| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 213, 30 July 2007
Welcome to this year's 31st issue of DistroWatch Weekly! The beginning of August is traditionally a month when many Linux distributions launch new development drives and outline some of the planned features for their upcoming releases. And indeed, if all goes according to the plan, we should see the first test release of Fedora 8 and the first beta release of Mandriva Linux 2008 later this week. Before that happens, we'll bring you the highlights of the past week, including updates on Debian "Lenny", the launch of the OpenBSD Foundation, an initiative to provide extra packages for Red Hat and Red Hat-derived distributions, and a coverage of the Ubuntu Live conference. Finally, don't miss our brief article featuring the Linux User Group of New Caledonia, complete with a few thoughts on the availability of bandwidth in remote parts of our planet. Happy reading!
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Linux in Paradise
"Everything is very hard to do around here," explained Bertrand Cherrier, the president of the Linux User Group of New Caledonia, with a grim face. "Bandwidth is limited and extremely pricey." But then his visage brightened. "On the other hand," he added, "all of our ISPs and most major web sites run on either Linux or FreeBSD, so things are not too bad, after all."
New Caledonia is a French overseas territory in the South Pacific, about 1,500 km east of Australia. Like most of the islands in the region, it is not wired by an undersea telecommunications cable; instead, all of its Internet traffic comes courtesy of a satellite. Although ADSL Internet has been widely available in Nouméa, the capital city, for some time, due to the limits of a satellite connection and growing user demand, connections to the World Wide Web are often slow and unreliable. New Caledonia, despite being one of the most prosperous territories in the South Pacific, is a place where Linux magazines with cover CDs containing Linux distributions are still in high demand.
Sitting in a small outdoor restaurant in Anse Vata, a popular beachfront area of Nouméa, Bernard, myself and a few other Linux enthusiasts discussed the perils of being an Internet and Linux user in a distant and relatively isolated part of our planet. Of course, when you live on a breathtakingly beautiful island like New Caledonia's Grand Terre, with its healthy, pleasant climate, you probably won't want to spend as much time in front of a computer as when your domicile is in a crowded and polluted Asian megalopolis. Still, having fast, cheap and reliable Internet connection is not a bad thing....
I'll have a more detailed report about the meeting with Linux user community in New Caledonia in a few days at Linux.com. In the meantime, here is a discussion for this week's DistroWatch Weekly: are any of our readers located in small, isolated islands? If so, what is your Internet connection like? Do you get decent speeds and trouble-free downloads or do you rely on Linux magazines and online Linux CD shops to get your distributions? Is being a Linux enthusiast a costly hobby for you in terms of bandwidth? Please discuss below.
Finally, here is a year-on-year tabular comparison of interest in DistroWatch among the residents of the South Pacific islands, plus Australia and New Zealand. The figures in the 2006 and 2007 columns represent the total number of visits on the DistroWatch.com index page from each country or territory during the first seven months of each of the two years.
||New Caledonia (NC)
||French Polynesia (PF)
||Solomon Islands (SB)
||Cook Islands (CK)
||American Samoa (AS)
||Walis and Futuna (WF)
||New Zealand (NZ)
Debian release update, OpenBSD Foundation, Fedora statistics, Red Hat's Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux, Ubuntu Live
Debian's Luk Claes has published an update on the release goals of Debian "Lenny", tentatively scheduled for release in September 2008. As the next version is still a long time away, the currently approved goals are relatively minor, but include a couple of fairly important features, such as full IPv6 and large file support. The post also lists a few recent and upcoming changes in the experimental tree; among them, there are noteworthy references to the KDE 4 and GNOME 2.20 desktops: "The Qt/KDE team has started to package the alpha releases of KDE 4. This work will be included in experimental as soon as upstream has decided on the final module structure for the new KDE major releases. ... The first bits of the next GNOME release, 2.20, have been uploaded to experimental. This includes the new versions of GLib, Pango, ATK and GTK+, which bring with them some of the consolidation and integration work done on the GNOME desktop." For more information please read this post on the debian-devel-announce mailing list.
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The OpenBSD project has announced the creation of the OpenBSD Foundation, a non-profit organisation whose initial goal is to facilitate handling of large-scale donations to the project: "The OpenBSD Foundation has been formed for the purpose of supporting the OpenBSD project, and related projects such as OpenSSH, OpenBGPD, OpenNTPD, and OpenCVS. In particular it will act as a single point of contact for persons and organizations requiring a legal entity to deal with when they wish to support OpenBSD in any way. The OpenBSD Foundation will initially concentrate on facilitating larger donations of equipment, funds, documentation and resources. Small scale donations should continue to be submitted through the existing mechanisms." For more details please see the official announcement and read this brief interview with Ken Westerback, one of the foundation's founding members.
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Usage statistics and distro popularity are topics that continue to mesmerise the Linux user community for various reasons. While nobody has come up with a reliable method of measuring the popularity of distributions, the Fedora project has gone further than any other to record and analyse the usage of Fedora. From Linux.com: "Not content to know how many systems are running Fedora, the project has also been working on Smolt, a hardware profiler geared toward gathering hardware data from users automatically. Max Spevack, the Fedora project leader, says that the tool is opt-in only, and that 'we are building a community around Smolt that extends beyond Fedora, and into other Linux distributions.' To get other distros in on the act, the Fedora developers have issued an invitation to other distros to use Smolt. According to Spevack, 'We are trying to build Smolt so that it can be a general upstream project usable for all Linux distributions, and not just Fedora.'" Read the rest of the Linux.com article and visit the Fedora statistics page for more information and some interesting numbers.
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Red Hat has announced the availability of Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux (EPEL), a volunteer-based community effort to create a repository of high-quality add-on packages that complement Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and its compatible spin-offs, such as CentOS or Scientific Linux: "Every user and admin has experienced at least one desired package not being included and supported in RHEL. This project gives you a place to promote, support, and benefit from packages that exist in Fedora and were not included in a RHEL version. Whether it is a package your company needs as part of its standard install, or software you want available so you and your users can do your work and have your fun, Fedora enterprise packages are a good method to build support and community around particular software needs." Read more in this article by LinuxElectrons.
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The inaugural, three-day Ubuntu Live conference was held last week in Portland, United States, with the goal of promoting the distribution through pointing out its features and presenting tutorials on using the popular operating system. Ars Technica was at the event, covering the keynote of the Ubuntu founder, Mark Shuttleworth: "A significant announcement made during the keynote related to plans for future long term support (LTS) releases. The Ubuntu project has previously issued a single release with long term support availability. Unlike regular Ubuntu releases, the LTS release is supported for several years with updates and security patches. According to Shuttleworth, Ubuntu 8.04 -- which will be released in April of 2008 -- will feature long term support. LTS releases will subsequently be issued every two years on a consistent basis. 'The next LTS release will be based on Ubuntu 8.04, which is currently planned for release in April 2008," said Shuttleworth. "We believe we can bring the same level of predictability to the LTS releases as we have to the regular six-month release cycle.'" Read the rest of the story here.
|Released Last Week
SME Server 7.2
The SME Server development team is pleased to announce the release of SME Server 7.2: "This release is based on CentOS 4.5 and all packages have been updated to the latest releases. This release contains many new features, all released updates for SME Server 7.1 and fixes for many reported problems. Upgrades will be available by CD, the Software Installer and command line. All users should upgrade to this release." Follow this forum thread for release announcement and a note on upgrading with yum.
After 4 months of hard and deep development, the SabayonLinux crew is happy to announce the immediate availability of SabayonLinux 3.4! Distribution features: "The most advanced: Linux kernel 2.6.22 with extra power management (PowerTop), wireless (mac80211), ext4 file system, scheduler (CFS) and virtualization (KVM, Virt-Manager, VirtualBox) support. Gaming oriented: featuring Savage 2, FlightGear, DangerDeep, Warsow, Nexuiz, Torcs, Battle of Wesnoth, Second Life; latest NVIDIA (100.14.11) and AMD (8.38.6) GPU drivers..." Read the release notes for further details.
Parted Magic 1.8
Parted Magic is a 30MB Linux live CD/USB/PXE with its elemental purpose being to partition hard drives. Parted Magic 1.8 is out and it has some new features and many updated programs: "We added dd_rhelp, sdparm, mbr, and xfburn for starters. Updated programs: linux-2.6.22, e2fsprogs-1.40.2, ntfs-3g-1.710, dd_rescue-1.13, ddrescue-1.5, leafpad-0.8.11, file-4.21, testdisk-6.7, mdadm-2.6.1, pciutils-2.2.5, syslinux-3.51, isomaster-1.0, hdparm-7.4, xfsprogs_2.8.21-1, busybox-1.5.1, and usbutils-0.72. All menus are bypassed now. After the syslinux menu, it boots to the desktop without any other interruptions. You can now create the live USB from the live CD by using our new 'USB Operations' program..." Please see the project's website for further details.
Finnix is a small, self-contained, bootable Linux CD distribution for system administrators, based on Debian testing. A new maintenance release is now available: "Today marks the release of version 89.2 for the x86/AMD64, PowerPC, and UML/Xen platforms. Finnix 89.2 is a maintenance release. Base system has been dist-upgraded to Debian's testing 2007-07-26. A new kernel was planned for this release, but was not released due to problems between Finnix and available union filesystems. Because of this, 89.2 still comes with kernel 2.6.18, but has a few backported drivers." Please see the release announcement and release notes for further details.
64 Studio 2.0
The second stable release of 64 Studio, a Debian-based distribution with a collection of software for digital content creation, is now available: "64 Studio 2.0 is designed to retain compatibility with Debian Etch, to create a long-lived and stable creative desktop. We combine the stability and quality of Etch with a specialised real-time pre-emption kernel and the latest creative tools demanded by multimedia artists. Our tweaks to Debian include simplified installation and default settings which help get production under way quickly. It's our target that users should be able to get from a blank hard disc to a fully hardware-optimised and usable creative desktop in just half an hour." A Live CD version of 64 Studio is also available. Find more details in the release announcement for further details.
Ubuntu Christian Edition 3.3
Jereme Hancock has announced the release of Ubuntu Christian Edition 3.3: "We are excited to announce the release of Ubuntu CE v3.3. This release adds a few new features and several updates and fixes. This release comes just after Ubuntu CE's 1st birthday. We have had a great year and are looking forward to the continued development in the year to come. We have added the WhatWouldJesusDownload toolbar to Firefox. This toolbar gives quick access to many of the great tools available at WhatWouldJesusDownload, the parent site of the Ubuntu CE project. The Ubuntu CE main menu icon has also been enhanced with an overlay to give it a more unique look. This is accomplished using gDesklets which also powers the desktop verse feature." Read the rest of the release announcement for more details.
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.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Site and distribution updates|
Following a much needed break in New Caledonia, I am back at work, nicely refreshed and ready for more Linux action for another year! Those of you who emailed me during my absence, please accept my apologies for not getting back to you earlier - I really didn't feel like working during the holidays! I am still going through my mail box and I have reduced the number of unread messages to below 500, so hopefully I'll catch up with all the news and reply to all messages within the next few days. Among the emails, there are a few new distribution submissions, but due to time constraints, I will only list them in the next week's DistroWatch Weekly. I will also update all the tables of those distributions that made new releases during my absence later this week.
As always, many thanks to Dr W T Zhu, who has maintained the news page (apologies if we missed anything), and to Susan Linton from Tuxmachines.org, who has compiled the last two issues of DistroWatch Weekly. And of course, many thanks to those of you who have kept providing balanced opinions and knowledgeable comments in the weekly forums from which we can all learn and grow. Happy Linux-ing and BSD-ing to all our faithful DistroWatch readers!
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DistroWatch database summary
And this concludes the latest issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next installment will be published on Monday, 6 August 2007.
|• Issue 585 (2014-11-17): openSUSE 13.2, PC-BSD's "roles", MATE + Compiz on Mint, cleaning package cache|
|• Issue 584 (2014-11-10): OpenMandriva 2014.1, Debian freeze, trickle, systemd and boot times|
|• Issue 583 (2014-11-03): Ubuntu 14.10, ownCloud, Kylin interview, The Book of PF, Elive's commercial ways|
|• Issue 582 (2014-10-27): GhostBSD 4.0, Tumbleweed and Factory merge, systemd and fork of Debian|
|• Issue 581 (2014-10-20): SparkyLinux 3.5, Fedora's graphics stack, Debian and systemd, OpenBSD 5.6|
|• Issue 580 (2014-10-13): Rolling releases, Arch as best distro, GNOME on Wayland, MINIX 3.3.0|
|• Issue 579 (2014-10-06): PC-BSD 10.0.3, Debian's Jessie freeze, setting up home server|
|• Issue 578 (2014-09-29): Calculate 14, Debian's default desktop, Shellshock vulnerability, practical Tiny Core|
|• Issue 577 (2014-09-22): SymphonyOS 14.1, FreeBSD drops pkg_add, MINIX on ARM, GNU screen|
|• Issue 576 (2014-09-15): PCLinuxOS 2014.08, Mint's documentation, Debian's hardware database, CDE|
|• Issue 575 (2014-09-08): Porteus 3.0.1, Fedora's blivet-gui, Red Hat's Docker, systemd|
|• Issue 574 (2014-09-01): Ubuntu Kylin 14.04, Haiku and Linux kernel, Wayland support, Lumina, Bash completion|
|• Issue 573 (2014-08-25): SolydXK 201407, VPN gateway with FreeBSD, Ubuntu MATE, Raspbian, trusting binary packages|
|• Issue 572 (2014-08-18): ZFSguru 10.1, Fedora's Flock, beta installer for "Jessie", Ubuntu Core, rolling releases|
|• Issue 571 (2014-08-11): HandyLinux 1.6, LMDE update, default desktop in "Jessie", running out of disk space|
|• Issue 570 (2014-08-04): Neptune 4, Kubuntu's KDE Plasma 5, FreeBSD and UEFI, Linux servers|
|• Issue 569 (2014-07-28): Deepin 2014, Ask Fedora, Gentoo and LibreSSL, encrypted package downloads|
|• Issue 568 (2014-07-21): Antergos 2014.06.24, Mint based on Debian stable, upgrading CentOS, BinaryTides|
|• Issue 567 (2014-07-14): Manjaro 0.8.10, PC-BSD jails, Debian and glibc, Fedora's DNF, Xiki and Opera 24|
|• Issue 566 (2014-07-07): LXLE 14.04, OpenBSD's SimpleDE, openSUSE artwork, home security basics|
|• Issue 565 (2014-06-30): Chakra 2014.05, Fedora on BeagleBone, Matthew Miller interview, e-book readers|
|• Issue 564 (2014-06-23): Antergos 2014.05.26 and Q4OS 0.5.11, Debian LTS and glibc, Fedora DNF|
|• Issue 563 (2014-06-16): Mint 17, CentOS 7 pre-release, Debian MATE, accessing encrypted content|
|• Issue 562 (2014-06-09): GoboLinux 015, Gentoo interview, Fedora leader change, climagic tricks|
|• Issue 561 (2014-06-02): OpenMandriva 2014.0, Debian GNU/Hurd, Lubuntu and LXQt, Final Term, TrueCrypt|
|• Issue 560 (2014-05-26): KaOS 2014.04, Wayland and KDE 5 on Fedora, distros with commercial support, DenyHosts|
|• Issue 559 (2014-05-19): VortexBox 2.3, LTS-only Linux Mint, FreeBSD 11 ambitions, KDE 5 beta|
|• Issue 558 (2014-05-12): RHEL 7 Workstation impressions, LXQt and Lumina, Haiku interview|
|• Issue 557 (2014-05-05): Xubuntu 14.04, Ubuntu 14.10 roadmap, Fedora Workstation, ownCloud|
|• Issue 556 (2014-04-28): Ubuntu 14.04, LibreSSL, Lumina desktop, Deepin interview|
|• Issue 555 (2014-04-21): Robolinux 7.4.2, Ubuntu release day stats, Debian security, Porteus update|
|• Issue 554 (2014-04-14): Review of FreeNAS, OpenSSL bug, Fedora.next, Robolinux Stealth VM, measuring memory|
|• Issue 553 (2014-04-07): Puppy 5.7 "Slacko", end of Ubuntu One, file encryption with GPG|
|• Issue 552 (2014-03-31): Tanglu 1.0, Ubuntu GNOME LTS, SliTaz for ARM|
|• Issue 551 (2014-03-24): Linux Mint "Debian" 201403, call for end to proprietary firmware, LVM|
|• Issue 550 (2014-03-17): Review of NixOS 13.10, Lubuntu seeking feedback, Android-x86 4.4-rc1 impressions|
|• Issue 549 (2014-03-10): ClearOS 6.5 and UCS 3.2, Gentoo interview, Ubuntu app contest, Into the Core|
|• Issue 548 (2014-03-03): Review of Mageia 4, FreeBSD console driver, filtering web content, Pitivi fundraiser|
|• Issue 547 (2014-02-24): Chakra 2014.02, Ubuntu privacy, preventing unwanted remote logins|
|• Issue 546 (2014-02-17): Review of PC-BSD 10.0, Red Flag closure, Ubuntu and systemd, SlackE18, Fedora book review|
|• Issue 545 (2014-02-10): Impressions of FreeBSD 10.0, Debian votes systemd, Ubuntu file manager, server security|
|• Issue 544 (2014-02-03): Netrunner 13.12, openSUSE future, Ubuntu Touch in emulator, running commands in multiple places|
|• Issue 543 (2014-01-27): Review of Korora 20, FreeBSD 10.0, DNF, ZFS rescue CD, Bridge Linux interview|
|• Issue 542 (2014-01-20): QupZilla, Ubuntu with MATE, Arch on Raspberry Pi, best applications|
|• Issue 541 (2014-01-13): openSUSE 13.1 and Zentyal 3.3, CentOS joins Red Hat, Bodhi on Chromebooks|
|• Issue 540 (2014-01-06): SMS 2.0.6 and SME Server 8.0, Hawaii desktop, PHR statistics 2013, more on multi-part archives|
|• Issue 539 (2013-12-23): Centrych 12.04.3, Fedora 20 and its spins, dividing archives across multiple discs|
|• Issue 538 (2013-12-16): Mint 16 review, RHEL and CentOS 7 plans, SteamOS, Windows XP replacement suggestions|
|• Issue 537 (2013-12-09): OpenMandriva 2013.0, Gentoo developer interview, project Neon, Linux Mint and security|
|• Issue 536 (2013-12-02): Impressions of openSUSE 13.1, Ubuntu Touch, FreeBSD 10 delay, troubleshooting OS lock-ups|
|• Full list of all issues|