| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 86, 7 February 2005
Welcome to this year's 6th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! In this issue we'll talk about Ubuntu's rapid surge in popularity, cover the release of Slackware Linux 10.1, reveal a much-requested page for Sun Microsystem's Solaris operating system, and bring you news about several new distributions developed in various corners around the world. Happy reading!
We'll start this issue of DistroWatch Weekly with a picture. It was taken in a high school in Adelaide, Australia, where a new computer laboratory equipped entirely with computers running Ubuntu Linux was recently set up:
A computer laboratory in an Adelaide high school where Ubuntu Linux is the only operating system
(picture courtesy of OpenMonkey.com)
Many readers noticed that, last week, Ubuntu succeeded in overtaking Mandrakelinux in the short-term page hit ranking on DistroWatch. While there will always be sceptics who quickly dismiss this advancement as just a temporary increase in interest in what is a relatively new (i.e. not yet well-established) distribution, the truth is that Ubuntu's rise in popularity is not a coincidence. Besides the high school in Adelaide, there was also news about Free Software Macedonia distributing hundreds of free Ubuntu Linux CDs throughout the country, and another article explaining (in Spanish) why future releases of Guadalinex will be based on Ubuntu Linux, rather than Debian. Similar stories seem to appear daily.
Thus, the dominance of Mandrakelinux, at least in terms of page visits on this site, is likely to come to an end. This is not surprising. Those of you who remember the good old days of "Mandrake Linux" when the distribution was truly free in every sense of the word, and when "Deno" was still around to drive the Mandrake sentiment (not to mention develop the company's web sites), it used to be a lot more fun. Back in those days, even a negative review was linked to on one of Mandrake's web sites and discussed in length, and Mandrake developers were actively helping users on the mailing lists. Those days are gone. Mandrakelinux has become a true commercial distribution with ever increasing effort to turn their development work into hard cash.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with this concept; after all, the decision makers at Mandrakesoft are responsible to their shareholders and investors. But by shifting the focus on the economics side of the business, they, together with fans and users of the distribution, will have to accept the inevitable slide in Mandrakelinux's popularity and loss of market share.
* * * * *
Slackware 10.1 released
Following an unusually brief beta testing period, Slackware Linux 10.1 was released earlier today. We rushed to get the ISO images, then performed a new installation on a Pentium 4 test machine. As expected, this went very smoothly. Once installed, we used the 'X -configure' command to create a basic xorg.conf file, then logged into KDE. The first thing we normally do after any Slackware installation is to download some nice wallpapers from f-r-e-d.org or linuxpackages.net so that even casual visitors are quickly reminded about the power behind the computer in front of them. Things are looking very nice so far and the new Slackware 10.1 seems to be another great release. If you get the chance, try it out and let us know about your experiences!
Slackware Linux 10.1 - lighting up our world, once again
(full image size: 897kB)
|Released Last Week
Parsix GNU/Linux 0.45
A gift from ancient Persia, a first public release of Parsix GNU/Linux is now available for download: "We are pleased to announce that our first public release of Parsix GNU/Linux is now available for download. This version is synchronized with recent Debian Sarge repository updates (Jan 25, 2005) and we also added a new version of xFarDic English-Persian dictionary (0.5.1). Many thanks to Shabdix GNU/Linux project - who shared their project space with us - and users who tested our beta releases. Please do not forget to send us your comments and suggestions." Here is the release announcement. The user interface of Parsix GNU/Linux is in English, but Farsi (Persian) input is supported.
Tilix is a Bulgarian Linux live CD based on Debian GNU/Linux and Knoppix. Version 0.5 was released a couple of days ago with the following new features: Linux kernel 2.6.9; KDE 3.3.1; new system for easy installation - "Click & Run"; added Lipstik style for KDE; many package version upgrades; added Bulgarian translation of Firefox; changes in system theme and menus; new programs: Amarok (audio player), Quanta (HTML editor, replaces Nvu), SynCE (communication with PDAs), Karbon14 (SVG editor). Here is the full release announcement (in Bulgarian).
Damn Small Linux 0.9.3
Tilix 0.5 - a Knoppix-based live CD with the user interface and utilities translated into Bulgarian
(full image size: 126kB)
Damn Small Linux 0.9.3 has been released. Changes for 0.9.3 as listed in the release notes: "FLwriter replaces Pathetic Writer; USB 2.0 detected upon boot; faster loading Firefox with extension support; net man link updated; ext3 option for hard drive installs; PostScript viewer and Word viewer added to office menu."
YES Linux 2.1.1
A new version of YES Linux is now available: "YES Corporation would like to announce the immediate availability of YES Linux 2.1 Build 1. We are very excited about this release because for the first time we feature Virtual Host support. Users have the option of using either a one step web-based or a one step command line interface. Using either interface, the Virtual Hosting system allows for the creation, enabling, or disabling of Virtual Hosts in a completely modular configuration. This means that no two Virtual Hosts share a configuration information, making maintenance of each Virtual Host easier and have a lower cost. We have fixed a configuration bug that affected authentication using WebDav. Now WebD avauthenticates properly for both the primary website and all virtual hosts." Find more information in the release announcement.
ClarkConnect Broadband Gateway 3.0
ClarkConnect Broadband Gateway 3.0 was released a few days ago and the official release announcement and release notes have just been published. New features: "Linux kernel 2.6; SATA support for most hardware vendors; bandwidth manager; command-line backup tool; improved wireless support; improved content filter reporting; unified user manager. One of the primary objectives of an x.0 release is to seamlessly upgrade the underlying software components. Making the upgrade 'seamless' takes time and effort! The upgrade list includes: kernel 2.4 to 2.6, Samba 2.2 to 3.0, DansGuardian 2.6 to 2.8, SpamAssassin 2.x to 3.0, Postfix 1.x to 2.0...."
Kaella - Knoppix Linux Azur 1.4
Version 1.4 of Kaella - Knoppix Linux Azur, a French Linux live CD based on Knoppix, has been released - without any changes since 1.4RC. From the release notes (in French): added several aliases; added sources to sources.list; added new applications and upgraded many others to their latest versions; added man pages in French; added French words to TuxType; added personalised bookmarks; Mozilla now defaults to French; new KDE splash screen and various other visual enhancements in KDE; added Kaella documentation to the CD; added drivers and connection scripts for Sagem and Alcatel USB ADSL modems....
Pardus Live CD 1.0
Pardus is a new Linux live CD made in Turkey and based on Gentoo Linux. Version 1.0 is the first public release of the project: "Pardus Live CD, a bootable CD edition of the Pardus National Operating System, has been announced and distributed to the participants of Akademik Bilisim in Gaziantep University. The live CD includes Linux kernel (2.6.10) , office tools (word processor, spreadsheet editor, presentation tool, etc.), Internet tools (browser, e-mail, instant messaging, relay chat etc. clients), multimedia and graphics tools (video player, music player, etc.), games and lots of other applications. Pardus is open source and freely distributed as a GPL product." More details are available on the project's web site (mostly in Turkish with a small English section). Pardus 1.0 is a good-looking live CD with interface and support for Turkish.
Blin Linux 2.0
Pardus Live CD 1.0 - a well-designed Gentoo-based Linux live CD made in Turkey
(full image size: 130kB)
Blin is a Slackware-based Ukrainian live CD with support for Ukrainian and Russian. The Desktop edition of Blin Linux 2.0 was released a few days ago and is now available for free download. New features: the system is built on top of kernel 2.6.10; the default encoding is now UTF-8 (KOI-8 is also provided as an option); the desktop component is based around X.Org with a combination of WindowMaker, Rox, GNOME and SuxPanel; the system is designed to require a fairly low amount of resources, but at least 128MB of RAM is recommended; several GTK1, GTK2 and Qt-based applications are included. Here is the fullrelease announcement (in Russian).
MCNLive CD "Haarlem"
For the fans of Mandrakelinux-based live CDs there is a new release (code name "Haarlem") of MCNLive, a distribution built by MandrakeClub.nl in the Netherlands. From the release notes: "New MCNLive release. Based on Mandrakelinux 10.1, but with kernel 2.6.10, new udev, ALSA, detect, soundscripts (cooker). Made with mklivecd 28.01.2005, SquashFS 2.1, USB mouse and USB keyboard fixes, international keyboard layouts working, better hardware detection, SATA drives should work; graphical setup of persistent home on a USB Flash drive, stick or pen; installable to hard disk; root is English, mcnl is Dutch." Here is the release announcement (in Dutch).
Litrix Linux 2.1 EX
To celebrate the first anniversary of its existence, the developers of Brazil's Litrix Linux have released an English language edition of their Slackware-based live CD. According to the release announcement, this release is roughly equivalent to version 2.1, except for upgrades to the Linux kernel (2.6.10) and OpenOffice.org (1.1.4). Litrix Linux can be installed on hard disk with the help of a text-based installer and additional Slackware packages can be added with slackpkg.
PaiPix Linux 3.7
Live Linux DVDs are still not particularly common, but those who prefer more applications than what fits on a 700MB CD will be pleased to learn about PaiPix Linux. Developed at the University of Lisbon, this live DVD extends the capabilities of Knoppix by adding extra applications and resources. An updated version 3.7 was released a few days ago; it fixes a problem with MySQL 4.1 and includes a new server setup with Cyrus, Exim and SquirrelMail. PaiPix Linux can also be installed on one's hard disk. The latest release of PaiPix Linux DVD is available in English, Spanish and Portuguese.
Slackware Linux 10.1
Slackware Linux 10.1 has been released: "That's right, the newest release of Slackware, version 10.1, is ready to go. My sincere thanks go out to everyone who helped out this time around when I really needed it. Highlights of the 10.1 release include the Linux 2.4.29 kernel (with Linux 2.6.10 as analternate choice in /testing), X11R6.8.1 from X.Org, Mozilla 1.7.5, KDE 3.3.2, and Xfce 4.2.0. For a complete list of changes since Slackware 10.0, check out the Slackware 10.1 ChangeLog. Read the official announcement here. To order the official release of Slackware or other Slackware products (and help support the Slackware project), visit the Slackware store. This support is also especially appreciated this time to help offset the costs of my unexpected medical 'vacation'."
Development and unannounced releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
SimplyMEPIS 3.3 will be released on February 14th during LinuxWorld Boston: "SimplyMEPIS 3.3 is scheduled to be released at LinuxWorld Boston, Feb 14-17. MEPIS will be exhibiting at booth 1512. Community members are urged to contact support at mepis.org if they are interested in supporting MEPIS at the show." More details about MEPIS's participation at the conference are available here.
Games Knoppix 0.3
The developers of Games Knoppix have published details about the next release of the gaming live CD: "The next release of the Games Knoppix will hopefully be finished by end of February. At the moment, major changes happen to the Knoppix (the next release is still not finished) and we're still collecting games and ideas for changes to the Games Knoppix. It will be a bigger conversion than just taking a live cd and adding some games, but this takes time." Find out more on the project's web site.
Knoppix STD 0.2
The developers of Knoppix STD, a Knoppix-based security tools distributions, have posted a brief message on their web site saying that a new version of Knoppix STD will be released by the end of the first quarter of 2005.
* * * * *
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|Web Site News
Site news: Solaris on DistroWatch
Yes, folks, Solaris has been added to DistroWatch. We have had an enormous number of requests to include Solaris over the last few weeks so we decided to list it alongside Linux distributions and BSDs. However, adding Solaris does not mean that we endorse it (don't expect Solaris to be added to the DistroWatch slogan), since we still believe in truly Free Software. Let's be honest about it, Sun's decision to release Solaris for free under a much less restrictive license than before seems like an act of desperation to preserve some its former glory. Nevertheless, the product has a well-deserved reputation for being one of the most reliable operating systems ever created and many system administrators swear by it. So here it is. If you spot any errors or would like to suggest some interesting links, please let us know.
We installed the x86 edition of Solaris 10 on a Pentium 4 PC to test it out. Solaris still objects to sharing a hard disk with any Linux installation, so we had to put it on the second hard disk. It installed in a graphical environment, but the installation program failed to configure our Realtek 8139 network card and the on-board sound card, which confirmed the limited support of Solaris for x86 hardware. There is a choice of desktop environments between the traditional CDE (Common Desktop Environment) and GNOME 2.6 in the form of Sun's Java Desktop System (JDS). Besides the main system, there is also a companion CD which includes additional applications and desktop environments (KDE 3.1, XFce 3.8.18, WindowMaker 0.80.2). One of the strong points of Solaris is that there is a huge amount of good documentation available from the product's web site.
Solaris 10 now includes Sun Java Desktop System's GNOME desktop
(full image size: 952kB)
January 2005 donation: the Vim project
I don't think that there are many Linux or UNIX users who need an explanation of what Vim is. An extremely unintuitive text editor derived from even less user-friendly vi editor. Raise your hands: how many of you, when launched vi or vim for the first time, had to log into another virtual terminal and kill it, because you didn't know how to close it properly? What? You didn't think of pressing Shift and colon keys simultaneously, then hitting the "Q" key?? Yet, despite the fact that many doomsayers predicted the death of vi with the arrival of graphical computing, vi, in fact, flourished. Have you ever watched somebody who is thouroughly familiar with vi or vim typing a document? That finger dancing on the keyboard is truly spectacular! Besides, if we didn't have vim, what would we use? Emacs? Now, imagine that! (Just a joke ;-)
But seriously, by donating to the Vim project, we have earned the right to vote for new features in one of the upcoming releases. Currently, there are almost 100 features that we can vote for. I am not going to reprint them all here, but if any of you can think of some features or improvements in Vim that you would find valuable, please let us know in the forums below and we'll try to influence the developers to work on these. And for those who still struggle to gain fluency in vim, here is a link to an excellent beginner's tutorial.
As always, the donation programme is a joint initiative between DistroWatch and LinuxCD.org, which contributes US$50 every month. LinuxCD.org is an online store selling low-cost Linux/BSD CDs - they have the largest selection, inclusive of all the latest releases, and they offer the lowest prices. Next time you need to order your favourite Linux or BSD CDs, get them from LinuxCD.org.
Here is the PayPal receipt for our donation:
This email confirms that you have paid 'donate at vim.org' 190.00 EUR using PayPal.
Transaction ID: 8WW42554KA367782G
Total: 190.00 EUR
Item Title: Sponsor Vim development
This is the list of projects that received a DistroWatch donation since the launch of the programme:
New distributions addition
- MCNLive CD. MCNLive is a Mandrakelinux-based live CD developed by MandrakeClub.nl in the Netherlands.
- PaiPix Linux. PaiPix Linux is a compilation of Free Software, based on the KNOPPIX live CD that is meant to be used in any environment, but with special vocation for educational use in the Information and Instrumentation technologies. It is developed by the College of Sciences at the University of Lisbon.
- Pardus Live CD. Pardus Live CD, a bootable CD edition of the Pardus National Operating System, has been announced and distributed to the participants of Akademik Bilisim in Gaziantep University. The live CD includes Linux kernel, office tools (word processor, spreadsheet editor, presentation tool, etc.), Internet tools (browser, e-mail, instant messaging, relay chat etc. clients), multimedia and graphics tools (video player, music player, etc.), games and lots of other applications. Pardus is open source and freely distributed as a GPL (General Public License) product.
- Parsix GNU/Linux. Parsix GNU/Linux is a live CD based on Knoppix and Debian. It uses GNOME as its default desktop environment. Parsix GNU/Linux supports Persian keyboard and user can switch to Persian with Alt+Ctrl or Ctrl+Shift keys. We also included xFarDic English-Persian dictionary and Persian free fonts from FarsiWeb and FPF projects.
Parsix GNU/Linux - a gift from ancient Persia
(full image size: 1,016kB)
New on the waiting list
- LINUX Connect. LINUX Connect is a groupware server distribution based on Slackware Linux. It supports PDC functionality for Windows networks, backups, a mail server, faxes with a Windows client, calendaring, and LDAP.
- GoodGoat Linux. GoodGoat Linux is a Linux distribution that has been carefully built from Gentoo Linux. It uses XFce 4 for a fast, clean interface. The goal of the project is to build a simple desktop-oriented distribution that can run from a USB key, hard drive or CDROM.
- Live GNU/Linux. Live GNU/Linux is a Knoppix-based live CD that consists of Free Software only.
DistroWatch database summary
- Number of Linux distributions in the database: 384
- Number of BSD distributions in the database: 9
- Number of discontinued distributions: 47
- Number of distributions on the waiting list: 85
That's all for today. Have a great Chinese New Year and a lot of happy computing in the Year of the Rooster! 新年快樂!
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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