| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 114, 22 August 2005
Welcome to this year's 34th issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The long awaited KNOPPIX 4.0 live DVD was finally released last week - with a large collection of great software, but also with a few nasty bugs. In the meanwhile, the openSUSE project continues its fast-paced beta testing process of SUSE Linux 10.0 with more great software and an easy way to upgrade to the latest version. Our featured project of the week is aLinux - a distribution with amazing eye candy, unparallelled multimedia support, and many bleeding edge software packages. Happy reading!
NEW: listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in ogg (5.88MB) or mp3 (4.25MB) formats.
KNOPPIX 4.0 DVD - joys and problems
The much awaited public release of KNOPPIX 4.0 live DVD finally happened last week. This is a different beast from the "special" 4.0 edition distributed during LinuxTag in June - not only it comes with many updated packages, it also boots faster and is available in the form of both German and English ISO images. It is also much leaner and -- it has several nasty bugs.
First the bugs. The initial release of the KNOPPIX 4.0 DVD was quickly followed by an updated changelog, which refers to a patch that fixes an issue with knoppix-terminal-server and which also mentions a workaround for a problem with burning CDs in K3b. A few days later a bug in Unionfs was also discovered: "Unionfs is broken again, but not as heavily as in 3.9. If you install certain packages with dpkg or apt-get, a kernel oops can happen, though it doesn't freeze the system. This is quite bad for people who like to test-install new software on the live system, so because of this (and the prior reported bugs) there will be a hotfix of the 4.0.2 DVD soon (probably even before I get a chance to finish the CD)." In short, if you haven't yet downloaded the DVD you might be better off waiting for version 4.0.2 which should come with fixes for the above bugs.
On the positive side, the DVD boots much faster. With the LinuxTag edition it took us about 7 minutes to get from the boot prompt to the full KDE desktop, but the new release gets there in half the time on the same system. The DVD is also smaller by about a gigabyte, although there is no mention of this fact in the changelog. And for those who still prefer the lighter CD edition - it is coming soon, probably later this week or soon after the known bugs in the DVD edition are fixed.
Keeping up with SUSE 10.0 beta releases
With the release of the first two public betas of SUSE Linux 10.0, many users are taking advantage of the newly available option to participate in the beta testing process of the upcoming SUSE release. The pace is furious - last week's second beta will be followed by a new beta later this week, and two more betas and a release candidates will follow during the next three weeks. With all the releases, how do you keep your system up-to-date? Surely, there has to be a better way to upgrade your SUSE installation than downloading five CD images every week!
And indeed there is. If you installed your original system from a CD set, you can simply start YaST - the SUSE Linux setup tool, configure your "Installation Source" (by adding an FTP or HTTP source from this list) and launch the "System Update" module. The trickiest part is to add the installation source, because you have to manually type in the URL of your preferred FTP/HTTP server and installation directory, taking extra care not to make a typo. As an example, let's add the fi.muni.cz mirror. In the "Software Source Media" dialog choose "Add", select HTTP as the protocol, then type the following:
Then click on the "OK" button and wait until your selected server appears on the list of "Software Source Media". You can disable or delete the CD entry since you won't need it.
- Server Name: ftp.fi.muni.cz
- Directory on Server: pub/linux/opensuse/distribution/SL-OSS-current/inst-source
Once you are back in the YaST "Software" module, click on the "System Update" icon and wait until the system updates the available package list from the newly added FTP or HTTP server. The next screen will inform you what exactly is going to be upgraded and tells you the size of the required download. In our configuration we only had to download just over 50MB of files. Since the update process also installs a new kernel, you will be prompted to reboot the system.
When the next beta of SUSE Linux 10.0 is released to your chosen mirror you won't need to reconfigure the FTP/HTTP sources; just click directly on the "System Update" button and follow the instructions.
One of the more interesting packages available in the second SUSE beta is the "apt" package management utility, previously provided by various SUSE community sites to simplify package installation on SUSE Linux. The main advantage of apt over YaST's software management module is the fact that apt accepts third-party package repositories of community-built RPMs - useful for installing media codecs and other software not available in SUSE Linux due to legal restrictions.
We will take a closer look at SUSE's apt and investigate the intriguing Xen virtual machine in next week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly.
|Featured distribution of the week: aLinux
Among all the distribution listed on DistroWatch there are a few that stand out from the crowd. One of them is aLinux, formerly known as Peanut Linux. In development since 1999, when it was built as a Linux operating system with a small size and modest system requirements (hence its original name), it has developed into a full-blown, general-purpose Linux distribution. Daring, unconventional, and with strong emphasis on eye candy and user convenience, this distribution, developed by Jay Klepacs in Hamilton, Canada, has risen a few eyebrows in the Linux world.
We installed the newly released aLinux 12.5 over the weekend. The Slackware-like text mode installation intends to be fairly user-friendly and it works reasonably well, but we noticed a few problems - if you make a mistake during system configuration and decide to abort with Ctrl+C, you'll be dropped into shell with no obvious way to restart the setup dialog. Eventually we completed the installation routine on our third attempt and all was well.
The system boots straight into a graphical KDM login screen with the only user being "root" as set up during installation. Logging in to KDE is a fun experience, complete with dazzling colours, fancy desktop fonts and a rather unusual taskbar. KDE is the only desktop environment available on the CD, but a quick trip to the Synaptic package management utility (yes, aLinux uses apt for managing RPM packages) reveals a number of alternative desktops, including Fluxbox, GNOME, IceWM, XFce, and even a current CVS release of Enlightenment 17. Application installation is a breeze in aLinux.
One of the more interesting features of aLinux is the instant availability of all sorts of multimedia codecs and browser plugins (in Mozilla). These make it possible to enjoy many media formats, including proprietary ones - an ability that is usually missing from most major distributions and which brings the multimedia experience of aLinux on par with other operating systems. Do you want to watch movie trailers in your browser or view encrypted DVDs right out of the box? Then aLinux is the right distribution for you. Of course, since aLinux is a hobby project developed in Canada, its developer has so far demonstrated little respect for various US patent and trademark laws; this has already attracted some attention of Microsoft's lawyers.
We enjoyed aLinux. The distribution comes with a curious mix of old and bleeding-edge software packages that work surprisingly well - we certainly didn't experience any instability during the time we tested the distribution. More importantly, if you believe that, as a Linux user, you should not be prevented from watching movies or listening to music on your computer by some ridiculous patent law, then download and install aLinux. You are unlikely to find a better distribution for this task!
For more information about aLinux please visit its web site at alinux.org.
Plenty of eye candy in the latest release of aLinux
(full image size: 1,183kB)
|Released Last Week
Plamo Linux 4.03
A new version of Plamo Linux, a Japanese distribution originally derived from Slackware Linux, has been released. The biggest change is the addition of GNOME 2.10.2, thus increasing the size of the distribution to three CDs (with KDE and GNOME on the second CD and 'contrib' packages on the third CD), the default kernel upgraded to 2.4.31 (an optional kernel 22.214.171.124 is also available), updates to XFree86 4.50, KDE 3.4.2, GCC 3.3.6, and usual bug fixes. See the release report and changelog (both links in Japanese) for further details.
KNOPPIX 4.0 Live DVD
The first public release of the KNOPPIX 4.0 Live DVD, with many updates over the LinuxTag edition, is now available for download. From the changelog: "V4.0DVD-2005-08-16. Project split into DVD and CD edition; OpenOffice.org 2.0 build 104 (English/German); lots and lots of package updates; bugfixes: floppyconf, knoppix-installer; kernel 126.96.36.199 update; KDE 3.4.1 from Debian experimental; added development packages: Eclipse, Mono; added most kde-i18n languages from unstable; added Knoppix books and Open Source Jahrbuch; added m23 software distribution system; added Knoppix menu item for setting root password; added alternative desktops: GNOME, Ratpoison, XFce, Openbox; replaced Mozilla with Firefox and Thunderbird...."
Linux+ Live 2005-08
Linux+ Live is a Fedora-based live DVD, supplied as a cover DVD with the Linux+ magazine. The latest version is 08-2005, released earlier today: "After while (we have worked really hard) we have something new for you - Linux+ Live DVD 2005-08 from August 2005 Linux+. The most notable changes are: usage of Unionfs; saving data and configuration on external device; support for TV cards (Video4Linux) with KDETV, TVtime, xawtv, Zapping and MythTV; development version of Anjuta 2.x with Glade 3.0; printing software CUPS with Mting, Kover, Mptool, HP Device Manager; RSS readers (Liferea, Blam); binary editor (Bless)...." Read the full release announcement for further details.
Onebase StudioGo 1.0
The Onebase project has released StudioGo 1.0, a specialist live CD for graphics and multimedia enthusiasts: "StudioGo 1.0 released. The Onebase Linux Project is pleased to announce the release of a new special edition live CD called StudioGo (version 1.0). It is a pure entertainment CD consisting of multimedia and graphics software that includes audio players and editors, video players, video editors, TV software, multimedia utilities, graphics modelling, imaging, photo management, motion detector, streaming, presentation.... " Find more details in the release announcement and features page.
Trustix Enterprise Firewall 4.6
Trustix has released a new version of Trustix Enterprise Firewall, now available under a free (gratis) one-year license: "Comodo owned Trustix, developers of the world's most secure Linux and inventors of the world's first WYSIWYG firewall, today announced that the latest version of Trustix Enterprise Firewall will be available at no charge. The decision enables administrators to protect their networks for free with a firewall developed and maintained by Trustix's highly skilled firewall. Released today, version 4.6 heralds a range a host of improvements and new features including enhanced multi-platform GUI interface, DHCP server and relay support, enhanced monitoring and alerts, advanced logging, stronger High Availability capabilities and numerous other improvements." See the press release and product page for more information.
Lunar Linux 1.5.1
Lunar Linux 1.5.1 has been released: "After 3 weeks of heavy QC, a new Lunar installation ISO, version 1.5.1 'Gallium Arsenide' is released. This is the first release ever where two different lunar ISOs are released simultaneously - One for i686 and one for older (up to i386) machines. This version fixes a few bugs with missing files in /etc/, and adds support for displaying normal device names (/dev/sda, /dev/hda3 etc) in the entire installer. Also, there are now proper default choices in the language, font, charmap menus to guide you. The network now starts by default after installation." The release announcement.
GoblinX Mini 1.2.0
The GoblinX project has released a new edition of its Linux distribution, a light-weight GoblinX Mini with the XFce desktop: "Released: GoblinX Mini 1.2.0. GoblinX Mini edition is a son of GoblinX and contains only XFce as a window manager and GTK-based applications. The ISO image is about 150MB, but it contains an excellent collection of applications. The Mini edition is easier to download and remaster because modules are already prepared to allow a fast rebuild of the ISO file." Find out more about GoblinX Min on the distribution's features page.
GoblinX 1.2.0 Mini - an attractive live CD with low resource requirements
(full image size: 373kB)
aLinux (formerly Peanut Linux), version 12.5, has been released. What's new? "New look and feel; desktop GUI cosmetically enriched; K menu button replacement, supports animation; K window decoration replacement; K widget set replacement for both QT and GTK2; K taskbar replacement, translucent support with image tooltips; hundred more True Type Fonts added; Konqueror load time efficiently quicker; KOffice v1.4.1, new addition: Krita image manipulation program; K3b v0.12.3 CD/DVD burning; kernel updated v188.8.131.52...." See the release announcement for more information.
* * * * *
Development and unannounced releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Debian GNU/Linux 3.1r1
The first revision of Debian GNU/Linux 3.1 "sarge" is scheduled to be released in the beginning of August: "I am preparing the first revision of the current stable Debian distribution (sarge) and will frequently send reports so people can actually comment on it and intervene whenever this is required. This update is scheduled for beginning of August 2005." More about the upcoming Debian 3.1r1 can be found on this page.
The official release of FreeBSD 6.0, originally scheduled for 15 August, has been delayed and is now expected in September at the earliest. According to the release schedule, a BETA3 release should appear on the FreeBSD mirrors later today. This will be followed by a release candidate and a final release on as yet unspecified dates.
SymphonyOS Beta 1
The Symphony OS distribution is currently still in its alpha stage of development, but the project maintainers are hoping to move into beta as early as 1 October: "Prior to our beta 1 release (currently tentatively scheduled for October 1st) I hope to release at least one beta 1 preview release which will consist of the updated Mezzo and Orchestra with a Componentized Linux base and making use of Anaconda for Debian for the installer. These preview releases will not be released as live CDs but Beta 1 will be available both as a live CD and as an install disc using Anaconda." More information can be found here.
Asianux 2.0 will be released later this week. That's according to this press release, jointly issued by the three participants in the Asianux project - Red Flag, Miracle and Haansoft: "The launching schedule for Asianux version 2.0 was also announced at the exhibition. 'Version 2.0 will be launched first in Korea and China on August 25th, 2005, followed by Japan in October, 2005. In China, there will be a road show in Beijing on August 25th and August 26th, 2005, to promote this new version.' said President Chris Zhao. After the road show in Beijing, eight other cities in China are planning to hold a similar road show. After these events the show will be held in Korea and Japan."
Red Flag Linux 5.0
With the launch of Asianux 2.0, China's Red Flag Software has also announced the release of Red Flag Linux 5.0 on 25 August. This will take place during the Red Flag World conference, held at the Great Wall Hotel in Beijing on 25 - 26 August. More information about the event is available on this page (in Chinese, simplified).
* * * * *
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|Web Site News
Podcasting DistroWatch Weekly|
If everything goes according to plan, this week's DistroWatch Weekly will also be available as a Podcast edition later this week. Please keep an eye on this page for updates and be sure to share your opinion about the Podcast edition in the forums below. Update: the Podcast edition of DistroWatch Weekly is now available in ogg (5.88MB) and mp3 (4.25MB) formats. Many thanks to Shawn Milo for creating the files.
New distribution additions
New on the waiting list
None this week.
DistroWatch database summary
That's all for this week. We hope you've enjoyed this issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
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