| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 205, 4 June 2007
Welcome to this year's 23rd issue of DistroWatch Weekly! The release of Fedora 7 last week has been the dominant topic on many Linux web sites and DistroWatch is no exception; we'll comment on the release, bring you a first-look review, and present details about the project's upcoming version 8, scheduled for release at the end of October. In other news, Turbolinux introduces the world to a media player and portable operating system called Wizpy, Mandriva seeks solutions for its current financial troubles, Gentoo founder comments on SabayonLinux, and Debian updates its "volatile" infrastructure. Finally, as DistroWatch celebrates its 6th birthday, we are pleased to announce that the May 2007 donation was awarded to VectorLinux. Happy reading!
- Reviews: First look at Fedora 7
- News: Fedora 7, Turbolinux Wizpy, Mandriva shareholders' meeting, SabayonLinux interview, Debian-volatile updates, Emacs 22.1
- Released last week: Fedora 7, Linux Mint 3.0, Zenwalk Linux 4.6
- Upcoming releases: Ubuntu 7.10-alpha1, SabayonLinux 3.4-beta3
- Donations: VectorLinux receives US$350
- New distributions: Linux ICE, NixOS, VDRLive
- Reader comments
Join us at irc.freenode.net #distrowatch
First look at Fedora 7 (by Chris Smart)|
The last time I used Red Hat was version 5.2 back in 1999 when I was introduced to Linux by Andrew Tridgell (of Samba and rsync fame). At the time I found myself falling into 'RPM hell' where lack of dependency management drove the end user, me, insane. But today the clouds parted, the sun shone through my living room window and with the release of Fedora 7 I knew that now was the time to tempt fate once again. So let's begin.
As we have come to expect from modern Linux distributions the initial boot loader was aesthetically pleasing and simply graphically cool. The installer quickly booted and prompted me to check the DVD for errors - a very handy tool to ensure that the image you downloaded and have now burned to disk did not become corrupt along the way. The installer is graphical, starting X and made use of a mouse to perform most tasks, all in a nice GTK+ environment. My AMD machine uses RAID 5 with LVM (Logical Volume Management) and I was pleasantly surprised to find that upon selecting 'custom partitioning' my RAID arrays and also my LVM configuration were both detected. Brilliant.
I hit the 'Edit' button after selecting my LVM volume group and created a new logical volume called 'fedora'. Selecting this as my / partition I then proceeded to the next screen which was the boot loader. Unfortunately the boot loader configuration did not automatically detect my existing Linux installations (even though it had detected the LVM volumes containing them). I had to manually add them so that when GRUB was installed to the MBR (Master Boot Record) I could still boot to my other systems.
Selecting 'Configure advanced boot loader options' I was happy to see that the boot option 'noapic' that I added at boot time was automatically included for me. On my MacBook I was also pleased to see that by default Fedora was to install GRUB to the /boot partition (hd0,2) instead of the MBR (hd0) which was clever. The only file systems on offer were ext2 or ext3 which seemed a little strange, especially as the console showed support for ReiserFS, JFS and XFS. The rest of the install process was quite straightforward, configuring such things as my network settings, host name, time zone and clock as well as setting the root password.
Fedora 7: package installation
(full image size: 116kB, screen resolution: 800x600 pixels)
I left the package selection set to 'Office and Productivity' which would install the GNOME 2.18.0 desktop environment. Certainly for KDE lovers out there this was the time to customise their selection and pick KDE over GNOME. Simply hit the 'Customize now' button and on the next screen deselect 'GNOME' and instead tick 'KDE'. This was impressive as I was concerned that with Fedora being GNOME-based there would be no automatic package selection for KDE users, but the installer took care of everything with a single click! At this point it also allowed me to add some additional repositories for the package management system, however not knowing of any I left this for now. Right. So far the installer was proving very easy and I have to say that at this point I was very impressed by the stability and power of the installer. Leaving the system to install I went and made a cup of coffee.
After an install time of approximately 12.3578 minutes and 805 packages later the process was complete and I was ready to boot into my new system. The kernel started whirring away, detecting all of my hardware and preparing the system for initial boot. Wow... I had seen the graphical boot process of Fedora in the past, but this was really... what's the right word? Classy. The system didn't look super fancy using big bright colours and eye popping effects, just some handsome pastel-like artwork and an eye pleasing progress bar. You got me there, Fedora. Very, very nice.
Fedora 7: boot process
(full image size: 117kB, screen resolution: 800x600 pixels)
Once the system completed loading I was presented with the configuration of the system. Agreeing with the license I continued onto the firewall configuration. It is great to see desktop machines (yes, even Linux ones) coming with a firewall by default. I left the firewall enabled which only allowed SSH access through and continued on. The next step was for the configuration of SELinux (Security Enhanced Linux). By default this was set to 'Enforcing' which I thought might give me some trouble down the track. Still, being the default option I left it set as it was and began to ponder the future hassles that would come my way when I tried to get random services and drivers working. The time was correct for my machine, but surprisingly NTP (Network Time Protocol) was disabled by default. Easily remedied.
I was then prompted to submit my 'Hardware Profile' to The Fedora Project which will give them information on what hardware is popular. By default this was set to 'Do not send profile' which in my mind is the right move. I chose to send my information anyway, it's not like I'm using pirated software or have anything to hide :) Next it was time to create a user, a very simple and straightforward process. I was pleased to see Fedora include various options for network login. Finally I confirmed that my sound card was working and then I was greeted with the Fedora GDM login screen.
At this point I must congratulate Fedora on an excellent install process. The installer is very clean, clear and easy to follow yet can be very powerful for advanced users. I very much like the post install configuration implementation as this makes the distribution of a single image much easier to manage, but also makes the install process less complicated and drawn out. Well done.
Now it was time to check out what Fedora had to offer and how it would stack up to everyday usage. Fedora correctly detected my screen resolution at 1280x1024 and configured X to use the 'nv' driver. The default Fedora desktop was very clean. The quality of artwork remained consistent within GNOME, sporting the same hot-air balloon artwork seen previously. Browsing around the GNOME system one does get the feeling that Fedora might be stuck in the early 90's. The artwork is clean, there's no doubt about that, but the colour scheme seems a little dated. Nautilus is also configured to open a new window every time you browse to a folder instead of using the built-in browser functionality and did somewhat remind me of Windows 95. Still, there was plenty to be happy about.
Being a DVD installation I expected the default install to have all the applications I would need out of the box and I was not disappointed. The default user environment was configured with various folders to store one's photos, music, pictures and downloads and there were programs to fulfil each of these tasks. Firefox was the web browser of choice which opened up to a Fedora welcome page, while Evolution played the role of email client, calendar and everything else related. There was also a ripper to convert your CD collection to flac, ogg or wav along with media players to play them. Included by default was a BitTorrent client, no doubt to encourage users to seed the ISO image they just installed from.
Fedora 7: desktop
(full image size: 117kB, screen resolution: 1024x768 pixels)
I was very pleased to see that the applications in the menu had helpful names for the most part. For example, Xsane was called 'Scanner tool' and File Roller named 'Archive Manager'. This extended somewhat to the package management system where I was able to search for 'mobile phone' and it came back with a variety of packages to choose from. Great for users who are new to Linux and aren't sure which programs do what. Actually, I found an application in the menu called 'Internet Messenger' and not knowing what it was, I opened it. To my surprise it was Pidgin (formerly Gaim)! This was my first time to actually use Pidgin, so I can see the value in using such a naming convention.
Within the package manager were three views; 'Browse', 'Search' and 'List'. The 'Browse' window was quite easy to navigate. Packages were firstly broken down into sections such as 'Applications' and 'Servers', and then further into groups. The selection of one of these groups, such as 'Editors' and 'Printing Support', revealed the individual packages associated with them. From here I was able to select the packages I wanted like 'poedit' and 'bluez-utils-cups' simply by ticking the empty box and hitting 'Close'. Back at the main screen the 'Apply' button proceeded to resolve dependencies and then downloaded all required packages from the Internet and installed them. Done. If you can't quite find what you're after, the ability to search should help you out and if that still doesn't help you can get a list of all packages, both currently installed and those that are available.
Unfortunately for most, playing encrypted DVDs, using Java, watching your favourite wmv video clips, listening to your mp3 collection and getting some 3D action on NVIDIA cards are all still an issue with Fedora 7. Out of the box Fedora played my flac and ogg files but none of the other test formats that I threw at it, which included: mp3, asf, mov, wmv, divx, xvid and swf. I also couldn't see an easy way to configure my system to use the NVIDIA driver. While generally this situation is improving, the problem is that users who are new to Linux won't be able to use their shiny Linux system as they might expect and will have to get into some (potentially off-putting) command line dirty work. After some Googleing around (if that's even a word) I found the Livna Repository which has support for Fedora 7 (another popular repository is FreshRPMs). Adding this was reasonably trivial, I first configured sudo and then installed the livna RPM from the command line like so:
sudo rpm -ivh http://rpm.livna.org/fedora/7/i386/livna-release-7-2.noarch.rpm
This automatically added the livna repository to my system and when I then searched for things like 'nvidia' lots of results appeared. To get support for the above files working on my system, I ran:
sudo yum install libdvdnav libdvdplay libdvdcss gstreamer-ffmpeg gstreamer-plugins-* xine-lib-extras-nonfree
Unfortunately, when I tried totem-xine and totem-mozilla they both failed to install complaining about GConf conflicts (a problem with adding non-official repositories, I guess). Although I had libdvdcss installed Totem wouldn't play DVDs, which I assume was due to a dependency that has been stripped of this capability. Nevertheless I simply proceeded to install mplayer-gui which worked just fine.
As for the NVIDIA driver and my system, it was a simple case of installing 'kmod-nvidia' which downloaded all the required packages, installed the kernel module, GLX package and configured my system to use the NVIDIA driver. All I had to do was log out and back in again and 3D was working. Very simple, once you know what to install! Upon reboot, however, I was not able to use NVIDIA as the system could not access (among other things) the /dev/nvidiactl device. This was where SELinux came into play. Simply turning it off and re-installing the driver solved the problem, though I'm sure there is a proper way around this issue. Other than this I did not have any SELinux problems (that I noticed) which was good, although SELinux still seems a little complicated for the average user. It's nice that it just seemed to work most of the time, but when something doesn't work the easiest step is to just turn it off.
CPU speed stepping was enabled out of the box, which was a great thing for my MacBook. Unfortunately suspend to RAM didn't work at all; well actually suspend worked very well but resume didn't ;) I also enabled 'suspend' in the KDE power management options but it spat up an error saying it 'could not start pidof'. While suspend did not perform as I was hoping it would, hibernate was successful. The touch pad on my MacBook didn't work as expected under Fedora either, but the quick addition of a USB mouse gave me the ability to right click and scroll. An addition to the next Fedora that would make everyone's life that little bit happier would be the auto-configuration of multimedia keyboards. The extra buttons on my ever faithful Logitech keyboard were all dead and on my MacBook I couldn't adjust brightness, control the volume or eject a CD through the function buttons.
Overall, KDE just didn't seem quite as refined as the GNOME desktop. The default KDE profile not only installed QT applications for most tasks, but also the GTK+ equivalents from GNOME. This seemed a little strange because if someone was after a KDE / Qt desktop they wouldn't need the GTK+ applications as well. I also noticed that the desktop-effects application for configuring Compiz was not installed with KDE, yet turning it on was trivial under GNOME. Simply opening the 'Desktop Effects' application and clicking the 'enable' button resulted in instantaneous Compiz goodness. All of the effects, wobbly windows, spinning cube, the switcher and scale were very smooth. Once I had the NVIDIA driver installed on my desktop it also worked perfectly out of the box, I didn't even have to touch xorg.conf! It's great to see effects like this included by default in many new distributions. Speaking of X.Org, one feature I really liked was the way the system prompted to re-configure X if it failed to start. This means end users less knowledgeable about the mysterious ways of X won't be left stranded should things go awry. Excellent stuff.
While Fedora doesn't seem to have made great advances in the ease of configuring those finer things in life (like non-GPL drivers and non-free codecs), it's not overly complicated if you're willing to get your hands a little dirty. Once you start needing to customise the machine outside of standard Fedora boundaries though, things can become a little less reliable. Nevertheless, I did rather enjoy my Fedora experience, with the stand out impression being that it felt solid right down to the core (excuse the pun). From the initial boot of the installer the system exuded a sense of stability which filled me with confidence the more I used it. The installer is probably the best I have ever used and is very powerful while remaining simple to use. Top marks for that. Overall, the default GNOME install of Fedora is very good and (non-free software idiosyncrasies aside) as a Linux distribution in itself I thought it was excellent. If what you are after is a reliable, stable, easy-to-use yet powerful Linux distribution out of the box, then Fedora fits the bill nicely. Just be prepared to struggle a little if you need those *cough cough* non-free bits.
8 out of 10 'Smarties'.
About the author: Chris Smart is the founder of Kororaa, a Gentoo-based Linux distribution, and the maintainer of Make The Move, a Linux advocacy web site. He lives in Canberra, Australia.
Fedora 7, Turbolinux Wizpy, Mandriva shareholders' meeting, SabayonLinux interview, Debian-volatile updates, Emacs 22.1
The much publicised release of Fedora 7 last week signalled the beginning of a new era for Red Hat's free distribution. Gone are the days when the company's senior executives blindly insisted that Linux was a product designed for computer hobbyists and best left in the hands of professional developers who knew what they were doing. Nowadays, Fedora is presented as a much more community-friendly distribution, which is evident from the increased interaction between Red Hat's employees and third-party contributors. As an example, users are now invited to suggest ideas and submit feature requests for the upcoming Fedora 8, scheduled for release later this year (see below).
This is just one of the many signs of the changing face of the Fedora Project. This new-found transparency and willingness to accept ideas from outside of the traditional development spheres have the potential to turn Fedora into a much more important desktop player than it is at present. A distro with a human face? Or a project desperately trying to compete with the more successful players on the market? The first reviews, which will undoubtedly start showing up within the next few weeks, should provide some answers....
* * * * *
Japan's Turbolinux, one of the world's oldest Linux companies and the maker of a Linux distribution designed for the Japanese desktop and server market, has announced the start of worldwide sales of Turbolinux Wizpy, a Linux-based pocket media player: "The Wizpy allows users to carry a complete Linux desktop in their pocket. When plugged into a PC's USB port the user is given the opportunity to boot-up the Linux system that resides in the Wizpy's memory. User settings, passwords and bookmarks can be stored inside the Wizpy, with the desktop set up to the user's preference so that no matter what PC is used to host the Wizpy, the user gets their familiar desktop."
Based on the above quote, it seems that Wizpy doesn't just play music and movies, it also doubles as a portable Linux computer which you can boot up in any Internet Café to access your data and work in a familiar environment. Certainly worth a consideration if you travel frequently and need to work in a secure environment instead of the one usually offered in most Internet Cafés. The Turbolinux Wizpy has been on the shelves of Japanese electronics stores since February (see this page at Amazon.jp) and its 4 GB model should be available worldwide later this month, retailing for about US$280.
* * * * *
Last week we asked you what you thought of the new initiative by Dell, the world's largest manufacturer of personal computers, to start selling computer systems with Linux pre-installed. As always, the news drew mixed reaction, with some readers happy to see a major hardware vendor starting to offer an alternative operating system on its products, while others were disappointed by the limited range of these Linux-based computer systems. But what are the experiences of those users who have actually purchased one of Dell's Ubuntu PCs? Here is a report by Technocrat: "I voted with my wallet for pre-installed Linux from Dell. I think this is a good start for having alternatives to Windows for some average users." And the author's conclusion? "The bottom line so far is that I'm very pleased with the value I got with this machine. My first evening of use has been very satisfying. With the dual core processor and a gigabyte of RAM it's very, very smooth and quick. Note that I purposefully didn't do anything that required the command line. It has been a good experience."
* * * * *
The Mandriva web team has published a summary of the recent shareholders meeting which took place in Paris on May 25, 2007. Among the issues discussed were various solutions to improve Mandriva's current financial situation and to transform the company into a profitable business: "There were many questions on the company situation, the numbers and the strategy. People were trying to understand what's going on, why the results are what they are. There were many questions saying "why don't you do this or that?" For instance, a common question was: "Why don't you sell computers with Mandriva inside?" It's a valid question: if FNAC, Carrefour, Walmart and Fry's were all selling PCs with Mandriva, we would make a bit of money every time and our problems would be solved. The answer is: we've tried many times." Read the full story if you are interested in learning about Mandriva's financial position and possible solutions to its current problems.
Still on the subject of Mandriva, Russia's CNews reports that the company has quietly opened a development office in St. Petersburg: "Mandriva, a producer of a Linux distribution, has started its work in Russia's northern capital. The office was opened in cooperation with Linux Center: 'Linux Center has been the official distributor of Mandriva Linux in Russia for a long time. That is why it was logical to open an official representation in cooperation with our company,' Sofya Vinnichanko, Linux Center Executive Director told CNews." This move follows the recent low-profile layoffs at Mandriva, which included several experienced developers and senior community contributors, as part of the company's cost-cutting measures.
* * * * *
Speaking about finances of Linux companies, Novell has published its financial results for the first quarter of fiscal 2007, which ended on January 31st, 2007. The bad news is that the company posted a loss, with sales of software licenses being down by 9% and sales of maintenance contracts down by 4%. But in between all the doom and gloom there were also some positive signs: "The company's Open Platform group, which means SUSE Linux products and services, accounted for $23.6 million in sales, up 37 percent, and had an operating profit of $2.7 million - a far cry better than the $1.1 million operating loss the Linux-related products had a year ago." For more details please see this report by IT Jungle.
* * * * *
LXer has published an interview with Fabio Erculiani, the ever so enthusiastic founder and lead developer of SabayonLinux. What are the main reasons for this young distribution's tremendous success? "1. Vision: this pushes the roadmap concept to the past. Sabayon Linux does not have pre-established roadmaps, doing a distribution is not a peace plan. You never know what would happen next month, you can't know if people will like your strategy, your features plan, your ideas. So we must keep to be as smart as possible and react fast. 2. No politically-driven decisions: many distributions are politically constrained. We aren't, and we'll never be like them. We are simply on the users' side. Do you want Mono? We have it. Do you want Java? We have it. Do you want proprietary drivers? We have found a way to implement them."
* * * * *
While the Gentoo-based SabayonLinux is a rapidly rising star on the Linux distro scene, Gentoo Linux itself has been struggling with various issues over the last couple of years. Daniel Robbins, the original founder and mastermind of Gentoo, has made an interesting comment about SabayonLinux: "What excites me about Sabayon is that it reminds me of the early days of Gentoo - when we were focused on doing innovative things like dependency-based init scripts, game CDs and other things that hadn't been done before. When Gentoo was still young, Portage was not a religion but an evolving experiment of how to build up our distribution more efficiently. Fabio has that same passion for excellence and for going beyond what others thought was possible, and I expect Fabio to enjoy the best of success with Sabayon." In the meantime, two more Gentoo developers -- Bryan Østergaard and Alexander Færøy -- announced resignation from the project, citing the usual culprits: frustration over lack of advancements and ugly infighting among the developers.
* * * * *
Andreas Barth has published a message announcing updates to debian-volatile, a service that provides up-to-date packages for those applications and utilities whose usefulness tends to "erode" over time (e.g. virus scanners or spam filters). The most important news is that this service now also supports the project's latest stable version - Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 "Etch": "In the past few weeks, there have been a lot of improvements to the debian-volatile service. We finally had the time to add a suite for Etch to volatile. During these changes, we also archived woody, and upgraded to a newer version of the archive scripts." Setting up a Debian system for these "volatile" updates is simple - just add the relevant repository to your sources.list file and perform the usual update. For more information please see the home page of the debian-volatile project.
* * * * *
Finally, something for the hardcore geeks: a new major version of GNU Emacs, a popular text editor for UNIX, was released over the weekend. The first major update in over 5 years, Emacs 22.1 comes with the following new features: "Support for the GTK+ graphical toolkit; drag-and-drop support on X; full support for images, toolbar, and tooltips; customizable window fringes; many user interface tweaks; abbrev definitions are read automatically at startup.; the Kmacro package for managing keyboard macros; full graphical user interface to GDB; new modes and packages, including Calc, Grep, TRAMP, URL, IDO...; Leim, Emacs Lisp Reference Manual, and the Emacs Lisp Intro included." Despite the new release, Emacs is still no competition for vi, but it's nice to see that Richard Stallman's most prominent software application is getting some much needed overhaul (just kidding, of course ;-). For more information please read the full release announcement here.
|Released Last Week
The second stable version of sidux, a Debian-based distribution built by some of the former developers of KANOTIX, has been released: "After three months of development, we are proud to announce the immediate availability of sidux 2007-02 for amd64 and i686 systems, shipping in a 425 MB lite KDE and a 690 MB full KDE flavor. Our second official sidux release has concentrated on overhauling the early boot sequence and adapting to a wider variety of desktop environments and window managers. While this release only ships in two KDE flavors (lite and full) again, we're looking for interested maintainers contributing to special purpose releases or tweaking support for other desktop environments and window managers." Read the rest of the release notes for additional information.
sidux 2007-02 - a live CD bringing us the latest from the ever-changing world of Debian "Sid"
(full image size: 379kB, screen resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
Linux Mint 3.0
Linux Mint 3.0, code name "Cassandra", has been released: "This is Linux Mint 3.0 based on Linux Mint 2.2 'Bianca' and compatible with Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty and its repositories. Important new features: the brand new mintInstall and the Linux Mint Software Portal; GNOME 2.18; kernel 2.6.20; OpenOffice.org 2.2; Thunderbird replaces Evolution as the default email reader; Sunbird and the GIMP are now installed by default; GNOME Control Center replaces mintConfig as the default control center application; drag & drop support in mintMenu with many other improvements; Sun Java 6; Compiz, Beryl and Emerald installed by default; new artwork...." Read the full release notes for more details.
Linux Mint 3.0 - a new version of the Ubuntu-based distribution with improved usability
(full image size: 263kB, screen resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
Foresight Linux 1.3
Paul Cutler has announced the release of Foresight Linux 1.3: "The Foresight Linux team is happy and proud to announce the release of Foresight Linux 1.3. New features: this is the third Foresight Linux release with GNOME 2.18 and contains minor fixes and improvements; Beagle 0.2.17, tweaked for Foresight Linux; we have upgraded Epiphany web browser to version 2.18.2; the outdated 'Firstboot' mechanism has been replaced by our modified version of autoconfig from Knoppix; Pidgin updated to version 2.0.1; X.Org 7.2, the new graphical server makes it easier for users by automatically installing monitors and video cards without editing configuration files; the latest Compiz 3D window manager, installed by default...." Read the rest of the release announcement for further details.
The Fedora Project has announced the release of Fedora 7, code name "Moonshine": "Howdy, cousins! Welcome to our little Fedora hollow, where we've brewed up some mighty, mighty Fedora 7 Moonshine for your enjoyment." The latest version of the popular distribution comes with a number of new features, including "spins", or variations of Fedora built from a specific set of software packages, the latest GNOME 2.18 and KDE 3.5.6 desktops, fast user switching, improved internationalisation support, a new SELinux troubleshooting tool, significantly faster package management utilities, a new kernel-based virtual machine technology, and many other enhancements. Please read the release announcement and consult the release notes for detailed information.
Musix 1.0r1 and 1.0r2
Marcos Guglielmetti has announced the release of Musix 1.0: "After two years of hard work, the Musix project team is proud to announce the release of the first stable version of Musix. Musix is a 100% free multimedia operating system derived from KNOPPIX and Debian stable, designed for artists as well as general users. This new release includes the Linux Kernel 2.6.21. The documentation was updated and many important applications were upgraded (among those: Ardour 220.127.116.11, Rosegarden 1.5.1 and the Musix's Control Panel). Some new programs were also installed (MScore, Nekobee). Many bugs were corrected and some new functionality added." Visit the project's download page to read the full release announcement.
Ubuntu Christian Edition 3.2
Jereme Hancock has announced the availability of an updated release of Ubuntu Christian Edition: "We have just released Ubuntu Christian Edition v3.2 (Feisty). This release fixes one potentially serious bug in the IEs4Linux Installer. The IEs4Linux Installer was deleting the bin folder that it created from the users home directory during the clean up process. This release also marks the end of the Ubuntu CE Installer. The Ubuntu CE Installer allowed users to easily add additional Christian and Educational programs to Ubuntu CE. We have decided to discontinue this feature since there were some issues with the Ichthux install option." Read the rest of the release announcement for further details.
A new version of AUSTRUMI, a Slackware-based mini live and installation CD designed for older computers, has been released. From the changelog: "Added translations in Greek, Italian and Russian; replaced Unionfs with Aufs; added gnubiff, a mail notification program; added gtk-iptables; added xonclock, an on-screen analog clock; added Xpad, a sticky notes application; added HomeBank, a personal accounting program; updated AbiWord, Bluefish, Firefox, GIMP, GQview, Nmap, NTFS-3G, OpenSSH, PHP, Xchat, X.Org; replaced Apache with Hiawatha, gtkfind with Searchmonkey, aria2 with wget, XProc with HardInfo; updated kernel to version 18.104.22.168." Visit the distribution's home page to read the full changelog.
Zenwalk Linux 4.6
Jean-Philippe Guillemin has announced the release of Zenwalk Linux 4.6: "The Zenwalk Team is happy to announce that Zenwalk 4.6 (code name 'Red Pill') has been released. The up-to-date kernel is now at 22.214.171.124, providing KVM support. New init scripts and several performance enhancement have also been committed. The Xfce desktop is provided in version 4.4.1, with notification support to let systems like udev notify the user about auto-mounted devices (USB keys, DVD...). The Thunar file manager now handles video thumbnails and many new panel plugins have been added or updated. X11 compositing (aka translucency, window shadows...) is available out of the box. The most important change in 4.6 at system level is the new tool chain, with GCC 4.1, which has been fully implemented." Here is the full release announcement.
Pioneer Stagecoach 2.1
Dianne Ursini has announced the availability of the "Stagecoach" edition of Pioneer Linux 2.1, a combined server and workstation distribution based on Ubuntu: "Technalign, Inc. has released Pioneer Stagecoach 2.1 of its base Linux operating system. Pioneer Stagecoach 2.1 is being released on DVD. Many enhancements were added in the latest version of Stagecoach on both the server and workstation. Additions to the workstation include OpenOffice.org 2.2, additional games, Guarddog Firewall, as well as the KlamAV anti-virus utilities to name a few. On the server side, Postfix, Sendmail, PHP, as well as SpamAssassin were added to the mix. Webalizer was also added to allow analysis of traffic on web sites on Stagecoach." Find more details in the press release.
Grafpup Linux 2.00
Nathan Fisher has announced the release of Grafpup Linux 2.00, a Puppy Linux-based distribution with a comprehensive collection of software for graphic designers and other imaging professionals: "Grafpup 2.00 (final) is officially on the mirrors. This release comes with some really bleeding edge features when compared with previous versions, such as a 126.96.36.199 kernel, revamped package management with dependency resolution, GIMP 2.3.14, Cinepaint 0.22 with the Ufraw plug-in, a brand new control panel, cdrkit replacing cdrtools, Openbox replacing IceWM, and a host of other changes. In addition to the light-weight Openbox desktop, you can also easily download and install both Xfce and KDE. The software repository has blown up to include over 1,100 titles (and counting)." Read the rest of the release announcement for further information.
Grafpup Linux 2.00 - a specialist distribution for graphic designers
(full image size: 181kB, screen resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
* * * * *
Development and unannounced releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
The Fedora Project has announced a preliminary release schedule for its next version - Fedora 8. The testing will start with the release of Test1 on 1 August 2007 and conclude with the final release on 31 October 2007. Please note that the proposed schedule is just a rough draft; all of the recent Fedora releases were delayed by several weeks during the development process. For further information please see this Proposed Fedora 8 Release Schedule.
* * * * *
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Six years of DistroWatch|
Last week, DistroWatch celebrated its 6th birthday. The project was first announced on 31 May 2001 as a single-page site listing major features and package versions of a dozen popular distributions. In the following years it has expanded rapidly and it now attracts over 100,000 readers on most working days. Many thanks to all our fans, supporters, sponsors and critics who have made it possible for the site to become one of the most popular open source news sites on the Internet!
* * * * *
May 2007 donation: VectorLinux receives US$350
We are pleased to announce that the recipient of the DistroWatch.com May 2007 donation is the VectorLinux project. It receives US$350.00 in cash.
VectorLinux is one of these rare distributions that were around at the turn of the century and still keep going today. Although originally designed as an operating system for older, low-specification computers, in recent years it has grown into a truly usable desktop distribution and live CD with a variety of graphical configuration utilities, excellent hardware detection, great artwork, and out-of-the-box support for the latest graphics cards. One nice aspect of the project is that even though they sell official CD sets from the VectorLinux online store, they also keep providing their releases for free via public mirrors. As a result of this continued confidence in their products, this month's DistroWatch donation goes to Canada - to Robert Lange and his small, but innovative development team that just keeps going year after year!
VectorLinux 5.8 Standard Live - functional computing with Xfce
(full image size: 462kB, screen resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
Shortly after sending the donation, we received this email from Darrell Stavem: "I do not know exactly what to say. We at VectorLinux receive donations from time to time; this, however, is the largest donation by far ever. If thank-you is acceptable, then thank you for your kind generosity, from the VectorLinux community as a whole. We will not forget your generosity. Thanks again. Regards, Darrell Stavem, VectorLinux."
As always, the monthly donations programme is a joint initiative between DistroWatch and two online shops selling low-cost CDs and DVDs with Linux, BSD and other open source software - LinuxCD.org and OSDisc.com. These vendors contributed US$50.00 each towards this month's donation to VectorLinux.
Here is the list of projects that received a DistroWatch donation since the launch of the programme (figures in US dollars):
Since the launch of the Donations Programme in March 2004, DistroWatch has donated a total of US$13,340 to various open source software projects.
- 2004: GnuCash ($250), Quanta Plus ($200), PCLinuxOS ($300), The GIMP ($300), Vidalinux ($200), Fluxbox ($200), K3b ($350), Arch Linux ($300), Kile KDE LaTeX Editor ($100) and UNICEF - Tsunami Relief Operation ($340)
- 2005: Vim ($250), AbiWord ($220), BitTorrent ($300), NdisWrapper ($250), Audacity ($250), Debian GNU/Linux ($420), GNOME ($425), Enlightenment ($250), MPlayer ($400), Amarok ($300), KANOTIX ($250) and Cacti ($375)
- 2006: Gambas ($250), Krusader ($250), FreeBSD Foundation ($450), GParted ($360), Doxygen ($260), LilyPond ($250), Lua ($250), Gentoo Linux ($500), Blender ($500), Puppy Linux ($350), Inkscape ($350), Cape Linux Users Group ($130), Mandriva Linux ($405, a PowerPack competition), digiKam ($408) and SabayonLinux ($450)
- 2007: GQview ($250), Kaffeine ($250), sidux ($350), CentOS ($400), LyX ($350), VectorLinux ($350)
* * * * *
Translations of the Top Ten Distributions page
Many thanks to Andreas Lundqvist and Jan Braunisch who have translated the Top Ten Distributions page into Swedish, and also to Stanislav Hoferek who has translated the same article into Slovak. The story is now available in 9 languages: Dutch, English, French, Italian, Polish, Russian, Slovak, Spanish and Swedish. Translations to other languages are most welcome - if you'd like to help, please email your work to distro at distrowatch dot com (preferably in plain text format using UTF-8 encoding).
* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list
- Linux ICE. Linux ICE is a distribution of Linux developed specifically for car computer use. It is based on the popular Ubuntu, but it has been slimmed down and optimised for performance in the mobile environment, and includes many features that other Linux flavours lack when it comes to in-car integration.
- NixOS. NixOS is a Linux distribution featuring Nix, a combined package and configuration management system. Its main features are the ability to roll back the entire system configuration to an earlier state, package dependency resolution based on cryptographic hashes, ability to install multiple versions of the same package, and support for both source and binary packages. NixOS is developed in the Netherlands by the Department of Information and Computing Sciences, Utrecht University.
- VDRLive. VDR Live is a French Linux mini distribution that promises to transform computers with DVB cards into personal home theatres. The project's web site is in French only.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
And this concludes the latest issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 11 June 2007. 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 709 (2017-04-24): Ubuntu 17.04, Korora testing new software manager, Ubuntu migrates to Wayland, running Nix package manager on alternative distributions|
|• Issue 708 (2017-04-17): Maui Linux 17.03, Snaps run on Fedora, Void adopts Flatpak, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, Debian elects Project Leader|
|• Issue 707 (2017-04-10): PCLinuxOS 2017.03, Canonical stops Unity development, OpenBSD on a Raspberry Pi, setting up a VPN for privacy|
|• Issue 706 (2017-04-03): Super Grub2 Disk, Snap packages of deepin applications, Subgraph OS routes network traffic for one application, announcements from Linux Mint|
|• Issue 705 (2017-03-27): Minimal Linux Live, sharing control of the operating system, new KaOS features, Uplos32 provides 32-bit fork of PCLinuxOS|
|• Issue 704 (2017-03-20): ToarusOS 1.0.4, Linux Mint's security record, Debian starts Project Leader election, Ubuntu 12.04 reaches end-of-life|
|• Issue 703 (2017-03-13): SolydXK 201701, CloudReady, Solus announces new features, KDE Connect sends text messages from desktop, openSUSE's YaST module for Let's Encrypt|
|• Issue 702 (2017-03-06): Fatdog64 Linux, elementary OS bundled with new netbook, Haiku announces new features, security and the size of a distro's development team|
|• Issue 701 (2017-02-27): OBRevenge 2017.02, Mageia 6 delays, NetBSD reproducible builds, questions about swap space, trying to steam video on a Raspberry Pi|
|• Issue 700 (2017-02-20): RaspBSD, Debian replaces Icedove with Thunderbird, Fedora's licensing guidlines, tips for switching shells, finding battery charge, getting IP address and killing processes|
|• Issue 699 (2017-02-13): Clear Linux, GhostBSD network utility ported to FreeBSD, Ubuntu coming to Fairphone, elementary OS crowd funding an app store|
|• Issue 698 (2017-02-06): Solus 2017.01.01, comparing containers with portable applicatins, Tails dropping 32-bit support, Debian Stretch enters freeze|
|• Issue 697 (2017-01-30): Subgraph OS 2016.12.30, running Ubuntu on an Android phone, Arch Linux phasing out 32-bit support, Linux Mint testing updated LMDE media|
|• Issue 696 (2017-01-23): GoboLinux 016, remotely running desktop applications, Solus adopting Flatpak, KDE neon using Calamares, TrueOS tests OpenRC|
|• Issue 695 (2017-01-16): Zorin OS 12, Peppermint team fixes installer bug, Debian refreshes Jessie media, Ubuntu improves low graphics mode, Exciting things coming in 2017|
|• Issue 694 (2017-01-09): MX Linux 16, Fedora considers systemd security features, DragonFly BSD to support massive swap space, Ubuntu Touch roadmap, Puppy's newsletter, sudo's password prompt|
|• Issue 693 (2017-01-02): Comparing small distros, fig language, video driver comparsion, Debian+PIXEL, Wayland on FreeBSD|
|• Issue 692 (2016-12-19): Bodhi Linux 4.0.0, Cappsule containers, Calculate's new Utilities package, Solus and Ubuntu MATE build new application menu|
|• Issue 691 (2016-12-12): SalentOS 1.0, openSUSE improves YaST, Fedora considers slower release cycle, KDE neon gets LTS branch|
|• Issue 690 (2016-12-05): Fedora 25, Ubuntu adopts rolling HWE kernel, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, Haiku working toward EFI support|
|• Issue 689 (2016-11-28): openSUSE 42.2, Fedora's upgrade path, plans for Korora 25, transitioning from PC-BSD to TrueOS, Webconverger's reproducible builds|
|• Issue 688 (2016-11-21): Endless OS 3.0.5, KDE neon fixes security hole, FreeBSD's Quarterly Status Report, Rolling release trial #2 concludes|
|• Issue 687 (2016-11-14): NAS4Free 10.3.0.3, Fedora gains MP3 playback, budgie-remix becomes Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu flavours compared, Rolling release trial #2|
|• Issue 686 (2016-11-07): FreeBSD 11.0, rolling release trial #2, Debian announces supported architectures, Simplicity switching to antiX base, farewell to Mythbuntu|
|• Issue 685 (2016-10-31): elementary OS 0.4, SUSE gains ARM support, Mint improves language support, Dirty COW explained, Rolling release trial #2|
|• Issue 684 (2016-10-24): Ubuntu 16.10, Linux popularity in different markets, Fedora runs on Raspberry Pi, Ubuntu features live kernel patching|
|• Issue 683 (2016-10-17): Refracta 8.0, making packages for distributions, Alpine switches to LibreSSL, 386BSD website publishes classic code|
|• Issue 682 (2016-10-10): KDE neon 20160915, Android-x86 6.0, Fedora warns of update bug, HandyLinux drops English translation, LXQt benchmarks|
|• Issue 681 (2016-10-03): OpenBSD 6.0, DragonFly BSD to support LibreSSL in ports, systemd denial of service bug, upgraded Mintbox Mini|
|• Issue 680 (2016-09-26): Uruk GNU/Linux 1.0, blocking applications at the firewall, Lenovo controversy, Ubuntu running on the Nextcloud Box|
|• Issue 679 (2016-09-19): OpenMandriva 3.0, 32-bit vs 64-bit performance, openSUSE updates, KaOS unveils first run wizard|
|• Issue 678 (2016-09-12): Apricity 07.2016, Mageia adopts DNF, KDE neon to use Wayland, FreeBSD updates Linux compatibility, creating cron jobs|
|• Issue 677 (2016-09-05): Peppermint OS 7, Manjaro updates leadership, TrueOS becomes rolling release, organizing files, creating torrents|
|• Issue 676 (2016-08-29): Korora 24, Fedora 25 to use Wayland by default, Linux turns 25, PC-BSD becomes TrueOS, finding software licensing information|
|• Issue 675 (2016-08-22): Gentoo LiveDVD "Choice Edition", moreutils, Ubuntu improves terminal convergence, MATE packaged for Openindiana, FreeBSD improves video support|
|• Issue 674 (2016-08-15): Zenwalk Linux 8.0, Ubuntu phone follow-up, Lubuntu transitioning to LXQt, Steam running on FreeBSD|
|• Issue 673 (2016-08-03): noop linux and EasyNAS, Debian's GnuPG switch, Fedora "Flock", using "nice"|
|• Issue 672 (2016-08-01): Ubuntu Phone 15.04, Solus embraces rolling release model, interview with Jane Silber, FreeBSD Quarterly Report|
|• Issue 671 (2016-07-25): Slackware 14.2, Point Linux 3.2, OpenBSD disables usermount, KaOS releases significant changes, Fedora 22 reaches end of life.|
|• Issue 670 (2016-07-18): Linux Lite 3.0, Bodhi team plans 4.0.0, pfSense changes licensing, running software across distributions, Linux Mint upgrade path|
|• Issue 669 (2016-07-11): Linux Mint 18, proving a system is secure, LibreSSL in FreeBSD, Ubuntu plans phasing out 32-bit, pfSense status report|
|• Issue 668 (2016-07-04): Fedora 24, Linux Mint plans for 18.1, FreeBSD and DragonFly BSD improve their file systems, comparing Flatpak, Snap and AppImage|
|• Issue 667 (2016-06-27): GeckoLinux 421, Fedora supports Flatpak, Solus unveils new features, running GNU/Linux on tablets|
|• Issue 666 (2016-06-20): Comparing more live update methods, Ubuntu's snap packages, Antergos drops 32-bit media, GeckoLinux unveils Rolling edition, learning Linux resources|
|• 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|
|• Issue 660 (2016-05-09): Ubuntu MATE 16.04, Mint's xapps, FreeBSD Quarterly Report, Debian updates 32-bit support, addressing GPL violations|
|• Issue 659 (2016-05-02): Ubuntu 16.04, compiling custom kernels, Cinnamon 3.0, Sabayon launches ARM build, Devuan ships Beta release|
|• 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|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Free Tech Guides
NEW! Vim Cheat Sheet
NEW! Three Vim Cheat Sheets - a simple refresher, graphical Vim commands laid out over a keyboard, and a complex list with every Vim command in one place.