| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 120, 3 October 2005
Welcome to this year's 40th issue of DistroWatch Weekly. We are at the start of an exciting week, with Mandriva Linux 2006, SUSE Linux 10.0 and Ubuntu Linux 5.10 RC all expected within the next few days. Fans of certain other distributions might not be so lucky, though, as last week's announcement about Libranet's "restructuring" leaves many wondering about the future of this once popular Debian-based project. Our featured distribution of the week is Puppy Linux, but we also introduce amaroK Live, a PCLinuxOS-based live CD that combines the power of the amaroK media player with Free Music. Enjoy!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in mp3 (9.98MB) format (courtesy of Shawn Milo).
Join us at irc.freenode.net #distrowatch
New releases from Mandriva, SUSE, Ubuntu
This is one of those exciting weeks when everything happens at about the same time and great new releases are about to be announced by several major distributions.
The ISO images of Mandriva Linux 2006 were released to "early seeders" late last Friday. Mandriva Club members with fast Internet connections and the ability to "seed" large files for sharing them via BitTorrent were invited to apply for the "early seeder" status and many of them have now downloaded the ISOs. All the other Club members will be able to download the images later this week, possibly as early as today. Disappointingly, Mandriva continues in its attitude of extreme secrecy by refusing to provide anybody, including their paying Club members, with any advanced information regarding the availability of ISOs. As such, the only thing we can do is to guess - and our guess is that the Club members will get access today and the rest of us one week from now. Update: The latest news is that Club members will get access to the ISO images on October 6 and general public on October 26.
The Mandriva attitude contrasts sharply with those of openSUSE and Ubuntu. Both projects have been remarkably timely during their respective development activities and we expect things to continue this way. Barring some last-minute complications, both SUSE Linux 10.0 and Ubuntu Linux 5.10 RC will be released on Thursday, with the final release of Ubuntu 5.10 following a week later.
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Future of Libranet in doubt
Subscribers of the irregularly published Libranet Newsletter received a rather worrying issue late last week. In it, Libranet's developer Tal Danzig talks about a "period of restructuring" awaiting the company, after the recent death of Libranet's founder and Tal's father, Jon Danzig:
"As many of our customers know, Libranet is a small company pioneered by the vision of Jon Danzig. The recent passing of Jon Danzig has necessitated changes to the way Libranet runs and does business. Libranet will be undergoing a period of restructuring during which we will not be be taking new orders."
Tal elaborates on the issue in a longer post on his web log:
"I hope that the strong Libranet community will be patient while the process of moving Libranet onwards takes place. I do not at this time know how long it will take or exactly what the outcome will be, but I will endeavor to keep the Libranet community informed."
Many Libranet fans have expressed disappointment on the Libranet forums. It is hard to blame them - users of Linux distributions often expect exciting announcements about new features, upcoming releases and development efforts, rather than talk about major unspecified changes. From closing the shop, it is often just a small step to abandoning a distribution completely. And that would be a very sad outcome, especially when considering that Libranet GNU/Linux has been around since 1999 and, although it remains a proprietary operating system with a relatively high price tag, it has attracted many enthusiastic followers gathering on its lively forums and helpful mailing lists.
The best thing that the developers of Libranet can do right now is to open up the project for public participation. This has been a trend among other distributions and operating systems, with projects such as Fedora, Ubuntu, openSUSE and even OpenSolaris obviously benefitting from increased exposure and developers' interest. We believe that the coming years will further solidify the positions of those projects that have invited the interested public to join them, while those that still insist on developing behind closed doors with many proprietary components (such as Linspire or Xandros - irrespective of how user-friendly and innovative they will get), will continue to exist as second-tier distributions with only limited interest among users and developers. If Libranet wants to avoid this path, it should take a hint from some of the successful open projects and follow the suit.
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OpenBSD 3.8 song available
Less than a month separates us from OpenBSD 3.8, a new release of one of the most security-oriented operating systems available today. As has become tradition, each OpenBSD release is accompanied by a "theme song" and version 3.8 is no exception. The new song is called Hackers of the Lost RAID: "Many wonderful new things have made it into OpenBSD 3.8, but we wanted to focus on one particular thing -- our support for native free-software RAID management on at least one brand of RAID card, those made by AMI," explains Theo de Raadt, the founder and lead developer of OpenBSD. Hackers of the Lost RAID is available in both MP3 and OGG formats and can be downloaded from here.
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Auditor and WHAX merge, PHLAK announces USB edition
Finally, something for the fans of security-auditing and penetration-testing distributions. The web site of Auditor Security Linux carries a note announcing that the project will merge with WHAX (formerly WHOPPIX), a SLAX-based penetration-testing live CD. The newly merged distribution will be known as Backtrack. No release roadmap and feature list have been published as yet, but suggestions and ideas are welcome. See this forum thread for further details. Also on the security front, the developers of the Professional Hacker's Linux Assault Kit (or PHLAK) have announced a new addition to their product line. This new member of the PHLAK family will fit on a USB storage device and will listen to the name of "LittleBoy". Future releases of PHLAK's standard live CD editions will now be called "FatMan". More information can be found on the project's news page.
|Featured Distribution of the Week: Puppy Linux
It is amazing to see how fast Puppy Linux has matured over the last few months - from a little-known minimalist distribution for older computers to an incredibly useful and versatile product which now competes with Damn Small Linux in terms of features and user-friendliness. But unlike Damn Small Linux, which was originally derived from KNOPPIX, Puppy was built from scratch, with many unique ideas that have captured the interest of Linux users. Puppy is not just an ISO image containing millions of lines of code, it is also a project with a heart - just read through its news page to discover how much enthusiasm and sheer love goes into each and every release!
After booting into Puppy Linux, you will be immediately impressed by the neatly organised menus with applications and configuration tools listed in a logical order. Yes, this should be a standard feature of all Linux distributions, but if you've tried the latest KNOPPIX live DVD, you have undoubtedly noticed its haphazard menu structures, which makes you appreciate Puppy's neat menus all the more. Granted, you can't expect to find a huge number of applications on a 60MB CD, but what is available certainly gives an impression of a well-structured set, carefully selected to conform to size requirements.
Additional packages can be installed with relative ease. Puppy uses two graphical package managers - PupGet and DotPup - with the former designed for official Puppy packages, while the latter providing a long list of third-party software built by Puppy Linux enthusiasts. Both are intuitive, providing a large range of open source software packages for every taste and purpose. Since Puppy supports Unionfs (if you specify the option at boot prompt), software packages can also be installed while in "live CD" mode.
Many other graphical utilities are available in Puppy Linux. These range from tools to configure mouse, keyboard and monitor to more complex utilities for setting up networking (including wireless ones), printers, scanners and firewalls. Tools for creating a custom Puppy live CD, together with installing it on a USB, Zip or hard drive, are also provided. Backup utilities, virus scanners and partition resizing tools are all neatly lined up and ready to spring into action at a mouse click.
On the application side, we spotted several file managers (ROX-Filer, uXplor), graphics tools (Dia, Sodipodi), Office applications (AbiWord, Gnumeric), HTML editors (Bluefish, Mozilla Composer), a simple finance manager (Xfinans), Internet software (Mozilla, Sylpheed, gFTP), multimedia packages (Gxine, Snack, ripperX), and a handful of simple games. Once you go through the menus and see what is available you'll have to pinch yourself to believe that the Puppy live CD you downloaded was under 60MB in size!
The light-weight default desktop (JWM) combined with many low-resource applications make for one speedy desktop experience, even on an underpowered computer where most modern distributions would probably be unusable. Only Mozilla seems like an odd choice, especially since Dillo, Firefox and Opera are all lighter and faster, but this can be easily rectified with a quick trip to DotPup. Other than that, all applications launch with a speed of light, even when running them from the live CD. Puppy boots fast as well, but the process is slowed down somewhat by the need to answer some configuration questions.
Overall, Puppy Linux is a superb, light-weight, fast and versatile Linux distribution with a great selection of applications, graphical system administration utilities and all sorts of unique features not readily available elsewhere. A great choice not only for older computers, but also for those who dislike the bloat of most modern distributions.
For more information and downloads please visit the Puppy Linux web site.
Puppy Linux has rapidly become a mature and sophisticated distribution for (not only) older computers
(full image size: 375kB)
|Released Last Week
Featherweight Linux 1.3
Featherweight Linux is a live CD based on Feather Linux, but expanded to include a minimal KDE desktop. Version 1.3 has been released. What's new? "I've upgraded e2fsprogs and e2fslibs as well as some other critical core files. I updated the apt sources and added AbiWord and Acroread, as well as the Acroread Mozilla plugin, and I added kppp. I upgraded Samba and switched the quick start Konqueror and KDE help buttons with a Mozilla button and a Konsole button. I fixed the install script where some folks were getting a blank screen after installation and added a GRUB install script for easy installation of GRUB after the initial install. The total installed size is now about 800MB." Here is the full release announcement.
The first official release of Tilix, which is a Bulgarian Linux distribution based on KANOTIX, is now available. Tilix 1.0 (code name "Boris") includes: kernel 2.6.13 with many extra modules for improved hardware support, KDE 3.4.2, latest packages from Debian sid compiled with GCC 4.0.1, many new drivers for modems and wireless network cards, new look and feel, graphical boot, new control centre for system administration, new hard disk installer, many other improvements and applications. An experimental way of updating from a previous version of Tilix is also included. For more information please refer to the official release announcement (in Bulgarian).
Tilix 1.0 - a Bulgarian live and installation CD based on KANOTIX
(full image size: 121kB)
Puppy Linux 1.0.5
A brand new version of Puppy Linux is out: "Puppy version 1.0.5 is released. Although the version number has only changed from 1.0.4 to 1.0.5, the number and quality of new features are ...awesome! Many Puppy developers have created applications that are making their début, and those guys are justly proud of what has been created. Release notes, in no particular order: Mark Ulrich has developed DotPup Downloader, a brilliant GUI application for downloading and installing DotPup packages (for the uninitiated, Puppy has two package systems, DotPup and PupGet). Keenerd has developed WAG (Wireless Access Gadget), a superb GUI for configuring a wireless networks...." Find more details on the project's news page.
EnGarde Secure Linux 3.0
EnGarde Secure Linux 3.0 Community has been released: "Guardian Digital is pleased to announce the release of EnGarde Community v3.0. This release represents the most significant number of improvements since the first version released more than four years ago. Completely redesigned web interface, firewall functionality, integrated Security-Enhanced Linux protection, and completely free updates are just a few of the outstanding new benefits. With EnGarde, you can build a complete and secure Internet presence featuring all standard Internet functions (web, DNS, email, etc) within minutes using one of the available wizards." See the release announcement for further information.
tinysofa classic server 2.0 Update 2
An updated release of tinysofa classic server, a free server-oriented enterprise distribution originally based on Trustix Secure Linux, is out: "tinysofa classic server 2.0 Update 2 (Ceara) is now generally available. This is an update release which incorporates all bug and security fixes released to date, whilst updating most packages to the latest upstream releases. 'Ceara' features: The Linux 2.6.13 kernel, grsecurity support, APT and SmartPM for advanced package management, the PHP 5 environment (5.0.4), OpenSSH 4.2, high availability features such as DRBD (0.7.13) and UCARP (1.1), the latest development tools and languages (GCC 3.4.3, Python 2.4), and much more." See the release announcement of the project's home page.
A new version of pocketlinux, a minimalist Slackware-based distribution with KDE Light, has been released. New features in version 1.3 include: "upgraded KDE components to 3.4.2, arts to 1.4.2, Firefox to 1.0.7; added multilanguage support for Firefox; added French language support; fixed some translation mistakes and typos; removed unnecessary KDM session files; added the following development packages: autoconf, gcc, gcc-g++, binutils, make, m4, perl, pkgconfig; reworked fbpanel program description / converted fbpanel configuration to UTF-8; changed the default wallpaper; set pocket-linux.de as the default Firefox homepage and changed the proportional font settings to 'Sans Serif'." Here is the full release announcement.
amaroK Live 1.3
amaroK Live is a specialist Linux live CD, based on PCLinuxOS, with a fully functional amaroK music player and a selection of Free Music. A new version was released over the weekend: "The amaroK team would like to announce the immediate release of version 1.3 of the innovative amaroK Live CD. This complete operating system is a unique collaboration between Free Software and Free Music that runs entirely from a CD. Based upon the KDE-centric PCLinuxOS, amaroK Live is not a complete Live CD distribution as much as it is a demonstration of an extremely cool audio player. With this in mind, the live CD comes with a fully functional copy of the amaroK music player bundled with tracks from Magnatune.com, the German artists Paniq and Snooze and the Norwegian performer Ugress." Read the rest of the release announcement for details.
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Development and unannounced releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Symphony OS Beta 1
The Symphony OS project has announced a slight delay of the distribution's first beta release: "The Symphony OS Beta 1 release date has been pushed back. While I hope to have updated packages for Orchestra and Mezzo on the servers and available via apt this week, Beta 1 PR 1 will now be released on October 15th. There are several items that are still on the to-do list before we will be ready to release our new DCC based Symphony. The initial Apt-Plus release (0.01) which will be very much alpha code, will be released to the repository and the apt-plus software store will officially launch this week. The initial version of apt-plus will only contain the initial code allowing for web-based software installation. The additional tools will be included in later releases." See this forum post for more information.
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Summary of expected upcoming releases
|Web Site News
September 2005 donation: The MPlayer project receives US$400|
Following a large number of requests to donate to MPlayer (and finally receiving information about how to donate from the project's developers), we are pleased to announce that the September 2005 donation of US$400.00 was awarded to the MPlayer project. One of the most popular and innovative multimedia players for Linux, MPlayer has provided support for more audio and video formats (including many proprietary ones) than any other Linux/UNIX media player. As such, the project has greatly contributed towards the growing acceptance of Linux, especially on home desktops and entertainment workstations.
Our donations programme was recently joined by LinuxISO.co.uk, a UK-based provider of low-cost Linux and BSD distributions on CDs and DVDs, which added US$50 to our donation pool. It is always nice to see a business that benefits from open source software willing to contribute towards continued success of our favourite applications. As such, we would like to encourage our readers based in the United Kingdom to get their Linux CDs and DVDs from LinuxISO.co.uk - they have great prices, a nicely designed web site, and they support open source software!
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:
Your payment for $400.00 USD to poirierg at gmail dot com has been sent.
Amount: $400.00 USD
Transaction ID: 85798270KB290933H
Subject: MPlayer Donation
Note: This is a donation by DistroWatch.com to the MPlayer project. Keep up the good work!
MPlayer's Guillaume Poirier has emailed us after receiving the donation: "Thanks a million for this generous donation. I passed the message around. Guillaume."
Here is the list of projects that received a DistroWatch donation since the launch of the programme:
Since the launch of the DistroWatch Donations Programme in March 2004, we have donated a total of US$5,305 to various Free Software projects.
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New distribution additions
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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|