| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 212, 23 July 2007
Welcome to this year's 30th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! As you might know Ladislav is still on vacation and I'm here with you for one more week. So here we go. Happy reading!
Join us at irc.freenode.net #distrowatch
Mini-Reviews: Sabayon BE 1.0 and Puppy Linux 2.17
Sabayon Linux 1.0 "Business Edition"
By Andrew Heil (aka eco2geek)
Sabayon Linux is an Italian Gentoo-based distribution known for its cutting-edge features and striking artwork. On July 15th, they released Sabayon Linux 1.0 "Business Edition", which has a different focus than their regular releases: to satisfy the business user who needs a stable distro with a good set of applications suitable for office use, and who doesn't need a large selection of games, or the latest eye candy, such as Beryl or Compiz Fusion.
Available in both 32- and 64-bit versions, the Business Edition is a 1.7 GB download via BitTorrent or via an official mirror (it's also available for purchase). Once burned to DVD, it boots into a live environment, from which you can test its features and run its installer. (You can also choose to run either a text-based or graphical installer straight from the initial boot menu.) Installation was simple and straightforward, although it took a long time (roughly 45 minutes) on my test box, an older PC with an AMD Sempron 2200+ CPU, an NVIDIA MX440-based video card, and ~500M of RAM. The distro includes the proprietary NVIDIA driver, which worked out of the box. It also comes with a custom 2.6.22 kernel.
Sabayon Linux 1.0 "Business Edition" Installer
(full-size image: 106KB; screen resolution: 806 × 625 pixels)
Based on Gentoo's stable branch, the Sabayon Business Edition includes KDE 3.5.5 (the default window manager); Firefox 22.214.171.124; OpenOffice.org 2.2; KMyMoney 0.8; QCad 2; Krita 1.6.1 (a vector drawing program); Scribus 1.3 (a desktop publishing program); Imendio Planner 0.12.1 (for project management); KMyFirewall 0.9.2; Skype; VNCViewer, and many other useful apps and utilities. It includes nice touches such as the Flash plugin, the Win32 codecs, mplayer, a large number of image editing programs (including Blender 2.43), and the regular KDE games suite. It also includes the WINE Windows emulation layer, in case you need to run a Windows program. (The entire package list is available here.)
Sabayon Linux 1.0 "Business Edition" Desktop
(full-sized image: 200KB; screen resolution: 1280 × 1024 pixels)
Unfortunately, this distro and I didn't get along very well. Sound support in KDE seemed not to work. After viewing the output of "alsaconf," my first assumption was that there were some missing kernel sound modules, but that was wrong. It turned out that, for whatever reason, KDE's audio backend played WAV files just fine, but it wouldn't play sound files in Ogg Vorbis format. (The fix was to set an external player.) Another bigger problem was that OpenOffice.org crashed each time it was started, and then tried to restart itself, over and over, until its process was manually killed. Uninstalling the "openoffice" package and installing the "openoffice-bin" package fixed the problem. Hopefully, YMMV.
On one hand, it's hard to see what this distribution has to offer in terms of application selection that other, easier-to-use distributions (such as PCLinuxOS or Ubuntu) don't. Gentoo's package management system isn't exactly simple to learn or use.
On the other hand, for those interested in a relatively easy way to install and become acquainted with a stable, Gentoo-based distro, Sabayon Linux Business Edition is a good choice. Plus it's got an active user community and a well-written Wiki.
* * * * *
Puppy Linux 2.17
Puppy Linux is a small liveCD Linux Distribution. It usually comes in an approximate 50 to 100 MB download, yet contains a full suite of applications for common computer tasks. Version 2.17 was released a few days ago. I've looked at Puppy a few times in the past, but I never fully appreciated it until this release.
I always found Puppy Linux fairly complete with good performance, but was not very impressed with its appearance. It may not have improved much in the look and feel department, but in terms of performance it has few rivals.
I had a bit of trouble with the first two boots of Puppy. When booting one is given a choice of using Xorg or Xvesa for the X server. My first instinct was to use Xorg, but that didn't work so well on my Hewlett-Packard laptop with NVIDIA graphics that I was using. The boot process would just stop at that step. The second attempt I tried using "cheat codes" that sometimes help (with Ubuntu derivatives, for example) to no avail. The third boot I chose Xvesa with 1024x768 resolution and was taken to my desktop. Xvesa is a choice offered for those wishing a light implementation, and perhaps contributed to the impressive performance I experienced with Puppy. My sound worked out of the box.
Two download versions were available this time. One using LZMA compression and the other using GZIP. GZIP is supposed to be faster, but I had already chosen the LZMA by the time I learned of this. No matter, the performance of Puppy has to be one of its main features. The Puppy developers tend to include smaller and high performing applications, but even the Seamonkey web browser opened in approximately two seconds and page rendering was instantaneous. There was no menu lag or screen corruption when moving or resizing windows. Even the manual configuration steps and connecting my winnic was immediate. Rarely have I experienced such performance when using a liveCD.
Puppy comes with quite a bit of software. Some are mainstream applications while others are lesser known small lightweight equivalents. Many of their configuration tools appear to be homebrewed front-ends. Some include Gnumeric, InkscapeLite, Gaim, Abiword, Transmission, and gxine. Some of the small lesser knowns include Soxgui, Xwget, and Agenda. Puppy also ships with all kinds of rippers and dialers. Some homemade apps include PupCtorrent, Puppy Package Manager, and Pbackup. They even managed to include some games like Bubbles, Rubic Cube, and Tkmines. It appears they have a setup wizard for about every piece of common hardware known. It even includes a remaster tool. All this sits on top of Linux-126.96.36.199. Added all up, it's quite impressive for an 83 MB download.
Puppy Linux 2.17 LiveCD
(full image size: 216kB, screen resolution: 1024x768 pixels)
However, the appearance of Puppy is still a bit unattractive. It uses JWM and while it works fairly well with impressive response times, it's not overly pretty. A Welcome message of helpful tips now stands in place of the seagull wallpaper used so many times. Fortunately, Puppy does come with an easy tool to set the background. Unfortunately, there's not much to choose from, the seagull and a skyscape is about it.
When shutting down one is given the option of saving their personal settings. On a multisession cdrom or dvd it merely adds a folder to the first session. Alternatively, you can save it to partition. But when I rebooted my saved session, not only was the screen resolution not as I saved, but the internet connection configuration was lost. That was what I was really hoping would be saved. The resolution and wallpaper was correctly loaded from the second saved session, but I'm left to do the winnic dance each boot.
I can certainly see why Puppy has such a loyal and vocal following of users and third party developers. Once upon a time Damn Small Linux was my tiny distro of choice. But given that DSL seems to be lacking support for my newer hardware, Puppy might have taken its place. With its amazing array of applications and astounding performance Puppy has little competition left. All in all, I was very impressed.
Gentoo Foundation, Debian tidbits, openSUSE News & Coolo, Linus Interview, and Too Many Distros?
In Gentoo developments, nominations are being accepted for Trustees of the Gentoo Foundation. It appears there aren't many takers and there is even some discussion of turning the Gentoo Foundation over to a 3rd party. A hurt Daniel Robbins, founder of Gentoo, blogged that if no one else wants it, why not give it back to him? As someone who has used Gentoo since he was still at the helm and has seen the decline since his departure, I think I agree with him when he said that would have been the right thing to do.
* * * * *
In Debian news this week we hear that support for the Sparc32 architecture will be dropped in Debian "Lenny." Discussions were solicited before this decision was made, but no one was able to volunteer to maintain that code. It's been quite a struggle to continue to support sparc32 in recent times due to it having no maintainer, thus leaving the duties to various maintainers of other archs. This resulted in bugs among other issues. Sparc64 will continue to be maintained as before. Complete details.
In other developments, "Lenny" will likely include support for Serial ATA RAID and is currently being tested in the dailies.
Another issue that created a lengthy discussion was the proposed removal of XMMS by maintainers.
Also Debian is needing some developers to help maintain the mailing lists. See this message if you can help.
* * * * *
The big news with openSUSE this week was the promotion of Andreas Jaeger to Director of Platform and openSUSE. Stephen "Coolo" Kulow will be taking over the position of project manager for the openSUSE distribution. Stephen has been working with Novell/SUSE for five years and has previous Linux experience with Caldera. His first work as project manager began with openSUSE 10.3 alpha 6 released last Thursday. Complete details.
In other openSUSE news, Thursday saw the unveiling of a new portal. News.openSUSE.org went live to provide the latest in openSUSE news and announcements. Important news will still be posted on the opensuse-announce mailing list, but comments on the news.openSUSE.org are open for everybody. Visit and bookmark openSUSE News.
* * * * *
Alexander Wolfe stirred up a hornet's nest this week with his blogged rehash of Too Many Linux Distros Make For Open Source Mess. He basically states there are too many "forks," but never really gives a firm reason why he feels that way. Eugenia Loli-Queru, of OSNews.com, posted she's been saying that for years. Wolfe's post was followed up by fellow Information Week blogger, Serdar Yegulalp, who takes the opposing side, but offered his argument in an analogy comparing Linux distribution to digital cameras. His point being that "diversity" is good. What followed next was a 437-post discussion at Slashdot and an opinion by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes at ZDNet. By the end of the week bigger players had joined in with a piece by Brian Proffitt of Linux Today and Michael J. Jordan's opinion at Linux Online. Perhaps Rob Staudinger, of Abiword, said it best when he concluded, "Gee, there are too many bloggers."
* * * * *
In an interview at oneopensource.it this week, Linus Torvalds, whose opinion on the GPLv3 has been quoted and misquoted numerous times, states, "It's no longer a really bad one like some of the early drafts were, but in my opinion the GPLv2 is simply better." He went on to state that he wasn't interested in all in the Microsoft patent deals and talk of patent deals of late. On open source he stated it works because one can stand on the shoulders of others and Linux works because it isn't sandwiched into one niche. "Everybody gets to play." When asked what Linux needs to truly make it onto user's desktops, Linus simply stated it needs more time to improve and for companies to become willing to change their status quo. What distro does Linus prefer? He said he likes the "nice ones with simple installers." He's used most of the big boys except Debian and has Fedora 7 on most of his computers right now. The interview concludes with Linus stating he's still having fun. Read the full interview here.
LinuxWorld ran An interview with Jeremy Allison, of Samba, on why they adopted the GPLv3 so quickly.
|Released Last Week
SabayonLinux BE 1.0
Love Sabayon Linux and want to use it for working purpose but are not interested at all in games or desktop acceleration? Then try its "Business Edition". "Sabayon has prepared for you a fast, cheap and stable solution for every "office needs" you might have! INFO/FEATURES: Optimized Server profile; Kernel 2.6.22 Sabayon Linux Powered; Stable branch for almost all packages; Wpa_supplicant compiled with a better support for mac80211; Latest madwifi driver; Latest Sabayon Installer; Latest Ati-drivers; Latest Nvidia-drivers; Fast installation speed; Package Selection on install time; Really fast working live environment; Easy firewall management with Kmyfirewall." Read the press release for further details.
Iuri Stanchev has announced the release of NetSecL 2.1, a security-focused distribution based on Slackware Linux: "NetSecL 2.1 introduces GCC with Stack Smashing Protection, this increases the security of the compiled packages (i486_64). More than 250 Package Updates. Most networking packages are now i486_64 packages. This release fixes some unnoticed bugs in 2.0 version. Hardware recognition data were updated to the latest available. Enjoy NetSecL 2.1." Read the brief release announcement and the changelog for more information.
Absolute Linux 12.0
Paul Sherman has announced the release of Absolute Linux 12.0, a light-weight variant of Slackware Linux using the IceWM window manager: "This is Slackware 12.0 modification. Features kernel 188.8.131.52 (smp) and implements auto-mounting capabilities for devices and media. Updates to Hal and DevTray installation since last release. 586 is NOT supported for now, so don't try to load on a Pentium I or a k6-2 processor. Devices are not actually mounted automatically -- their icons appear in a panel BELOW the taskbar. When you want to look, click the arrow on the right of the taskbar, that bar will slide off to the right, and the devices listed by DevTray appear on the lower panel." Read the brief release announcement and get the package list on the project's download page.
IPCop Firewall 1.4.16
IPCop Firewall, a distribution for protecting the network it is installed on, has been updated to version 1.4.16: "This release fixes some bugs, update glibc, Net::DNS and capi for security reasons. Upgraded packages are squid, snort, e100, r1000... As usual, this version can be installed as an update from previous v1.4.x versions or with a ready-to-go ISO or usb bootable images or pxe for a fresh install. Files are available on 'IPCop' package at Sourceforge." Read the rest of the release announcement for further details.
The Slackintosh-team has announced the release of Slackintosh 12.0, an unofficial port of Slackware Linux to Apple's PowerPC computers: "We are proud to announce that Slackintosh 12.0 has been released! Slackintosh 12.0 includes Linux 184.108.40.206, glibc 2.5 (with tls + epoll!), KDE 3.5.7 and much more... Checkout 12.0/README.TXT for Release-Notes / Upgrade instructions. Note to people still running Slackintosh 10.2: Please upgrade to 11.0 or 12.0! Slackintosh 10.2 is now obsolete. We will not provide security patches for 10.2." Read the brief release announcement for more information.
Puppy Linux 2.17
Barry Kauler just announced the release of Puppy Linux 2.17: "Another wonderful new Puppy! The 'standard' release is puppy-2.17-seamonkey-fulldrivers.iso live-CD and is 82.6MB. There is one thing that stands out from reading the release notes, and that is the major advances with hardware support -- which astounds even me, considering that version 2.16 was released barely 2 months ago. Yes, everything listed below is in that 82.6MB!" Read the announcement of new features and release notes here, and the Puppy website for further information.
Skolelinux 3.0 "Terra" is available for free download: "This is a community release with comprehensive support from regional and national projects in Germany, Spain, France, Greece and Norway. The Skolelinux project is now a part of Debian under the name Debian-Edu. Several other projects have made additional functionality to Skolelinux tailored for national needs. Skolelinux now supports more than 50 countries. What's new in Skolelinux 3.0: based on Debian 4.0 "etch" and therefore compatible to LSB 3.1, using kernel 2.6.18 and KDE 3.5.5..." Read the release announcement for full details.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
DistroWatch database summary|
And this concludes the latest issue of DistroWatch Weekly. Please remember that the opinions expressed in this week's DistroWatch Weekly are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of DistroWatch.com or its owner, Ladislav Bodnar. Ladislav should be back with you next week. I want to thank Dr. W T Zhu for his invaluable help, Andrew Heil for his Sabayon contribution, and all the wonderful readers who have made me feel so welcome. The next installment will be published on Monday, 30 July 2007.
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|• Issue 679 (2016-09-19): OpenMandriva 3.0, 32-bit vs 64-bit performance, openSUSE updates, KaOS unveils first run wizard|
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|• 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 646 (2016-02-01): deepin 15, Mint plans X-Apps, FreeBSD to support boot environments, logging into the desktop as root|
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