| 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 188.8.131.52, 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 184.108.40.206, 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 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|
|• 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|