| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 94, 4 April 2005
Welcome to this year's 14th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! This week we'll talk about Ubuntu Linux - the new leader in our Page Hit Ranking statistics, link to a couple of interesting articles about SUSE LINUX and Gentoo Linux, and bring you news about the first-ever live CD based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4. Also in this issue - is the Autopackage installer good for Linux? While its concepts might be sound, a Debian developer argues that its implementation has fatal flaws. Happy reading!
- News: Ubuntu Linux - the new number one distribution
- Software: Autopackage - a saviour or a villain?
- Released last week
- Upcoming Releases: KNOPPIX 3.8.1, DragonFly BSD 1.2
- Donations: BitTorrent receives US$300
- New distribution additions: AnNyung LInux, ATmission, Featherweight Linux, Frenzy, myLinux
- New on the waiting list: Boreas Linux, Iccaros Linux, Peachtree Linux, Poseidon Linux, PUD GNU/Linux, Slackintosh
Ubuntu Linux - the new number one distribution
As many of you noticed, Ubuntu Linux overtook Mandrakelinux in our Page Hit Ranking (PHR) statistics last Sunday. For those of you who are new to DistroWatch, the PHR statistics provide data about the number of times each distribution-specific page on DistroWatch is accessed - a very non-scientific way of gauging the popularity of various distributions. Over the last few months, the Ubuntu page has been consistently getting over 3,000 visits per day from unique IP addresses, twice as much as its nearest challenger. Of course, there have been concerted efforts by several Ubuntu user communities around the world to drive their favourite distribution to the top as fast as possible, so take the new ranking with a grain of salt.
That's not to say that Ubuntu does not deserve the top spot; in fact, with the current interest in the project it will be very hard for any distribution to get anywhere near Ubuntu's page view figures, let alone to beat them. Ubuntu has clearly won over many users of other operating systems and has quite possibly become the fastest growing Linux distribution of all times. What its competitors can do right now is to learn from Ubuntu's success and incorporate some of the project's ideas into their own work. Building solid support infrastructure (user forums, mailing lists, Wikis, translation framework) with active participation of the distribution's developers is absolutely essential for any project that intends to grow. Having a fixed release schedule and clearly stated support period (without changing them every few months) is equally important. It is amazing how many distributions neglect these two basic characteristics, then wonder why users start looking elsewhere!
Congratulations to Ubuntu. Not so much for rising to the top spot in our distribution ranking, but rather for their dedicated development effort and for devising what surely is one of the most exciting Linux projects ever created!
Ubuntu Linux - the new number one distribution on DistroWatch
(full image size: 635kB)
* * * * *
As we reported last week, Mandrakelinux is about to abandon its long-standing "Mandrake" brand and replace it with (possibly) a word that will represent a union between itself and its newly acquired subsidiary - Conectiva. But how about SUSE? With Novell now in charge of the project, it would make sense to drop the SUSE name and replace it with something that ties the product to Novell in a more obvious manner, not so? Well, not exactly, claims this article by CIO Today: "Enterprise products like the Novell Linux Desktop will carry the SUSE name in its documentation and on start-up screens, but not in its marketing pitches. In contrast, 'professional' products designed to appeal to more technical types and home users will tout the SUSE name." It looks like the SUSE brand is set to stay with us for some time to come.
In the meanwhile, the all new SUSE LINUX 9.3 should start shipping within the next two weeks. To wet your appetite, the Hungarian Unix Portal has posted a large number of screenshots from a current beta release of SUSE LINUX 9.3. Enjoy!
* * * * *
How would you like a live CD based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 4? Although there have been many successful attempts at rebuilding the RHEL source RPMs into complete RHEL clones, none of these projects have created a good RHEL-based live CD. Until now, that is: "During the last few weeks, I've been working to create a live distribution based on Tao Linux 4. I used the development tools of the ADIOS team to create Tao Live. Tao Live uses a Squash file system to fit 2GB of programs into a standard bootable CD. OpenOffice.org, Firefox, Gaim, XMMS, K3B and many other programs are included." You can find the announcement here. Tao Linux 4 is currently undergoing beta testing and the final version is expected to be released shortly. The live CD (which, incidentally, boots into KDE rather than GNOME) can be downloaded via BitTorrent: tao-live-4.00.torrent (635MB).
Tao Live - the first live CD based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4
(full image size: 112kB)
* * * * *
Last week we reported about the release of Gentoo Linux 2005.0 noting that there seemed to be few ground-breaking new features in Gentoo's latest stable release. InternetNews.com agrees: "A Gentoo release is essentially a 'snapshot' of the stable packages that exist at a particular time in the stable Portage tree. The 2005.0 release updates most packages to the latest available stable version, though there was a particular impetus to make this release due to a number of security issues." On the subject of GNOME 2.10 and KDE 3.4 not making it into the release, a member of the Gentoo Release Engineering Team explained: "We do not include any packages that are not marked stable in the tree. Both Gnome 2.10 and KDE 3.4 were released after we made our snapshot." The full InternetNews.com coverage of Gentoo Linux 2005.0 release is available here.
* * * * *
Autopackage - a saviour or a villain?
What do you think about Autopackage? Since the release of version 1.0, several articles discussing the merits and technical qualities of the project have been published. In essence, Autopackage is an attempt to develop an easy, graphical installer for independent software developers who wish to create binary packages that will work on all major Linux distributions, irrespective of their file system layout or package management. As such, the idea sounds attractive, although the project still has a way to go before it achieves its goals.
While technical writers have been sufficiently impressed by Autopackage 1.0 - see these articles by OSNews and Linux Weekly News (subscribers only until 2005-04-07), some Linux developers were much less so. Here is why, by Joey Hess from the Debian Project: "An autopackage package cannot be reasonably extracted by anything except autopackage or a reimplementation of it. And you cannot extract a package fully without executing it. And they'll have to keep all these unspecified bits working the same way, forever, if they want to keep supporting old packages. Didn't we learn anything from shared libraries? Worst. Package. Format. Ever."
What are your views? Have any of you tried to use Autopackage to install software on your distribution? Any success or failure stories? Please comment below.
|Released Last Week
Annvix is a server-oriented Linux distribution based on Mandrakelinux, with many security enhancements. The first stable version was released today: "Roughly a year and a half since its conception, and 15 months after its first CVS commit, I am proud to announce that Annvix 1.0-RELEASE, the first non-beta release of Annvix, is available. ... Some of the features of Annvix 1.0-RELEASE include: 2.4.29 kernel with the Openwall Linux kernel patch and frandom support; GCC 3.3.1 with SSP support; glibc 2.3.2 with SSP and crypt_blowfish support; init services handled by runit rather than SysVinit and initscripts; services including MySQL 4.0.10a, PostgreSQL 8.0.1, Apache 2.0.53, Exim 4.50, OpenSSH 4.0p1." Read the release announcement and visit the project's web site for more information.
Berry Linux 0.56
A new version of the Berry Linux live CD has been released. The most significant change is that Berry has switched to Unionfs files system, which means that users can now "save" files while the CD is in use. Several packages have been upgraded to newer versions, including KDE 3.4.0, K3b 0.11.22, Mozilla 1.7.6 and Firefox 1.0.2 (English and Japanese editions). See the changelog for a complete list of changes.
Puppy Linux 1.0.0
Puppy Linux 1.0.0 has been released. From the release notes: "The big news item for this release is Scribus, version 1.2.1. This is the premier Linux desktop publishing application. It is really great and extremely easy to use. Of course, it is big, hence the size jump in the ISO files. The second big news item is VYM, an acronym for View Your Mind, version 1.6.0. This is a fascinating visual 'brainstorming' kind of outliner. I have removed Knowde, which was in earlier Puppies. TuxCards, another outliner, is not in the prebuilt ISOs but is in Unleashed. VYM is most intriguing - try it and give us your thoughts on the forum."
IPCop Firewall 1.4.5
IPCop Firewall has been updated to version 1.4.5: "This is v1.4.5 release version. 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. Install update and restart connection to make the new dnsmasq version run. Short changes summary: fix pulsardsl by using the correct gcc3 lib; fix vpn missing lines in ipsec.conf; fix dhcpc.cgi with start and end address comparison; upgrade dnsmasq to 2.21; update snort sid URL; start a new online help system in portfw.cgi." Find more details in the release announcement.
Ark Linux 2005.1 SR1
This is a bug fix release of Ark Linux 2005.1: "Ark Linux 2005.1-SR1, a bugfix release of Ark Linux 2005.1, has been released. Mostly due to our lack of test hardware and testers, a couple of bugs worth fixing immediately managed to get into Ark Linux 2005.1 - based on user feedback, we have made a Service Release to address them and add some commonly requested features. ... The following features have been added: newly installed machines automatically retrieve network settings from DHCP servers (if there is one); DHCP enabled network interfaces no longer delay the boot up process if no DHCP server is found; support for Zeroconf support has been added; the X.Org Composite extension, allowing to use real transparent windows, is now enabled...." See the release announcement for further details.
A new version of ParallelKnoppix has been released. What's new? "R parallel Monte Carlo example - thanks Luke Tierney for help with this; Parallel bladeenc provides a more complicated example for C++; additional examples for Octave (now at version 2.1.67), including kernel regression; tutorial has been expanded a bit; PVM does not work; automatically deletes any NTFS partitions found (April fools)." Read the full announcement on the project's home page.
Beyond Linux From Scratch 6.0
Beyond Linux From Scratch (BLFS) 6.0 has been released. "The BLFS Development Team is pleased to announce the release of BLFS 6.0. Version 6.0 is a major milestone in the evolution of BLFS. It is specifically designed to build upon LFS 6.0. This version provides installation instructions for 357 packages and an additional 21 sections covering configuration and customization of different aspects of your system." The book includes compile and install instructions for most major open source packages, including X.Org 6.8.2, GNOME 2.8 and KDE 3.3.2. More information is available in the release announcement and changelog.
Development and unannounced releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
ISO images of the new KNOPPIX 3.8.1 are expected to hit the download mirrors "in a few days": "In a few days, KNOPPIX Version 3.8.1 will be available on the mirrors. It's an update for the 3.8 CeBIT 2005 Edition, featuring: kernel 2.6.11 as default, write support for all virtual directories (i.e. live-installation of software without writable media is possible) in a running live system, made possible through Unionfs, native Support for ipw2200 (Centrino2) WLAN chipsets, permanent home directory on hard disk (even on NTFS), KDE 3.3.2, Gimp 2.2.4, OpenOffice.org 1.1.4 and many updates." See the KNOPPIX home page for more information.
DragonFly BSD 1.2
Matt Dillon has re-thought the issue of DragonFly BSD version numbering. This means that the next DragonFly BSD release will be version 1.2, and not 1.5, as announced earlier: "Matt Dillon decided on an official version numbering scheme for DragonFly BSD releases. First ruling out the usage of dates in each release, he settled on using odd numbers to denote a work in progress, and even numbers to denote releases. For example, 1.0, 1.2, 1.4, and so on would be considered releases, whereas 1.1, 1.3, 1.5, and so on would be considered works in progress." More details are available in this article at KernelTrap.
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Summary of expected upcoming releases
|Web Site News
Donations: BitTorrent receives US$300
Few of our regular readers need an introduction to BitTorrent. Although there are many peer-to-peer file sharing utilities in use on the Internet, BitTorrent has become a de facto standard application for downloading and sharing large ISO images. The cross-platform, Python-based application is developed by Bram Cohen who maintains BitTorrent for living. If you appreciate his work, you can send him a small donation via PayPal, or buy a BitTorrent T-shirt on the project's donations page.
As always, our donation programme is a joint initiative between DistroWatch and LinuxCD.org, which contributes US$50 every month. LinuxCD.org is an online store selling low-cost Linux/BSD CDs - they have the largest selection, inclusive of all the latest releases, and they offer the lowest prices. Next time you need to order your favourite Linux or BSD CDs, get them from LinuxCD.org.
Here is the PayPal receipt for our donation:
This email confirms that you have paid donate at bitconjurer.org $300.00 USD using PayPal.
Transaction ID: 3VS16910509644128
Total: $300.00 USD
Item Title: BitTorrent
Message: Hi, this is a donation by DistroWatch.com as part of our programme to support the development of open source software. Keep up the good work :-)
This is the list of projects that received a DistroWatch donation since the launch of the programme:
New distributions addition
New on the waiting list
- Boreas Linux. Boreas Linux is a new Turkish Linux distribution based on Knoppix.
- Iccaros Linux. Iccaros Linux is a Linux live CD based on the Linux-Live scripts by SLAX.
- Peachtree Linux. Peachtree Linux is a new Linux distribution being developed by several students or former students at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Since it's inception in the fall of 2002, Peachtree Linux has aimed to be a small system for the seasoned Linux user. You won't find GNOME or KDE among Peachtree Linux's packages, so it might not be the system for you. The distribution supports i586, PPC and Alpha processors.
- Poseidon Linux. Poseidon Linux is a new Brazilian distribution with the aim to build a user-friendly desktop for statistical and scientific computing. It is based on Kurumin Linux and inspired by the Quantian project.
- PUD GNU/Linux. PUD, which stands for Penk's Underbred Distro/DSL, is a desktop-oriented, live CD Linux distribution which takes up under 180MB and with support for Traditional Chinese (zh_TW). It is based on LAMPPIX.
- Slackintosh. As the name suggests, Slackintosh is a port of Slackware Linux to processors powering Apple's MacIntosh computers. Slackintosh 10.1 was released last week.
DistroWatch database summary
- Number of Linux distributions in the database: 399
- Number of BSD distributions in the database: 10
- Number of discontinued distributions: 49
- Number of distributions on the waiting list: 102
That's all for today. See you all next week!
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
(Tips this week: 0, value: US$0.00)
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|• Full list of all issues|
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