| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 164, 14 August 2006
Welcome to this year's 33rd issue of DistroWatch Weekly! The openSUSE project celebrated its first year in existence last week and it has a lot to be proud of: two great releases, many new users and a solid base for Novell's enterprise products. In the meanwhile, the founder of Gentoo Linux Daniel Robbins is once again working on his old project, while the creator of Mandrake Linux Gaël Duval keeps on hacking on the mysterious Ulteo distribution. But not all is good news this week - we are sad to say good-bye to Shawn Milo and the podcast edition of DistroWatch Weekly. Finally, if you live in Central America, don't miss the statistical table summarising visits to DistroWatch from your region. Happy reading!
- News: openSUSE birthday, Robbins returns to Gentoo, Ulteo update, Debian vs Ubuntu, new BSD live systems
- Statistics: DistroWatch in Central America
- Released last week: Ubuntu 6.06.1, Freespire 1.0
- Upcoming releases: Foresight Linux 1.0
- Site updates: End of podcast, discontinued distributions
- New distributions: AegaenLinux, epiOS, MidnightBSD, Quetzal, RoFreeSBIE
- Reader comments
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG format (5.0MB)
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in MP3 format (6.1MB)
(The Podcast edition is provided by Shawn Milo.)
Join us at irc.freenode.net #distrowatch
openSUSE birthday, Robbins returns to Gentoo, Ulteo update, Debian vs Ubuntu, new BSD live systems
Last week the openSUSE Project, established in early August 2005, celebrated its first year in existence. For the first time since the early days of SuSE Linux, the general public was invited to contribute code, create sub-projects and beta test the popular Linux distribution. The result was spectacular: the project has since produced two stable releases (versions 10.0 and 10.1) and is now alpha testing openSUSE 10.2. The fruit of this labour is also used by Novell's other major Linux products - SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop and Server SLED/SLES, which some believe to be breakthrough releases likely to be adopted by a substantial number of enterprises. Many of the utilities that Novell has built during this time were also released under the General Public License. In short, the first year of the openSUSE Project was a resounding success. Congratulations to all involved and many happy returns!
* * * * *
Guess who is back working on Gentoo Linux again? Yes, it's Daniel Robbins, the founder and former project leader of the world's most popular source-based distribution. In a recent web log entry he had this to say about his current involvement in Gentoo: "Working on Gentoo again? Eek! Solar has requested that I look into adding 'pre-defined grub.conf' support to the grub ebuilds. I hope to look into adding this to the grub ebuilds, probably modeled after the USE="savedconfig" in the busybox ebuild. That should be fun. I'm going to look into this over the next couple of days." Also don't miss Robbins's earlier post where he talks about his former job at Microsoft's Linux Lab - an interesting read.
* * * * *
Speaking about well-known distribution developers, mystery continues to cloud Ulteo, a new project developed by the founder of Mandrake Linux Gaël Duval. With the promised first beta release, originally due in May, nowhere in sight, some might be wondering whether this supposedly revolutionary distribution is, in fact, vapourware. Not so, says Duval in an Ulteo forum post: "It's a bit frustrating because I wished we would have been able to publish something before summer. But in the end, this extra wait is certainly a very good thing." While he is still reluctant to disclose any details about the project, he has confirmed his earlier assertion about the goals of Ulteo: "Don's expect Ulteo to be different on the installation side, or on the desktop side (at least at the beginning). What we bring is more 'network oriented'." Read the brief interview on this page (scroll down for the English translation).
* * * * *
What's the difference between, Ubuntu and Debian GNU/Linux? One way of looking at the two projects is comparing them in terms of "newest software". Lucas Nussbaum has done just that - he counted the number of packages in Ubuntu "Dapper Drake", Debian "sid" and Debian "etch", and compared their versions. Interestingly, Debian's testing branch seems to be more up-to-date than Ubuntu's latest stable release and was more up-to-date even at the time of the release of Ubuntu 6.06. While not particularly meaningful, these figures are certainly interesting as they give an indication of the current status of Debian's much awaited "etch" release. But will Debian still win the "battle" after "etch" gets frozen and stops receiving package updates? It will be interesting to revisit the comparison once Ubuntu's next stable version hits the mirrors....
* * * * *
The world of open source software has had a fair share of fights over the years (Emacs vs Vim, KDE vs GNOME, LILO vs GRUB), but what about the different Linux file systems? Those readers with interest in the subject might find it interesting to note that no fewer than four well-known Debian developers came out against using XFS during the past week. Martin Krafft: "I am through with XFS, once and for all. I still think it's a good filesystem when you can ensure that the power never goes, and your hardware is reliable, but it's just not adequate for laptops or even desktops." Julien Danjou: "I regularly spite on XFS, and I am quite amused that more than 2 years later, XFS is still totally crap!" Gunnar Wolf: "About to say goodbye to XFS as well." Erich Schubert: "I'm going to join madduck, Gunnar Wolf and Julien with their negative experiences with XFS." Coincidence? Or is XFS starting to get a really bad reputation among hard-core Linux developers?
* * * * *
Plenty of interesting activity on the BSD front. Two new BSD-based live CDs were built in recent weeks: a Mexican project called Quetzal has developed a new OpenBSD-based live CD booting into WindowMaker or XFce, while the Romanian RoFreeSBIE is the first FreeBSD-based live DVD and one of the easiest ways to install a fully-configured FreeBSD desktop system on your computer. In the meantime, another new, desktop-oriented FreeBSD project has been launched; it's called MidnightBSD and its goal is to create an easy-to-use FreeBSD system with graphical configuration tools and an intuitive window manager. Finally, a new web site containing details about OpenBSD ports was unveiled last week at ports.OpenBSD.nu. On this site you can browse ports, search for ports, get RSS feeds and add them to your ports tracker to receive email notifications about port updates.
RoFreeSBIE 1.2 - the first FreeBSD-based live DVD.
(full image size: 1,009kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
* * * * *
A new version of grml was released late last weekend. If you've never heard of the distribution, don't be put off by the unattractive name - some believe that this is one of the hidden gems of the Linux distribution world. From a recent review by NewsForge: "You won't find this gem in the top 100 at DistroWatch, but if you ask me, it works better than all the usual names. The project says it's for 'users of texttools and system administrators,' but grml actually offers more. It's Linux that 'just works.' My users are not geeks, but grml makes all our lives easy." What makes this project particularly exciting is the abundance of excellent scripts to accomplish many common tasks with minimum of fuss. Besides the software available on the (installable) live CD, grml also maintains its own repository of useful Debian packages, including proprietary graphics drivers and other popular tools. Lightweight, fast, with several unusual window managers, grml is certainly worth a closer look, even if you are not a real "sysadmin."
The new grml 0.8 with the Pek window manager.
(full image size: 1,085kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
* * * * *
Finally, a quick reminder about why news about certain distribution releases don't appear on the front page of DistroWatch. Last week, this site was accused of ignoring release announcements by Aurox Linux, a Fedora-based distribution created by a Polish publishing house, due to the commercial nature of the project. This is not the case. Although the Aurox team has emailed us the release announcement, they have failed to publish the same on their own web site. As has been our policy for several years, we will only publish release announcements that have already appeared on the distribution's own web site, stating clearly that a certain version has been released and marked with a release date. If you are interested in Aurox Linux 12.0, you can download a release candidate from this FTP server.
On a related note, the publishers of Aurox have launched a new site that attempts to rank Linux distributions based on readers' votes on a scale from 1 to 10. It is called DistroRankings.com and it allows you to submit votes for various distributions to influence their ranking.
DistroWatch in Central America
Our commentary summarising the state of Linux in the South Pacific last week has attracted some interesting feedback and many readers emailed us to ask for further DistroWatch access statistics from other regions of the world. As a result, we will publish similar figures in the future, starting today with Central America. The table below lists all countries and territories in the region, with the "Index" column representing the number of visits per month per 1 million inhabitants during the period from January to July 2006.
Although in absolute terms it was Mexico that provided DistroWatch with most visitors (a total of 92,430 visitors came from Mexican IP addresses during the first 7 months of this year), in terms of "per capita" visits, the Dutch territory of Aruba came at number one, with Antigua and Barbuda following closely behind. The only country whose residents never visited DistroWatch during this period was Turks and Caicos. For reference, USA has an index of 3,002, Canada 3,800 and Finland, the world's highest ranked country in terms of "per capita visits", 6,388.
||Antigua and Barbuda (AG)
||Puerto Rico (PR)
||Netherlands Antilles (AN)
||Trinidad and Tobago (TT)
||Costa Rica (CR)
||Saint Lucia (LC)
||Cayman Islands (KY)
||Saint Kitts and Nevis (KN)
||Dominican Republic (DO)
||US Virgin Islands (VI)
||El Salvador (SV)
||Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (VC)
||British Virgin Islands (VG)
||Turks and Caicos (TC)
As always, please don't take these figures too seriously. They are simply provided as an indicator of interest in DistroWatch (and, by extension, in Linux and other open source software) in various countries, but they certainly don't represent physical installations or distribution downloads.
|Released Last Week
K12LTSP Linux 5.0.0
Eric Harrison has announced immediate availability of K12LTSP Linux 5.0.0, a Fedora-based distribution designed for terminal servers and diskless clients: "K12LTSP version 5.0 is now available for your downloading pleasure. K12LTSP 5.0 is based on Fedora Core 5, which includes all sorts of new stuff. Of primary interest to K12LTSP users: this release of Fedora includes Mono support for the first time, and Mono applications such as Beagle, F-Spot and Tomboy; there is dramatically improved internationalization support with SCIM." Read the rest of the release announcement for further details.
Kendall Dawson has announced the release of Freespire 1.0 final, some three weeks ahead of schedule: "Freespire version 1.0 (build 13) is now available for download. A few minor release notes: enabled selection of file system type in installer; bug fixes for ISP connection tools; Freespire KDE theme fixes; numerous fixes to Lmail and Lbrowser. To report a bug please see this page in the wiki. Enjoy!" Here is the complete release announcement.
A new stable version of Knoppel, which is essentially a Greek variant of the popular KNOPPIX live CD, has been released. Version 0.7 is based on KNOPPIX 5.0.1 with kernel 188.8.131.52, X.Org 7.0 and KDE 3.5.3 and OpenOffice.org 2.0.3 (with an updated spell-checking tool). It also includes support for RAID controllers, udev for automatic recognition of external storage devices, NTFS read/write support (experimental), and new drivers for wireless cards and internal modems. For more information please see the full release announcement (in Greek).
PCLinuxOS 0.93 "Junior"
The developers of PCLinuxOS have announced the availability of a new edition of the popular beginner-friendly Linux distribution: "PCLinuxOS 0.93a Junior is a self booting Live CD with advanced hardware detection. In addition to running Junior in Live CD mode, you can also install it to your computer. Easy to follow instructions are included on the Live CD as well as a chat channel for instant help. Junior comes with a set of pre-selected programs for web browsing, email, instant messaging, blogging, IRC chat, music, graphics, video, digital camera, games, FTP, BitTorrent transfer, CD/DVD burning and more." More details in the release announcement.
An updated release of Nonux is now available for download. The new version of the Slackware-based distribution and live CD (with Dropline GNOME) designed for office use in Dutch-speaking business environments comes with an updated Linux kernel 184.108.40.206, Dropline GNOME 2.14.3, Evolution 2.6.3 and Mozilla Firefox 220.127.116.11. Other upgraded packages include Cairo, Liferea, OpenLDAP, Samba and xine. Visit the project's news page (in Dutch) to learn more about the changes in this release.
Colin Watson has announced the release of Ubuntu 6.06.1, an updated version of Ubuntu with more than 300 bug and security fixes over the original "Dapper Drake": "The Ubuntu team is proud to announce the release of Ubuntu 6.06.1 LTS, the first maintenance release of 'Dapper Drake'. This release includes both installable Desktop CDs and alternate text-mode installation CDs for several architectures, for Ubuntu, Kubuntu and Edubuntu. Xubuntu is also included, although commercial support for it is not available from Canonical Ltd." Full details about the fixes can be found in the release announcement.
Rocks Cluster Distribution 4.2
Rocks Cluster Distribution 4.2, code name "Hallasan", has been released: "Rocks v4.2 is released for i386 and x86_64 CPU architectures. This release supports latest multi-core CPUs from AMD and Intel (a.k.a., Woodcrest)." Among the many new features and enhancements are: several new tools for Bioinformatics computation; graphical installer; restore roll for saving and restoring user account and cluster node information; based on CentOS 4.3 and all updates as of August 6; updated SGE roll to SGE 6 update 8; many bug fixes. Read the full release announcement for further information.
Linux From Scratch 6.2
Linux From Scratch 6.2 has been released: "The Linux From Scratch community is pleased to announce the release of LFS Version 6.2. This release includes a large number of package upgrades (including Linux 18.104.22.168, GCC 4.0.3, glibc 2.3.6) and security fixes. It also includes a large amount of editorial work on the explanatory material throughout the book, improving both the clarity and accuracy of the text. You can read the book online, or download to read locally." Read the full announcement on the project's news page. Besides the book that teaches the basics of Linux, the developers of LFS have also released a new live CD.
GParted Live CD 0.2.5-5
An updated version of GParted LiveCD is now available: "Minor update to fix some problems in the new video card detection. Some cards were given the wrong driver and starting X was not possible without manually editing the xorg.conf file. If X fails to start use the 'manual video card' option in the boot menu. This reverts the system back to the behavior of 0.2.5-3 for video card selecting. I added a screen shot program for reporting bugs. The 'Boot failure: Unknown keyword in config file' is fixed." Here are the complete release notes.
Michael Prokop has announced the release of grml 0.8, a Debian-based live CD for users of text tools and system administrators: "grml 0.8, codename 'Funkenzutzler', is available." The long list of new features include: "install-packages-useful: a script which installs useful software on your grml system; grml-resolution: change X resolution via a simple menu frontend; updated to X.org 7.0; switched from Kaffe to Jikes and JamVM; added window managers fvwm-crystal and dwm; setup of files in /boot/grub/ to be able to install grub...." Read the rest of the release announcement for a complete list of changes and updates.
* * * * *
Development and unannounced releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Foresight Linux 1.0
Ken VanDine has published a development roadmap leading towards the release of Foresight Linux 1.0 on the 9th September, just three days after the final release of GNOME 2.16: "We have started really working toward the 1.0 release scheduled for September 6th. So what does the road look like? Couple big things, GNOME 2.16, Xorg 7, Conary 1.1, and a more structured release management process. Anyone that watches the commits mailing list can see that I was a busy bee this weekend. All of GNOME 2.16 Beta 1 is committed and cooked on our new development label. I also created all the troves (and cooked them) on the new devel label. And the big thing, X.Org 7, all the sources are committed." See the project leader's web log for more information.
Summary of expected upcoming releases
End of DistroWatch Podcast|
Sad news for all our visitors who enjoyed to the podcast edition of DistroWatch Weekly. Shawn Milo has informed us that he is resigning from the task of narrating the podcast, effective September 2006. The reason he cited was lack of time, while his attempts to raise funds for continuing his work came to nothing. Even worse, Shawn was recently laid off from his programming work of 6.5 years, so all his present efforts are focused on getting his freelance copywriting business off the ground. If anyone is interested in continuing the podcast or can offer any form of help to Shawn, please contact him on this address: shawn at milochik.com. We'd like to thank Shawn for endless hours of volunteer work on the podcast and wish him best of luck in his new endeavours!
* * * * *
One of the DistroWatch readers has gone into trouble of trying to identify unmaintained distributions. Here is the result of his work:
I know that some of these alerts are probably automated for you, but I just want to notify you on this in case you don't know. I realize that some distros (Debian and Phaeronix, for examples) can have very long release cycles, even up to a year, but those which are active often have signs of life which are less than a few months recent. Whereas no matter how long the release cycle, if a web site and mailing list has been essentially dead for 10 or so months, I think the distribution may be, with all good intentions, be considered discontinued.
The following distros are marked as active, but appear to have been abandoned by their developer(s):
It's very depressing to go through these (so many broken dreams, eh...) but cleanout must be done for the living and constantly improving distros to shine and be used.
- 10-12 months old:
- ATmission: The last sign of any activity on their web site was the end of September, 2005 (10 months old).
- Ging: Single-page web site file last modified November 2005. FTP index of ISO reveals that the only ISO was released in early November 2005 (10 months ago).
- Julex: The last update on the web site was on November 9th, 2005 (10 months old).
- LinnexOS: Judging from their package list, they haven't done anything since late August 2005. (12 months old)
- Mayix: Last web site update was November 11th, 2005 (10 months old.)
- Salvare: The latest version of the distro was released November 2005 (10 months old). The last actual post to their devel mailing list was in November 2004.
- Snappix: The last change to their web site was in late September 2005 and the link to download their distro is defunct (10 months old).
- 13-15 months old:
- ANTESIS: Last web site update early July, 2005 (13 months ago).
- Hubworx Network Manager: Latest web site update was on June 28th, 2005 (14 months old).
- Snøfrixx: Their website is a bit of a maze to navigate, but if you jump directly to the download page, you'll see that the latest release was in June 2005 (14 months old).
- 16-21 months old:
- iBox Linux: Their web page, although in Chinese, appears not to have changed since 2004. Considering that they started in 2004, and their website is still touting version 0.1, I don't think they've done anything with it for a while (at least 20 months old).
- P!TUX: Web page file last modified March 4th, 2005, still features the only release of the distro, 1.01 (17 months ago).
- WOMP: Web site and distro last updated April 2005 (16 months old). Its mailing list is a bit active (it has had 20 posts in all of 2005 - 2006 [an avg. of 1 post per month] from a few users), but there's no sign of a developer anywhere around.
- 22+ months old:
In case any of our readers know something we don't, please speak up now. Failing that, the above-mentioned distributions will be flagged as either "dormant" or "discontinued" later this week.
* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list
- AegeanLinux. AegeanLinux is a free open source operating system for your computer. With over 650 packages (precompiled executables, ready for download and run), and using KDE as it's desktop, Aegean provides an easy-to-use, fast, non-bloated operating system, suitable for everyday use. AegeanLinux's main goals are those of security, stability, and ease of installation. AegeanLinux is built for the i686 processor.
- epiOS. epiOS is a Gentoo-based GNU/Linux distribution designed and optimized for VIA Epia systems. It's developed to detect and support all integrated hardware components, like the onboard MPEG-2 decoder or the PadLock (cryptography) engine out of the box. Otherwise its main purpose is to provide a system which is easy to install, maintain and of course very easy to use even for inexperienced users but keeping all the advanced features Gentoo provides.
- MidnightBSD. MidnightBSD is a newly-launched operating system based on FreeBSD. Its main goal is to create an easy-to-use BSD desktop system with a graphical installer and system administration tools, and an intuitive window manager.
- Quetzal. Quetzal is an OpenBSD-based live CD that boots into a full graphical environment. Both WindowMaker and XFce editions are available.
- RoFreeSBIE. RoFreeSBIE is a FreeBSD-based live CD/DVD with KDE and WindowMaker, and optional hard disk installer using BSDInstaller. It supports a number of languages, including English, Romanian, Italian, French, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese and German.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
And that concludes our latest issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next issue will be published on Monday, 21 August 2006. Until then,
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
(Tips this week: 0, value: US$0.00)
|• Issue 684 (2016-10-24): Ubuntu 16.10, Linux popularity in different markets, Fedora runs on Raspberry Pi, Ubuntu features live kernel patching|
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|• Issue 665 (2016-06-13): BunsenLabs Linux Hydrogen, Fedora 24 delayed, NetBSD grows in size, Clonezilla questions|
|• Issue 664 (2016-06-06): Sabayon 16.05, Debian updates install media, the cost of free software, Qubes explains secure build process|
|• Issue 663 (2016-05-30): Comparing live update methods, Ubuntu MATE's progress, distros debate systemd change, DistroWatch turns 15|
|• Issue 662 (2016-05-23): Clonezilla Live, new Fedora community repository, DragonFlyBSD runs Wayland, a live edition of Slackware and kernel components|
|• Issue 661 (2016-05-16): FreeBSD 10.3, OpenMandriva adopts Clang, Debian adds ZFS packages, PCLinuxOS drops 32-bit and comparing CentOS with RHEL|
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|• Issue 658 (2016-04-25): Kali Linux 2016.1, elementary OS 0.3.2, Debian elects Project Leader, Fedora 24 feature preview, Nard reaches 1.0|
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|• Issue 640 (2015-12-14): Chakra GNU/Linux 2015.11, removing meta-data from files, Ubuntu to remove on-line dash searches|
|• Issue 639 (2015-12-07): OpenBSD 5.8, openSUSE gathers Summer of Code proposals, running WINE on a live disc, Enlightenment adds Wayland support|
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|• Issue 637 (2015-11-23): NixOS 15.09, Antergos introduces ZFS support, MINIX shares new features, copying an OS to a new computer|
|• Issue 636 (2015-11-16): openSUSE 42.1, Fedora uses Wayland by default, Debian replaces live CD project, Steam consoles launch|
|• Issue 635 (2015-11-09): Fedora 23, Cinnamon 2.8 released, a Fedora KDE packager quits, Red Hat signs deal with Microsoft|
|• Issue 634 (2015-11-02): Ubuntu 15.10, Chakra upgrades to Plasma 5, OpenMandriva plans new editions, MINIX plans conference|
|• Issue 633 (2015-10-26): GhostBSD 10.1, Bodhi Linux to get new settings panel, Fedora 23 delayed, creating live image of existing OS|
|• Issue 632 (2015-10-19): Linux Lite 2.6, 32-bit build of CentOS, OpenBSD turns 20, Bodhi Linux releases AppPack|
|• Full list of all issues|
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