| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 181, 11 December 2006
Welcome to this year's 50th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! As hinted earlier, the new openSUSE 10.2 was released on time. One of the most popular Linux distributions on the market, the latest release appears solid and reasonably bug-free, at least compared to version 10.1. We'll take a brief look at the new release, comment on the project's association with Novell, and provide a few handy resources for extending the product. Also in this week's issue: Debian delays Etch, Ulteo releases Sirius, Mandriva prepares a cooker snapshot, and PC-BSD reaches the final round of testing before its updated stable release. Finally, don't miss the new commercial distribution by Technalign: Pioneer Linux. Happy reading!
Join us at irc.freenode.net #distrowatch
openSUSE 10.2 resources, Debian Etch delays, Ulteo Sirius, Mandriva and PC-BSD updates, fun with Firefox
The only blemish on the otherwise excellent distribution is its association with Novell, a company whose recent patent protection deal with Microsoft alienated large parts of the Linux community. However, this didn't seem to dampen the users' appetite for openSUSE 10.2 and the distribution's mirror sites were placed under a heavy strain throughout the latter part of the week. Interestingly, Novell itself stayed out of the publicity game - it did not bother to publish any press release announcing the new openSUSE and neither did it promote the commercial edition.
If you've installed the latest release of openSUSE and -- like Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols -- decided to stick with it, here is a handful of useful resources to get the most out of the new version:
Have a lot of fun!
The openSUSE 10.2 default KDE desktop with a radically redesigned K menu
(full image size: 621kB, screen resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
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With the new openSUSE release safely behind us, the focus of DistroWatch will now turn to the upcoming release of Debian GNU/Linux 4.0, code name "Etch". Unfortunately, the original plan of completing its development by December 4th did not bring the desired result; that's despite the controversial Dunc-Tank experiment which provided full-time employment for one month to two Debian release managers who were reportedly paid US$6,000 each to ensure that Etch was out on time. Worse, the new release is nowhere near its completion; the promised second release candidate of the Debian Installer, inclusive of the updated kernel 2.6.18 (which, incidentally, is already in Etch), has yet to be released, while the expected full freeze of the testing branch is still not in effect (update: 15 minutes after posting this issue of DWW, Andreas Barth announced that Etch was frozen). With the release critical bug count well above 100 and the upcoming holiday period, it doesn't look like the new release will be out before January. If you can't wait, one good way of passing the time is to read New Features and other interesting stuff in Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 "Etch".
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The Ulteo project, launched earlier this year by Gaël Duval, the original founder of Mandrake Linux, has finally produced its first installable release. Called "Sirius" and labelled as an early alpha, the new distribution promises to introduce several revolutionary concepts in managing one's operating system and software updates. The details are still sketchy at this stage and the first alpha is not nearly feature complete, so it's far too early to pass a judgement on the project. Nevertheless, the track record of Gaël Duval who, back in late 1990s, single-handedly produced what quickly became the most popular and user-friendly desktop Linux distribution on the market, has generated much interest in the community. According to some alpha testers, Ulteo's first release is very usable, so don't be put off by its alpha status. If you want to learn more, please read this interview with Gaël Duval published by Linux.com.
* * * * *
Mandriva has announced the release of Mandriva Flash, a 2GB USB storage device that boots into the latest Mandriva Linux 2007: "Mandriva Flash is meant for all those who want to have a complete OS and their personal data handy at all times without the hassle of carrying a laptop around. It is a full workstation, packed with all the latest technologies. It includes the brand new Mandriva Linux 3D desktop technology, as well as the best open source software available. ... Once Mandriva Linux 2007 is started, users can store their personal data on the 2GB key (more than 1GB available for user files). System configuration, preferences and data are all saved to the key." For more information please read the full press release and visit the distribution's product page. Mandriva Flash retails for €59.00 and is available for purchase from the Mandriva Store.
On a related note, the Mandriva development team has announced early details about the upcoming release of an interim version - Mandriva Linux 2007.1. According to this mailing list post by David Barth, the first Cooker snapshot will be released in the form of installable ISO images later this week. It will include all the security and bug fix updates for version 2007, the newest stable KDE 3.5, the latest development build of GNOME 2.17, Firefox 2.0, and a major rewrite of urpmi, Mandriva's package management tool. This release will be the first one with GRUB as the distribution's default boot loader, while the external storage devices will now be mounted on /media instead of /mnt. One more piece of (possible) good news for those who find that Mandriva's update infrastructure lags behind those in other major distributions: "Mandriva Online improvements (client and server), some rumors even say that it may become a free service." Interested testers should keep an eye on Mandriva's download mirrors during this week!
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The PC-BSD project has published an update regarding its upcoming release of version 1.3: "I see many people asking when 1.3 will be released. The standard cop-out developer answer to that is of course 'When it's ready', and that is indeed the answer I'm going to give you. I will share, however, that we expect to release our first release candidate (RC1) within the next couple of weeks. If all goes to plan I hope you'll all be enjoying 1.3 by the end of the year, which barring the discovery of some horrific difficulty to find critical bugs, is well within our grasp." And that's indeed what's happening; while not yet officially announced, the first release candidate of PC-BSD 1.3 seems to be already on its way to the download mirrors.
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How many extensions is your Firefox browser graced with? If you are like most users, you probably reach for a few popular ones among the hundreds available from Mozilla's development repositories. But if you are not, and decide to install more than your fair share of Firefox extensions, then you might be in for a surprise. This user (web page in Czech) has been experimenting with an idea of installing some 200 Firefox extensions to see what it's like. The result? The browser became virtually unusable. Not only did Firefox took some 6 minutes to start, it also used up about 150 - 200 MB of RAM and the extensions clogged up the Firefox toolbar area with a large number of new toolbars (see screenshot), leaving little space for viewing actual web pages. Not such a neat idea, after all!
|Released Last Week
rPath Linux 1.0.5
Michael K. Johnson has announced the availability of an updated set of rPath Linux 1 CD and DVD images: "rPath Linux, the first Linux distribution built using the groundbreaking Conary software management system, has released updated images for rPath Linux 1. The new images incorporate installation fixes for certain installation methods and all package updates released as of November 22. The Xen dom0 images have been enhanced with several additional packages for various file systems and LVM support. For information on Xen technology and rPath Linux, see Xen Solutions Using rPath Technologies." Find more details in the release announcement.
Michael Prokop has announced the final release of grml 0.9, a Debian-based live CD designed for system administrators and users of text tools: "We have a new release: grml 0.9 with codename 'Dioptrienotto'." Some of the new features include the following: "updated to X.Org 7.1.1; Unicode support; added FreeDOS 1.0 from the Balder project; new handling for added and removed devices; split package grml-etc into grml-etc + grml-etc-core (the latter one provides the core configuration files for e.g. zsh, Screen and Vim); boot option 'grub' boots into 'The All In One Boot Floppy' (which provides Grub)." More information in the release announcement and release notes.
openSUSE 10.2 has been released: "After a lot of work, we proudly announce the availability of openSUSE 10.2, formerly known as SUSE Linux 10.x As usual, we ship all the latest open source packages available at the time. But we want to give a special mention to the redesigned GNOME and KDE desktop, Firefox 2.0, ext3 as the new default file system, support for internal SD card readers, new power management and, last but not least, our improved package management. We'd like to thank you all for testing heavily, reporting bugs, giving feedback on mailing lists. Have a lot of fun!" Here is the full release announcement.
T2 SDE 6.0.2
Rene Rebe has announced the release of T2 6.0.2, a Linux distribution build kit originally forked from ROCK Linux: "We are pleased to announce the maintenance release T2 6.0.2 named 'Continuity'. It also comes with some updated packages, but mostly security updates, bug fixes and some improvements. The release primarily focuses on ironing out all known SPARC64 issues for smooth support on Sun T1 Niagara CPU systems such as the T1000 and T2000 - but also includes non-SPARC security fixes, updates and improvements along the lines." Read the rest of the release announcement for further details.
Technalign, Inc. has announced the inaugural release of Pioneer Linux, a Kubuntu-based, desktop-oriented distribution for home and business users: "Technalign, Inc. has announced it has released its new Pioneer Linux operating system to the community. The first release is the 32-bit version to be followed immediately by the 64-Bit Version. The community edition includes many features found previously in Frontier and is available for download at the tapioneer.com website. Both Pioneer 32 and 64 include Firefox 2.0, Thunderbird and KMail email clients, OpenOffice.org, and many others." More details in the press release.
PUD GNU/Linux 20061208
Chen Pin-shiun has announced the release of a new edition of PUD GNU/Linux, an Ubuntu-based mini-distribution and live CD. The most interesting part of this release is the fact that it uses LXDE (Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment), a new GTK+-based, light-weight and standards compliant desktop environment designed for older computers and impatient desktop users. It also comes with a fast and versatile file manager called PCManFM. Firefox, Gaim, aMule, Thunar, Beep and VLC media players, GQview image viewer, and a number of popular utilities are also included. Please read the release notes for further information.
This special edition of PUD GNU/Linux uses the lightweight LXDE desktop with the PCManFM file manager
(full image size: 164kB, screen resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
Atomix is a Serbian Linux distribution based on Fedora Core. Version 4.0, released today, is a major update bringing the following changes: includes more than 2,700 packages; major components: Linux kernel 126.96.36.199, KDE 3.5.5 and OpenOffice.org 2.0.4; development tools: GCC, Python, Perl, PHP, Ruby; complete support for Java development: Java 1.4.2, (GCJ), Eclipse 3.2.1, Jakarta Tomcat 5.5.17; support for virtualisation with Xen 3.0.3; Firefox 2.0 and Thunderbird 188.8.131.52; administration tools for configuring desktops and servers. Read the brief release announcement and release notes (both links in Serbian) for more information.
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Development and unannounced releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to database
- Pioneer Linux. Pioneer Linux, a product of Technalign, Inc, is a desktop-oriented, Kubuntu-based distribution targeted at new as well as experienced Linux users. The product comes in two flavours: as a freely downloadable live and installation CD, and as a commercial boxed edition with CrossOver Office and technical support.
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New distributions added to waiting list
- deepOfix Messaging Server. The deepOfix Messaging Server is a mail server product aimed at simplifying the setup and maintenance of mail servers. deepOfix offers unprecedented ease of use, doesn't require prior GNU/Linux experience and is backed by a full-time development team. deepOfix is base don Debian GNU/Linux.
- Karoshi. Karoshi is a free and open source school server operating system based on PCLinuxOS. Karoshi provides a simple graphical interface that allows for quick installation, setup and maintenance of a network.
- Sidux. Sidux is a recent fork of KANOTIX. Its goal is to continue producing a live and installation CD based on Debian's unstable branch.
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DistroWatch database summary
And this concludes our latest issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 18 December 2006. Until then,
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