| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 89, 28 February 2005
Welcome to this year's 9th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! In this week's issue we will take a look at Fedora Core 4 which, despite its delay, is not doubt going to be an exciting release with many new features. Mandrakesoft and Conectiva announced a surprise merger last week, but don't expect their products to merge too, at least not in the short term. And those who are thinking about buying the recently released Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 can now sign up for a 30-day evaluation period at no cost. Many more topics are covered in this issue, so without further ado: happy reading!
- News: Fedora 4 updates, RHEL product evaluation, Mandrakesoft and Conectiva, FreeBSD vs NetBSD, Sun lays off programmers
- Looking ahead: KDE 3.4
- Released last week
- Release delays: Mandrakelinux 10.2, Fedora 4 and Debian 3.1
- Upcoming releases: Gobolinux 012, Turkix 3.0, Gentoo Linux 2005, Linspire 5.0
- New distribution additions: Mockup, Mutagenix
- New on the waiting list: AliXe, Foresight Linux, SUT-Linux
Fedora 4 updates, RHEL product evaluation, Mandrakesoft and Conectiva, FreeBSD vs NetBSD, Sun lays off programmers
Although the release of Fedora Core 4 Test1 has been delayed yet again, the Fedora developers are not idling, on the contrary, they are busy finalising the feature list for the new version and discussing issues affecting the distribution. What can we look forward to in FC4? Many exciting new features, including GCC 4 (if ready), the usual package updates (GNOME 2.10, KDE 3.4, X.Org 6.8.2, and maybe even OpenOffice.org 2.0), Xen and virtualisation, faster boot, Java, a graphical front-end for yum, and support for Apple hardware, inclusive of the new Mac mini. On the negative side, the distribution has become too large to fit on four CDs and a decision was taken to remove some packages from Fedora Core 4. Not everybody will be pleased and the decision to leave out such long-standing open source applications such as GNOME Office (AbiWord and Gnumeric), KOffice, Exim, Sylpheed, Tux Racer, and XEmacs will surely arouse some protests in the Fedora user community. As always, it is very hard to please everybody.
* * * * *
OSNews reports that a trial edition of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 4 is now available for free download. That's after registering for a Red Hat Networks account and completing a brief survey: "With the launch of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4, we want to give you the opportunity to try the latest release of Red Hat's market-leading Linux technology. For a limited time, you can download a free 30-day subscription to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 product of your choice (AS, ES, WS, or Desktop)." Find out more information about these products on the RHEL Evaluation page.
* * * * *
The widely reported announcement last week about the merger of Mandrakesoft with Conectiva came as a surprise to many. However, according to Jacques Rosenzvaig, the CEO at Conectiva, it is unlikely that users and customers of either of the two products will be affected by profound changes in the near future. Although the two Linux distribution makers have agreed on setting some common goals and share development effort, they intend to retain their distinctive brand names and qualities, and simply co-exist in a "federation" of Linux companies with a large degree of "autonomy" for each of the companies participating in the merger. Nevertheless, in order to consolidate the resources, there might be a convergence of some of the two companies' products into one, with a distinct name that will be decided upon in a month or two from now. If you understand Portuguese, you can find out more details in this news item, as posted at CIPSGA.
* * * * *
Following several high-profile NetBSD articles, reviews and interviews, and its comparison to FreeBSD (see NetBSD vs FreeBSD: ready for prime time? and NetBSD 2.0 Rendezvous), a war of words has erupted between the two camps. Scott Long of FreeBSD has written an article entitled The case for FreeBSD, in which he accuses NetBSD advocates of making false claims when comparing the two BSDs: "The NetBSD advocates are quick to claim that NetBSD 2.0 now beats FreeBSD in both performance and features. Fortunately, that just is not true. There is a very long list of reasons why FreeBSD is an excellent operating system and an ideal choice for the enterprise and the desktop." This is a good technical overview of some of the recently introduced features and improvement in FreeBSD; definitely worth a read.
* * * * *
Sun Microsystems has been laying off developers of both Solaris and Sun Java Desktop System (JDS). That's according to The Register and its undisclosed sources: "Sources have informed The Register that a larger number of staffers in Sun's operating platforms group have been shown the door. Many of these workers had been cranking away on new versions of Solaris and the Java Desktop System - Sun's version of Linux. With that work mostly completed, the staffers became expendable to Sun. This looks like the tail-end of a long round of layoffs, which started last year and claimed more than 3,000 jobs." Does this mean that the release of Sun JDS version 3 is imminent? And more importantly, will there be any more Solaris and JDS releases in the future?
Looking ahead: KDE 3.4
The first release candidate of KDE 3.4 was made available last week. For the impatient among us, the easiest way to try it out is by downloading Klax, a SLAX-based live CD that includes the above mentioned development version of KDE 3.4: "Klax is an i486 GNU/Linux live CD, very similar to SLAX because it's created with the same Linux Live scripts, but based on newer Slackware Linux 10.1 and containing KDE 3.4 Release Candidate 1 (which already identifies as final release)." For download links and other information please visit the Klax home page. The final release of KDE 3.4 is expected on 16 March 2005.
Klax Live CD - the latest version of the SLAX-based live CD comes with the first release candidate of KDE 3.4
(full image size: 287kB)
|Released Last Week
Puppy Linux 0.9.9
Puppy Linux 0.9.9 is out: "Puppy version 0.9.9 is released. There are now three live CD flavours to choose from - the live CD ISO file with Firefox, with the full Mozilla suite, and with Opera. Release notes: Puppy live CDs are now built from Puppy Unleashed, which is a collection of packages and a build script. Unleashed is a separate product and is announced below. The Mozilla flavour of Puppy is version 1.7.5 and is the full suite, including Composer HTML editor, Calendar, Addressbook, and Mail & News. The Macromedia Flash player is also included in the ISO (note, the other flavours require the Flash player to be downloaded separately). Puppy now has his very own Wiki, called DidiWiki, with inbuilt HTTP server." Find more details on the distribution's news page.
VectorLinux 5.0 SOHO Edition
The release of VectorLinux 5.0 SOHO edition is now official: "The Vector Linux crew is pleased to announce the release of VectorLinux SOHO v5.0 - a very feature-rich, full-sized Linux distribution. VL Soho 5.0 is based on the recently released Slackware 10.1. This means a very fine-tuned distro with Slackware's rock-solid base and the most up to date stable packages available. Some of the bundled applications are: KDE 3.3.2 and IceWM 1.2.13 as window managers. For a complete web experience you will find Firefox 1.0 with pre-configured MPlayer, Flash, and Java plugins, plus Gaim 1.1.2, gFTP, Kasablanca, and Sylpheed. OpenOffice 1.1.4, Abiword, Kontact, KMyMoney, GnuCash and QHAcc in the productivity department...." The release announcement.
Linux+ Live 2.04
Linux+ Live is a live DVD based on Aurox Linux. A new version was announced yesterday: "A new version of Linux+ Live, Aurox Linux based distribution with KDE and security tools has been released. This version contains some security tools (Ethereal, Ettercap, NMap, Airsnort) described in the January edition of Linux+ and Linux+ DVD magazines. Have fun!" The release announcement, together with some basic information about the product, can be found on the distribution's news page.
A new version of INSERT (Inside Security Rescue Toolkit) has been released. From the changelog: "INSERT now comes with a rather simple script (usb-install) to prepare a USB stick and install onto it. It hopefully will boot on most USB-boot-capable systems since it uses GRUB as the boot loader (very flexible). INSERT should now be usable by blind people. Given the boot option 'blind' the control program for braille terminals is started instead of X. Among the updated packages are: avscan, bash_completion, bashburn, cdrecord.... Some tools were added: calcoo (desktop calculator), fsck.reiserfs and debugreiserfs...."
BioBrew Linux 3.1
BioBrew Linux is an open source Linux distribution based on Red Hat Linux and the NPACI Rocks cluster software and enhanced for bioinformaticists and life scientists. A new release, version 3.1, is out: "BioBrew 3.1 for x86 is here. BioBrew is an open source Linux cluster distribution based on the popular Rocks cluster software and enhanced for bioinformatics. BioBrew includes popular cluster software e.g. MPICH, PVM, Modules, PVFS, MyrinetGM, Sun Grid Engine, gcc, Ganglia, and Globus, *and* popular bioinformatics software e.g. the NCBI toolkit, BLAST, mpiBLAST, HMMER, ClustalW, GROMACS, PHYLIP, WISE, FASTA, MrBayes, and EMBOSS. A BioBrew DVD ISO for x86 is freely available for download at BioBrew.org, a Bioinformatics.org sponsored and hosted website." The full release announcement.
Hiweed Desktop 0.6
Hiweed Desktop 0.6 has been released. The most important changes since the last release candidate include the following: "Several bugs were fixed; the default locale (the LANG environment variable) was set to 'C' under the console and to 'zh_CN.UTF-8' under X; the system now boots into a resolution of 1024x768. The MPlayer and Win32 codecs packages were updated to new versions." Read the rest of the release announcement (in Chinese) for more details.
Lineox Enterprise Linux 4.0
Lineox Enterprise Linux 4.0 is the first distribution release built from source RPMs for the recently released Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4: "Lineox has released today Lineox Enterprise Linux 4.0. Lineox has replaced some graphics files and changed or replaced some other files mainly because of trademark issues while retaining full compatibility. This release includes also updated packages. Lineox expects to release the x86_64 version next week." More details in the release announcement.
SimplyMEPIS 3.3 has arrived: "MEPIS has begun shipping the SimplyMEPIS 3.3 bootable CD. SimplyMEPIS offers a Linux that is easy to install and use. It should appeal to the beginner and expert alike. ... By popular demand, the Synaptic package manager is now recommended for new users. Also new in 3.3, SimplyMEPIS has introduced a GUI based boot screen and an improved installer that supports more hard drive configurations. And it gives the user the choice of a 2.4.29 kernel and/or a 2.6.10. Also the NVIDIA or the fglrx/ATI display driver can be chosen during installation to replace the default display driver. The SimplyMEPIS bootable CD allows potential users to verify hardware compatibility, test drive applications, and determine the value of SimplyMEPIS before making a commitment to install it on their hard drive." This is the full press release.
SimplyMEPIS 3.3 - one of the best distributions for novice Linux users
(full image size: 254kB)
SAM Mini Live Linux 2005-1SE
A bug-fix update to SAM Mini Live Linux 2005-1 has been released: "Shortly after the SAM-2005-1 release, here is a bug-fix release, again with support for UnionFS. Init scripts, sound scripts, udev are updated to their newest versions available in the Cooker. The kernel is changed to 2.6.10oci. Sound cards should be detected properly now and XFce-mixer does not blow up the xsession-errors file any more because of the updated XFce and XFce plugins. Also updated GIMP, Gaim and Skype and much more." The release announcement.
Feather Linux 0.7.4
A new version of Feather Linux is out. From the changelog: "Added Rhapsody, didiwiki, xfsprogs, torsmo, gnupod and GRUB; added several Perl modules, including GTK2-Perl; replaced Thunderbird with Sylpheed; replaced zile and nvi with vim; replaced emelfm2 with emelfm; removed Ruby due to space constraints; removed XPaint due to lack of usefulness; updated several packages, including Dillo, MPlayer, ALSA and libc6; updated tmsnc to 0.2.0b; made some small changes to the hard disk install script; made some small changes to rm-dpkg; made Kismet configuration files writable from CD; added a new experimental hard disk install script (based on knoppix-installer by Fabian Franz)."
Development and unannounced releases
Shabdix 0.9 - Configuring the KDE desktop in Farsi
(full image size: 297kB)
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
More delays for Mandrakelinux 10.2
The release schedule for Mandrakelinux 10.2 has been updated. The first beta release of Mandrakelinux 10.2 for x86_64 was scheduled for yesterday (28 February), but it slipped, together with the release of Mandrakelinux 10.2 for x86. Mandrakelinux 10.2 "Community" is now expected on 1 April and Mandrakelinux 10.2 "Official" on 30 April. Read more on the schedule estimation page.
More delays for Fedora Core 4
Those of you anticipating the release of Fedora Core 4 Test1 will be once again disappointed to learn that it has been postponed, again. This time, the expected release has been re-scheduled to 14 March, and the final release to 6 June. Find out more on the Fedora Core 4 release schedule page.
Debian release update
Still on the subject of postponed releases, the developers of Debian GNU/Linux have issued a release update. A third release candidate of the Debian Installer is now scheduled for 23 March, which means that the full release of Debian GNU/Linux 3.1 "Sarge" won't happen before April, at the earliest. The details of the current status of Debian Sarge can be found in this mailing list post.
The developers of GoboLinux have also announced a delay in the expected release of GoboLinux 0.12: "We will prepare a new beta release (012beta2) before starting to prepare release candidates. This way, GoboLinux 012 final will not be released before March (as announced initially) but in later March." More information in this mailing list message.
Turkix 3.0 Alpha
The developers of the Mandrakelinux-based Turkix project have announced plans to release an alpha version of Turkix 3.0 later this week. Unlike the previous versions, which only supported the Turkish language, version 3.0 will support many other languages: "The very first international release of Turkix, 10.0 alpha 'Bonjour' will be released next week. 'Bonjour' should be considered as an alpha work, however we are getting closer to the final stable international release - 10.0 'Divinity'." This is the announcement.
Miscellaneous release updates: Ubuntu 5.04, Gentoo 2005.0, Linspire 5.0
Several readers have commented about some missing distributions from the list of upcoming releases below. Ubuntu has a fixed 6-month release schedule, so its next release, version 5.04, is scheduled for April 2005. Gentoo Linux provides a Release Engineering page with scheduled upcoming releases; according to that page, Gentoo Linux 2005.0 will be released in February 2005 (they are running out of time) and 2005.1 is scheduled for July 2005. Finally, according to this video from the recent Desktop Linux Summit, Linspire 5.0 will be released during March 2005. The summary of expected releases has been updated to include these three distributions.
* * * * *
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|Web Site News
New distributions database
Following the feedback and suggestions concerning our new Distribution Search Database, there will be further changes and improvements to the existing setup. A processor architecture column will be added this week. Furthermore, the package search feature will be integrated into the database, so you will be able to search for a distribution that fulfills certain criteria, and includes a certain package or a certain version of a package. A sorting feature will also be added so that you can have the results of your search displayed in your preferred order (alphabetically, by distribution name, or perhaps by architecture). If all goes well, you should be able to see a much more useful distribution database by the end of this week! As always, keep your suggestions coming!
New distributions addition
- Mockup. Mockup is a desktop operating system, based on the Morphix live CD. The project's goal is to create an Open Source operating system that is easy to use - a live CD which can be installed on a hard disk. The desktop environment is based on new and exciting technology, such as udev, hotplug and HAL for hardware detection and automatic device files creation. The whole desktop is written using Trolltech's Qt 4 with both vector and bitmap graphics, with antialiasing. Where supported by the hardware, translucency and drop shadows are also provided for interesting effects.
- Mutagenix. Mutagenix is a Linux live CD based on Slackware Linux and Linux-Live live CD build scripts. Editions available include KDE and Dropline GNOME.
New on the waiting list
- AliXe. AliXe is a French Canadian distribution, the objective of which is to promote the use of Linux in Quebec. It is a live CD based on Knoppix.
- Foresight Linux. Foresight Linux is a distribution based on Specifix Linux (and its Conary package management), which showcases the latest and greatest from the GNOME project. Some of the more innovative things are included, like beagle, howl, and the latest hal. All of this, plus some nice, clean default themes and artwork.
- SUT-Linux. SUT-Linux is a new Thai Linux distribution based on LinuxTLE.
DistroWatch database summary
- Number of Linux distributions in the database: 389
- Number of BSD distributions in the database: 9
- Number of discontinued distributions: 49
- Number of distributions on the waiting list: 92
That's all for today. See you all next week!
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