| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 103, 6 June 2005
Welcome to this year's 23rd issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Amid obvious signs that the long-awaited new Debian stable release is about to be unleashed on the impatient public, the euphoria in the Debian land was spoilt last week by a truly sad news about the death of Libranet's founder and President Jon Danzig. Meanwhile, the Fedora users will have to wait another week before they can put their hands on the distribution's latest release - Fedora Core 4. GoboLinux is our featured distribution of the week and Robert Storey shows you how to configure SpamAssassin to kill off email from online pharmacies and other unscrupulous businesses. Happy reading!
- News: Release of Sarge imminent, Fedora Foundation, Mandriva special editions
- Featured distribution of the week: GoboLinux
- Released last week
- Upcoming releases: Fedora Core 4 postponed, FreeBSD 6.0, Yellow Dog Linux 4.1, X/OS Linux 4
- Donations: Audacity receives US$250
- New additions: Honeywall CDROM
- New on the waiting list: AstLinux, ITIX, NetMAX DeskTOP, PLoP Linux, Sistema FeniX, Voltalinux
- Applications: SpamAssassin
Release of Sarge imminent, Fedora Foundation, Mandriva special editions
The wait is almost over. After nearly three years of development and testing, a new stable version of Debian GNU/Linux is about to be unleashed on the thoroughly impatient Linux users. Some readers have already emailed us about the availability of 3.1 ISO images on the Debian's main server and some mirrors. As expected, this is the biggest ever Debian release; in fact, this is probably the biggest distribution release ever to be produced by any company or organisation. If you are going to download all binary and source CD images for the i386 architectures you will need no fewer than 29 blank 650MB CDs! But even if you don't need the source code, the binary images will take up fourteen 650MB CDs or two 4.5GB DVDs. Is there any wonder that it took such a long time to put it all together and to make sure that everything is as bug-free as possible?
The official announcement is expected shortly; in the meantime, you can entertain yourself with this release announcement preview and Sarge release notes. As always, we'll be on a high alert throughout the day and let you know as soon as "Sarge" becomes officially stable and the testing branch is renamed to "Etch".
* * * * *
As was widely reported last week, Red Hat, Inc has decided to turn the development of Fedora Core over to an independent entity called Fedora Foundation: "Red Hat is changing course again with its free Fedora version of Linux, announcing Friday that it will turn over copyrights and development work to an outside entity called the Fedora Foundation." Red Hat's deputy general counsel, Mark Webbink, explains the move: "Red Hat will still provide substantial financial and engineering support, but this move will assure broader community involvement in Fedora-sponsored projects."
Clearly, Red Hat is trying to build a development model that has been working so well for some of the most popular community distributions, such as Debian or Gentoo. Will this decision succeed to attract new developers to work on Fedora? It might; after all Fedora is a widely-used distribution and a base for Red Hat Enterprise Linux and its popular certification programme. But Red Hat needs to make sure that the new foundation is truly free of any corporate interference. It also needs to create an atmosphere where the developers will feel that the new Fedora distribution is their own project, and not Red Hat's. This won't be an easy task - Red Hat has a history of making unpopular decisions, while their lawyers often harass small community web sites and other projects due to trademarks violations. Still, we applaud the courageous move - it certainly looks like a step in the right direction.
* * * * *
Mandriva has come up with new ideas to increase the attractiveness of Mandriva Club, a €120/year association of Mandriva Linux users. Last week, the company launched the first of what will become a series of specialist distribution releases, designed exclusively for the Club members: " Mandriva has decided to launch new distributions exclusively for Mandriva Club members. Every two months, except when a full release is due, a new distribution restricted to Club members will come out. The first of these releases, named 'Special Mandriva Club KDE 3.4' is now available via BitTorrent, with HTTP/FTP mirrors on request. The initial release is 32-bit and contains 6 CDs. An x86-64 version will be released very soon!" Further details can be found here.
* * * * *
A truly sad news for all Libranet and Linux fans: "Libranet is sad to inform you that its founder and President, Jon Danzig, passed away this morning. In keeping with our traditions we will be closed until June 13th 2005 at which time Libranet will reopen. During this time emails may not be responded to and delivery of pre-ordered CDs will be delayed. Thank you for your understanding." Visit Libranet.com to read the notice. Libranet GNU/Linux is produced by Libra Computer Systems, a company established by Jon and Tal Danzig in Vancouver in 1984 as a small UNIX company. Its first Linux distribution was released in November 1999. Libranet GNU/Linux 1.0, which was based on Debian, but included an improved installer and many user-friendly enhancements, was an instant success. Its latest version was 3.0 released some six weeks ago. The DistroWatch team would like to express our sincere condolences to the family of Jon Danzig.
|Featured distribution of the week: GoboLinux
You will be forgiven if, after trying several major Linux distributions, you have come to a conclusion that they don't really differ from each another that much. They might come with different installers, configuration tools and packages, and some of them might even provide a unique system for managing software. But under the surface, they all include a version of the Linux kernel, together with many popular open source applications - all sitting on top of a tried-and-tested file system hierarchy.
There is one Linux distribution, however, that does things very differently - GoboLinux. The developers of this unusual project have decided to trash the cryptic, almost 40-year old UNIX file system hierarchy and make things more logical from a user's perspective. Therefore, instead of the usual /bin, /boot, /dev, /etc, etc, the top-level directory in GoboLinux consists of /Depot, /Files, /Mount, /Programs, /System and /Users. The /Programs directory is where all executable files and settings are stored, while /Users is roughly equivalent to /home on a traditional Linux or UNIX system. The /Files directory contains plugins, fonts, documentation and other non-executable files. /Depot is a general directory for storing files shared between users, and the /System directory contains symbolic links to executable files for legacy reasons.
Why would somebody design a system that departs from established standards so much? Well, it all started by accident. Hisham Muhammad, one of the project's lead developers, needed to install new applications on a computer where he did not have root privileges. As the only place with write access was his home directory, he started installing applications there, placing every one of them into its own subdirectory. Libraries and headers were placed into separate subdirectories. He found this new setup very practical, so when his home computer's hard disk crashed, he decided to rebuild the entire system using this original file system structure. This eventually led to a public release of a new Linux distribution, which he named GoboLinux.
That happened in October 2002. The project has matured considerably since those early days and GoboLinux has become a very usable operating system, despite being incompatible with any other Linux distribution out there. The latest version is 012 (GoboLinux uses an octal versioning system), released last weekend. Although it has yet to be officially announced, the ISO image, which serves both as a live and installation CD, can be downloaded from one of the project's mirror servers.
GoboLinux has to be one of the most unusual and fun distributions available today. To find out more about the project, please read the FAQ section of its web site.
GoboLinux - a distribution with a radically reorganised file system hierarchy
(full image size: 346kB)
|Released Last Week
Whoppix is a stand-alone penetration-testing live CD based on KNOPPIX, designed for security auditors and penetration testers. The latest version is 2.7.1, which is a minor bug-fix upgrade to version Whoppix 2.7, released earlier this month: "Minor release 2.7.1 is out! Changelog: added Centrino 2100 and 2200 updated drivers; fixed missing 'Autoscan' scanner; added a few tools to the 'Cisco' section, such as nemesis." Visit the distribution's user forums to read the brief release announcement.
A major new version of the Inside Security Rescue Toolkit (INSERT) has been released. From the release notes: "This is a major new release. INSERT now boots linux kernel 18.104.22.168; this should improve support for modern hardware (e.g. S-ATA) drastically. INSERT is now based on the release 3.8.2 of Knoppix, which means it uses UnionFS, making the complete system writable during execution. INSERT now uses the KDrive X-Servers (XVesa and XFbdev). This frees up a lot of space (approx 12MB) which in turn has been eaten up by the new kernel and loads of package updates. See the changelog for details. Due to the vast number of changes here again comes the plea to send bug reports and/or suggestions."
KNOPPIX 3.9 has been released. The changelog is very brief, but it comes with some interesting package upgrades, including OpenOffice.org and KDE: "V3.9-2005-05-27. OpenOffice.org 2.0 BETA (German and English); KDE 3.4.0 from Alioth; kernel 22.214.171.124; small WIFI and hwsetup updates; Unionfs update; dist-upgrade from sid. This will probably be the last 'single CD' version of KNOPPIX. Starting from Version 4.0 (coming soon), the project will be split into a 'Light' CD version, and a 'Maxi' DVD release." See the complete release announcement for more information.
KNOPPIX 3.9 - now with KDE 3.4 and a beta release OpenOffice.org 2.0
(full image size: 1,170kB)
Foresight Linux 0.8.1
Foresight Desktop Linux has been upgraded to version 0.8.1: "This is mainly a service release to ensure better stability towards version 1.0. It fixes the firstboot problem, as well as some smaller bugs like an improved hardware detection via HAL. Of course, we updated nearly all packages (among them conary and mono) to live up our claim to be a bleeding-edge distribution. We also added a new application: Gnome-Art, a tool for browsing, downloading, and installing themes and wallpapers. In order to make Foresight Linux as beautiful as innovative, we also added a new GDM theme. Other artwork will follow." Here is the full release announcement.
Debian GNU/Linux 3.0r6
A new revision of Debian GNU/Linux 3.0 "Woody" is now available: "This is the sixth and final update of Debian GNU/Linux 3.0 (codename 'woody') which mainly adds security updates to the stable release, along with a few corrections to serious problems. Those who frequently update from security.debian.org won't have to update many packages and most updates from security.debian.org are included in this update. Please note that this update does not produce a new version of Debian GNU/Linux 3.0 but only adds a few updated packages to it. Upgrading to this revision online is usually done by pointing the 'apt' package tool (see the sources.list(5) manual page) to one of Debian's many FTP or HTTP mirrors." Read the release announcement for a complete list of changes. The list of Debian FTP and HTTP mirrors can be found on this page.
ASLinux Desktop 2.0 Official
This is the "official" release of ASLinux Desktop 2.0, a 2-CD set of installation ISO images. What's new? "This release includes 2 CDs, one of which boots up with a basic desktop system, and the other includes add-ons. A smart installation system was implemented. The partition manager (QTParted) is accessible within the installation system. The kernel was updated to 2.4.30. The winetools control panel, Cedega and Crossoffice demos, and wizards to install third party software are included." Read the full release announcement (in Spanish) for more details.
A new version of ParallelKnoppix has been released. What's new? "Update to Knoppix 3.9 base, KDE is now at 3.4.0; added pgapack, a parallel genetic algorithm - includes lots of neat C and FORTAN examples; minor tweaks to package list." More details are available on the project's home page, together with a brand new online forum for users of the distribution, launched earlier today.
ParallelKnoppix - provides an easy way to set up a cluster of machines for parallel processing
(full image size: 242kB)
B2D 20050603 PureKDE
This is a new release of the PureKDE edition of B2D Linux, a Taiwanese Knoppix-based live and installation CD with support for traditional Chinese. This release adds Unionfs support, which allows on-the-fly installation of software while running the distribution as a live CD; the klik software repository can now be used for installing extra applications. The xcin Chinese input method editor has been replaced with scim. Other improvements include better Chinese font handling, fixed server toolbox, changed default applications for opening certain file types, additions to context menus, newly included Beep Media Player and gThumb. Read the full release announcement (in Chinese) for more details.
* * * * *
Development and unannounced releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Fedora Core 4 (delayed)
If you are expecting a new release of Fedora Core today, you will be disappointed. Red Hat's Bill Nottingham informs us that: "due to some unforeseen complications, Fedora Core 4 is now scheduled for general availability on June 13. We apologize for the inconvenience." One more week of waiting then...
The first release of the FreeBSD 6.x series is scheduled for 15 August 2005, while FreeBSD 5.5 is expected one month later. This is according to a mailing list post by Scott Long: "The long anticipated and much feared 6.0 code freeze is about to begin! From June 10 until the release, the number one priority is fixing bugs. All of the dates after June 10 are somewhat fluid and subject to change depending on where we are with stability. We won't release 6.0 until it is ready, but I'm pretty confident that we'll have it ready by August." Read the mailing list post for more details.
Yellow Dog Linux 4.1
Terra Soft has released the first beta of the upcoming Yellow Dog Linux 4.1: "We are pleased to announce support for the latest Apple Power Mac G5s (towers), Power Mac G5 sound support, internal Mac Mini sound support, and dual head support for new Apple Aluminum Cinema Displays. Yellow Dog Linux v4.0.91 is immediately available for download from YDL.net Enhanced accounts, under the new 'betas' directory." Here is the full release announcement.
X/OS Linux 4
The X/OS project, which builds a Linux distribution from source RPM packages for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, has announced that its version 4 is now scheduled for release during the first half of June: "Release 4 delayed to include major update. The final release of X/OS Linux 4 is now scheduled for the first half of June to include important updates from RHEL4 Update 1 (U1)." The announcement can be found on the distribution's home page.
* * * * *
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|Web Site News
Donations: Audacity receives US$250
The recipient of our May 2005 donation is the Audacity project. What is Audacity? "Audacity is free, open source software for recording and editing sounds. It is available for Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems. Supports WAV, AIFF, Ogg, and MP3 formats. Features include envelope editing, mixing, built-in effects and plug-ins, all with unlimited undo." Audacity was registered at SourceForge in May 2000 and has now evolved into a major project with over 20 contributing developers. You can find more information about Audacity on their main web site and also on the Audacity Team site, which includes a Wiki and a developers' mailing list.
As always, our donations 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.
This is the PayPal receipt for our donation:
This email confirms that you have paid OSDN / VA Software $250.00 USD using PayPal.
Transaction ID: 0SG37155MK4322709
Total: $250.00 USD
Item Title: Donation
Invoice ID: 238010
Business: OSDN / VA Software
Here is the list of projects that received a DistroWatch donation since the launch of the programme:
* * * * *
New distribution additions
- Honeywall CDROM. Honeywall CDROM is a Fedora-based distribution with the goal of capturing the activities of cyber threats and analysing the captured data. It has a GUI-based interface for system configuration, administration, and data analysis, and supports the new 3.x branch of Sebek. The CD, release under the General Public License, is a product of the Honeynet Project, a non-profit organisation dedicated to improving the security of the Internet by providing cutting-edge research for free.
* * * * *
New on the waiting list
- AstLinux. AstLinux is a custom Linux distribution built to run from Compact Flash. It fits on a 32MB Compact Flash card. This Compact Flash card stays mounted read-only 99% of the time. AstLinux has two "images" available. One specifically for the Soekris Net4801, and one for generic PC hardware of i586 MMX and higher. It is by no means a standard Linux distribution. It is targeted for a firewall, NAT, DHCP server, DNS proxy, or Asterisk do-it-all magic box tucked away in a closet somewhere.
- ITIX. ITIX is a Linux distribution for Italian technical schools (ITIS). It is based on KNOPPIX and uses an OpenMosix kernel optimised for real-time operation. It includes NetBeans, SDE, Druid, Kdbg, Cervisia, MySqlAdmin, openMosix auto-discovery, cluster management tools, and OpenMosixView. It provides an environment for programming with Java, C/C++, UML, SQL, JSP, and JSTL.
- NetMAX DeskTOP. NetMAX DeskTOP is an independently-developed live CD distribution of Linux. It seeks to fill the role of a fully-functional enterprise class desktop system without licensing fees. In contrast to many of the other live CD distributions out there, it has been designed to be intuitive enough for non-computer savvy folks to use -- including integrated Windows application support. Power users will find that this distribution puts security first, adheres to published standards, and thus behaves in the way they expect it to. Unlike previous attempts to simplify Linux for the desktop, the power and customisability that has gained the hearts of the open-source community has not been removed.
- PLoP Linux. PLoP Linux is a small distribution on a CD, DVD or USB flash drive / memory stick. It is designed to rescue data from a damaged system. An antivirus program is also included.
- Sistema FeniX. Sistema FeniX is a Brazilian company producing a Linux-based installation CD for desktops, as well as a live CD.
- Voltalinux. Voltalinux is a GNU/Linux distribution based on Slackware Linux and the pkgsrc package system from NetBSD. The project offers a pre-built distribution where the user can enjoy the clean design of Slackware Linux with the availability of over 5,000 NetBSD ports ready to be installed.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
- Number of Linux distributions in the database: 409
- Number of BSD distributions in the database: 11
- Number of discontinued distributions: 52
- Number of distributions on the waiting list: 117
|SpamAssassin (by Robert Storey)
The poor patronise the pawnshops, the rich patronise the pharmacies.
- Chinese proverb
I suppose I should be grateful to my "online pharmacist." He, or she (or it) has greatly inspired me. Not inspired me to buy Viagra or Valium, but to research the intricacies of email for the sole purpose of making sure that I never hear from him/her/it again.
I still remember the dawn of the spam era (circa 1995). Back in those innocent times, I used to get upset if I received about five emails a day offering to coach me to quit smoking, lose weight, get out of debt, win the lottery and "make her smile." How the world has changed. Now I consider it a great victory if only five spams daily get through my filters (which send 300 or more spams into digital oblivion on an average day).
The Apache SpamAssassin Project is the open source software answer to the scourge of unsolicited commercial email (UCE - also known as "spam"). The good news is that once you've got SpamAssassin properly set up, it does a very effective job of keeping the online riffraff out of your mailbox. The bad news is that SpamAssassin setup was designed for servers (what else did you expect from Apache?) and fresh-faced newbies might be somewhat overwhelmed. If you look at the project's web site, you will find copious quantities of information. Unfortunately, the more you read, the more complicated it looks. However, with a little guidance (which I will attempt to give below), the process is not quite as horrid as it looks.
At this point, I should back up and point out that on Linux/BSD systems, there are two basic approaches you can take to email. The simple easy one is to use an email client like Kmail, Sylpheed, etc, and configure it to receive mail using POP3 or IMAP via your ISP's SMTP server. This is so easy to set up that I won't bother to discuss it further. You won't be able to use SpamAssassin if you take this approach, but consider a simpler (though less effective) anti-spam strategy such as Mailfilter.
The more complex approach to email is to configure Kmail/Sylpheed/etc to pick up mail "locally". In order for this to work, you need to be running a mail server (officially called a Mail Transfer Agent or MTA). Well known examples include Sendmail, Postfix, Exim, Courier IMAP and Qmail. Fortunately, most distros come with one of these pre-installed and pre-configured, and probably the only thing you'll need to do is make sure it's set to start-up at boot time. If you need to install an MTA, Postfix is probably easiest to deal with, but feel free to try one of the others. You can only run one mail server at a time, so I wouldn't recommend installing all of them just to "see what will happen."
A mail server won't retrieve mail from your ISP (or elsewhere). For that, you need a utility that will "fetch", and your best choice is the appropriately named Fetchmail. If your distro doesn't already include it, you can download a source tarball from the Fetchmail home page. Debian users can simply do an apt-get install fetchmail, and most RPM-based distros also have a similarly easy-to-install package.
To use Fetchmail, you need to create a hidden file in your home directory called .fetchmailrc. You can do this using the included fetchmailconf utility. See the fetchmailrc man page for more details. Or feel free to take my .fetchmailrc (below) and modify it:
set postmaster "bob"
set no spambounce
set properties ""
poll distrowatch.com with proto POP3
user 'robert' there with password 'mypassword' is 'bob' here options fetchall
poll pop.gmail.com with proto POP3 port 995
user 'robert.storey' there with password 'mypassword' is 'bob' here options ssl fetchall
Note that on my local machine I am user "bob" whereas out "there" I am known by a variety of names. As you can see (above), I'm checking two email accounts. Gmail requires that I fetch on port 995 and use the option ssl which encrypts the password. Also make note of the option fetchall (which fetches all messages and won't skip previously read ones - this is not mandatory but a good idea nevertheless).
Once you've created .fetchmailrc, make sure it is only readable and writable by the user:
chmod 600 .fetchmailrc
Once properly configured, you simply type fetchmail at the command line. If you want to set Fetchmail so that it fetches in the background once every 15 minutes (900 seconds), type this:
fetchmail -d 900
All Fetchmail does is retrieve messages and place them in a file found in /var/mail (or possibly /var/spool/mail depending on your distro). Since I am user "bob", Fetchmail sends my messages to /var/mail/bob. That's nice, but you still have to jump through a couple more hoops before you'll be able to actually read your messages.
Next up is to install and configure Procmail. Procmail is a "mail processor" - in a nutshell, it's designed to filter mail, but our main interest here is to use it to call SpamAssassin. Most distros already have Procmail installed - type which procmail to make sure it's there.
I recommend that you create a subdirectory named procmail in your home directory (that's where your Procmail log file will go). Procmail's hidden configuration file is named, not surprisingly, .procmailrc, which you also create in your home directory. I offer mine below, free for your use (without copyright and software patents):
#### Begin Variables section ####
#### End Variables section; Begin Processing section ####
#### End Processing section ####
# The lock file ensures that only 1 spamassassin invocation happens
# at 1 time, to keep the load down.
* < 256000
# Mails with a score of 15 or higher are almost certainly spam (with 0.05%
# false positives according to rules/STATISTICS.txt). Let's put them in a
# different mbox. (This one is optional.)
* ^X-Spam-Level: \*\*\*\*\*\*\*\*\*\*\*\*\*\*\*
# All mail tagged as spam (eg. with a score higher than the set threshold)
# is moved to "probably-spam".
* ^X-Spam-Status: Yes
# Work around procmail bug: any output on stderr will cause the "F" in "From"
# to be dropped. This will re-add it.
* ^^rom[ ]
LOG="*** Dropped F off From_ header! Fixing up. "
| sed -e '1s/^/F/'
At this point, we're all ready for SpamAssassin - all we've got to do is install it. You can grab the source (which is a bunch of Perl modules) from the SpamAssassin web site. However, a package is easier - (apt-get install spamassassin for Debian users, or the equivalent for other distros).
Once installed, we have just a little bit of configuring to do. First, in your home directory, make a new subdirectory called .spamassassin:
Now copy /usr/share/spamassassin/user_prefs.template to this new subdirectory and name it user_prefs:
cp /usr/share/spamassassin/user_prefs.template ~/.spamassassin/user_prefs
With your editor, edit file user_prefs by uncommenting the line that says:
That's the only line you really need in the whole file. However, you can also take this opportunity to whitelist and blacklist email addresses:
For the purpose of this project, I've chosen to use Kmail, though many other free mail clients on the market work equally well. We can still send messages via SMTP, but for receiving messages we have to configure Kmail to use a "local mailbox". Be sure to specify the correct location for the mail spool file (in /var/mail), and to use the Procmail lockfile.
Note the "Location" and "Procmail lockfile".
If you've used Kmail much, you probably already have "filters" (Settings --> Configure Filters). For example, you may have a filter to deliver all messages from the Debian mailing list to a folder called "Debian". This is the correct way to set things up - do not configure Procmail to filter messages. Kmail will complain if you do.
Pull The Trigger
Now go ahead and run Fetchmail. While Fetchmail should retrieve your messages pretty quickly, SpamAssassin (which will kick in automatically when Fetchmail is done because Procmail calls it) can take quite a while to complete its task, especially the first time you run it. If you run top in another window, you might be surprised by how much CPU time is being consumed by SpamAssassin.
Top, showing SpamAssassin using 62.2% of CPU resources.
In the beginning you will find that SpamAssassin does not do a great job. That's because you need to teach it what is spam and what isn't. The way to do that is to collect a lot of spam (ideally several thousand messages) and move them all into the Kmail folder almost-certainly-spam. That folder, by the way, was created automatically by Procmail if you configured it as I did above. You may also want to create a Kmail folder with good (non-spam) messages - it's traditional to call this folder ham. Then periodically, run these commands (you can put this in a script if you like):
sa-learn --spam /home/bob/Mail/almost-certainly-spam/*
sa-learn --ham /home/bob/Mail/ham/*
Of course, your home directory will probably not be /home/bob, so substitute your user login name for "bob". See the sa-learn man page for more details.
The spam/ham databases that you create over time will become a valuable resource, so back these up just as you would other important files. These reside in your ~.spamassasin directory (files bayes_toks, bayes_seen and bayes_journal).
You can set up fetchmail and sa-learn as cron jobs. This will make the whole email process fully automated (well, you'll still have to read your email, the computer can't do that for you).
The above article was meant to introduce SpamAssassin for a single-user system. More complex configurations are possible (like for a multi-user network environment). I won't go into all that today, but there is plenty of documentation around.
The already-mentioned SpamAssassin web site will tell you more than you probably want to know. However, if you prefer dead-tree documentation, O'Reilly publishes a book on SpamAssassin. There is a picture of an eagle on the cover (or is that a hawk?). Presumably this symbolises that SpamAssassin watches over your email like an eagle/hawk. Or maybe somebody has a more metaphysical explanation. Rather than wax philosophical on eagles, hawks and dead trees, the only thing I really need to say about SpamAssassin is that it just works. If you want to rid yourself of Viagra and Valium pushers forever, give SpamAssassin a try.
* * * * *
That's all for today. We hope that you enjoyed this week's DistroWatch Weekly!
1 • What a day (by Max on 2005-06-06 13:27:35 GMT from Australia) |
Debian 3.1 and Fedora 4 on the way
Apple to announce possible deal with Intel
Im hungry for news...
2 • woo hoo first post! (by crawancon on 2005-06-06 13:30:30 GMT from United States)
oooo a lil late today..... I was getting nervous that my 'fix' for distro news wasn't appearing. :-P
3 • Idea for distrowatch. (by Idea on 2005-06-06 13:41:10 GMT from United States)
Add a feature: 'Printable Friendly Version'
So then when we print it uses less paper and fits on the page >:)
4 • No subject (by Rituraj on 2005-06-06 13:53:26 GMT from India)
Waiting impatiently for mail from debian-announce.!!
5 • Debian? (by alexchao on 2005-06-06 14:08:59 GMT from China)
Some readers have already emailed us about the availability of 3.1 ISO images ......?
6 • Knoppix 3.9 has buggy unionfs (by KnoppixUser on 2005-06-06 14:27:00 GMT from United States)
I wanted to install a program using the much talked about unionfs but I have found that Knoppix 3.9 has a buggy release of unionfs. The bug hangs the kernel when a package is installed via the Debian package management system. http://www.knoppix.net/wiki/Bugs/3.9-2005-05-27
7 • Mepislite release (by Alan at 2005-06-06 14:37:22 GMT from United Kingdom)
MepisLite 3.31 has been released.... this ones based towards pc's that run w98.
8 • Debian (by Max on 2005-06-06 14:51:00 GMT from Australia)
This is like history in the making...
Im happy we'll finally see xorg in unstable...
9 • Debian 'Sarge' (by IMQ on 2005-06-06 14:59:57 GMT from United States)
I have Debian "Sarge" running on one of my partition for quite some time, probably since March or April of this year.
So far so good.
It's likely that I will only need to download the 1st CD to get the basic desktop setup on another PC. All other stuff will be install via apt after the initial setup is done.
Consider the time it takes for Sarge be released, this baby will stay on for at least a few years. Or until the next release. :)
10 • No Package List News? (by Anonymous on 2005-06-06 16:50:01 GMT from Germany)
No result? Is voting still continuing?
11 • Re: Debian? (by Ariszló on 2005-06-06 16:53:28 GMT from Hungary)
Some readers have already emailed us about the availability of 3.1 ISO images ......?
Main ftp site:
At the moment, it only has the first CD.
12 • Debian released (by Max on 2005-06-06 17:34:36 GMT from Australia)
Apparently, it is now official...
13 • Sarge and Libranet (by GP on 2005-06-06 18:28:12 GMT from Canada)
I took a quick look to find out whuch kernel Sarge will come with as standard, but couldn't find the answer. For Slackware, tou can find the info on the homepage under Slackware 10.1 is released! (2nd entry!) Sometimes I wonder what those Debian guys are up to. There are thousands of pages of information all over the place, you never find what you need.
Apparently, Jon Danzig, Libranet's President is dead. The homepage says: «In keeping with our traditions we will be closed until June 13th 2005 at which time Libranet will reopen.»
I find it's very nice to have a tradition for dying people, but we dont eve't get to learn what Danzig died from, how old he was, if he had a family, etc. And why the hell doesn't the homepage offer links to the forums and the documentation anymore? It just shuts the site to newcomers.
14 • Re: Sarge and Libranet (by Anonymous Coward on 2005-06-06 18:43:58 GMT from United States)
The http://www.debian.org/releases/sarge/i386/release-notes/ch-whats-new.en.html">Release Notes say this:
Debian GNU/Linux 3.1 for the Intel x86 architecture ships with kernel version 2.4.27.
On the Intel x86 architecture a 2.6 kernel is also available; this has kernel version 2.6.8. Note that Debian's 2.6.8 kernel packages include the 126.96.36.199 kernel release and selected other patches.
15 • Spamassassin in kmail (by Keffin on 2005-06-06 18:46:28 GMT from United Kingdom)
I don't know if it's a new feature (just switched to KDE 3.4.1 from Gnome), but you CAN receive mail using POP3/IMAP in kmail and still use spamassassin. Kmail has an "Anti-Spam Wizard", under tools. Go through a couple of screens and it will set up filters for any spam system you choose (including spamassassin), and pipe all the mail it downloads through it. On a side note you can make your own filters that pipe mail through any command you like too :).
That skips a few of your steps ;), though the config file bit was very helpful to me... that doesn't get set up for you and I had no idea it was needed/existed. Thanks for the tip.
16 • @Max (by K on 2005-06-06 19:13:02 GMT from United Kingdom)
No, it is not yet official. (Official only when it appears at the front page of Debian, i.e. when there is a message on debian-announce mailing list)
17 • to GP (by im_ka on 2005-06-06 19:20:56 GMT from Sweden)
type "linux26" before starting the installer and kernel 2.6.8 will be installed.
18 • To Anonymous Coward and im_ka (by GP on 2005-06-06 19:47:29 GMT from Canada)
Gee, it's great to know that after waiting almost 3 years Debian users will be entitled to a kernel that's almost a year old! See:
Of course, it' s been Debian-patched and everything, and all upgrades are at to your own risk.
I was thinking about switching to Debian, but those folks put you through a rough ride! How is it that I get the impression that this distro is really running into thick molasses?
19 • Spamassassin in Evolution (by Andrea on 2005-06-06 20:04:42 GMT from Italy)
You can also use Spamassassin within Evolution. It is integrated into Evolution 2.x which has a "Junk Mail" feature with autolearning.
It can be used in Evolution 1.4.x with minimal configuration (add a filter saying to pipe the message through "usr/bin/spamassassin -P -e" and to put the message in the "Spam" folder if it doesn't return zero). You will need to manually run sa-learn in this case.
20 • Re: Debian released (by Ariszló on 2005-06-06 20:21:44 GMT from Hungary)
Apparently, it is now official...
Yes, it is:
21 • Donation (by Alan Moser on 2005-06-06 21:08:19 GMT from United States)
It is sad to hear that Jon Danzig has passed away, I used libranet back in it's early days, and it was something great. But enough about that, lets get down to business. I persionally think that this month's donation should go to that family of Jon Danzig, it would be a great sign of how the open source community cares for it members.
22 • Sarge and Libranet (by apb on 2005-06-06 21:53:35 GMT from Canada)
For those like GP, who'd like to access the Libranet forums, etc, here you go:
(contains links to other webpages as well)
23 • Thanks for Spamassassin notes! (by DrDavid on 2005-06-06 22:03:54 GMT from United States)
Great birthday present (mine on June 7).
I've been looking at configuring Spamassassin on OpenBSD and
other distros, and getting those same feelings that there are lots
of docs but seems very complex!
Really appreciate your notes, and your great work on helping us
keep aware of distro news!
You guys are great, please keep up the good work and know you
24 • DistroWatch servers (by Luis on 2005-06-06 23:51:50 GMT from Spain)
I got a new LCD screen today (for my birthday) and tested it under Windows too. So I logged into DistroWatch and noticed you can see the page right in Windows. Is this the revenge Robert Storey talked about in his FreeBSD 5.4 review?
However, I still find it strange that DW's server runs under FreeBSD. I have nothing against BSD's. On the contrary, they are the second best OS after Linux. But if DW was originally a Linux site and still is mainly a Linux site, why not use Linux on it's servers? Especially when Linux is the best OS... So today, with long awaited Debian Sarge release, my vote goes for running DW under Debian server !
Congratulations for the issue, I enjoyed it as usual.
25 • DistroWatch server (typo) (by Luis on 2005-06-06 23:58:52 GMT from Spain)
Sorry, I meant you CAN'T see the page right in Windows (images don't load most of the times).
26 • No wonder it took three years (by Scott Wilson on 2005-06-07 01:39:07 GMT from United States)
I really like Debian, but 29 CD's. now wonder it took three years.,,,,,
So, want to take any bets when Etch will be release.....
27 • Apple, Intel, and PPC distros (by bxb32001 on 2005-06-07 01:40:24 GMT from China)
Anybody care to comment on how Apple's switch to Intel affects PPC distros and PPC development? I imagine the switch will eventually kill off PPC desktops.
28 • Debian release (by wouter on 2005-06-07 01:56:30 GMT from Belgium)
[ it doesn't need more words ]
29 • Will Apple's move to Intel the next threat to Gate's OS? (by Moe on 2005-06-07 02:21:26 GMT from United States)
Is it possible that Apple's Tiger OS on an Intel platform will prove a bigger threat to Microsoft than Linux?
30 • RE: Will Apple's move to Intel the next threat to Gate's OS? (by Anonymous Penguin on 2005-06-07 02:40:21 GMT from Italy)
"Is it possible that Apple's Tiger OS on an Intel platform will prove a bigger threat to Microsoft than Linux?"
No, because of a number of reasons, the main one being that OS X will still run only on (expensive) Macs, but with an Intel CPU.
Macs on Intel, however, will be a geek's dream come true: you'll be able to run virtually any OS on earth on them.
Maybe that is what Steve Jobs had in mind.
31 • linux goodie (by Igor on 2005-06-07 03:05:59 GMT from United States)
Hey Ladislav, (and Linux fans everywhere)
check this out...
I came across this site last week some-time.Could it be added as a link...?...somewhere on DW...?
32 • Audacity (by Marty on 2005-06-07 03:46:35 GMT from Australia)
Audacity is a fantastic piece of software, great choice for your donation!
Anyone who is interested in creating music should look at it, is has very good multi-track recording and editing capabilities.
Also, as this is my first post to Distrowatch; great job Ladislav! I check out this site far more often than my boss would be happy to hear about!
33 • Table of equivalents (by Bryan at 2005-06-07 04:02:36 GMT from United States)
That's a great table...I wonder how up to date it is, though. For distributed clients, it doesn't list boinc, which is taking over for SETI at home, climateprediction.net, and a few others. d2ol is also available for windows...but in their case I think they are using your processor for their financial gain...
For one, I am glad to see debian moving ahead. I have often used debian based distros (ubuntu, mepis, and kanotix, among others). However, there are only as good as the main debian repository. If you are thinking about contributing kano, et al, I think a few dollars or effort should also go to the mother distro. Debian's been looking anemic lately...
34 • The award for slowest torrent ever (by EEDOK on 2005-06-07 04:25:08 GMT from Canada)
Goes to the Debian 3.1 DVD torrent :D
35 • Try Jigdo for DVD Sarge! ;^> (by kingfish600 on 2005-06-07 06:02:21 GMT from United States)
I'm downloading at 250k right now and almost done with the second dvd...I've seen speeds as high as 400k.
1 download jigdo
2 download the jigdo files and tinplates from the debian site and put them in the jigdo directory.
3 run jigdo
4 at the prompt type debian-31r0-i386-binary-1.jigdo
5 it will prompt you for cd's or dvd's if you have them if not just hit enter.
6 it will prompt you for a server to use i've had good luck with http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/
Hope that helps speed up your download!
36 • Definitely go Jigdo for Sarge DVD (by thaddeus on 2005-06-07 15:28:54 GMT from United States)
It's really quite efficient for a distro that's mirrored as much as Debian. If you hit a download server that doesn't max out your connection then try another one. It usually only takes one or two tries to find one that maxes out my line (for me anyway, my connection's not that fast...) I'm in the midwestern USA and have been using the indiana.edu mirror lately.
I actually downloaded the last testing snapshot (May 30) last week in anticipation. It actually saved me quite a bit of time when I updated the ISOs with jigdo yesterday. It's easy to use jigdo to update images for each new revision.
I second the nomination for Debian. It really is a foundational distribution.
37 • Denotion to Debian (by Eddie on 2005-06-07 16:27:54 GMT from United States)
Debian definitely deserves getting donation. It's a good way to show support and encouragement to the great work done by so many hardworking volunteers of the project. Debian has made possible many wonderful distros like Knoppix and Ubuntu.
I have been using Debian after my previous hard drive with RH8 died. Since then I escaped from dependence hell and could really enjoy computing. Many thanks to maintainers of Debian!
38 • Debian Donation (by EEDOK on 2005-06-07 18:19:17 GMT from Canada)
Ladislav said himself that as soon as Sarge was released Debian would recieve the next monthly donation.
39 • Re : Debian Donation (by Marc on 2005-06-07 20:33:19 GMT from Canada)
I support that , Debian is the backbone of a lot of my favorite
distros ( Ubuntu, Mepis, Damnsmall, Knoppix ). So for once
every 3 years they deserve it.
My sincere sympathy to Jon Danzig's family. A fellow Canadian
who brought Debian simpler and helped all the others to succeed.
Maybe part of the donation should be used to send flowers or a
40 • Jigdo souurce dvd's? (by kingfish600 on 2005-06-07 21:16:47 GMT from United States)
Would someone mind telling me where to get the debian sarge jigdo files for the source dvd's? I've been downloading the cd's one at a time with jigdo but i'd prefer dvd images.
41 • Debian 3.1 Error (by AQ on 2005-06-07 23:02:04 GMT from United States)
If you are thinking of geting a very good iso collection of debian I would wait a few days as there has been an error.
They are going to be putting out 3.1a shortly which fixes this error.
If you already downloaded it, that is fine as it can be fixed in a script.
42 • Debian net install (by William Roddy on 2005-06-07 23:30:28 GMT from United States)
I did a net install of the new Debian sable release and it worked without a hitch. After running playing with it for a while, I added the unstable repositories and changed it to Debian unstable and, so far, that's running really well. 'Course, I'm a pretty fundamental user, but it looks and works the way it's supposed to in my areas of use.
Is there any disadvantage (or advantage) to a net install, as opposed to downloading a lot of disks?
Great issue, Ladislav.
43 • debian net install vs the dvd's (by kingfish600 on 2005-06-08 00:12:24 GMT from United States)
I like the dvd's because I have to keep my mom and dads computers running plus have 4 computers at home. My dad has no internet access and my mom's is only 4 times as fast as 56k dialup. I also like to give copies to my friends. 2 dvd's=like $1 in expence dosent seem like much and pays divedends when they recipricate. I had also thought about selling some on e-bay but it's just to much hassle.
44 • Just so everyone knows what I was talking about (by AQ on 2005-06-08 00:14:23 GMT from United States)
"Note: 3.1r0 CD image problem
A bug has been discovered in the 3.1r0 CD/DVD images: new installs from these images will have a commented-out entry in /etc/apt/sources.list for "http://security.debian.org/ testing/updates" rather than an active entry for "http://security.debian.org/ stable/updates", and thus will not get security updates by default. This was due to incorrect Release files on the images.
If you have already installed a system using a 3.1r0 CD/DVD image, you do not need to reinstall. Instead, simply edit /etc/apt/sources.list, look for any lines mentioning security.debian.org, change "testing" to "stable", and remove "# " from the start of the line.
If you installed other than from a CD or DVD (for example, netboot, or booting from floppy and installing the base system from the network), you are not affected by this bug.
New 3.1r0a images will be available shortly to correct this flaw. We apologise for the inconvenience. "
45 • debian net install vs the dvd's (by kingfish600 on 2005-06-08 01:12:56 GMT from United States)
I like the dvd's because I have to keep my mom and dads computers running plus have 4 computers at home. My dad has no internet access and my mom's is only 4 times as fast as 56k dialup. I also like to give copies to my friends. 2 dvd's=like $1 in expence dosent seem like much and pays divedends when they recipricate. I had also thought about selling some on e-bay but it's just to much hassle.
46 • Triple Booting Can Be Fun (by Ed Borasky on 2005-06-08 04:25:30 GMT from United States)
Well ... Sarge is here, so I decided to take my test box and triple-boot it with Gentoo (stable), Debian 3.1 (stable) and CentOS 4.0 (stable) and just see which one is the most ... uh ... stable. :) Does anyone have any stability test suites they'd like me to throw at this?
47 • RE: Debian net install (by Captain Carrot on 2005-06-08 04:57:35 GMT from Germany)
I prefer Debian's net installer because I have a fast network connection. I first install just the base system and configure it to my liking. Then I install a firewall and some other essential utilities like Midnight Commander via network. Only after I've comfortably settled to this minimal Debian installation, I start downloading x-window-system, a window manager, and other applications I want.
But this is my preferred way just because I've used Debian for some time now and I've made a list of all the applications I need. ;-) Newbies will find it easier to select the "desktop" option during installation, which will install for them all the necessary packages for running a desktop system.
48 • 29 CD's (by Mike on 2005-06-08 09:39:16 GMT from Kenya)
The final release of Debian 3.1 is certainly cause for celebration! However, all the talk about 29 CD’s and 1000’s of packages should not make us overlook the fact that most users will probably only need the first 4-6 CD’s. I downloaded 10 CD’s in April, and I hardly ever install anything from CD’s 7-10 on my desktop.
If you’re contemplating using Debian and you’ve never used it before, trust me, you won’t regret it! I found installation to be a breeze. While they’re no pretty pictures like in Mandriva or Fedora/Red Hat, there’s still a considerable amount of handholding. Also, Debian is fast and rock stable, and there’s plenty of eye candy to choose from.
Our celebrations are tempered by the death of Jon Danzig. I'd like to express my condolences to his family, friends, and co-workers.
Finally, keep up the excellent work Ladislav and Rob!
49 • Debian netinstall with broadband? (by Christophe on 2005-06-08 10:49:30 GMT from Netherlands)
I'm planning on installing Debian soon (before the end of the month), but I have an ADSL broadband connection rather than dial-up and the installation manual doesn't seem to say anything about broadband configuration (only dial-up). Has anybody done such an installation? I hear so much about the net install here that I thought I could quickly ask this question :) .
50 • @ Christophe (by Max on 2005-06-08 17:18:04 GMT from Australia)
Christophe, unless you are using a USB cable to connect your ADSL modem to the computer you probably dont need to configure anything... Debian should find your Ethernet adapter and setup the connection with with DHCP automatically...
51 • @ Max (by Christophe on 2005-06-08 19:26:43 GMT from Netherlands)
Wow! That would make it much simpler than when I had to do that on Windows :) . I just hope having an Alcatel Speed Touch modem won't spoil it (I've read that there are issues with those...).
52 • No subject (by Anonymous on 2005-06-08 19:50:18 GMT from United States)
I think that Debian should get the next donation.
But don't send it to them for about 18 months.
(just kidding about the 18 months)
53 • jigdo update 31.0 to 31.0a dvd? (by kingfish600 on 2005-06-09 07:15:36 GMT from United States)
Hope it works right now. It didnt download anything, it just added all of the packages from 31.0 and made a ISO.
54 • nominating Krusader (by Void lon iXaarii at 2005-06-09 19:16:36 GMT from Romania)
I would like to nominate Krusader to be tracked by distrowatch because it's more than a great piece of software: it's simply something you can't live without. Working with files is what computer working boils down to weather I'm doing artwork, writing articles or watching movies ... and being able to do this professionally is ... well, crucial. Also, thumbs up to the great people at Krusader not only for doing a great job but keeping in touch with their fans and implementing requests!
55 • Re: nominating Krusader (by Ariszló on 2005-06-09 20:33:31 GMT from Hungary)
I agree. It's a very good two-panel file manager.
56 • RE: • jigdo update 31.0 to 31.0a dvd? (by Anonymous Penguin on 2005-06-09 21:13:01 GMT from Italy)
"Hope it works right now. It didnt download anything, it just added all of the packages from 31.0 and made a ISO."
Same here, but the md5sum matched. I also checked the new iso with BitTorrent.
I did the same with DVD2 and between 31r0 and 31r0a there were about 32 MB difference: very odd.
57 • RE: nominating Krusader (by ladislav on 2005-06-10 05:40:10 GMT from Taiwan)
Krusader has been added. In fact, it was listed several hours before you posted your requests.
All packages that received at least three votes were added to the tables. The new packages are:
amarok, curl, cvs, dosbox, enlightenment, inkscape, krusader, ndiswrapper, sqlite, subversion, udev, vlc.
There was a flurry of late requests to include firebird, but they've arrived after I updated the tables.
The distribution tables now track a total of 187 packages.
58 • neat (by firstname.lastname@example.org on 2005-06-10 09:09:11 GMT from United States)
Nice to see Gobolinux being recognized. I've always wondered why it somehow didn't get a lot of attention, especially since the last somewhat stable release wasn't just innovative with its file hierarchy, it was the most polished and beautiful by default desktops I had ever seen any distro pull off. Or any OS, ever. Even the installer back then was way different than the norm...and very well thought out. I've been keeping an eye on Gobolinux and playing around with it on and off, I hope GRUB isn't broken with this latest release, so it'll finally install on my new box. Kudos to the Gobolinux team.
R.I.P Jon Danzig
I had to stop using Libranet on my main workstation because it didn't agree with my new hardware, but for the longest time I recommended it as the best "easy" Debian distro, or at least the most intuitive to use Debian distro. I remember being shocked when I said I didn't have enough money to pay for Libranet, and I actually got a friendly response saying they'd give it to me for 1/4 of the normal cost. The CDs came in a high quality case, on top-notch media that was professionally printed. This was back in the day, when you were lucky if you could get CDs at all, and if you did they'd come in a nice smashed jewel-case on the cheapest media possible with a lopsided paper label. I still run Libranet on my old hoopty machines, sometimes only Libranet or OpenBSD will boot them. You get what you pay for.
I hope Jon passing doesn't mean his vision disappears as well.
59 • Nomination iSCSI enterprize target (by Lord-Storm on 2005-06-10 22:07:48 GMT from Australia)
Well some of us know that iSCSI is the SAN's killer for small networks. iSCSI in lamemans terms is the exporting of block devices over a lan using encryption etc...
60 • RE: Debian netinstall with broadband? (by Lord-Storm on 2005-06-10 22:15:48 GMT from Australia)
All you need is a supported NIC and the ip or name of server its been a while since i have done one... but its almost as simple as that.
61 • aLinux default desktop (by Kim Krecht on 2005-06-11 15:44:17 GMT from Germany)
Just wanted to point out the following:
This (a part of the official aLinux website) indicates that the distribution's default desktop is in fact KDE. Thus, KDE should be entered as default desktop in the aLinux distribution page.
Number of Comments: 61
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