| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 243, 10 March 2008
Welcome to this year's 10th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! This week belongs to the fans of GNOME. The brand new version 2.22 of the popular desktop environment is scheduled for release on Wednesday and everything suggests that we can expect another great set of improvements that will grace the upcoming releases of all major distributions. In the news section, we'll take a quick look at the new features and applications in Mandriva Linux 2008.1, follow the development of the Xfce spin of Fedora 9, pass on a request from Theo de Raadt to test the upcoming OpenBSD 4.3, and link to the freely downloadable DVD images of Yellow Dog Linux 6.0. Finally, while we all await impatiently the first beta release of Gentoo Linux 2008.0, we take a look at some of the exciting new features in the upcoming release of the Gentoo-based Sabayon Linux 3.5. Happy reading!
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Entropy - a new package management toolkit for Sabayon Linux
Judging by the project's release activity, the development of Sabayon Linux has slowed down considerably in the last 12 months. The distribution's current stable version (3.4) came out in July 2007, but since then -- apart from a couple of minor updates and the first beta of Sabayon Linux 3.5 in December last year -- seemingly nothing much has happened. Fortunately, the drop in release frequency doesn't correlate well with the actual level of activity at the project. While the development of the next stable version is indeed proceeding at a slower pace than it used to, much behind-the-scenes code, intended to make the upcoming release of Sabayon Linux stand out from the crowd, continues to be written daily. One of these little subprojects is Entropy, a new package management toolkit for Sabayon Linux.
Entropy is described as a package management system that combines the best of Portage, Yum and APT to provide a fast, intuitive and trouble-free solution for Sabayon Linux users. It consists of several tools. The text-mode client called "Equo" was already available in a previous Sabayon Linux release, but the graphical client called "Spritz" is expected to make its first appearance only in version 3.5. Other tools that make up the Entropy kit include "Reagent" and "Activator", which are server applications.
Equo works in a fashion similar to "apt-get" or "yum" when used in a terminal window. One can update the package database with "equo update" and install a new package with "equo install <package-name>". There are also commands for managing package repositories, searching for packages or manipulating the installed package database. Just as with Yum, the Equo package database is powered by SQLite, but it also includes a number of interesting features; as an example, one can install multiple packages inside an archive with a single command or convert Sabayon packages so that they become compatible with Gentoo Linux.
Spritz is work in progress. Not much information is available at this time, but the package is already available in the Sabayon Linux repository. A number of screenshots were recently published on the Planet Sabayon blog, showing the user interface, search function and various dialogs that provide package information.
The Spritz package manager (more screenshots available here)
We should know a lot more about Entropy later this week when the second beta release of Sabayon Linux 3.5 shows up on the mirrors. Fabio Erculiani, the founder of Sabayon Linux explains the reasons behind starting Entropy: "I've been busy for about 13 months working on it and now we are very close to have something that could really change the way users see a Gentoo-based distribution - the Entropy stack. There are still some secondary things missing, like the package masking interface and the Gentoo Linux Security Advisories (GLSA) interface. Non-free licenses will also pop-up and require users to accept their terms. Another cool thing is that I already implemented an "equo security" interface with the promise of creating an official team and a web page dedicated to security within the next 12 months."
Entropy is not the only new feature that the upcoming beta release of Sabayon Linux will deliver. Major improvements to the system installer, a new update notifications applet for the taskbar, support for more wireless network drivers, the new Elisa media player and Compiz Fusion 0.7.2 are just some of them exciting stuff that will be present in Sabayon Linux 3.5. Furthermore, Fabio Erculiani also promises several "secret surprises" - just to whet our appetites.
All in all, there is a lot to look forward to in the next few weeks. In the meantime, here are some interesting links for further reading on Entropy and other Sabayon Linux topics:
Package database: http://packages.sabayonlinux.org/
Entropy manifesto: http://www.sabayonlinux.org/sabayon/press/entropy_manifesto.pdf
Entropy Wiki: http://wiki.sabayonlinux.org/index.php?title=Entropy
Entropy documentation: http://www.sabayonlinux.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=75&t=11871
Spritz screenshots: http://planet.sabayonlinux.org/?p=85
What's new in Mandriva Linux, Fedora Xfce spin updates, OpenBSD pre-release testing, free download of YDL 6.0
The upcoming release of Mandriva Linux 2008.1 is just a few short weeks away. As such, the development team has updated their 2008.1 What's New page, listing the most important features of the new version. Besides the usual hardware compatibility improvements and package updates, much work has been put into streamlining the Mandriva package management infrastructure. Many of the graphical package update dialogues have been modified, some redundant ones removed and the entire system made noticeably faster and more user-friendly. Some new applications have made their first appearance in the distribution - the unusual Elisa media player and image viewer is one package that could find a decent fan base, while the Avant Window Navigator, a highly configurable Mac OS X-like taskbar, offers some interesting effects to compliment the distribution's other 3D desktop features. And those readers lucky enough to own an ASUS Eee PC will be pleased to know that Mandriva Linux 2008.1 has been tweaked to work on this low cost laptop out of the box. There is a lot more, so do take a look at the upcoming features and improvements in Mandriva Linux 2008.1.
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The Xfce community spin of Fedora 8 has been a great success, but some users expressed disappointment over the missing Fedora artwork from the spin. Luckily, things are about the change and the Xfce edition of the upcoming Fedora 9 should have full integration of all Fedora artwork, desktop icons and other features: "As you can see, Xfce now inherits the same default background as GNOME and KDE and uses the Mist icon set which is also the default in GNOME currently. The hard dependency on xfce-icon-theme from xfce4-panel and Thunar has been dropped in Rawhide. I believe we are supposed to be getting the Nodoka theme but that doesn't appear to be the case yet. There have been some discussions about the default panel layout and there is a lot of different possibilities including a GNOME like layout but we are likely to go ahead with some changes by including the trash, mixer applet in the default top panel. If there is a preference for a specific layout, let us know what (include screenshots preferably) and explain why."
The Xfce spin of Fedora 9 will inherit the project's artwork, theme and icon set
(images courtesy of Rahul Sundaram, full image size: 951kB, screen resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
Still on the subject of Fedora, here is nice interview with Max Spevack and Paul Frields, the outgoing and incoming Fedora Project Leaders (FPL) respectively. Paul Frields: "The secret of this job is that there isn't one. I don't think the FPL should go off in a back room, single-handedly invent an amazing new vision for Fedora, and then go around convincing everyone to follow it. I think the FPL is supposed to listen to the contributors who are already leading Fedora in new directions, and figure out how to better build community around those efforts. And of course the FPL should always be doing this in the context of maintaining Fedora's commitment to free and open source software, for everyone, now and always."
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Theo de Raadt, the founder and lead developer of OpenBSD, has announced the availability of a pre-release build of OpenBSD 4.3: "Right about now is a great time for our user community to jump in and do some install and upgrade tests. The 4.3 release cycle is fully in swing, and I hope that I can get it over with soon so that the developers can start work on the bug fixes and new work that can't make it into 4.3." This is the first time the OpenBSD project released testing CD images prior to the final release and solicited beta testers on a public mailing list. If you would like to help, here are a couple of links to the installation CD images for the i386 and x86_64 architectures: i386/install43.iso (207MB, MD5), amd64/install43.iso (222MB, MD5). Happy testing!
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Terra Soft Solutions, the only Linux distribution maker focusing exclusively on developing Linux products for the Power architecture, has released Yellow Dog Linux 6.0 installation DVD as a free download. Originally announced on February 5th 2008, Yellow Dog Linux 6.0 is based on Fedora 6 and includes the Linux kernel 2.6.23, X.Org 7.1, GNOME 2.16, Enlightenment 0.17, OpenOffice.org 2.0.4, Firefox 220.127.116.11, and other popular open source applications. The product has been optimised to work on Apple PowerPC G4 and G5, SONY PlayStation 3 and IBM System p. For more information please visit the company's product pages. Download the Yellow Dog Linux 6.0 installation DVD from here: yellowdog-6.0-DVD_20080207.iso (3,799MB, SHA1).
|Released Last Week
Linux Mint 4.0 "KDE"
Clement Lefebvre has announced the final release of Linux Mint 4.0 KDE Community edition: "Linux Mint 4.0 KDE released. Daryna KDE is nearly as 'minty' as the main edition now. The packages are (safely) up to date and the kernel is the Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon kernel 2.6.22. Mint applications: mintInstall, mintWifi, mintUpdate, mintAssistant, mintUpload. Minted versions of Firefox, Sunbird. Changes since the beta release: fixed the HAL USB NTFS problem; changed some Compiz default settings to make it more 'KDE-ish' and fix a known bug; added a Linux Mint user agent to Konqueror and pre-added some sites to use the Mint user agent. This helps people know Linux Mint is out and about." Read the rest of the release notes for known issues, installation instructions and upgrade notes.
Linux-EduCD is a distribution developed by Poland's SIMP Studium Techniki, with focus on education, graphics, office and multimedia software and designed for deployment in Polish schools. The newly released version 0.9 is the project's first build based on PCLinuxOS (previously it was based on Ubuntu). This version includes new graphical configuration tools, an option to create a custom live CD/DVD or an image for USB storage devices, improved support for WiFi cards and HP printers, and a range of educational software. The distribution is built on top of a Linux kernel 18.104.22.168, while the desktop is KDE 3.5.8. Also included are OpenOffice.org 2.3.1, PVM, Octave 3, IBM OpenDX 4.4, Firefox 2.0.12, Opera 9.25, WordPress 2.3.3 and VirtualBox 1.5.2. Please visit the project's home page (in Polish) to read the full release announcement and to see a handful of screenshots.
Kiwi Linux 8.03
Jani Mosones has announced the stable release of Kiwi Linux 8.03, an Ubuntu derivative tailored to Romanian and Hungarian users: "The second and last release of Kiwi Linux to be based on Ubuntu 7.10 is ready for download today. Since 7.10 there are a few changes: German language packs are added in addition to English, Romanian and Hungarian; Medibuntu repositories are activated by default, thus Skype, Google Earth and other packages are installable via Synaptic; bug-fix and security updates from the 7.10 archives are up to date; there's a Zenity-based tool on the live CD that helps with restoring the GRUB menu; Inkscape was removed because of lack of space." Read the full release announcement for further information.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to database
- Ophcrack LiveCD. Ophcrack LiveCD is a specialist Slax-based live CD containing Ophcrack, an open source Windows password cracker that uses rainbow tables. The graphical program included on the live CD is reputed for being able to crack alphanumeric Windows passwords of up to 14 characters in usually just a few seconds.
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New distributions added to waiting list
- PA-RISC Linux. PA-RISC Linux is a Debian-based distribution, a native port for Hewlett-Packard's PA-RISC architecture.
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DistroWatch database summary
And this concludes the latest issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 17 March 2008.
|• 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|
|• Issue 535 (2013-11-25): GhostBSD 3.5, Debian and MATE, Ubuntu 14.04 features, security updates|
|• Issue 534 (2013-11-18): Review of OpenBSD 5.4, Fedora on ARM, menu names vs command-line names|
|• Issue 533 (2013-11-11): Point Linux 2.2, Pisi update, Debian and Xfce, Bruno Cornec interview|
|• Issue 532 (2013-11-04): Ubuntu and Kubuntu 13.10, Debian's init, FreeBSD's PKG-NG, Linux on ARM|
|• Issue 531 (2013-10-28): PC-BSD 9.2, openSUSE testing, nftables, upgrade pros and cons|
|• Issue 530 (2013-10-21): Kwheezy 1.2, DPL interview, Zenwalk's future, keeping up with vulnerabilities|
|• Issue 529 (2013-10-14): Ubuntu's Mir, dmesg and photorec tips, Tiny Tiny RSS|
|• Issue 528 (2013-10-07): Semplice 5, Haiku package management, Klaus Knopper interview, making custom distro|
|• Issue 527 (2013-09-30): Tiny Core Linux 5.0, SteamOS, moving operating system to new computer|
|• Issue 526 (2013-09-23): Look at ArchBang 2013.09.01, BSD Now, kernel stats, command-line tips|
|• Issue 525 (2013-09-16): The Official Ubuntu Server Book, FreeBSD 10 and OpenBSD 5.4, Skype alternatives|
|• Issue 524 (2013-09-09): Look at LXLE 12.04.3, Ubuntu's new package format, Secure Boot and dual-booting|
|• Issue 523 (2013-09-02): OpenIndiana 151a8, openSUSE "Evergreen", GNOME and DuckDuckGo, running apps from RAM|
|• Issue 522 (2013-08-26): Look at gNewSense 3.0, Ubuntu Edge fundraising failure, exploring GPL|
|• Issue 521 (2013-08-19): Review of Korora 19, Fedora considers return to "Core", Haiku package management|
|• Issue 520 (2013-08-12): Salix OS 14.0.1 "KDE", Xubuntu experiments with XMir, managing passwords with KeePass|
|• Issue 519 (2013-08-05): Review of Porteus 2.0, Kubuntu lays out plans for Wayland adoption, adjusting system swappiness|
|• Issue 518 (2013-07-29): MidnightBSD 0.4, Razor-qt, Ubuntu Edge, mounting infected drives|
|• Issue 517 (2013-07-22): Zorin OS 7 "Lite", Slackware turns 20, UbuntuForums compromise, Raspbian as home server, Tor|
|• Issue 516 (2013-07-15): Review of Fedora 19 "KDE", Shuttleworth on Mir, Seth Vidal, Kingsoft Office for Linux|
|• Issue 515 (2013-07-08): Whonix 0.5.6 and Deepin 12.12, MintBox, processor capabilities, distros for Raspberry Pi|
|• Issue 514 (2013-07-01): Peppermint Four, Mir, Mandriva forks, ThinkPenguin on libre hardware|
|• Issue 513 (2013-06-24): Look at ROSA, PC-BSD updates, Xen4CentOS6, Slacko vs Precise, Mageia interview, shells|
|• Issue 512 (2013-06-17): Trisquel 6.0, RHEL 7 with GNOME Classic, from Linux to FreeBSD, first look at Wayland|
|• Issue 511 (2013-06-10): Mint 15 impressions, GNOME Classic, Ubuntu Community portal, Absolute OpenBSD|
|• Issue 510 (2013-06-03): Impressions of aptosid 2013-01, Wayland comes to Raspberry Pi, maintaining DNS settings|
|• Issue 509 (2013-05-27): Mageia 3, Debian GNU/Hurd, RebeccaBlackOS with Wayland, ports|
|• Issue 508 (2013-05-20): Review of Debian 7.0, interviews with Clement Lefebvre and Gaël Duval, scripting with xdotool|
|• 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|
|• Full list of all issues|