| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 280, 1 December 2008
Welcome to this year's 47th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
This week's DWW feature story looks at the
global economic crisis and its impact on Linux distributions and
businesses. It turns out that the release of Fedora 10 isn't the only good
news for Red Hat as a major Wall Street analyst sees a bright future for
the company. Meanwhile Mandriva is struggling financially and a well-known
and well-respected member of the Linux community was axed by the
Paris-based company sparking a truly harsh reaction. Novell took a step
to address community concerns by changing the openSUSE license. In other
news, Phoronix published the results of benchmark tests comparing the
performance of the newly released Fedora 10 with Ubuntu 8.10, a new
distribution called Glendix brings Plan 9 to Linux, a detailed case study
examines Pardus Linux, and the new graphical installer in VectorLinux
6.0 Beta 1 gets a close look. Finally, we get a progress update
on FreeBSD 7.1 and some tantalizing hints about the release of Slackware
12.2. Happy reading!
Join us at irc.freenode.net #distrowatch
Linux Distributions and the Global Economic Crisis
No matter where you are in the world, it's pretty much impossible to look
at the news of the day without hearing or reading about the global
economic crisis: financial markets in turmoil, bank failures, companies
reducing their workforce, and so on. If we look at the businesses that
support the major Linux distributions and even the funding that many
smaller distributions depend on, we see that the impact of troubled times
on Linux can't be talked about in a general way. Some Linux companies
and Linux distributions are still doing well while others have serious
and obvious problems.
A CNET News
article published on Wednesday shows that
Red Hat continues to fare well. Despite a tumbling
stock price, Matt Asay's article points to a leading analyst, Mark Murphy
of Piper Jaffray, recommending buying Red Hat stock. Jaffray is
optimistic about Red Hat's future, noting that "Red
Hat's billings have grown at an average rate of 31% - representing clear
market share gains." Asay goes on to point out that Red Hat's
open source business model may be ideally suited to the current economic
climate: "Red Hat has shown no signs of slowing,
with its subscription model able to weather the current recession: even
if it doesn't sell any new subscriptions, it can tread water and/or grow
with its existing customer base, something that license-revenue driven
companies simply can't afford to do."
Mandriva, on the other hand, continues to struggle
financially. This week, new CEO Hervé Yahi decided that the contracts of most remote
employees would be terminated in what appears to be a cost cutting
measure. The news was originally broken by Vincent Danen in his
blog. The post was later amended to report that Danen would be
retained by Mandriva, but
Williamson was not so fortunate. "Well, I was
rather expecting this after reading Vincent’s blog this morning (and to
be honest, doing some basic mental arithmetic on our recent financial
results), but I have been told that as of December 31st, I’ll no longer
be working for Mandriva, as all external contractors are being canned."
Reaction across the Linux blogosphere and in the Mandriva community
forums was quick and, with the notable exception of a couple of posts in
the comments section of last week's DistroWatch Weekly, nearly unanimous in support of
Adam Williamson and critical of Hervé Yahi. Perhaps the harshest and
most colorful criticism of Yahi came from
who responded to Vincent Danen's original post by saying "Hervé
Yahi, le couillon du siècle. (Translation: Hervé Yahi, the
schmuck of the century.) To the revised news that Vincent Danen was
staying but Adam Williamson was out, Béranger added:
"Hervé Yahi, le plus couillon de tous les
couillons du monde. (Translation: Hervé Yahi, the biggest
schmuck of all the schmucks in the world.) While others were
more temperate in their comments, the sentiment was essentially the same.
Adam Williamson moderates the Mandriva community forum and has
effectively been the voice of the company and the distribution for the
English speaking world. He posts regularly to the comments section of
DistroWatch Weekly. Adam frequently explained the rationale behind what
was included in the distribution and staunchly defended Mandriva in
response to critics, always doing so in a polite, respectful, and
informed manner. Mandriva's relationship with the Linux community will
definitely suffer with Adam's departure at the end of the year.
Finally, Novell, which has been successfully building its own Linux
business, took an important step to answer at least one of the concerns
frequently voiced in the community. A Wednesday announcement on the
Spotlight web site reported the death of the EULA (End User License
Agreement). Beginning with version 11.1, openSUSE
will have the same license as Fedora. Many in the Linux community
objected to the click-through EULA which is structured like and
reminiscent of a commercial, proprietary software license. This move is
undoubtedly designed to allay the suspicions many in the Linux community
still have regarding Novell and their commitment to FLOSS software.
In light of the current economic turmoil, mending fences with the Linux
community and building as many bridges as possible is definitely in
Fedora 10 vs. Ubuntu 8.10 performance benchmarks, Glendix bring Plan 9 to Linux, A Pardus case study, VectorLinux 6.0's new graphical installer
published an article by Michael Larabel detailing the results of
detailed benchmark testing, comparing the newly release Fedora 10 and
Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex). The results:
"In past distribution comparisons at Phoronix, the
performance differences have been larger than what we experienced with
Fedora 10 and Ubuntu 8.10. Both the x86 and x86_64 editions had
performed nearly identical. In fact, the results are so close that it's
hard to call a winner in any of the benchmarks."
Fedora 10 - with a new graphical boot system
(full image size: 1,047kB, screen resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
* * * * *
OS News published a story about a new distribution,
Glendix, which promises to be truly
different from any distro released to date. What makes Glendix unique
is the incorporation of Plan 9, developed at Bell Labs,
to be a replacement for UNIX. "Plan 9 was written
from scratch, and made many radical departures from standard UNIX
conventions. For instance, in Plan 9, everything really is a file; even
the window a program is running in is represented as a file in a
hierarchical file system. Every program in Plan 9 sees every possible
resource as a file. Plan 9 is also fully distributed so that parts of
the operating system can run on different machines."
Glendix, when released, will be Linux without GNU. The article quotes the
developers: "In this project, we decouple Linux from
GNU utilities, and port Plan 9 user-space applications to run on the
Linux kernel. In summary, we are combining the Plan 9 user-space with
the Linux kernel-space - resulting in a hybrid operating system."
Glendix has not had a public beta as yet but those who are curious
and sufficiently technically-minded can examine
the source code.
* * * * *
A detailed case study of Pardus Linux was published
at OSOR.eu last
Tuesday, providing an interesting look at the Turkish distribution.
Pardus Linux began in March 2004 and its developers are sponsored by the
Turkish National Research Institute for Electronics and Cryptology
(UEKAE), an affiliate of the Scientific and Technological Research
Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK). While Pardus Linux clearly has a
worldwide following, it was originally conceived as a Turkish national
project and Turkish speakers were the original intended audience. Pardus
Linux is funded by the Turkish government. According to the study,
initial implementation costs were €5,000,000 - 10,000,000 and annual costs
are in the range of €1,000,000 - 5,000,000.
The study describes the impact of Pardus Linux:
"Pardus provides a very important public good to be
used by the whole FLOSS community, in Turkey and abroad. The Pardus
Linux operating system is being deployed and used in many government
and other public services, including the Turkish military and defense
sector, in radio and telecommunication, health and education, as well as
private vendors. The use of Pardus in all these sectors and institutions
will save several millions of euros in taxpayers' money."
* * * * *
On Friday, Scottish Linux blogger Steve Lawson took a detailed look at the
brand new graphical installer in VectorLinux
Standard 6.0 Beta 1, which was released two days earlier. Unfortunately
for Lawson, a self-described "big fan of VectorLinux,"
the admittedly early beta version of the installer did not work well. The LILO bootloader failed to install properly and he was unable to boot into the OS, according to the
in his Red Devil's Blog. Others, as reported in the
VectorLinux forum, have successfully installed the beta and have found the GUI
installer to be problem free. It should be noted that this week's DistroWatch
Weekly was written on a machine running VectorLinux Standard 6.0 Beta 1.
Lawson took the failure in stride and believes that
"...possibly the only thing - which may have held
this distribution back from a regular top 10 spot on the DistroWatch
rankings might be its lack of a GUI (Graphical User Interface) installer."
|Released Last Week
Linux From Scratch 6.4
Linux From Scratch (LFS) is a free book that provides
instructions for compiling a basic Linux operating system from scratch,
offered primarily as an educational tool for those who wish to learn
more about Linux internals. A brand new version was released today:
"The Linux From Scratch community is pleased to
announce the release of LFS version 6.4. This release includes numerous
changes to LFS 6.3, including update to Linux kernel 126.96.36.199, GCC
4.3.2, glibc 2.8, and security fixes. It also includes a large amount of
editorial work on the explanatory material throughout the book,
improving both the clarity and accuracy of the text." Visit the
project's news page
to read the brief release announcement.
Greenie Linux 4I
Greenie Linux is an Ubuntu-based distribution
customized for Slovak and Czech users. A new version, now based on
"Intrepid Ibex", was announced earlier today: "A new
version of Greenie Linux, based on Ubuntu 8.10 'Intrepid Ibex' is here!
Main changes: Greenie is now based on Ubuntu 8.10, with new versions of
the included applications and improved hardware support. Greenport has
been re-written, it's easier to use even for beginners. Also, Bash
aliases have been updated. Tutorials and drivers for most common modems
from LinuxOS.sk are also included. Two Greenie extra menus, called
'Green apple' (experimental) and 'Red apple' (root) now work better and
have new functions. Some of the popular programs in Greenie include:
MPlayer, VLC, Audacious, Banshee, Firefox, Opera, Inkscape, GColors,
WINE and many others, all in their newest versions." Visit the
project's news page to read
the complete release announcement.
Greenie Linux 4I - now based on Ubuntu 8.10 'Intrepid Ibex'
(full image size: 1,911kB,
screen resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
The Fedora project has announced the release of Fedora
10: "The Fedora Project, a Red Hat sponsored and
community-supported open source collaboration project, today announced
the availability of Fedora 10, the latest version of its free, open
source operating system distribution. This release includes the premiere
of a new graphical boot system called Plymouth, designed to speed up the
boot process by taking advantage of a new kernel mode setting feature.
Fedora 10 also features increased hardware support for a vast array of
webcams, and better handling of printers via both direct physical
connections and networks. Further, PackageKit, a software management
tool that originally debuted in Fedora 9, has been extended in this
release to provide on-demand codec software installation."
Read the press
release and check out the detailed
notes for more information.
Caos Linux NSA 1.0
Greg Kurtzer has announced the release of Caos Linux
NSA 1.0, a light-weight, stable and secure distribution of Linux for
servers, compute nodes and network appliances: "span class="Quote">The
Caos team of developers and contributors from Infiscale are proud to
announce the public release of Caos Linux NSA version 1. Caos Linux is a
community-managed and openly-maintained distribution of Linux focusing
on areas where Linux naturally leads and excels: high performance
computation (HPC), servers (especially LAMP and general web), and custom
appliances (such as file servers and firewalls). This release identifies
the stabilization and validation of the core operating system, fully
tested on some of the world's fastest public and private systems and
architectures. Careful tweaking and optimizations have resulted in a
very streamlined, light-weight operating system still suitable for a
large spectrum of uses, from simple desktops to petaflop
supercomputers." Read the rest of the
announcement for more details.
Poseidon Linux 3.1
Poseidon Linux is an Ubuntu-based distribution
with a good collection of academic and scientific applications for
GIS/maps, numerical modeling, 2D/3D/4D visualization, statistics and
graphics. An updated version 3.1 was released yesterday. What's new?
"Based on Ubuntu 8.04.1 with security updates until
2008-10-17; for the first time Poseidon Linux comes in 32-bit and 64-bit
editions; updated packages - Firefox 3.0.3, WINE 1.0, GRASS 6.3, R 2.7.2,
Spring 5.0 in English, MB System 5.1.1 beta 23; new additions -
VirtualBox OSE, Open Universe Simulator, Gwyddion, SagCAD, Emacs
(with support for Prolog and Gri), Maxima, Prolog, Xetex, ghemical,
Fontforge, Hugin panorama editor, Gnumeric, Bluefish, Avidemux,
Audacity; Terraview is not included in the 64-bit edition." Visit
the distribution's home page (in
Portuguese) to read the release announcement (a changelog in English is
CrunchBang Linux 8.10.01
Philip Newborough has announced the release of
CrunchBang Linux 8.10.01, an Ubuntu-based
distribution featuring the light-weight Openbox window manager and GTK+
applications: "The final build of CrunchBang Linux
8.10.01 is now available. This is the third release of the distribution
and as the version number suggests, it is based on Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex.
As with previous releases, 8.10.01 has been built from scratch using the
Ubuntu minimal CD. What's new? As well as being based on the latest
version Ubuntu, this release sees a number of changes: a new darker
theme; tablaunch has been removed; dmenu has been included; some
additional default shortcut keys added, including main menu, logout and
dmenu; OpenOffice.org replaced by AbiWord and Gnumeric; AcidRip removed;
Twitux replaced by Gwibber; Mirage replaced by GPicView; VLC removed in
favour of Totem, VLC is now a Qt 4 application; GNOME Power Manager
enabled by default." Read the
notes for more information.
FreeBSD 6.4, a new stable version of the project's
legacy 6.x branch, has been released: "The FreeBSD
Release Engineering team is pleased to announce the availability of
FreeBSD 6.4-RELEASE. At this time 6.4-RELEASE is expected to be the last
of the 6-STABLE releases. Some of the highlights: new and much-improved
NFS Lock Manager (NLM) client; support for the Camellia cipher; boot
loader changes allow, among other things, booting from USB devices and
booting from GPT-labeled devices with GPT-enabled BIOSes; DVD install
ISO images for amd64 and i386; KDE updated to 3.5.10, GNOME updated to
2.22.3; updates for BIND, Sendmail, OpenPAM, and other packages."
notes for further information.
GParted LiveCD 0.3.9-13
A new stable version of GParted LiveCD, a
Debian-based specialist distribution with a collection of hard disk
management utilities, has been released. What's new?
"This release is a bug-fix release with some minor
updates; based on Debian 'Lenny' on 2008-11-27, Linux kernel 2.6.26; a
program called MC_HxEd was added; package cryptsetup was added; instead
of entering X window automatically, we can choose to configure xorg.conf
first; new mechanism to start GParted LiveCD; two more boot parameters
gl_numlk and gl_capslk were added to control numlock and scrlock;
ifupdown and dhcp3-client were added; bug fixed - PartImage was
missing." See the
notes for more details. At the same time, the project has also announced a new
testing release of GParted LiveCD
with the newly released GParted 0.4.0 and Linux kernel 2.6.26.
Parted Magic 3.2
Patrick Verner has announced the release of Parted
Magic 3.2, the latest version of another distribution specializing
in hard disk partitioning: "Parted Magic 3.2. This
is mostly a bug-fix release for the 3.x series with a few new features.
Some of the new updates include GParted 0.4.0, Linux kernel 188.8.131.52,
Xarchiver 0.5.1, dc3dd 6.12.2, and hdparm 9.2. Jason fixed the disk
wiping program and some other issues were addressed as well. The newest
and most powerful new feature is 'installpkg' from Slackware Linux. You
can now add programs to Parted Magic by simply adding them to the
pmodules directory and booting the machine. Parted Magic automatically
installs them at boot. There are several tested TGZ packages available
in the forum for download. Make sure you change the tmpfs_size= boot
parameter to allow more RAM for your additional packages." See
for additional information.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
On Friday Ken Smith posted a
update on the upcoming FreeBSD 7.1 release to the FreeBSD mailing list.
"As far as the 7.1-REL process goes two issues that
got classified as show-stoppers got worked out right around the time work
on a security advisory came along. Progress on both releases got
unblocked at the same time so some work has been done with 7.1 (some
folks have already noticed the branch was done) but we focused a bit
more on finishing 6.4. We expect to get the 7.1-RC1 builds started
Sunday. If testing doesn't turn up any more show-stoppers, 7.1-RC2 will
be done about 1.5 weeks after RC1, and 7.1-REL will be done about 1.5
weeks after RC2."
* * * * *
Slackware Linux 12.2
For the past 10 days, there have been tantalizing tidbits indicating that
the release of Slackware 12.2 will happen sooner
rather than later. The first, written by Patrick Volkerding himself,
turned up in the Slackware current
changelog: "These are some of the more
important updates for X.Org. For the last several days we have been building and
testing the very newest X updates, and it seems that the more intrusive
updates are probably best left to develop until sometimes after the
coming stable Slackware 12.2 release." A similar, but less
authoritative hint came from SlackBuilds.org this week. Of course only
Patrick Volkerding knows when the new release will debut for certain, but
Slackware users should feel encouraged by these notes.
* * * * *
Summary of expected upcoming releases
November 2008 donation: Dillo receives €115.00|
We are pleased to announce that the recipient of the November 2008 DistroWatch.com donation is Dillo, a small, fast and light-weight web browser.
Although Dillo is unlikely to ever break into the big league of leading web browsers -- mainly due to its lack of support for Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and other modern web technologies -- its extremely modest memory requirements are a blessing for anybody using an older, underpowered computer. Furthermore, its speed makes it an ideal browser for perusing locally stored documentation or simple HTML web pages. The recently released version 2.0 marks a major upgrade, now based on Fast Light Toolkit (FLTK) 2.0, rather than GTK+ 1.x. A large number of other improvements are documented in the project's changelog.
Dillo - a simple, but lightning-fast web browser, perfect for underpowered computers
(full image size: 68kB, screen resolution: 788x613 pixels)
The Dillo project has not acknowledged the DistroWatch donation by the time of publishing this week's DistroWatch Weekly.
As always, this monthly donations program is a joint initiative between DistroWatch and two online shops selling low-cost CDs and DVDs with Linux, BSD and other open source software - LinuxCD.org and OSDisc.com. These vendors contributed US$50.00 each towards this month's donation to Dillo.
Here is the list of projects that received a DistroWatch donation since the launch of the program (figures in US dollars):
Since the launch of the Donations Program in March 2004, DistroWatch has donated a total of US$19,583 to various open source software projects.
- 2004: GnuCash ($250), Quanta Plus ($200), PCLinuxOS ($300), The GIMP ($300), Vidalinux ($200), Fluxbox ($200), K3b ($350), Arch Linux ($300), Kile KDE LaTeX Editor ($100) and UNICEF - Tsunami Relief Operation ($340)
- 2005: Vim ($250), AbiWord ($220), BitTorrent ($300), NdisWrapper ($250), Audacity ($250), Debian GNU/Linux ($420), GNOME ($425), Enlightenment ($250), MPlayer ($400), Amarok ($300), KANOTIX ($250) and Cacti ($375)
- 2006: Gambas ($250), Krusader ($250), FreeBSD Foundation ($450), GParted ($360), Doxygen ($260), LilyPond ($250), Lua ($250), Gentoo Linux ($500), Blender ($500), Puppy Linux ($350), Inkscape ($350), Cape Linux Users Group ($130), Mandriva Linux ($405, a Powerpack competition), Digikam ($408) and SabayonLinux ($450)
- 2007: GQview ($250), Kaffeine ($250), sidux ($350), CentOS ($400), LyX ($350), VectorLinux ($350), KTorrent ($400), FreeNAS ($350), lighttpd ($400), Damn Small Linux ($350), NimbleX ($450), MEPIS Linux ($300), Zenwalk Linux ($300)
- 2008: VLC ($350), Frugalware Linux ($340), cURL ($300), GSPCA ($400), FileZilla ($400), MythDora ($500), Linux Mint ($400), Parsix GNU/Linux ($300), Miro ($300), GoblinX ($250), Dillo ($150).
* * * * *
New distributions added to database
- Wifislax. Wifislax is a Slackware-based live CD containing a variety of security and forensics tools. The distribution's main claim to fame is the integration of various unofficial network drivers into the Linux kernel, thus providing out-of-the-box support for a large number of wired and wireless network cards.
* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list
- 4bak. 4bak is a Slax-based live USB image with a collection of forensics tools, backup and recovery applications. The desktop is a mix of Fluxbox and Rox. The 4bak live USB image is configured to dual boot with DBAN (Darik's Boot and Nuke), an application that securely wipes the hard disks of most computers.
- Zorin OS. Zorin OS is the latest addition to the ever growing family of Ubuntu-based distributions. The project's inaugural release is expected in early January 2009.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
And this concludes the latest issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next
installment will be published on Monday, 8 December 2008 when I will once
again be filling in. Until next week,
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
(Tips this week: 0, value: US$0.00)
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|• Issue 666 (2016-06-20): Comparing more live update methods, Ubuntu's snap packages, Antergos drops 32-bit media, GeckoLinux unveils Rolling edition, learning Linux resources|
|• Issue 665 (2016-06-13): BunsenLabs Linux Hydrogen, Fedora 24 delayed, NetBSD grows in size, Clonezilla questions|
|• Issue 664 (2016-06-06): Sabayon 16.05, Debian updates install media, the cost of free software, Qubes explains secure build process|
|• Issue 663 (2016-05-30): Comparing live update methods, Ubuntu MATE's progress, distros debate systemd change, DistroWatch turns 15|
|• Issue 662 (2016-05-23): Clonezilla Live, new Fedora community repository, DragonFlyBSD runs Wayland, a live edition of Slackware and kernel components|
|• Issue 661 (2016-05-16): FreeBSD 10.3, OpenMandriva adopts Clang, Debian adds ZFS packages, PCLinuxOS drops 32-bit and comparing CentOS with RHEL|
|• Issue 660 (2016-05-09): Ubuntu MATE 16.04, Mint's xapps, FreeBSD Quarterly Report, Debian updates 32-bit support, addressing GPL violations|
|• Issue 659 (2016-05-02): Ubuntu 16.04, compiling custom kernels, Cinnamon 3.0, Sabayon launches ARM build, Devuan ships Beta release|
|• Issue 658 (2016-04-25): Kali Linux 2016.1, elementary OS 0.3.2, Debian elects Project Leader, Fedora 24 feature preview, Nard reaches 1.0|
|• Full list of all issues|
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