| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 92, 21 March 2005
Welcome to this year's 12th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Two "newbie-friendly" distribution releases appeared on the scene last week - one of them a very nicely designed product with superb usability and great, innovative features (Linspire 5.0), while the other is a promising new product, which is let down by a poor installer, obvious bugs and lack of polish (Ark Linux 2005.1). On the BSD front, a new initiative to create a BSD certification programme is under way. Happy reading!
Two "newbie-friendly" releases - Linspire 5.0 and Ark Linux 2005.1
Two new "newbie-friendly" distributions were released last week - Linspire 5.0 and Ark Linux 2005.1. Linspire (formerly LindowsOS) is already a well-known name on the Linux distribution scene, but the new version represents a substantial step forward. Linspire 5.0 is a very pretty distribution with a clear message that a substantial amount of work has gone into the product's usability features. This is not just some cheap Debian knock-off put together by retrieving DEB packages from one of that distribution's repositories - on the contrary, Linspire 5.0 comes with a huge number of enhancements not seen in any other Linux distribution before. The company's software engineers and usability experts have seemingly combined into one soul to produce what surely is one of the biggest ever reasons to get away from Windows. You will be able to read a more detailed account of my experiences with Linspire 5.0 later this week in the distribution section of Linux Weekly News.
Linspire 5.0 - one of the most beautiful and usable Linux-based operating systems ever produced.
(full image size: 590kB)
* * * * *
After having had very positive experiences with Linspire 5.0, I expected to be pleasantly surprised by the first stable release of Ark Linux, a community project designed specifically for those converting to Linux from other operating systems. Disappointingly, Ark Linux 2005.1 feels like a beta release in a desperate need of further testing. The installation program is the most dumbed-down and inflexible of any distribution I have seen (you still cannot install it on a pre-existing partition or specify which hard disk to take over), so I had to physically disconnect the first hard disk to let it take over the second one (otherwise it threatened to take over both!).
After the first boot, neither the network, nor the USB mouse would work (the solution to the USB problem is to press "Alt+F1", launch "System" --> "Command Line Interpreter - Super User Mode" by selecting it with your arrow keys, then type "modprobe uhci-hcd" in the Konsole), and the screen resolution was set too low for what the monitor was capable of. As a result, my first impressions were highly negative. Nevertheless, the distribution has potential - the developers have implemented some interesting ideas that do away with the need of a superuser account, and the package set comprising the release is highly up-to-date. All it needs now is a better installer and more thorough testing to eliminate the glaring bugs.
Ark Linux 2005.1 - the project's first "stable" release is marred by glaring bugs and lack of polish
(full image size: 523kB)
* * * * *
There is no end to the discussion about the Vancouver proposal, still taking place on the Debian developer's mailing list. This is one of those famous, never ending flames that everybody has an opinion about and nobody wants to give way. Yet, the proposal to "relegate" minor processor architectures into a "second class citizen" repository seems like a positive step on the way to recover some of the Debian's credibility by producing stable releases more often than just once every few years. On the other hand, Debian was one of the very few distributions that stubbornly continued supporting even marginal architectures, in sharp contrast with most commercial distributions for which such support would make no financial sense. Nevertheless, it is important to realise that the less common architectures will continue being developed, even if the Vancouver proposal is accepted. The only difference is that they might not be released as "stable" and will not be carried by the main Debian download server.
* * * * *
It is always nice to report that a commercial Linux company is doing well financially, something rarely heard of a few years ago. Turbolinux, on the verge of a collapse at one stage, has seen booming business in Japan and China and has achieved profitability for the first time ever: "Turbolinux Inc. achieved profitability in Japan and China for the first time last year and is now looking to expand its operations in India, Mitsunobu Okada, the company's chief financial officer, said Wednesday. ... A push by several governments around the world, including those of Japan and China, to encourage the use of open-source software has helped the credibility of Linux, he said. Turbolinux has benefited by winning contracts from the Chinese and Japanese governments." Well done! The success of Turbolinux shows that Linux is doing well and is increasingly accepted as a solid computing platform by users and companies around the world!
BSD Certification Group launched
The first ever BSD certification programme was launched last week by the BSD Certification Group: "Today, thousands of companies use BSD based systems and software. BSD systems run some of the busiest sites on the Internet, including Yahoo, New York Internet, Pair Networks, and others. BSD systems have proven remarkably stable, some recording 'uptimes' (time since last reboot) in years, rather than weeks or months. Use of this freely available software has skyrocketed since its beginning and has continued to grow steadily. Companies large and small want to protect their investment in BSD systems by employing system administrators, users, programmers, network specialists and others with demonstrated proficiency in using and understanding these systems. BSD Certification provides these companies with a clear path to hiring qualified individuals." These are early days and a set of standards is still being drafted. Once done, a BSD certification has a potential to become a valuable entry on any system administrator's Curriculum Vitae.
|Released Last Week
Auditor Security Linux 120305
Auditor Security Linux is a KANOTIX-based live CD with a collection of tools for system auditing and forensic analysis. A new version was announced today: "The new version is finished and distributed already on some of the usual mirrors. First of all, it is a major rewrite. Switched over to Kanotix which is much nicer than regular Knoppix. I guess most of you are interested in the new bluetooth and wireless stuff: for the bluetooth section, you have all the needed tools for a proof of all known bluetooth attacks; in the wireless section you will find new versions of Cowpatty, File2air and aireplay as well as Wellenreiter and Kismet; new card types are supported now and a lot of fine-tuning was done." You can find much more information in the release announcement and changelog.
White Box Enterprise Linux 3.0 Respin 2
The developers of White Box Enterprise Linux have released an updated set of ISO images which include all the erratas and security patches released to-date by Red Hat: "White Box Enterprise Linux 3.0 Respin 2 is now available. This release is purely a maintenance release to pick up the accumulated errata since Respin 1 in June 2004. It includes all errata issued from upstream through the end of February 2005, with the exception of the kernel. The kernel is the older one issued with Red Hat, Inc.'s Update 4 so that binary driver discs made available by 3rd party hardware vendors should be compatible with this rebuild release." The release announcement.
Lineox Enterprise Linux 4.0 (x86_64)
The 64-bit edition of Lineox Enterprise Linux 4.0 has been released: "Lineox has released today Lineox Enterprise Linux 4.0 x86_64 edition. 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. Yumex, a graphical front-end to yum package management system was added to x86_64 version because apt doesn't properly support multiple architecture packages. Lineox Enterprise Linux 4.0 x86_64 has only i386 versions of OpenOffice.org and HelixPlayer. Also many browser plug-ins are available only as x86 versions, so Lineox Enterprise Linux 4.0 x86_64 version has many x86 libraries." The release announcement.
Parsix GNU/Linux 0.46
A new version of Parsix GNU/Linux, an Iranian live CD with support for Persian input, has been released: "Another version of Parsix GNU/Linux is available for public download. Parsix 0.46 is our special Nowrooz gift. Nowrooz is Iranian new year holiday that starts from first day of spring. This version contains a lot of fixes and updates. All packages are synchronized with Debian Sarge repository (2005-03-01), added dhcp-client and pppoeconf (both missing in 0.45), added gnome-audio, gnome-games, emacs21, gxmms and vim-gtk, fixed autofs and a new wallpaper (Castle of BAAM) by N. Kasraian. We replaced Ctrl+Shift keyboard shortcut key with Alt+Shift to fix some conflicts. Now it is possible to install Parsix GNU/Linux into your hard disk." Read more in the release announcement.
Berry Linux 0.54
Berry Linux has been updated to version 0.54; the most important change is the inclusion of a current beta release of OpenOffice.org 2.0 (1.9.79). From the changelog: "Berry Linux 0.54. Based on Fedora Core 3, Knoppix 3.7, kudzu 1.1.111. hwdata 0.152. Fluxbox 0.9.10 (Fedora Core 3); OpenOffice 2.0beta (Japanese and English); GIMP Version 2.2.4 (Gnu Image Manipulation Program); Firefox 1.0.1 (Japanese and English); Whiz 0.49 (Monoceros) + SCIM 1.2.1; Timidity++ 2.13.2. Removed Konatsu 20040901."
An updated version of the dyne:bolic live CD is now available: "This release implements important stability fixes concluding the development of the 1.x series of dyne:bolic. Changes: OpenMosix automatic startup and discovery; Mozilla suite 1.7.5 (Firefox and Thunderbird dropped); Mail encrypted with Sylpheed 1.0.3, GpgME and Enigma; virtual keyboard for alternative access devices; nest now remembers xBox PAL/NTSC switch; wider PC laptop hardware support; updated software: Blender 2.36, Ardour 0.9-beta28, GIMP 2.0.6, Xine 1.0; fix to Rezound linkage to libFOX 1.2; various fixes and documentation updates; shiny new splash screen in GTK2." Read more in the release announcement.
IPCop Firewall 1.4.4
An updated version of IPCop Firewall has been released. From the release announcement: "This is the release version of V1.4.4. Number goes directly in 1.4.4 because update is split in two parts. As usual, this version can be installed as an update from previous v1.4.x versions or with a ready-to-go ISO for a fresh install. Short change summary: sound checkbox option for ip-up/ip-down; optional refresh for index.cgi; fix a bug that caused a fixed lease to always be enabled after being edited in dhcp.cgi; improve reload in the standard rc.local.firewall; add remark field in dhcp.cgi; fix external Access page for port ranges and include a remark field...."
YES Linux 2.2.1
A new build of YES Linux has been released: "Announcing YES Linux 2.2 Build 1 available now! YES Linux Release Team would like to announce the immediate availability of YES Linux 2.2 Build 1. This is the second build of the YES Linux 2.2 Version. This release features more updates to features than to new features such as bind-utils, PHP, OpenSSH, sudo, and mod_security (IDS). Two of the new features are the transparent integration of PGP to SquirrelMail and inclusion Hierarchical Token Bucket (HTB)." Read more in the official release announcement.
Linspire 5.0, or Five-0 as they prefer to call it, has been released: "Linspire, Inc. today announced the release of its latest operating system, Linspire Five-0. More than a year in the making and with more than 1,200 improvements, the newest version of Linspire boasts enhancements in every core application and provides the most secure, reliable and easy-to-use desktop Linux experience available for home, business and school users. Highlights include a completely revised and streamlined graphical interface, improved laptop and hardware support, significant Internet optimization, and dozens of enhanced software applications to provide a complete user experience." Here is the full press release and a list of features.
Devil-Linux has been updated to version 1.2.4: "I'm proud to announce v1.2.4 of Devil-Linux. The changes include fixes for serial console support, various program updates and a few new perl modules. Changes: fixed logrotate not to rotate previously rotated log files (bs); change group membership of Heimdal's su to wheel; updated OpenSwan to 1.0.9; nss_ldap didn't get compiled; updated Cyrus to imapd-2.2.12...." See the release announcement and changelog for further details.
A new release of PaiPix, a live DVD based on KNOPPIX, is now available. From the release notes: "It includes bug fixes for live DVD and hard disk installation and new packages: the development tools g++-4.0, gfortran (fortran 95), DDD, valgrind, jikes and Ant for Java; the computational packages scilab and GUI for R(Rcmdr); the pvm distributed system lib; the medical image (DICOM) viewers amide and xmedcon; the Zope www server including the plone module; the business system evaristo. Most services can now be started trough the PAIPIX-KNOPPIx menu."
UHU-Linux 1.2, Office edition, has been released. UHU-Linux is a complete and supported operating system with a collection of applications. It includes a graphical environment with intuitive Hungarian menus, which make the system easy to understand and learn. The application set is carefully selected to meet the requirements of most home and office users. Compared to other Linux distributions, the value of UHU-Linux is in its support of the Hungarian language, as well as in accommodating application preferences of most Hungarian users, based on their feedback. More information is available on the distribution's product page (in Hungarian).
Linux+ Live 2.2
A new version of the Linux+ Live DVD has been released: "Hello folks. Today I'm proud to announce a new version of Linux+ Live. It comes with the April edition of Linux+ and Linux+DVD magazines. With tons of new features and enchantments, the new version includes: better hardware support; totally new kernel with many patches; X.org 6.8.1 with a lot of patches; QDVD and DVD Author for creating your own DVDs with movies; MPlayer, Xine and others multimedia programs; Skype and a special edition of Psi (with more than 50 extra patches); new instant messengers; some great tools: Konserve 0.10.3, QtParted 0.4.4...." More details in the release announcement.
Ark Linux 2005.1
The first ever stable version of Ark Linux has been released: "After 3 years of development and testing, the first stable release of Ark Linux - Ark Linux 2005.1 - has been released. The goal of Ark Linux is to build the easiest-to-use Linux distribution for people converting from That Other Operating System, while keeping it technically sane. Ark Linux 2005.1 is built around the latest desktop technologies, including KDE 3.4, OpenOffice.org 1.1.4 (a preview of 2.0 is also available on the Ark Extra Software CD), glibc 2.3.4, X.Org 6.8.2, and kernel 2.6.11. The base install CD of Ark Linux contains everything the average desktop user will need." Find more details in the release announcement.
Magic Linux 1.2
After nearly one year of beta testing, Magic Linux 1.2 has been released. Magic Linux is a Chinese desktop distribution based around the RPM package management system. The latest version is built on top of the stable kernel 2.6.9 with the Con Kolivas patch set and other small changes. In terms of hardware support, there have been major improvements, and SATA drives, sound and network cards, USB storage devices, as well as MP3 and other common file formats can be used without any difficulties. The addition of udev has made the management of hardware more convenient, although some users might experience problems on occasion. More details can be found in the release announcement (in Chinese).
Magic Linux 1.2 - a Chinese desktop Linux distribution with RPM package management.
(full image size: 182kB)
Development and unannounced releases
- Fedora Core 4-test1, the release announcement
- Mandrakelinux 10.2-beta2 (x86_64), the beta information page
- Turkix Linux 10.0-alpha, the release announcement
- Mandrakelinux 10.2-rc1 (ppc), the release announcement and release notes
- Mandrakelinux 10.2-rc1 (x86), the release announcement and on the beta information page
- Ubuntu Linux 5.04-array7, the release announcement
- Kubuntu 5.04-preview, the release announcement
- QiLinux 1.2-pre1, the release announcement
- Beyond Linux From Scratch 6.0-pre1, the release announcement
- Pingwinek 1.0-pre1, the release announcement
- m0n0wall 1.2-beta7, the release notes
- FreeBSD 5.4-BETA1, the release announcement
- eduKnoppix 2.1.1
- R.I.P. 12.0
- JoLinux 2.2
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
The FreeBSD project has published a preliminary release schedule of FreeBSD 5.4. It seems to be somewhat out of touch with reality since 5.4-BETA1 has appeared on FreeBSD mirrors over the weekend, but the schedule expected the 5.4-RC1 in the middle of last week. FreeBSD 5.4-RELEASE is scheduled for 4 April, though it is likely to be delayed. See FreeBSD 5.4 Release Process for more information.
The developers of QiLinux have published a roadmap leading towards the stable release of QiLinux 1.2 on 29 April 2005. The beta testing phase is now in progress. Find out more in the announcement.
* * * * *
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|Web Site News
New distributions addition
- Kubuntu. Kubuntu is an Ubuntu-derived distribution. The Kubuntu CDs are made up of Ubuntu's base plus KDE. You can get exactly the same effect by installing Ubuntu and adding the KDE packages from the Ubuntu archives.
Kubuntu 5.04 - a KDE-centric sub-project of the increasingly popular Ubuntu Linux
(full image size: 188kB)
New on the waiting list
- Admelix. Admelix is a Chilean Linux distribution based on Ubuntu Linux.
- Arabian Linux. Arabian Linux is a bootable CD, based on Kurumin Linux, containing the Linux operating system. The goal of the project is to build a simple desktop-oriented Arabic distribution that can run from a CDROM or hard drive.
- Asterisk Live! Asterisk PBX is Linux-based, open source PBX software that provides voice over IP in three protocols and is interoperable with most standards-based telephony equipment using comparatively inexpensive hardware. If you want an easy way to play around with Asterisk check out Asterisk Live! This distribution is available as a Live CD and a Compact Flash install.
- Ultima Linux. The Ultima Linux Project aims to develop a complete desktop and server operating system based on Slackware Linux. It is designed to be small and fast, with none of the bloat of the full-blown Slackware, but still powerful.
DistroWatch database summary
- Number of Linux distributions in the database: 394
- Number of BSD distributions in the database: 9
- Number of discontinued distributions: 49
- Number of distributions on the waiting list: 95
That's all for today. See you all next week!
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|• Issue 657 (2016-04-18): Redox, Linux Mint improves update manager, planned Fedora 24 features, Ubuntu 16.04 getting Snappy packages|
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