| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 306, 8 June 2009
Welcome to this year's 23rd issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Back at the beginning of this year, we interviewed Paul Sherman, the project lead of Absolute Linux which is a derivative distribution of Slackware. Sherman has just released version 12.2.5 and this week we take an in-depth look into the distro. What does it have to offer? Read on to find out! In the news this past week, Fedora prepares for the grand launch of "Leonidas", openSUSE opens up its development model to allow more community contribution, and SliTaz publishes a roadmap to stable version 3.0. Sun Microsystems has released OpenSolaris 2009.06 and, as many have suspected, it will form the basis of the upcoming Solaris offering. Meanwhile Mandriva Linux, which also recently released a new version, is looking ahead by collecting ideas for the upcoming 2010 release. Finally, for users of the popular CentOS distribution, the community has published its first bi-weekly magazine, collecting interesting information from the world of the well-respected enterprise distribution. Happy reading!
- Reviews: First look at Absolute Linux 12.2.5
- News: Fedora prepares to launch "Leonidas", openSUSE opens up development, Mandriva gathers ideas for 2010, CentOS publishes community magazine, Sun offers hints about Solaris 11, SliTaz 3.0 roadmap
- Released last week: OpenSolaris 2009.06, Tiny Core Linux 2.0
- Upcoming releases: Fedora 11, Ubuntu 9.10 Alpha 2
- New additions: Hymera Open, Qimo 4 Kids
- New distributions: Digital Forensic Live CD, InfraLinux, StormOS
- Reader comments
Join us at irc.freenode.net #distrowatch
|Feature Story (by Caitlyn Martin)
First look at Absolute Linux 12.2.5
Back in January Chris Smart interviewed Paul Sherman, the developer of Absolute Linux, for DistroWatch Weekly. Mr. Sherman spoke about the development and goals of Absolute Linux. Last week I decided to do an in-depth review of Absolute 12.2.4 for this issue of DistroWatch Weekly. On Saturday, a new version, 12.2.5, was announced and I found myself hurriedly installing the latest and greatest release to two of my systems to give it a quick test. I fully expected to take my review of 12.2.4, tweak it just a little, and publish it today. Much to my surprise, that isn't what happened.
Absolute Linux is a derivative of Slackware, the oldest surviving Linux distribution. One thing that sets Absolute apart from other Slackware-based distros is that it tracks Slackware "Current", the latest development code, rather than sticking with the last stable release. Despite this, it does maintain package compatibility with Slackware 12.2. In the DWW interview, Mr. Sherman also noted that Absolute Linux is oriented to the desktop, not servers, and is designed "to install all-at-once without package selection and get an X desktop running before users had to learn anything." Other goals of the distro include optimized performance for commodity and legacy hardware, ease of use, and unique applications and tools that don't require GNOME or KDE. Unlike vanilla Slackware, Absolute Linux does include some GNOME libraries and applications.
Version 12.2.5 implements the new compressed TXZ packaging system recently adopted by Slackware. This allowed the new release to shrink back to a single-CD ISO image. (The previous release had two ISO images.) The only desktop environment offered at install time is the lightweight IceWM window manager. Fluxbox is also available in the Absolute's "extra" repository after installation. Users who prefer a full-featured, but heavier desktop environment, can install the KDE or Xfce packages from the official Slackware repository.
I did find enough time to try the new release on two of my systems: the Sylvania g Netbook Meso (1.6 GHz Intel Atom N270 CPU, 1 GB RAM, 80 GB HDD) which I purchased in January, and 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. The Toshiba laptop seemed particularly appropriate for this review since enhanced performance on older hardware is one of the stated goals for Absolute Linux.
Installation and Configuration
The Absolute Linux installer is a modified version of the ncurses-based (text) Slackware installer. The only language supported by the installer is English. I booted from the CD I had burned and was greeted with a full page of text followed by a CLI command prompt. The page explains that if you need to partition your hard disk, you can run cfdisk from the command prompt. Otherwise you can either press "Enter" to take the default kernel and begin installation or else enter your selected kernel followed by any parameters you may need for your specific hardware. Unfortunately it doesn't explain what these parameters are or offer access to any help screens. There is an Installation Guide on the Absolute Linux website based on version 12.1.05 that does give an example but not much else. Fortunately, for most users who have i686 (Pentium II or better) systems, the default will work.
Once the installer is started, you are offered a menu of steps to set up your system. AUTOSETUP, which heads the list, will use your entire hard drive. If you are doing a clean install on a virgin system or one you don't mind wiping, this really does offer a simplified way to get Absolute Linux running. In addition to avoiding disk partitioning, it will also auto-configure and install the LILO bootloader without user interaction. Failing that, you will need to go through each of the individual steps including setting a swap partition, setting a root partition, and defining mount points for any additional partitions you want to use. The INSTALL step, where you install the various and sundry software packages to your hard drive, has been greatly simplified. There are no options to choose individual packages or groups of packages. All Absolute Linux installations are, at least initially, exactly the same.
Once packages are installed, you will be given the opportunity to configure and install LILO (GRUB is not offered) and to configure networking. You will also be given a list of services and will be able to select which to start at boot. The Absolute Linux installer, much like the Slackware installer, does not set up users or passwords other than the password for the root account. You are, in fact, advised to login as root after rebooting to finish configuring your system.
After a reboot, Absolute Linux goes on to auto-configure the X window system. This was done properly on my Sylvania netbook and the correct default resolution of 1024x600 was chosen. Absolute Linux is netbook friendly. My old Toshiba with its somewhat quirky Trident CyberBlade XPi video chipset didn't fare so well. I had a small desktop displayed surrounded by black space much as I described in last week's feature about Debris Linux. This is caused by the configuration tool using an incorrect value for the vertical refresh rate in the xorg.conf file it generates. I've seen the same issue with some other Slackware derivatives, but those which use vconf (originally from Zenwalk Linux) or a recent incarnation of VectorLinux's vxconf do correctly configure X on the Toshiba laptop. I worked around the problem by using a known good /etc/X11/xorg.conf file for this laptop. Once X is configured, it is automatically launched and the default IceWM desktop is displayed.
Absolute Linux 12.2.5 with the default IceWM desktop
(full image size: 56kB, screen resolution 1024x600 pixels)
At first boot, a Firefox window is opened up with a clear set of instructions for using the provided Absolute Linux tools to finish system configuration. By default, Absolute Linux respects the software patents which are enforceable in some countries, including the U.S. and does not install Windows codecs, the library required to play DVDs, or even MP3 support. The Getting Started guide points you to the "Install MultiMedia Files" entry in the menu. This option takes the source code for these "restricted" codecs and libraries, compiles them, builds Absolute Linux packages for them, and then automatically installs them. This more closely resembles Gentoo Linux and other source-based distributions than Slackware and it can take quite a while on older hardware. Since DistroWatch has a truly international readership, I went through this step to test it for this review. I tested the applications sufficiently to determine that everything did go smoothly and did, indeed, work as expected. Fortunately, the next item in the menu is "UN-Install Multimedia Files" which once again brought my system into compliance with U.S. law.
The next step in the getting started guide is to create ordinary user accounts. Absolute Linux has its own GUI tool written in Python for this which worked nicely in previous versions. This time, when I clicked on the menu entry, absolutely nothing happened. I tried running the application from the command line and this was the result:
root: ~ > absAdduser.py
Traceback (most recent call last):
File "/usr/local/sbin/absAdduser.py", line 12, in
import gtk, xdialog, sys, os, string, commands, crypt, gobject, re
ImportError: No module named xdialog
The Absolute Linux 12.2.5 release announcement touts an upgraded version of Python. Unfortunately, the graphical tools written specifically for Absolute Linux were not upgraded to use the new version and the result is that they are now broken. Almost none of the graphical system administration tools work in this release. I had to finish my system configuration by going old school and using command line tools. While this may be fine for an experienced Linux user, particularly one who knows the Slackware way of doing things, it completely defeats the goal of making Absolute Linux easy to configure and administer for relative newcomers. Most of the System Tools and Configuration menus are now useless.
Absolute Linux uses wicd for network management. I had selected the option of running the wicd daemon at boot during installation. I was pleased to find that my wireless network card had been properly auto-configured. I had to simply enter the passphrase for my WPA encrypted network and I was up and running.
Running Absolute Linux 12.2.5
Once I had the system configured, I wanted to put it through its paces. Absolute Linux features a number of very common applications as well as a number of programs and widgets unique to the distro. Sadly, I found that it isn't only system configuration tools that were broken. This release also upgraded Qt and applications that required the older QT library no longer work either. This includes abschart, one of Paul Sherman's custom lightweight tools. Once again I tried running it from the command line. Here is the result:
root: ~ > abschart
abschart: error while loading shared libraries: libqt-mt.so.3: cannot open shared object file:
No such file or directory
I do a lot of my writing in AbiWord. Absolute Linux comes with version 2.6.6, a couple of revisions back from the current release. I've used AbiWord 2.6.6 successfully in other distributions. In Absolute Linux it seemed to work fine when I created a new document. However, whenever I try to open an existing native AbiWord document, I get just a miniature cursor and a blank screen. I haven't seen this behavior before, but it effectively renders AbiWord as provided with Absolute Linux unusable. OpenOffice.org 3.1.0 does work properly in this release.
I am also puzzled about one piece of functionality lacking in Absolute Linux that most other distros, even ones designed to be lightweight, do have. If I plug in a USB key, an SD card, or other removable media, I don't get an icon on the desktop. The media is auto-mounted correctly and does show up in PCManFM, the default file manager. VectorLinux Light, which also uses IceWM as the default desktop and also uses PCManFM to manage the desktop, has this functionality regardless of whether the HAL daemon is running (as it is by default in Absolute Linux) or if HAL is disabled and the lightweight, non-polling alternative, VL-Hot, is used. There is even a scripted solution for XtDesk, an ultra-light icon manager for minimal window managers, that can pop up an icon when a USB key is inserted. XtDesk is the icon manager that was used for a long time by Damn Small Linux. Not having this basic functionality in a distro that touts itself for being newcomer-friendly and easy-to-use doesn't make much sense to me.
I did try the subset of lightweight custom applications and widgets that are still functional in Absolute Linux 12.2.5. The volume control widget for the IceWM panel works well and is a nice addition. HTMLpage, a simplistic HTML editor, also works as advertised. For some strange reason, HTMLpage also shows up twice in the Development section of the menu by default, another very minor bug.
HTMLpage, a lightweight HTML editor
(full image size: 34kB)
Other applications included in this release are GIMP 2.6.6, HomeBank 4.02 personal accounting software, RedNotebook 0.7.2 desktop diary, K3b 1.63.0 CD/DVD burning software, as well as a nice variety of multimedia applications, lightweight games, and net software.
No matter what applications I ran, system performance on both the netbook and the old Toshiba laptop was generally excellent. I'd need more time to run benchmarks and compare Absolute Linux with other distributions optimized for performance, but subjectively, I found this release to be fast and responsive even on my older system. The performance tuning done in the custom-built 22.214.171.124 kernel appears to have been done quite well. Absolute Linux uses an older version of X.Org, so none of the video configuration or performance issues seen in some recently released distros are present. The only downside to using an older X server is that some very new video cards and chipsets may not be supported.
Package management and repositories
Absolute Linux uses Slackware APT (slapt-get at the command line and the graphical gslapt package manager) which should be quite familiar to those who have worked with other Slackware derivative distros. Slapt-get and gslapt function much like apt-get and synaptic in a Debian-based distribution. They fully support automatic dependency resolution, but I wasn't able to test if that functionality is working as there appears to be a significant problem with the Absolute Linux repository at the moment. Here is the result of any attempt to update the package list in gslapt:
Error returned by gslapt update function
Absolute Linux does maintain a rather small repository of extra applications built specifically for the distro. For anything beyond that, you would have to go to the official Slackware repository which does not support automated dependency resolution. There is also a variety of sites that provide a very good selection of ready-to-go Slackware 12.2 packages. The largest and best-known repositories of third-party Slackware packages are Slacky.eu and Linuxpackages.net. I've found that the quality of packages from these community supported sites does vary widely. In addition, enabling these repositories in gslapt can create conflicts and dependency issues.
Many Slackware users prefer to compile software from source code rather than using packages which they might not trust. Compilation often can be simplified by sites that provide build scripts which automate the process. The best-known site for Slackware build scripts, the only such site recommended on the official Slackware website, is Slackbuilds.org. I've always considered the need to go to third party sites and the lack of a large, well-stocked official repository a major drawback to running Slackware. While other Slackware derivatives have managed to create and maintain such repositories, Absolute Linux really hasn't done, at least to this point.
I'll admit I was blindsided by the release of a new version of Absolute Linux on Saturday. I had found the previous version, 12.2.4, to be quite solid. Bugs were relatively few and quite minor. I expected 12.2.5 to be a maintenance release and didn't expect the upgrading of some libraries to be a major issue given adequate testing. It turns out that the upgrades were a major issue that caused significant breakage. In fairness to Absolute Linux, none of the bugs I described, with the sole exception of the broken repository, are show stoppers. None breaks hardware compatibility and none prevents you from getting an Absolute Linux system up and running. They do, however, limit your ability to configure the system within the GUI or to use some of the unique applications and tools written specifically for Absolute Linux.
My original review of version 12.2.4 would have been more favorable, of course. I assume there will be quick fixes for the bugs I've come across and version 12.2.6 will be along shortly. However, even assuming everything is fixed, I find little to make me want to recommend Absolute Linux. Sure, it's fast and performs well, but so do lots of other lightweight distros, including a number of Slackware derivatives. Some of them have more visually appealing and polished desktops with more functionality. Some offer much larger repositories of software with proper automated dependency checking. Some have more flexible installers that are every bit as easy to use. The main reason to recommend Absolute Linux would be if someone was looking for a quick and easy way to get a system based on Slackware "Current" up and running.
My original conclusion was that there was nothing wrong with Absolute Linux but that it really wasn't a particularly compelling distro. There just isn't anything that makes it stand out from the crowd. Add a raft full of broken applications and configuration tools and a repository problem and there is now a compelling reason to give this release a pass. If the concepts Paul Sherman detailed in his interview sound appealing to you, my advice would be either to try 12.2.4 or wait for 12.2.6 and hope that it's significantly better.
|Miscellaneous News (by Chris Smart)
Fedora prepares to launch "Leonidas", openSUSE opens up development, Mandriva gathers ideas for 2010, CentOS publishes community magazine, Sun offers hints about Solaris 11, SliTaz 3.0 roadmap
The delayed Fedora 11, code name "Leonidas", will be finally released tomorrow (Tuesday). As with other recent Fedora releases, this will be another cutting-edge version, with many unique features and up-to-date applications -- and probably one or two unresolved issues as well. But where does the distribution go from here? On the eve of the release, project manager Paul Frields issued a call to action: "The Fedora Project has always been aimed at encouraging participation. Free/libre and open source software continues its forward momentum and increasing pace through the growth of community and contribution. And Fedora plays a large role in that motion, through our rapid release cycle, our dedication to working with upstream software communities, and by making sure that everything we build is 100% free and redistributable. But we are not just a distribution -- we are a project made up of teams, and individuals: people working together in pursuit of common goals. The more people that help, the more we can accomplish. And therefore, as free/libre and open source software advocates we need to constantly ask ourselves: am I doing what I can to make it easy for others to help?" An excellent piece that will hopefully attract more Fedora fans to the development and infrastructural side of the popular distribution.
With still some hours to go before the Fedora mirrors open up, here is a round-up of other interesting Fedora-related articles from the past week. Fedora drops Mono: "I have no problem with Mono being available in the repositories for those who wish to use it. I would, however, much prefer that it was not installed by default on my distribution of choice. Roy also posted a good article explaining some of the key issues which make Mono such a bitter pill for many." 25 sites about Fedora you can't miss: "Fedora is an open-source community-developed operating system and there are many sites that provide help and support. Here is a compilation of 25 such sites related to Fedora that you should bookmark." Fedora firewall course: "This is a mini-course on the setup and use of the Fedora 11 firewall. This is a free course that is available to anyone."
* * * * *
You might have thought the name already incorporated this idea, but it's only now that the openSUSE project is opening up their development to the wider community. Henne Vogelsang, writes: "Currently, we have some policies around the distribution that date back to the time when there was no openSUSE. Code contributions are only possible if you go through a Novell developer. The same thing is true if you want to make some technical decision." Using the power of their Online Build Service, the development team intends to split up the testing branch (known as "Factory") to smaller, more manageable projects such as "GNOME" and the Linux "kernel". The aim is to "make it as easy as possible for everybody to leave a footprint in, and become responsible for, the openSUSE distribution." Many users are very passionate about the former SUSE and were hurt badly when Novell bought the distribution in 2003. Will this new move entice some to return and have a voice in the direction of the distro?
* * * * *
Popular Linux distribution, Mandriva, has recently released its 2009.1 version, but are not resting on their laurels. Now the distro is calling on the community to provide suggestions for the 2010 release. The Community Ideas project is a way for users to submit proposals to improve the operating system, which includes a voting system: "Its main functionality is mainly to be able to report new ideas to improve distribution and help in specifications writing. You cannot vote more than once for an idea, and you cannot vote for your own ideas." Mandriva Community Ideas is not a replacement for Bugzilla, the project's bug and enhancement tracker, but rather a central location where users can come together and brainstorm. After creating some rocky road between them and the community some years back and then making amends, this popular distribution looks set right on track to regain its popularity and trust of the community.
* * * * *
CentOS is a popular Linux distribution built from the project source code of a "Prominent North American Enterprise Linux Vendor" (read Red Hat Enterprise Linux). According to its website, the purpose of the distro is to "provide a free enterprise class computing platform to anyone who wishes to use it." It is gaining in popularity as it allows users to take advantage of a stable enterprise environment without having to pay for a support subscription. Recently, the ever growing community has released their first bi-weekly newsletter, which aims to "collect interesting bits from the Wiki, mailing list, forums, SIGs and other sources, and put them into the spotlight." This new project is still in the start-up phase and so organisers are looking for volunteers to help submit interesting content and is open to any ideas the community has.
* * * * *
It comes as no surprise to many, but now it's official. The 2009.06 release of OpenSolaris will become the base for Sun's flagship Solaris operating system, due out later this year. This is the first release of OpenSolaris which will form the actual foundations of the Solaris operating system, whereas previously it was more of a "technology preview". At the recent CommunityOne developer conference, Sun's Executive Vice President of Systems John Fowler said: "OpenSolaris 2009.06 is more than just something for early adopters and for technology aficionados - it's also the preview release for the next major release of Solaris which will go to all of our enterprise customers." Ian Murdock wrote on his blog: "Yes, I and others have suggested this would be the path forward for Solaris -eventually - but this, to my knowledge, is the first time it's been 'official'."
* * * * *
Due out early next year, version 3.0 of SliTaz GNU/Linux is well underway. The project has published a roadmap, showing what the new release will include. From the site: "SliTaz 3.0 will have a new toolchain and kernel. The toolchain will include Binutils 2.19.x, glibc 2.9 or 2.10.x and GCC 4.3.x or 4.4.x. The kernel will include all the new and latest wireless drivers, Ethernet drivers, DRM modules, LZMA patches and much more." The distro will also perform an upgrade of X.Org, depending on whether a stable version is released in time for the freeze, which will happen much earlier than version 2.0. The current version of SliTaz provides a complete desktop with LXDE and/or server at an ISO image size of under 30 MB. "The core ISO of SliTaz 3.0 will be under 35 MB and will need 256 MB to boot and be operable... Historically the ISO size was around 20 MB to boot with 128 MB. With 2.0 the minimal RAM to load the core was 160 MB and we provide official flavors or web boot to use SliTaz with less memory. So the goal is always reached: provide a full-featured, fast, light and compact operating system for modern hardware, but also usable on older machines. Increasing the core ISO size will let us have support for UTF-8 and more hardware, we may also include a few more applications."
|Released Last Week
OpenSolaris 2009.06 has been released: "Today marks the release of OpenSolaris 2009.06, the third release of the OpenSolaris operating system. We've shifted gear, bringing you a new set of features right to your door, from the desktop to the data center. New features: network virtualization with Crossbow; turn any host into a SCSI target with COMSTAR; host virtual guests using xVM Hypervisor or LDoms; SPARC support for Distro Constructor, Auto Install, and Snap; Intel Xeon 5500 processor support with deep power management; MySQL and PHP DTrace probes in the WebStack; improved usability of the package management system; ZFS Time Slider snapshot management; contribute new applications with SourceJuicer; Get 24/7 support with OpenSolaris subscriptions." See the release announcement and release notes, and visit the what's new page for further information.
Michael Prokop has announced the release of grml 2009.05, a Debian-based distribution and live CD featuring a superb collection of GNU/Linux software and scripts designed for users of text tools and system administrators: "grml 2009.05 with codename Lackdose-Allergie, available in flavours grml, grml-medium and grml-small and all of them as 32-bit and 64-bit editions, has been released. New features: boot option persistent - use persistence feature on grml; boot option findiso - dynamic version of boot option isofrom, findiso looks for the specified ISO file on all disks; boot option bsd - boot minimal MirOS BSD operating system; boot option hdt - minimalist hardware detection tool; boot option readonly - mark ALL /dev/[hs]*dX devices as read-only, this is important for forensic investigations; boot option hwspeak - probe all available speakup hardware modules...." Consult the release announcement and release notes for further details.
grml 2009.06 - an updated version of the distribution for system administrators
(full image size: 423kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Linux Caixa Mágica 14
Linux Caixa Mágica 14, a Portuguese desktop and server distribution based on Mandriva Linux, has been released. According to the release announcement, Linux Caixa Mágica is the most widely used Linux distribution in Portugal, often deployed in offices and schools around the country. The latest release features: support for proprietary video drivers by ATI and NVIDIA; support for suspend-to-RAM on notebooks; improved support for modern wireless network cards and printers; over 20,000 software packages in the distribution's repositories, installable with APT for RPM or Synaptic package managers. Main components: Linux kernel 2.6.29, X.Org Server 1.6.1, KDE 4.2.2, GNOME 2.26.1, OpenOffice.org 3.0.1, Firefox 3.0.10. Please read the rest of the release announcement (in Portuguese) for further details and a screenshot of the Caixa Mágica desktop.
Alexander Eremin has announced the release of MilaX 0.4, a mini-distribution and live CD with a graphical desktop, based on OpenSolaris: "MilaX 0.4 released. Based on OpenSolaris snv114. JWM replaced with FVWM with modified theme from Kamil Michalak: thumbnailing of minimized windows, full screen console (urxvt), system monitor - Conky, simple configuration editor menu - Vim, bottom panel - wbar. Removed fbxkb, added urxvt as basic terminal, PCMan file manager, Geany, tsclient, GVim, eboard (chess) with crafty engine. Partitioning now supported in 'zfsinstall' script. Version 0.4 requires at least 256 MB RAM and a Pentium or Celeron to boot into a X Window desktop. 128 MB RAM is sufficient for booting into command-line mode. MilaX is a fast distribution (about 20 seconds from GRUB to fully functional desktop after ZFS installation). Log in to system as 'alex' with password 'alex'." Here is the brief release announcement.
MilaX 0.4 uses a nicely implemented FVWM window manager
(full image size: 1,115kB, screen resolution 1280x800 pixels)
Hymera Open 20090601
The Hymera desktop team has announced the release of Hymera 20090601, a new Italian desktop Linux distribution based on Debian GNU/Linux: "Hymera Open 20090601 has been released for download. The most important changes and improvements are as follows: new Linux kernel 126.96.36.199; new modules for identifying graphics cards and wireless network cards; fixed bug in Hymera video switch; fixed bug GNOME settings daemon; latest ATI and NVIDIA drivers; update of open-source ATI drivers; update of open-source NVIDIA drivers; default file system - ext4; improved system's boot speed." Visit the distribution's news page (in Italian) to read the full release announcement.
Calculate Linux 9.6 "Xfce"
Alexander Tratsevskiy has announced the release of Calculate Linux Desktop 9.6 "Xfce" edition, the first version of the Gentoo-based distribution with the Xfce environment: "The main differences: The system is optimized to work on slower computers; the size of the image stored on a CD; instead, the graphic library Qt uses GTK+; Because of limitations in the amount of the image, removed Portage and sources kernel. Features: the system is fully compatible with the Calculate Directory Server; CLDX users can work with CLD 9.6, save the settings for desktop in different directory; Xfce interface is made in traditional style Calculate Linux Desktop; supports seven languages: Russian, English, German, Portuguese, Spanish, French and Ukrainian; supports installation on the HDD and USB-HDD file system: ext4, ext3, ext2, ReiserFS, JFS or XFS." Here is the brief release announcement.
Absolute Linux 12.2.5
Paul Sherman has released Absolute Linux 12.2.5, a lightweight desktop distribution based on Slackware's "current" branch: "Absolute Linux 12.2.5 released. New Linux kernel, new package format, new Python. Every single package has been at least re-packed, modified or updated. Interface updated along with Linux kernel, Python, packaging system which is now TXZ and, due to higher compression, the main release contains much more than previously: OpenOffice.org and Java, as well as many other applications, now fit on a single CD. PCMan file manager and Rox have both been modified to work seamlessly with the TXZ package archives, as well as the new 'Add/Remove Programs' item in root menu. New volume control (now in system tray). New theme, more complete file type handling." Visit the project's home page to read the brief release announcement.
Untangle Gateway 6.2.0
Andrew Fife has announced the release of Untangle Gateway 6.2.0, a specialist, Debian-based distribution for firewalls and routers: "We are pleased to announce that Untangle Gateway 6.2 is now available for download. Highlights of the release are our new multiWAN services: WAN Balancer and WAN Failover. Also included in this release is Ad Blocker, for filtering out banner advertisements. WAN Balancer allows companies to easily split traffic across up to six separate Internet connections. The traffic is spread based on user-specified weightings, ensuring less contention and higher performance. WAN Failover allows companies to prevent network downtime caused by their Internet Service Provider (ISP)." Read the rest of the release announcement for further information.
Source Mage GNU/Linux 0.10.0
Justin Boffemmyer has announced the release of a new stable installation ISO image for Source Mage GNU/Linux, an independently-developed source-based distribution: "After some time in the making, the Source Mage Cauldron team would like to present you with the 0.10.0 stable ISO image. This is the latest stable ISO image release for installing Source Mage GNU/Linux. A short list of the major improvements: updated kernel (188.8.131.52), better support for newer hardware; use of udev during boot enables automatic hardware probing and detection; new text-only installer interface; LVM and RAID support; documentation for all ISO packages available during the install; fast installation. Also in the works is an x86_64 edition which will hopefully keep in parallel with the x86 one." See the release announcement and release notes for more details.
Chen Ping-Hsun has announced the release of xPUD 0.9, a minimalist desktop Linux distribution with a custom user interface: "We're proud to announce a new version of xPUD, a small and fast Linux distribution with an easy-to-use user interface. Version 0.9 is full of improvements and exciting new features: built-in support for netbooks, tested on ASUS Eee PC, Acer Aspire One, MSI Wind, Lenovo IdeaPad, Dell Mini; runs on virtual machine, including VirtualBox, VMware and QEMU; multilingual support - Chinese (both traditional and simplified), English, French, German, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish translations; system tray that display time, network status, battery status and memory usage; WiFi and Ethernet network manager has been greatly improved...." Read the complete release announcement for further details and a handful of screenshots.
Tiny Core Linux 2.0
Robert Shingledecker has announced the release Tiny Core Linux 2.0, a minimalist (11 MB), but extensible Linux distribution for the desktop: "Team Tiny Core is pleased to announce the release of Tiny Core Linux 2.0 and introduce MicroCore, a 7 MB, no-X environment ISO image based on Tiny Core Linux. Change log: new Linux kernel 184.108.40.206 and modules; new glibc 2.9; new libstdc++, libgcc, ldconfig; new Dropbear 0.52; new flPicSee 0.9.1, new scaling, zomming, and pop-up information; new Squashfs module to base for support of 'squashed' extensions; new cryptohome to use AES; new mount and losetup; new virtual drive support; new extension-driven desktop boot option, adding a WM extension no longer requires the corresponding desktop=xyz option; updated JWM, fixed full screen video bug...." Here is the full release announcement.
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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
- Hymera Open. Hymera Open 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.
Hymera Open - a new desktop Linux distribution based on Debian GNU/Linux
(full image size: 835kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
- Qimo 4 Kids. Qimo 4 Kids is a distribution of Linux, derived from the popular Ubuntu, customised for use by children ages 3 and up. It comes pre-installed with free and open source games that are both educational and entertaining, with many more educational titles available for download from Ubuntu. The interface of Qimo 4 Kids has been specifically designed to be easy to navigate by the youngest of users.
Qimo 4 Kids 1.0 - an Ubuntu-based distribution designed for children
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* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list
- Digital Forensic Live CD. Digital Forensic Live CD is a Linux live CD containing a variety of utilities for forensic investigations.
- InfraLinux. InfraLinux is a Russian desktop Linux distribution based on Ubuntu.
- StormOS. StormOS is a desktop distribution based on Nexenta Core Platform which combines the power of the OpenSolaris kernel with the ease of use of Ubuntu. It aims to be a lightweight operating system with everything the average user would want out-of-the-box. It includes, among others: a polished Xfce desktop environment, AbiWord word processor and Gnumeric spreadsheet, GIMP, Rhythmbox music player with support for iPod, iTunes sharing and Last.fm, Ristretto image viewer, fast and customizable Firefox web browser, easy package management with Synaptic and gdebi, Transmission BitTorrent client, Evince PDF viewer, File-roller archive manager with Thunar integration.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
And this concludes the latest issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 15 June 2009.
Caitlyn Martin, Chris Smart and Ladislav Bodnar
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)
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 735 (2017-10-23): ArchLabs Minimo, building software with Ravenports, WPA security patch, Parabola creates OpenRC spin|
|• Issue 734 (2017-10-16): Star 1.0.1, running the Linux-libre kernel, Ubuntu MATE experiments with snaps, Debian releases new install media, Purism reaches funding goal|
|• Issue 733 (2017-10-09): KaOS 2017.09, 32-bit prematurely obsoleted, Qubes security features, IPFire updates Apache|
|• Issue 732 (2017-10-02): ClonOS, reducing Snap package size, Ubuntu dropping 32-bit Desktop, partitioning disks for ZFS|
|• Issue 731 (2017-09-25): BackSlash Linux Olaf, W3C adding DRM to web standards, Wayland support arrives in Mir, Debian experimenting with AppArmor|
|• Issue 730 (2017-09-18): Mageia 6, running a completely free OS, HAMMER2 file system in DragonFly BSD's installer, Manjaro to ship pre-installed on laptops|
|• Issue 729 (2017-09-11): Parabola GNU/Linux-libre, running Plex Media Server on a Raspberry Pi, Tails feature roadmap, a cross-platform ports build system|
|• Issue 728 (2017-09-04): Nitrux 1.0.2, SUSE creates new community repository, remote desktop tools for GNOME on Wayland, using Void source packages|
|• Issue 727 (2017-08-28): Cucumber Linux 1.0, using Flatpak vs Snap, GNOME previews Settings panel, SUSE reaffirms commitment to Btrfs|
|• Issue 726 (2017-08-21): Redcore Linux 1706, Solus adds Snap support, KaOS getting hardened kernel, rolling releases and BSD|
|• Issue 725 (2017-08-14): openSUSE 42.3, Debian considers Flatpak for backports, changes coming to Ubuntu 17.10, the state of gaming on Linux|
|• Issue 724 (2017-08-07): SwagArch 2017.06, Myths about Unity, Mir and Ubuntu Touch, Manjaro OpenRC becomes its own distro, Debian debates future of live ISOs|
|• Issue 723 (2017-07-31): UBOS 11, transferring packages between systems, Ubuntu MATE's HUD, GNUstep releases first update in seven years|
|• Issue 722 (2017-07-24): Calculate Linux 17.6, logging sudo usage, Remix OS discontinued, interview with Chris Lamb, Debian 9.1 released|
|• Issue 721 (2017-07-17): Fedora 26, finding source based distributions, installing DragonFly BSD using Orca, Yunit packages ported to Ubuntu 16.04|
|• Issue 720 (2017-07-10): Peppermint OS 8, gathering system information with osquery, new features coming to openSUSE, Tails fixes networking bug|
|• Issue 719 (2017-07-03): Manjaro 17.0.2, tracking ISO files, Ubuntu MATE unveils new features, Qubes tests Admin API, Fedora's Atomic Host gets new life cycle|
|• Issue 718 (2017-06-26): Debian 9, support for older hardware, Debian updates live media, Ubuntu's new networking tool, openSUSE gains MP3 support|
|• Issue 717 (2017-06-19): SharkLinux, combining commands in the shell, Debian 9 flavours released, OpenBSD improving kernel security, UBports releases first OTA update|
|• Issue 716 (2017-06-12): Slackel 7.0, Ubuntu working with GNOME on HiDPI, openSUSE 42.3 using rolling development model, exploring kernel blobs|
|• Issue 715 (2017-06-05): Devuan 1.0.0, answering questions on systemd, Linux Mint plans 18.2 beta, Yunit/Unity 8 ported to Debian|
|• Issue 714 (2017-05-29): Void, enabling Wake-on-LAN, Solus packages KDE, Debian 9 release date, Ubuntu automated bug reports|
|• Issue 713 (2017-05-22): ROSA Fresh R9, Fedora's new networking features, FreeBSD's Quarterly Report, UBports opens app store, Parsix to shut down, SELinux overview|
|• Issue 712 (2017-05-15): NixOS 17.03, Alpha Litebook running elementary OS, Canonical considers going public, Solus improves Bluetooth support|
|• Issue 711 (2017-05-08): 4MLinux 21.0, checking file system fragmentation, new Mint and Haiku features, pfSense roadmap, OpenBSD offers first syspatch updates|
|• Issue 710 (2017-05-01): TrueOS 2017-02-22, Debian ported to RISC-V, Halium to unify mobile GNU/Linux, Anbox runs Android apps on GNU/Linux, using ZFS on the root file system|
|• 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|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
Linux From Scratch
Linux From Scratch (LFS) is a project that provides you with the steps necessary to build your own custom Linux system. There are a lot of reasons why somebody would want to install an LFS system. The question most people raise is "why go through all the hassle of manually installing a Linux system from scratch when you can just download an existing distribution like Debian or Redhat". That is a valid question which I hope to answer for you. The most important reason for LFS's existence is teaching people how a Linux system works internally. Building an LFS system teaches you about all that makes Linux tick, how things work together, and depend on each other. And most importantly, how to customize it to your own taste and needs.