| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 283, 22 December 2008
Welcome to this year's very last issue of DistroWatch Weekly! This week we take a first look at Novell's openSUSE 11.1, the latest release from the ever popular distribution. In the news, the release of openSUSE 11.1 heralds the adoption of a freer license, Debian calls a vote on whether or not to include firmware in the upcoming Lenny release while Debian secretary quits over backlash from firmware vote, Gentoo begins releasing weekly snapshots of stage tarballs, the Asianux Consortium incorporates its fifth member and expands into Thailand, Mandriva sets up a Community Steering Committee and increases their number of channel partners, a new distro, Hackable: 1, aims to create a GNOME-based software stack for hackable devices while the Openmoko project releases an update to their software stack. Finally, included in their respective new sections are two interviews - one with Joe "Zonker" Brockmeier of openSUSE and the other with Johannes (Hanno) Böck of Gentoo Linux. Happy reading!
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First look at openSUSE 11.1
This week sees a point release update for openSUSE, pushing the version of the popular Linux distribution to 11.1. What does this new version have to offer? Well, plenty! Naturally, it comes with updates to the main desktop environments, namely GNOME 2.24.1 and KDE 4.1.3, but it also includes the 188.8.131.52 release of the Linux kernel and, very importantly, a free license replaces the old EULA. For those who want a more 'classic' experience and are still not ready to jump to KDE 4.x, openSUSE includes KDE 3.5.10. This new version is the first release built using Novell's build service. They have really tried to tie it down and make it rock solid as it will form the basis of the upcoming SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop/Server commercial products in 2009.
As usual, I downloaded the latest ISO image, burnt it to DVD and began my install. openSUSE has always been one of the prettiest distributions around and this version is no exception. I was greeted with a typical welcome screen and booted the 'Installation' option. The openSUSE installer is clean, simple, functional and did I mention pretty? This release sees some further improvements including a re-vamped partitioner as a result of user feedback and testing. It sports a new layout and changes the default recommended partition structure. But, first things first.
openSUSE 11.1 DVD - installation menu
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Booting the installation media, the first option is to select the language and keyboard. Next, you select the installation type you want. I chose a new install, but you can also update or repair an existing system from here. If you want the openSUSE installer to automatically configure networking and your system's hardware, check the 'Use Automatic Configuration' box. Next, choose your time zone. Although the installer provides the option to synchronise your machine's data and time with an NTP server, it was unavailable on my screen. The Installer presents only two immediate options for your environment - GNOME 2.24.1 or KDE 4.1.3. Simply check one and continue, but if you want to install a different environment (such as KDE 3.5 or Xfce), you will have to do so by selecting 'Other' and then choosing it there.
openSUSE 11.1 installer - selecting desktop environment
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By default, the partitioner recommended a 2 GB swap partition, then set aside 20 GB for root and assigned the remaining space for /home. Both of these had ext3 as the file system. Here I ran into my first issue with the partitioner's user interface. Below the recommended layout are two buttons, 'Create Partition Setup' and 'Edit Partition Setup'. You might be fooled into thinking that both of these buttons refer to the suggested layout above, but in truth, only one does. If you want to create the suggested layout, you do not select 'Create Partition Setup' as one might be inclined to, you just hit 'Next'. The option to 'Create Partition Setup' means to reject the recommended setup and create your own. I feel this is rather confusing and could be easily resolved by relocating that button, or re-naming it. To accept the recommended layout but make some additional changes, select 'Edit Partition Setup'. By selecting either of these options you will have the opportunity to then select 'Custom Partitioning (for experts)' which gives you the opportunity to use the fancy new partitioner.
openSUSE 11.1 installer - suggested partitions
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The partitioner's default view shows all 'Available Storage on Linux' and presents a list of partitions (or a blank device if you are using a new or empty hard drive). On the left hand side is a 'System View' where various different kinds of storage are grouped, including hard drives, RAID volumes, Logical Volumes, remote NFS shares and even encrypted devices. Pretty sweet. Unfortunately, although you can see your devices from this view, you cannot create or edit partitions until you double click on one, or navigate to it using the system view on the left. It would have been nice if you could create a partition from this initial screen - it is selecting your drive for you, after all. Similarly, the partitioner is also a little confusing when creating or adding a partition as these buttons are next to each other (you can 'Add' a new partition by selecting an existing partition). Nevertheless, the interface is very clever, even if it does feel a little cumbersome.
My main gripe is that unlike previous version of the installer, you do not get a constant overview of what partitions you have created and their assigned mount points. To get this, you have to click back on the 'linux' button in the 'System View'. Also, when creating a new partition, the main screen completely disappears and is replaced with the new one. It would be great if this instead could be embedded in the right hand section of the partitioner, so that you can still see what it was you were creating. If you only have one drive this is probably not a major issue, but it would still be handy to see which drive you are partitioning and which partition you are up to creating.
openSUSE 11.1 installer - expert partitioner
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Creating your own partitioning scheme under expert mode enables many extra options. By default (as openSUSE has done for some time now) it enables the 'Directory Index Feature' on all ext3 partitions and selects the journal type to 'Ordered'. The directory index feature should provide some performance increase as should ordered mode which only journals data, not the metadata. Interestingly enough, they do then disable regular checks by default, perhaps to stop people wondering why their computer is sitting at the pretty splash screen for an hour with the hard drive going crazy. If you're using Linux software RAID you can configure the stride length and tweak many other options.
Encrypting the file system is as easy as checking 'Encrypt' at the point of selecting the file system. I like to access my devices via the file system's UUID and so I changed this under 'Fstab Options'. Here you can change the journalling mode if you like, disable atime, enable and disable access control lists and extended user attributes (but you'll need that last one if you use Beagle, openSUSE's search service) and many other options. Once your partitioning is happy, you can simply select 'Next'. The openSUSE partitioner truly is brilliant and offers an array (pardon the pun) of options for advanced users. The issues I raise above are of course just nitpicking as this installer really is an excellent product.
Unlike other distributions which disable the root account and enable root access via sudo, openSUSE does set a root password and enable the account. By default, the installer wants to make this password the same as the first user you create, so be careful if you are setting up accounts for other users who you do not wish to have root access. I'm still not sure that this is a good option, but by default, openSUSE automatically logs the user into the computer. Unlike many other installers, openSUSE loads cracklib and warns against simple passwords that might be easily obtained by others. This is good to see. If you chose not to use your user's password for root, then you can enter it on the next screen.
By default, openSUSE authentication is local, but with the click of a button at the new user step you can configure system authentication to LDAP, NIS or even to a Windows domain. Brilliant. This is where the relationship with Novell's corporate edition shines through. Finally, the installer presents you with an overview of the install. This has been one of my biggest gripes with openSUSE in the past. Change one thing here and in previous versions of openSUSE the installer would then take a few minutes re-detecting everything. Make another small change and it does it again, and again... ARGH. This was greatly improved in 11.0 and I'm pleased to announce that while it still does re-analyse your computer, it only takes a few seconds.
Before the install can begin you must confirm the installation of GRUB, openSUSE's boot loader of choice. On my install, the installer wanted to boot GRUB from my /boot partition which would have left me with an unbootable system (I was installing the system to an empty hard disk, with no boot loader in the Master Boot Record)! Fortunately I noticed this on the summary page and was able to change it, but I'm not sure this is what's meant to happen and sounds like a bug to me. Deploying the images and installing to my hard drive took only 8 minutes, which is nice and fast. After the initial install, openSUSE then boots to the configuration screen to set up your machine. If you enabled the automatic configuration, you won't have much to do here. If not, you can tweak your graphics setup, printing, audio and other settings here. I have found that the openSUSE installer does a great job of automatically configuring these.
openSUSE 11.1 installer - installation summary
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The software installer sports the addition of two new options, suggested and recommended packages. By default, this recommended the installation of Flash and MP3 support. Once again, this is good to see as it makes it easy to add functionality to your machine, but it's still not really integrated well into the system from the end user's perspective. A new user might install openSUSE and use it for a month before he or she ventures into the package installer (there is lots and lots to play with out of the box!). This user will probably get frustrated by the lack of Flash and MP3 support. Still, after installing libflashsupport, flash-player and gst-fluendo-mp3, these data formats were all playable. For this reason I recommend that upon logging into your new system for the first time, you browse to YaST and enable the Packman and VideoLAN community repositories. Also enable the NVIDIA repository if you need it and follow the directions on the openSUSE Wiki. Afterwards, perform an update which will pull in support for proprietary formats and drivers.
It would be great if openSUSE had a service which automatically detected devices requiring such drivers. The end user could the click a button resulting in openSUSE setting up repositories (if need be), downloading and installing the packages and then configuring the system. I know there are one-click installs that handle this, but it is still not new-user friendly enough. The technology is certainly there (the service could just download a one-click install for instance), it would just be good if this was provided directly to the end user. For this reason, when it comes to installing closed-source drivers in openSUSE, it's still not quite easy enough (whether that's a good thing or not depends on who you are!).
I want to touch on openSUSE's package management a little, because I think it's very important. openSUSE now uses Zypper to handle package management and I have to say, it's the best RPM-based package manager I've ever used. Possibly the best package manager full stop. Firstly, it's fast. Not quite as fast as APT under Debian, but much faster than most others. If you're a serious console addict like me and are often installing, searching for and removing packages there's one feature that's really going to annoy you - autorefresh. Turn it off. Zypper tries to automatically connect to the Internet and check for a database update every time you run a command, and when I've just run a Zypper command 30 seconds earlier it's not necessary! Once you get used to the syntax, Zypper is a very powerful package manager and in my opinion one of the most compelling reasons to use openSUSE.
As we've come to expect from openSUSE, the entire boot process from start to finish is very professional with everything being themed with a common look. KDE 4.1.3 was more impressive than I was expecting. Ever since version 4.0 was released, I have gone back to test each release and, like many others, felt it was just too incomplete. Having played with KDE 4.1.3 from this release of openSUSE, I'm almost prepared to say that KDE 4.x is finally ready for the average user. The openSUSE team has done a fantastic job of configuring the environment, having backported features from the upcoming 4.2 release (like being able to resize the panel). As a result, the system was very stable and the new applications do look stunning. If you've been wanting to make the move to the new KDE, then this is the distribution and release to do it with.
openSUSE 11.1 - default KDE 4.1.3 desktop
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The default GNOME desktop looks mostly the same as it has for the last number of releases. The new background has a cool feature in that it changes its brightness based on the time of day. openSUSE continues to include their custom menu bar which provides quick access to your favourite and recently-used applications, places and documents. I'm still not convinced that it's better than the traditional menu, however. Under openSUSE's menu, navigating to 'Places' is two clicks as opposed to one when using GNOME's default menu. Likewise, you cannot easily browse all applications with your mouse like you can under a default GNOME install, but rather have to click 'More Applications', wait for a new window to appear and then try and find your application among the maze of icons you are presented with. Likewise with 'Control Centre' compared to GNOME's traditional 'System' menu. Sure, they include a filter to find what you're looking for, but that's because you need it!
The new menu also provides a search bar integrated with Beagle which lets you search for applications, documents, emails, web sites and lots more. When I couldn't see the icon for GNOME Terminal I searched for it using this feature, but unfortunately it would not list any applications in its results. It found lots of documents, but no programs. Searching for other programs like 'firefox' and 'ekiga' also yielded no results. Not sure why that is, but I assume it is only indexing the /home partition. This feature did work correctly under KDE, however. As with most new systems, openSUSE's GNOME menu probably just takes some getting used to, but to me, this new way of doing things doesn't appear to provide much benefit over the traditional GNOME menus. Perhaps I'm just getting too old.
openSUSE 11.1 - default GNOME 2.24.1 desktop
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I still find PulseAudio a little confusing, but in openSUSE it seemed to just work which was a pleasant surprise! While I am used to being able to enable certain channels and disable others, tweak this and that, these options just don't show up under GNOME's PulseAudio mixer any more. The command line provides a solution to this, but it's great to see PulseAudio working nicely. Using GNOME's default picture manager, F-Spot, I tried to connect my Canon PowerShot S5IS digital camera and download the photos. It was detected by F-Spot, but errored with the message "cannot lock camera". Once again I'm pleased to say this worked correctly under KDE using Digikam.
I tried out Banshee, openSUSE's default audio player on GNOME, and found it quite usable. The interface has not changed a great deal, but I do like the new album artwork. Integration with Last.fm worked well and the software detected my iPod Shuffle but could not read the database. I hit the 'rebuild' button which then presented me with the music stored on the device. Unfortunately when I then tried to use the iPod itself, it couldn't find any songs. Under KDE, Amarok successfully scanned my iPod database and made my music available. I was able to send music to my iPod, delete songs and everything appeared to be OK, but when I tried to play my iPod it wouldn't play the new files I had added.
openSUSE 11.1 - Banshee music player
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Ekiga worked well out of the box, that's GNOME's VoIP client. My Creative webcam was detected by Ekiga, but errored saying that it didn't support any of the colour formats. Likewise the photobooth software Cheese did not like it either, but as it requires an external driver I wasn't expecting it to. The good news is that Ekiga was very fast and responsive, something I didn't find in the past. openSUSE touts a new version of OpenOffice.org 3.0, built with many tweaks from Novell (see http://go-oo.org for more details). It's mostly the same OO.o we are used to using, but it did load up to a new blank document quite fast. Browsing the file menu caused it to throw up an error about wanting Java and then the program crashed completely, proceeding straight to the 'Document Recovery' wizard. I tried again and it repeated the same thing. I noticed this happened when hovering over the File, Send menu item.
openSUSE truly is a great Linux product and 11.1 is the best so far. There are applications for everything you might want to do and they all contain great features. While I did encounter some issues with various applications the system feels very solid and responsive, which is what one expects when using a Linux operating system. The installer continues its fine form, incorporating several new features which work well. KDE users can be thankful for all the hard work the openSUSE team put into KDE 4.1.3 as it is the best implementation I have seen. Backporting new features from the 4.2 branch was a great idea and makes the 4.1 branch much more usable (you can resize the panel!). But for those still not ready to make the move to the future of KDE, there is version 3.5.10. This is a great move by the openSUSE team, who listened to feedback from not only their own users, but those from other distributions who were only offered the new KDE. The openSUSE implementation of GNOME continues from strength to strength. The team has done a great job implementing each piece of software and overall it feels really slick. The YaST control centre continues to be one of the best graphical configuration tools available under Linux, far beyond anything most other major distributions offer.
My only reservation is to do with proprietary codecs and drivers, which still needs some work to reach the same level as other distributions. For new users, this is still just too hard. I tried to get 3D working with ATI's proprietary driver and gave up in the end (X worked, but no 3D due to OpenGL errors). The 'recommended packages' feature of the package manager is a great idea and does install MP3 support automatically, but this is still second rate and users expect more. Overall I really feel that this version of openSUSE provides a complete desktop experience for the user. What does it have to offer you? Download it and give it a try, you might be pleasantly surprised at what you find.
openSUSE 11.1 gets new license, Debian votes on firmware in "Lenny", Mandriva sets up community steering committee, Gentoo begins weekly snapshots, interviews with openSUSE and Gentoo developers|
The biggest news of the week was the release of Novell's openSUSE 11.1 Linux distribution. As usual, the new release contains updated versions of the desktop environments such as GNOME 2.24.1 and KDE 4.1.3, as well as other major packages, such as Linux kernel 184.108.40.206 and Novell's edition of OpenOffice.org 3.0 which contains numerous enhancements over its parent product from Sun. This new release incorporates one very important change for its community, a new license: "Users no longer need to agree to the click-through EULA. This is not a EULA, it’s a license notice. We want you to be aware of your rights as provided by the FOSS licenses, so we’ll display this notice but not require a click-through EULA," explains openSUSE's community manager Joe Brockmeier. "We have based our license on the license notice that is being used by the Fedora Project." The release team has removed packages which restrict redistribution, such as Adobe's PDF reader and Sun's Java implementation in order to make this possible.
This new release of openSUSE sees the end of life of an older openSUSE, 10.2. Marcus Meissner announced that an update on 16 December would indeed be the last. Unleashed on 7 December 2006, the 2-year old release saw a total of 643 updates, but is now officially discontinued and out of support.
Daniweb has an interview with openSUSE's community manager, Joe "Zonker" Brockmeier, where he discusses the new 11.1 release. Brockmeier explains that 11.1 is "the first release that was built in the openSUSE Build Service, which is an important step for allowing more contributions from the community over time." He also touches on the new features in this latest version, the relationship between openSUSE and Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise products, and even explains where he got his nickname "Zonker".
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As required by their constitution, Debian developers went to vote this week on the outstanding issue of whether or not to include firmware in the upcoming "Lenny" release. The issue revolves around whether including such binaries violates the Debian Free Software Guidelines and possibly also the GPL. While there are seven proposed options to choose from, voting mainly consists of whether to release Lenny even though the firmware issues "are not yet finally sorted out", or to wait until Debian can "deliver a 100% free operating system." The release of Lenny with such firmware would be made possible should any of the options 2-6 succeed, which include allowing Debian to violate their own Free Software Guidelines, or to "assume blobs comply with GPL unless proven otherwise." Option 6 acknowledges that firmware is often "distributed as so-called blobs, with no source or further documentation that lets us learn how it works or interacts with the hardware in question" and therefore suggests that firmware should be exempt from Debian's Free Software Guidelines in order to allow it to be included in Lenny. It goes on to state that firmware is "data such as microcode or lookup tables that is loaded into hardware components in order to make the component function properly. It is not code that is run on the host CPU" and that by excluding such firmware from Debian they will "exclude users that require such devices from installing our operating system, or make it unnecessarily hard for them."
There was some descent over the options in the ballot which resulted in some personal attacks made against Debian secretary Manoj Srivastava. As a result he tended his resignation letter to the Debian list. Srivastava concedes that he "made mistakes with the current set of votes" and that "the buck for running votes stops at the secretary, so I am ultimately responsible for the current state of the vote." However, he also suggests that the arguments against the ballot would have been more useful earlier, saying "the arguments being made now, after the vote was called and started ... could have been made when the vote page went up, when I was sending in the emails about which option had how many seconds, or when the draft ballot was sent in ... had these being made earlier, we would not have come to this pass."
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In a post to the official Mandriva blog, Mandriva CEO Hervé Yahi announced the launch of a worldwide Mandriva Community Steering Committee. According to Yahi, this committee will "unify and leverage the Mandriva community and ecosystem, thus aligning joint efforts towards clear goals; provide a better visibility on products releases; and last but not least, establish a key milestone on the road to success." However, details on how this new committee will actually achieve these responsibilities are a little thin, with comments left by members asking for more information. He also confirmed that "Mandriva Linux 2009.1 will be released in April 2009. Mandriva therefore announces the launch of Mandriva Enterprise Server 5 (MES 5) in Q1 2009."
Data provided from Mandriva officials to The VAR Guy for their Open Source 50 survey, shows their plans for future growth through channel partners. The company states that their number of partners has grown from 1200 in 2007 to over 2000 this year and is estimating an increase in sales up 3% on last year. With the current economic woes, it's great to see open source companies continuing to forge ahead. The company has grown from 120 employees to 200 in twelve months, with all the excitement perhaps we can expect to see a greater push for their products in 2009.
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After cancelling its previously planned 2008.1 release in September, Gentoo has begun releasing weekly snapshots as part of their new release strategy to provide more current install media. The snapshots can be found on Gentoo mirrors under the experimental/ directory, but the announcement warns "these builds are automated, they have not been rigorously tested as the old releases. Occasionally, you might run into problems. If that happens, just try a file from a different week."
In other related news, Gentoo founder Daniel Robbins has released a new version of Metro, the software he created to build his own custom Gentoo-based tarballs. While no longer an official Gentoo developer, Robbins has been creating his own releases for the community in response to the lack of official up-to-date stage tarballs.
The Free Software Foundation Europe has published an interview with Gentoo developer Johannes (Hanno) Böck. Böck is responsible for maintaining several packages, including GIMP, Scribus and Compiz. He discusses non-free software and binary blobs in Gentoo, as well as his thoughts on various aspects of Free software.
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The Asianux Consortium announced its 5th member, WTEC of Thailand, which "specialises in the field of system integration and IT services." Asianux is comprised of four other members - Red Flag from China, Miracle Linux from Japan, Haansoft from Korea and VietSoftware from Vietnam. Each member sells identical products with the Asianux brand in their respective markets and are working together to establish an Asian standard Linux platform. "Thanks to the unique '4-CO' business model of Asianux - co-development, co-brand, co-support and co-marketing - the Asianux Consortium differentiates itself from other Linux vendors such as Red Hat and Novell."
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With all the competition on mobile phone devices these days, a new open source Linux distribution, Hackable: 1, has emerged. It is a community distribution based on Debian GNU/Linux and GNOME for hackable devices like the Neo Freerunner. The new distribution is sponsored by Bearstech, a French Openmoko reseller who supports the infrastructure and the integration work.
And speaking of Openmoko, their own software continues to mature with an update to their own Linux-based open source software stack. This new release includes "general operating system improvements that enhance the speed and stability of your Neo". It is the recommended update for all users currently running the previous 2008.9 release. Detailed information about fixes and updates can be found on the Openmoko Trac site. Yes, it still comes with Sudoku.
|Released Last Week
Bluewhite64 Linux 12.2
Attila Crăciun has announced the release of Bluewhite64 Linux 12.2, an unofficial port of Slackware Linux to the x86_64 architecture: "Bluewhite64 Linux 12.2 brings new features and important updates since the previous release. Some of them includes new Linux kernel 220.127.116.11 with advanced features and a new feature to install Bluewhite64 Linux via Samba shares. Also, this release includes newly added packages like pm-utils (power management utilities), SQLite 18.104.22.168 (simple, self contained database engine) and wich (wired and wireless network manager for Linux). Some of the updated packages include KDE 3.5.10 and Xfce 4.4.3 desktop environments, Mozilla Firefox 3.0.4 and SeaMonkey 1.1.13 web browsers, and Mozilla Thunderbird 22.214.171.124 and KMail 1.9.9 email clients." Read the rest of the release announcement and release notes for additional details.
Linux Mint 6
Clement Lefebvre has announced the release of Linux Mint 6, code name "Felicia": "The team is proud to announce the release of Linux Mint 6 'Felicia'. Based on Ubuntu 8.10 'Intrepid Ibex', Linux 2.6.27, GNOME 2.24 and X.Org 7.4, Linux Mint 6 comes with a brand new software manager, FTP support in mintUpload, proxy support and history of updates in mintUpdate, mint4win (a Windows installer), tabbed browsing in Nautilus and a lot of other improvements." Besides the main edition, the project has also announced a new Linux Mint 6 "Universal" edition, a complete Linux Mint live DVD with support for dozens of languages, but without any media codecs (these can be installed separately). Consult the release announcement and feature overview for system requirements, known issues and upgrade instructions.
Magic Linux 2.1
Magic Linux is a Chinese community distribution loosely based on Fedora. Version 2.1, released yesterday, is mostly a bug-fix release with updated applications. Code-named "Houyuan", the new release comes with the following components and features: Linux kernel 126.96.36.199 witch glibc 2.3.6 and GCC 3.4.6; X.Org server 1.5.2 with KDE 3.5.8 as the default desktop; a collection of popular KDE applications, including Amarok and Kaffeine. Some of the changes since RC3 include a variety of localisation fixes for better support for Chinese, upgrade to WINE 1.1.8 and minor updates to HAL and udev. For more information please see the release announcement (in Chinese), which also contains a planned feature list for the upcoming release of Magic Linux 2.5.
Parted Magic 3.3, 3.4
Patrick Verner has announced the release of Parted Magic 3.3: "This release of Parted Magic offers better support for video drivers and adds NFS. gFTP was also added and a few other core packages have been upgraded. The contents of the USB version have been altered to clean things up a bit. All GRUB files are in /boot/grub and all syslinux files are in /boot/syslinux. You will need to alter your syslinux command syntax or move the configuration file back to the root of the USB drive." From the changelog: "Downgraded to xorg-server to version 1.4.2; added DHCP 3.0.7; added gFTP 2.0.19; updated NTFS-3G to version 1.5130, udev to version 135, GParted to version 0.4.1, BusyBox to version 1.13.1; added Portmap 6.0 and nfs-utils 1.1.2." Read the full release announcement and changelog for further information.
Litrix Linux 9.0
Vagner Rodrigues has announced the release of Litrix Linux 9.0, a Gentoo-based Brazilian live DVD. According to the release announcement, Litrix Linux 9.0 is designed as a general-purpose distribution that can be used in live mode or as a complete operating system installed run from a hard disk. It contains a good mix of applications for both work and entertainment. The main components of the new release include: Linux kernel 2.6.27, KDE 3.5.9 desktop environment, OpenOffice.org 3.0 office suite, Mozilla Firefox 3.0 web browser, The GIMP 2.6 image manipulation program, WINE 1.0 - a translation layer for running Windows applications on Linux, support for Portuguese and English languages, newly added OpenLDAP. Please visit the distribution's revamped home page (in Portuguese) to read the brief release announcement.
Litrix Linux 9.0 - a Gentoo-based distribution featuring KDE 3.5
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Kiwi Linux 8.12
Jani Monoses has announced the release of Kiwi Linux 8.12, an Ubuntu remix with multimedia support, designed mostly for Romanian and Hungarian users: "Kiwi Linux 8.12 is a desktop CD based on Ubuntu 8.10 for the x86 architecture. It contains packages necessary for playing restricted multimedia formats by default and supports the SpeedTouch 330 USB ADSL modem. The list of available languages is English, French, German, Hungarian and Romanian. Differences between Ubuntu 8.10 and Kiwi Linux 8.08: packages up to date as of 2008-12-15; added Wubi; OpenOffice.org 3.0 with up to date Romanian translation; GUI for pppoeconf; a graphical tool for restoring GRUB boot menus lost after installing other operating system; Evolution removed; Flash plugin and GStreamer codecs for restricted audio and video formats...." Read the rest of the release notes for further details.
openSUSE 11.1, a community Linux distribution sponsored by Novell, has been released: "The openSUSE project is proud to announce the release of openSUSE 11.1. The openSUSE 11.1 release includes more than 230 new features, improvements to YaST, major updates to GNOME, KDE, OpenOffice.org, and more freedom with a brand new license, Liberation fonts, and OpenJDK. This is also the first release built entirely in the openSUSE Build Service. Desktop users will find a lot to like in this release. Users can choose from the leading edge of GNOME and KDE development with GNOME 2.24.1 and KDE 4.1.3. We've also included KDE 3.5.10 for users who prefer the classic KDE experience." Read the release announcement and press release, and visit the product pages to learn more about the new openSUSE 11.1.
Trisquel GNU/Linux 2.1
Rubén Rodríguez Pérez has announced the release of Trisquel GNU/Linux 2.1, a 100% "libre" distribution based on Ubuntu and recommended by the Free Software Foundation (FSF): "We are very proud today to announce the release of the 2.1 version of Trisquel GNU/Linux in its three editions, including, for the first time, the education-oriented branch along with the domestic and enterprise ones. From this release on, the three editions include the linux-libre kernel, and lots of small improvements have been made to improve the user experience and other aspects such as security and performance. All these upgrades can be applied over an existing installation using the automated update system." Read the release announcement for further details.
Trisquel GNU/Linux 2.1 - now 100% "libre", according to Free Software Foundation
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Tilman Sauerbeck has announced the release of CRUX 2.5, a minimalist, i686-optimised Linux distribution for advanced users: "Twelve months after the last release, today we published CRUX 2.5. Release notes: includes glibc 2.8, GCC 4.3.2, Binutils 2.19, Linux kernel 188.8.131.52 and X.Org 7.4; glibc does not contain all possible locales any more; the runtime linker configuration has been greatly simplified by adding a configuration directory /etc/ld.so.conf.d; GCC depends on libgmp and libmpfr now, both have been added to core; a new port inetutils replaces inetd, netkit-ftp and netkit-telnet; hotplug has been removed because it wasn't in use since a long time; libpcre has been added to core; slocate has been replaced by mlocate; cdrtools has been replaced by cdrkit." See the release announcement, release notes and handbook for more information.
Leszek Lesner has announced the release of ZevenOS 1.0, an Ubuntu-based GNU/Linux distribution with a BeOS-like user interface, performance and support for older hardware: "We are proud to announce the release of ZevenOS 1.0." From the changelog: "Added a new dark theme; added a low-level desktop (uses PCManFM and LXPanel instead of xfdesktop and Xfce panel); added new static deskbar menu; bug-fixed menu localization in deskbar; made JFS the default file system; fixed permission errors after install in /etc/sudoers; added SuM and BuM; removed Streamtuner and Ristretto; improved MAGI 2 visual appearance; added advanced configuration in MAGI 2; added Wmconfig (MAGI 2); added new Zeven GTK+ theme; added Darklooks GTK+ theme; added two new Sawfish themes to fit the new dark look...." Visit the project's web site and read the rest of the changelog for more details.
iMagic OS 2009
Carlos La Borde has announced the release of iMagic OS 2009, a commercial Linux distribution based on Ubuntu 7.10: "After months of development and design, iMagic OS 2009 is ready! Nine new features: new window design - a new refreshing theme washes away all traces of iMagic OS 7.0; web applications - now, you can split web software like GMail, Google Docs, YouTube, iMagic OS Downloads, and CNR right out of the web browser and run them just like normal applications; OpenOffice.org support - Now runs OpenOffice.org much better; educational software - now includes more educational software that will help you and your children; BitTorrent software - More BitTorrent software brings you more pre-loaded choice, and lets you handle torrents more easily; improved boot time - thanks to some boot re-profiling, boot up time is now diminished by over 10 seconds on most present-day computers; sample tutorials...." Read the rest of the 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
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New distributions added to waiting list
- CacheGuard. CacheGuard is a Linux-based operating system and appliance dedicated to web traffic security and optimisation.
- Rubuntu. Rubuntu is a new Russian distribution based on Ubuntu.
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DistroWatch database summary
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This is the last issue DistroWatch Weekly in 2008. To all our readers who celebrate the traditional end-of-the-year holidays, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year. DistroWatch Weekly will return again on Monday, 5 January 2009.
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
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|• Issue 709 (2017-04-24): Ubuntu 17.04, Korora testing new software manager, Ubuntu migrates to Wayland, running Nix package manager on alternative distributions|
|• Issue 708 (2017-04-17): Maui Linux 17.03, Snaps run on Fedora, Void adopts Flatpak, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, Debian elects Project Leader|
|• Issue 707 (2017-04-10): PCLinuxOS 2017.03, Canonical stops Unity development, OpenBSD on a Raspberry Pi, setting up a VPN for privacy|
|• Issue 706 (2017-04-03): Super Grub2 Disk, Snap packages of deepin applications, Subgraph OS routes network traffic for one application, announcements from Linux Mint|
|• Issue 705 (2017-03-27): Minimal Linux Live, sharing control of the operating system, new KaOS features, Uplos32 provides 32-bit fork of PCLinuxOS|
|• Issue 704 (2017-03-20): ToarusOS 1.0.4, Linux Mint's security record, Debian starts Project Leader election, Ubuntu 12.04 reaches end-of-life|
|• Issue 703 (2017-03-13): SolydXK 201701, CloudReady, Solus announces new features, KDE Connect sends text messages from desktop, openSUSE's YaST module for Let's Encrypt|
|• Issue 702 (2017-03-06): Fatdog64 Linux, elementary OS bundled with new netbook, Haiku announces new features, security and the size of a distro's development team|
|• Issue 701 (2017-02-27): OBRevenge 2017.02, Mageia 6 delays, NetBSD reproducible builds, questions about swap space, trying to steam video on a Raspberry Pi|
|• Issue 700 (2017-02-20): RaspBSD, Debian replaces Icedove with Thunderbird, Fedora's licensing guidlines, tips for switching shells, finding battery charge, getting IP address and killing processes|
|• Issue 699 (2017-02-13): Clear Linux, GhostBSD network utility ported to FreeBSD, Ubuntu coming to Fairphone, elementary OS crowd funding an app store|
|• Issue 698 (2017-02-06): Solus 2017.01.01, comparing containers with portable applicatins, Tails dropping 32-bit support, Debian Stretch enters freeze|
|• Issue 697 (2017-01-30): Subgraph OS 2016.12.30, running Ubuntu on an Android phone, Arch Linux phasing out 32-bit support, Linux Mint testing updated LMDE media|
|• Issue 696 (2017-01-23): GoboLinux 016, remotely running desktop applications, Solus adopting Flatpak, KDE neon using Calamares, TrueOS tests OpenRC|
|• Issue 695 (2017-01-16): Zorin OS 12, Peppermint team fixes installer bug, Debian refreshes Jessie media, Ubuntu improves low graphics mode, Exciting things coming in 2017|
|• Issue 694 (2017-01-09): MX Linux 16, Fedora considers systemd security features, DragonFly BSD to support massive swap space, Ubuntu Touch roadmap, Puppy's newsletter, sudo's password prompt|
|• Issue 693 (2017-01-02): Comparing small distros, fig language, video driver comparsion, Debian+PIXEL, Wayland on FreeBSD|
|• Issue 692 (2016-12-19): Bodhi Linux 4.0.0, Cappsule containers, Calculate's new Utilities package, Solus and Ubuntu MATE build new application menu|
|• Issue 691 (2016-12-12): SalentOS 1.0, openSUSE improves YaST, Fedora considers slower release cycle, KDE neon gets LTS branch|
|• Issue 690 (2016-12-05): Fedora 25, Ubuntu adopts rolling HWE kernel, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, Haiku working toward EFI support|
|• Issue 689 (2016-11-28): openSUSE 42.2, Fedora's upgrade path, plans for Korora 25, transitioning from PC-BSD to TrueOS, Webconverger's reproducible builds|
|• Issue 688 (2016-11-21): Endless OS 3.0.5, KDE neon fixes security hole, FreeBSD's Quarterly Status Report, Rolling release trial #2 concludes|
|• Issue 687 (2016-11-14): NAS4Free 10.3.0.3, Fedora gains MP3 playback, budgie-remix becomes Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu flavours compared, Rolling release trial #2|
|• Issue 686 (2016-11-07): FreeBSD 11.0, rolling release trial #2, Debian announces supported architectures, Simplicity switching to antiX base, farewell to Mythbuntu|
|• Issue 685 (2016-10-31): elementary OS 0.4, SUSE gains ARM support, Mint improves language support, Dirty COW explained, Rolling release trial #2|
|• Issue 684 (2016-10-24): Ubuntu 16.10, Linux popularity in different markets, Fedora runs on Raspberry Pi, Ubuntu features live kernel patching|
|• Issue 683 (2016-10-17): Refracta 8.0, making packages for distributions, Alpine switches to LibreSSL, 386BSD website publishes classic code|
|• Issue 682 (2016-10-10): KDE neon 20160915, Android-x86 6.0, Fedora warns of update bug, HandyLinux drops English translation, LXQt benchmarks|
|• Issue 681 (2016-10-03): OpenBSD 6.0, DragonFly BSD to support LibreSSL in ports, systemd denial of service bug, upgraded Mintbox Mini|
|• Issue 680 (2016-09-26): Uruk GNU/Linux 1.0, blocking applications at the firewall, Lenovo controversy, Ubuntu running on the Nextcloud Box|
|• Issue 679 (2016-09-19): OpenMandriva 3.0, 32-bit vs 64-bit performance, openSUSE updates, KaOS unveils first run wizard|
|• Issue 678 (2016-09-12): Apricity 07.2016, Mageia adopts DNF, KDE neon to use Wayland, FreeBSD updates Linux compatibility, creating cron jobs|
|• Issue 677 (2016-09-05): Peppermint OS 7, Manjaro updates leadership, TrueOS becomes rolling release, organizing files, creating torrents|
|• Issue 676 (2016-08-29): Korora 24, Fedora 25 to use Wayland by default, Linux turns 25, PC-BSD becomes TrueOS, finding software licensing information|
|• Issue 675 (2016-08-22): Gentoo LiveDVD "Choice Edition", moreutils, Ubuntu improves terminal convergence, MATE packaged for Openindiana, FreeBSD improves video support|
|• Issue 674 (2016-08-15): Zenwalk Linux 8.0, Ubuntu phone follow-up, Lubuntu transitioning to LXQt, Steam running on FreeBSD|
|• Issue 673 (2016-08-03): noop linux and EasyNAS, Debian's GnuPG switch, Fedora "Flock", using "nice"|
|• Issue 672 (2016-08-01): Ubuntu Phone 15.04, Solus embraces rolling release model, interview with Jane Silber, FreeBSD Quarterly Report|
|• Issue 671 (2016-07-25): Slackware 14.2, Point Linux 3.2, OpenBSD disables usermount, KaOS releases significant changes, Fedora 22 reaches end of life.|
|• Issue 670 (2016-07-18): Linux Lite 3.0, Bodhi team plans 4.0.0, pfSense changes licensing, running software across distributions, Linux Mint upgrade path|
|• Issue 669 (2016-07-11): Linux Mint 18, proving a system is secure, LibreSSL in FreeBSD, Ubuntu plans phasing out 32-bit, pfSense status report|
|• Issue 668 (2016-07-04): Fedora 24, Linux Mint plans for 18.1, FreeBSD and DragonFly BSD improve their file systems, comparing Flatpak, Snap and AppImage|
|• Issue 667 (2016-06-27): GeckoLinux 421, Fedora supports Flatpak, Solus unveils new features, running GNU/Linux on tablets|
|• 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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