| 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 188.8.131.52 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 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|
|• Issue 505 (2013-04-29): First look at PCLinuxOS 2013.04, Saucy Salamander, Remastersys and System Imager, Linux containers|
|• Issue 504 (2013-04-22): Look at Bodhi 2.3.0, Ubuntu 13.04 features, building OpenBSD ports, opening large files|
|• Issue 503 (2013-04-15): CentOS versus Scientific Linux, PCLinuxOS 64, Lucas Nussbaum, ZFS/Btrfs versus ext4|
|• Issue 502 (2013-04-08): Look at Mint 201303 "Debian", Ubuntu versus openSUSE, comparing ZFS and Btrfs file systems|
|• Issue 501 (2013-04-01): KANOTIX 2013 and GhostBSD 3.0, openSUSE Rescue-CD, Haiku package management, computer forensics|
|• Issue 500 (2013-03-25): Look at openSUSE 12.3, Ubuntu release changes, Debian backports, growing divide|
|• Issue 499 (2013-03-18): MINIX 3.2.1, openSUSE 12.3 on desktop, Ubuntu GNOME and UbuntuKylin, distros for musicians, KolibriOS|
|• Issue 498 (2013-03-11): Sabayon Linux 11, Ubuntu's Mir, Linux malware|
|• Issue 497 (2013-03-04): Rebellin Linux 1.00 "Adrenaline", rolling-release Ubuntu, Arch vs spin-offs, justification and diversity|
|• Issue 496 (2013-02-25): Review of Chakra 2013.02, The Book of GIMP, Ubuntu and privacy, FreeNAS vs NAS4Free|
|• Issue 495 (2013-02-18): SparkyLinux 2.1 "Ultra", Fedora 19 schedule, Xubuntu on DVD, cloud privacy|
|• Issue 494 (2013-02-11): FreeBSD 9.1, web server stats, Anaconda, rolling-release PC-BSD, fixing broken packages in Arch|
|• Issue 493 (2013-02-04): UberStudent 2.0, OmniBoot 1.0, MariaDB, Enlightenment 0.17|
|• Issue 492 (2013-01-28): Fedora 18 review, systemd, Kali Linux, Ubuntu Unleashed|
|• Issue 491 (2013-01-21): Fuduntu 2013.1, Fedora 18 desktop choices, Consort, accessing encrypted drive|
|• Issue 490 (2013-01-14): Look at Manjaro Linux 0.8.3, openSUSE on Chromebook, Able2Extract 8.0|
|• Issue 489 (2013-01-07): PC-BSD 9.1, Arch spin-offs, rolling-releases, year-end PHR stats, removing applications|
|• Issue 488 (2012-12-24): Reviews of Unity and Puppy Linux 5.4 "Slacko", FreeBSD 10|
|• Issue 487 (2012-12-17): Cinnarch 2012.11.22, OpenMandriva, Fedora Magazine, Tumbleweed, OpenJDK vs Oracle Java|
|• Issue 486 (2012-12-10): Linux Mint 14 review, Ubuntu "spyware" controversy, Haiku overview, troubleshooting Linux servers|
|• Issue 485 (2012-12-03): Kwort Linux 3.5, Mint bug-fix update, Fedora's new Anaconda, defining a distribution|
|• Issue 484 (2012-11-26): Look at SMS 2.0.1, Fedora pre-beta report, Illumos, Secure Boot update|
|• Issue 483 (2012-11-19): DragonFly BSD 3.2.1 and Xubuntu 12.10, Gentoo and udev, switching file systems|
|• Issue 482 (2012-11-12): Review of Zenwalk 7.2, Clang in FreeBSD, Omniboot 0.5, priorities on external drives|
|• Issue 481 (2012-11-05): Look at Tails 0.13, EFF on Ubuntu and privacy, Debian installer changes, ext4 data corruption bug|
|• Issue 480 (2012-10-29): Review of Ubuntu 12.10, Wayland 1.0, FreeBSD's pkgng|
|• Issue 479 (2012-10-22): Look at Zentyal 3.0, Debian bug reporting, initiating a halt|
|• Issue 478 (2012-10-15): Slackware 14.0 review, Ubuntu donations, connecting to multiple machines behind router|
|• Issue 477 (2012-10-08): Review of ODROID-X, OpenBSD's anti-Linux song, interview with Vincent Untz, Linux as operating system|
|• Issue 476 (2012-10-01): Review of openSUSE 12.2, Slackware 14.0 features, accessing home computer with SSH|
|• Issue 475 (2012-09-24): Look at PCLinuxOS 2012.08, Ubuntu and Amazon, SolusOS and PiSi, ownCloud|
|• Issue 474 (2012-09-17): Bodhi Linux 2.0.1, OpenIndiana interview, Frugalware history, update notifications|
|• Issue 473 (2012-09-10): The Linux Command Line, Slackware documentation project, Debian's new primary arch, Goobuntu|
|• Issue 472 (2012-09-03): Kororaa Linux 17, OpenIndiana and SchilliX, Ubuntu GNOME remix, home server tip|
|• Issue 471 (2012-08-27): Linux Mint 13 "KDE", Ubuntu 12.10 features, Slax update, folder quotas|
|• Issue 470 (2012-08-20): Liberté Linux 2012.2, Arch and systemd, NetBSD's sysbuild and sysupgrade, 19 years of Debian|
|• Issue 469 (2012-08-13): Peppermint OS Three, SUSE on Secure Boot, GNOME OS, moving email to Linux|
|• Issue 468 (2012-08-06): First look at CentOS 6.3, Debian installer beta, Fedora and MATE, Libtrash|
|• Issue 467 (2012-07-30): Ubuntu Made Easy, Debian "Jessie", OpenBSD on Secure Boot, Rawhide troubles|
|• Issue 466 (2012-07-23): Fuduntu 2012.3, Linux in PC-BSD jails, secure boot on older computers|
|• Issue 465 (2012-07-16): Netrunner 4.2, Mandriva's two codebases, firewalls and window frames|
|• Issue 464 (2012-07-09): Zorin OS 6, FSF's views on secure boot, Virtual PDF Printer|
|• Issue 463 (2012-07-02): TurnKey Linux 11.3, Red Hat and Btrfs, Sabayon's MATE spin, ZFS on Linux|
|• Issue 462 (2012-06-25): Sabayon 9, "Wheezy" freeze, Zorin OS overview, Vinux interview, mounting network shares|
|• Issue 461 (2012-06-18): Linux Mint 13, openSUSE 12. delays, Debian Multimedia, Mageia 3 roadmap|
|• Full list of all issues|