| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 225, 22 October 2007
Welcome to this year's 43rd issue of DistroWatch Weekly! It is dedicated to the recently released Mandriva Linux 2008, with a first look review at Mandriva's latest release, an interview with the company's Director of Engineering, and a brief note comparing the new releases from the traditional European Linux power houses - Mandriva and openSUSE. In the news section, Canonical releases impressive "Gutsy Gibbon", Fedora mulls development changes, KDE reaches its third beta, and Slackware updates Current branch. Finally, for those of you who enjoy the DistroWatch Page Hit Ranking statistics, don't miss the Site News section, which summarises a brief experiment that took place on the web site last week. It's a bumper issue, so get yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy the read!
- Reviews: A look at Mandriva Linux 2008
- Interviews: Anne Nicolas, Director of Engineering, Mandriva
- News: Ubuntu "Gutsy", Mandriva vs openSUSE, Fedora 9 development changes, KDE Four Live, Slackware Current, FreeSBIE and DesktopBSD updates
- Released last week: Ubuntu 7.10, Foresight Linux 1.4.1
- Upcoming releases: FreeBSD 7.0-BETA1
- Site news: The Page Hit Ranking experiment
- New additions: elpicx
- New distributions: MythDora, TeenPup, Vacarm Linux
- Reader comments
Join us at irc.freenode.net #distrowatch
A look at Mandriva Linux 2008 (by Chris Smart)
Downloading the 2008 KDE One CD, I wasn't sure what to expect from Mandriva. I had tried Mandrake Linux back when I was first discovering Linux, but as with most RPM-based distros at the time I got frustrated when wanting to install something that wasn't done during the initial installation. Things have changed since then and I was eager to find out what Mandriva was offering.
The live CD
This release is a live CD so I simply booted it on my trusty MacBook. The boot process to get to the installer was as expected these days - lovely graphics and a smooth ride, although it took quite a long time. The screen resolution was not detected properly and this made the fonts look a bit ugly, but I didn't fuss too much about this. The CD boots straight into a configuration wizard prompting the user to select things such as language, keyboard layout and time zone. Finally we get to choose what desktop effects we would like: none, Metisse or CompizFusion. I had a play with Metisse but was not overly impressed, it is certainly not on par with Compiz. From here it boots straight into KDE.
Mandriva boasts that it comes with non-GPL kernel drivers such as those from NVIDIA and ATI. I noticed that my Atheros-based wireless device worked out of the box with the MadWiFi driver. Support for MP3 music and other non-free files works out of the box, too. This is welcome news to users who wish to use non-GPL drivers (as it all works out of the box), but for those concerned with software freedom, it isn't such good news. I'm not sure how Mandriva is able to ship non-GPL drivers with the live system, but no-one seems to care about this any more. Gone are the days when a distribution was covered pretty much under a simple open source license like the GPL 2. Now, end user license agreements are getting pretty strange. Reading the license we see a warning about Mandriva containing software that might not be patent-free and therefore causing their end users to break the law. Is this a good thing? Users concerned about using illegal software should download 'The "purely" Free Software Edition' of Mandriva from their web site. Funnily enough, this comes with a WARNING that it doesn't include proprietary drivers or software!
Unfortunately, the touchpad on my MacBook didn't work properly, but at least it worked like a basic one-button mouse. I also found that there was no support for any of the MacBook's special keys like volume control or brightness, although it did automatically dim the screen when unplugged from mains power. Even the page up, page down, home, end and delete keys didn't work.
My initial impression of the desktop was that it was simple and clean. The artwork was nice, CompizFusion worked well and I liked the KDE theme. Konqueror also has a nice sidebar with actions that the 'right click' menu presents and it looks really good. The Mandriva Control Center was very impressive. It was well laid out, clear and easy to understand. The tools were very powerful but simple enough to use and I changed my resolution to 1280x800 easily enough.
The system comes with a nice selection of applications, including everything the average desktop user might need. The desktop layout is well thought out and the application menu is cleanly arranged into groups like 'Tools' and 'Graphics'. I would like to have seen descriptions for applications turned on, however, as users new to Linux aren't going to know what programs like GIMP, K3b or Amarok do. Right clicking on 'Menu' gave me the option to switch to the 'Kickoff' menu style (from Novell) which worked nicely.
Mandriva One 2008 "KDE" - the default desktop
(full image size: 645kB, screen resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
On the Desktop is an icon to install Mandriva which kicks up the installer. It had a very simple layout with only a few steps to a successful install and it looked nice and clean. I was impressed. All I had to do was tell Mandriva where I wanted it to install itself and away it went copying the system. To my surprise, it supported LVM well and managing this was also very simple. I just had to click on the empty space and make a new logical volume. After watching the progress bar for a number of minutes the installer prompted me to configure the boot loader, GRUB. I was pleased to see that GRUB was installed correctly and did not wipe my Master Boot Record (MBR) partition table. The installer did not detect any of my other installed Linux distributions and it did think I had Windows installed for some reason. There is an option to add an entry for your other distributions, the configuration of which is assisted with pull down menus listing available kernels and init images.
After I had finished playing in the live system, I was ready to reboot into my freshly installed Mandriva system. I was greeted with the pretty blue Mandriva GRUB screen, but unfortunately it refused to boot. During initial boot-up the initrd was dying, saying it couldn't mount the root file system. It might have had something to do with the MacBook and the EFI system, or it might have been an LVM issue. Either way I was forced to install it under a virtualised environment instead, which introduced some issues of its own. Mandriva couldn't detect the hard drive, causing the installer to 'crash' and create a bug report. This I solved by creating a new IDE drive which worked just fine.
Package management and system configuration
After completing this install I have to say Mandriva worked quite well. I was first prompted to configure the network, set the root password and create a new user. In this system I had a chance to try the package management system. By default no repositories were listed, but a handy wizard appears which walks you through adding the official update and source repositories, as well as any custom repositories if you want them. (NOTE: the 'source' repositories does not mean 'source code' but more like a 'source of all the Mandriva packages'. You will need this to install anything in the repository that didn't come on the install CD.) Once I had the official sources added, I tried to install SuperTux and Frozen Bubble as Mandriva doesn't come with any games pre-installed. This was easily accomplished by clicking on 'Menu' and then opening 'Remove & Install Software'. Simply searching for the games in this interface and enabling them caused them to be downloaded from the Internet and installed. Mandriva also comes with a system tray update utility, which showed that there were two updates available - tar and util-linux-ng. Nice work, but pretty standard on distributions these days.
Probably that which left the biggest impression on me was the Mandriva Control Center. It is well laid out and split into manageable and sensible sections. The tools themselves are easy to use and fast. This should bode well with users making the move from Windows and those who prefer GUI configuration tools to the command line. In fact, included is a Windows migration tool to import a user's documents and settings. I couldn't test this. Well done Mandriva!
Mandriva Linux 2008 - the Mandriva Control Center
(full image size: 117kB, screen resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
There were aspects of this Mandriva release that I really liked, such as the installer and the Control Center but overall the system didn't really grab me. It is quite a decent, well put-together operating system with all the basics and a few extras like the Control Center and 3D desktop effects. It was stable and ran well, but on the whole it didn't seem to offer anything exciting enough to make me want to switch to the distribution permanently. For the seasoned Mandriva user, I get the impression this will be quite a worthy upgrade, but as for me I'm going to check back when the next release arrives.
8 "Smarties" out of 10.
Interview with Anne Nicolas, Director of Engineering, Mandriva
Women are rare in the Linux world and even rarer in senior technical positions of Linux companies. One exception to the rule is Anne Nicolas, Director of Engineering at Paris-based Mandriva. Since taking up the job earlier this year, the quality and development standards at Mandriva Linux seem to have improved considerably. What's the secret? Anne explains her role and contribution to the Mandriva development process in this exclusive interview with DistroWatch.
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DW: Anne, thank you very much for your time. As the first question, could you please introduce yourself? How long have you been working for Mandriva and what exactly are your responsibilities?
AN: I started working in open source as a support engineer at Edge-It six years ago. Mandriva then bought Edge-It in 2004 and I began my Mandriva adventure as a member of the professional support team. During the first two years I also worked as a consultant on several enterprise open source deployment projects. In 2006, I took over the redesign of the corporate product line, starting with Corporate Server 4.
Since May 2007 I am the manager of the engineering team at Mandriva. This team is comprised of engineers who do packaging and development for all Mandriva distributions and a team which is in charge of software and hardware quality assurance (QA). My main role is to organize the teams so that releases can be developed on time and to deliver the desired features. My other important roles are to set development priorities, to ensure quality of Mandriva's distributions, and to establish a good relationship model between the Mandriva employees and the Cooker community.
DW: Looking back at the development process of Mandriva Linux 2008, are there any features or design decisions that you were personally responsible for?
AN: I was specifically involved in ergonomic improvements of the Mandriva installer and the Mandriva Control Center. We wanted to make sure that the installer fit into the new simplified Mandriva product range. The installer was meant to be used by both the beginners and the advanced users, which makes it one of the easiest Linux installers. At the same time, I reviewed the Mandriva Control Center to make it much more intuitive to use. I also worked on Rpmdrake, especially on its ease of use, and made our DrakFirstTime wizard more friendly using web technologies.
Since one of our main targets is new Linux users, we wanted to help them with migrating from Windows. We took an old tool, Transfugdrake, and redesigned it so that it can help users to migrate their data from multi-boot system configurations.
More generally speaking, I also coordinated the main 2008 specifications so that our French and Brazilian teams work in complementary ways, together with other contributors.
DW: Judging by the readers' comments in the recent issues of DistroWatch Weekly, it looks like the new version 2008 is the most bug-free Mandriva release for quite a few years. What do you attribute this welcome change to? Have there been any major changes in the way Mandriva Linux is developed?
AN: We are all very happy to receive so many positive reviews and comments about the 2008 version. There are both technical and "political" reasons for the improvements. Technically speaking, Mandriva now has many years of experience in releasing distributions. These have always been quite good, offering all the best of open source technologies in a friendly environment. The point we had to improve was the general level of quality from one version to another. At the same time, many new distributions, such as Ubuntu, appeared and made Linux users more demanding in terms of innovation and features.
The early positive reviews of 2008 beta versions were really encouraging and they served as a motivating factor for the developers to improve quality. Also, the 2008 release cycle started with opening the Mandriva development process to more contributors - no more Access Control Lists in our Subversion except for some very sensitive components like the kernel. We created a bug triage team that works on bug management for Mandriva distributions; their main role is to increase the quality of bug reports, to obtain more information, and to assign each bug to a developer. It isn't perfect, but it has helped a lot. Moreover, much work has been done on our tools and build systems to make them more reliable and to give more feedback to packagers and testers.
Mandriva has always provided free software using open channels. But for sure, communication and formalisation weren't strong enough, so our upcoming objectives will be to reinforce this position and improve it.
DW: The open source software world can be a rough environment, often dominated by strong, young and bull-headed hackers. As a woman, how do you feel being part of this world? Have you ever regretted joining it?
AN: I must say, you are not the first one asking this kind of question :). I spoke about it with some guys from the team and one of them suggested this answer: "No, I don't have a problem with these guys because they are like my children most of the time - they eat trashy food, they speak trash, they behave like trash and they treat you like trash." Despite that I've never regretted choosing the open source world. It fits my view of software development perfectly and I really think that the open source model is one of the most dynamic and creative development models around. It provides plenty of scoop for creativity and cooperation and no doubt it's just the beginning.
As a woman, I feel like a human being working with other human beings (I hope so :) ). So one may encounter relationship problems in this team as in any other field. It's hard to avoid bias, and of course the Linux world is also suffering because it. But I must say I haven't had any major problems until now (I cross my fingers twice :) ). I think the most important words are open mind and dialogue, sane discussions and respect. Yes, there are very few women in the Linux world, but it's up to them to contribute and to become part of it. It's just a question of interest.
DW: From the technical point of view, what do you think are the biggest obstacles to Linux becoming a mainstream desktop OS?
AN: One of the main technical obstacles is the hardware support level. Even if lots of improvements have been made, there will be problems with more exotic hardware. Even with regard to supported hardware, the support can be incomplete or can lack important functionality. We can see it with printers, PDAs, graphical chipsets...
I would also add two other items: the ergonomic qualities of graphical environments and gaming. Both of them are essential in targeting a wide range of end users. As far as the graphical environments are concerned many improvements have been done, but unfortunately, old habits are difficult to change and the Linux desktop will have to deliver much more innovation. Moreover, the integration of open source software has to become a priority in order to help the users find the best open source software in a smooth, well-integrated environment.
Finally, gaming is also a weak point on the Linux desktop. Many users do not change their operating system because Linux lacks good games. But providing games for the Linux platform is essential if we want to attract more users.
DW: Anne, thank you very much for your time and keep up the good work!
Ubuntu "Gutsy", Mandriva vs openSUSE, Fedora 9 development changes, KDE Four Live, Slackware Current, FreeSBIE and DesktopBSD updates
The much awaited Ubuntu 7.10 "Gutsy Gibbon" was released last week as scheduled. It didn't take long before the first reviews started coming in, mostly praising the usability and enhancements in this version. Ubuntu seems to have done a very good job indeed and there is little doubt that "Gutsy" is a worthwhile upgrade for most Ubuntu users. I have briefly tested the new version by doing a clean install on a spare box and I really liked what I'd seen so far; while some users were afraid of the integration of CompizFusion into the distribution, I have found it to be a very unobtrusive feature - there are no wobbly Windows or other effects that might be considered annoying rather than useful, just tasteful transformation effects that give an impression of a smooth and pleasant desktop. I also upgraded an existing Ubuntu 7.04 installation (which was previously upgraded from Ubuntu 6.10) on my Toshiba Satellite laptop and this process too went without a hitch (this wasn't always the case in the past). We should have a more detailed review in the next issue of DistroWatch Weekly, but for now it's suffice to say that "Gutsy" is probably the project's most impressive release to-date. Well done, Ubuntu!
Ubuntu 7.10 - the default desktop
(full image size: 520kB, screen resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
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It looks like the first big distro battle of the release season -- the one between openSUSE 10.3 and Mandriva Linux 2008 -- has been won by Mandriva. This conclusion comes from early reviews of the two products, as well as our DistroWatch Weekly forums, which have witnessed an unusual number of positive comments from users who installed the latest Mandriva, while at the same time a number of others commented about the bugs found in openSUSE 10.3. Further adding to the impression that Mandriva has done a better job with version 2008 was Susan Linton's Battle of the Titans comparative review between Mandriva Linux 2008 and openSUSE 10.3: "Winner: Mandriva 2008. In our little just-for-fun comparison, we, the judges, find that Mandriva wins by 4 categories to 2." What do our readers think? Let us know.
* * * * *
What do you look forward to the most in the upcoming Fedora 8? If you ask Jesse Keating, one of the distribution's developers, this is what you get for the answer: "Working wireless out of the box. Intel 4965 firmware is in, works well, and NetworkManager rewrite leaves me with some pretty damn good software to manage it. Working suspend/resume. There was a small issue with the backlight upon resume, but now there is a proper hal-info quirk to support it. It Just Works. Working function keys (eject, stop/play-pause/ff/rw, volume up/down/mute, brightness up/down) all with really snazzy looking on-screen indicators. Again rivals OSX. As a side effect, the little remote that came with my laptop just works too." He concludes his experience of running Fedora 8 on a Dell XPS 1330 laptop with this note: "My out-of-the-box experience with this laptop is amazing. If I tried to put Windows back on this I know I'd be playing the driver game, looking at craptastic network control tools, wishing I had a second battery and generally hating life. The fact that we can rival the OSX experience continues to amaze me."
Although Fedora 8 isn't due until the 8th November, the Fedora project has already put up a new Wiki page entitled Proposed Development Process Changes for Fedora 9. One of the suggested changes is the replacement of Fedora "Tests" with a more common "Alpha", "Beta" and "Release Candidate" development model: "Instead of doing three test releases, we would instead move to an Alpha/Beta/RC/Final release mechanism. New names have been chosen to be more descriptive of what each of these releases are trying to accomplish. The uniform "Test1/2/3" was not very descriptive, whereas Alpha, Beta, and Release Candidate are more in line with what each of these things are and how they should be treated. These names should also lend themselves better to translation into other languages."
* * * * *
The third beta of KDE 4.0 was released last week and as has become the norm, KDE's and openSUSE's Stephan Binner followed it with a new CD image containing the latest code: "What would a KDE4 Hack Week be without a new version of KDE Four Live released at its end? This version has KDE 4.0 Beta 3+ (mostly 3.94.1 snapshot) packages from the KDE:KDE4 build service project engrafted on openSUSE 10.3 (if you find your way within YaST you can turn it into a full openSUSE 10.3 installation). Extra plasmoids are included with the extragear-plasma and playground-base packages, no Amarok included as it didn't build. The Plasma setup looks only good at 1024x768 resolution - seems Plasma has still to learn about resolution dependence. SATA CD-drives and network setup should hopefully work better than before and auto-login is enabled." The new live CD image can be downloaded from here (MD5): KDE-Four-Live.i686-0.5.iso (589MB).
KDE 4 - still not quite usable, although progress is obvious
(full image size: 968kB, screen resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
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The Slackware Current ChangeLog is moving once again! This is the first time the document has been updated since the July 2nd release of Slackware 12.0 (except security fixes), but the changes are rather significant. Those of you who follow the Slackware Current branch are probably the first users running the latest stable kernel 184.108.40.206 and the new X.Org 7.3 with xorg-server 1.4. Note, however, there are a number of known issues with this version of X.Org: "There are a few known problems with this release. Please let us know if you have solutions to any of these. 1. xf86-video-vesa was not upgraded for the X.Org 7.3 release, and running Terminal or VTE under KDE results in an X hang under KDE, or garbage in the terminal under Xfce. 2. The following modules were not upgraded in the X.Org 7.3 release and no longer compile: mkcfm, xf86-input-acecad, xf86-input-dmc, xf86-input-void, xf86-video-glide, xf86-video-impact, and xf86-video-wsfb. Odds are good that due to the driver ABI change none of these are currently working." Also updated were KDE to version 3.5.8, OpenSSH to 4.7p1, PHP to 5.2.4, CUPS to 1.3.3, and a number of other popular packages. The glibc library, however, remains at 2.5 ("Yes, glibc 2.6 is out, but for now we will stick with a known-working version."). For more details please see the Slackware Current ChangeLog.
* * * * *
Good news for the fans of FreeBSD live CDs. As announced by Matteo Riondato, work on a major new FreeSBIE release, based on FreeBSD 7.0, is now officially in progress: "So, RELENG_7 was branched and it seems a good idea to release a new ISO image of FreeSBIE based on it. It also looks like people want it, so I think it is a really good idea. I must admit I've not a lot of time to work on it, so I'll probably end up using the same configuration of FreeSBIE-2.0.1. The great news is that Unionfs will be enabled by default, like in FreeSBIE-1.x. The only caveat is - will it be stable enough? I know Hiroki Sato committed some fixes to it to HEAD just after the 'approval lock' on HEAD was removed, and it may be a good idea to backport that to RELENG_7, so that users gain a better FreeSBIE experience. Time will tell."
* * * * *
Finally, DesktopBSD has announced that the project started releasing weekly snapshots of its development branch in the form of installable ISO images: "For those of you who are always excited about trying the latest and greatest features, we provide weekly snapshot ISOs now. They are built every Saturday from the latest DesktopBSD Tools, the most recent FreeBSD 6-STABLE sources and an up-to-date ports collection. The ISO contains a standard DesktopBSD distribution: a live system that can be booted without installing first, an installer that copies the operating system to your hard disk and a large selection of packages for most of your every-day needs. For now, the snapshots are only available for the AMD64 architecture, but we will start providing i386 snapshots soon." The most recent snapshot is available for download from here: DesktopBSD-1.6RC3-amd64-SNAPSHOT-20071021.iso (1,291MB, SHA256).
|Released Last Week
The elpicx live DVD is a KNOPPIX and CentOS-based live Linux system with a single goal - to help students to prepare for the Linux Professional Institute (LPI) certification exam by providing several test emulators as well as a number of LPI reference cards, study notes, preparation guides and other exercises. The project's newest release, version 1.1, was announced yesterday: "Based on KNOPPIX 5.1.1 and CentOS 4.3. KDE help files, KNOPPIX and LPI certification documentation were added, together with software to prepare for the LPI exam 102 (Linux kernel sources 2.4 and 2.6, Sendmail)." Visit the project's home page to read the complete release announcement and changelog.
PAIPIX 7.10, a Debian-based live DVD with focus on scientific applications, has been released: "PAIPIX 7.10, the upgraded PAIPIX 7. While PAIPIX 7 integrated in the same DVD the installation, live and upgrade systems, the new PAIPIX 7.10 uses backports to combine the stability of Debian Etch development, X window and KDE with upgraded kernel (2.6.22), OpenOffice.org 2.2 and many more updated applications. New scientific applications were also included. The new PAIPIX 7 GNU/Linux keeps its focus on scientific software but drops the emphasis on a pure live DVD to integrate the installation, live and upgrade systems. These solutions result form using the Debian official packages 'debian-live' and 'debian-cd', making the development of PAIPIX more sustainable in the medium range." Read the full release announcement on the distribution's home page.
Ubuntu 7.10 "Gutsy Gibbon" has been released: "Ubuntu makes no distinction between community and enterprise editions, Ubuntu 7.10 is our best work and is available freely to all. Ubuntu has consistently ranked #1 in reviews of security update responsiveness and effectiveness. The Ubuntu platform is fully certified and supported, making it a secure choice for users looking to explore, deploy and enjoy Linux. Ubuntu 7.10 brings together the best open source and free software available in a stable, robust environment that 'just works'... Ubuntu 7.10 Desktop edition adds an enhanced user interface, improved hardware support, multiple monitor support and integrated desktop search." Read the press release, release notes, and the tour page for more details.
The Kubuntu project has announced the final release of Kubuntu 7.10: "Kubuntu 7.10 has been released and is available for download now. Kubuntu 7.10 removed the feistiness, becoming the gutsiest release to date. Improved desktop, updated applications and increased usability features are just a few of the surprises with this latest release. The goal for Kubuntu 7.10, code-named Gutsy Gibbon, was to remove the edge and the feistiness from previous releases and to continue on the creation of a secure and stable desktop environment, on a road to becoming the perfect KDE-based operating system. The development team has once again succeeded in reaching their goals, and we are very happy to bring you this new release. We hope you enjoy your Kubuntu 7.10 experience." Read the comprehensive release announcement for further information.
Edubuntu 7.10, a flavour of Ubuntu designed specifically for deployment in schools, has been released: "The Edubuntu team is proud to announce the release of Edubuntu 7.10, code-named 'Gutsy Gibbon'. This release includes both installation CDs and installable live CDs for several architectures. Highlights of this release: Edubuntu KDE desktop - new meta package for easy setup; improved session management applications; easier installation of educational applications; collaborative editing by default; thin client - LTSP. The Edubuntu classroom server install builds on the functionality from the previous release, simplifying common Linux classroom server deployment processes. It includes the very latest thin client software, LTSP-5." Read the rest of the release announcement for more details.
Completing the big Ubuntu release day is Xubuntu 7.10: "The Xubuntu team is proud to announce the immediate availability of the latest release of the Xubuntu Linux operating system - 7.10 'Gutsy Gibbon'." What's new? "The latest version of Xfce, 4.4.1, is included in this release, featuring many bug fixes and updated translations. A new theme, MurrinaStormCloud, using the Murrine Engine so it is faster than the themes in previous releases. The most important software updates in Gutsy are the new Pidgin 2.2.0, which is the new name for Gaim, and the new GIMP 2.4, but also includes minor updates to other software. Firefox extensions and plug-ins can now be installed through Add/Remove." Read the release announcement and release notes for further details.
Slamd64 Linux 12.0
Fred Emmott has announced the release of Slamd64 Linux 12.0, an unofficial port of Slackware Linux 12.0 to the AMD64 architecture: "Slamd64 12.0 is released, the latest result of nearly two and a half years of development. If you're upgrading, please pay close attention to UPGRADE.TXT. Here's a short list of highlights: Linux 220.127.116.11 and GCC 4.1.2; support for booting the installer by USB or PXE (netboot); FHS-compliant multilib system; reworked 32-bit compatibility libraries; support for building 32-bit binaries (gcc -m32); seamless support for most 32-bit applications, including Cedega and OpenOffice.org; nspluginwrapper allows the usage of 32-bit browser plugins, including Flash Player; HAL auto-mounting; KDE 3.5.7 and Xfce 4.4.1. Slamd64 12 will be supported with security updates for at least the next two releases." Visit the project's home page to read the full release announcement.
Foresight Linux 1.4.1
Ken VanDine has announced the release of Foresight Linux 1.4.1: "The Foresight Linux Project is proud to announce the release of Foresight Linux 1.4.1. Foresight Linux is a Linux distribution that features a rolling release schedule, a revolutionary package manager, the latest GNOME desktop environment and an innovative set of excellent, up to date packages. Foresight Linux 1.4.1 features the latest GNOME (2.20.1) and introduces PackageKit. PackageKit is a system designed to make installing and updating software on your computer easier. The primary design goal is to unify all the software graphical tools used in different distributions, and use some of the latest technology like PolicyKit to make the process suck less." Read the release announcement and release notes for more details.
Kiwi Linux 7.10
Jani Monoses has announced the final release of Kiwi Linux 7.10, an Ubuntu-based distribution optimised for Romanian and Hungarian users and enhanced with multimedia codecs and other desktop conveniences: "The Kiwi 7.10 live CD for i386, based on Ubuntu 7.10, is available. Modifications to Ubuntu 7.10 include: Romanian and Hungarian localization and language support packages; removed Evolution, Rhythmbox, Ekiga, Asian fonts, and languages other than en, hu, ro; removed Windows applications from the live CD; added Audacious audio player, Inkscape, Thunderbird, Vim, Midnight Commander; replaced Totem GStreamer with Totem xine, added ffmpeg and libdvdcss2; included Firefox plugins for Java, Flash and MPlayer; improved networking support by enabling the pppoeconf GUI, adding firmware for the SpeedTouch USB modem...." Here is the brief release announcement.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Following the recent creation of a FreeBSD 7.0 branch, it seems that the testing process of the project's new major release is about to begin. The first ISO images of FreeBSD 7.0-BETA1 started showing up on some mirrors over the weekend and although no release dates were available at the time of writing, FreeBSD Security Officer Colin Percival hinted that it will hopefully be out by the end of December 2007. Those interested in testing the new FreeBSD should keep an eye on the FreeBSD 7.0 Release Process page.
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Summary of expected upcoming releases
The Page Hit Ranking experiment|
As many of you noticed, the Page Hit Ranking table disappeared from the front page of DistroWatch on Wednesday last week. This wasn't a glitch and it wasn't done in order to develop a better ranking system - it was simply a 24-hour experiment to determine how the absence of the table would affect the number of hits each distribution page received. The main reason for this experiment was a continuous string of emails and forum posts from readers who suspect foul play due to the fact that a relatively little-known distribution now occupies the top spot in the Page Hit Ranking table. Could it be that there are a few automatic web bots that load the PCLinuxOS page in regular intervals and thus artificially inflate the number of page views?
This is what we found:
|Damn Small Linux
||Ubuntu Muslim Edition
||Damn Small Linux
||Damn Small Linux
By removing the Page Hit Ranking table from the front page of DistroWatch, the PCLinuxOS page received only 684 unique hits, which is about 18% of the number of visits it received during the previous day and the following day. Of these 684 hits, only 8.5% of the visitors' user agent string reported PCLinuxOS as the operating system used. If we remove from the column those distributions that happened to feature in the front-page news on that particular day (i.e. StartCom Linux, PAIPIX, elpicx and VectorLinux), PCLinuxOS would still rank fairly high - at number 5, just behind Ubuntu, openSUSE, Fedora and Mandriva Linux).
It is rather obvious that the reason for the high number of hits on the PCLinuxOS page is nothing other than sheer curiosity of those DistroWatch readers who are new to the Linux world and who find it surprising that a relatively unknown distribution is at the number one spot. In order to learn more, they click on the link which takes them to the PCLinuxOS page. Until this curiosity is satisfied and PCLinuxOS becomes a more mainstream distribution, we are unlikely to see a huge drop in the number of visits on the PCLinuxOS page.
Several readers suggested that this was a "problem that needed fixing". If PCLinuxOS continued to lead the ranking, they argued, the table would become meaningless as it would no longer represent the relative popularity of distributions. While this is certainly true, we should also remember that PCLinuxOS did not get to the number one spot by means of a random placement, but by slow, continuous rise in interest and curiosity generated by you - the DistroWatch reader. If a distribution is good enough to get there, so be it! While PCLinuxOS might be nowhere near as popular and widely-used as Ubuntu or openSUSE, it certainly is an excellent project which has a growing and satisfied user base.
Finally, let's not forget one other important thing: once you reach the number one spot in anything, there is only one way to go from there - down ;-)
* * * * *
New distributions added to database
* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list
- MythDora. MythDora is a specialized Linux distribution based on Fedora and MythTV. It is designed to simplify the installation of MythTV on a home theatre PC. In addition to MythTV and its plugins, MythDora includes extra Linux packages that are necessary for MythTV to run, and drivers for hardware commonly encountered in machines intended to run MythTV. Also included in MythDora are several video game emulators, and extra tools and scripts.
- TeenPup. TeenPup is a desktop Linux distribution based on Puppy Linux. Compared to its parent, TeenPup promises better desktop artwork, improved ease-of-use, and enhanced usability with additional applications.
- Vacarm Linux. Vacarm Linux is an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution with a focus on IT security. It provides users with a system which can be used as a security testing platform and as a desktop system. Vacarm Linux incorporates a collection of about 40 open source security tools designed for intrusion detection, network monitoring and forensic analysis.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
And this concludes the latest issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 29 October 2007.
|• Issue 507 (2013-05-13): Impressions of Calculate Linux, 13.4, Ubuntu's portable packages, mintDrivers|
|• Issue 506 (2013-05-06): Ubuntu and Kubuntu 13.04, Debian "Wheezy", Slackware on systemd, distros for Raspberry Pi|
|• Issue 505 (2013-04-29): First look at PCLinuxOS 2013.04, Saucy Salamander, Remastersys and System Imager, Linux containers|
|• Issue 504 (2013-04-22): Look at Bodhi 2.3.0, Ubuntu 13.04 features, building OpenBSD ports, opening large files|
|• Issue 503 (2013-04-15): CentOS versus Scientific Linux, PCLinuxOS 64, Lucas Nussbaum, ZFS/Btrfs versus ext4|
|• Issue 502 (2013-04-08): Look at Mint 201303 "Debian", Ubuntu versus openSUSE, comparing ZFS and Btrfs file systems|
|• Issue 501 (2013-04-01): KANOTIX 2013 and GhostBSD 3.0, openSUSE Rescue-CD, Haiku package management, computer forensics|
|• Issue 500 (2013-03-25): Look at openSUSE 12.3, Ubuntu release changes, Debian backports, growing divide|
|• Issue 499 (2013-03-18): MINIX 3.2.1, openSUSE 12.3 on desktop, Ubuntu GNOME and UbuntuKylin, distros for musicians, KolibriOS|
|• Issue 498 (2013-03-11): Sabayon Linux 11, Ubuntu's Mir, Linux malware|
|• Issue 497 (2013-03-04): Rebellin Linux 1.00 "Adrenaline", rolling-release Ubuntu, Arch vs spin-offs, justification and diversity|
|• Issue 496 (2013-02-25): Review of Chakra 2013.02, The Book of GIMP, Ubuntu and privacy, FreeNAS vs NAS4Free|
|• Issue 495 (2013-02-18): SparkyLinux 2.1 "Ultra", Fedora 19 schedule, Xubuntu on DVD, cloud privacy|
|• Issue 494 (2013-02-11): FreeBSD 9.1, web server stats, Anaconda, rolling-release PC-BSD, fixing broken packages in Arch|
|• Issue 493 (2013-02-04): UberStudent 2.0, OmniBoot 1.0, MariaDB, Enlightenment 0.17|
|• Issue 492 (2013-01-28): Fedora 18 review, systemd, Kali Linux, Ubuntu Unleashed|
|• Issue 491 (2013-01-21): Fuduntu 2013.1, Fedora 18 desktop choices, Consort, accessing encrypted drive|
|• Issue 490 (2013-01-14): Look at Manjaro Linux 0.8.3, openSUSE on Chromebook, Able2Extract 8.0|
|• Issue 489 (2013-01-07): PC-BSD 9.1, Arch spin-offs, rolling-releases, year-end PHR stats, removing applications|
|• Issue 488 (2012-12-24): Reviews of Unity and Puppy Linux 5.4 "Slacko", FreeBSD 10|
|• Issue 487 (2012-12-17): Cinnarch 2012.11.22, OpenMandriva, Fedora Magazine, Tumbleweed, OpenJDK vs Oracle Java|
|• Issue 486 (2012-12-10): Linux Mint 14 review, Ubuntu "spyware" controversy, Haiku overview, troubleshooting Linux servers|
|• Issue 485 (2012-12-03): Kwort Linux 3.5, Mint bug-fix update, Fedora's new Anaconda, defining a distribution|
|• Issue 484 (2012-11-26): Look at SMS 2.0.1, Fedora pre-beta report, Illumos, Secure Boot update|
|• Issue 483 (2012-11-19): DragonFly BSD 3.2.1 and Xubuntu 12.10, Gentoo and udev, switching file systems|
|• Issue 482 (2012-11-12): Review of Zenwalk 7.2, Clang in FreeBSD, Omniboot 0.5, priorities on external drives|
|• Issue 481 (2012-11-05): Look at Tails 0.13, EFF on Ubuntu and privacy, Debian installer changes, ext4 data corruption bug|
|• Issue 480 (2012-10-29): Review of Ubuntu 12.10, Wayland 1.0, FreeBSD's pkgng|
|• Issue 479 (2012-10-22): Look at Zentyal 3.0, Debian bug reporting, initiating a halt|
|• Issue 478 (2012-10-15): Slackware 14.0 review, Ubuntu donations, connecting to multiple machines behind router|
|• Issue 477 (2012-10-08): Review of ODROID-X, OpenBSD's anti-Linux song, interview with Vincent Untz, Linux as operating system|
|• Issue 476 (2012-10-01): Review of openSUSE 12.2, Slackware 14.0 features, accessing home computer with SSH|
|• Issue 475 (2012-09-24): Look at PCLinuxOS 2012.08, Ubuntu and Amazon, SolusOS and PiSi, ownCloud|
|• Issue 474 (2012-09-17): Bodhi Linux 2.0.1, OpenIndiana interview, Frugalware history, update notifications|
|• Issue 473 (2012-09-10): The Linux Command Line, Slackware documentation project, Debian's new primary arch, Goobuntu|
|• Issue 472 (2012-09-03): Kororaa Linux 17, OpenIndiana and SchilliX, Ubuntu GNOME remix, home server tip|
|• Issue 471 (2012-08-27): Linux Mint 13 "KDE", Ubuntu 12.10 features, Slax update, folder quotas|
|• Issue 470 (2012-08-20): Liberté Linux 2012.2, Arch and systemd, NetBSD's sysbuild and sysupgrade, 19 years of Debian|
|• Issue 469 (2012-08-13): Peppermint OS Three, SUSE on Secure Boot, GNOME OS, moving email to Linux|
|• Issue 468 (2012-08-06): First look at CentOS 6.3, Debian installer beta, Fedora and MATE, Libtrash|
|• Issue 467 (2012-07-30): Ubuntu Made Easy, Debian "Jessie", OpenBSD on Secure Boot, Rawhide troubles|
|• Issue 466 (2012-07-23): Fuduntu 2012.3, Linux in PC-BSD jails, secure boot on older computers|
|• Issue 465 (2012-07-16): Netrunner 4.2, Mandriva's two codebases, firewalls and window frames|
|• Issue 464 (2012-07-09): Zorin OS 6, FSF's views on secure boot, Virtual PDF Printer|
|• Issue 463 (2012-07-02): TurnKey Linux 11.3, Red Hat and Btrfs, Sabayon's MATE spin, ZFS on Linux|
|• Issue 462 (2012-06-25): Sabayon 9, "Wheezy" freeze, Zorin OS overview, Vinux interview, mounting network shares|
|• Issue 461 (2012-06-18): Linux Mint 13, openSUSE 12. delays, Debian Multimedia, Mageia 3 roadmap|
|• Issue 460 (2012-06-11): Look at Fedora 17, PC-BSD and Slackware interviews, Openfiler and FuguIta|
|• Issue 459 (2012-06-04): Impressions of Mageia 2, Fedora updates, Debian or Raspberry Pie, improving software performance|
|• Issue 458 (2012-05-28): Impressions of SolusOS 1, Linux kernel 3.4, encrypting home folder|
|• Issue 457 (2012-05-21): Linux accessibility, Fedora 17 overview, MultiSystem, launching tasks|
|• Issue 456 (2012-05-14): Look at OpenBSD 5.1, Debian Installer 7.0 alpha, UDS news round-up|
|• Issue 455 (2012-05-07): Review of Ubuntu 12.04, "Quantal Quetzal" plans, Debian infographic|
|• Full list of all issues|