| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 348, 5 April 2010
Welcome to this year's 14th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! A variety of topics, ranging from Sony's controversial decision to remove Linux support from PlayStation to Ubuntu's announcement about "Maverick Meerkat", are discussed in this week's issue of your favourite distro-related magazine. The publication starts with a first-look review of Asturix 2.0 "Business" edition, a relatively new, Spanish distribution based on Ubuntu, before it continues with the usual round-up of news and links to interesting articles of the past week, including a story about the upcoming beta release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, an update about Puppy Linux 5 series, and a link to an overview of Unity Linux, a minimalist Mandriva-based operating system. Then we have the regular Questions and Answers section which looks at a simple way of converting an RPM package into a DEB for easy installation on any Debian-based system. Finally, the Site News section presents the latest DistroWatch donation which goes to Libre Graphics Meeting, before it introduces Puredyne, an Ubuntu-based distribution designed for creative artists. Happy reading!
- Feature: Peering down the business end of Asturix
- News: Yellow Dog warns against PS3 updates, Red Hat hints at RHEL 6 beta arrival, Ubuntu announces "Maverick Meerkat", Puppy prepares version 5, overview of Unity Linux
- Questions and answers: Using "alien" to convert RPM to DEB
- Released last week: Linux Mint 8 "LXDE" and "Xfce", SimplyMEPIS 8.5, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.5
- Upcoming releases: DragonFly BSD 2.6, Ubuntu 10.04 Beta 2, openSUSE 11.3 Milestone 5
- Donations: Libre Graphics Meeting gets US$300
- New additions: Puredyne
- New distributions: Fnestree, Linux Caxradonya, Netrunner
- Reader comments
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (30MB) and MP3 (42MB) formats
Join us at irc.freenode.net #distrowatch
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Peering down the business end of Asturix
One of the fascinating things about open source software is the way in which it can be adapted to suit many different, previously unexplored tasks. Linux, with its flexibility, can be used in many different niches. Take, for example, Asturix. The Asturix project is an attempt to make a better operating system both for the world in general, and Spanish speakers in particular. The project recognizes that Linux users often need to interact with applications and networks that aren't always open-source friendly and have tailored their offering to make those situations as easy as possible. To achieve their goals, the Asturix team has created three editions of their distribution:
Both the Business and Desktop editions have 32-bit and 64-bit variants and, for my experiment, I decided to try Asturix Business. The Business DVD weighs in at about 1.2 GB and downloading it gave me time to look over the project's web site. By default the site displays in Spanish, but there are a wide range of language translations offered, including English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Russian. Aside from addressing the project's goals and offering downloads, the site also provides a Wiki (mostly in Spanish), a forum, a news section and a contact form. Navigation is easy and the layout is a bright, pleasant combination of white and green.
- Business - for use in offices
- Desktop - for people at home
- Lite - designed with older computers in mind
Live mode and system installation
Upon booting the live DVD, it becomes obvious that Asturix sits on an Ubuntu base. The boot menu is very similar, though I found that selecting any language other than Spanish didn't alter the text on the boot options. The menus at the bottom of the screen changed, but not the central menu. The DVD will boot into live mode, check the media for errors or start an OEM installation. Choosing to explore the live environment first, I was shown a splash screen which reminded me of the northern lights, followed a minute later by a GNOME desktop. The layout is very similar to Ubuntu's, with the menu bar across the top of the screen, but the brown and orange colours have been replaced with bright, cheerful blues and greens. After looking around a little, I decided to install Asturix, but I wasn't able to find an installer. I rebooted and, at the boot menu, chose to run the installer.
Asturix uses the Ubuntu system installer, which makes for a straightforward and surprise-free process. Users are asked to select their preferred language, time zone and keyboard layout. The user is then tasked with setting up partitions and selecting an account password. It's an easy and pain-free experience and takes very little time to complete.
Asturix 2.0 - using and managing screenlets
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One of the first things a new user is likely to notice about the Asturix desktop is the collection of screenlets down the right-hand side of the display. There is a Google search bar, notepad, calendar and analogue clock. Some people may find these useful, others may see them as extra clutter. Unfortunately, the screenlets don't remember if they've been dismissed and return each session unless they've been turned off from the Startup Applications utility.
On the topic of applications, the list of available programs include Firefox 3.0 for web browsing, Evolution for e-mail, the Ekiga softphone, Pidgin for instant messaging, a BitTorrent client, OpenOffice.org, an audio player, video player and a disc burner. Asturix also comes armed with graphics software such as the GIMP, F-Spot and Cheese webcam tool. GNUCash is offered, as is Java and WINE. Popular multimedia codecs are installed, enabling users to play MP3 files and most video formats out of the box. Flash is available and works when browsing with Firefox. The distro is also armed with a wide range of configuration tools, for adjusting the system's look and feel, managing user accounts, handling drivers and installing software.
Asturix 2.0 - changing settings and web browsing
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Most of the applications and their menu entries obey the preferred language setting, but there are a few exceptions. In the System Tools sub-menu we find a collection of Asturix-specific programs which display in Spanish only. The first item is an update tool and, though my Spanish isn't great, I think this utility is specifically for upgrading from one major release version to the next one. Since I was already using the latest version, I wasn't able to make use of this program. The next item is a CD/DVD burner which works in the expected manner.
The third program is for installing applications and it caused me some frustration. The installer has two tabs, the first is for installing extras, such as Java, Flash and codecs. In the Business edition these packages are already available on the system and downloading them isn't required. The second tab lists several software categories, such as Graphics, Internet and Multimedia, and prompts the user to select one. Clicking any of the options causes the system to prompt for the user's sudo password and then nothing happens. There's no network activity, so it seems there's either a bug in the software or perhaps, once again, everything is already installed in the Business edition. It's hard to tell for certain as there's no message displayed. Another place where the user encounters Spanish, regardless of language settings, is the Help screen. The documentation gives, among other things, the user instructions on installing new software, virus protection, handling office documents and there's an explanation regarding screenlets.
Being based on Ubuntu, Asturix uses APT and its family of related tools for package management, including Synaptic. Software is drawn from Ubuntu's repositories, providing the user with over 26,000 available packages. This characteristic also makes Asturix compatible with other flavours of Ubuntu. During my time with Asturix, I had no trouble installing, removing or upgrading software and Synaptic performed quickly, as usual.
During my experiment with the operating system, I used two machines. One was a generic desktop with a 2.5 GHz CPU, 2 GB of RAM and an NVIDIA graphics card. The other was my HP laptop, which sports a dual-core 2 GHz CPU, 3 GB of RAM and an Intel video card. For the most part Asturix handled my hardware very well. On my desktop machine, video worked without any problems, as did my network connection. Sound was very faint, even with the volume turned all the way up, a problem I've experienced before with Ubuntu 9.04. Similarly, most devices worked on my laptop, including the video card, audio system, the touchpad and my Novatel mobile modem. Asturix's only issue on my laptop was with the Intel wireless network card, which failed to function. Performance on both machines was good and the system remained responsive and stable the entire time I was using it.
The topic of security on Asturix is a bit more complicated than with many other distributions. This is partly because of the way Asturix tries to be friendly to Windows users and partly because of the project's relationship to Ubuntu. For example, Asturix runs the Samba service, as well as secure shell, by default. Though no directories are shared (via Samba) by default, this opens a potential attack vector. On the other hand, I was happy to note that clicking on a Windows executable file doesn't launch the file, instead it opens the virus scanner to check the binary. Windows executables can be launched by right-clicking on them (and selecting the run option) or by selecting their entry in the Applications menu.
Some users will see the default behaviour as a security service while others may be put off by it. Personally, I think it's a reasonable default. While on the subject of the virus scanner, I noticed at install time that the scanner carried no virus definitions. When manually asked to search for definition updates, the scanner failed to locate any. This concerns me as a virus scanner without a definition file isn't providing anything other than a false sense of security. Another concern in my mind is that Asturix 2.0 is based on Ubuntu 9.04, which has an 18-month life span ending in October 2010. Since Asturix 2.0 launched in February, that gives their users a short eight months of security updates. After October, users will need to upgrade or risk running unpatched machines.
Asturix 2.0 - getting help and using the virus scanner
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After using Asturix for a week, I found several things I enjoyed about the system and a number of items I did not. Looking at the project in general, I think it's great there is a distribution specifically targeted toward helping Spanish speakers in a variety of environments. A quote attributed to philosopher José Ortega y Gasse reads: "Excellence means when a man or woman asks of himself more than others do." And I think the developers are doing just that, taking a Ubuntu base and adding to it, tailoring it to a more specific purpose. I like that their Business edition comes equipped with WINE, Samba, codecs and a virus scanner. It's little touches like these which make the distribution more attractive to newcomers. The variety of editions to match different needs is also welcome, giving users the flexibility to run Asturix on lower-end or modern machines.
On the other hand, there are a number of places where Asturix doesn't deliver. As mentioned above, the virus scanner didn't update itself on my machines and the custom package manager feels unfinished - it would be nice if the distribution's software installer gave more information to the user about what it was (or was not) doing. Right now, Asturix looks like a viable choice for moving home users from Windows to Linux and, if the project adopts Ubuntu's upcoming LTS release as their new base, I think they may be able to appeal to businesses too.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
Yellow Dog warns against PS3 updates, Red Hat hints at RHEL 6 beta arrival, Ubuntu announces "Maverick Meerkat", Puppy prepares version 5, overview of Unity Linux
The controversial decision by Sony to remove the option to install "other OS" on its PlayStation 3 generated many heated debates last week (the blog post where this was announced had over 6,200 comments at the time of writing). In response, Fixstars Solutions, the developer of Yellow Dog Linux (YDL) and other specialist solutions for the PowerPC platform (including Sony PlayStation), has issued a statement warning their users not to upgrade to the new firmware: "Sony has announced that the 3.21 firmware that will be released on April 1st 2010 will remove the 'Other OS feature' on old, large form factor PlayStation 3s. This will affect all versions of all Linux distributions for the PS3 including Yellow Dog Linux and Yellow Dog Enterprise Linux. If you upgrade to the new firmware, you will NOT be able to run Yellow Dog Linux. If continued use of Linux on your PS3 is desired, do not update the firmware on your PS3 after March 31 2010. ... Fixstars remains committed to providing updates and support for its PowerPC and Cell Linux products through the end of the scheduled lifetime. For YDL 6.2, updates will continue until the end of July 2010 and for YDEL 6.1, updates will continue until end of April 2012."
* * * * *
The first beta of the long-awaited Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6 will arrive later this month. That's according to Tim Burke, vice president of platform engineering at Red Hat, who revealed the information to InternetNews: "We overlap on our releases as it takes many years to produce the new version - RHEL 6 - which is currently in development. Within the coming month we'll have our beta release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6." This will be Red Hat's first major release since RHEL 5 which was made available back in March 2007: "Burke added that Red Hat will have some additional announcements on RHEL 6 likely coming out of their Red Hat Summit event in June. RHEL 6 will be the first major version update for Red Hat since the first release of RHEL 5 in 2007." Red Hat will continue supporting its current offerings according to the company's errata support policy, with RHEL 4 reaching end of life in February 2012, while RHEL 5 will continue to receive security updates until March 2014.
* * * * *
Mark Shuttleworth has revealed the code name for the next release of Ubuntu, expected to arrive in October 2010: "Our mascot for 10.10 is the Maverick Meerkat. This is a time of change, and we're not afraid to surprise people with a bold move if the opportunity for dramatic improvement presents itself. We want to put Ubuntu and free software on every single consumer PC that ships from a major manufacturer, the ultimate maverick move. We will deliver on time, but we have huge scope for innovation in what we deliver this cycle. Once we have released the LTS we have plenty of room to shake things up a little. Let's hear the best ideas, gather the best talent, and be a little radical in how we approach the next two year major cycle. Meerkats are, of course, light, fast and social - everything we want in a Perfect 10. We're booting really fast these days, but the final push remains. Changes in the toolchain may make us even faster for every application. We're social from the start, but we could get even more tightly connected, and we could bring social features into even more applications."
* * * * *
Speaking about future distro releases, Barry Kauler, the founder and lead developer of Puppy Linux, has announced the upcoming release of Puppy Linux 5 - now in three different editions: "I have been in discussion with playdayz. We are planning to hit DistroWatch with a triple-whammy, three simultaneous releases of Puppy 5.0. We are also aiming for about 5 weeks from now. Lucid Puppy 5.0 - this is built by playdayz from Ubuntu 10.04 packages. Wary Puppy 5.0 - this will be based upon 'Quirky' with the rolled-back X.Org. I will probably use Openbox and Fbpanel to get around the problem with icon rendering in JWM. I intend to use the 220.127.116.11 kernel if it is released in time. Very Wary Puppy 5.0 - same as above except using the 18.104.22.168 kernel from Puppy 4.3.1. This one will be recommended for those on dial-up Internet."
* * * * *
Finally, a link to a long and comprehensive article about Unity Linux, a minimalist distribution whose foundations were first laid by a group of disgruntled PCLinuxOS developers and users in March 2009: "Unity Linux is not a conventional distribution of Linux. It's a core on which developers can build their own distribution of Linux. We've set out from the start to provide an excellent minimum graphical environment that gave developers 'just enough graphics' for them to create something. The smaller, the better. We elected to go with Openbox because of its size and stability. We selected using Mandriva as our base because of the number of packages they provide and the quality of those packages. We pushed LXPanel as a minimal panel because it provides just enough functionality for distro developers to see what they've installed after they've installed it. Also, it is familiar to most people whereas Openbox's right-click menus may not be. All in all, our target for the core release is developers. We're not designing this basic desktop to be used by end users."
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Using "alien" to convert RPM to DEB
Doesn't-like-the-packaging asks: How can I install RPM packages on a distribution that doesn't use RPM?
DistroWatch answers: Sometimes life hands you lemons (I mean RPM packages) and you're stuck trying to make lemonade (install them). There are a few ways to do this. The first way would be to download and install the RPM Package Manager. Some distributions which don't generally use RPM will still have it in their repositories for just such occasions. Once RPM is set up on your system, try to install your package:
rpm -ivh package_name.rpm
Unfortunately, RPM won't resolve dependencies for you, so if you're missing supporting software on your distribution, you'll have to install it manually.
The other approach would be to use alien, a program which converts software packages from one format (such as RPM) to another (such as DEB). Alien uses several other tools, including RPM, GCC, make and dpkg-dev, to convert files from one package format to another. Once you have alien installed with its dependencies, you can convert files using:
fakeroot alien -d package_name.rpm
The above command will create a DEB package, which can then be installed using:
dpkg -i package_name.deb
Once again, there may be some dependency issues to be resolved before your package will install and run properly. There are a few benefits to using alien. The first being that once your foreign software is installed, it'll be handled by the same package manager as the rest of the software on your system. Hopefully this will avoid breaking your software during future upgrades or uninstalls. The other benefit to alien is that it will handle more formats besides RPMs and DEBs. Alien supports converting LSB, TGZ and PKG packages too, making it a handy tool to have around, regardless of your distribution's packaging method.
A word of warning: it's generally a bad idea to install foreign packages which will become essential parts of your system. Components such as the C library, kernel and init (among others) should come from your distribution's regular repositories. Installing foreign software into critical roles is likely to break your system.
|Released Last Week
Marc Poirette has announced the release of PureOS 2.0, a Debian-based distribution and live CD featuring the KDE 4 desktop: "PureOS 2.0 2010 is available, it's built with the Linux-Live scripts 6.2.9. What's new? Linux kernel 2.6.33 with Squashfs 3.4 and LZMA; KDE 4.3.4, Iceweasel 3.5.8 with Strata aero theme and Icedove 22.214.171.124 with Lightning 0.9; OpenOffice.org 3.2.0 (Calc, Draw, Math and Writer) with help; GIMP 2.6.8 with help, Gwenview with KIPI plugins and Okular; Akregator, FileZilla, qBittorrent, Kopete and wicd; K3B, VLC and Songbird 1.4.3; smxi/sgfxi scripts and scripts for module management; GParted, Krusader...." See the release announcement for additional details together with a list of all included packages.
PureOS 2.0 - a Debian-based distribution with KDE 4
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Roberto Dohnert has announced the release of PC/OS 10.1.1, a bug-fix update of the Ubuntu-based desktop distribution: "We are pleased to announce the delivery of PC/OS OpenWorkstation 10.1.1 PC/OS GNOME 10.1.1 as well as PC/OS WebStation 10.1.1. With this release we bring many bug fixes and enhancements to the platform. This release is a bug fix and precursor to the release of PC/OS 11. Some of the highlights of this release include: Linux kernel 2.6.31 PAE, with physical address extensions, users of 32-bit PC/OS can now use more RAM on 64-bit systems; Gigolo is replaced with pyNeighborhood; FileZilla is now included; Empathy has been upgraded to version 2.29.93; Empathy has been replaced with Meebo; GNOME Games has been replaced with FlashChess3...." Read the rest of the release announcement for more details.
Warren Woodford has announced the release of SimplyMEPIS 8.5, a beginner-friendly desktop Linux distribution with KDE 4, based on Debian GNU/Linux: "For SimplyMEPIS 8.5 we started with the stable Debian 'Lenny' core and then selectively introduced updated packages that make SimplyMEPIS 8.5 a more timely operating system. Specifically, 8.5 uses a 2.6.32 kernel for up-to-date hardware support. It has the new KDE 4.3.4 desktop, yet retains much of the familiar MEPIS/KDE look and feel, so users can slowly become familiar with the new features in KDE 4.3. The new MEPIS Welcome Center guides users through their first steps with MEPIS including finding documentation, connecting with the community, and optionally installing additional applications and language packs." Read the full release announcement for further information.
SimplyMEPIS 8.5 - the project's first release featuring KDE 4
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Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.5
Red Hat, Inc. has announced the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5.5, the fifth update of its commercial, enterprise-class Linux distribution: "Red Hat is pleased to announce the availability of the latest update to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5, release 5.5. Highlights of the release include hardware enablement for the Intel Boxboro-EX platform, AMD Magny-Cours processor and IBM Power 7 processor. Virtualization is improved, with support for multiple 10 GigE SR-IOV cards, and automatic usage of hugepages for virtual guest memory when enabled on the system. Interoperability improvements include updates to OpenOffice.org for Microsoft Office 2007 filters, Samba for Windows 7 compatibility and boot support for virtual machines using Microsoft-based PXE services." See the release announcement, press release and release notes for a detailed list of changes and improvements.
Vyatta has announced the release of Vyatta 6.0, a Debian-based distribution for firewalls and routers: "Vyatta today announced Vyatta 6.0, the latest release of the company's open network operating system containing complete routing and network security software. Vyatta version 6.0 includes the new Vyatta Remote Access API which enables customers to control Vyatta systems using in-house and third-party network management and provisioning systems. This version of Vyatta includes more than 30 enhancements for both the Vyatta Core and Vyatta Subscription edition, and introduces the first Vyatta Plus enhanced services. The Vyatta Remote Access API dramatically simplifies network management for large deployments of Vyatta systems within enterprises and cloud-based service providers." Read the full press release and download the detailed release notes (in PDF format) for further information.
Untangle Gateway 7.2
Untangle 7.2, a Debian-based network gateway with pluggable modules for network applications, has been released: "We are pleased to announce general availability of Untangle 7.2. Our latest version includes a new free application for Internet access control, as well as a host of enhanced features and improvements." These include updates to Captive Portal, Directory Connector and Reports: "Captive Portal supports a wide array of authentication mechanisms, from basic local directory-based authentication (on the Untangle server) to authentication through an Active Director server or RADIUS server when coupled with Untangle's Directory Connector. Untangle's AD Connector has been renamed Directory Connector. This is because it now supports both Microsoft Active Directory server, and RADIUS server." See the release notes for additional remarks about the many improvements in this release.
Linux Mint 8 "LXDE" and "Xfce"
Clement Lefebvre has announced the availability of two new community editions of Linux Mint 8 - with Xfce and LXDE desktops: "The team is proud to announce the release of Linux Mint 8 Xfce Community edition. Based on Xubuntu 9.10 'Karmic Koala', Linux 2.6.31, Xfce 4.6.1 and X.Org 7.4, Linux Mint 8 Xfce CE features a lot of improvements and the latest software from the open-source world. Featured improvements in this release: OEM installation, possibility to ignore updates, configurable menu places, multiple selection in the Software Manager, new system tray File Uploader with support for drag and drop and multiple files uploads. Based on Linux Mint 8 Main edition, Openbox 126.96.36.199 and PCManFM 0.5.2, Linux Mint 8 LXDE edition features a complete and familiar desktop experience while being low on resource usage and is suitable for a good variety of older hardware." Here are the two release announcements - Mint 8 "Xfce" and Mint 8 "LXDE".
Linux Mint 8 "LXDE" - a lightweight distribution designed for older computers
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Dan Stowell has announced the release of Puredyne 9.11, an Ubuntu-based distribution with real-time kernel designed primarily for music production and video editing: "Announcing the new release of Puredyne: Puredyne 9.11. After an intensive 3-day development sprint in Helsinki, this release made possible thanks to Pixelache and HIAP. Problems fixed in this release: amSynth loading crash; terminal dircolour theme; Fluxus menu entry; WhySynth menu entry; locale generation; Mixxx jack interface; booting without hard disks; appearance with two monitors; removed default Emacs key bindings for GTK+ applications; Emacs appearance improved; application launch keyboard shortcuts; coding style for build hooks; Irssi default intro text." Here is the full release announcement.
IPFire 2.5 Core 37
Jan Paul Tuecking has announced the release of IPFire 2.5 Core 37, a specialist firewall distribution with a web-based configuration interface and a custom package manager: "Today we are going to release IPFire 2.5 Core 37. It brings the following changes: update of OpenSSH to 5.4p1, OpenSSL to 0.9.8n, Apache to 2.2.15; update of sslh to current stable; update of MadWiFi to latest stable; update of lm_sensors to current stable; enabled identd lookup for Squid; fix Cyrus SASL autorun; fix Pakfire ping test to use ICMP again; fix ath5k (no txbuf available); fix disk (media/hardware) graphs with Xen; fix temp readings for some Atom boards; fix urlfilter wasting much memory; add eject command-line tool; add possibility to change the SSH port from 222 back to standard port 22.... Because of the security updates of SSH and SSL, we recommend that all users install this core update." Please find further details in the release announcement.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Fedora 13 delay
Jesse Keating has announced that the beta release of Fedora 13, previously scheduled for release later this week, has been delayed by a full week: "Despite a heroic effort by developers and testers, we have not been able to reach beta release criteria by the time of the go / no-go meeting. There are still unresolved bugs and unknown test results. Because of this we've enacted a 1 week slip of the beta release date. ... Because this is the second slip in the Fedora 13 cycle, we have also decided to bump the rest of our release dates by 1 week." The beta release of Fedora 13 is now expected on 13 April, while the final release has slipped to 18 May.
* * * * *
Summary of expected upcoming releases
March 2010 DistroWatch.com donation: Libre Graphics Meeting receives US$300.00|
We are happy to announce that the recipient of the March 2010 DistroWatch.com donation is Libre Graphics Meeting, an annual working conference for free software graphics application users and developers. It receives US$300.00 in cash.
According to information provided on the web site dedicated to the conference, "the fifth edition takes place between 27 - 30 May 2010 in Brussels, Belgium. Teams from GIMP, Inkscape, Blender, Krita, Scribus, Hugin, Open Font Library and many other graphics projects gather to improve their software and discuss new ideas for interoperability and shared standards." The organisers intend to raise US$10,000 to cover the cost of the conference, but at the time of writing less than a third of this amount has been generated. If you use some of the excellent free graphics tools that exist today, please consider donating a few dollars or euros to help with organising the meeting and to get as many developers as possible to attend. You can donate via Pledgie's Libre Graphics Meeting page.
Launched in 2004, this monthly donations programme is a DistroWatch initiative to support free and open-source software projects and operating systems with cash contributions. Readers are welcome to nominate their favourite project for future donations. Here is the list of the projects that have received a DistroWatch donation since the launch of the programme (figures in US dollars):
Since the launch of the Donations Program in March 2004, DistroWatch has donated a total of US$23,928 to various open-source software projects.
- 2004: GnuCash ($250), Quanta Plus ($200), PCLinuxOS ($300), The GIMP ($300), Vidalinux ($200), Fluxbox ($200), K3b ($350), Arch Linux ($300), Kile KDE LaTeX Editor ($100) and UNICEF - Tsunami Relief Operation ($340)
- 2005: Vim ($250), AbiWord ($220), BitTorrent ($300), NDISwrapper ($250), Audacity ($250), Debian GNU/Linux ($420), GNOME ($425), Enlightenment ($250), MPlayer ($400), Amarok ($300), KANOTIX ($250) and Cacti ($375)
- 2006: Gambas ($250), Krusader ($250), FreeBSD Foundation ($450), GParted ($360), Doxygen ($260), LilyPond ($250), Lua ($250), Gentoo Linux ($500), Blender ($500), Puppy Linux ($350), Inkscape ($350), Cape Linux Users Group ($130), Mandriva Linux ($405, a Powerpack competition), Digikam ($408) and Sabayon Linux ($450)
- 2007: GQview ($250), Kaffeine ($250), sidux ($350), CentOS ($400), LyX ($350), VectorLinux ($350), KTorrent ($400), FreeNAS ($350), lighttpd ($400), Damn Small Linux ($350), NimbleX ($450), MEPIS Linux ($300), Zenwalk Linux ($300)
- 2008: VLC ($350), Frugalware Linux ($340), cURL ($300), GSPCA ($400), FileZilla ($400), MythDora ($500), Linux Mint ($400), Parsix GNU/Linux ($300), Miro ($300), GoblinX ($250), Dillo ($150), LXDE ($250)
- 2009: Openbox ($250), Wolvix GNU/Linux ($200), smxi ($200), Python ($300), SliTaz GNU/Linux ($200), LiVES ($300), Osmo ($300), LMMS ($250), KompoZer ($360), OpenSSH ($350), Parted Magic ($350) and Krita ($285)
- 2010: Qimo 4 Kids ($250), Squid ($250), Libre Graphics Meeting ($300)
* * * * *
New distributions added to database
* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list
- Fnestree. Fnestree is a lightweight, Ubuntu-based Linux distribution with Fluxbox as window manager.
- Linux Caxradonya. Linux Caxradonya is a lightweight Indonesian distribution with Openbox, based on Lubuntu.
- Netrunner. Netrunner is a Linux distribution based on Ubuntu with a focus on options that won't make it into mainline Ubuntu and alternatives to some mainline Ubuntu decisions. Some features are WINE included by default, some selected Qt/KDE applications in the GNOME desktop, and no Mono.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
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This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 12 April 2010.
Jesse Smith and Ladislav Bodnar
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|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • "light" and Ubuntu (by megadriver at 2010-04-05 08:22:50 GMT from Spain) |
Lately, Mr. Shuttleworth keeps using the word "light" when talking about Ubuntu, which I find amusing, at least. It doesn't mean what he thinks it means.
At least for me. Your mileage may vary, of course :)
2 • A meeting (by Claus Futtrup on 2010-04-05 08:34:00 GMT from Denmark)
Surprising to see the donation go to a meeting and not a project ... but Libre Graphics Meeting seems to have a noble cause.
3 • SimplyMEPIS 8.5 (by Anonymous at 2010-04-05 09:08:31 GMT from United States)
SimplyMepis 8.5 seems to be a nicely done Debian based release. Some of their users do not seem to be prepared for the KDE 4 desktop as seen on their forum. Most though have posted favorable and positive responses to this release.
4 • Mepis Kernel (by Bob W at 2010-04-05 10:10:22 GMT from Austria)
Seems that they are using the 2.6.32 Kernel which reportedly has some issues. Unity Linux for example tries to skip the 2.6.32 altogether for that reason. Just wondering if we'll see here some more feedback on that subject ...
5 • Bold Moves (by Beavis at 2010-04-05 10:36:41 GMT from United States)
If by "bold moves" Shuttleworth means piss people off - then he is doing a great job. Keep up the good work.
6 • Re 4 (Mepis Kernel) (by Brooko at 2010-04-05 10:41:51 GMT from New Zealand)
I know Warren hand rolls a quite heavily customised kernel. Haven't seen any "issues" with it yet. Care to elaborate what the issues are?
7 • Kernel 2.6.32 (by Anonymous at 2010-04-05 10:43:31 GMT from United States)
I have had very good results using the latest 2.6.32 kernel in SimplyMepis. I recently tried the 2.6.33 kernel on another distribution and found a few regressions with alsa sound and headphones not turning off the desktop speakers.
8 • Asturix (by Anonymous at 2010-04-05 11:37:53 GMT from Spain)
Only one thing. Has been developed by a 14 years old boy.
Youth will make us grow.
9 • Latest TinyMe shambles (by mikkh at 2010-04-05 11:46:45 GMT from United Kingdom)
Release candidate? more like buggy alpha release !
Based on Unity, no problem with that, I was finally getting round to installing a 'lite' OS on one of my older machines and had already tried the March release of Unity and was pleased it picked a decent resolution for the 19" Iiyama CRT I was using - why do most Linux distros struggle with identifying 19" CRT's btw? It's not as if it's an obscure generic pile of crap, it was a class monitor in it's day.
Anyway, I digress (slightly)
So a based on Unity distro should also have no trouble I thought - wrongly!
Here we go, the usual 800 x 600 very off centre barely usable screen appears, so I go searching for configuration options. I'm already logged in as root, so I go straight to configure X in the control centre and get dumped at a login screen !!
Being a sucker for punishment I decided to install it, thinking it might behave better that way - wrong again. Same problem, same outcome and doing a quick recee inside /etc/X11 reveals no xorg.conf file for me to tweak either.
Going back to the install, it was easy and painless and I assumed the chance to change the root password and add a user would be offered on first boot as it wasn't part of the install. Nope! I had to login with the live CD root/root combination.
Looks like I'm going back to straight Unity then
10 • RHEL 6 (by Pumpino at 2010-04-05 11:50:38 GMT from Australia)
I'm looking forward to RHEL 6 beta later this month. It will be interesting to see what's included (kernel version, server packages, etc). It's been over three years since the release of 5.0.
11 • is it time to get rid of the page hit ranking? (by bugman at 2010-04-05 12:23:26 GMT from United States)
since everyone admits that it measures nothing, but so many lost souls think it measures SOMETHING [and get twisted panties over it]
is it time to just GET RID of the damn thing?
a forum i frequent regularly gets all twisted around after one well-meaning idiot or another mentions that distro's 'slipping' down the pile
'everyone go to distrowatch and click on the link'
'put out a new release candidate NOW'
'in case of rapture this distro will be . . . oh, wait, i saw that somewhere else . . .
so the list, which fosters a competitiveness that is meaningless, and not necessarily helpful, might actually be HURTFUL?
12 • Mavericky Moves (by Joe Mama at 2010-04-05 13:17:02 GMT from United States)
I thought the ultimate "mavericky" move would be to provide a product that is more stable than RHEL, free of cost. Not to ship alpha software in a release. But whatever floats the millionaire's space touring boat, I guess.
13 • KDE 4 (by openTrunker on 2010-04-05 13:19:29 GMT from United States)
"....users do not seem to be prepared for the KDE 4...."
NO.. KDE 4.x is NOT ready for USERS!!
"...'in case of rapture this distro will be . . .' "
OK... what ? ? I am piqued now!!! ???
The ratings kind of get a hmmm whatever response..
My criteria to even consider a distro:
1) DEBIAN BASED. PERIOD.
2) KDE Based.
3) MUST by DEFAULT INCLUDE ALL codecs required to play MP3 and other normal standard formats INCLUDING OGG. And for encoding of these formats..ie LAME etc..
4) NO MONO!!!!!
5) NO WINE!!!!!! I already have to neuter one of the last releases of my fav distro. by a forceful rm -rf winedirs due to the way this is included in the distro to start. :(
6) NO gnome!
7) English based and supported.
Some people no matter what will place an over importance on a meaningless stat... Oh well..... its good for some laughs...
You want to start making those numbers mean something lets cull the herd of distro's ! (For those that missed the huge sarcasm part, the proceeding line was SARCASM. In the event of non sarcasm you would have been advised on ..... ) :)
14 • RHEL 6 (by Osman on 2010-04-05 14:02:02 GMT from Turkey)
RHEL 6 has definitely raised the expectations of people due to long period of development time it takes. I hope they did a great job in version 6.
15 • Nothing wrong with RPMs -- until you try to stuff them in the wrong distro (by David Smith at 2010-04-05 14:06:50 GMT from Canada)
"Sometimes life hands you lemons (I mean RPM packages) and you're stuck trying to make lemonade (install them)."
This is a rather silly and inept metaphor that relects badly on its author and DistroWatch, more than on RPMs.
There's nothing wrong with rpm-based distros, In fact rpm-based package-management is used by three of the consistently most elegant, usable and stable, major distros: fedora, opensuse and mandriva.
What is a lemon is trying to install an rpm package into a non-rpm-based linux system. It might 'sort of' work, but the chances of coming to grief, for little or no benefit, are rather high.
Don't cast aspersions just because something isn't fit for what it was never intended.
16 • Asturix (by oshirix on 2010-04-05 14:16:24 GMT from Malaysia)
Another distro made in Spain is Kademar (Debian stable) and Catix (Debian testing). Catix is good but no english support.
17 • @9 and xorg.conf (by anonymous on 2010-04-05 14:27:46 GMT from Ireland)
Don't know about TinyMe but I came across a similar thing with Ubuntu 9.10.. turns out that recent xorg setups do autodetection as opposed to using an xorg.conf by default, but that they can use one if you provide it...
-so on Ubuntu if your setup isn't detected properly you can use sudo Xorg -configure to generate an xorg.conf file, which you can then move to /etc/X11/ after editing.
Confused me bigtime that one.. see http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1340780 and http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1260518 for more details
18 • RPMs on non-RPM systems (by Anonymous at 2010-04-05 14:46:47 GMT from Finland)
One may also convert the RPM package to Zero Install format and use the resulting feed to install the piece of software in almost any distro. The command pkg2zero is intended for this conversion. In that way one may avoid possible problems with dependencies that would probably arise with packages created using alien.
19 • Page Rank (by Nick at 2010-04-05 14:51:11 GMT from United States)
I agree. Eliminate the page rank already. Just have a random order display of the top distributions as picked by the distrowatch editors (without displaying any numbers).
20 • RE: 15 RPMs (by Jesse at 2010-04-05 14:57:26 GMT from Canada)
I'm sorry, the comment in the piece about RPM files being lemons and people making lemonade was supposed to be funny, not a negative comment about RPM files or RPM distributions. It was meant to be read with tongue firmly in cheek.
I have nothing against rpm files, the package format or the rpm program itself. What I was trying to get across in the Q&A piece (aside from some humour) wasn't that RPM files are bad, but that when you're running a non-rpm distro (such as one which uses .deb files) getting software installed that is only offered in rpm format is a pain. Much like getting handed life' proverbial lemons.
Had someone asked me about getting Deb files installed on a RPM-based distro, I would have made the same comment.
21 • puredyne (by mikem on 2010-04-05 15:24:15 GMT from United States)
When I see "Ubuntu-based Linux distribution" I usually roll my eyes, but puredyne really is bringing something new to the table with their low latency kernel. They're not just ubuntu with different background art. That's cool.
Anyone know any other distros that ship a low latency kernel for audio artists? This is also the first distro I have heard of doing that by default.
22 • #20 RPMs (by Glenn on 2010-04-05 15:29:18 GMT from Canada)
Yeah, I know what you mean . I've used alien a few times to go one RPM -> DEB or vice versa. Depending on the distro and dependencies you may have more trouble than its worth, or then again it may work (that time anyway).
Frankly, when I am faced with the choice I find it is often better to download and compile the goodie I want to install. I was going to say easier but that would be a distortion of the truth. It may or may not be. At least however you run less risk of pooching your system.
23 • Puppy 5 (by mchlbk on 2010-04-05 15:38:24 GMT from Denmark)
24 • @9 (by KDulcimer on 2010-04-05 15:41:40 GMT from United States)
The X crashing issue is a serious issue, and if you would please stop by the TinyMe forum at http://tinymelinux.com/forum, I would be happy to try to help you troubleshoot. To my recollection, yours is the first report I have seen of X crashing when trying to launch the X configuration dialog in the control center.
I really am not sure why you would get different results between the TinyMe and Unity releases when it comes to screen resolution detection. Are you using the Unity i586 or x86_64 release?
Thank you for the report about the missing dialog to reset the root password and to set up a new user. I have created an report in the TinyMe issue tracker here: http://tinymelinux.com/forum/tracker/issue-24.html
25 • RPMS (by Scott on 2010-04-05 16:17:49 GMT from United States)
As Glenn wrote using alien can be a hit or miss proposition--I'd say it works for me about 70 percent of the time. I've only used it on Debian systems to create rpms, as it's always (in my case) been there there's an Ubuntu or Debian package that I need to use on an RH based system. It's usually worth a shot anyway.
26 • SimplyMEPIS 8.5 and cousin antiX M8.5 are both well done (by Brian Masinick on 2010-04-05 16:24:00 GMT from United States)
SimplyMEPIS 8.5 has been released; antiX M8.5 has a "prefinal" version, due for release soon. Both have had solid testing cycles and I have personally had good results with both of them. SimplyMEPIS caters to simplicity and a gentle migration from KDE 3 to KDE 4. The antiX release has moderate resource consumption for use with aging hardware and a high degree of configurability and flexibility.
These two are among my top favorite distributions in the simple desktop and light configurable system categories.
27 • rpms in non-rpm distros (by Caitlyn Martin on 2010-04-05 16:29:03 GMT from United States)
I agree with Scott's analysis in #25: alien seems to work about 70% of the time. It doesn't seem to matter much if you're going rpm -> deb or deb -> rpm.
Provided there are no interesting dependency issues I've found that Slackware and it's derivatives do a reasonable job with rpms without alien. Slackware includes (but does not support) rpm in the repository. I have a Lightscribe enabled external DVD burner and, as an example, I can install both the LaCie and HP software using rpm directly in Slackware, SalixOS 13.0.x, VectorLinux 6.0, etc... with no difficulties. Building a Slackware package isn't an option since Lightscribe software is not Open Source and there is no Open Source alternative. (I wish there was.)
Where Slackware-based distros do run into issues is when the package expects the dependencies in one location and Slackware puts them in another. Still, it's nice not to have to mess with alien at all.
28 • page hit rankings (by watcher_user at 2010-04-05 17:09:32 GMT from United Kingdom)
I say lets keep the rankings. Where else is such data collected? Anyone can misuse stats but it's also up to the individual to make intelligent use of what they read. It's up to the individual how they interpret the data and make information out of it.
29 • Ubuntu and "light" (by Ivo on 2010-04-05 17:20:07 GMT from Bulgaria)
megadriver: Ubuntu is very light for it's functionality. And actually, if you were familiar with the Ubuntu deveopment process, you would know that the Ubuntu developers are working very actively on making the GNU/Linux platform simplier.
30 • page hit rankings (by fernbap at 2010-04-05 17:29:07 GMT from Portugal)
I guess the people that complain about it and want it removed are Ubuntu haters that don't like seeing Ubuntu on top every week, and dislike even more to see a Ubuntu based distro above Opensuse and Mandriva.
I think that what most Ubuntu haters dislike comes from the fact that Ubuntu has to cater to 2 different userbases: companies and home users. Unlike all the other popular distros, that have enterprise editions (Suse, Red Hat, etc) and home user editions (OpenSuse, Fedora, etc). And yes, all of them have a company pulling the strings.
Even Ubuntu based distros are starting to move away from Ubuntu, which i find excellent. Crunchbang showed the way, Statler alfa looks excellent, and i am thrilled to know that Mint will also become a debian based distro.
But don't let your justified or unjustified hate for a company to cloud your judgment.
31 • #30 (by bugman at 2010-04-05 17:33:02 GMT from United States)
Comment deleted (disrespectful).
32 • 2.6.32 Mepis (by Anonymous at 2010-04-05 17:43:44 GMT from United States)
There have been posts in various forums that some versions of 2.6.32 lack support for the HM55 chipset and for TRIM. Does the Mepis flavor of 2.6.32 fully support I5 & I7 chips and motherboards, including "Turbo"? Graphics? Suspend/resume? ACPI weirdness?
33 • 31 (by Notorik at 2010-04-05 17:52:27 GMT from United States)
No you did not sir! That gave me a good laugh. Dude just went on a rant for some reason about Ubuntu haters.
34 • RPM/DEB/Alien (by Landor at 2010-04-05 18:03:22 GMT from Canada)
In a crunch scenario (which I have always considered the most dangerous time to do anything even remotely hazardous) I can see a "possible" desire for the use of Alien. Why not actually learn to build your own package? They're not that hard at all. If you're on the cli using alien you're only inches away from building a binary for your system.
Of course Glenn has it right as well (Hope you're having a good week thus far Glenn), install it from source.
I think if Alien messes something up bad for the majority that may use it (those that don't know how to - build a package, install from source, maintain their system, etc, etc) they're screwed, royally. That in itself defeats the reasoning behind Alien and it's just the reason Alien exists that people with very little knowledge would use it over learning something else, making themselves targets for a potential dilemma that they have 0 clue to go about fixing.
In essence, Alien's a waste of time in my opinion. Learn to build a package, learn to build from source, or keep playing Russian Roulette with your installed OS because you understand little about it.
Keep your stick on the ice...
35 • A spanish review by an english spoken person? (by MacLone at 2010-04-05 18:11:29 GMT from Mexico)
I'm an spanish spoken person who prefers a good distro whatever language it uses. I have tested all spanish distros and see no more than Ubuntu from up to bottom so what's the real deal? ...because is in spanish out of the box... :P
I woul like to see distrowatch reviews all those distros that delivers a little more than ubuntu, not just codecs, languages and wallpapers.
36 • @21 (by illiterate on 2010-04-05 18:13:55 GMT from Greece)
"Anyone know any other distros that ship a low latency kernel for audio artists? This is also the first distro I have heard of doing that by default."
37 • PS3 (by Leo at 2010-04-05 18:27:15 GMT from United States)
This SUCKS. I was considering buying a PS3, mostly because it can double as a TV computer. I'll buy a Wii. It won't work as a TV computer, but it better for gaming.
Why did Sony go this way? It's beyond me!
38 • Purdyne (by Sam on 2010-04-05 18:47:31 GMT from United States)
Good idea, bad logo -- made me think it was a toolkit or recovery distro until I read the blurb about it being for multimedia editing.
39 • PS3 Linux (by ddalley on 2010-04-05 19:07:44 GMT from Canada)
Leo, you buy a PS3 because of what else it can do (you know, play games, play movies, a wireless media centre), not because it can run Linux. *If* you were truly considering buying a PS3 to run Linux, then good luck trying to find a working original BC model at a reasonable price.
Based on what I understand, SONY says they went this way because some hacker broke their security by using Linux. To me, it just sounds like a lame excuse to justify getting rid of this feature rather than any real threat to them, but that's what happens when hackers play with fire - they burn us. Thanks a lot!
If all you want is a media centre PC, as you say, then TigerDirect just had an Acer on sale for $180 vs $300 for a PS3. It runs Linux just fine, too. Look around.
40 • @35, 37, 38 (by Patrick on 2010-04-05 19:08:18 GMT from United States)
Yes I also thought it was odd to review a distro aimed at a Spanish speaking audience and then complain that some tools are in Spanish only. Just curious what your reasons were to review this distro Jesse?
Sony seems to me like a company that has some smart people in its ranks of engineers but is rules by managers that are paranoid control freaks. Pissing off customers is what they seem to do best. It is a stupid move if there ever was one. I think they had many customers that were mostly interested in PS3 because of its capability to run Linux as a secondary OS. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.
@38 Puredyne logo
Agreed 100%! Most distro logos don't give you much of a clue what the distro is intended for, but getting a potential user off on the wrong foot because of a misleading logo is a step in the wrong direction and anything but effective marketing. I guess there IS that tiny speaker icon on the Swiss army knife, but that's really hard to notice.
41 • @37 Wii (by Adam Michael Drake on 2010-04-05 19:25:54 GMT from United States)
Another good thing about the Wii: Netflix very recently started supporting it for live streaming like they do the PS3, which is nice since Netflix streaming on a web browser requires Silverlight running on Windows...
42 • Asturix (by Jesse at 2010-04-05 19:53:54 GMT from Canada)
>> "Yes I also thought it was odd to review a distro aimed at a Spanish speaking audience and then complain that some tools are in Spanish only. Just curious what your reasons were to review this distro Jesse?"
I have to assume there was a misunderstanding then, I didn't intend to complain about some tools being Spanish only. It's more or less what I would expect in a Spanish distro. I did mention that some programs displayed in Spanish only as an observation (not a complaint) so anyone else who gave the distro a whirl wouldn't be taken by surprise.
As to why I reviewed it? Some people pointed it out to me and I was interested in the concepts advertised for the Business edition. As I mentioned in the review, Asturix is a distro which tries to adapt to the prevailing office environment. Similar, I suppose, to the way in which Xandros and Magic do.
43 • @29 (by megadriver at 2010-04-05 20:12:11 GMT from Spain)
I just can't define a distro that features a full-blown DE, Pulseaudio and all those *kit thingies as "light". You can say it boots (relatively) "fast", that it's "full-featured" (whatever that means), that it's "newbie friendly" (or tries to be), but not that it's "light" (it's hard for "newbie friendly" and "light" to coexist). A custom minimal installation of Ubuntu could be called "light", but not the default one, IMHO.
But, as I said before, "light" can have different meanings for different people. It's just that "light" is not the first word that comes to my mind when talking about a default installation of Ubuntu (or that of any of the other big "new release every X months" distros, for that matter).
I'm looking forward to Ubuntu devs trying to make it lighter in the future, though (good luck with that!). Also, congratulations on getting rid of HAL!
44 • Opensolaris (by Rob Jones on 2010-04-05 20:28:37 GMT from United Kingdom)
Following the takeover of Sun Microsystems Opensolaris is aiming to annouce its 2010 release shortly..should be awsome!
45 • RE: #5 "Bold Moves" (by JD at 2010-04-05 20:33:47 GMT from United States)
I Agree With you so much i will repeat your comment!
"If by "bold moves" Shuttleworth means piss people off - then he is doing a great job. Keep up the good work doing stupid things!"
46 • Alien (by Jesse at 2010-04-05 20:39:35 GMT from Canada)
I think Landor and Glenn raise good points, that it's often best to compile software from scratch, rather than try to manipulate it into an existing system. That being said, there are two situations where Alien (and such tools) really shine.
1. When the package isn't open source, and thus can't be compiled. Ms Martin mentioned this further up. Sometimes you need package A for a job and it's closed source.
2. When the package in question is open source, but has a lot of dependencies which also need to be downloaded and compiled separately. It's possible to spend hours downloading, compiling, downloading and compiling again. There's also the question of what to do if the package doesn't compile properly?
Unfortunately, I've run into both cases and Alien was helpful to have. It's not something I use (or would recommend) day-to-day, but it's great for those rare cases.
47 • Re: 45 (by Leo at 2010-04-05 20:39:57 GMT from United States)
I am curious what has pissed people off. Besides, of course, the macho joke he made at a conference not long ago.
The guy has donated a LOT of his time and money into making a Linux distribution for the masses, he only gets my respect.
48 • RE: 46 & 27 (by Landor at 2010-04-05 21:19:38 GMT from Canada)
I didn't see CM's post and I'll agree with you both, in that situation package conversion would be essential.
I can't agree with the dependency issue though. That falls into what I said about building packages. It would be far more simple to build a binary (that you can keep) and have your package manager handle the dependencies nicely. This of course does depend on your distribution being able to meet all dependencies, but that's a no-brainer since it would have to do so as well since your converted package would go through the same process.
An issue I have, and very few distributions adhere to this, is file placement/file system structure. With Slackware you get a perfectly clean, meant as it should be, Linux install with no worries. The other side of the coin is that too many distributions slap things all over the place which makes using a program like Alien scary at best. Meaning, package format A might not have the same file system structure in mind (differing structural layout) as package format B for "the distribution" you're trying to install it to.
Keep your stick on the ice...
49 • #34: When alien makes sense (sort of) (by Caitlyn Martin on 2010-04-05 21:26:09 GMT from United States)
@Landor: In general I agree with what you wrote in #34. Probably nine times out of ten it's not much harder to compile and install from source. alien, even when everything works, really isn't all that much easier. Faster? Yes. Easier? Not so much. With a little more effort most people who are willing to learn can even build a package for their favorite distro if they can compile from source. That really is the ideal.
Unfortunately, sometimes, alien will work when compiling won't without rolling up your sleeves and really getting under the hood. A case in point is hdate-applet. hdate is a graphical Hebrew (Jewish) calendar program. The source includes both the stand along program and an applet for GNOME. The applet also works with Xfce if you have the xfapplet plugin installed.
If you are running Slackware 13.0 with GSB or a Slackware 13 based distro with GNOME (or Xfce with enough GNOME bits and pieces for xfapplet to work) then you can use alien to install the Ubuntu 9.10 hdate-applet package and it will work just fine.
I built the hdate-applet package that's in the Yarok developers' alpha and will be in Yarok Bereshit (the first public alpha) and I can tell you that someone who doesn't have at least some experience developing or packaging software for Linux would never get it built. If you download the source code and run the configure script it will fail. If you look at the patches in the source code for the Ubuntu package (and there are a bunch of them) you'll see why. In my build script I initially incorporated the Ubuntu patches. Configure then runs and produces a makefile but make itself will fail to compile. There are still permissions issues to work around, which, for reasons I won't detail here, can't be solved in the build script. I had to write a further patch to the configure script. Only then did I get it to successfully compile and run.
Trust me, if you run a Slackware 13.0 or a derivative and want a graphical Hebrew calendar then alien is the easiest solution. OK, not the best solution, but by far the easiest.
Oh, and yeah, alien does have the ability to hose a perfectly good system and it can take some knowledge to recover, so it should only be used with caution.
50 • Alien again (by Caitlyn Martin on 2010-04-05 21:32:14 GMT from United States)
Obviously I didn't see Jesse's #46 or Landor's #48 when I wrote #49. I think we're pretty much all on the same page. I also agree with Landor that filesystem differences really are the biggest worry with alien and can cause an unholy mess. Alien is a very useful tool when all else fails and should be used sparingly.
Oh, and that should be "stand alone program" not "stand along". Spell checkers are nice but they don't work if the error is also a valid word :)
51 • RPM in non-RPM distros (by Nathan Zachary on 2010-04-05 21:36:39 GMT from United States)
One can also install rpm2tar and have a nicely working tar file of the package. Not sure why this method wasn't mentioned instead of alien.
52 • #51: Good point, but... (by Caitlyn Martin on 2010-04-05 21:47:05 GMT from United States)
...and rpm2tgz and unrpm :) I've used all of the above in Slackware environments. Of course, that doesn't work for debian packages and alien does.
53 • alien won't work in kernel dependent modules/drivers (by Alien not work in some cases at 2010-04-05 21:53:06 GMT from United States)
Alien won't work in some cases when a package is for a particular kernel either from OpenSUSE/Fedora/CentOS/Red HAT/etc/ rpm distros to Debian's or Slackware. Why? These are kernel dependent and not in the same page :(, plus different gcc's compiled against and other gotcha's.
a good thing/concept to discuss would be that of dkms/akmod/etc those that compile new kernel modules for items like winmodem drivers, nvidia drivers, etc. It would be nice to know more. Still like Landor mentions nothing beats making one's own packages :), except of course when documentation is not enough or cut and dried like building rpms on Fedora, one prefers to build from source in those cases, but there is no idiot proof RPM document that can guide one to make RPMS easily and without difficulties :(
54 • Switch to Debian? (by Robin on 2010-04-05 22:12:59 GMT from United States)
"Even Ubuntu based distros are starting to move away from Ubuntu, which i find excellent. Crunchbang showed the way, Statler Alpha looks excellent, and i am thrilled to know that Mint will also become a debian based distro."
I was aware of the Crunchbang switch (the Statler Alpha is awesome - more like a Release candidate than an Alpha), but Mint's alleged plan to switch is news to me - haven't seen it on the Mint website anywhere, except for a few wishful posts in the Mint Forums. I'd love to see such a switch too. Unless you have some super-secret inside information that the Mint community is unaware of?
55 • @53: Building RPM packages (by Rahul Sundaram on 2010-04-05 23:24:21 GMT from India)
Take a look at
If you have questions, you can ask in the packaging list, definitely
56 • RE: 50 & 53/55 (by Landor at 2010-04-05 23:44:09 GMT from Canada)
I'd agree, it sounds like we have all drawn pretty well the same conclusions. I've been waving the "learn something" flag with the packages (which I'll comment more about right after this) only because of the absolute clean install they'll do for the specific distribution's package management system. I should point out as well that any security updates based on my scenario are totally left up to the user. Which is of course the same if someone used Alien as an alternative.
Anyway, you've been gone for a bit. At times I've been rather militant when it comes to interacting with you and for that I apologise. That won't be the case any longer. Good to see you back.
I totally agree with the depth of understanding it takes to make a rpm package. I haven't built a rpm myself for some time. I've created a number of deb packages in the last few years and the process is far more simple.
The link to the Fedora Wiki is extremely detailed. I would say too detailed for someone who wants to whip a quick package together for their first time. I just went on a google hunt and found another article that looked promising. Looked is the key word here, the basic commands were given without any information on the .spec file which is at the core of building a rpm. There was a link to reading about the .spec file which makes a person jump through hoops to find their information.
I would imagine that if most people were comfortable enough to either compile from source or build their own packages we'd see a definite slant in distributions used. Some will argue that point and they'll speak of people that come to Linux knowing little or nothing of the command line and every aspect should be made simple for them. I'll say bullshit. No two people are alike, completely, not even twins, nor are Operating Systems. When a person goes to learn how to write they don't expect the pencil to be able to do it all for them with ease, they have to learn. Why should it be any different for their computer's operating system which is most likely one of the most complex and diverse in ability, tools they'll use in their lifespan.
Rant off. :)
Keep your stick on the ice...
57 • @23 and Puppy 5 (by watcher_user at 2010-04-05 23:54:21 GMT from United Kingdom)
It could be good news but I wouldn't hold my breath. If you look at the chief developers blog you'll see what seem like some strange goings on. First he announced not one but 3 Puppies to be released in about 5 weeks. Good going that! Then said he might release one of them but not "bother with it" after its release. Then seemed to get annoyed with some replies to his blog and banned any replies plus he said he was now retired. But then said he might come back and do a Puppy 6. Sadly it seems all is not too happy in Puppy-land at the moment. Hopefully things will get better.
58 • #49 (by Glenn on 2010-04-06 01:48:57 GMT from Canada)
Regarding your statement
"Oh, and yeah, alien does have the ability to hose a perfectly good system and it can take some knowledge to recover, so it should only be used with caution."
Been there, done that. heh heh.
I either have a copy of my running "production" system or will clone it and apply the doubtful updates to the copy first. Same as I do for customers. I'm getting too old to want to spend any more thrilling moments recovering a system and placing my soul in purgatory with highly sulphurous expressions that usually accompany a pooched system because of a misguided sense of Bravado (mine).
59 • #49 (by Glenn on 2010-04-06 01:48:57 GMT from Canada)
• warm and fuzzy... (by KevinC on 2010-04-06 02:00:57 GMT from United States)
This has been one of the most polite comment sections I've seen in awhile...havta admit, kind of nice w/ out all the flame-outs about ubuntu's friggin' buttons. O...btw, it is nice to see CM back and active...always admired those with knowledge; and conviction to stand behind their opinion. I've always enjoyed CM's articles and reviews, whereas I don't always agree....same applies to Landor....but differing opinions are what make the world go around. And taking the internets personal is kinda silly anyway.
Back to distos.....I've been playing with Greenie, Lucid and Sabyon 5.2 lately...and all have been quite nice. If you haven't tried Greenie, it's rather nice (a yes I know it's a Ubuntu respin). O...and Salix is a fine distro as well....perhaps one of the best distros of the past year, IMO.
60 • ??? (by KevinC at 2010-04-06 03:06:52 GMT from United States)
IDK how my post got to be a mashup w/ your's...??? Only the gods who moderate know. I promise no references to songbird. ;>)
61 • Lightweight mint, not so light (by Anonymous at 2010-04-06 03:15:41 GMT from United States)
I've been using the newer lightweight mint 8 variants (Flux, XFCE, LXDE) and see one issue. The installer requires too much memory to put up 5-7 setup screens. The mint site requests 512mb of memory but the old version 7 only needed about 192mb if you used the OEM install on the grub menu. If I had 512mb I'd install the GNOME version. It is also to easy to take the default and wipe out the whole drive and it doesn't seem to recognize puppy installed on a FAT32 partition or even bother to ask about the other installs on the other partitions.
62 • When geeks argue... (by Anonymous at 2010-04-06 06:21:41 GMT from United States)
They often miss the simplest solution. Everyone has completely neglected that both deb and rpm packages can be opened by any decent archive manager allowing the admin to move the files wherever they want them on any system.
Works wonders with Autodesk products on non RHEL systems.
63 • @62 re: geek fight (by Anonymous at 2010-04-06 06:52:40 GMT from United States)
Thanks for the comical mental image.
97 lb geek, "RPM Roxorz! .deb is for noobs!"
98 lb geek, "My mom made me my own apartment in her basement!"
97 lb geek, "Yeah, yeah... Well, alien can let me use your Debian repositories on my RHELbox!"
What an epic battle.
64 • page hit rankings (by Mile on 2010-04-06 07:02:39 GMT from Serbia)
Even page ranking hit don't show real situation of popularity and quality of distros,I think it should to stay.
65 • PHR (by Anonymous at 2010-04-06 07:27:05 GMT from United States)
Well, ladislav even says the PHR doesn't mean jack. Sometimes barometers fail to predict rain. It's supposed to be all in fun, just read the faq.
I am of the opinion the buntu haters want it to go, even though none of them said a "GD" thing about it. thanksbye!
66 • page hit rankings (by bugman at 2010-04-06 11:24:12 GMT from United States)
it's nice that apparently nobody replying thinks the rankings mean anything--sadly, lots of people actually DO, people who ought to know better, and it does become a botheration
if you read my original post, i did not mention being at number one or not--i was specifically mentioning MOVEMENT down [or up] the list as a cause of concern that drove some people to needless agonies [or ecstasies]
it is not the page ranking's FAULT that this happens--it is human nature to desire popularity
however, since it may indirectly cause stupid behavior that affects the performance of a distro [i only know one example, but i do not lurk in other distro's forums] i can only see it as a bad thing
67 • @39 (by Leo at 2010-04-06 12:34:44 GMT from United States)
"Leo, you buy a PS3 because of what else it can do (you know, play games, play movies, a wireless media centre), not because it can run Linux."
Mmm, I guess I wasn't clear on my needs. My son likes to play games, so I need a console hook up to the TV. Besides that, I'd love to have a media center type linux computer hooked up to the TV, and it looked like the PS3 would allow me to do both. The only caveat was that some binary only software doesn't work on PPC (notably flash, AFAIK).
I just can't believe Sony would disallow something they already had working, and working well. Anyway, many thanks for your suggestion.
68 • PS3 and the uphill battle for Freedom (by rarsa on 2010-04-06 14:29:49 GMT from Canada)
I own a launch time fat PS3. One of the selling features was the OtherOS.
I installed Linux from the get-go.
Of course I use the console for gaming, watch blu-ray, stream media (from my MythTV box through UPnP) but I also use it to experiment, to "geek out" on Linux.
It may not be the fastest platform but it is the "computer" with the largest monitor in my home.
I really think that the fact that Apple is being so successful limiting the rights of their customers made Sony bold enough to remove existing functionality from the PS3 expecting people to just accept that it's not their console, but Sony's console.
When consumers stop buying locked down devices maybe companies will pay attention, meanwhile, we will get these technological wonders crippled and we having to use dubiously legal methods to keep using them in legal ways.
The saddest part here is that the PS3 wasn't totally locked down, now it is.
Locking down devices should be illegal. Once you buy a device it is yours to use exactly the way you bought it. If you buy a phone capable of working on multiple networks, it MUST work in multiple networks. If you "jailbreak" a device, it is your decision and the original vendor shouldn't mess with it.
69 • RE:68 the workaround (by rarsa on 2010-04-06 14:33:56 GMT from Canada)
For now I am using the Proxy workaround to trick the PSN into thinking I have the latest Firmware...
Until Sony does something to cripple it too.
How can companies that fight their clients can survive? beats me. I guess humans are not as smart as we think we are.
70 • Mis-written upcoming releases list? (by meanpt at 2010-04-06 15:05:19 GMT from Portugal)
On the DW entry page, in the DW Weekly post we read:
* Upcoming releases: DragonFly BSD 2.6, Ubuntu 10.04 Beta 2, openSUSE 11.3 Milestone 5
Read more in this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly... "
Fine ... but, when following the links and checking the list, where the hell went DragonFly BSD 2.6?
71 • Ranking List? Of what? (by meanpt at 2010-04-06 15:11:10 GMT from Portugal)
The click hit list is just that -- and not a download, not whish to download nor it reflects what we are using and want to try. Period.
72 • DragonFly Release 2.6 (by Anonymous at 2010-04-06 17:55:24 GMT from Romania)
Comment deleted (no content).
73 • Swony (by fon on 2010-04-06 18:04:12 GMT from Brazil)
Again, they reach the state of art in precision. Again, by fixing a date to the end.
All (few) Swny-things i had in this life were self-damaged precisely at the day after the guarantee conclusion. This is Precision! Sounny, the Defective by Design world champions! Again.
74 • RE:47, I would like to know also. (by Eddie Wilson on 2010-04-06 19:07:25 GMT from United States)
I would also like to know what pissed off #5 and #45. They don't really tell. If the truth be known why do they feel like they have a right to be pissed off at Mark S. Like a lot of the comments that are similar in nature, they just make no sense.
75 • Buttons in Ubuntu (by Matt at 2010-04-06 20:11:34 GMT from Canada)
And if the people who complain about the new placement of buttons in ubuntu would just stop a minute and think.....did they complain when they moved from Windows to Ubuntu and discovered the "Start" menu at the top of the screen instead of the bottom. BIG :-)
76 • @ #74 by EW.. (by Jon Iverson at 2010-04-06 20:50:58 GMT from United States)
High profile persons like Mark S., those who do worthwhile things with their time, talent and wealth, often find themselves targets for the disdain and ire of the barely noticed and order of magnitude less successful in the world around us.
Human nature desires above all else to exalt self, and sniping at those who rise above is a method by which people who see themselves as smaller and consequently less powerful try to make themselves appear larger than they are.
Have to say though that for the most part this weeks comments, at least so far, have been rather civil and well considered. The few that "make no sense," like posts #5 and #45 that EW commented on, are thankfully in the minority..
77 • RE: 76 (by Landor at 2010-04-06 21:07:04 GMT from Canada)
Worthwhile is relative when it comes to a perception of what someone is doing. What you have to also take into account is their motivation for doing such things. I personally see Canonical/Ubuntu as a minor investment for Shuttleworth that could "possibly" end up paying off quite well in the long run. When you look at it realistically, millions are a lot of money but losses also help his whole financial portfolio almost as much as gains would. Not only that but being the benefactor of such a project has massive PR rewards for him and his other projects, on a global level.
From my point of view our community forgets that what he has invested in Canonical/Ubuntu is an absurdly small fraction of his wealth and financial investments. It could easily come to a point where he decided financially Ubuntu has been a flop for him and either sell it or shut it down.
To the point though, worthwhile as it may be to our community I believe (and this is only personal opinion) that it's mainly financially motivated for him so worthwhile is subjective.
I know if I had his money I wouldn't pour cash into a white elephant forever, no matter how worthwhile it was to a community.
Keep your stick on the ice...
78 • @rarsa, #68 and #69 (by Leo at 2010-04-06 21:07:39 GMT from United States)
I fully agree. Once they sold me the hardware, it should be mine. I should be able to use it the way I choose.
Along the same lines, hardware manufacturers should not be allowed to force you to buy an OS. They should offer the option to buy with no OS and install what you want. Even if that means a different return policy (you can't let people buy it, and then say "I return it because it doesn't have the internets in it" :) )
79 • #76 (by antiubuntuista at 2010-04-06 21:25:51 GMT from United States)
High profile persons like Mark S., those who exploit the masses to accumulate their wealth, often find themselves targets for the disdain and ire of their victims and other oppressed people in the world around us.
Human nature desires above all else to eat and keep a roof over one's head, and sniping at those who climb over others is a method by which people who see reasonably see themselves as powerless try to help others see the rich for what they are.
Have to say though that for the most part this weeks comments, at least so far, have been rather civil and well considered. The few that "make sense," like posts #5 and #45 that EW commented on, are sadly in the minority..
80 • #76 (by redmondista at 2010-04-06 21:42:38 GMT from United States)
High profile persons like Bill Gates, those who do worthwhile things with their time, talent and wealth, often find themselves targets for the disdain and ire of the barely noticed and order of magnitude less successful in the world around us.
Human nature desires above all else to exalt self, and sniping at those who rise above is a method by which people who see themselves as smaller and consequently less powerful try to make themselves appear larger than they are.
Have to say though that for the most part this weeks comments, at least so far, have been rather civil and well considered. The few that "make no sense," like every freetard post in here, are sadly in the majority..
81 • @79/80 (by Patrick on 2010-04-06 22:12:23 GMT from United States)
I would really like to hear how Mark S. has exploited you, let alone the masses!
82 • #81 (by explanista at 2010-04-06 22:32:47 GMT from United States)
He hasn't, I'm just sick of this kind of crap. Both the Ubuntu apostle hypersensitivity and the "poor little rich boy" crap. Oh, maybe Mark S. is the most blameless billionaire ever. In a world without limitless credit, he would be seen merely as a hoarder. In a world with limitless credit (seemingly ours), he's just the guy who doesn't have to actually worry about his house payments while everyone else is getting laid off. By, I guess, the less blameless billionaires . . .
83 • @79, 80 (by fernbap at 2010-04-06 23:15:49 GMT from Portugal)
Anyway, the reason why people don't like M$ is regarding trying to establish a monopoly and doing everything to sabotage/buy the competition.
Mark S. never tried to sell "enterprise editions" of his product, and kept his promise of keeping Ubuntu free and open source, at his own expense.
He's being blamed for having ideas of his own! Oh my!
Anyway, although *buntu is not my favorite distro, i aknowledge what he did to Linux in the last years, and for that alone Mark S. deserves my praise.
84 • oh the humanity (by Leroy on 2010-04-06 23:42:49 GMT from Serbia)
It really is not and must not be about The Left Honorable Shtlwrth and his person or persona. It's about Ubuntu being consistently promoted as the best and greatest, and particularly good for beginners, when it is in fact unpredictable to say the least, and fairly bloated, even if it did lose Gimp ;)
Some people also don't like the slavish/cultish overtones exhibited by some in Ubuntu's "community", but that too is not the point. The point is this.
Whatever Ubuntu gained since it first came out it gained at the expense of other Linux distributions. It failed to make any difference whatsoever in the overall Linux desktop share compared to MS and Apple. And it's been 6, 7 years? Therefore, Ubuntu is no more or less successful or relevant than any other distribution.
Now, what I'm surprised by are claims written here, allegations really, that Canonical are somehow a competitor to Red Hat or Novell in the server market. You hear it sometimes from Canonical, I understand why they say it, but I'm still embarrassed for them when I hear it :)
That said, if you pay attention to what their statements (and their unofficial blabber on the internet) are consistently saying, you might see that they are gradually moving the rhetoric away from the idea of the desktop and hoping to make a dent elsewhere. I'm sorry to say, it won't be the server market :) but otherwise I think it's sound thinking on their part, if perhaps belated. But we'll see.
And a great thing that Ubuntu can always take credit for are several excellent distributions that are or were based on it, such as all sorts of Mints :)
85 • RE: 70 Mis-written upcoming releases list? (by ladislav on 2010-04-06 23:47:08 GMT from Taiwan)
I put DragonFly BSD 2.6 in the headline because I saw the new ISO images already uploaded, so it was only a matter of time before it would be announced officially. If it doesn't appear in the list of upcoming releases it's because the project doesn't maintain an official roadmap or a release plan.
86 • Ubuntu (by Jesse at 2010-04-07 02:00:22 GMT from Canada)
>> "Whatever Ubuntu gained since it first came out it gained at the expense of other Linux distributions. It failed to make any difference whatsoever in the overall Linux desktop share compared to MS and Apple."
I think you're mistaken on that point. There are a lot people who have switched from MS, or Apple, to Ubuntu, rather than from another Linux distro to Ubuntu. I can think of dozens I know personally who have made that switch. The shipit program has been responsible for interesting non-Linuxers and growing the community. Plus look at all the work the Ubuntu people have done getting their distro accepted into the main stream, for example bundling Ubuntu with Dell products and netbooks.
There are a lot of non-techies and non-Linux people out there who recognise the Ubuntu brand, even if they haven't heard of any other form of Linux. And that's just Ubuntu itself. Some of the spin-offs and children of the Big U have also pulled new people into the community. Mint being an obvious example.
The Linux community is not static in size and a lot of its growth in the past five years has been thanks to Ubuntu and company.
87 • @21 - realtime kernel (by Jay Wilson at 2010-04-07 11:07:28 GMT from United Kingdom)
64studio is realtime and well put together for audio, not so much emphasis on video. Gone a little quiet but is gearing up for next Ubuntu LTS to build on top of. Has quite a few fans including me who aren't shifting away from what Dan, Free & their team built.
88 • Security of linux (by Jan at 2010-04-07 12:36:09 GMT from Netherlands)
A critical explanation, advice and discussion on the security of the Linux Desktop at the average user.
89 • Re: #82 by explanista (by Leo at 2010-04-07 13:46:59 GMT from United States)
I think there is a huge difference between considering huge social inequalities evil (which I agree), and immediately identifying anyone who is on the lucky side of things as evil (which I strongly enough).
Also, and not in response to you, there is a huge difference between Bill Gates and Mark S, it really is an apple and oranges comparison. One is a guy who built a great product and got quickly soon, and decided to do something for a better world (by reducing the digital divide, in part in places like Africa where he comes from). The other one amassed a fortune running a monopoly that violated many ethics and legal rules, but became to powerful to fall. And then, when he was already rich beyond limits, he started some philanthropies to clean his image up.
90 • @84, 86 (by Patrick on 2010-04-07 14:15:33 GMT from United States)
I agree with Jesse here. Ubuntu likely has taken away some market share from other distros, but I think a lot of their users are new Linux converts from Windows.
I agree that technically, they are probably not the greatest distro. But what they have done in marketing and their effect on mind share for Linux among the general population is incomparable. I have seen many times when I, being a geek, would suggest someone try Linux, and people are very reluctant. Likely because they assume they won't be able to handle it, if they're not geeks. But mentioning Ubuntu, yes, they have heard about that elsewhere, and are often willing to give it a try. Just the fact that people hear about Linux from mainstream media and friends is very important for general adoption.
Just recently a non-techie friend I converted to Ubuntu had a problem with his PC not booting. He explained the problem: it said fsck failed and needed to be run manually, so he ended up with a maintenance prompt. Definitely not a good situation, not something a non-techie can easily fix, and an example of lack of stability with Ubuntu. But after I had given him instructions to fix it, he was happy. He told me that when he was using Windows during the time the problem existed, he was surprised how much he didn't like Windows compared to Linux after not using Windows for a couple of years.
So the point I'm trying to make is that although Ubuntu is maybe not a poster child as to what a distro should be within the Linux community, the fact that they have made people outside the Linux community aware of Linux is the most valuable thing they have done. People who have heard about it are willing to give Linux a try because of it, and find it better than the alternatives. No, it is not perfect, but remember hat it still is significantly better than what they were stuck with before. And once in the Linux camp, they might want to give something more stable a try, who knows. The important thing is that Linux gains mind share, gains users (yes, it has gained a LOT of users over the last 6-7 years), and as a result gains support from hardware manufacturers so they provide drivers or specs for their hardware. Hence, we all benefit.
91 • #90 et al (by bugman at 2010-04-07 16:12:32 GMT from United States)
perhaps the best thing about ubuntu for windows refugees is that it will not frighten them by being significantly faster than what they're used to
92 • @91 (by Patrick on 2010-04-07 16:21:01 GMT from United States)
Funny you say that since another comment my friend made about his temporarily-being-forced-to-use-Windows experience was that he couldn't believe how sluggish Windows was compared to Ubuntu. :) So although Ubuntu doesn't set any speed records, it is still better than what Windows refugees are used to.
93 • @ #77 Landor.. (by Jon Iverson at 2010-04-07 16:22:57 GMT from United States)
"..worthwhile as [Mark S. & Canonical/Ubuntu] may be to our community I believe (and this is only personal opinion) that it's mainly financially motivated for him so worthwhile is subjective.
I know if I had his money I wouldn't pour cash into a white elephant forever, no matter how worthwhile it was to a community."
The concept of "worthwhile" is always "subjective" in one manner or another. "One man's trash is another man's treasure" applies across the board, no matter the item or endeavor in question.
Most agree that in one form or another Mark S. and Ubuntu have encouraged greatly increased recognition of and broad based interest in Linux and its world wide
community ever since Canonical became involved. That he and Canonical have a vested interest in supporting and promoting not only the community at large but also the Ubuntu brand and philosophy in particular may be attributed to a number of factors, not the least of which is financial as you point out. However this does not diminish the many contributions of Ubuntu to the community at large, or their overall import as time goes by.
That one might imagine "..if I had his money" what one would or would not do with such wealth is a rather pointless exercise. Mark S. has his money, I have mine (the little there is of it), and you have yours. What we individually do with the time, talents and resources we have is driven by many factors, some of them financial to be sure. However there are more compelling reasons for what we do, reasons having little to do with finances and more to do with our human nature.
Whatever we may imagine drives Mark S., however we think we'd do things differently if we "had his money", ..all that's beside the point. Mark is his own man, driven by his own motivations, bringing greatly increased recognition, innovation, resources, and revised thinking together in ways that prior to Ubuntu simply did not exist at the same level within the community at large. That some openly hate, disparage, snipe at and demean his or other's efforts along these lines is to be expected, given our large and at times dysfunctional Linux family. ..Don't be distracted by such obsessive nay sayers.
94 • Ubuntu/Shuttleworth anger/angst (by hab on 2010-04-07 19:17:07 GMT from Canada)
This whole subject has been the focus/locus of so much hyperbole and argument and debate and is pretty much irrelevant to the continuing spread and uptake of Linux.
Linux did just fine before the advent of Ubuntu and subsequent to it's arrival has continued to do so. The only relevant thing is the question of how much impact Ubuntu has had on the consumer desktop and of course by extension, it's tiny subset, the Linux consumer desktop.
From my perspective and understanding the consumer desktop (and it's tiny subset, the Linux consumer desktop) is only a very small segment of the GNU/Linux/FOSS ecosystem, the scope of which has become somewhat awe inspiring indeed!
For my part Ubuntu is an interesting experiment. Try to give away a free polished Linux distro in the face of an at best apathetic desktop consumer market. And try to sell back end service for a commercial server version in competition with the likes of Redhat. Yeah, like that's gonna' be easy!
Think about it this way, if Ubuntu tanks does Linux go down?
95 • #94 (by glenn on 2010-04-07 20:30:01 GMT from Canada)
"Think about it this way, if Ubuntu tanks does Linux go down?"
No but I believe it will lose a lot of impetus.
I think Ubuntus aggressivness has forced other distros to to become more active so they can keep up. Not all of course but I do think Ubuntus influence has been to the betterment of Linux.
This is an opinion only and may be wrong
Flames go here (___________________________
96 • Ubuntu - what's it done for anyone other than Ubuntu (by Anonymous at 2010-04-07 21:25:07 GMT from United States)
Not a fan and the main reason is that I think that it takes much more than it gives (and it seems only to have given back to Debian because of the continued outcry). So I ask, what has it given to the Linux community at large - the community being projects supported like the kernel, OpenOffice, KDE, Gnome, x11, etc...... And the excuse that Ubuntu isn't a server distro so kernel support shouldn't be expected doesn't wash because they're attempting to enter that market.
97 • RE: 94 & 95 (by Landor at 2010-04-07 21:37:51 GMT from Canada)
I agree with both of your statements which in a sense are opposing ends. I should clarify which ones but won't..lol :)
Shuttleworth is no financial fool, that's obvious. I wouldn't doubt the PR from the desktop portion of Ubuntu was a simple strategic move to help Canonical/Ubuntu step into the server/enterprise market easier.
One thing I've found about people that ride the wave of change is they don't really see tomorrow until the wave breaks, then they don't like where it took them. In a sense we've been kind of seeing that as of late. Influence can be a good thing as long as the people that are being influenced are not like I just said, those that are riding the wave.
If Ubuntu disappeared I think some areas or groups in Linux would be reeling from the loss, though the majority would just be punching the clock like any other day.
I think I may have found what I consider a very serious flaw in Fedora. I don't mess with hibernate or suspend all that much, I just shut it down and that's that. Well, I have both the boot password set and my system partition encrypted and after hibernate it booted right to the desktop without asking for either. I know this is what people expect of hibernate but I find that kind of disturbing for the security conscious (like myself) who set a boot password and enabled encryption.
I'm gonna hit their IRC and see what I can see. :)
Keep your stick on the ice...
98 • Ubuntu - what's it done for anyone other than Ubuntu (by fernbap at 2010-04-07 21:53:43 GMT from Portugal)
What's it done?
It presented a door to linux to the general public. It showed windoze and mac users that linux is a credible alternative.
Most linux users i know went away from windoze thanks to Ubuntu, and then, after being introduced to the Linux world, went away from Ubuntu to other distros (or not).
Ubuntu is what was missing for long. A high profile entry door to Linux.
You think that is worth nothing? What did your distro of choice (whichever it is) to make the general public turn their backs to M$ or Mac and embrace Linux?
It is obvious for anyone that the target public for Ubuntu is the windoze user. Not difficult to grasp.
99 • SLAMD64 (by uz64 at 2010-04-07 23:43:20 GMT from United States)
What the hell is going on with SLAMD64? Its DistroWatch page still says it's active, yet its forums have been mostly inactive since probably before Slackware 13, only getting worse since. No sign of a new version, either. To make it worse, their forums are now full of spam (Nike shoes, anyone?), so it looks like not even the forums are being maintained anymore.
Honestly, anyone who is still using that distro is nuts--and yet those SLAMD64 users seem to think that BlueWhite64 is pathetic because they're "copying" off of their distro (or something). Yeah, sure, Slackware officially has a 64-bit version now, but at least BlueWhite64 seems to be more reliable (they actually *have* a 13.0, and have had it for a while).
Seriously, is it so hard to post that no work is currently being done (or has been done over the last several months) and monitor the forums (or just lock them and take the site down if it's no longer being developed)? I'm completely lost as to how this distro ever got any fans.
100 • RE 97 Hibernate (by Jesse at 2010-04-08 00:12:49 GMT from Canada)
Landor, as you pointed out, in your post, most people expect their machine to come back from hibernate without asking for the boot or partition password. Which is because the computer isn't booting, it's coming back from a .... for lack of better term frozen state. I'm sure you already know this.
It seems odd that your machine is coming right to your desktop though, my system resumes to a locked screen by default. Just as if I'd manually locked the computer. I'm not sure what desktop environment you're using, but I'm using KDE at the moment. If I open the Power Management app, the first option is "Lock on Resume". With that checked, my machine always asks for my account password before I can do anything else.
101 • RE: 98 (by Landor at 2010-04-08 00:13:49 GMT from Canada)
That's full of so many holes I don't even know where to start.
First, yes, I'll admit that I'm quite sure that due to it's very existence Ubuntu has brought people over from Windows. That's a no-brainer. To say that it's made the general public turn their backs on Windows is a complete crock, seriously.
If there were guestimated stats for Linux growth on the desktop for the consumer say since the late 90's which is obviously prior to the rise of Ubuntu, right up to present, then we could estimate what percentage of growth Linux had over the period prior to Ubuntu and see if the years after Ubuntu's first release had any massive and notable difference in the growth, I'd then believe that Ubuntu has brought over tons of Windows users. Then I'd like to know an guestimate on how many dual boot. I wouldn't classify anyone who dual-boots as a Windows Convert, at all.
My guess is though, the market share didn't have the massive spikes that so many people believe Ubuntu has created. That's just opinion though, like everyone else's.
Keep your stick on the ice...
102 • @101 (by fernbap at 2010-04-08 00:35:15 GMT from Portugal)
"To say that it's made the general public turn their backs on Windows is a complete crock, seriously."
Who said that? You? I didn't.
What i said is that Ubuntu brought many people FROM the general public. Typically, Linux doesn't attract the general public, usually those who make the switch are NOT general public. However, Ubuntu broke that barrier.
"Then I'd like to know an guestimate on how many dual boot. I wouldn't classify anyone who dual-boots as a Windows Convert, at all."
What's wrong with dual booting? That's the Linux spirit, after all. Use what distro suits you most, depending on the tasks you need to do.
If people want to keep a XP partition to play the last games (which is basically why people dual boot), what's wrong with that?
103 • By the numbers (by Jesse at 2010-04-08 01:07:46 GMT from Canada)
>> "My guess is though, the market share didn't have the massive spikes that so many people believe Ubuntu has created. That's just opinion though, like everyone else's."
Just opinion unless you have some numbers to back up the opinion. It's really hard to properly measure the number of Linux users, I'll grant you that. But some people have tried.
According to W3Counter (http://www.w3counter.com) Linux usage on the desktop has doubled in the past three years. According to the Berkeley Users Group, Linux usage tripled from 2005 to 2009. (Ubuntu first came out in 2004.) Most numbers I've seen put Ubuntu (and its family) at 10-20 per cent of the Linux desktop market share.
So I wouldn't say there are massive spikes, but there is a definite strong increase over the past four or five years.
104 • @103 (by Anonymous at 2010-04-08 01:54:12 GMT from United States)
10-20 % of the linux market of which is approximately 1% of the world's computers ?
that is .001 to .002 of the whole computer market? Does that really make a difference?
It would be awesome if people boycott the ipad and flock to use a Linux/BSD equivalent. Why? Apple is trying very hard to make $$ after Micro$oft got hold of the PC market, no matter how many commercials they make, no matter how many spyware/adware/trojan horses/etc you name it is out there, people will still be using Windows. They are charging for you to put apps into their phones/ipads/itouch. RMS is right on here. We hope that more people use Linux/BSD powered phones where one has the right to do whatever we want, not what M$ or Apple $oftware tell us to run or allow. What do you guys think?
105 • RE: 104 (by ladislav on 2010-04-08 02:10:15 GMT from Taiwan)
that is .001 to .002 of the whole computer market? Does that really make a difference?
A lot depends on how you put the figures. Let's put it differently (numbers from today's story at Slashdot - http://linux.slashdot.org/story/10/04/07/2152206/Ubuntu-Claims-12-Million-Users-mdash-Before-Lucid):
Ubuntu estimates its user base at 12 million, Fedora at 24 million. Does that make a difference?
The two sentences say more or less the same thing, but yours make Linux look like a completely insignificant player in today's computing world.
Besides, your statement is grossly inaccurate - surely you meant to say "1% of the world's DESKTOP computers". Don't forget that the server market is actually dominated by Linux...
106 • RE: 99 (by slacker_mike at 2010-04-08 05:09:45 GMT from United States)
@uz64 what's with the tone? It's pretty obvious that Slamd64 lost relevancy once Slackware released an official 64-bit port. Slamd64 was great work and attracted users and fans by filling a need within the Slackware community for those who wanted and needed 64-bit Slackware. As for BlueWhite64, again what is the point once the real thing is available? Not sure where the anger comes from but man Slackware 13 came out in August of 2009 and you are now complaining about this?
107 • RE: 100-102-103-105 (by Landor at 2010-04-08 05:27:50 GMT from Canada)
Yes, I know that's how hibernate works of course. :) I still see it as a failing. I was using my own respin of the Fedora LXDE respin. Since I didn't have anything important (it being very recently installed) I decided to go back to the actual respin I started with and the same thing. There's also no options I can see to have it even lock the screen. I haven't went to the IRC yet and will after I do a bit more investigation of this on my own.
Laptops and Netbooks do get stolen of course and all things being equal, I could see them just as easily stolen while in hibernate. Theft is a big reason for encryption and I'm surprised that a distribution like Fedora with (usually) ample security options available doesn't address this. I'm also going to download the Gnome cd to see if it's any different in its behaviour after hibernate.
"Who said that? You? I didn't."
You most certainly did. Maybe not directly but you implied it none the less. You asked in your original post:
"What did your distro of choice (whichever it is) to make the general public turn their backs to M$ or Mac and embrace Linux?"
This might be splitting hairs, but since you're speaking of Ubuntu that's the exact same as saying, "Ubuntu has made the general public turn their backs on windows", since you're asking people to basically prove that their distribution of choice has done similar.
You ask what is wrong with dual booting, you're right too, nothing's wrong with it. You said windows users went away from Windows because of Ubuntu. Went away to me and I think most people means left (or converted from) Windows. But then you state people use XP and such for gaming, so did they leave Windows or not? That's not leaving Windows. If you use Windows, you use it. So let's look at market share then. Do we now split the market share numbers in half for Linux for those that dual boot to use Windows for some app or gaming? I'd say for a realistic number we have to, the stats wouldn't be accurate. I take the 1.65 (or whatever point it is) of the market share as literal. Meaning, if 1.65 of the market share uses Linux then that's "all" they use, no dual booting. That's what's wrong with dual booting, they're not using Linux solely so should not be counted as part of the market share for people that use Linux.
But those increases you're pointing out at their earliest start at 2004. My point was what about Linux adoption since it's onset ( I did say late 90's, but you'll understand my point I believe) compared to it's adoption over the period that Ubuntu has been here. Did the numbers double or triple in the 90's and early 2000's? If we looked at those numbers and I'm still guessing I'm closer to being correct than those pumping up Ubuntu, that Linux has had a steady similar growth since it's inception.
Do you believe those numbers Ladislav? At all?
Disclaimer: below has no actual basis for the number consumer desktops, it's a guesstimate.
I did some very rough number crunching. There's almost 6.7 billion people on the planet. Given how poor some part of the world are I'd say we could easily put an "at most" number to consumer desktops being half of that, so about 3.35 billion. One percent of that is 33.5 million, so roughly (and I'm not doing the exact math here) at 1.65 percent of market share that would mean (as I said roughly) 55 or so million Linux systems, only running Linux for the consumer desktop.
That would put Ubuntu and Fedora at over two thirds at 36 million. I don't believe it. Also, Linux is known for its ability to run on antiquated hardware. How many of the systems are Jurassic at best? I don't think many running the older hardware would be using Ubuntu or even Fedora (though it does have lighter options than Ubuntu in my opinion). Then we have to factor in Debian, Slackware, Mandriva and so many other distributions that have rather large followings as well. 36 million become ludicrous.
To top it off, and only a guesstimate on his part, but even linuxcounter.org guesses the total Linux users at 29 million. That's 7 million lower than what the two combined say they have...lol That 36 million's way off. I'd say there's probably only in the area of about 40 million Linux users as the desktop end consumer.
All opinion though, since as all of us agree, there's no real accurate measurement.
Keep your stick on the ice...
108 • RE: 105 (by jake at 2010-04-08 07:43:01 GMT from United States)
"Don't forget that the server market is actually dominated by Linux... "
Not in my world ... Linux on desktops, BSD on servers. It's not only a good idea, it should be the law ... Just my opinion, mind ;-)
109 • Re: 105 (by Leo at 2010-04-08 12:16:33 GMT from United States)
""Don't forget that the server market is actually dominated by Linux". True. And Linux is making huge inroads on the cellphone/smartphone market, too.
110 • Sony vs. Linux (by Eddie Wilson on 2010-04-08 12:32:58 GMT from United States)
For PS3 owners that run Linux.
111 • By the numbers (by Jesse at 2010-04-08 12:37:54 GMT from Canada)
While I do agree that 12 million Ubuntu desktops seems a bit high (and 20-some million Fedora more so) I don't think they're too far off. Of course, if someone tries a distro once and then moves on to something else, they probably get counted. So all distros probably have slightly elevated numbers.
Looking at adopting rates can also be tricky. For example, as I said, it looks like Linux use on the desktop has doubled in the past three years. And as Landor said, we might have also seen Linux use double between, say, 1995 and 1998. But in in the 90s we'd be looking at an increase of, perhaps, one to two million machines. In 2005-2008 we're looking at an increase from 15 to 30 million machines. The rate is the same, but the bottom line is hugely different. Numbers are tricky that way.
Sadly, I can find much information on adoption rates prior to 2000. We have the Linux Counter, but it looks like it hasn't been updated in years.
112 • Sorry, correction. (by Jesse at 2010-04-08 12:42:24 GMT from Canada)
Sorry, that last line was supposed to say, "I can not find much information on adoption rates prior to 2000." Would like to see a graph if someone can dig one up.
113 • share (by Leroy on 2010-04-08 13:40:15 GMT from Serbia)
Let's not forget that Ubuntu initially set out to take over the desktop, not servers :)
As for the linux desktop market share tripling... it's a notoriously contentious subject to begin with, because the data is mostly collected from internet traffic usage. Some say that even those who use computers and don't go online should count. We "in the internets" aren't too sure about that ;)
Anyway, I came across this trend
If you look at this, I was wrong, there has been been some movement outside the closed Linux circle, and likely that can be attributed to Ubuntu. But as a trend, of some 0.25% in the last two years, it's pretty discouraging imho.
And unfortunately looks a lot more realistic than the triple claim.
As for the Canonical statement,
"We have no phone home or registration process, so it's always a guesstimate."
My question is, why don't they? Have the simple registration process, don't ask people to send you feedback, just to register.
That wouldn't be too accurate either, but at least it would rob Canonical of yet another opportunity to come out sounding utterly flippant :)
Anyway, but on the other hand, it's smart of them to use big and alleged numbers from the desktop as a credibility crutch as they try to do real business elsewhere.
But it would be smarter to support the figure with something.
Also, while we're guessing, I would guess that no more people tried/or tried and are using Ubuntu than there are registered users in their forums. I would say it's impossible that someone installed Ubuntu and didn't head for the "helpdesk" within a couple of hours :)
I also wanted to say but forgot when I wrote first that the new Mepis is excellent imho. I want to find time and experiment with Fluxbox on it. Have absolutely no idea how or where that might go :D
114 • #113 (by bugman at 2010-04-08 15:01:25 GMT from United States)
when i left windows, i tried ubuntu
slower than windows, granted i was using 98 on an old machine
settled on puppy
perhaps where winrefugees land is determined by their needs and capabilities?
115 • @107 (by fernbap at 2010-04-08 15:27:15 GMT from Portugal)
"that's the exact same as saying, "Ubuntu has made the general public turn their backs on windows"
no, it's not.it's the same as saying "Ubuntu is making an effort to turn the general public away from windows", which is more that you can say probably about your distro of choice.
"If you use Windows, you use it." Sure. and if you use Linux, you use it. How are you trying to deny them the status of Linux users? Where do they live? In the limbo? Anyway, rest assured that they are being counted for the windows user base, you know why? Because they bought it.
What is it different from having a linux pc and a PS3 for gaming? Would you say they are not really linux users because they use their PS3 for gaming?
So, "Meaning, if 1.65 of the market share uses Linux then that's "all" they use, no dual booting" just doesn't make any sense. Should people who also watch TV be included in the Linux user base?
Yes, people who use XP for games DID leave windows, because they are doing their serious work on Linux and don't trust windows for that.
116 • to 11 • is it time to get rid of the page hit ranking? (by bugman at 2010-04-05 (by forlin at 2010-04-09 03:35:31 GMT from Portugal)
If you are not happy with Distrowatch ranking site, don't use it, or better, create your own site with a better ranking. Just keep in mind that no distro will get a cup for staying at first place. This ranking is a good measure about trends, and nobody claimed it is a perfect popularity measure. And try to be more constructive. Instead of put it down, give suggestions to complete the work done so far, with complementary evidence from different sources. Now I grant you. Pick up a sh**t distro, ask people to hit it, or to announce releases every two weeks, and then see what your clever tactics will lead to.
117 • # of users using Linux/BSD, Microsoft & Apple (by Antonio on 2010-04-09 04:02:10 GMT from United States)
About the arguments as to the numbers. A friend of mine argues very strongly and tells me that despite my efforts to get more people into using Linux, I have a lost cause. He tells me about the market share and that windows is the dominant force here, Linux/BSD even MACs don't exist he says. They are pretty much inexistant. He says, when you get a computer what does it come with [?] yes it comes with Windows not Linux not FreeBSD. He says computer manufactures know best and the best is Microsoft Windows. I argue with him lots of times, but sadly he is right(most computers come with a version of windows unless it is a MAC or one preapproved or preordered with linux preinstalled). I have rescued several machines with Linux/LinuxLiveCD's but in the end, they get Windows Back :(, I tell them that Microsoft is the BIG GUY and they dictate to the world who/what goes in to computers, but if the world knew how good linux was, more people would use it. He says that my argument is pointless because people don't care about making their lives miserable and use windows even if it is Pirate vs getting a GNU/Linux OS.
He does have a good point though. He says that the Apple Ipad/Itouch/whatever is coming out and that Appple is "just as bad as microsoft", no he says it is worse because it prohibits you from installing your applications and that you have to get permission to install anything that you want, that there is lock in and he does not like it. But he is OK with Micro$oft locking him in. He says that the computer came with a Free and good OS which is Windows and that Bill Gates was a genius sharing with me the documentary about Bill Gates and the progressions that were made, MS DOS, copying the GUI from MAC, windows 3.1, windows 95, windows 98, windows ME, windows 2000/XP/Vista and Windows 7. I do like Linux and BSD Operating Systems but I don't have much of an argument, I lose unfortunately because the numbers that he has are accurate and the numbers despite where they come from, Fedora(smolt)/Ubuntu(cannonical)/Linux Counter) simply don't add up to the 90 % of the world's machines run Windows. Is there a page to tell him to go and read and for him to see that Linux is very powerful and FreeBSD is the real solid OS under the curtain of the MAC gui, but I need powerful documents to show him where the numbers come from.
118 • @ 56 - definite slant in distributions used (by forlin at 2010-04-09 04:27:02 GMT from Portugal)
"When a person goes to learn how to write they don't expect the pencil to be able to do it all for them with ease, they have to learn. Why should it be any different for their computer's operating system which is most likely one of the most complex and diverse in ability, tools they'll use in their lifespan."
People learn how to write by 6 y.old. That is all their life time is supposed to be used to. Speaking by myself, with a 9 to 18 job (not at a tech area), a family to care and a few more hobbies apart of computers... well, not easy. I found Linux offer the means to more easily pick up a starting point to get involved with learning it. But one needs to be interested, appreciate to learn it, and have the time to it. All others ones, anything less than point and click, is a show stop. Still, today Linux has choice enough to satisfy every kind of users, and people can start with an easy distro and if they have the will to learn, later on they will get prepared to approach the heavy users distros.
119 • @117 (by Anonymous at 2010-04-09 06:26:54 GMT from United States)
I don't do windows support and don't waste my time re-installing that nonsense. If my kids could handle Slackware when they were 6 and 9, there's no excuse for anyone else not to be able to get everything they need done on ubuntu. If your work wants you to run windows, they can provide the hardware and support. You call me, you get linux and I won't even charge you. Want your windows fixed, pull out the yellow pages and start making some calls. People act like learning something new once in awhile will kill them.
120 • MCN Live (by Albert Hall at 2010-04-09 11:08:29 GMT from United States)
Great to see this one back again! It's a very fine little distro. I would love to see DSL have a rebirth or something too. Slitaz is looking great I wonder how it will evolve...
121 • @98 - what's Ubuntu done'? (by Anonymous at 2010-04-09 11:18:55 GMT from United States)
repeat of the question 'what's Ubuntu done'? Using the work of others may have made it popular but it hasn't made it a good community member. What exactly has it done to better/improve Linux? Remember it's not one of the small community developed distro's with limited resources but a well funded, deep pocketed corporate entity that could be contributing to OpenOffice, the kernel, x11, KDE, Gnome, etc.............. but really isn't (at least not according to your response).
122 • RE 117 (by Jesse at 2010-04-09 12:47:20 GMT from Canada)
If you want to show your friend the power of Linux/BSD, I suppose you could direct him to Apple's open source page. It lists the open source components of the system, such as the BSD parts.
You could direct him to the wikipedia page showing server use by operating system. You could point to the sales numbers behind TiVo. You could point out that most of the big OEMs (HP, Dell, IBM) sell Linux boxes, they wouldn't do that without a demand for the product. You could point to European governments efforts to move from Windows to Linux.
But honestly, if your friend is firmly and blindly in the Windows camp, he's going to stay there regardless of what you tell him. Just like many Linux and Apple fans are blind to the benefits of other operating systems.
123 • RE:117, Why do people want to use numbers? (by Eddie Wilson on 2010-04-09 13:02:00 GMT from United States)
@117, Your friend sounds like a student of some sort. Why do people argue with numbers? Numbers are about the most unstable thing a person can use to prove a point. They CANNOT be proven. If the boy insists on using numbers ask him how many of the worlds supercomputers use Linux and how many use MS Windows. Those numbers can be proven. Better yet, compare the operating systems and the cost of running the systems. Market share is irrelevant because most of those people using MS Windows did not choose MS Windows. If INFORMED people just compare the operating systems on a technical level then MS Windows doesn't stand a chance. And no, hardware vendors do not know best. And no, he cannot have accurate numbers.
@121, Why would you say that Ubuntu is not a good community member. Are you saying that every distro built on another base is using the work of others and because of that is not a good community member. You never do say what point you are trying to make. Nonsense 100%.
My last two post about the booting of Yahoo! for Ubuntu 10.04 seem to have disappeared. I'm not sure why. We'll see how this one goes.
124 • @121 Ubuntu's contribution (by Patrick on 2010-04-09 14:02:27 GMT from United States)
Companies that make products tend to have both an engineering and marketing department. Engineering is extremely important and has to design a quality product, but if there is no marketing department, all the effort is in vein because nobody will know the product even exists. The marketing department becomes crucial especially if the company is trying to sell the product to the general public.
I consider Canonical the marketing department of the Linux ecosystem. No, they don't contribute as much code to different projects as some other entities (the engineering department), but their contribution in getting the product "Linux" sold to the general public is very important nonetheless.
125 • re#124 (by hab on 2010-04-09 18:15:01 GMT from Canada)
"I consider Canonical the marketing department of the Linux ecosystem."
I think i would rephrase that to, "I consider Canonical 'A' marketing department of the Linux ecosystem." to more accurately reflect part of Canonical's role.
I think that many people have overestimated their place in Linux. For me personally they are somewhat of a 'me too' operation and really if they dropped off the face of the earth it would make no difference to me. But then that's just me.
126 • @125 (by Patrick on 2010-04-09 19:10:25 GMT from United States)
Yes, you are right, they are 'A' marketing department for the Linux ecosystem, not necessarily 'THE' marketing department. They are kind of like 'THE' department for the consumer side of things though, no other company really seems to try to get consumers to pick up Linux, most of them focus on the enterprise.
I was mostly trying to point out that even though they maybe don't contribute as much technically as other companies, their contribution is still valuable.
127 • Ubuntu Re-hash (by Notorik at 2010-04-09 19:38:07 GMT from United States)
The whole Ubuntu thing is soooo boring. Download SalixOS, give it a spin, and then talk about that for a while. Alternatively go outside and walk around for a while in some fresh air.
128 • #127 SaliX and *Ubuntu boredom (by anticapitalista on 2010-04-09 21:06:51 GMT from Greece)
I agree, much better to try out something else.
I tried SaliXOS live in Virtualbox with RAM set to 256MB, and found it a bit slow to boot compared with other distros and the desktop also seemed a bit 'strained'.
Apart from that, some very nice features available. I like their gui Persistence app. and the way they have set up persistence. A fat Puppy perhaps? :)
129 • ubuntu (by forlin at 2010-04-09 21:51:12 GMT from Portugal)
Maybe it's me that did not understood yet, what the FLOSS fundamentals are. I though the main principle is the ability for anybody to use other pople's work, improve it, change it, and leave it free for others to do the same. Now, what's wrong about Ubuntu?
Does Ubunto need to ask for permission to use the work of A, B, or C ?
Does Ubuntu need to ask A, B, or C, on witch way it can change their work?
Does someone pretend to mean that Ubuntu work is not left free to be used by others?
If Ubuntu does not contribute, why are so many nbuntus out there?
I said this once, and I'll repeat it now. I would love Ubunto to be an independent distro.
Those who doesn't understand that a distro that is based on other distros does not have the same changes to contribute upstream, do not understand FLOSS.
By the way. Many people says Mint is Ubuntu made right. Does someone ever though why Ubuntu doesn't give a sh**t for any changes made by Meant to the Ubuntu code? Or even, to new code made by Mint? Maybe because if everybody keeps copying everybody, and nobody creates nothing, there will not be choice, nor progress, nor innovation.
130 • re 124 (by corneliu on 2010-04-09 22:50:00 GMT from Canada)
Patrick wrote: ...even though they (Ubuntu) maybe don't contribute as much technically as other companies, their contribution (marketing) is still valuable.
It all depends who is the target of this marketing campaign. If Ubuntu gets users from other distros then obviously it's "contribution" is not a positive one (it's actually negative and I'll explain later). If Ubuntu targets Windows users then it is indeed valuable.
Let's suppose Ubuntu is so popular not because its technical merits but because of the marketing. A Windows user decides to give Linux a try. And because of the marketing, Ubuntu seems to be the best Linux distro (it may not be but it looks like that). Then the user has a not so pleasant experience and thinks: "If this is the best Linux then I'd rather give up. I'll check it again in a few years maybe."
My point is that if the best distro (as far as quality is concerned) is the most popular then that's a good thing, otherwise a popular poor quality distro may cause more damage that good.
I would like to see more consolidation in Linux because diversity in excess hurts the cause, but IMHO Ubuntu is not the answer.
131 • ubuntu and other distros (by forlin at 2010-04-10 00:48:16 GMT from Portugal)
It is not possible to make a marketing campaign, directed to Windows users, without equally target Linux users, even indirectly and even that they were out of said target purpose.
Sometimes it seems that some people who comment here, would like that Linux desktop development were still by the level it was around the 2004 year. Just try to go to the "Page Hit Ranking" and compare 2004 to the actual reality. I'm sure that it was Ubuntu who thrown the stone over the stagnated waters at those years, and forced everybody else to shake and move up and away. It would be great if the FLOSS would have the resources to support any existing distro, based on it's own merit. Unfortunately, most projects are funded by donations. I wouldn't be surprised that some Ubuntu haters, are so, only because they see their users base reduced and with it some precious donations being lost. I foresee that in the future, along with Linux sophistication, private distros would need to find a broad range of financing, maybe from local, regional or other official or private entities, as relying only in private donations, sometime in the future, will not be enough. To finish this rant, I'll just wish those who find they cannot win their competitors, not to resign, but to join them.
132 • Ubuntuland (by RB at 2010-04-10 01:38:31 GMT from Norway)
I mainly use Ubuntu, but it amazes me how much FREE press Ubuntu gets when it has any sort of release - testing, alpha, beta, omega, you name it.
What you fail to realize, good or bad, all this posting about Ubuntu just gives it more attention.
If you REALLY don't like Ubuntu, then I would suggest to NOT comment on how much you hate or dislike it, but rather focus on what you do like.
133 • @ 132 (by forlin at 2010-04-10 03:48:40 GMT from Portugal)
"If you REALLY don't like Ubuntu, then I would suggest to NOT comment on how much you hate or dislike it, but rather focus on what you do like."
This is wise !!!
134 • Three strikes (more like 12), and for me Ubuntu is out for good (by Caitlyn Martin on 2010-04-10 14:26:47 GMT from United States)
Fair warning: an angry rant follows.
I write about Linux. On the desktop Ubuntu and Fedora are far and away the most popular distributions so I keep coming back to them and keep giving them a try. When I upgraded my netbook to Karmic Koala everything "just worked" and I thought Canonical had finally got it right. I hadn't found an Ubuntu release without major issues on my hardware since Edgy Eft and finally, with Karmic, all was happy again. Granted, Hardy Heron was OK after a couple of maintenance releases as well, but not at first.
So... I plugged it into my netbook running Ubuntu 9.10 and nothing happened. Fired up CUPS which couldn't find the printer. lsusb sees it just fine. Checked in synaptic and the proper drivers and firmware are all installed. Hmmm... Did a Google Linux search and found this gem:
It seems I haven't printed from the netbook, only the desktop, since I upgraded the netbook to Karmic. It worked just fine when I ran Ubuntu 8.04 LTS (Hardy Heron). It also seems that a bug classified as "high priority" by the Ubuntu people has had no movement whatsoever in nearly two months. I guess I've run into the same attitude at Canonical that has pissed me off before: we'll get it in the next release. Not fixing the current, supported release seems to be just fine with Canonical. For me, with Ubuntu, this was strike three. They're out of here for good. Actually, this was about strike 12 but since they are so damned popular I keep giving them chances. Silly me.
So we FOSS supporters get all on our high horses about proprietary software while we keep offering "Linux for the masses" that, in reality, is an oft broken mess, at least in the case of Ubuntu. If I or anyone else criticize Ubuntu, which is seen as a standard bearer for Linux, we are "bashers" or "haters". Trust me, if they stopped perpetually releasing code that's full of bugs I wouldn't criticize. Other distros do much, much better.
I am back to believing that Eeebuntu developer Andrew Wyatt was right when he called the Ubuntu "garbage salad". This is a perfect example of what he was describing. No wonder distros like Linux Mint and Crunchbang are moving to a Debian base instead of an Ubuntu base.
135 • Line disappeared: issue was with an HP Laserjet 1020 printer (by Caitlyn Martin on 2010-04-10 14:28:25 GMT from United States)
The problem I described in #134 was with my trusty and reliable HP Laserjet 1020. Works just fine with SalixOS...
136 • @ 134,135 Ubuntu (by Henning Melgaard on 2010-04-10 15:09:03 GMT from Denmark)
Agreed, Ubuntu 9.10 was a terrible release :-)
Did you try the beta versions of 10.04?
They work a lot better for me than 9.10 did.
137 • #136 Response (by Caitlyn Martin on 2010-04-10 15:44:48 GMT from United States)
Even with this problem 9.10 is better than 8.10 or 9.04. Honestly, most Ubuntu releases are terrible. Oh, and no, I don't muck about with Ubuntu betas anymore. I'll wait for the final release if I decide to even bother trying...
I've polished my rant into an article. It's at: http://broadcast.oreilly.com/2010/04/ubuntu-is-a-poor-standard-bear.html
138 • Not garbage salad. (by jake at 2010-04-10 17:54:52 GMT from United States)
*buntu is corporate-backed shovelware, trying to be all things to all people. And thus has most of the same issues that Windows has, and for precisely the same reasons.
I check out most of the major distros as they are released, but my go-to system has been Slackware for these last 15 years. It just works. It probably doesn't hurt that I purchase hardware to fit the software and then compile the kernel explicitly for that hardware, rather than expecting any random collection of FOSS tools sitting on a Linux kernel compiled for some unknown collection of hardware to work on every box I try it on ...
139 • still ranting distros (by forlin at 2010-04-10 18:45:13 GMT from Portugal)
I keep saying. Give credit where credit is due. Even Windows, the most buggy distro of all times is used by more than 90% in the world. Ubuntu pushed the Linux in the desktop up and away. There will always be better and worst releases. I couldn't even install Fedora 11, but I find Fedora 12 to be a pearl. To play safe, keep with the LTS releases. Let's give time to time, keep an eye on the positive achievements, and not only the negative. What still puzzles me is why we still see so many "buggy" bunto derivatives. I'll keep an eye on the Mint and Crunch, Debian based, and wish them luck. Now, a disclaimer. I don't use Ubunto, unless to try new versions. My elected Distro, a perfect match for may hardware, is the unknown Paldo. This one did not work with Jesse, in a recent review. Anyway he was able to publish a review of it, even with a no working hardware. So, I don't recommend it to anyone.
140 • Mint and Crunchbang (by fernbap at 2010-04-10 19:10:36 GMT from Portugal)
Tried and installed Crunchbang Statler alfa 1, and despite being still alfa i had no issues at all. Looks completely stable (at least on my machine).
The best of both worlds: a debian where "everything just works" from the start, and from which you can install your desktop (if you don't like openbox) and software of choice, having the huge debian repos available.
I'm also trying Mint 8 Lxde, and i just love it.
if Clem is capable of releasing such rock solid distros based on Ubuntu, why can't Canonical?
141 • Paldo (by Jesse at 2010-04-10 19:21:04 GMT from Canada)
Just to clarify a point in post 139...
I ran Paldo on two physical machines and a virtual environment. Paldo worked fairly well in the virtual environment and my biggest (hardware related) problem was Paldo didn't react well to my desktop's nVidia graphics card. But Paldo handled my laptop's hardware really well. I don't think it's fair to the Paldo developers to say it didn't work with my hardware when really the only concern was one graphics card.
142 • Fads (by Landor at 2010-04-11 00:09:23 GMT from Canada)
Jake here is a prime example of a die-hard Linux user. I could kind of say the same for myself. He sticks with what works great for him and I'd imagine some would say "What has Slackware done for Linux adoption."
Want to know what it's done? It's done what any other distribution that someone uses day to day without using windows at all. It's found one more person, and for years as Jake's said, to be exactly what he (or she) needs.
Take a look at Ladislav's PHR before Ubuntu, take a look at magazines before and after Ubuntu. Mandrake/Mandriva, openSUSE, Slackware, Gentoo, PCLOS, Sabayon, Red Hat, Fedora and yes, Ubuntu. All of them have had their moments in the spotlight, some longer than others. The one thing it says, one day the people here humpin' the crap out of how great Ubuntu is, or someone to take their place, will be doing the same for some other distribution. Then newest and greatest thing that beats all others.
Meanwhile back at the farm...
Keep your stick on the ice...
143 • @Fads (by Antonio on 2010-04-11 00:54:01 GMT from United States)
You are absolutely right Landor. There are FADS or TRENDS whichever word can be used here to describe the patterns.
I remember the old days like 7 years ago, there was Mandrake (1), Fedora (2), Knoppix (3), ... Suse (4/5/6?), Slax (15) ..., etc.
Back in 2001, I had a discussion with my professor's son as I was taking to him about Red Hat, and Mandrake and how I was using them, and he told me have you tried Slackware? and I told him I have not tried it. He told me it was very solid and that it was very powerful running servers in big universities. It took a while for me to try it out, but indirectly I used Slax which is based on Slackware and I really liked it but only used it in live mode. Now I use it at home and at work too, along with Fedora and FreeBSD to play and learn more.
144 • RE: 143 (by Landor at 2010-04-11 03:29:54 GMT from Canada)
I didn't try Slackware until about 4 or so years ago, maybe three. Even though I had used Linux in the 90's. I soon learned to appreciate it's simplicity that melded with its complexity perfectly. I don't run it. I'm using a few different flavours. I'm pretty set on going back to Gentoo as well.
In fact, I almost installed Calculate. I ran it under virtual box, their recent release. I stopped myself from slapping it on a partition for day to day use simply because I couldn't bring myself to use a Gentoo based distribution that was binary. If I want to use a binary then I'd go with one of the other distributions. Gentoo is meant to be source in my opinion. :)
I guess it's time to see how long this quad core will take to compile X and the Fox. :)
Keep your stick on the ice...
145 • Re: 142 (by jake at 2010-04-11 04:19:06 GMT from United States)
"Jake here is a prime example of a die-hard Linux user."
Actually, I'm a computer user. I don't give a rat's ass what OS or hardware I use. I want the OS to fade into the background and do it's job seamlessly, without me thinking about it, or the hardware for that matter, after installation. To date, after the TOPS-10 and -20 "dumb terminal" userland, a properly setup installation of the Slackware distribution of Linux+FOSS is the closest that I've seen for desktop use; and I prefer one flavo(u)r of BSD or another on the servers. YMMV, as usual.
146 • Puredyne (by meanpt at 2010-04-11 18:17:41 GMT from Portugal)
Installed it on Virtual Box machine and my CPU got so hot that was almost burning. Going to skip this one - not shure if this real kernel stuff is good for hardware.
147 • RE: 145 (by Landor at 2010-04-12 01:19:36 GMT from Canada)
I should have clarified that what I meant as a die-hard user, which probably wasn't the correct term anyway, is the fact that you use what simply works, do your business and that's about that.
Keep your stick on the ice...
148 • Re: 147 (by jake at 2010-04-12 05:32:48 GMT from United States)
"you use what simply works, do your business and that's about that."
Yep. It's a little more involved than "just my business", but that pretty much sums it up. I use Slack because it works the way I expect/need/want un*x to work. Yes, Slack probably has a steep learning curve for most ... the end result is worth it, IMO.
 I have Slackware based systems installed in locations ranging from Fortune 150 data centers to my technophobic Mother & computer illiterate Great Aunt's PCs ... Slack's flexible that way; you can go pure binary or compile it yourself, and pick & choose what you actually need. End result? An OS that fits any given situation, with minimal time spent for said installation, given a cognizant installer.
 I contributed code to 1BSD ... I was probably in the wrong place at the wrong time ... but I got a good education anyway :-)
149 • Fedora 13 (by Jeffersonian at 2010-04-12 07:07:01 GMT from United States)
I have used now FC13, extensively and really love it.
The main criticism that I could have is that it is a "geek's distro" in other words it require extensive Linux experience to make it work properly.
Things as common as installing drivers (video, Wi-FI) are not so trivial in FC12.
And if you make a mistake... then you need to go to rescue mode (not for the Windows user faint of heart).
But it is obvious that all the Fedora development effort goes in a solid Linux foundation, and boy it is solid.
So Fedora will show its full strenght when some brave heart will use it as Mint uses Ubuntu: as a fundation... and Mint shines too !
I am hoping that soon we will see a full derivative of Fedora, "Joe six pack"'s Fedora if you want !
But it will take some "Joe the plumber" (A real Linux plumber !) to make this happen.
And it will be good, and it will not be the first time that a Red Hat Linux is used as a base: Mandrake, and Suse were both based on RHL.
In this area, a common GNU code base or detecting hardware and automagically install the right drivers would be great. Knoppix was a leader there!
For KDE4 I remain a sceptic: still too slow and bloated: KDE is a great GUI platform, but a KDE windows manager has to be leaner, faster (XFC4 is great !)
When will we see a smaller KDE login and Windows manager?
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