| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 138, 13 February 2006
Welcome to this year's 7th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Xgl. The "word" has surely entered the consciousness of many Linux users who, thanks to Novell's enhancements dramatically unveiled last week, can look forward to an exciting new world on their Linux desktops later this year. Naturally, SUSE Linux is likely to be the first one to integrate the new features into their upcoming release, although expect some delays from the original schedule. In other news: Mandriva's CEO describes his working day, the developers of MEPIS consider switching their base to Ubuntu, Gentoo gets an updated Portage tool, and Slackware moves closer to version 11.0 with one massive update. The latest release of Mockup, a Debian-based distribution built with Qt 4, is the feature of our "first look" series. Happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in ogg (4.87MB) or mp3 (5.78MB) format (courtesy of Shawn Milo).
Join us at irc.freenode.net #distrowatch
Miscellaneous news: Xgl, SUSE 10.1 delays, François Bancilhon interview, future of MEPIS, Kuroo, Slackware 11.0, VectorLinux review
The most exciting news of the past week was the press release by Novell in which the networking giant announced that it had released "enhancements to the Xgl (X over OpenGL) graphics subsystem". The announcement was soon followed by a description of the new features, together with videos to demonstrate the concepts. This has naturally generated much excitement in the Linux community and several distributions have hinted that they plan to integrate the new code into their upcoming releases. Beta testers of SUSE Linux 10.1 can try it out by following these instructions (the new code should be fully integrated into the distribution in beta4). Ubuntu Dapper testers can also get an early preview of the new technology by applying these steps, while more adventurous Gentoo users should read this blog entry. Of course, if you don't feel like experimenting with you system, you can always wait for your distribution's next stable release, by which time the new features will be well-tested and (hopefully) debugged. Interesting times ahead!
Partly as a result of the above news, the openSUSE project has announced major changes and delays in the development of the upcoming SUSE Linux 10.1. The beta4, originally scheduled for last week, has been delayed by an extra week, which will be followed by beta5 on February 23rd. The testing procedure might undergo further modifications before the final release. Besides Xgl, there will be several other significant changes before the release of beta4 - non-GPL kernel modules will be removed, the Fontconfig bug from beta3 will be fixed, and the SUSE package manager will undergo a major update.
Mandriva Club has published an interview with François Bancilhon, the CEO of Mandriva. With the increasing competition between distributions, we found it interesting to note Bancilhon's response to a question about "the threat of Ubuntu". At first, Mandriva's CEO dismissed the African project with: "Three years ago I got a lot of calls about Knoppix, two years ago, I got a lot of calls about Gentoo and so on. Right now, the new 'in thing' is Ubuntu." Later, however, he expressed his underlying fear of Ubuntu a bit more bluntly: "One possible worse case scenario is that Ubuntu's plan is to use money to put all other community-based distros out of business and then start monetizing the installed base." A rather harsh comments, we thought. After all, not everybody likes Ubuntu and there are many people who clearly prefer other, well established distributions with more mature administration tools and better internationalisation features. Overall, though, an interesting interview, certainly worth a read.
Following the new release of SimplyMEPIS last week, Warren Woodford, the distribution's founder and lead developer spoke to NewsForge about some of the issues affecting the production of the new version. Apparently, the frustrating delays were caused by a rapidly changing Debian "etch" branch: "It's taking up all my time, fighting the 'etch' pool.... We've had a lot of trouble, because the Debian community has become so active, it's been difficult to get this out, so I'm looking at alternatives to getting out stable releases." Although the final decision has not been made, Ubuntu has been suggested as a possible alternative for future SimplyMEPIS releases to be based on: "I'm not committed 100 percent to Ubuntu yet, I'm looking at Ubuntu.... I need to vet it before I can say that absolutely." Woodford also touches on the subject of support for the AMD64 processors and comments on the sensitive issue of releasing MEPIS utilities under the GPL.
If you are a Gentoo user, but would prefer a graphical application for Portage, the distribution's venerable package management tool, you might consider giving Kuroo a try. This KDE-based front-end for compiling software on the popular source-based distribution has undergone dramatic enhancements in recent weeks. Based on usability studies and user feedback, the newly released version 0.80beta1 is not only much more intuitive than its predecessor, its user interface has been beautified and it also sports a handful of interesting enhancements, such as the new powerful filtering mechanism. More information and screenshots can be found in this blog entry by Florian Grässle.
After a brief hiatus following the birth of Patrick Volkerding's first child, the Slackware current changelog received a large number of updates during the past week. Much of the base system, including Automake (1.9.6), Berkeley DB (4.4.20), Bison (2.1), Coreutils (5.93), and Perl (5.8.8), have been upgraded to the latest stable versions and many other applications have also been brought up-to-date. The graphical subsystem too was given a major shake up with KDE and XFce, together with Firefox, Gaim, GIMP a number of smaller applications synchronised with the latest upstream releases. In the testing directory, the Linux kernel was upgraded to version 220.127.116.11, while SeaMonkey, which made its tentative appearance here for the first time, is likely to replace the Mozilla suite in the near future. Detailed information, including a comment about "preparation for a .0 release", can be found in the latest Slackware changelog.
Finally, a link to a new review of the recently released VectorLinux 5.1.1 Deluxe, as published by Mad Penguin: "I introduce to you VectorLinux. No, it's not new. It's not revolutionary. What it is is a derivative of Slackware Linux that has been optimized to run beautifully on any PC new or old, and with a most excellent compliment of included applications. All of this on two CDs. VectorLinux is, without a doubt, the single most impressive redistribution of Slackware available. Why? Because it retains Slackware's ease of use and overall feel, but adds a nice performance boost and extra applications to the package. In other words, VectorLinux has the Slackware mojo... and then some." The full review.
|First Look: Mockup 0.2.0
First Look: Mockup 0.2.0
What is Mockup? Just one more distribution for the DistroWatch database or the beginning of an exciting project that could bring more users to desktop Linux? The description on the distribution's home page is somewhat vague to come to an objective conclusion and the development has barely taken off the ground to pass a judgement. But if our mailbox is anything to go by, Mockup has already generated some early interest among the DistroWatch readers so perhaps there is hope that the initial shy steps will turn into a major project with a significant user base.
But let's start at the beginning. Mockup first rose into prominence after an interview with Pier Luigi Fiorini, the distribution's lead developer, who explained the purpose of the new project. Firstly, the Mockup desktop will be written in Qt 4.x, with an attempt to create a system that is integrated and logical (criteria that are, according to Fiorini, missing from both GNOME and KDE, which he considers "slow, bloated and not usable"). Secondly, users will not be given a choice of software - there will be just one application per task, all carefully chosen by the Mockup development team.
Based on the interview, it seems that Mockup is another attempt to create a user-friendly desktop distribution targeted at non-technical users. It's obvious that some of the ideas were inspired by Mac OS, an operating system Fiorini mentions several times throughout his replies. With further emphasis on solid multimedia support, intuitive software addition and removal, and desktop eye candy (e.g. translucency and drop shadows, if supported by the graphics card), Mockup has a promising future. So how far has it come since its initial announcement some 12 months ago?
We downloaded the just released version 0.2.0 to check it out. The release announcement warned that the new product lacked a hard disk installer so it could only be used as a live CD. It booted fast in a framebuffer mode, before spitting out a bunch of error message while attempting to start the X server. Nevertheless, logging in as root and typing 'startx' brought up the graphical subsystem just fine and we were soon looking at an arty background image gracing the KDE 3.5.0 desktop.
At first sight, the only unusual feature of the desktop was a Mac OS-style context menu on the top of the screen. This changes depending on which of the open applications has the focus and provides access to that application's menus. Of course, this is a feature of KDE that can be enabled in the Control Centre. Other than that, Mockup 0.2.0 seems to provide little beyond a standard KDE desktop and collection of KDE applications, including the latest KOffice.
Having spent an afternoon with the live CD, it became obvious that the developers' main focus at this stage is to get the basic OS infrastructure ready - this includes the live CD functionality with Unionfs and hardware detection (which, incidentally, was flawless on our test system). Although the project has made a dramatic progress since version 0.1.0, the Mockup desktop doesn't offer anything remarkably new and its goal of providing "a coherent and integrated desktop environment", whatever that means, is still some distance away.
The project's web site at Mockup.org has been down for much of today (Monday). Rest assured, though, that if you had wanted to download the new release, but had been unable access the ISO file, you didn't miss much. Perhaps 0.3 will provide more answers about the distribution's directions?
Mockup combines Debian and Qt 4 to create a distributions with ambitious goals
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|Released Last Week
The GoblinX project has released GoblinX Premium 2006.1. Unlike the Slackware-based distribution's previous versions, no downloadable ISO images are available this time, but experienced Linux users can build the complete ISO from modules by following the instructions in the latest GoblinX newsletter. Alternatively, the product can also be obtained from On-disk.com for US$9.99. GoblinX 2006.1 comes with kernel 2.6.15, X.Org 6.8.2, KDE 3.4.2, XFce 4.2.2, and Firefox 1.5, while the premium edition also includes Java and proprietary graphics drivers from ATI and NVIDIA. For more information please see the distribution's product page.
Damn Small Linux 2.2
Damn Small Linux 2.2 has been released. From the changelog: "Updated dmix - added sync button for easy volume control; updated Wallpaper.lua now has color chooser for background color; updated pcitable to correctly support Broadcom b44 module; new extension check upon exit, will remind user to save extensions downloaded to ramdisk before shutdown; updated French keymaps; for maximum hardware support on older computers, kernel and modules were changed back to 2.4.26 including legacy SCSI and ZIP drive support; Calcoo replaces Xcalc; updated and enhanced index.html for Money websever; USB 2.0 boot time detection added to isolinux version...."
Parsix GNU/Linux 0.76
Parsix GNU/Linux has been updated to version 0.76: "To celebrate first anniversary of the Parsix GNU/Linux project, an updated, fixed and improved version of Parsix GNU/Linux is available now. Important changes since 0.75 are: added many WLAN drivers to all kernels; added sl-modem and ltmodem drivers to all kernels; Ndiswrapper 1.8 support; added English starter guide; added support for many locales like de, fr, it; added Firestarter personal firewall; removed Evolution to make more space on the CD-ROM for new documents; Linux 18.104.22.168, GNOME 2.12.2, X.Org 6.9, OpenOffice.org 2.0.1...." The release announcement.
EnGarde Secure Linux 3.0.4
Guardian Digital has released an updated version of EnGarde Secure Linux, Community edition: "Guardian Digital is happy to announce the release of EnGarde Secure Community 3.0.4. This release includes several bug fixes and feature enhancements to the Guardian Digital WebTool and the SELinux policy, and several new packages available for installation. New features include: a new GDSN package management interface in WebTool; a new Spanish translation of the Guardian Digital WebTool; new Guardian Digital WebTool modules for DHCP and UPS services...." Here is the release announcement.
Arudius is a Slackware-based live CD distribution containing an extensive set of software tools used by IT security professionals for penetration testing and vulnerability analysis. Version 0.5 has been released: "Arudius 0.5 released! This release features the addition of some novel security tools - tools for passive network discovery by analyzing broadcast traffic, very fast SMB password cracking tool and a UPnP device discovery tool analyzing M-SEARCH packets, to mention a few among others." Visit the project's home page to read the release announcement and to learn more about the distribution.
Guadalinex 3.0 has been released. Guadalinex is an Ubuntu-based distribution developed by the government of Andalucía in Spain and designed to replace proprietary operating systems in government institutions and schools. According to the release announcement (in Spanish) the latest version comes with an improved hard disk installer, permitting installation of the operating system directly from the live CD; default setup of a separate /home partition; improved hardware detection; kernel 2.6.12, GNOME 2.12. Evolution 2.4, OpenOffice.org 2.0; wizards for network configuration, including Ethernet, WiFi, modem and ADSL; and the usual range of open source software.
After a long wait, SimplyMEPIS 3.4-3 is declared stable: "SimplyMEPIS, version 3.4-3 is finally released. Any further changes will be made available as updates from the MEPIS pool. Look for 3.4-3 in the released subdirectory at the MEPIS Subscriber's Site and public mirrors. The over 900 packages preinstalled in SimplyMEPIS 3.4-3 include X.Org 6.8, KDE 3.4.3, OpenOffice 2.0.1, Firefox 1.5, and a 2.6.15 kernel. As usual, SimplyMEPIS is multimedia-ready with integrated players for all major media types. For example, MAC and PC iPods should work seamlessly with Amarok." Read the complete press release for further information.
MoLinux 2.0 Live
A live CD edition of MoLinux 2.0 has been released. The most important enhancement of the new product is the incorporation of "Ubuntu-express", a graphical hard disk installation program developed in cooperation with the Guadalinex project. The installer also includes a partitioning program (GParted), enabling users to resize existing partitions and make space for MoLinux. Additionally, the new release comes with several feature enhancements and bug fixes. For more information please read the release announcement on the distribution's home page (in Spanish).
Dreamlinux 1.0 STUDIO
Dreamlinux is a Brazilian Linux distribution based on Morphix and the XFce desktop. The newly released STUDIO edition, available in English and Portuguese, is built on top of the earlier 1.2.1 XFce release, but ships with extra application for audio, video and web design, including Audacity, Avidemux, Blender, Cinelerra, and Nvu, among many others. The product functions as a bootable live CD with an optional hard disk installation module, as well as a Morphix Control Panel for easy modification of system settings. For more information about about Dreamlinux please visit the project's home page (in Portuguese) and read the latest changelog.
AUSTRUMI 1.1.0 has been released. From the changelog: "Added AUSTRUMI live CD remastering tool with GUI; added 3 themes; added Linux DC++ - P2P network direct connect client; added QEMU - processor emulator; added Sweep - audio editor and live playback tool; added vqcc-gtk - quickChat and Vypress Chat; updated AbiWord, Firefox, Linphone, Nmap, rxvt, tar, XChat, X.Org, unrar; removed PostgreSQL, added MySQL; removed Gspoof added Ant; removed Pavuk, Dillo, wget; updated kernel (2.6.14); added Marvel-Yukon ethernet support."
AUSTRUMI - a superfast mini-distribution featuring the Openbox window manager
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Grafpup Linux 1.0.2
After two release candidates, Grafpup Linux 1.0.2 final has been released: "Grafpup Standard 1.0.2 is officially released and available on the server. There is an extensive list of changes and upgrades in this release: GIMP has been updated to 2.2.10, with extra plugins for RAW decoding and CMYK conversion; Inkscape is updated to 0.43; Scribus is now 1.2.4; MtPaint is now 2.29.30; Gaim is now 1.5.0; Xarchive replaces guiTAR; Xlock screen locker; Visual improvements including new wallpaper, splash screen, icons, menu improvements, less desktop clutter; other tweaks i.e. Opera now uses ROX as the default file handler...." See the release announcement for further details.
Magic Linux 2.0
Magic Linux 2.0 has been released. Compared to the previous stable version of this popular Chinese community distribution, the most important new features in version 2.0 include the following: 'devfs' has been replaced by 'udev', 'hal' and 'dbus' for improved auto-mounting of external storage devices; better hardware compatibility, which solves some of the problems reported after the release of 1.2; beautification of the KDE user interface, improved device management, now integrated into the Magic Control Centre; updated system installer; addition of new applications (e.g. Eva IM client, BitStorm Lite); bug fixes. More details can be found in the release announcement (in Chinese).
* * * * *
Development and unannounced releases
- rPath Linux 0.99.6, the release announcement
- VectorLinux 5.1-beta (Standard Live), the release announcement
- FreeBSD 6.1-BETA1 and 5.5-BETA1, the release announcement
- Lunar Linux 1.6.0-rc3, the release announcement
- Elive 0.4-pre, the release announcement
- SUSE Linux 10.1-beta3, the release announcement
- SME Server 7.0-pre2, the release announcement
- Ark Linux 2006.1-snapshot, the release announcement
- Mockup 0.2.0, the release announcement
- Wolvix 1.0.4-beta2 (Media edition), the release announcement
- Haansoft Linux 2006-rc1
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to the waiting list|
- IPFire. IPFire is a German firewall distribution based on IPCop.
- Plusiaczek Linux. Plusiaczek Linux (which roughly translates to "fluffy" in English) is an i686-optimised live CD based on Gentoo Linux and designed as a general purpose distribution for Polish Linux users. It ships with KDE 3.5.1, packing only what the author considers its most useful applications, and a set of others like Wine, K3b, KOffice, Scribus, Frozen Bubble, PHP, MySQL, PostgreSQL and XFce.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
That's all for today. The next issue of DistroWatch Weekly will be published on Monday, 20 February 2006. See you then :-)
|• 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|