| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 206, 11 June 2007
Welcome to this year's 24th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! This week marks the start of a slower season on the distribution release calendar; all major new versions are now out and many users have been enjoying their newly updated Linux desktops. But is there still anything exciting going on the distro scene? You bet! This week's DistroWatch Weekly asks the readers to comment on their "distro hopping" habits, reports about Linux Format's annual distribution mega-test, links to an open source software article in The Economist, and reports about the new linuX-gamers live DVD. Finally, don't miss your chance to suggest new packages to be tracked after the upcoming DistroWatch's package database update later this month. Happy reading!
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How many distributions have you run on your main desktop system during the past two years? If your answer is "more than one", then you are probably not alone. It seems that the current trend among Linux users -- or at least among those of you who frequent DistroWatch -- is to change a distribution every few months.
Take a look at this piece of statistical evidence from this site's web logs:
The two tables compare the percentage of distributions used to visit DistroWatch.com during the last month (May 2007) and the first 10 days of this month (June 2007), as logged by the web server. The last column of each table represents the percentage of visitors using a certain distribution; as an example, among the Linux users who visited DistroWatch during May 2007, 28.7% used Ubuntu to browse these pages.
Now let's observe the trends. As we can see, some distributions recorded significantly higher market share during the first 10 days of June than during May; most notably Fedora (up from 3.6% to 6.0%), PCLinuxOS (up from 5.6% to 6.5%) and Linux Mint (up from 1.8% to 2.8%). It can't be a coincidence that all three of them released new major versions towards the end of last month (PCLinuxOS 2007 was released on 21 May, Linux Mint 3.0 on 30 May and Fedora 7 on 31 May).
These figures seem to suggest that many of you who visit DistroWatch regularly switched to a new distribution in the last couple of weeks. openSUSE seems to be the biggest victim of this trend (down from 5.8% to 5.3%), but all other distributions that did not release a new version recently also dropped in terms of market share.
So here are a few questions for this week's discussion: Did you switch to a new distribution recently? If so, why? Did you just test one of the new releases and liked it so much that you decided to keep it? Or did you find it exciting to run an operating system with more up-to-date software? If you switched from openSUSE to Fedora or PCLinuxOS, what was your main reason? Are there any readers who have used the same distro for the past two years? Please discuss below.
Distributions enter "shoulder season", Linux Format's distro showdown, The Economist on Ubuntu, Xandros - business as usual
With the release of Fedora 7 in late May, we have now entered the "shoulder season" of the distribution release calendar. With the possible exception of Slackware 11.1 (or will it be 12.0?), no major project is expected to publish a new version before around late September or early October 2007. Last week was a perfect example of this slow-down - only two stable versions (one of which was a regional distribution catering for a specific language group) were announced during the week. Nevertheless, there is still a lot to look forward to before the next major release wave generates new excitement; the upcoming SabayonLinux 3.4 is in heavy development and should be out before long, while the openSUSE project is about to complete its fifth development build of the forthcoming version 10.3. So don't stop visiting DistroWatch even if things are slightly slower than usual - we'll keep bringing you news about any interesting ideas and exciting projects as we learn about them!
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Linux Format has published its annual "distro showdown", a comprehensive test of the most popular desktop Linux distributions available today. This year's evaluation included eight distributions -- Debian GNU/Linux 4.0, Fedora Core 6, Mandriva Linux 2007, PCLinuxOS 2007 TR4, SabayonLinux 3.3, Slackware Linux 11.0, openSUSE 10.2 and Ubuntu 7.04 -- and covered various aspects, such as security, hardware compatibility, performance, community and software selection. The review gives preliminary standings in each category before concluding the test with a final ranking. And the winner? Ubuntu, which won three of the five categories, finished as the top distribution, ahead of openSUSE and Debian. The only categories that Ubuntu did not win was security (openSUSE was rated the best here) and performance, where the top prize was snatched by PCLinuxOS.
It is always a pleasure to see a mainstream, non-technology publication reporting about Linux and open source software. The latest issue of The Economist caries a long article entitled Bringing free software down to earth, in which the author introduces the readers to Mark Shuttleworth and his vision of the world of software: "Rather than seeing open-source software as one of two competing ideologies and focusing on the struggle, Ubuntu thinks about the user. Ubuntu is a complete bundle of software, from operating system to applications and programming tools, that is updated every six months and, says Mr Shuttleworth, will always be free. Taking the hassle out of open source is intended to move adoption beyond politically motivated enthusiasts and encourage mass adoption of the software on its merits." Read the rest of the article here.
* * * * *
Xandros, a company which was created from the ashes of Corel Linux in 2002, but which has failed to excite the Linux community in recent years, has finally entered the headlines of Linux publications. Unfortunately, for the wrong reasons. After concluding a business, technical and Intellectual Property collaboration deal with Microsoft, many free software enthusiasts expressed their dismay over the agreement (see this article by Groklaw or this one by ITWire). But even before this deal, Xandros had never been a community player (it has failed to release a single piece of its own software under a free licence) and the only raison d'être of this Canadian company was to profit from free software. And while its first two releases of Xandros Desktop brought some interesting advancements into desktop Linux, the company later abandoned its innovative spirit and desktop enthusiasm to focus on business Linux instead. Disappointing, to say the least, from a company that held so much promise in its early days....
* * * * *
Here at DistroWatch we have talked about the so-called Linux web sites that happily disseminate sponsored anti-Linux propaganda from their pages. Last week, the Free Software Magazine published a parody on the subject of Microsoft's ongoing smear campaign against Linux, targeting Linux news sites: "...you want to place your ad on articles and pages that relate to your competitors, so you can have that juxtaposition sitting right there. An article about your opponent? YOU NEED TO BE THERE. My suggestion is to target all of your opposition sites as well, and offer huge sums for advertising space on their sites. Some of them will go for it because they can't afford not to." Even if you disagree with the DistroWatch position that accepting such advertisements for publishing on Linux news sites is an insult to the community of Linux developers and users, this is still an entertaining article to read. Enjoy!
|Released Last Week
STUX GNU/Linux 1.0
STUX GNU/Linux 1.0, a live CD based on Slackware's "current" tree, has been released: "STUX GNU/Linux 2007 (version 1.0) released." From the changelog: "Upgraded to Slackware current as at 1 June 2007 and KNOPPIX live CD 5.1.1 (kernel 2.6.19); fixed problem with installation on SATA hard disks; all STUX utilities deeply reviewed; NVIDIA proprietary driver updated to 1.0-9755 + legacy driver 1.0-9631 for old cards; save live CD persistent configuration on ReiserFS partitions; install compressed image on ReiserFS partitions; Acx wireless firmware upgraded; fully integrates with other pre-installed operating systems; Compiz 0.5.0; fully VMware/QEMU compatible." Visit the project's news page to read the release announcement and changelog.
Càtix is a Debian-based live DVD with support for Catalan, a widely-used language spoken in Spain's Catalonia and some neighbouring regions. Càtix 1.3 was announced earlier today; some of the important changes and new features include: read and write support for NTFS partitions; X.Org 7.2, pre-configured for 3D desktop effects with AIGLX and Beryl; use of Unicode as the default character encoding; Unionfs 2.0 overlay file system compressed with Squashfs, providing 4.5 GB of software on a 1.6 GB DVD images; auto-detection of USB storage devices; Linux kernel 2.6.21 with KDE 3.5.7, GNOME 2.18.1, OpenOffice.org 2.2.0, Iceweasel 220.127.116.11 and many other applications. Please read the comprehensive release notes (in Catalan) for detailed information about the new release.
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Development and unannounced releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
The annual package database update|
As has become customary, June is the month when the list of packages tracked by DistroWatch gets updated to include new packages that you would like to see listed in the distribution tables. If you have a package that you believe is worth tracking on DistroWatch, please either email us directly (email address at the bottom of this page) or leave a comment in the forum below. Please note, that not all requested packages will be added, but those that receive the most requests will be considered for inclusion.
One set of packages that have been requested frequently during the past few months are the various 3D desktops, especially Compiz and Beryl, but also Metisse. However, with the ongoing merge between Compiz and Beryl, it isn't quite clear what the end result will be; will Compiz and Beryl still exist after the two projects have merged or will there be a new package? Maybe some of our readers who follow the project can provide suggestions as to which package(s) to track. Also, does anybody use Metisse? Is it worth listing?
Several packages have undergone a name change or have been forked due to various issues and these will be renamed in the DistroWatch tables shortly; here is the list:
The new package list will be finalised and announced next Monday, 18 June.
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New distributions added to database
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New distributions added to waiting list
- Enlisy. Enlisy is a Linux distribution optimised for i686 processors (Pentium II or better), with InitNG as its init system and Apport as its package manager. It is currently aimed at the more experienced Linux user.
- Linux For Clinics. Linux For Clinics is an Ubuntu-based distribution with the goal of providing a Linux-based OS with a complete software package aimed at medical professionals and hospitals as a free and complete alternative to proprietary software.
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DistroWatch database summary
And this concludes the latest issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 18 June 2007. Until then,
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