| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 123, 24 October 2005
Welcome to this year's 43rd issue of DistroWatch Weekly. Several interesting new distribution releases appeared during the past week. LG3D LiveCD deserves a more detailed look due to its unusual desktop and amazing 3D visual effects, while the newly renamed RR4 Linux live DVD is probably the easiest way yet to install Gentoo Linux on a hard disk. Also in this issue: a brief history of Red Hat prompted by the resignation of the company's co-founder Bob Young, a comment about the unusual Internet security guidelines published by a local government in the state of New York, and a few signs that our readers do love and appreciate DistroWatch. Happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in ogg (9.19MB) or mp3 (7.71MB) format (courtesy of Shawn Milo).
Join us at irc.freenode.net #distrowatch
Red Hat's founder resigns from Board of Directors
"Red Hat, the world's leading provider of open source to the enterprise, announced today that Bob Young, co-founder and former executive of Red Hat, has decided to resign from the Red Hat Board of Directors. Young, who founded the company in 1993, served as an executive at Red Hat until 1999. Since then he has been a member of Red Hat's Board of Directors. Young plans to focus on the growth of Lulu.com, an online independent publishing marketplace started in 2002."
The above was announced by Red Hat early last week.
Those who are new to Linux might be interested in a little bit of history. The origins of Red Hat date back to 1994 when Marc Ewing created a Linux distribution which he called Red Hat Linux. This was to be a revolutionary product, a distribution that meant to take on the then-dominant Slackware by introducing a proper package management system, known as RPM. Although hardly a panacea for the increasingly complex operating system integrating the kernel and hundreds of applications interdependent on hundreds of shared libraries, the new package format found much support among Linux developers. Thus, a more powerful way of managing software on a modern Linux distribution was born.
In 1995, Marc Ewing's company was bought by Bob Young's ACC Corporation (founded in 1993), a New York-based catalogue business selling Linux/UNIX software and accessories. Based on the above facts, it is generally accepted that Marc Ewing and Bob Young are the two original co-founders of Red Hat Software, a company that has since become the most recognisable brand name in the world of Linux distributions and the most successful business ever built on open source software.
The long history of Red Hat Linux releases started one fine Mother's Day (8 May) in 1995 with the release of version 1.0, code name "Mother's Day". Three more versions followed in quick succession and it wasn't until several years later that the company settled into a more predictable, semi-annual release cycle which continued largely unchanged until about March 2003. Red Hat Linux was a completely free product that quickly gained many supporters and users. By the turn of the century it was a market leader and the most popular Linux distribution not only in the USA, but also in many other countries around the world.
Despite its rapidly growing popularity, it took Red Hat several more years before the company succeeded in turning their enormous user base into a sustainable business model - by selling support, services and custom solutions based around a product called Red Hat Enterprise Linux. This happened in 2003 when the original free Red Hat Linux was discontinued and replaced with a (more or less) community-built and community-supported free distribution named Fedora Core. Four releases later, Fedora continues to fuel the development of Red Hat's enterprise products, with many innovative ideas that are often tested in Fedora before they are included in Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
So what exactly is Red Hat today? A multi-million dollar corporation with over 700 employees in over 20 offices world-wide and an annual revenue of some US$200 million. Despite some unpopular decisions, Red Hat remains a true open source business, with several well-known Linux developers on its payroll and dozens of vital utilities and applications all released under the GPL. It is hard to deny that Red Hat has made a huge contribution towards the success of Linux and open source software we are witnessing today. A truly amazing success story made possible by a young visionary and entrepreneur - Bob Young.
We hope Bob will enjoy as much success with Lulu.com as he did while building Red Hat, Inc!
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The Tompkins County (New York) Expert Guide to Internet Security
This is something that has left us so bewildered, we were not sure whether to laugh or to cry.
The picture on the right is a screenshot taken from the Information Technology Services page of the Tompkins County Government, state of New York, USA (we reproduce it here just in case this "gem" is removed in the future, but you can visit the said page here).
We don't believe there is any need to comment on the quality of this "expert" advice given by the county's authorities.
However, we do sympathise with all residents of Tompkins County. If your local government demonstrates the same level of competence in other areas of governance as it does in the information technology field, then... well, let's just say that we sincerely hope no natural or other disaster ever befalls on your part of the world!
Update: It seems that the Tompkins County IT services page has undergone some modifications since our story was published (have you guys been emailing them???). While Internet Explorer is still the only "supported" browser, the page no longer advises users to remove Firefox from their computers in order to "prevent virus infections".
|Featured Distribution of the Week: LG3D LiveCD
LG3D LiveCD 2.3
A 3D desktop on a 2D computer screen? Besides Big Linux, which was one of the first Linux distributions to offer this visually attractive method of manipulating application windows, the LG3D LiveCD is another contender offering some amazing eye candy on a dazzling desktop. Innovative, attractive and desperately buggy, the Java-based LG3D project uses Sun Microsystems' Looking Glass desktop to provide a highly entertaining working environment that showcases some of the new ideas and technologies that could potentially change the way we work on our computer desktops.
Your first reaction after booting into LG3D is likely to be that of awe. The panoramic background, 3D visualisation effects of the taskbar and windows, specialist 3D applications such as the background selector on the screenshot below - all these are likely to lead to several hours of exciting desktop entertainment. Granted, it takes some time to get used to the new way of interfacing with your workspace and applications, but once you find your rhythm, you can be almost as productive in Looking Glass as in KDE or GNOME.
Unfortunately, you will soon realise that all that eye candy and visual effects come at a price - in the form of heavy processor usage. Unless you have a modern 3D-enabled graphics card and a huge amount of memory, don't expect to work efficiently in Looking Glass; in our tests, even with the entire live CD loaded into memory of a powerful AMD64 3500+ system with 2 GB of RAM, the desktop was still sluggish, seemingly always on the verge of freezing. And indeed, it did freeze a few times, requiring a hard reboot. Despite that, using LG3D was a lot fun and we certainly enjoyed it while it lasted.
But what next? Looking through some of the public forums discussing LG3D, the most common trait of thought was along the lines, saying: "Yes, it's pretty and interesting, but what's it for? How can LG3D help me to complete my computing tasks or make me more efficient?"
Well, it can't, or not yet, anyway. At this stage of the development it is more like a proof of concept, a hobby project of a few developers at Sun Microsystems showing off the capabilities of Java. But if you let your imagination run wild, you might come up with some crazy ideas where the 3D desktop can be used efficiently - perhaps in education or in better visualisation of computer-controlled production systems. Throughout the history people have often come up with what looked like a silly idea at first, but some of these have turned out to be major inventions. Only time will tell whether the LG3D project will amount to anything more than just a live CD that you boot into once or twice, then throw into a drawer, never to be used again.
For more information about Looking Glass and the LG3D live CD, please visit the project's development pages at lg3d.dev.java.net.
LG3D LiveCD 2.3 - a SLAX-based live CD featuring the Looking Glass desktop 3D virtualisation technology
(full image size: 1,054kB; more screenshots at Tuxmachines.org)
|Released Last Week
MCNLive is a light-weight desktop-oriented live CD featuring the XFce desktop. The new MCNLive "Jordaan" is based on the very latest Mandriva Linux 2006. From the changelog: "security updates; updated to X.Org 6.9cvs20051011; updated AbiWord to 2.4 stable, added AbiWord import / export filters; urpmi sources: Mandriva 2006.0 official tree, PLF free / non-free 2006; ipw2200 firmware updated; added grip; final look & feel. Enjoy this XFce edition of MCNLive!" Find more information on the distribution's home page.
Pingo Linux 4.1
Pingo Linux is a Slovenian distribution based on Fedora Core, but enhanced with multimedia applications and codecs, and fully translated into Slovenian. Pingo Linux 4.1 was released a couple of days ago; this is mostly a bug fix release with several package upgrades (including Firefox 1.0.7, Mozilla 1.7.12 and OpenSSH 4.2p1), translation updates, and other minor enhancements. See the release announcement on the distribution's news page (in Slovenian) for additional details.
ROCK Linux Live CD rev6454
The developers of the source-based ROCK Linux distribution have released a new live CD - a desktop edition with KDE 3.4.3, built from the current development branch of ROCK Linux: "The ROCK Linux Live CD is a full-featured, desktop-oriented target designed to operate directly from CD. The current default package selection uses the 'minimal desktop' template, which incorporates a full KDE desktop and some other applications, like MPlayer, xine, etc. Of course this package selection can be altered to fit your needs. In the background, SquashFS is used, and generic write support is provided by the LD_PRELOAD libc wrapper 'shadowfs'." More details are available on the project's live CD page.
Coyote Linux Personal Firewall 3.00.19
Coyote Linux, a well-known floppy-based firewall distribution, has entered the world of hard disk firewalls with the first public release of Coyote Linux Personal Firewall: "Coyote Linux Personal Firewall 3.00 build 17 is available for download. This release is the first release of the new Coyote Linux 3.00 firewall product. This product has been split from the Wolverine Firewall and VPN code base but is licensed for Personal and Educational use ONLY. CLPF does not include support for VPN (PPTP/IPSEC) or 802.1q VLans. If you need support for these options, you can purchase a personal use license for Wolverine." See the release announcement for more information.
Troppix is a stand-alone Linux live CD based on Debian GNU/Linux, aimed at security professionals, penetration testers and auditors. In particular, Troppix features support for a wide range of wireless cards, and offers several tools for detecting and penetrating wireless networks. Troppix also includes several well known security tools, such as the nmap port scanner and the metasploit framework for vulnerability exploitation. The first stable release of Troppix, version 1.0, features kernel 126.96.36.199, together with a comprehensive collection of wireless, security, desktop, Internet, multimedia and office applications. Read the release announcement and visit the project's home page to learn more.
Ubuntu Linux 5.10 Server
The Ubuntu project has announced the release of a specialist server edition of Ubuntu Linux 5.10: "The Ubuntu team is proud to announce Ubuntu 5.10 Server, the first release of Ubuntu designed especially for server environments. Like the standard desktop Ubuntu, it occupies a single CD. However, it is distinguished by the following features: includes server-oriented kernels with out-of-the-box automatic support for multiprocessor systems; includes a wide variety of popular server applications; a slim default installation, occupying just 400 megabytes." The full release announcement.
LG3D LiveCD 2.3
LG3D LiveCD is an interesting project incorporating Sun Microsystems' Project Looking Glass - a Java-based technology that attempts to bring a richer user experience to the desktop and applications via 3D windowing and visualisation capabilities. The newly released version 2.3 is considered to be the project's first stable release. Based on SLAX "Popcorn", but enhanced with Firefox, Gaim, working NVIDIA graphics driver, and copy2ram support, the live CD boots directly into a great-looking 3D desktop with many interesting capabilities (see this document for hints to navigate the 3D workspace). The release announcement and other information can be found on the project's home page.
Rocks Cluster Distribution 4.1
Rocks Cluster Distribution 4.1 has been released: "Rocks v4.1 is released for i386, x86_64 and ia64 CPU architectures. New Features: the Avalanche Installer uses a BitTorrent tracker to support highly-scalable concurrent compute node installation; creation of the 'Rocks Foundation Class'; new blog-based front-end homepage. Enhancements: OS Roll based on CentOS release 4/update 2 and all updates as of October 18 2005; Updated SGE roll to SGE 6 update 6; 'rocks-mirror' modified to build Roll CD sets for any RPM repository; updated MyPhpAdmin to address security issues...." Read the rest of the release announcement for further details.
An updated version of PC-BSD has been released: "PC-BSD 0.8.3 was released today. This version offers some new visuals, new languages, as well as important bugfixes with systems that have had trouble booting after the install." From the changelog: "Added auto-run daemon for CDs; PC-BSD installer is now 1 CD, with optional 2nd CD for language packs; fixed major FDISK issue; added option to run GUI installation in 1024x768 mode; improved visuals with new default cursor / wallpaper scheme; fixed bug with 'cancel' not working when prompting for format during install; added a beta version of the PC-BSD command-line registry program; updated user-manager; added several new languages including Japanese, Ukrainian, and Chinese Traditional." The release announcement, release notes, changelog.
The grml live CD is a Debian-based distribution designed especially for users of text tools and system administrators, with a good collection of rescue and system analysis utilities. Version 0.5 was released on Sunday. The release notes provide a comprehensive listing of all changes; these include kernel 188.8.131.52, updated configuration files, new grml scripts and boot parameters, as well as several new features: "full automatic installation to hard disk; framework 'grml autoconfig': configure hardware detection; 'configuration framework': new boot parameters and scripts; integration of 'hotplug-light'; got rid of all Knoppix packages: this means you get a clean Debian unstable system with some additional packages available through the grml repository."
RR4 Linux 2.60.3
RR4 Linux (formerly known as Gentoo RR4) is a Gentoo-based live DVD with a large collection of applications, complemented by a graphical hard disk installation program from the Gentoo Installer project. An updated version 2.60.3 was released over the weekend: "Here we are, with this release, Gentoo RR4 becomes RR4 Linux or RR4 LiveDVD, but it's always the same - bleeding edge, most powerful Gentoo-based system on the globe. In this new release, I've made radical changes to the DVD boot loader, switching from the ever-problematic GRUB to the always-working ISOLINUX." Other updates include KDE 3.4.3, GNOME 2.12.1, OpenOffice.org 2.0rc2, localisations for KDE and OpenOffice.org, and a new Portage snapshot. Find more information in the release announcement and release notes (in PDF format).
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Development and unannounced releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
The NetBSD project has revised its estimated released dates of the development and final versions of NetBSD 3.0: "On behalf of NetBSD's release engineering team I would like to provide you with an update on our current estimated timelines for the NetBSD 3.0 release. The release had to be postponed because of necessary security fixes and the following problem reports which are potential showstoppers...." Read the full announcement here. The first release candidate of NetBSD 3.0 is now expected on 12 November, with two more release candidate following in weekly intervals. The estimated date of the final release has not been announced.
Turbolinux, the oldest and one of the most successful Asian Linux company, has announced the upcoming release of Turbolinux 11: "Turbolinux, Inc. today announced the highly-anticipated release of Turbolinux FUJI Version 11. FUJI is the successor to Turbolinux 10 Desktop (10D), a core Turbolinux desktop product released in October 2003. Designed primarily for the Japanese Linux market, the new FUJI system augments the Windows compatibility features first introduced in 10D, and offers a desktop computing environment with optimized applications, as well as outstanding safety and stability." The Japanese edition of the product is scheduled to start shipping in late November, while an international edition is expected in Q1 2006. See the full press release for further information. Here is a screenshot of the new product.
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Summary of expected upcoming releases
|Web Site News
New distribution additions|
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New on the waiting list
- Kirux Kuadra Enterprise Server. Kirux Kuadra Enterprise Server is a powerful and dynamic, all-in-one server platform for small to medium size businesses. The system features an easy-to-use web based Server Administration Panel and requires little or no IT expertise to administer the server.
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DistroWatch database summary
|DistroWatch in the News
Linux Journal readers, PC Magazine editors hail DistroWatch|
It is always a pleasure to learn that the work we put into DistroWatch is appreciated by our readers.
The November 2005 issue of Linux Journal published the results of the magazine's annual Reader's Choice Award. We are very pleased to report that in the category "Favourite Linux Web Site" DistroWatch.com was ranked second - right behind Slashdot.com and ahead of LinuxJournal.com and LWN.net. This is a particularly exciting result, especially because we never encouraged our readers to vote in the poll; in fact, we have never even mentioned the poll's existence on these pages. Many thanks to all who voted for us!
* * * * *
Knowing that the readers of a specialist Linux publication appreciate this site gave us a warm, fuzzy feeling, but imagine our surprise when we learnt that even a more general computing magazine has kind words to say about DistroWatch:
"If you love Linux, you'll love this site. You'll find a wealth of information about Linux distributions, features, reviews, and packages. Don't miss the DistroWatch Weekly, an update of what happened that week in the Linux world."
The above comes from none other than the venerable PC Magazine, or more precisely from its Fall 2005 Top 101 Web Sites feature. Did the endorsement succeed in getting a few more computer users to try Linux? We certainly hope so....
* * * * *
And while on the subject of self-praise, a quote from an email sent to us recently by a reader from Germany:
"I've come a long way from starting a career as a (useless) Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer. Looking back, I can't understand how I could endure such slavery for so long. The existence of Open Source software and DistroWatch.com have helped me tremendously in making the right decisions and break free.
My life has changed completely - I *did* rediscover fun in work, and I've won a new future for myself and my family, new friends, new ways of thinking, new solutions, an open culture, the whole paradigm. I'd like to say much more, but I don't want to waste your time. Let me just say a big 'Thank you', Mr. Bodnar, and please keep up this excellent work. It is so essential for so many people in this critical phase of computing history."
Thank you, Konstantin, we couldn't have said it better ourselves!
And with this we'll say good-bye until next Monday. We hope you've enjoyed this issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
|• Issue 569 (2014-07-28): Deepin 2014, Ask Fedora, Gentoo and LibreSSL, encrypted package downloads|
|• Issue 568 (2014-07-21): Antergos 2014.06.24, Mint based on Debian stable, upgrading CentOS, BinaryTides|
|• Issue 567 (2014-07-14): Manjaro 0.8.10, PC-BSD jails, Debian and glibc, Fedora's DNF, Xiki and Opera 24|
|• Issue 566 (2014-07-07): LXLE 14.04, OpenBSD's SimpleDE, openSUSE artwork, home security basics|
|• Issue 565 (2014-06-30): Chakra 2014.05, Fedora on BeagleBone, Matthew Miller interview, e-book readers|
|• Issue 564 (2014-06-23): Antergos 2014.05.26 and Q4OS 0.5.11, Debian LTS and glibc, Fedora DNF|
|• Issue 563 (2014-06-16): Mint 17, CentOS 7 pre-release, Debian MATE, accessing encrypted content|
|• Issue 562 (2014-06-09): GoboLinux 015, Gentoo interview, Fedora leader change, climagic tricks|
|• Issue 561 (2014-06-02): OpenMandriva 2014.0, Debian GNU/Hurd, Lubuntu and LXQt, Final Term, TrueCrypt|
|• Issue 560 (2014-05-26): KaOS 2014.04, Wayland and KDE 5 on Fedora, distros with commercial support, DenyHosts|
|• Issue 559 (2014-05-19): VortexBox 2.3, LTS-only Linux Mint, FreeBSD 11 ambitions, KDE 5 beta|
|• Issue 558 (2014-05-12): RHEL 7 Workstation impressions, LXQt and Lumina, Haiku interview|
|• Issue 557 (2014-05-05): Xubuntu 14.04, Ubuntu 14.10 roadmap, Fedora Workstation, ownCloud|
|• Issue 556 (2014-04-28): Ubuntu 14.04, LibreSSL, Lumina desktop, Deepin interview|
|• 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|
|• Full list of all issues|