| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 304, 25 May 2009
Welcome to this year's 21st issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Three weeks ago Mandriva Linux 2009.1 was released. This distribution has a well-earned reputation for being both user-friendly and flexible and this week we take what turns out to be a somewhat surprising first look at the latest Mandriva release. In the news section, Slackware Linux finally opens a 64-bit branch of its development tree, Moblin 2.0 impresses the reviewers with a refreshing user interface design, Ubuntu reveals a change in video architecture for the upcoming version 9.10, Debian changes its archive signing key, and Fedora considers mailing list moderation in response to some unruly behaviour of its users. Also in this issue, a round-up of news from vendors preparing Linux-based solutions for mobile devices and an interesting new way of installing Arch Linux - via an unofficial live CD. Finally, if you have a package that you think DistroWatch should track, don't miss your chance to suggest it - this week only! All this and more in this week's issue, enjoy the read!
- Reviews: First look at Mandriva Linux 2009.1
- News: Slackware goes 64-bit, Moblin 2.0 impresses reviewers, Ubuntu effects video changes, Debian updates GPG keys, Fedora mulls list moderation, round-up of mobile Linux news, Archiso-live
- Released last week: Puppy Linux 4.2.1, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.8
- Upcoming releases: Linux Mint 7, openSUSE 11.2 Milestone 2
- Site news: Annual package list update
- New additions: DEFT Linux, Elastix
- New distributions: Hymera, Taneu OS
- Reader comments
Join us at irc.freenode.net #distrowatch
First look at Mandriva Linux 2009.1
For years now I've recommended Mandriva Linux as the best choice for newcomers to Linux. I have always found it to be an incredibly user-friendly distribution that manages to avoid sacrificing functionality for simplicity. I've also found that, more often than not, it has fewer significant bugs than a certain more popular distribution that touts itself as being Linux for the masses. Naturally, when Mandriva announced their 2009.1 release a few of weeks back, I was interested to see how the latest version stacked up. I freely admit I had very high expectations for Mandriva 2009.1.
Mandriva comes in four flavors: Mandriva One KDE, Mandriva One GNOME, Mandriva Free and Mandriva Powerpack. The two Mandriva One varieties are single live CDs with the option of installing to a hard drive. In order to keep to a single CD, each version offers only the one desktop environment, a selection of popular applications, and a limited subset of the more than 70 supported languages. There are actually six different CD images for each version of Mandriva One with different language selections for different parts of the world. Once installed, Mandriva One has access to the same software repositories as the other Mandriva editions.
Mandriva Free is an installable (not live) 4.3 GB DVD image. It includes full language support, a wide variety of applications available at install time, and a choice of three desktop environments: KDE 4.2.2, GNOME 2.26, and LXDE 0.3.2. Three lightweight window managers are also available: WindowMaker, IceWM-lite, and Fluxbox. All of these can be installed side by side. Additional desktop environments and window managers, including Xfce 4.6.1 and Enlightenment DR17, are available in the software repository but not during the initial installation. The name "Free" refers to the fact that this edition of Mandriva includes no proprietary software whatsoever. Only F/OSS drivers and applications are included. If you need "non-free" applications and/or drivers, they are available in the repository after installation is completed. I decided to concentrate on Mandriva Free as it offers the most complete picture of what Mandriva has to offer.
So far I've used Mandriva 2009.1 on two systems. The first is my Sylvania g Netbook Meso (1.6 GHz Intel Atom N270 CPU, 1 GB RAM, 80 GB HDD) which I purchased in January. The second is my 6.5-years old Toshiba Satellite 1805-S204 (1 GHz Intel Celeron CPU, 512 MB RAM, 20 GB HDD). Both systems meet minimum requirements for any current Linux distribution and both have hardware which is challenging in some distributions. I find the old Toshiba laptop particularly useful in determining how a given distribution will perform on older, legacy hardware.
Installation and Configuration
For this review I stuck with a straightforward installation. I used an external USB DVD drive to boot the installer on my netbook and used the internal drive on the Toshiba laptop. Mandriva Free uses a nicely laid-out and well thought-out graphical installer. At each step there is a default which will work for the majority of users and the option to customize to the nth degree for advanced Linux users. Since I wanted to preserve my home directories on both machines (both in separate partitions) as well as other Linux distribution installations, I chose the custom partitioning option. Anyone familiar with disk partitioning should find the basic version of the graphical partitioner quite familiar. An advanced option button allows every conceivable option to be customized, including options to be used in the /etc/fstab file.
Once disk partitioning is done, you are given the choice of three installation options: a KDE desktop, a GNOME desktop, and a Custom desktop. Custom allows you to choose groups of packages or, for those who want total control of what is installed, the ability to choose packages one by one. For the little Sylvania, I did a custom installation but chose to install nearly everything available that would actually work on my netbook, a total of nearly 5 GB of software. Once package installation started, I was shocked to see that the installer estimated that the process would take four hours. That turned out to be wildly inaccurate. The actual installation time was about 50 minutes. On the Toshiba laptop, I decided to do a lean and mean installation with LXDE for my default desktop. The installer guessed this would take an hour and a half. It actually was more like two hours with the extra slow drive in that machine. Clearly, the one part of the installer that doesn't work is whatever it uses to estimate time.
After the software was installed, I was given the opportunity to configure the bootloader, networking, and optionally a wide variety of system settings, ranging from time zone to services to start at boot. Once again, many if not most users can safely take the defaults and ignore a lot of these potential steps. For the knowledgeable user the array of choices at install time goes beyond even what Slackware Linux offers. Once everything else is done, if you have a working network connection, you are offered the opportunity to install all available updates since release. Including this in the installer is a nice touch. I had only used Mandriva One over the past couple of years and I was impressed by what has been done with the Mandriva Free installer.
I did run into one error message with the Sylvania netbook. I was warned that my Ralink wireless chipset required the rt73 driver which is proprietary and not included in Free. I was given two options: Mandriva One or the upstream website for the driver to deal with after installation. It turned out neither was necessary. I was able to go into the Mandriva Network Center and it offered me the option of "automagically" retrieving the missing driver from the repository. Getting wireless up and running required little more than entering the passphrase for my encrypted network.
The bootloader installation correctly identified my Ubuntu Network Remix installation on the netbook. It failed to recognize my VectorLinux installation on either machine. I had to manually edit /boot/grub/menu.lst to be able to boot into VectorLinux again. Those of you who dual-boot (or multi-boot), might expect to do the same if you use anything other than one of the most popular distributions.
Configuring X window on both systems is problematic for some distributions. Mandriva 2009.1 fully supports netbooks and correctly set up my system for the correct 1024x600 pixels graphics resolution. The Toshiba laptop has a Trident CyberBlade XPi chipset which many current distributions, including Ubuntu, completely fail to configure properly. Once again, Mandriva got everything right and correctly configured the graphics with a default 1024x768 pixels display resolution, the best the Toshiba supports. After installation, all the hardware just worked.
Changes Since Mandriva 2009
The most visible change since the last release of Mandriva Linux is that KDE 3 has been deprecated. The only version of KDE now included on any of the ISOs is KDE 4.2.2. KDE 3.5.10 remains available in the contrib section of the repository but is officially unsupported.
Mandriva 2009.1 default KDE 4.2.2 desktop
(full image size: 580kB, screen resolution 1024x600 pixels)
Other changes include an upgraded X.Org 7.4 and support for the new ext4 file system. Most popular applications have been upgraded, including OpenOffice.org 3.0.1 (based on the Go-OO branch). If you take the post-release updates during the installation, your Firefox browser will start out with the current version, 3.0.10. There are also upgrades to Mandriva's well-regarded suite of graphical configuration tools. Under the hood, Mandriva 2009.1 sports a 22.214.171.124 kernel.
Running Mandriva 2009.1
I have always been impressed by Mandriva's ability to come up with release after release that have avoided really serious or show-stopping bugs. This time around the number of bugs that presented themselves in obvious ways from the start was truly unfortunate.
By default, Mandriva uses KDM as its display (login) manager. That was fine with me. The default desktop is GNOME 2.26. I worked in GNOME for a while and decided I really wanted to try out the KDE 4 implementation and to see how well that was done. I logged out, clicked on the list of available sessions and found lots of choices except for KDE. I logged back into GNOME and went into Rpmdrake, the graphical package manager, and sure enough KDE 4.2.2 was installed. It was just missing from the KDM session list, which was totally strange since KDM is the KDE display manager. I went into the Mandrake Control Center, changed my display manager to GDM (from GNOME), logged out, and finally I had KDE 4 as an available choice. OK, that's annoying and silly but not serious.
The most serious bug for me was expected. My Sylvania netbook has an Intel Express Graphics 945 chipset. The Intel driver in the latest X.Org has been problematic in both Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope) and in the new Mandriva Linux. In Ubuntu, the problem manifested as poor graphics performance. The workaround is to install an older driver and that really does solve the problem. In Mandriva, the reported bug according to the published errata is that the system actually freezes up using 3D effects. The recommended fix is to disable 3D acceleration which would be completely unacceptable to me. What I saw with my system was different than what the Errata indicated.
Instead of freeze-ups, which did not occur on my system, I saw the same slowness I saw in the latest Ubuntu. In addition, in KDE the menu displayed with horizontal lines all through it briefly before correcting itself. This actually is reported in the Mandriva forum and the fix is the same suggested in the Errata: a new, updated driver released on May 13 plus two changes to the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file. Once I installed the new drivers, edited my configuration file and restarted X, performance was immediately improved. Unfortunately, it was only after making the changes that the freeze-ups occurred on my system. I've disabled the UXA acceleration option, undoing both changes to the xorg.conf file, and that seems to have ended the freezing problem for me but, unfortunately, the graphics performance is just the same as with the original driver: truly horrible. Unlike Ubuntu there just is no acceptable fix or workaround for the issue in Mandriva. The net result is that I consider the distribution unusable on my netbook.
Folks who have ATI, SIS, or NVIDIA graphics chipsets may also want to check the Errata and Bugzilla as some graphics chips by these manufacturers are either problematic or unsupported in Mandriva 2009.1. In some cases, workarounds are available but in other cases, at least temporarily, this release just won't work on the affected hardware.
There are numerous other curious quirks. I used Rpmdrake to add some additional software to my system and to remove one or two items I just didn't need. It did all the installs and uninstalls correctly but gave me an error message indicating that a large amount of software on my system was now "orphaned", including all of KDE 4! It helpfully provided me with instructions explaining how to remove all that orphaned software, which included lots of applications I most certainly didn't want removed, automatically. Thanks but no thanks! Were these applications really "orphaned"? No, of course not. KDE 4 continued to work as did everything else I checked. Imagine a user who didn't quite understand the message and followed the instructions. The consequences would be ugly.
Rpmdrake 2009.1 package manager
(full image size: 94kB, screen resolution 1024x600 pixels)
I decided to install AbiWord from the repository since I use it in other distros. The current version, 2.6.8, is available. For some strange reason in Mandriva the font size can't be adjusted.
I switched into LXDE and found more weirdness. An icon I deleted off of the GNOME desktop, which had correctly disappeared from the KDE4 desktop as well, was only half gone in LXDE. The text was still there. I deleted it again. I went to empty the Trash but found that the Trash icon doesn't actually do anything. I could go on but by now you are getting the picture. Most of the bugs aren't serious at all but they are numerous. I've tried alpha code that had fewer bugs that the final Mandriva 2009.1 release.
Oh, Mandriva is pretty as always. If the graphics problems could be fixed, the KDE 4 implementation would be the best I've seen so far. The selection of applications in the repository is excellent. The graphical system configuration tools, as always, are second to none. On the old Toshiba, with excess services disabled, performance was quite decent and better than I expected. I didn't experience any of the sluggishness I experienced in Ubuntu and all the extra lightweight applications I know from distributions like VectorLinux Light were in the repository waiting for me. Most of them work properly even if the LXDE desktop doesn't quite.
Mandriva 2009.1 default LXDE 0.3.2 desktop
(full image size: 681kB, screen resolution 1024x600 pixels)
Other positives I should mention include first-class package management tools, straightforward update notification on the desktop and easy upgrading of the system, and truly excellent internationalization and localization. If you're multilingual and want to switch your default language on a user-by-user or session-by-session basis all the tools you need are there. Applets to change keyboard layout work as expected as well. All these things have been hallmarks of Mandriva and have been done well for quite some time in this distro.
If everything worked, then Mandriva would be head and shoulders above the rest in terms of providing both a user-friendly solution to newcomers and all the configurability the most seasoned user could possibly want. The installer truly handled both of my often problematic systems flawlessly. Wired and wireless networking, sound, and initial graphics configuration were all correct. The software selection in the repository is first rate. Applications I like that I can't find in the oft-praised Ubuntu repository were available in Mandriva. This is particularly true of lightweight applications for older and limited hardware. With a little tweaking during installation, performance on older hardware was entirely acceptable. In other words, all the good things I've come to expect from Mandriva are still there.
Unfortunately, I've never seen a Mandriva release before with so many bugs. The one truly show-stopping bug for me, the widely reported Intel graphics driver problem, doesn't have an acceptable workaround yet. The same is true for known issues with other graphics chipsets. While it is certainly true that these problems originate upstream, other distributions have either found solutions or have chosen to stick with the previous X.Org version until problems are corrected. Perhaps all of this will be solved soon and I'll be able to reconsider Mandriva 2009.1. On the other hand, there are so many other quirks that fall into the category of just plain annoying that I probably will wait for the next release. I never thought I'd be writing this, but for the first time ever I am going to recommend giving a Mandriva release a pass.
Slackware goes 64-bit, Moblin 2.0 impresses reviewers, Ubuntu effects video changes, Debian updates GPG keys, Fedora mulls list moderation, round-up of mobile Linux news, Archiso-live
Let's start this week's news section with the widely-reported news about Slackware Linux finally going 64-bit: "Ready or not, Slackware has now gone 64-bit with an official x86_64 port being maintained in-sync with the regular x86 -current branch. DVDs will be available for purchase from the Slackware store when Slackware 13.0 is released. We've been developing and testing Slackware64 for quite a while. Most of the team is already using Slackware64 on their personal machines, and things are working well enough that it is time to let the community check our work. We'd like to thank the unofficial 64-bit projects for taking up the slack for us for so long so that we could take our time getting everything just right. Without those alternatives, we would have been pressured to get things out before they were really ready." Those readers who are too impatient to wait for the official release of Slackware64 Linux can install the distribution's development branch from this unofficial installation DVD (courtesy of Slackware.no): slackware64-current-20_May_2009-DVD.iso (1,689MB, MD5).
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The first beta of Moblin 2.0, the distribution for netbooks and mobile internet devices (MIDs) launched in 2007 by Intel, was released on Tuesday. The first reviews focused on the new GUI interface which received high marks all around. Matt Asay, writing for CNET, describes the new desktop experience as "more Mac-like" and "pretty impressive." He goes on to say that "the thing that most impressed me about the Moblin experience is that it's nothing like traditional Linux 'desktop' experiences. In fact, it's not really much like Windows, either." XPD259 was also impressed: "I was pleasantly surprised to find a smooth, intuitive experience which didn't give the impression of a desktop build just altered for notebooks as an after thought." The New Linux User blog at EveryJoe.com noted the rough edges in the beta but still found a lot to like and a lot that is different from the desktop implementations seen before: "Unlike your typical Linux desktops, this one doesn't have fixed virtual desktops immediately. As you launch the applications you want to use, you will define the zone it will go to." Author Clair Ching also posted a nice variety of Moblin screenshots on her Flickr page.
Moblin 2.0 beta default desktop
(full image size: 213kB, screen resolution 1024x600 pixels)
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The first alpha of Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) was released on May 14. An article in The Register reports about a change in video architecture in the new release: "Ubuntu 9.10 will switch from the current EXA acceleration method to UXA. A kernel-mode setting, meanwhile, will reduce video mode switching flicker during start up and - the team said - 'dramatically' speed up the suspend and resume time." Phoronix put the new alpha through a series of performance benchmarks, comparing the results with the current Ubuntu 9.04 release. Their conclusion? There "seems to be some performance improvements. Besides the huge SQLite improvement. ... There are better compilation times with GCC 4.4, much better disk performance with the newer Linux kernel, and other improvements throughout." Intel graphics performance continues to be problematic, though, with the latest driver.
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On Friday, the Debian project announced a change to the GPG key used to sign archive reference files: "Signatures are used to ensure that packages installed by users are the very same originally distributed by Debian, and have not been exchanged or tempered with." Debian unstable (Sid), testing (Squeeze), and the current stable Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 (Lenny) are all included in this change. Lenny was shipped with the new key but users of Etch, Sid, and Squeeze should make sure that they have an updated version of the debian-archive-keyring package installed.
In other Debian news, the first netbook shipped with Debian GNU/Linux pre-loaded was reported this week. The Lemote Yeelong is built by Quanta, a major laptop manufacturer. The system is not based on Intel x86 architecture but rather a 797 MHz Loongson-2 MIPS processor. Lemote is selling a full range of laptops powered by the Loongson-2 MIPS CPU which is described as "energy efficient." The netbook is part of a Chinese government effort "to produce an independent range of processors, for which no license fees have to be paid to major American, Japanese or other foreign CPU designers such as Intel."
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In an e-mail to the Fedora Advisory Board on May 14, Fedora Project leader Paul Frields proposed steps to improve the tone of the Fedora mailing lists, including possible moderation: "The Board had a long discussion today about the increasingly toxic nature of discussions on Fedora mailing lists. The goal is to implement a policy of "being excellent to each other == no personal attacks, profanity directed at people or groups, serious threats of violence, or other things seen by the monitor as to be purposefully disrespectful."
Jack Aboutboul published an interview with Lennart Poettering who describes Fedora 11's enhanced audio control: "They basically designed the new user interface from scratch with input from usability experts. It implements many of the features the old pavucontrol tool did, but in a much nicer, streamlined way. Also, it integrates sound theme/event sound control with general audio configuration and volume control in a single user interface tool." More information can be found in the Fedora Wiki. You can also find more details about the new version of Pulse Audio on their web page.
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Red Hat is changing the name of Fedora Directory Server to 389 Directory Server. The Fedora name was seen as an obstacle for inclusion of the server into other Linux distributions: "One of the things that has hurt the growth and acceptance of the project in the open source community is the name 'Fedora'. The name implies that it is "The Directory Server of Fedora". This is not true. In addition, anything associated with 'Fedora' and 'Red Hat' has a negative connotation in some communities, and that has caused some people to stay away from porting or running the directory server on other platforms. We recognize the need to have better support on Debian and its derivatives, SUSE and its derivatives, other distros, and other operating systems (*BSD, Solaris, etc.). Having a distro and vendor neutral name will help in that regard." More details on the name change can be found on the project Wiki.
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Have you ever thought about trying Arch Linux, but were put off by the relatively "geeky" installation process in this day of modern, easy-to-use system installers? If so, here is your chance. Christopher Rogers (better known by his nickname "godane") has been releasing regular Archiso-live CD images, unofficial Arch Linux live CDs with automatic hardware detection, Xfce desktop and a graphical system installer. The latest version was released just last week (version 20090524). Containing Linux kernel 126.96.36.199, glibc 2.10.1, GCC 4.4.0, X.Org Server 1.6.1, Xfce 4.6.1, Firefox 3.0.10, GIMP 2.6.6 and the usual range of popular open source applications, it has to be one of the most up-to-date Linux distribution available today! Additionally, Arch Linux has a reputation of being easy to keep up-to-date with the excellent Pacman package manager and the rapidly evolving online repositories. Interested? Then get the live CD image from here: archiso-live-2009-05-24.iso (681MB, MD5, torrent).
Archiso-live - an unofficial Arch Linux live CD with automatic hardware detection, Xfce and graphical installer
(full image size: 114kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
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The past few weeks saw a flurry of news stories about Android, a specialist distribution developed by Google and currently used on smart phones. It actually started on May 7 with a nearly month-old news of a Hong Kong announcement of the first netbook running Android finally reaching the tech press in the rest of the world. At about the same time, reports surfaced that ASUS, Acer, HP, and Dell were all testing Android for possible use on their netbooks. On May 13, a Linux Insider article reported that Strategy Analytics predicted 900% growth in sales for Android this year. Gartner predicted much more conservative growth. The VAR Guy threw cold water on the optimistic forecasts, pointing out that it is easy to show a large percentage in sales growth when sales are rather small to start with. Whatever the future holds for Android, right now it seems a day can't go by without the tech press writing about the project.
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Articles debating the future of Linux on netbooks have been a popular topic on Linux news sites during the past few weeks. A report in the Taipei Times provided source material for my Wednesday O'Reilly Broadcast article. That was where Stephen Lim, the CEO of Taiwan-based Linpus Technologies, made the surprising prediction that Linux will regain 50% market share from Windows on netbooks by next year. Lim added: "More and more chip suppliers, such as Texas Instruments and Qualcomm, are jumping on the bandwagon to adopt Linux. We are also seeing more and more PCs bundled with Linux from Acer, ASUS, Dell and other computer brands." Lim also spoke about the advantages of Linux over Windows: "The advantages of using a Linux system include advanced power management, optimized boot and shut-down times, as well as more WiFi and 3G support from telecommunication providers."
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Chinese Linux developer Red Flag announced a new version of Midinux, their distribution for Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs) recently: "Red Flag, the leading Linux operating system vendor, today announced Midinux 3.0 and an Early Access Program for Intel's next generation Mobile Internet Device (MID) platform, code-named "Moorestown", scheduled to launch by 2010. This program offers OEMs, ODMs, and ISVs an opportunity to access Midinux 3.0 OS build, schedule, and features early in the development cycle. By joining this program, partners will be able to evaluate and develop software solutions for their Moorestown-based MID products and will have the opportunity to get early feedback from their customers. Intel's next generation MID platform is based on the Moorestown hardware platform and Moblin v2.0 software platform." The previous version of Midinux has been sold in Europe by BenQ on their mobile devices. The new version is also under evaluation for use on BenQ netbooks.
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Is Gentoo dangerous for children? Jugendschutzprogramm.de, a German site designed to provide web filters seems to think so. Hanno Böck reports in his blog: "Both gentoo.de and gentoo.org are considered only suitable for people over 14. So if you ever thought about installing Gentoo on the PC of a kid, think again what you might do to that kid. Beside, my blog is even more dangerous: it's blocked by default." He adds that the German newspaper BILD, which supports the site, has pornographic images on their front page but is not filtered. Böck adds: "But what's really frightening is that Jugendschutzprogramm.de is part of ICRA, an international system created by big content and Internet providers. It's even supported by the European Union."
|Released Last Week
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.8
Red Hat, Inc. has announced the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 4.8, the latest update of the company's legacy series of enterprise-class operating systems: "Today we released the eighth update to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4, marking the next step in the product's seven-year life cycle. RHEL 4, first shipped in February 2005, is now in the Production 2 life cycle phase. With this, the focus of product updates in the future will shift away from providing significant code changes and focus on providing critical fixes and helping customers evolve their IT plans for eventual migration to RHEL 5. Key features in RHEL 4.8 include: improved virtualization performance and scale; Improved Windows interoperability and file system support; general performance improvements; storage and file system enhancements...." Read the rest of the press release for further details.
Iuri Stanchev has announced the release of NetSecL 2.4, a hardened, security-oriented distribution based on Slackware Linux: "NetSecL 2.4 released. It's time for the new release and here are the main highlights: X.Org drivers updated to newest; X.Org autostart is now being delayed a few seconds so you could break if it is needed - mainly handy if you need to change the driver used; Metasploit is updated to its latest version; Ruby is re-included; a new kernel configuration with better support for SATA drives (IDE is still available as a module); new tools, like 0trace, Dmitry and Evilgrade included in the penetration package; Dazuko is removed and replaced by Dazuko_FS; the CruxPorts4Slack portage system was used for generating all packages tagged as NetSecL packages." Here is the brief release announcement.
Marco Ghirlanda has announced the release of ArtistX 0.7, an Ubuntu-based live DVD that turns a common computer into a full multimedia production studio: "ArtistX 0.7 is based on the Remastersys software for creating live CDs and includes the 2.6.27 Linux kernel, GNOME 2.24 and KDE 4.2, Compiz Fusion and about 2,500 free multimedia software packages, nearly everything that exists for the GNU/Linux operating system. Main features: based on Ubuntu 8.10 'Intrepid', Compiz Fusion for 3D desktop effects; most of Ubuntu multimedia packages; Ubiquity installer. A partial list of software included in the DVD: 2D graphics software - GIMP, Inkscape, Nip2, Krita, CinePaint, Synfig, Rawstudio, Skencil, Hugin; 3D graphics software - Blender, Wings3D, KPovModeler + POV-Ray 3.6, K3D; video software - Cinelerra, Kino, Open Movie Editor, Kdenlive, PiTiVi, Avidemux, DeVeDe...." Visit the project's home page to learn about the new release and to see hundreds of icons of free multimedia software projects.
Puppy Linux 4.2.1
Warren Willson has announced the availability of a bug-fix update of Puppy Linux, version 4.2.1: "This is a bug-fix update for Puppy Linux 4.2 and includes very few changes from the original release except for the following: CUPS 1.3.10 regressed from 1.4b2 to resolve ongoing issues with CUPS printing; fixed printing from Geany, Leafpad and Gnumeric using CUPS 1.3.10; AbiWord 2.6.3 with 2.6.6 plugins has been patched for improved .doc and .docx support (Liberation TTF fonts required for some documents); Pwidgets updated to 2.0.8; Pcrypt updated to 17 May 2009 release and now requires Ccrypt to function. MIME-types updated in Rox 2.6.1; patches for GTK+ Xinput and b43 Broadcom network driver; Pmusic updated to 0.6.4; Pschedule updated to 0.7. This release marks the end of my obligations as project coordinator for the 4.2 series of Puppy Linux." Read the rest of the release announcement for additional details.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Linux Mint 7
The release of Linux Mint 7, an increasingly popular Ubuntu variant, is imminent. That's according to this blog post by project founder Clement Lefebvre: "I can see that's the question on everybody's lips right now - when is Mint 7 going to be released? I just want to ask the community for a little more patience. There's very little left to do before the release but we can't afford to skip any steps. LinuxMint-7-DEV-052.iso wasn't fully tested by myself, and although it was maintained by me and approved by Exploder, I still want to make sure about a few things before I approve it myself. The Universal edition is going to be released at the same time as the Main edition, so that needs to get approved as well. Once everything is fine, it will take up to 48 hours for the ISOs to propagate on the download mirrors. After that, we'll be ready for a release."
Gloria is the code name for the soon-to-be released Linux Mint 7
(full image size: 849kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
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Jesse Keating has announced that the release of Fedora 11, originally scheduled for tomorrow (Tuesday), will slip by a week: "In a meeting today between Release Engineering, QA, and various team leads, we decided to enact a 7-day slip of the Fedora 11 release date. The primary reason behind this slip is the state of our blocker bug. We cannot begin Release Candidate phase until the blocker bugs are closed or at least in MODIFIED state. We are not there today, which would be our last day to enter RC phase and still have enough time to release on the 26th. We hope to enter RC phase in the next couple of days, and hit our new target, June 2nd." Here is the full mailing list post.
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Summary of expected upcoming releases
Annual package list update|
As has become tradition, June is the month when we update the list of packages tracked by DistroWatch.com and listed on each individual distribution page. For this year, it looks like we need to make some rather radical changes - many packages appear obsolete or even no longer actively developed, while a large number of new packages, as suggested by readers throughout the year, will likely be added to the list of tracked packages. This is the current status:
The above list is not set in stone, so if you have any objections to removing a certain package or if you'd like to see other packages tracked here, please use the comments section below to provide suggestions. Alternatively, you can also email us directly (you can find the email address at the bottom of this page).
- Packages to be removed: beagle, blackbox, kdewebdev, metisse, modutils, pan, xdtv
- Packages to be added: DeviceKit, dillo, lxde, lzma, NetworkManager, openbox, openjdk, syslinux, wicd
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New distributions added to database
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New distributions added to waiting list
- Hymera. Hymera is an Italian desktop Linux distribution based on Debian GNU/Linux. Its main features are ease of installation and out-of-the box support for 3D desktop effects. The distribution is developed by Hymera Engineering and released under the GNU General Public Licence. The project's web site is in Italian.
Hymera - a new Italian desktop Linux distribution
(full image size: 835kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
- Taneu OS. Taneu OS is a German, Slackware-based live CD created with the Linux-Live scripts. The project's web site is in German.
Taneu OS - a new German live CD created with Slax's Linux-Live scripts
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DistroWatch database summary
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And this concludes the latest issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 1 June 2009.
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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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