| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 91, 14 March 2005
Welcome to this year's 11th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! It is "CeBIT" time again, which means lots of interesting news and announcements. It seems that the CeBIT edition of KNOPPIX 3.8 is a runaway success and there is a lot to look forward to next month when SUSE LINUX 9.3 starts shipping. Plenty of excitement on the desktop front too, with the brand new GNOME 2.10 freshly out of the oven and KDE 3.4 following shortly. Also, don't miss our much improved distribution search engine with several new features added within the last few days! Enjoy!
Knoppix 3.8 CeBIT edition available, SUSE LINUX 9.3 coming soon
As has become a tradition at this time the year, the developers of Knoppix have put together a special edition of the popular live CD to give away during the CeBIT exhibition in Hannover, Germany. ZDNet, in its article entitled Linux a picture of health at CeBIT, described the events at the Knoppix booth on Friday: "Klaus Knopper attracted a packed crowd on Friday lunchtime when he demonstrated the latest version of his Linux distribution. So many people turned up to Knopper's event that there wasn't a spare seat to be had, and our correspondent on the ground reports that 'a mad rush broke out' when Knoppix 3.8 CDs were distributed." If you haven't been able to make it to CeBIT, don't despair - although Knoppix 3.8 has not been released publicly, it is still GPL software and some of the lucky attendees were happy to share it with the rest of us. Get the Knoppix 3.8 torrents from here or here.
Knoppix 3.8 - distributed this week at the CeBIT exhibition in Hannover
(full image size: 574kB)
Still at CeBIT 2005, a new version of SUSE LINUX was announced last week. Depending on your geographical location, it should be available at around 18 April: "Novell today announced the availability of its latest Linux offering, SUSE LINUX Professional 9.3, due to ship mid-April, 2005." Among the more interesting features in this version is XEN virtualisation, which lets users run multiple versions of the operating system simultaneously. SUSE 9.3 will be highly "cutting-edge", with kernel 2.6.10, X.Org 6.8.2, KDE 3.4, GNOME 2.10 and a pre-release version of OpenOffice.org 2.0 all packed into the distribution. The usual range of improvements in the hardware and notebook support arena should make this release a worthwhile product to own. You can find more information about SUSE LINUX 9.3 in the official press release and on the product's preview page.
* * * * *
And still in Germany, the developers of SphinxOS have emailed to tell us that the "Home edition" (without CrossOver, Cedega and support) of their Linux distribution is now available for free download. This offer is limited for the duration of the CeBIT exhibition and will end on 20 March. SphinxOS is a commercial offspring of MEPIS Linux developed for the German-speaking market; if you understand German, you can find more information and pretty screenshots on the SphinxOS.com web site.
SphinxOS 4.0 - a commercial distribution based on MEPIS Linux and developed for the German-speaking market.
(full image size: 385kB)
Kyle Sallee, the lead developer of Sorcerer has sent us news about an interesting new technology that could be of interest to dial-up users and to those who run source-based distributions and frequently download large source files from the Internet. Called sdelta, the project claims to be able to save much time and many megabytes while upgrading an older source package to a later version. Since new releases of many projects typically contain 85% of recycled code, claims Kyle, users should not need to download the full source code of a new release. A small patch is often all that is needed to convert old sources into new ones. The sdelta technology has been used in Sorcerer for several months and is now also available as a standalone product. For more information, please visit the sdelta project page.
* * * * *
If you are running Slackware Linux in a server environment, you might be interested in this excellent article explaining how to install and use the exec-shield kernel patch on your Slackware 10.1 system: "The Holy Grail of most any hacker trying to get access to a system is the remote buffer overflow attack. Well, actually, it's finding a Windows PC not protected by a firewall, but the remote buffer overflow attack is a (somewhat) close second. This article will discus one way to help protect against this type of attack on a Slackware Linux system with the installation of a special system called exec-shield." Read more at userlocal.com.
GNOME 2.10 released, KDE 3.4 coming this week
The two most popular open source desktop environments are getting major uplifts - GNOME 2.10 was released last week and KDE 3.4 is expected shortly. For those who would like to try out the GNOME 2.10 desktop without having to compile your own binaries and without having to wait for your distribution's new release, you have several options. One of the more interesting one is the GnomeLiveCd, a semi-official live CD by the GNOME project to showcase their latest technologies: "The goal here is to create a LiveCD to demonstrate GNOME. The initial impetus was to be able to send a GNOME LiveCD to journalists and news agencies so that they can test and talk about GNOME without installing it, but others have expressed interest as well." Besides GnomeLiveCd, the latest pre-release version of Ubuntu Linux, as well as Foresight Linux now include GNOME 2.10. Screenshots are available here.
GnomeLiveCd 2.10 - demonstrating the latest enhancements in the popular desktop
(full image size: 1,880kB)
|Released Last Week
GoblinX is a Brazilian Linux distribution based on Slackware Linux. Version 1.1 is out with the following changes: "Added kernel 2.6.10; added udev and removed devfs; added Unionfs and removed OVLFS; added SquashFS; faster boot and less memory used by live CD; added Busybox to create a smaller initrd; added Fluxbox and Enlightenment; added three more languages: German, French and Spanish; added 'nofirewall' option to disable firewall at boot; added 'alsa' option to enable alsaconf at boot; added "gdm" option to start X using GDM; changed some themes and icons, and changed bootsplash theme to include animations...." Read the rest of the changelog for more details.
CentOS 4.0 (x86_64)
CentOS 4.0 for x86_64 processors has been released: "The CentOS team is pleased to announce availability of CentOS 4.0 x86_64. This product supports AMD x86_64 and Intel EM64T processors, including all compatible platforms. Major new features include the Linux 2.6 Kernel, SELinux, udev replacing the /dev system, X.Org, MySQL4, CyrusIMAPd, GNOME 2.8 and KDE 3.3. These improvements along with many more are detailed in the release notes available online." Here is the full release announcement.
Kurumin Linux 4.1
Kurumin Linux 4.1 has been released. This version includes various minor improvements and refines the work that went into 4.0. The next version will provide a general package update to synchronise the included package set with the Debian Testing repository. The improvements in Kurumin Linux 4.1 include: redesign of the "clica-aki" control panel in order to provide users with a better visual experience and to add new panels; better hardware support with the addition of hwsetup-kurumin, which includes drivers for hardware commonly used in Brazil; newly added support for Intel 536 modems and various TV cards; speed improvements to Kurumin-emu, and many other changes as detailed in the changelog (in Portuguese).
An updated version of DNALinux, a SLAX-based live CD with applications specific to Bioinformatics, has been released: "DNALinux 0.4 has been updated. There are 3 new features: support for 5 new languages - French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, and Italian; updated BLAST to 2.2.10; Firefox 1.0 with Flash player pre-installed. To activate a new language, just put 'slax load=xx' in the boot screen. xx should be replaced by one of these: it, de, fr, pt and es (it - Italian, de - German, fr - French, pt - Portuguese and es - Spanish). Next DNALinux (0.5) will be based on the upcoming SLAX 5.0." Here is the full release announcement.
Conectiva Linux 10 Update 1
Conectiva has released a security and bug-fix update CD for Conectiva Linux 10. From the release notes: "Welcome to the Conectiva Linux 10 Update 1. This CD includes: official updates, installer with fixes, kernel 2.6.10 final plus extra patches, new NVIDIA driver 6629, new Mozilla 1.7.3, drbd 0.7.5, ALSA 1.0.7. This CD can be used in two ways - to update an already installed system with Conectiva Linux 10, doing 'apt-cdrom add' and 'apt-get dist-upgrade', or to install Conectiva Linux 10; simply boot this update CD and follow the normal installation procedures. The installer will use the updated packages and will ask for the other CL 10 CDs according to the installation profile. Due to installer architecture, you can also make a minimal install with only this update CD."
Development and unannounced releases
eduKnoppix 2.1.0 - a well-designed Italian live CD with educational software
(full image size: 277kB)
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
SUSE LINUX 9.3
Novell has announced details about the upcoming release of SUSE LINUX 9.3, scheduled for next month: "From a stable and reliable Linux operating system to a complete set of desktop applications - including an office suite, a Web browser, an instant-messaging client, multimedia viewers and graphical software - SUSELINUX Professional 9.3 has it all. It also offers the latest open source applications for developing applications, setting up a home network, running a Web server and doing much more. With the convenience of installation media, complete documentation, and installation support, SUSE LINUX Professional delivers desktop reliability and security at an affordable price. SUSE LINUX Professional 9.3 will be shipping mid-April, 2005." Find out more information on the SUSE 9.3 preview page. The product is now available for pre-order (US$99.95 for the full edition and US$59.95 for the upgrade edition).
Fedora Core 4 Test1
The release of Fedora Core 4, Test1 was further delayed by a day and is now scheduled for 15 March. Find more details on the Fedora Core release schedule page.
The latest SLAX newsletter provides some information about the upcoming SLAX 5.0: "After a few months of silence, a new version of SLAX is coming." From the list of planned features: "New SLAX 5 will be the most innovative and promising SLAX ever. We will switch to 2.6 kernel line. Zisofs compression will be replaced by SquashFS, which provides better compression ratio and higher read speed. OVLFS (which was the most amazing and exciting feature specific only for SLAX) will be replaced by Unionfs. The ability to fit SLAX to a mini CD (or mini DVD) medium is still the highest priority." Read more on this page.
Linux Caixa Mágica 10 Desktop
A new version of Linux Caixa Mágica, a Portuguese Linux distribution based on SUSE LINUX, will be formally released on 14 April 2004. Read more in the release announcement (in Portuguese).
* * * * *
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|Web Site News
Those of you who prefer to visit one of the local mirrors of DistroWatch might have noticed that some of them are no longer updated. This is because we have moved all news from a plain text file into a SQLite database over the weekend. The decision was not taken lightly, but due to the ever growing site, it is no longer feasible to keep data in text files. The move should make it easier for us to maintain the news section and improve performance of the web server. On the negative side, most of our mirrors were not configured with support for SQLite and are no longer able to mirror DistroWatch. The only exceptions are the mirrors in Austria and Romania, but those of you who have been using our mirrors in the USA and Australia will have to visit the main site from now on. Our apologies for the inconvenience.
More search features
We have made some progress with our search engine last week and we are pleased to report that processor support has been included (many thanks to Mark Kowarsky who collected and organised the data). This was one of the most frequently requested features for a long time, so hopefully we won't receive any more emails requesting the feature. Now it is a simple matter of selecting your processor from a drop-down box and hit the refresh button to display all distributions that support a particular processor. Alternatively, you can also type in a URL into your browser; for example, if you'd like to see all distributions for the PowerPC architecture, you can simply type: http://distrowatch.com/search.php?architecture=powerpc. Similarly, distributions have now been categorised based on various criteria - as an example, you can get a list of all live CDs or firewalls with just a few mouse clicks. As always, if you spot any errors, or if there is anything else that you'd like to see, let us know.
New distributions addition
- Foresight One 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.
New on the waiting list
- Featherweight Linux. Featherweight Linux is an installable live CD based on Feather Linux. It is a full featured distribution with a small foot print that is light and fast, even on older machines, but still carries a knockout punch. It comes with a minimal KDE 3.3 desktop and several favourite applications like Firefox, Thunderbird, Gaim, GIMP and more. Nevertheless, it is still small compared to many of its competitors.
- Kaizen Linux. Kaizen Linux is more than just another Linux distribution. Kaizen is a framework for managing the development and deployment of customised Linux-based installations. The Linux operating system is built from hundreds of different software programs and libraries that need to work together in a functioning manner. This is no small task for developers, package maintainers and system administrators. The Kaizen framework simplifies this process through a number of projects. The proof of concept for the Kaizen framework is Kaizen Linux.
DistroWatch database summary
- Number of Linux distributions in the database: 393
- Number of BSD distributions in the database: 9
- Number of discontinued distributions: 49
- Number of distributions on the waiting list: 92
|DistroWatch in the News
DistroWatch founder and maintainer interviewed
The nice folks at LinuxSoft.cz have asked me a few questions about how I started with DistroWatch and other topics. This developed into an email interview:
"FH: How you get the idea of founding DistroWatch?
LB: This happened while I was with Linpus Technologies. My boss asked me to compile a feature list of all the main distributions on the market so that we can compare them with our own product. This was an easy task, I thought, and started searching the web for the information. To my surprise, I couldn't find any good and up-to-date Linux distribution comparison charts, so I had to do all the work myself by visiting each distribution's web site and extract all the data from their web pages. This took me several days. Once I collected the data, I decided to put them up on a web page so that those who might need such information can get it easily. The page proved very popular right from the start and I soon found myself flooded with email and suggestions. I registered the distrowatch.com domain shortly after that."
If interested, you can read the rest of the interview here (also available in Czech).
That's all for today. See you all next week!
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