| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 118, 19 September 2005
Welcome to this year's 38th issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The major news of the past week was, of course, the release of Slackware Linux 10.2 - a distribution with a clear focus on simplicity, stability and reliability. Next on the release calendar: Mandriva Linux 2006 - with the second release candidate announced last week, we can't be too far off from the final release. Also in this issue: an explanation about the delay of KNOPPIX 4.0 CD edition, news about a live CD that uses Xen to boot a host operating system, and two free learning resources - one for OpenBSD and one for Linux. We also take a brief look at a new book for Xandros users - Linux Made Easy. Happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in ogg (9.22MB) or mp3 (6.82MB) formats (courtesy of Shawn Milo).
Join us at irc.freenode.net #distrowatch
Slackware Linux 10.2 on the shelves
The biggest news of the past week was, of course, the release of a brand new Slackware Linux, version 10.2. If you've had a chance to read the release announcement and release notes, you've undoubtedly noticed that Slackware 10.2 continues in its time-honoured tradition of being a simple and clean system, perhaps slightly on the conservative side in terms of the default kernel and package selection, but certainly a very secure and easy-to-maintain distribution. The default kernel remains the tried and tested 2.4 series, but an optional 2.6.13 kernel is available in the testing directory (it can be selected during installation). As expected, the latest Slackware no longer includes the GNOME desktop; its developers suggest that the GNOME fans use one of the independently packaged GNOME for Slackware, such as GWARE and Freerock GNOME.
Overall, Slackware Linux 10.2 seems like a nice release, perhaps not brimming with many exciting new features, but those who value stability and reliability in a Linux distribution will find plenty of reasons to upgrade.
Slackware Linux 10.2 - the latest version of Slackware Linux focuses on stability and reliability, rather than new features
(full image size: 274kB)
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Mandriva Linux 2006 nearing release
With the new Slackware release behind us, all eyes are now on the upcoming Mandriva Linux 2006. Slightly behind schedule, the second release candidate was finally announced last week, so it shouldn't be long before the code is frozen and the new release is out. There seem to be some changes (once again) with respect to the naming of the different editions - it appears that Mandriva is doing away with the name "Community" edition and replacing it with what is now called "Free" edition. It is likely that the initial release of the "Free" edition will only be made available to the Club members, with a general release following with a slight delay. The "Official" edition will probably still go through some post-release bug fixing, before it is packaged and sold in online and retails stores.
If you are interested to read a first-hand account of Mandriva's last-minute bug squashing efforts, here is an interesting report by one of Mandriva's contributors:
"We released RC2 on Wednesday morning, and already several important installer bugs and other vital infrastructure stuff has been fixed since. Final should be frozen very soon. Once it's frozen nothing moves for a while, at least in public, as final validation is done on the 'final' ISOs, and they're sent for duplication / printing and so forth. Once that's all done, the pre-ordered boxes are shipped and the ISOs made available to Club members, and the final FTP tree put on the public mirrors. You can, if you feel so inclined, jump the gun and upgrade to 'Cooker' during this period; since it's frozen, you effectively get the final release. Just remember to switch your urpmi media away from Cooker again when it gets unfrozen, or else you'll wind up with something horribly broken."
Based on early reviews and first impressions of the beta testers, Mandriva Linux 2006 is shaping out to be a well-tested and impressive release, with many new features and updated packages (no GNOME 2.12 though). As always, we'll keep a close eye on all sources of information coming out from Paris within the next week or two and let you know as soon as the new product is ready for public consumption. Stay tuned!
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KNOPPIX 4 live CD delayed, Xenoppix launched
Those of you who are desperately waiting for the new KNOPPIX 4 live CD will be pleased to learn that the new version is still under development, but due to a major technical issue, the release has been put on a temporary hold. Klaus Knopper:
"Since both the 4.0.2 DVD and CD versions are basically finished, there won't be a 4.0.1 CD version, but the upcoming 4.0.2 release instead. The only thing I'm desperately waiting for is Unionfs to get into a more stable state. At the moment, there are unacceptable instabilities when overwriting existing files on a mounted Unionfs directory multiple times, resulting in kernel oopses after update-menus when a new Debian package is being installed, and CUPS frequently segfaulting because the configuration file can't be rewritten. I would like to fix that, which is a pure Unionfs problem, before the release goes online."
The message also calls on volunteers to help the Unionfs team to find and eliminate the bugs, which is something that Klaus has had no success with so far, despite trying for the past two weeks. You can find the full mailing list message on here.
And while on the subject of KNOPPIX, a novel idea to combine the power of a bootable live CD with the Xen virtualisation engine has surfaced in a product called Xenoppix:
"We customized KNOPPIX to include a virtual machine monitor Xen. We call it 'Xenoppix'. Xenoppix sets up device drives using autoconfig function of KNOPPIX and enables to boot a guest operating system on Xen. X window System is prepared by KNOPPIX and the graphical user interface of the guest operating system is mapped to X11 using VNC full-screen mode. The guest OS can work as a server because it gets the IP address from an external DHCP server. The current Xenoppix includes two guest operating systems: NetBSD and Plan9."
Xenoppix, developed by a group of Japanese developers, is still in early beta with some known problems, but it will be interesting to watch the project evolve. The latest version of Xenoppix is based on the LinuxTag edition of KNOPPIX 4.0 - a 4GB live DVD, which can be downloaded from the project's home page.
* * * * *
New learning resources for OpenBSD and Linux users
Finally, two excellent online learning resources for new users of OpenBSD and Linux. The first one is entitled OpenBSD 101, a nicely formatted set of tutorials for OpenBSD 3.7. The pages include installation, tips and tricks, kernel patching and building, security suggestions, and information about updating an OpenBSD system with 'cvsup'. The tutorials are obviously written for users who are just starting up with OpenBSD and are very easy to follow - well worth a bookmark if you intend to install and administer a system running this popular BSD flavour.
The second tutorial is called FTLinuxCourse, written by Giovanni Orlando from the Italy-based FTOSX distribution. The author has extensive experience writing Linux training courses - he has written some for the old Caldera Open Linux and also Red Hat Linux. Although FTLinuxCourse used to be a commercial product sold in Italy, USA and other countries, the author has decided to release the 2004 edition as a free resource for all interested parties. The cross-platform web-based course can be accessed online, or it can be downloaded to your computer and opened with any browser. Here is the download link to the English edition: FTLinuxCourse_Complete-2004.tgz (337MB). Happy learning!
|Book Review: Linux Made Easy
Book Review: Linux Made Easy
Up until fairly recently, most of the Linux books available in your local book store concentrated on system administration of Red Hat/Fedora systems, with perhaps one or two books covering some of the more "obscure" distributions (at least from the point of view of publishing houses), such as SUSE, Mandriva or Debian. It is only very recently that some publishers started paying attention to the lesser-known, beginner-friendly distributions, with the result that we now have new great books covering Linspire (Linspire 5.0 : The No Nonsense Guide by Eric Grebler) and MEPIS (Point & Click Linux! by Robin Miller). Joining the above two is a book specifically devoted to Xandros Desktop OS: Linux Made Easy by Rickford Grant.
First, let's make one thing clear right from the start - Linux Made Easy is not a book for geeks. Here, the command line is not touched until the final chapter starting on page 403; instead, users are taught to do everything from within the comfort of graphical applications. The early chapters provide a gentle introduction to the world of Linux, cover installation and introduce the Xandros desktop. This is followed by a very useful set of chapters introducing the reader to system configuration and administration (without actually calling it that), which includes setting up networking, file manipulation, and working with removable media. It also introduces the main custom applications of Xandros Desktop OS: Xandros File Manager, Xandros Control Center and Xandros Networks.
This is followed by extensive chapters on printing, scanning, digital imaging and working with PDA, before the book turns to major applications shipping with Xandros, including multimedia, office, games, and software for children. The book then concludes with the a brief section touching on the subject of most commonly-used command line tools, complemented by a number of projects making use of these commands. The book also includes a CD with the Open Circulation edition of Xandros Desktop 3, as well as coupons for 120 free SkypeOut minutes and a 20% discount on Xandros products.
But how does Linux Made Easy differ from the Xandros Desktop OS User Guide that ships with the Deluxe and Business editions of Xandros desktop? Firstly, the writing style is very different - while the Xandros User Guide is essentially a reference book, specialising in dry, step-by-step tutorials, Linux Made Easy has a friendly writing style, making the whole book much more enjoyable. Secondly, the content, although covering pretty much the same areas of the distribution, differs greatly. A good case in point is the scanner section. While the Xandros User Guide limits itself to a 7-step tutorial covering just one half of a page, Linux Made Easy devotes no less than 12 pages to scanning, guiding users through two complete projects as it touches on more advanced subjects of scanning resolutions and organising images.
Another case in point are the chapters dealing with DVD playback. While the Xandros User Guide simply states that encrypted DVDs cannot be played in Xandros Desktop, Linux Made Easy not only explains the concept of DVD encryption, it also provides a simple script that downloads and installs the required libraries for playing encrypted DVDs! Although the author states that he is not a lawyer, he also believes that there is nothing wrong with watching encrypted DVDs on a home computer - if one can do so legally on Windows or Mac OS, why not on Linux?
What makes Linux Made Easy an especially valuable book is the friendly writing style combined with a large number of useful tips and tricks, many of which can be used on any distribution, not just Xandros. Perhaps the only criticism of the book is the timing of its arrival on the market - some 9 months after the release of Xandros Desktop 3. Wouldn't it make more sense to publish such book while a Xandros release is still hot and exciting?
Apart from that, we believe that the book fills an important gap in the market and we highly recommend it to all users and fans of Xandros Desktop OS.
Title: Linux Made Easy
Author: Rickford Grant
Publisher: No Starch Press
|Released Last Week
Games Knoppix 4.0.2-0.3
Games Knoppix live DVD, based on the recently released Knoppix 4.0, is now ready for your enjoyment: "Games Knoppix 4.0.2-0.3 is out! The new DVD-size version of Games Knoppix has been finally finished. A list of included games can be viewed here. I have to apologize that it took so long to include the songs of the song contest, but I had some misunderstandings with GEMA. But as promised, the songs are included now. In addition, there are three bonus songs from RaidShelter. I hope everyone is having a lot of fun with the DVD." See the release announcement on the project's home page.
Slackware Linux 10.2
Slackware Linux 10.2 has been released: "Announcing Slackware Linux 10.2! The second Slackware release of 2005, Slackware Linux 10.2 continues the long Slackware tradition of simplicity, stability, and security. Among the many program updates and distribution enhancements, you'll find two of the most advanced desktop environments available today: XFce 4.2.2, a fast and lightweight but visually appealing and easy to use desktop environment, and KDE 3.4.2, the latest version of the award-winning K Desktop Environment. Slackware uses the 2.4.31 kernel bringing you advanced performance features such as the ReiserFS journaling filesystem...." Read the rest of the release announcement and release notes for more details.
Slamd64 Linux 10.2
Slamd64 Linux is an independently developed port of Slackware Linux for AMD64 processors. Following the release of Slackware 10.2 earlier today, Slamd64 Linux 10.2 is now also out: "Slamd64 10.2 is now available. Slamd64 10.2 is based on the 126.96.36.199 kernel, and glibc 2.3.5 with added NPTL support. It includes the latest KDE 3.4.2 desktop environments, and lots of updates, fixes, and improvements over the 10.1 release. Please see the ChangeLog.txt file for a full list." This is the full release announcement.
Vine Linux 3.2
Vine Linux is one of the oldest and most popular Japanese Linux distributions. The newly released version 3.2 is a revision release, focusing on errata and security rather than adding major new features. Some of the package upgrades include kernel 2.4.31 and X.Org 6.8.2, while the distribution's installer, hardware support, available kernel modules and artwork have also undergone some changes. Read the full release announcement on the distribution's home page (in Japanese). As always, an existing installation of Vine Linux can be upgraded with the help of apt-get, but a new installation ISO image is also available for download.
Vine Linux 3.2 - a new revision release of the popular Japanese distribution
(full image size: 378kB)
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Development and unannounced releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Ubuntu Linux 6.04
Although it is still a month or so before the new Ubuntu Linux 5.10 is released, the developers are already making plans for the next release - version 6.04 and code name "Dapper Drake": "The 6.04 release will be the culmination of 2 years hard work, with Warty, Hoary and Breezy having set the style and the pace. We want it to represent the fruit of that labour - it brings to a close this first major cycle of development for Ubuntu. It will be a release that people can plan for, participate in and build solutions on top of. It will get even more polish than we put into Breezy, so we think it deserves a name that reflects that polish. And so, after much deliberation, it has been decided that 6.04 will be known during development as: The Dapper Drake." Read the rest of the announcement for more details.
SUSE Linux 10.1
Similarly, the developers of SUSE Linux have also started with a preliminary planning of version 10.1, even before SUSE 10.0 is formally released. That's according to the distribution's roadmap: "Sep 29, 2005 - SUSE Linux 10.1 OSS alpha1 release." No further details are given, but it seems that the new OpenSUSE project intends to continue with the 6-monthly release cycle that worked well for SUSE in the past.
The all new OpenBSD 3.8 will be released on November 1st. Greatly improved hardware support, several new tools, enhanced functionality of existing tools, OpenSSH 4.2, as well as over 3,200 ports - that's quite a bit to look forward to. The OpenBSD 3.8 page is now online with all the details. The product can be pre-ordered through the project's ordering system for US$45.00 + shipping.
Tilix, a highly successful Bulgarian implementation of KNOPPIX with full localisation into Bulgarian, will reach version 1.0 on 26 September. The desktop-oriented distribution promises great hardware support, a new Qt-based hard disk installer, many package updates and other enhancements. More details can be found in this announcement, as well as on the newly redesigned Tilix.org web site (both links in Bulgarian).
OpenLab GNU/Linux 4
Tectonic has published an article providing some information about the upcoming release of OpenLab GNU/Linux, a South African distribution with focus on education: "The main installation CD will be available for free download on the Web by September 26. Two additional disks containing add-ons, language packs and a games collection will also be available in the complete distribution pack sold by OpenLab International. Although OpenLab started as a niche system in the education arena, it has since developed into a more mainstream distribution." More details can be found in this report.
* * * * *
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|Web Site News
New mirror in Groningen, Netherlands|
Thanks to Rogier van Gemert, a new DistroWatch mirror is now available in Groningen, Netherlands. It listens to the name of DistroWatch.nl and is updated in hourly intervals. Rogier has also been busy translating some of the distribution descriptions into Dutch - many thanks for this effort! And speaking about translations, we still haven't been able to complete work on a web-based infrastructure for translators, but this is now treated as a matter of high priority, so, hopefully, our international readers will notice some improvements in this respect in the not too distant future.
New distribution additions
New distributions on the waiting list
- Arco-debian. Arco-debian is a new Brazilian distribution, a single-CD edition of Debian with automatic hardware detection.
- X-DSL. X-DSL is a small but fully functional Linux distribution for the Xbox, based on Damn Small Linux.
DistroWatch database summary
That's all for this week. We hope you've enjoyed this issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
|• Issue 555 (2014-04-21): Robolinux 7.4.2, Ubuntu release day stats, Debian security, Porteus update|
|• Issue 554 (2014-04-14): Review of FreeNAS, OpenSSL bug, Fedora.next, Robolinux Stealth VM, measuring memory|
|• Issue 553 (2014-04-07): Puppy 5.7 "Slacko", end of Ubuntu One, file encryption with GPG|
|• Issue 552 (2014-03-31): Tanglu 1.0, Ubuntu GNOME LTS, SliTaz for ARM|
|• Issue 551 (2014-03-24): Linux Mint "Debian" 201403, call for end to proprietary firmware, LVM|
|• Issue 550 (2014-03-17): Review of NixOS 13.10, Lubuntu seeking feedback, Android-x86 4.4-rc1 impressions|
|• Issue 549 (2014-03-10): ClearOS 6.5 and UCS 3.2, Gentoo interview, Ubuntu app contest, Into the Core|
|• Issue 548 (2014-03-03): Review of Mageia 4, FreeBSD console driver, filtering web content, Pitivi fundraiser|
|• Issue 547 (2014-02-24): Chakra 2014.02, Ubuntu privacy, preventing unwanted remote logins|
|• Issue 546 (2014-02-17): Review of PC-BSD 10.0, Red Flag closure, Ubuntu and systemd, SlackE18, Fedora book review|
|• Issue 545 (2014-02-10): Impressions of FreeBSD 10.0, Debian votes systemd, Ubuntu file manager, server security|
|• Issue 544 (2014-02-03): Netrunner 13.12, openSUSE future, Ubuntu Touch in emulator, running commands in multiple places|
|• Issue 543 (2014-01-27): Review of Korora 20, FreeBSD 10.0, DNF, ZFS rescue CD, Bridge Linux interview|
|• Issue 542 (2014-01-20): QupZilla, Ubuntu with MATE, Arch on Raspberry Pi, best applications|
|• Issue 541 (2014-01-13): openSUSE 13.1 and Zentyal 3.3, CentOS joins Red Hat, Bodhi on Chromebooks|
|• Issue 540 (2014-01-06): SMS 2.0.6 and SME Server 8.0, Hawaii desktop, PHR statistics 2013, more on multi-part archives|
|• Issue 539 (2013-12-23): Centrych 12.04.3, Fedora 20 and its spins, dividing archives across multiple discs|
|• Issue 538 (2013-12-16): Mint 16 review, RHEL and CentOS 7 plans, SteamOS, Windows XP replacement suggestions|
|• Issue 537 (2013-12-09): OpenMandriva 2013.0, Gentoo developer interview, project Neon, Linux Mint and security|
|• Issue 536 (2013-12-02): Impressions of openSUSE 13.1, Ubuntu Touch, FreeBSD 10 delay, troubleshooting OS lock-ups|
|• Issue 535 (2013-11-25): GhostBSD 3.5, Debian and MATE, Ubuntu 14.04 features, security updates|
|• Issue 534 (2013-11-18): Review of OpenBSD 5.4, Fedora on ARM, menu names vs command-line names|
|• Issue 533 (2013-11-11): Point Linux 2.2, Pisi update, Debian and Xfce, Bruno Cornec interview|
|• Issue 532 (2013-11-04): Ubuntu and Kubuntu 13.10, Debian's init, FreeBSD's PKG-NG, Linux on ARM|
|• Issue 531 (2013-10-28): PC-BSD 9.2, openSUSE testing, nftables, upgrade pros and cons|
|• Issue 530 (2013-10-21): Kwheezy 1.2, DPL interview, Zenwalk's future, keeping up with vulnerabilities|
|• Issue 529 (2013-10-14): Ubuntu's Mir, dmesg and photorec tips, Tiny Tiny RSS|
|• Issue 528 (2013-10-07): Semplice 5, Haiku package management, Klaus Knopper interview, making custom distro|
|• Issue 527 (2013-09-30): Tiny Core Linux 5.0, SteamOS, moving operating system to new computer|
|• Issue 526 (2013-09-23): Look at ArchBang 2013.09.01, BSD Now, kernel stats, command-line tips|
|• Issue 525 (2013-09-16): The Official Ubuntu Server Book, FreeBSD 10 and OpenBSD 5.4, Skype alternatives|
|• Issue 524 (2013-09-09): Look at LXLE 12.04.3, Ubuntu's new package format, Secure Boot and dual-booting|
|• Issue 523 (2013-09-02): OpenIndiana 151a8, openSUSE "Evergreen", GNOME and DuckDuckGo, running apps from RAM|
|• Issue 522 (2013-08-26): Look at gNewSense 3.0, Ubuntu Edge fundraising failure, exploring GPL|
|• Issue 521 (2013-08-19): Review of Korora 19, Fedora considers return to "Core", Haiku package management|
|• Issue 520 (2013-08-12): Salix OS 14.0.1 "KDE", Xubuntu experiments with XMir, managing passwords with KeePass|
|• Issue 519 (2013-08-05): Review of Porteus 2.0, Kubuntu lays out plans for Wayland adoption, adjusting system swappiness|
|• Issue 518 (2013-07-29): MidnightBSD 0.4, Razor-qt, Ubuntu Edge, mounting infected drives|
|• Issue 517 (2013-07-22): Zorin OS 7 "Lite", Slackware turns 20, UbuntuForums compromise, Raspbian as home server, Tor|
|• Issue 516 (2013-07-15): Review of Fedora 19 "KDE", Shuttleworth on Mir, Seth Vidal, Kingsoft Office for Linux|
|• Issue 515 (2013-07-08): Whonix 0.5.6 and Deepin 12.12, MintBox, processor capabilities, distros for Raspberry Pi|
|• Issue 514 (2013-07-01): Peppermint Four, Mir, Mandriva forks, ThinkPenguin on libre hardware|
|• Issue 513 (2013-06-24): Look at ROSA, PC-BSD updates, Xen4CentOS6, Slacko vs Precise, Mageia interview, shells|
|• Issue 512 (2013-06-17): Trisquel 6.0, RHEL 7 with GNOME Classic, from Linux to FreeBSD, first look at Wayland|
|• Issue 511 (2013-06-10): Mint 15 impressions, GNOME Classic, Ubuntu Community portal, Absolute OpenBSD|
|• Issue 510 (2013-06-03): Impressions of aptosid 2013-01, Wayland comes to Raspberry Pi, maintaining DNS settings|
|• Issue 509 (2013-05-27): Mageia 3, Debian GNU/Hurd, RebeccaBlackOS with Wayland, ports|
|• Issue 508 (2013-05-20): Review of Debian 7.0, interviews with Clement Lefebvre and Gaël Duval, scripting with xdotool|
|• Issue 507 (2013-05-13): Impressions of Calculate Linux, 13.4, Ubuntu's portable packages, mintDrivers|
|• Issue 506 (2013-05-06): Ubuntu and Kubuntu 13.04, Debian "Wheezy", Slackware on systemd, distros for Raspberry Pi|
|• Full list of all issues|