| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 87, 14 February 2005
Welcome to this year's 7th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! This week we'll summarise some of the more interesting news that appeared on the Internet last week, including the release of a new live CD with KDE 3.4 and an unofficial port of Slackware Linux for 64-bit processors. In other news: is KANOTIX beating KNOPPIX as the best live CD on the market? And why is Red Hat unhappy about the increasingly successful CentOS project? And in case you are thinking about getting the new Mac mini, you'll be pleased to know that Linux will run on it just fine. Happy reading!
- News: KLAX with KDE 3.4, Slackware for 64-bit processors, KANOTIX vs KNOPPIX, Red Hat vs CentOS, Beastie, Linux on Mac mini
- Web sites: DistroTalk.net
- Featured distribution of the week: Arch Linux
- Released last week
- Upcoming releases: Helix 1.6
- New distributions: LINUXO Live!, Zen Linux
- New on the waiting list: Advanced Linux Workstation, BBCD: Bootable Cluster CD, DeBlue, GSB: GNOME.SlackBuild, Vinque Linux and XLine
KLAX with KDE 3.4, Slackware for 64-bit processors, KANOTIX vs KNOPPIX, Red Hat vs CentOS, Beastie, Linux on Mac mini
We'll start with something that should please the fans of the KDE desktop who impatiently await the next major release of KDE - version 3.4. Currently in its second beta, you can take a sneak peak at the new features by downloading "KLAX", a SLAX-based live CD that has been built to include the latest beta of KDE 3.4, code name "Keinstein". The CD images is a lot larger and a lot slower than your usual SLAX release, but it is still worth a download. However, beware that the default keyboard has been set to German, so after you boot it and log in for the first time, you will have to do something like 'loadkeys /usr/share/kbd/keymaps/i386/querty/us.map.gz' or whichever keyboard you prefer. You can find more information and a list of download mirrors on this page. OSDir.com has the screenshots.
While on the subject of Slackware Linux, we have a couple of interesting links to present to Slackware fans and users with special interests. The first one is Slamd64, an unofficial port of Slackware Linux to AMD64. There seems to be no official web page of the project, but you can download the current alpha releases from this mirror. The second link is to GSB: GNOME.SlackBuild, a Slackware-based distribution that comes with the latest beta builds of the GNOME desktop. The current version of GSB is 0.0.2 and it includes the second beta of GNOME 2.10.
With the release last week of KANOTIX 2005-01, some readers have been asking whether KANOTIX has overtaken KNOPPIX as the best live CD, in terms of usability and features. Indeed, it seems that KANOTIX is now more progressive than KNOPPIX, with more up-to-date packages, better hardware detection, and even a 64-bit edition, which is still rare among distributions. A reader has asked about KANOTIX on the KNOPPIX mailing list and received this reply from Klaus Knopper: "Knoppix tends to use the modules included with the kernel, and no additional and possibly unstable patches. I'd rather have a device not autodetected, than a frozen system or a kernel panic during bootup. Some things from Kanotix are very practical and could make it into Knoppix, but I'm too cautious to integrate the more 'experimental' stuff." Read the full message here.
The FreeBSD project went through extremely emotional moments last week when it announced a contest for a new logo. Although the announcement was later withdrawn and the contest postponed, it still succeeded in generating over 700 posts on Slashdot and over 160 on OSNews. But the much loved Beastie is unlikely to go away; the FreeBSD project is simply seeking a logo that will be more readily acceptable in non-geek communities and organisations, such as companies. On a more sober note, an effort is under way to create a Synaptic-like graphical front-end for FreeBSD's ports. Called FreePort, the project has set up this page at SourceForge.
The rapidly growing CentOS project announced three new ports of its distribution, which is built from the source RPMs for Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The new ports of CentOS 3.4 are for ia64, s390 and s390x, in addition to the earlier i386 and amd64 editions. This, together with ongoing work on CentOS 4.0, makes the distribution one of the most interesting choices for users who are looking for a free alternative to Red Hat Enterprise Linux. However, the project's success have attracted the eyes of the trademark lawyers representing Red Hat, Inc, with accusations of unfair use of the company's trademarks on the CentOS.org web site. It "will confuse consumers and dilute the distinctive qualities of its marks," claims the email message signed by Red Hat's legal team.
One of the most fascinating aspects of Linux and open source software in general is its infinite extensibility. The recently unveiled Mac mini computer has not escaped the attention of Linux users and developers either, as documented by the photograph below where the computer is running the FTP edition of Yellow Dog Linux 4.0. Last week, Terra Soft also released an updated version of Yellow Dog Linux 4.0.1, which officially supports the Mac mini. On a related note, this article gives detailed instructions about setting up Debian GNU/Linux on the Apple's smallest computer.
Yellow Dog Linux 4.0 is known to run on Apple's Mac mini.
(picture courtesy of HMX.net)
A new web-based forum for exchanging experiences with various Linux distributions has been launched: "DistroTalk.net is proud to announce its Grand Opening. Please register in the forums and help spread our name. We want to reach the whole Linux community." The DistroTalk.net forums currently include sections for Fedora, Mandrakelinux, SUSE, Red Hat, Debian, Gentoo, Slackware, Knoppix, MEPIS and Ubuntu, but new forums can be requested. Visit DistroTalk.net today and join in the fun.
|Featured distribution of the week: Arch Linux
There has been a lot of good vibe about Arch Linux, a fast distribution optimised for modern processors and with an excellent package management system called "pacman". Probably somewhere between Slackware and Gentoo in terms of usability and configurability, Arch Linux will appeal to more experienced users who are not afraid of the command line, and who are looking for a highly up-to-date and fully customisable workstation or server. We installed the recently released Arch Linux 0.7 on a Pentium 4 test machine to check it out.
One of the most pleasant aspects of this distribution is the availability of many options during installation. You can choose between GRUB or LILO as your preferred boot loader, nano or vim as your text editor, X.Org or XFree86 as your X window system, kernel 2.4 or 2.6 as your Linux kernel, and you can even compile a custom kernel during installation. This makes Arch Linux a highly customisable distribution suitable for just about any purpose. Contrast that to Slackware, where LILO is the only available boot loader, or to Gentoo, where you are initially forced to edit configuration files in nano (at least until you get to the stage where you can install alternative text editors).
Another interesting thing about Arch Linux is "pacman". In its basic functionality, this package management utility strongly resembles apt-get in that it is able to resolve dependencies of packages being installed and complete even complex installation without any human interference. Thus, after you've installed a base system of Arch Linux, you can simply type 'pacman -S xorg kde gnome' to turn your very limited Linux system into a powerful graphical workstation with both GNOME and KDE. You do need a fast Internet connection for this - that's because the Arch Linux installation CD only provides IceWM, WindowMaker and XFce desktop environments, but any additional packages need to be installed from one of the Arch Linux mirrors.
The developers of Arch Linux are also very fast in providing "toys" for those of us who enjoy tinkering with betas or unofficial packages of popular software - as an example, the unstable directory now includes Arch packages of a beta version of OpenOffice.org 2.0 and there is also a third-party resource for beta releases of KDE 3.4. But if all that is not enough, there is always 'makepkg', an Arch utility which makes it easy to build Arch Linux binary packages directly from source code by customising a template.
Overall, we found Arch Linux to be a great distribution. With all the installation options, trouble-free package management, excellent user community on the distribution's forums and mailing lists, and a constantly improving documentation on its Wiki pages, Arch Linux is one of the best-kept secrets of the Linux distribution world. Give it a try and be prepared to be pleasantly surprised!
Arch Linux 0.7 - one of the best kept secrets of the Linux distribution world
(full image size: 172kB)
|Released Last Week
An updated version of Devil-Linux is out: "I'm proud to announce v1.2.3 of Devil-Linux. The changes include kernel 2.4.29, addition of a tftp server, serial console support for install-on-usb, many program updates and many other changes." More details are available in the release announcement and changelog.
Yellow Dog Linux 4.0.1
Terra Soft Solutions has released an update to Yellow Dog 4.0: "Terra Soft Solutions, Inc., the leading developer of integrated PowerPC Linux solutions, is overjoyed to announce a vastly improved Yellow Dog Linux v4.0.1 with greater than 70 updates, including the return of sleep and audio for pre-G5s; thermal support for G5s; and Yes! the iMac G5 and Mac mini now run Yellow Dog Linux. ... The final Yellow Dog Linux v4.0.1 CD-Rs have been created and will today be delivered to a CD production facility for glass mastering and replication. While shipping product will be available in approximately two weeks, Yellow Dog Linux v4.0.1 is immediately available via YDL.net Enhanced accounts." Refer to the press releasefor further details.
Two editions of KANOTIX 2005-01 (for x86 and x86_64 processors) have been released and are available for download. Improvements: "New name; all configuration tools now in the KANOTIX menu; new background, splash, font optimizations; revised hardware detection and newer drivers; once more improved hard disk install (NIS and LVM were deleted this time); no kernel source are needed anymore to compile NVIDIA, ATI and many other kernel modules; many enhancements in detail, identical look and feel with the 64-bit edition; Captive can download the needed drivers from the net again." More details in the release announcement.
Scientific Linux 3.0.4
KANOTIX 2005-01 - another great released of the increasingly popular KANOTIX live CD
(full image size: 371kB)
Scientific Linux is a Linux distribution built from source RPM packages for Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Version 3.0.4 for i386 and x86_64 processors has been released: "Scientific Linux (SL) Release 3.0.4 for i386 has been released. Thanks to all the testers and those who sent us patches and suggestions. Scientific Linux Release 3.0.4 is based on the rebuilding of RPMS out of SRPMs from Enterprise 3 AS, including Update 4. The release notes can be found here." This is the release announcement for i386.
Zen Linux 1.0
As reported on Slashdot and elsewhere, a new Debian-based Linux distribution, called Zen Linux, has been born: "Zen Linux is a bootable live CD distribution. More than that, it is a 100% compatible Debian installer. It boasts easy remastering for creating your own personalized versions. Most configuration is done automatically upon boot and requires no user interaction, things 'just work'." Visit the distribution's web site for more information and screenshots.
Feather Linux 0.7.3
Feather Linux 0.7.3 has been released. From the changelog: "Added John the Ripper, macchanger, kismet, tcl8.4,qemu, paketto, abcde and screen; updated Monkey to 0.9.0; updated the hard disk install script; updated the usbutils package; upgraded kernel to 2.4.27; updated the quickcam, prism54, ipw2100 and madwifi drivers; updated ndiswrapper to 1.1rc1 and added the airo-mpi driver; updated modutils to 2.4.27; added BCM4400 and BCM5700 drivers; added pencam, a utility to download images from STV0680B-001 chip-based digital cameras; changed boot process so important configuration files can be overwritten by user restore images; added FreeNX; added script to easily create icons (Tools -> Scripts)."
LinuxTLE 7.0.1 (Lite)
After the official release of Thailand's LinuxTLE 7.0, an updated, single-CD "Lite" edition of the product is now also available. This is an installation CD, not a live CD. Updates include the following: kernel 2.6.10 optimised for i686 processors; X.Org 6.8.1; GNOME 2.8.1; OpenOffice TLE 1.1.2; Xiterm+Thai 1.0.6; ThaiTrueType fonts: Loma, Norasi, Garuda, Kinari, DBThaiText, TlwgMono, Purisa, JS; ArnThai 2.0; LEXiTRON 2.0 Pre2; GIMP 2.2.3; Firefox 1.0; K3B 0.11.18; and other updates. This is the full release announcement (in Thai).
Aurox Linux 10.1
Aurox Linux 10.1, code name "Quicksilver" was formally announced earlier this month and was finally released to mirrors over the weekend. What's new? "X-server: X.Org 6.8.1; system hibernation: SWUSP 2.1.5; system kernel: kernel 2.6.9; device file system: udev 0.39; default graphical environment: GNOME 2.8.1 with Evolution 2.0; graphical environment: KDE 3.3.1; office suite: OpenOffice.org 1.1.2 (MS Office compatible); multimedia players: MPlayer 1.0pre5, xine 1.0; web browsers: Mozilla 1.7.3, Firefox 1.0." See the release announcement on the distribution's home page for further details.
SAM Mini Live Linux 2005-1
This is the final release of the Mandrakelinux-based SAM Mini Live Linux 2005-1: "I am proud to present the first 'stable' release of SAM of the year 2005: SAM 2005-1.Thanks to the mklivecd developer team, now it is possible to choose UnionFS support as a boot option, which enables full read and write support of the live CD file system. You now can install packages in live CD mode without restrictions. I fixed some bugs, like the changing of the keyboard mapping and the problems with the installation tool. Also support for PCMCIA devices is back in SAM. SAM 2005-1 is based on kernel 2.6.10." More details in the release announcement.
Development and unannounced releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
The developers of Helix, a Knoppix-based distribution for incident response and computer forensics, have announced a major new upcoming release: "A major version update: Helix 1.6 will be released on 7 March 2005. This release will see a whole new Helix. Many changes have been made to include a new 2.6.10 non-preemptive kernel, an new UnionFS overlay system, a new Window Manager by way of XFce and a brand new System Preview program called SnagIt." Find out more on the project's web site.
* * * * *
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|Web Site News
New distributions addition
- LINUXO Live! LINUXO Live! is a Serbian live CD based on Mandrakelinux and with packages from PCLinuxOS.
- Zen Linux. Zen Linux is a bootable live CD distribution. Most configuration is done automatically upon boot and requires no user interaction. It includes the ability to to create remastered, personalised editions of the product.
LINUXO Live! - a Serbian distribution based on Mandrakelinux and PCLinuxOS
(full image size: 256kB)
New on the waiting list
- Advanced Linux Workstation. Advanced Linux Workstation is a new Brazilian Linux distribution based on Slackware Linux but optimised for i686 processors.
- BBCD: Bootable Cluster CD. The BCCD is a bootable CD image that boots up into a pre-configured distributed computing environment. It was built and motivated by the BBC project at LinuxCare, which has subsequently spawned off into the LNX-BBC project. The BCCD was created to facilitate instruction of parallel computing aspects and paradigms. Part of the difficulty instructors face is lack of dedicated resources to explore distributed computing aspects lack of time to preconfigure and test the supporting environment.
- DeBlue. DeBlu is a Debian-based Linux distribution designed for ease of use and functionality similar to Windows XP or Mac OS X. It is currently in development.
- GSB: GNOME.SlackBuild. The GSB project provides scripts for building current releases of GNOME for inclusion in Slackware Linux. The project has also released bootable ISO images with Slackware Linux and GNOME. (Correction: the ISO image is not a full distribution, but rather a set of binary GNOME builds with an installation script.)
- Vinque Linux. Vinque Linux is a new mini-distribution based on Gentoo Linux. It is a live CD that fits on a 50MB business card size CD and supports various European languages.
- XLine. XLine is a new French Linux distribution, currently in early development, featuring the GNOME desktop. It is designed for Linux beginners.
DistroWatch database summary
- Number of Linux distributions in the database: 386
- Number of BSD distributions in the database: 9
- Number of discontinued distributions: 47
- Number of distributions on the waiting list: 87
That's all for today. See you all next week!
1 • Wrong Link (by Jose Marcio on 2005-02-14 12:33:48 GMT from Brazil) |
Ladislav, the link to DeBlue website is wrong. You put the link of BBCD.
2 • Klax Keyboard (by Anonymous on 2005-02-14 12:35:00 GMT from Germany)
The wrong keyboard layout seems to be only true on console. If you start KDE (eg with "slax gui" at boot prompt, or after login with "gui") it comes up with US keyboard layout.
3 • LEL 4.0 RC1 expected 2005-02-16 (by Raimo Koski on 2005-02-14 12:44:24 GMT from Finland)
Lineox has made the patching of RHEL sources to Lineox Enterprise Linux sources script based. Running the scripts currently takes less than one minute. After that the rpm packages are built on a cluster. There were several problematic packages in the RHEL beta 2, which wouldn't build for example because they needed packages not found in that beta, but Lineox expects to resolve those kind of problems quite fast, so the x86 version should be generally available with two days delay after RHEL release and x86_64 version later this week.
http://developer.lineox.org/ has some info about the automated build system Lineox uses.
4 • RE: Klax Keyboard (by ladislav on 2005-02-14 12:55:05 GMT from Taiwan)
The wrong keyboard layout seems to be only true on console.
That's true. But I wanted to start the X session in a different resolution than the default "1024x800", which meant that I had to type around to find the double-quote (") key. Once I loaded the US keyboard, I just typed 'gui "1280x1024"' to get X load in a higher resolution.
5 • KANOTIX (by Guido on 2005-02-14 13:07:27 GMT from Singapore)
I have downloaded KANOTIX for the past couple of RELEASEs. And never succeed to get the CD boot. Same with this release.
When booting, the GRUB always says "Error 17".
I really like to have this KANOTIX, but kind of clueless of the error. Googling it seemed to give me diverse possible causes.
6 • Re: Klax Keyboard (by Anonymous on 2005-02-14 13:24:10 GMT from Germany)
"loadkeys us.map" is btw sufficient to type (y and z are swapped)
7 • Kanotix (by joe f. on 2005-02-14 13:54:29 GMT from United States)
I didn't have any trouble with Kanotix, and found it to be an excellent distribution. I have a compaq r3000 laptop that's nice, but has unusual hardware: an AMD64 processor, a non-standard resolution (1280x800) an Alps/synaptic touchpad with scroll pad and a Broadcom wireless card, among other things. I've tried 10 or 12 distros on it, and only Kanotix has supported everything more or less out of the box (I had to make one entry in my XF86Config file and configure the wireless card). It doesn't seem as snappy as Gentoo, and not as glossy as Suse or Fedora, but because it's Debian with apt-get it's a lot closer to my Slackware desktop machine with swaret, that is things are where I expect them and installing is a single command. I'd recommend it to anyone.
8 • Another wonderful week. (by kensai on 2005-02-14 14:05:19 GMT from Puerto Rico)
I'm a gentoo user but Yesterday I trashed Gentoo to the point it only access the root account and nothing more. I always have Pclinuxos for emergencies when something like that happen so I'm writing from it. But this weeks Distrowatch has made me look to Kanotix and I see I want to try it. I hope the installer works great.
9 • Arch Linux (by George Kapotto on 2005-02-14 14:32:12 GMT from Canada)
Arch Linux is rapidly becoming my distribution of choice. I have previously installed Gentoo, FC3 and SLP9.3. I fall somewhere closer to newbie than pro on the experience spectrum and still managed to bang my way through the arch installation process. Package support is pretty extensive. The supported versions are very up to date and once you get through a few hiccups (likely my fault), it is slick, fast and reliable.
The fact that it is Canadian in no way influences my opinion ;-).
10 • Kanotix and Knoppix (by d00m3d on 2005-02-14 14:35:29 GMT from Hong Kong)
Once upon a time, I could not boot Kanotix in a Dell Inspiration 7500 laptop computer. I managed to fix it by disabling the DMA with the nodma boot option.
Kanotix used to be the bleeding-edge and i586 optimized kernel edition of Knoppix, it replaces some more useable apps and runs faster. Great works!
11 • CentOS (by reddazz on 2005-02-14 14:50:49 GMT from United Kingdom)
I knida thought something like this would happen because CentOS is increasing in popularity and I bet Redhat aren't too pleased about this. I have noticed that a lot of web hosts and other businesses are now using CentOS, so Redhat is essentially losing potential customers.
12 • Arch Linux (by dajaek on 2005-02-14 14:52:15 GMT from United States)
"But if all that is not enough, there is always 'pkgbuild', an Arch utility which makes it easy to build Arch Linux binary packages...:
You mean "makepkg" not "pkgbuild". Also, "GSB: GNOME.SlackBuild" isn't a linux distribution, but rather a Gnome distribution, a la Dropline Gnome.
13 • RE: Arch Linux (by ladislav on 2005-02-14 15:07:35 GMT from Taiwan)
Thanks for the corrections. I thought GSB was a bootable distribution because they distribute it as an ISO image. It looks like I was wrong.
14 • Kanotix vs Knoppix, i386 vs. i686 (by Ed Borasky on 2005-02-14 15:30:18 GMT from United States)
As a rescue disk, I've used both successfully and can't really say I prefer one over the other. I've mostly used the old "bughunter" release, and I must say it took me quite a while to figure out the booting process.
As far as the application set is concerned, it's pretty rare these days that I use either Kanotix or Knoppix as an application platform; when I use a LiveCD at all for applications, it's Quantian (LiveDVD now, actually), which is based on yet another Knoppix spin-off, clusterKnoppix.
Now, a subtle (not so subtle, really) request to every distro out there: while I realize that GNU/Linux *can* in principle run on a 386, 486 or Pentium, the number of folks out there who have an i686 or better is so large now that I think *every* binary distro that delivers an x86 build ought to make the *default* i686, and the older sub-architectures the special cases, not the other way around as it is now. Do you hear me, Debian, Fedora, Mandrake, SuSE, etc.?
(And to my good friends at Gentoo -- no, I won't abandon you if the "big guys" deliver faster binary packages -- I've got Athlons :).
15 • The Secret Advantage of Kanotix (by Chris Hildebrandt on 2005-02-14 16:01:30 GMT from Sweden)
Much is said about Kanotix these days (incredible good hardware detection, hard disk install of Debian Sid in 20 Minutes, very handy scripts, ...), but the real advantage of Kanotix is the friendly and helpful stile of conversation in the Kanotix user forum and the Kanotix IRC. Fast assistance is just a few words and mouse clicks away. Also his answers are famous for beeing often not more than a cryptic line of Perl, Kano himself is the most busy helper there and I wonder if he ever sleeps.
Even in the rare case that your exotic hardware is not supported by any Linux distro, you can bet Kano will personally strive hard to create a solution for you.
This kind of unmatched support is the real, but still quite unknown advantage of Kanotix.
16 • helix hmmmm (by crawancon on 2005-02-14 16:03:59 GMT from United States)
Wow, I have to say this upcoming helix release looks verrrry interesting. I use RIP and FIRE and a few others for my job.. (not exclusively forensics, but still..) Since im a *nixer in a corporate windows world, i was wondering if there are any *nixers out there that have given small presentations on the uses of these forensics CDs to IT departments.
17 • Arch Linux (by Anonymous on 2005-02-14 16:13:42 GMT from United States)
There is one other thing that I noticed about Arch:
Startup is based on: BSD vs SysV run levels, which translates into one file to config for startup. Well, primarly one. Worth a look, well, I can say I have been eye'ng this distro for a bit of time. However, no spare machine to try it out on.
18 • Kanotix (by Anonymous Penguin on 2005-02-14 16:16:21 GMT from Italy)
I do feel that it is the best LiveCD out there. Just as an example it made detecting and setting up my ADSL modem connection a child's play, where all the others had failed.
Also, for the first time I feel that I can install Debian with a LiveCD. I performed an aptitude dist-upgrade, I installed a lot of other stuff, and everything went fine.
19 • KANOTIX, MEPIS and my monitor (by fractalguy on 2005-02-14 18:20:34 GMT from United States)
Both KANOTIX and MEPIS don't offer a good way to get frame buffer (fb1280x1024) as a boot option and so I have horizontal refresh rate issues when I boot these, using vga=794 for example. I certainly hope KNOPPIX does not follow these "frendly" distros by changing its cheat code format. KANOTIX, MEPIS (and even Ubuntu) try to present an improved face and make it difficult to get all needed options.
20 • Gentoo manual (by Shabani on 2005-02-14 19:02:24 GMT from Canada)
With all the hype surrounding Gentoo, why not sell an edited version of the installation manual ? It would be a great addition in the bookshelf of many linux sysadmins.
21 • Expected releases (by Shabani on 2005-02-14 19:05:40 GMT from Canada)
Hmm... Ladislav, didn't you forget Debian Sarge in your summary of expected upcoming releases ? Is it because we're all sick and tired of waiting for it ?
22 • DEBIAN SARGE (by kensai on 2005-02-14 19:25:56 GMT from Puerto Rico)
I think maybe sarge will release in mid or late 2005 if not in 2006. Debian is having so much problems with receiving new packages by now they just can't release now I believe. Any Hope?
23 • Re: DEBIAN SARGE (by Anonymous Penguin on 2005-02-14 19:40:35 GMT from Italy)
I find the situation really annoying. Stable is a fossil, useless in most situations. Testing is not getting as many updates as it would under normal circumstances. The only way to go is to use Sid, if you want to have an up-to-date system. And BTW, why are they accepting so many new packages in Sarge? Wasn't it supposed to be frozen a long time ago?
24 • New distro? (by gghiggs on 2005-02-14 19:44:09 GMT from United States)
Found this today...Underground Desktop
Haven't tried it yet, so can't comment, but looks interesting. Anyone want to test fly this one and report back? Let's see...
25 • Re: DEBIAN SARGE (by A. Non Emouse on 2005-02-14 19:57:03 GMT from United States)
Debian Woody (Stable) is cranking along problem-free on a lot of production servers. I'd hardly call it useless. Yes, I'm eager to see Sarge released, but only if it can live up to the amazing stability and longevity of Woody. Sometimes it's nice not to have to migrate a system every 6 months.
26 • Re: A. Non Emouse (by Anonymous Penguin on 2005-02-14 20:13:15 GMT from Italy)
Six months? You must be joking. Woody was released in July 2002, which in the very fast moving world of linux is equivalent to the Middle ages (same time as Mandrake 8.2., Red Hat 7.3 or SUSE 8.0: how many people still use any of them?)
27 • I can't find... The perfect distro. (by Chipper on 2005-02-14 20:26:13 GMT from United States)
At home, I have Gentoo on my main box. I have a laptop that I try various distros to see how I like them. Right now, I think the best are Debian (and several self boots) and Gentoo (only tried VidaLinux once).
I just can't find the best distro for me. I want something that is easy to install (like Mandrake/SUSE), but offers the amount of packages like Gentoo or Debian. I just can't find it. I play Crossfire, so I would like a package for that, and I use MythTV so I want a package for that as well.
Debian and Gentoo have both, but not really the configuration I'm looking for. The Debian self boots are fine, but it seems that they still auto-detect everything like they were booting from CD, even though they are installed on the hard drive.
Oh well, sorry for the small rant. I use Linux and love it, but I haven't found that special distro yet.
28 • RHEL 4 (by Stuart Campbell on 2005-02-14 20:30:03 GMT from United Kingdom)
Just to let people know that Red Hat have started to load SRPMS onto their ftp server for RHEL 4.
29 • Re: I can't find... The perfect distro (by Anonymous Penguin on 2005-02-14 21:37:38 GMT from Italy)
SUSE has more packages than people normally imagine: including apt4rpm almost 5,000. And the way they are counted is different than Debian: for instance Tuxracer in Debian is at least 2 packages, in SUSE just one. My only beef with SUSE is that it is resources starved and very slow.
As to Debian LiveCDs, for instance Kanotix offers you 3 installation modes. The recommended one won't auto-detect hardware when booting.
Actually have you considered Libranet? It is easy to install and configure, but it is almost 100% Debian. Just wait for 3.0 to come out in the next few weeks. In the meantime you can download 2.8.1 for free.
30 • Kanotix vs. Knoppix (by Joe P on 2005-02-14 23:01:51 GMT from United States)
Klaus is right to stay away from the bleeding edge in hardware detection. Kanotix takes more than 6 minutes to boot on my PC when Knoppix is under 3 minutes. I'd rather give up the sound card and boot faster.
31 • Re: Kanotix vs. Knoppix (by Joe P) (by Anonymous Penguin on 2005-02-14 23:42:50 GMT from Italy)
Maybe, but I was extremely happy to have my ADSL connection detected and configured for the very first time by a Debian distro.
Thanks to Kanotix I have Debian installed again in my HD. And once installed it doesn't take longer than any other distro to boot up.
32 • DistroTalk.net (by Anonymous on 2005-02-15 00:18:23 GMT from Finland)
Are the DistroTalk forums in any way affiliated with DistroWatch.com?
33 • RE: Are the DistroTalk forums affiliated with DistroWatch? (by ladislav on 2005-02-15 00:55:47 GMT from Taiwan)
Not at all. They simply emailed us to let us know about the forums.
34 • Slackware 64. (by Ryan Mikulovsky on 2005-02-15 01:59:50 GMT from United States)
I'm here to pledge usage of slamd64 soon as it hits a so-called "beta" stage.
IIRC I noticed that a lot of package build scripts in slackware source includes a switch for building 64bit optimized binaries... so perhaps slackd could use something like ports where it'll pull from slackware-current updated sources and compile on the fly, install the package, and send the resultant tgz into file cache. That said, some of the more regularly updated and larger packages could use ccache to speed up the build process... I have a fetish with being bleeding edge on any distro I run ;-)
Anyway, I can't wait.
35 • B2D linux (by Another anonymous penguin on 2005-02-15 02:32:20 GMT from United Kingdom)
Ladislav, you seem to have missed the 20050120 release of B2D linux.
36 • RE: missed the 20050120 release of B2D linux (by ladislav on 2005-02-15 02:58:01 GMT from Taiwan)
Where is the announcement? I try my best to monitor all 300+ distributions listed here, but if they don't make an announcement on their web site and don't email me to let me know abou a release, how am I a supposed to learn about it?
37 • No problem wuth Debian? Check Distrowatch's figures (by A non E-Cat on 2005-02-15 03:05:51 GMT from Canada)
A. Non Emouse is right, there's now an obvious problem with the growing gap between releases. Even leader Ben Collins was worried about it years ago. ans it just grows and grows.
Check this Distrowatch page:
and you'll lind out that between Buzz and Rex, than Rex and Bo, the delay was only 6 months, as any distro nowadays. Fron Bo to Ham, it grew to more than 1 year. Hamm to Slink to Potato, it was about 1 year and a half. Potato to Woody,it was almost 2 years. For Woody to Sarge, it's now more than 2 and a half years and the release date is not yet in sight.
This is senseless. If the trend continues, Sid will be released in 2010! And, though I'm not a Debian user, as far as I know, Testing and Unstable are not officially patched by Debian developpers, which means that to play it safe, you should normally run Stable.
I understand a lot of packages have been added since the good old days, but if packages are not working or if some are not made according to the Holy Norms, they should be discarded, that's it, that's all.
If some architecture, Spark, AIX, ARM, whatever, is delaying the release of all other architectures, maybe it should be considerred nobody is interested to maintain it and it should be abandoned.
It's very hard for an outsider to understand what kind of mess Debian has been turned into, but there's definitely a problem. As Carol King would put it «Something inside has died, there can't be no denying». The only question that remains is if it's too late.
38 • Re: Gentoo Manual (by Ed Borasky on 2005-02-15 03:51:16 GMT from United States)
"With all the hype surrounding Gentoo, why not sell an edited version of the installation manual ? It would be a great addition in the bookshelf of many linux sysadmins."
Well, first of all, Gentoo does have great documentation -- you have to when you don't have an idiot-proof installer. :)
Second, the Gentoo documentation is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution / Share-Alike license
So you are free to do what you wish with the documentation, as long as you give the original author credit and allow your edits to inherit the same license.
Finally, there are subtle differences between "The Gentoo Way" and "The Red Hat Way". Subtle, Hell -- it's two different ways of thinking!! In studying for the RHCE exam, I'm finding I have to "unlearn" a year of Gentoo-think. All that work for a piece of paper and a slower system. :) Bah ... I think I'll go beg the nice folks at Gentoo to establish a Gentoo-Certified Engineer program.
39 • Linux: Reinventing the wheel? Can we do better? (by Andreg on 2005-02-15 05:02:32 GMT from United States)
I like Linux, and more than one distros. I use more than one.
But I am a little dismayed when I see that the promises of open source is not really fullfilled: most distros have something better, and something less good (personal taste aside).
The idea was/is to take something good, and make it better, not to constantly reinvent the wheel... like it is done way too often.
And some basic "needs" are not addressed, I am not exactly sure why.
For exemple there are many "me too" editors, mostly good, but so far if I like them mostly, none of them satisfy me completely... and I end up using mostly VI because of this.
The old teco, brief editors could do simply or very powerfully things that "more modern" editors do not do so well, for example the brief key macro was very simple, and I am missing it.
For a programmer editor, going GUI may actually be a mistake: always slow (all of them!).
Same thing for compilers:
It seems that only C and C++ are used.
The D language looks good but progress slowly (single man project).
Java looks to me like a monster.
Python is good, but interpreted.
Eiffel is very appealing but no real complier/debugger (open source).
System management tools:
The best that I have used is Suse Yast... and it is not perfect yet.
Same for package management tools (although apt-get + synoptic is excellent... but not avail on all distros!)
IDE: Personally unless they are very good, like Bortland DELPHI, I do not care for them... but you may. IDE should not in my view be IDE ONLY (hide everything), and whenever needed going to the command line should be possible...
Where I have seen very powerful tools is in editing: Open source keep it promises there: Quanta, Kile, Scribus are very good.... but of course, I am spoiled and want more. I am also wondering if Latex that I really like could not be made a lot easier to use. This may imply a full reassment of "the whole thing", but Latex has been here for a very long time!
Open Office: is a good clone of MS Office... Good programming work.
But would not some imagination lead to a very new set of tools?
If clonning is joy, creating may be bliss...
All for now.
40 • RE: Gentoo manual (by Shabani on 2005-02-15 07:11:13 GMT from Canada)
Ï know the manual of Gentoo is free and well written (I've printed it). What I'm saying is that maybe the Gentoo project could see it as a source of revenue. After all, if people can buy mini books such as the "vi Editor Pocket Reference" (less than 70 pages), why not sell them the installation manual of one of the hottest linux distros ? I wouldn't hesitate to pay for it.
41 • Thanks for highlighting Arch and Kanotix! (by mr_doughnut on 2005-02-15 08:49:35 GMT from New Zealand)
Hi Ladislav -
A really good weekly edition this week. Good to see articles on Kanotix and Arch - both great distros!
On the subject of Debian's slow release cycle - I have to agree that it could be a fair bit quicker. Sheesh - I use Mepis (a Debian-based distro), and I only ever use "unstable", and I can't ever remember _anything_ in that crashing. So yeah, the "stable" branch pretty much means (to me) "stale and old".
42 • Gentoo... (by im_ka on 2005-02-15 12:36:57 GMT from Austria)
...has the best documentation available. review here:
43 • ...I only ever use "unstable" and I can`t ever remember anything in that crashin (by Anonymous on 2005-02-15 13:50:17 GMT from Japan)
I assume you`ve never used your computer as a production system that your buisness depends on, then.
Yes, the release cycle for Debian should be a bit faster, but just because Woody was released 2 1/2 years age doesn`t mean it isn`t kept up to date, in fact the last update was January 1, 2005
Yeah if you want a toy to play with at home unstable will cut it. If you want a system that doesn`t have broken dependencies between every major desktop environment cycle, well you know the answer.
Also, let us not forget that unstable recieves no security updates from Debian http://www.debian.org/releases/unstable/ and most third party debian-based distro`s don`t bother to provide them either, the only exception i`ve seen to this is Ubuntu.
FYI: I have run Mepis with unstable and when I did apt-get upgrade after unstable was updated from kde 3.2 to 3.3 I had things messed up for me very badly and the whole unstable tree was in a state of flux with KDE for serveral weeks until things were squared away.
44 • Re: Anonymous on 2005-02-15 13:50:17 GMT from Japan (by Anonymous Penguin on 2005-02-15 14:37:49 GMT from Italy)
"just because Woody was released 2 1/2 years age doesn`t mean it isn`t kept up to date, in fact the last update was January 1, 2005"
The only updates that stable ever gets are security updates.
If Debian didn't have the testing and unstable branches, which are what the majority of people use, by now it would be a distribution forgotten by everybody, as much as Red Hat 7.3 or Mandrake 8.2 (same timeframe)
45 • Re: Reinventing the wheel?? (by Ed Borasky on 2005-02-15 16:05:44 GMT from United States)
"And some basic "needs" are not addressed, I am not exactly sure why.
For exemple there are many "me too" editors, mostly good, but so far if I like them mostly, none of them satisfy me completely... and I end up using mostly VI because of this.
The old teco, brief editors could do simply or very powerfully things that "more modern" editors do not do so well, for example the brief key macro was very simple, and I am missing it."
As I understand it, "teco" evolved into (the original) "emacs". I vaguely remember "teco"; it was indeed very powerful, and fun ... one of the standing jokes was to ask a new hire, after learning "teco", what typing his or her name in would do to the text being edited :).
I never bothered to learn "emacs" because it had a reputation as a memory hog. That may have been fixed, but "vim" is such a vast improvement over the original "vi" that I'm happy with it.
"System management tools:
The best that I have used is Suse Yast... and it is not perfect yet.
Same for package management tools (although apt-get + synoptic is excellent... but not avail on all distros!)"
I've cast my vote for Gentoo's Portage, which is slowly making its way out of Gentoo into other environments. It's descended from the BSD "Ports" system.
"Where I have seen very powerful tools is in editing: Open source keep it promises there: Quanta, Kile, Scribus are very good.... but of course, I am spoiled and want more. I am also wondering if Latex that I really like could not be made a lot easier to use. This may imply a full reassment of "the whole thing", but Latex has been here for a very long time!"
Check out Lyx and TeXmacs!! Lyx is a bit easier to use, but TeXmacs is more powerful. For general editing, Lyx is probably better; TeXmacs is "emacs-like" and allows one to embed sessions of programming languages like R, Lisp and Octave.
46 • Good tips (by William Roddy on 2005-02-16 03:48:00 GMT from United States)
Without listing them, I want to say I picked up several great tips from the conversations here so far. Thank you. You be a bunch of smart people.
And Ladislav, thanks for another great week!
47 • Zen Linux LiveCD (s) (by John Coombes on 2005-02-16 04:31:40 GMT from Australia)
Just so people know my experiance.
I noticed it on distrowatch and went and got the Torrents for them
following link on here http://distrowatch.com/?newsid=02349#0
(1) played with ZenLinux_v1.0_Core.iso (307MB) = booted CD = kernel panic
(2) played with ZenLinux_v1.0_KDE.iso (564MB) = booted CD = kernel panic
After two tries (YES I did play with cheet codes at bootup to no avail) I gave up with bothering to download the ZenLinux_v1.0_Gnome.iso (537MB) - as it would probable have exactly same problem
Yesterday I went back to the original site and saw ZenLinux_v1.0.1_Core.iso
Later on the very same day I saw ZenLinux_v1.0.2_Core.iso - today its ZenLinux_v1.0.3_Core.iso
So I for one have stopped bothing to d/l them - I've wasted two CD-R's already
NOTE:- your experiance may vary to mine
If this is one of those Learning Experiance ? don't you just hate them :-(
just my 2 cents for what it is worth
48 • Re: Anonymous on 2005-02-15 13:50:17 GMT from Japan (by Anonymous on 2005-02-16 07:09:15 GMT from India)
"If Debian didn't have the testing and unstable branches, which are what the majority of people use, by now it would be a distribution forgotten by everybody, as much as Red Hat 7.3 or Mandrake 8.2 (same timeframe)"
I agree that Debian has to have faster release cycles..but hey..redhat7.3 is not forgotten. I found that it was the most stable "free" distro from Redhat and we still use it on all our production servers.
49 • RE: Zen Linux LiveCD (by ladislav on 2005-02-16 10:07:50 GMT from Taiwan)
If it makes you feel better, I couldn't get Zen Linux work either - I received "kernel panic" on both machines I tried to boot the CD (I downloaded the CD with KDE). The md5sums were correct though.
50 • Re: Kanotix vs Knoppix, i386 vs. i686 (by Anonymous on 2005-02-16 14:03:51 GMT from Hungary)
Ed Borasky: "...the number of folks out there who have an i686 or better is so large now that I think *every* binary distro that delivers an x86 build ought to make the *default* i686, and the older sub-architectures the special cases, not the other way around as it is now."
Yes, e.g. Ubuntu pretends to be a distro for all with its i386-disguised packages but even a good old i686 is not powerful enough to run Ubuntu/Gnome:
51 • i686 (by Ariszló on 2005-02-16 14:13:05 GMT from Hungary)
For some reason, most visitors of DistroWatch seem to be satisfied with the speed of i486/i586 optimized distros. Perhaps, the majority use machines with much more RAM than I do. 1 GB of RAM compensates for the lack of optimization.
The previous anonymous post was mine too.
52 • ZenLinux (by William Roddy on 2005-02-16 21:32:37 GMT from United States)
With ZenLinux, I had failures on all machines similar to those already mentioned.
Kanotix is excellent. Berry is delightful again. A plain Debian unstable installation looks and works great. Sam is odd-looking to me, but works well. MCNLinux did okay on all but my laptop.
Does anyone know if Xandros uses Grub or Lilo?
Fun week. Thanks.
By the way, Scientific Linux is a good replacement for Red Hat. It's RH remade by the Linux users at Fermi Labs and CERN in Switzerland and other scientists. Man, those folks are smart and organized. And they have fast broadband.
53 • Debian Woody and Red Hat 7.3 (by Anonymous Penguin on 2005-02-16 21:33:57 GMT from Italy)
We have all fond memories of some old distro, maybe the one we started our linux experience with. But whether we would use it in our desktop today it is another matter. I suppose that when it comes to servers it is different, but I would imagine that the majority would still use something more recent, perhaps one of the free clones of RHEL, or SLES (with or without support, it depends on our pockets...)
54 • zen linux (by Anonymous on 2005-02-16 23:29:16 GMT from United States)
Perhaps Zen linux is suited to older hardware. Sent to
you on Zen linux 1.00-works on an older IBM Thinkpad.
55 • Xandros uses lilo... (by Ariszló on 2005-02-17 00:17:26 GMT from Hungary)
...with an animated boot splash.
56 • Woody updates (by Jose on 2005-02-17 02:57:41 GMT from United States)
Woody gets more than just updates. There are plenty of up to date packages for Woody. You just have to include the Backports in your apt sources.
Frankly for a server, as long as you get the updates, what else is needed? You want the server to be rock solid, not running the new flashy apps.
Still 2 and a half years is waay to long. I understand that nothing goes stable until it is stable across all platforms supported by Debian, but maybe they should re-think that. 2 and a half years and counting since the last stable.
Waaaay too long!
57 • xandros & gtk fonts (by im_ka on 2005-02-17 17:58:43 GMT from Austria)
does anyone know how to get proper fonts for gtk apps such as xine in xandros?
58 • re: ^^ (by im_ka on 2005-02-18 01:52:03 GMT from Austria)
choosing another charset solved the issue.
xandros oce is really slick btw
59 • RE:Linux: Reinventing the wheel? Can we do better? (by Anonymous on 2005-02-18 20:48:32 GMT from United Kingdom)
The reason there isn't a compiler for python is because writing one with all the nice features is pretty hard. You're welcome to try, but is the interpreting really a problem? Or use jython to compile to java bytecode if you think that's any better. Ironpython should be good when it's stable, worth playing with. If you really need compiled, maybe try ocaml?
60 • i686-optimized Slack-based distro (by Ariszló on 2005-02-18 22:08:36 GMT from Hungary)
What's the name of the Slackware-based i686-optimized distribution that was recently mentioned under Latest News and Updates (or perhaps in an earlies issue of DistroWatch Weekly)? I believe it's made in a Latin American country but I'm not sure.
61 • RE: i686-optimized Slack-based distro (by ladislav on 2005-02-19 11:45:41 GMT from Taiwan)
You can find the listing of Slackware-based distributions here:
62 • Zen linux (by Arvid on 2005-02-19 12:20:21 GMT from Norway)
I'm writing this on an Aopen SFF computer with the Zen linux boot CD
(with KDE). Everything worked at once (X graphics, sound: xmms/mp3, video:
Noatun/divx, ADSL/internett: Firebird/Konqueror/lynx.)
On another computer with a VIA cpu/chipset it just rebooted. That one
works ok with Mepis, Knoppix, DSL etc. So Zen linux seems to be
somewhat choosey regarding equipment.
(I got my iso from an Australian (game?) web site.)
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