian Volatile project, and present Xandros Desktop OS 3 as our featured distribution of the week. Happy reading!
Build your own live CD
If you've ever thought of building your own Linux live CD and customising it exactly to your requirements, you might be interested in one of the two links that follow. The first one is a link to iBuild, a set of scripts that allow you to create a live CD from an existing Debian installation with incredible ease. The second link at BabyTUX.org is centred around Mandrakelinux (although it can be applied to other mainstream distributions) and provides a complete set of instructions to build a custom live CD. In both cases, you will end up with a ready-to-burn bootable ISO image, just waiting for your computer to reboot and start enjoying your very own live CD.
Here is how the maintainers of iBuild describe the project: "Intellibuild (iBuild) is a program that allows you to quickly and easily create your own custom GNU/Linux live CD distribution (like Knoppix and Morphix). A live CD allows you to run Linux from the CD-ROM without having to install it on the computer's hard drive. You simply open up a template, select which programs you want to be included, click on the 'Build' button and wait. When iBuild is done, your custom .iso awaits you. All you have to do is burn and go." The web site provides a comprehensive HOWTO with troubleshooting notes, as well as a mailing list where you can report your experiences and exchange ideas.
The second link is entitled How to create a live boot CD containing your favorite Linux distro: "Wouldn't it be cool to have a bootable version of Linux running totally off a CD, no hard disk required? You could probably pack your collection of mp3s along with a small Linux desktop containing XMMS. Perhaps load a couple of games like TuxRacer, TuxPuck or Frozen Bubble to play at a friend's house who doesn't have Linux. Maybe your friend's hard disk is running that 'no good OS', crashed with a blue screen and won't boot, and needs to be rescued. Better yet, you want to introduce your friends to the wonderful world of Linux." The main advantage of this page is that you are not limited to a Debian-based live CD, but can apply it to other distributions. The author also provides a downloadable set of scripts that can save you much time. However, the web site doesn't offer any mailing list or user forums to discuss the topic.
Now that you know about these two links, you can start building your custom live CDs. Just don't forget to share your experiences with the rest of us in the forums below!
* * * * *
Debian goes Volatile
Debian has launched an unofficial archive of packages for the stable branch that some users would consider highly important and essential to keep in synch with upstream releases. Called "volatile", this repository should please system administrators who need newer version of virus scanners, spam filters and other important applications that are updated frequently, but are reluctant to use packages built for the testing or unstable branches: "This unofficial archive aims at supporting fast moving packages for the stable Debian release like spam filter, virus scanner and the like. A first package, whois, has been accepted for debian-volatile's section of woody." More information about this project is available on this page.
* * * * *
On future of Slackware
Our feature last week suggesting that the future of Slackware Linux is assured brought in mixed reaction. Some readers did not agree with our conclusions and maintained that Slackware Linux is a one-man dictatorship which is unlikely to survive in case the "dictator" is no longer able to work on the project. Others were critical of the direction Slackware is currently taking, notably the neglect of GNOME, Java SDK, and other packages. Here is an email of one of the readers:
"Perhaps you might want to write a few words about Patrick Volkerding's decision to drop the Java SDK from future releases of Slackware. (From the changelog of 1/27/2005: The full J2SDK is not needed by most people, and is making the first Slackware test ISO too large, so an updated version of the JRE will replace it.) I think it's a bad policy to manage a distribution based upon what fits on a CD, or by what is perceived that people use. I bet more Slackware users have a need for the Java SDK than they do for Emacs or Netscape. First GNOME, now Java. What's next? CUPS?"
As always, it is impossible to make everybody happy and some will inevitably complain about certain decisions. But those readers who have expressed the sentiment that Slackware is managed in a "dictatorial" manner might be right, after all. The decisions to drop certain packages seem to be made arbitrarily, without any democratic mechanisms that would be more acceptable to users.
|Featured distribution of the week: Xandros Desktop OS
Xandros Desktop OS
When Xandros Corporation was launched in June 2001 in Ottawa, Canada, some observers expressed doubt about the company's business model. A truly innovative Linux distribution? Even with many user-friendly enhancements that the developers were busy implementing to make Linux more palatable to the masses, many believed it unlikely that the product would result in a large-scale migration from Windows to Linux. Nevertheless, most Linux enthusiasts were curious about the product Xandros was about to put on the market. "How will it fare compared to the more established Linux distributions?" they asked.
Xandros Desktop 1.0, launched in October 2002, was a big success. Not really from the point of view of Xandros' shareholders, but rather from the point of view of users and reviewers who were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the product. Xandros Desktop 1.0 was not only more user-friendly than any other distribution on the market, it also had many unique and innovative features that made its desktop such a pleasure to use. Did you know that you could replace a piece of hardware (e.g. a graphics card) in your computer and Xandros would still work without as much as a prompt to install new drivers or reconfigure the existing settings? Try that with another Linux distribution or with Windows!
More new features were added in later versions. Xandros Desktop OS 2.0 brought a drag-and-drop CD-burning utility and continued improving its two star applications - Xandros File Manager and Xandros Networks. Xandros Desktop OS 3, released just before Christmas last year, added DVD burning, file system encryption, and an easy-to-configure firewall, which, together with the distribution's move to the new kernel 2.6 and KDE desktop 3.3, were the most significant new features. Yet, the price remained unchanged - US$90 for the edition that includes CrossOver Office, a commercial application that is able to run Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop and other Windows applications under Linux, while the low-end edition without CrossOver and printed documentation sells for US$50. (DistroWatch readers can take advantage of the current special offer to buy Xandros Desktop OS 3 Deluxe edition at a 33% discount by visiting this page; the discount will be credited in the final stage of the online payment process.)
If we had to find a fault with the distribution, it would do more with the product's philosophy, rather than its quality or features. Great as Xandros Desktop is, we still don't like the fact that the Debian-based Xandros is happy to make use of the many open source applications that are available on the Internet for free, yet it refuses to release its own code under GPL (or a GPL-compatible licence), and keeps all its applications developed in-house under a lock. As an example, the Xandros installer is one of the best of any Linux distribution and it would be nice if its code was made available under more liberal licencing terms. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
Nevertheless, if you don't care about the philosophy of Free Software and are only interested in a quality product that will make you productive in Linux without a steep learning curve, then Xandros Desktop OS is head and shoulders above the competition.
(Disclaimer: Xandros Corporations is one of the sponsors of DistroWatch.com.)
Xandros Desktop OS 3.0 - an easy-to-use desktop Linux distribution that won't disappoint.
(full image size: 603kB)
|Released Last Week
Arch Linux 0.7
Arch Linux 0.7, code name "Wombat", has been released: "Well, the release that never comes has finally arrived. Arch Linux 0.7 is now available in ISO form, ready for public consumption. You can find fresh torrents and many-a-mirror on our download page. Install docs are here. Many thanks to all the users and developers who toil on this project day in and day out. I think we should be proud." Here is the full release announcement.
Peanut Linux 12.0
Here comes a new release of Peanut Linux, as announced informally on the distribution's forums: "OK, guys and gals... Jay PMed me, and it's out! Peanut 12.0 (BIG jump from 9.6). It's a live CD - SquashFS based with install to hard disk option. Kernel 2.6.10 with USB and other enhancements, KDE 3.3.1 modified and lots more! ISO is hot and fresh from the oven, packages to come after. Get it, try it, and thank Jay!" Read the release announcement here and visit the distribution's home page for further details.
FreeBSD 4.11 has been released: "The Release Engineering Team is happy to announce the availability of FreeBSD 4.11-RELEASE, the latest release of the FreeBSD Legacy development branch. Since FreeBSD 4.10-RELEASE in May 2004 we have made conservative updates to a number of software programs in the base system, dealt with known security issues, and made many bugfixes. FreeBSD 4.11 will become an 'Errata Branch'. In addition to security fixes, other well-tested fixes to basic functionality will be committed to the RELENG_4_11 branch after the release." The announcement, release notes.
Burapha Linux 5.5
Burapha Linux 5.5 has been released, but with a somewhat unconventional announcement: "Ajan Tawatchai ordered an unconditional release for tomorrow morning. Testing showed a few files missing from the jedit help system, and the mail icon on the KDE task bar goes to KMail instead of Thunderbird as intended. I will not be able to fix that by morning, so we ship with those bugs. I have had zero testers, so I suspect another release with many undiscovered bugs. If you can email me the repeatable test case, I will do my best to fix things for the next release. I had budgeted one week for testing. I got one day instead. I protested and was overruled. Since nobody uses this distribution anyway, it doesn't really matter I guess. So here you go, this is the BLCD 5.5 Release." See the full changelog for further details.
tinysofa classic server 1.1-U3
The developers of tinysofa classic server have released an updated version of their distribution - version 1.1 Update 3: "tinysofa classic server 1.1 Update 3 (Rio) is now generally available. This maintenance release introduces upstream updates specifically targeting development tools, in addition to the usual fixes and improvements. The Cyrus IMAP server package has undergone a major cleanup and feature enhancement, elinks has replaced the links package, the bridge-utils package has been added to the core distribution, and Postfix now integrates the virtual delivery agent patchset." Read the announcement and changelog for additional information.
TupiServer Linux 2.0
TupiServer Linux is a Brazilian server-oriented distribution and live CD based on Kurumin Linux. New features in TupiServer 2.0 include the option to install extra packages from the CD and the inclusion of the TupiAdmin tool, which consists of TupiFirewall (web-based firewall administration), TupiUsers (proxy authentication), and TupiSites (web site filtering). Here is the complete release announcement (in Portuguese).
CentOS 3.4 (x86_64)
The x86_64 edition of CentOS 3.4 has been released: "The CentOS Team is pleased to announce the official release of CentOS 3.4 for x86_64 and EM64T. This release includes all Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 updates (for U4) and errata up to January 19th, 2005. New ISO images are available as well as an installable DVD edition. In addition, this release is available via BitTorrent." Here is the full release announcement, inclusive of release notes, upgrade instructions, and download links.
BeatrIX Linux 2005.1
The developers of the BeatrIX live CD have released the final version of BeatrIX Linux 2005.1: "BeatrIX Linux 2005.1 Final represents more than 19 months' work by three programmers, and input from hundreds of users. It is a Debian/Ubuntu derivative, and tracks the Ubuntu repository. It was designed from the ground-up with the end user in mind. What's included: kernel 2.6.7 - this is a modified version of our pre-release kernel; GNOME 2.8.1 - it is eminently different than older versions of GNOME; Firefox 1.0 with AdBlock; Evolution 2.0.1; OpenOffice.org 1.1.2; apt; newdial-up modem support; GAIM." More details in the release announcement.
Haansoft Linux 2005 Server (x86_64)
Haansoft has announced a release of Haansoft Linux 2005 Server for 64-bit processors: "Haansoft announced the sale of Haansoft Linux 2005 Server 64bit which is based on Linux kernel 2.6. It can handle massive data processing much faster and more efficiently than 32-bit systems, and is designed to be able to use the 32-bit applications without special modifications. Kim Jin-Kwang, the chief of Linux OS team at Haansoft, said: 'The release of Haansoft Linux 2005 Server 64bit is a strategy to lead the 64-bit server market in the future. Our product is the first 64-bit Linux OS in Korea'." Read the release announcement and product specifications (both links in Korean) for further information.
Feather Linux 0.7.2
Feather Linux 0.7.2 has been released. From the changelog: "Added mtools, emelfm2, vncdec, elhttp, quagga, and Captive NTFS; updated aircrack; added ion2 - boot with 'knoppix ion2' to use it; fixed IceWM; fixed wman; added script to download the Distributed.net client; DMA can now be activated with the 'dma' cheatcode; added 'custom-noram' boot option so that custom packages can be loaded without significant RAM usage; Feather now includes the 'readahead' cheatcode to load files into the disk cache at boot - this speeds up general operation when the user has 384MB of RAM or more; made some small changes to the USB boot process; added script to download practically everything needed for web development."
Development and unannounced releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Updated release schedule for Mandrakelinux 10.2
The estimated release schedule of Mandrakelinux 10.2 has been updated to reflect the delay of the first beta release. However, even the updated schedule is now out of synch with reality, as the second beta release, expected on January 30th, has yet to appear on public mirrors. The updated schedule for Mandrakelinux 10.2 is available here.
* * * * *
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|Web Site News
New distributions addition
- Dizinha Linux. Dizinha Linux is a Brazilian Linux live CD based on Debian GNU/Linux and Kurumin Linux.
- Flash Linux. Flash Linux is a customised Linux distribution designed to be run directly off a USB key or other (similar) forms of bootable flash memory. It should work within the constraints of 256MB of (flash) memory although larger devices may also be used. Flash Linux is based on Gentoo Linux and new versions and bugfixes should track the stable Gentoo tree. Whereas Gentoo is a source distribution, Flash Linux is a binary-only distribution.
- IndLinux. The goal of the IndLinux project is to create a Linux distribution that supports Indian languages at all levels. This "Indianisation" project will strive to bring the benefits of Information Technology down to the Indian masses. We want to make technology accessible to the majority of India that does not speak English. The task of localisation has several pieces that need domain expertise. Some examples are I/O modules, development of fonts, kernel enhancements, word translation etc. The project is looking for experts and volunteers to champion the cause of Indian language computing. You may volunteer and participate here. The Indian Linux project is open source and completely free. It is licensed under the GNU General Public License.
New on the waiting list
IndLinux Live CD - Hindi speakers can now enjoy a complete Linux desktop with KDE
(full image size: 737kB)
- EzPlanet One Enterprise Linux. EzPlanet One Enterprise Linux, based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, is a Linux distribution tuned for the enterprise and the professional. EzPlanet One integrates advanced technologies, flexibility, high availability, security, quality. Built with the enterprise in mind, it features also several tools for the professionals and individual users, that make its use more fun. Most of the latest advances in technologies available for Linux have been included in the EzPlanet One distribution. For example it supports most wireless network adapters, including those that do not have specific Linux drivers. EzPlanet One is ready to be used for your server infrastructure and your desktop clients.
- FCCU GNU/Linux Forensic Boot CD. FCCU GNU/Linux Forensic Boot CD is a Linux live CD based on Knoppix, designed for use in computer forensics.
- Mutagenix. Mutagenix is a dynamic and mutable Linux distribution, any one of several live CDs based on Slackware Linux and Linux-Live. Versions available include KDE and Dropline-Gnome. Slapt-get is the foundation for the Mutagenix build system.
DistroWatch database summary
- Number of Linux distributions in the database: 380
- Number of BSD distributions in the database: 9
- Number of discontinued distributions: 47
- Number of distributions on the waiting list: 85
|DistroWatch in the News
DistroWatch rising in popularity
We are pleased to report that your favourite Linux and BSD news site has been rising in popularity quite nicely in the last few months. That's according to Alexa, a search engine that ranks web sites based on the amount of traffic they generate.
On Alexa, DistroWatch.com is currently ranked at 50,151st position and rising. In fact, we have just overtaken a certain "Linux" web site that enjoys displaying anti-Linux messages on its main page ;-) For those who are interested, here is a selective list of some of the open source news sites and their current traffic rank on Alexa:
• 245 - SourceForge.net
• 1,339 - Slashdot.org
• 6,676 - Freshmeat.net
• 20,384 - Linux.org
• 23,755 - Linux.com
• 31,841 - NewsForge.com
• 32,629 - OSNews.com
• 50,151 - DistroWatch.com
• 50,635 - Kernel.org
• 53,087 - LinuxJournal.com
• 54,122 - LinuxToday.com
• 55,667 - LinuxISO.org
• 57,760 - LWN.net
• 117,610 - LinuxWorld.com
• 140,996 - LinuxPlanet.com
For comparison, the current ranking of some of the popular distributions' web sites:
• 3,708 - RedHat.com
• 5,794 - Novell.com
• 6,551 - Debian.org
• 12,330 - Gentoo.org
• 12,984 - FreeBSD.org
• 37,445 - Linspire.com
• 49,718 - Mandrakelinux.com
• 57,606 - UbuntuLinux.org
• 63,990 - Turbolinux.co.jp
• 89,886 - Slackware.com
• 111,780 - Xandros.com
• 113,031 - MEPIS.org
• 185,501 - Knoppix.org
• 425,613 - Yoper.com
• 526,387 - Lycoris.org
Many thanks to all our visitors, especially those who recommend DistroWatch to others and who link to DistroWatch on their web sites!
That's all for today, see you all next week!
|• 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|
|• Issue 505 (2013-04-29): First look at PCLinuxOS 2013.04, Saucy Salamander, Remastersys and System Imager, Linux containers|
|• Issue 504 (2013-04-22): Look at Bodhi 2.3.0, Ubuntu 13.04 features, building OpenBSD ports, opening large files|
|• Issue 503 (2013-04-15): CentOS versus Scientific Linux, PCLinuxOS 64, Lucas Nussbaum, ZFS/Btrfs versus ext4|
|• Issue 502 (2013-04-08): Look at Mint 201303 "Debian", Ubuntu versus openSUSE, comparing ZFS and Btrfs file systems|
|• Issue 501 (2013-04-01): KANOTIX 2013 and GhostBSD 3.0, openSUSE Rescue-CD, Haiku package management, computer forensics|
|• Issue 500 (2013-03-25): Look at openSUSE 12.3, Ubuntu release changes, Debian backports, growing divide|
|• Issue 499 (2013-03-18): MINIX 3.2.1, openSUSE 12.3 on desktop, Ubuntu GNOME and UbuntuKylin, distros for musicians, KolibriOS|
|• Issue 498 (2013-03-11): Sabayon Linux 11, Ubuntu's Mir, Linux malware|
|• Issue 497 (2013-03-04): Rebellin Linux 1.00 "Adrenaline", rolling-release Ubuntu, Arch vs spin-offs, justification and diversity|
|• Issue 496 (2013-02-25): Review of Chakra 2013.02, The Book of GIMP, Ubuntu and privacy, FreeNAS vs NAS4Free|
|• Issue 495 (2013-02-18): SparkyLinux 2.1 "Ultra", Fedora 19 schedule, Xubuntu on DVD, cloud privacy|
|• Issue 494 (2013-02-11): FreeBSD 9.1, web server stats, Anaconda, rolling-release PC-BSD, fixing broken packages in Arch|
|• Issue 493 (2013-02-04): UberStudent 2.0, OmniBoot 1.0, MariaDB, Enlightenment 0.17|
|• Issue 492 (2013-01-28): Fedora 18 review, systemd, Kali Linux, Ubuntu Unleashed|
|• Issue 491 (2013-01-21): Fuduntu 2013.1, Fedora 18 desktop choices, Consort, accessing encrypted drive|
|• Issue 490 (2013-01-14): Look at Manjaro Linux 0.8.3, openSUSE on Chromebook, Able2Extract 8.0|
|• Issue 489 (2013-01-07): PC-BSD 9.1, Arch spin-offs, rolling-releases, year-end PHR stats, removing applications|
|• Issue 488 (2012-12-24): Reviews of Unity and Puppy Linux 5.4 "Slacko", FreeBSD 10|
|• Issue 487 (2012-12-17): Cinnarch 2012.11.22, OpenMandriva, Fedora Magazine, Tumbleweed, OpenJDK vs Oracle Java|
|• Issue 486 (2012-12-10): Linux Mint 14 review, Ubuntu "spyware" controversy, Haiku overview, troubleshooting Linux servers|
|• Issue 485 (2012-12-03): Kwort Linux 3.5, Mint bug-fix update, Fedora's new Anaconda, defining a distribution|
|• Issue 484 (2012-11-26): Look at SMS 2.0.1, Fedora pre-beta report, Illumos, Secure Boot update|
|• Issue 483 (2012-11-19): DragonFly BSD 3.2.1 and Xubuntu 12.10, Gentoo and udev, switching file systems|
|• Issue 482 (2012-11-12): Review of Zenwalk 7.2, Clang in FreeBSD, Omniboot 0.5, priorities on external drives|
|• Issue 481 (2012-11-05): Look at Tails 0.13, EFF on Ubuntu and privacy, Debian installer changes, ext4 data corruption bug|
|• Issue 480 (2012-10-29): Review of Ubuntu 12.10, Wayland 1.0, FreeBSD's pkgng|
|• Issue 479 (2012-10-22): Look at Zentyal 3.0, Debian bug reporting, initiating a halt|
|• Issue 478 (2012-10-15): Slackware 14.0 review, Ubuntu donations, connecting to multiple machines behind router|
|• Issue 477 (2012-10-08): Review of ODROID-X, OpenBSD's anti-Linux song, interview with Vincent Untz, Linux as operating system|
|• Issue 476 (2012-10-01): Review of openSUSE 12.2, Slackware 14.0 features, accessing home computer with SSH|
|• Issue 475 (2012-09-24): Look at PCLinuxOS 2012.08, Ubuntu and Amazon, SolusOS and PiSi, ownCloud|
|• Issue 474 (2012-09-17): Bodhi Linux 2.0.1, OpenIndiana interview, Frugalware history, update notifications|
|• Issue 473 (2012-09-10): The Linux Command Line, Slackware documentation project, Debian's new primary arch, Goobuntu|
|• Issue 472 (2012-09-03): Kororaa Linux 17, OpenIndiana and SchilliX, Ubuntu GNOME remix, home server tip|
|• Issue 471 (2012-08-27): Linux Mint 13 "KDE", Ubuntu 12.10 features, Slax update, folder quotas|
|• Issue 470 (2012-08-20): Liberté Linux 2012.2, Arch and systemd, NetBSD's sysbuild and sysupgrade, 19 years of Debian|
|• Issue 469 (2012-08-13): Peppermint OS Three, SUSE on Secure Boot, GNOME OS, moving email to Linux|
|• Issue 468 (2012-08-06): First look at CentOS 6.3, Debian installer beta, Fedora and MATE, Libtrash|
|• Issue 467 (2012-07-30): Ubuntu Made Easy, Debian "Jessie", OpenBSD on Secure Boot, Rawhide troubles|
|• Issue 466 (2012-07-23): Fuduntu 2012.3, Linux in PC-BSD jails, secure boot on older computers|
|• Issue 465 (2012-07-16): Netrunner 4.2, Mandriva's two codebases, firewalls and window frames|
|• Issue 464 (2012-07-09): Zorin OS 6, FSF's views on secure boot, Virtual PDF Printer|
|• Issue 463 (2012-07-02): TurnKey Linux 11.3, Red Hat and Btrfs, Sabayon's MATE spin, ZFS on Linux|
|• Issue 462 (2012-06-25): Sabayon 9, "Wheezy" freeze, Zorin OS overview, Vinux interview, mounting network shares|
|• Issue 461 (2012-06-18): Linux Mint 13, openSUSE 12. delays, Debian Multimedia, Mageia 3 roadmap|
|• Issue 460 (2012-06-11): Look at Fedora 17, PC-BSD and Slackware interviews, Openfiler and FuguIta|
|• Issue 459 (2012-06-04): Impressions of Mageia 2, Fedora updates, Debian or Raspberry Pie, improving software performance|
|• Issue 458 (2012-05-28): Impressions of SolusOS 1, Linux kernel 3.4, encrypting home folder|
|• Issue 457 (2012-05-21): Linux accessibility, Fedora 17 overview, MultiSystem, launching tasks|
|• Issue 456 (2012-05-14): Look at OpenBSD 5.1, Debian Installer 7.0 alpha, UDS news round-up|
|• Issue 455 (2012-05-07): Review of Ubuntu 12.04, "Quantal Quetzal" plans, Debian infographic|
|• Full list of all issues|