| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 305, 1 June 2009
Welcome to this year's 22nd issue of DistroWatch Weekly! OpenSolaris 2009.06, the third official release of the increasingly influential UNIX alternative for the desktop, is here! With a large number of new features and updated applications, it is bound to excite everybody interested in free operating systems. But will it also entice the average desktop user? That remains to be seen. In other news, Fedora slips the release of version 11 "Leonidas" by another week, FreeBSD gets set to enter code freeze in preparation for version 8.0, NetBSD receives a new binary package manager to offer a more APT/YUM-like package management experience, Debian gets improved support for Eee PC netbooks, and the openSUSE community announces Goblin - a new Moblin and openSUSE-based distro for netbooks. Also in this issue, the feature article takes a look at a minimalist, yet highly usable and well-designed Debris Linux, while the tips and tricks section returns with an article on running "Factory", the openSUSE development branch. Finally, we are pleased to announce that the recipient of the May 2009 DistroWatch.com donations is SliTaz GNU/Linux. Happy reading!
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|Feature Story (by Caitlyn Martin)
Taking a look At Debris Linux
It seems hardly a week goes by without an announcement of a new distribution based on Ubuntu. Among them perhaps only a handful stands out for doing something innovative or significantly different from the parent distribution. Debris Linux is one that really caught my eye.
The name Debris Linux first appeared in May 2007. Prior to that the distro was known as BeaFanatIX (BFX). Debris Linux 1.0, the first stable release under the new name, was announced on April 5th, 2008 and was based on Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon). Debris Linux is a live CD with a custom installer called DebIthat supports traditional hard drive installations or the creation of a live bootable USB stick using a frugal installation similar to Damn Small Linux. The distribution fits on a single ISO image that is always less than 200 MB, allowing Debris Linux to fit on a mini (3" / 8cm) CD, despite providing a completely functional GNOME desktop.
The goals for the distro include keeping it small, compact, and keeping hardware requirements as modest as possible to allow Debris to run well on older hardware. Recommended system requirements are a Pentium II or better processor, 128 MB RAM, and 2 GB of hard disk space. A fully installed system takes up just 850 MB of disk space, making Debris ideal for low-end or first-generation netbooks and nettops with 2 or 4 GB of SSD storage as well as legacy systems with storage limitations. In many ways Debris Linux is to Ubuntu what distributions like Slax and Wolvix Cub are to Slackware. A relatively small but active community has grown around the distro and there is an active user forum.
Current stable release - Debris Linux 1.0.4
The most recent stable release of Debris Linux is version 1.0.4, which was announced on January 17th. I tried it on my 6.5-year old Toshiba Satellite 1805-S204 (Intel Celeron 1.0 GHz CPU, 512 MB RAM, 20 GB HDD) and was favorably impressed by the little distro. Ubuntu live CDs generally are slower that molasses running uphill in the wintertime on the old Toshiba to the point of being pretty much unusable. Debris Linux took time to load but once it was up and running it was quite responsive and functional. The developers' claim of improved performance on older or limited specification hardware was immediately proven. There was also one obvious bug. I had a small desktop displayed surrounded by black space. This was something I had seen with Slackware and some Slackware derivatives. Clearly whatever Debris Linux 1.0.4 was using for video hardware detection didn't come from Ubuntu. I also knew from experience that this was easily fixed if I installed the OS to the hard drive, which I did.
The Debris custom installer, Debi, is text-based, but it is also simple, straightforward, and well thought out. The version in Debris Linux 1.0.4 offered the option of using the whole hard drive, choosing partitions that currently exist on the hard drive, or repartitioning with your choice of GParted or cfdisk. I chose to use existing partitions and selected a root and home partition. I was not given a choice of file systems; the DebIinstaller always uses ext3. I was given the option of keeping my /home directory and not formatting it.
Once installed, I had a functional GNOME system but I did still have the display problem described above. I used a known good xorg.conf file from Mandriva Linux and the problem disappeared. As you'd expect, I had a very limited choice of applications installed, including Firefox, Evolution, gFTP, Pidgin, AbiWord, Gnumeric, Leafpad, GQView, and Audacious. Ubuntu's Network Manager handled network connectivity and both wired and wireless networking were functional immediately after install. The installer did not configure my sound card and ALSA, while installed, was disabled by default.
I didn't find many bugs in Debris Linux 1.0.4 which is what I would expect by a fourth maintenance release. One rather obvious but trivial bug that did show up was that two icons rather than one were displayed for removable media such as a USB stick.
Unfortunately, Debris Linux 1.0.4 developed a rather serious problem in late April. Only a small repository of customized packages is maintained specifically for the distro. Otherwise Debris Linux depends on upstream Ubuntu repositories. Last month Ubuntu 7.10 reached end of supported life. If you go to update your package listing, you will get lots of 404 errors as the repositories are now gone. The recommendation from Stephan Emmerich (Renegat3), the lead developer, is to run the most recent development build for the forthcoming Debris Linux 2.0.
The road to Debris Linux 2.0
The first public alpha of Debris Linux 2.0 was released on October 4, 2008. After five public alpha releases, the first beta, version 1.7.0, was released on May 4. The Debris Linux team has made clear that the goal is to get to a final 2.0 release relatively quickly now that Ubuntu 7.10 is no longer supported.
Unlike Debris Linux 1.0, which was based off the most recent Ubuntu release, moving forward Debris Linux will only use Ubuntu Long Term Support (LTS) releases as their base, which should prevent the problem of Canonical ending support before the next major release is ready. The other benefit of basing on Ubuntu 8.04 LTS (Hardy Heron), rather than 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope), is that 8.04 has already had three maintenance releases and most of the known significant bugs have been fixed. LTS releases are what Canonical offers to corporate enterprise customers who want maximum stability and reliability. Some of the problems that some distros have had with the latest video drivers are also avoided by using Hardy Heron as the base code. The trade off is that sticking with the LTS release means that, other than applications that have been backported or specifically packaged for Debris Linux, the distro will not include the most recent cutting-edge software. It may also sometimes lack support for the very latest hardware on the market. Debris Linux gets around a lot of the hardware support issues by providing a recent, customized kernel.
Matthias Gaiser (MoonMind) describes the Debris Linux philosophy: "The concept behind Debris could be described as 'as simple, straightforward and efficient as possible'. This means we don't put in everything - we only integrate what really needs to be there, and while you may not always be able to witness it, we discuss options and choices extensively. [...] We don't want to be a full-featured distribution - we're a streamlined one with a strong focus on basic desktop use. Neither do we want to pack in everything but the kitchen sink and reduce size by only using super-slim applications (there are other distributions which do exactly that - take Puppy Linux or Damn Small Linux). What we do want is to offer a pleasant, if a bit limited desktop experience with everything in place to do the most important things a person would want to do with a computer. Since not everyone has a machine that performs well when confronted with modern multimedia applications or content, we've chosen to integrate only the most necessary features."
Current beta release - Debris Linux 1.7.0
I installed Debris Linux 1.7.0 to both the Toshiba laptop and to my 4-month old Sylvania g Netbook Meso (1.6 GHz Intel Atom N270 CPU, 1 GB RAM, 80 GB HDD). I found that DebIhasn't changed much at all since version 1.0.4. Installation went smoothly on both machines. The video issue I described above on the Toshiba laptop with the Trident Cyberblade XPi chipset hasn't been fixed yet but was easy enough to work around. On the Sylvania netbook, the system was correctly configured for the default 1024x600 pixels resolution. On both systems everything "just worked" with two notable exceptions. In both cases I needed to install additional packages from the Ubuntu repository, including PulseAudio, to get fully functional sound. On the netbook, there were no webcam drivers or applications installed. That would be too much to ask from a mini distro like Debris Linux. CUPS is installed by default, but is not configured.
Debris Linux with the default Aeryn (GNOME + Openbox) desktop
(full image size: 403kB, screen resolution 1024x600 pixels)
Once installed, the new Debris beta now offers three choices for your desktop:
I found that when I chose the nicely configured standalone Openbox desktop, performance on the old Toshiba laptop was very good indeed. I'd need to do some benchmarking to see if it's as fast as Wolvix or VectorLinux Light, but it is at least very close. All in all, it's nicely done, both in terms of a nice, simple, visually appealing desktop and in terms of optimizing for speed. All the applications have been updated to the latest and greatest and there is one new addition: Brasero, a graphical CD/DVD burner. Evolution has been replaced by the lighter Claws Mail.
- Aeryn: GNOME with Openbox replacing Metacity as the window manager
- Traditional GNOME with Metacity
- Standalone Openbox with fbpanel
Debris Linux with the stand alone OpenBox desktop
(full image size: 293kB, screen resolution 1024x768 pixels)
The Debris Linux repository remains very small, but does offer a development meta package, Kazehakase, a Webkit-based lightweight browser, and packages of additional kernel modules not included in the slimmed-down default kernel. The excellent and very well-stocked Ubuntu Hardy repositories are also all enabled by default.
I won't do a full review of Debris Linux until version 2.0 is released. I generally consider it unfair to judge a distro based on beta or development code. What I can say now is that while I've found a few relatively minor bugs (which I will document and report, of course), I believe Debris Linux 1.7.0 is surprisingly close to being ready for prime time. For a newcomer to Linux, the only issue that might be challenging is figuring out what to add to make hardware that isn't supported out of the box functional. Debris Linux is already worth a look if you want a small, simple Ubuntu-based distro that performs well. The developers are successfully sticking with their philosophy and meeting their goals for a compact distro while providing the basic functionality most people will look for.
|Running openSUSE "Factory" (by Ladislav Bodnar)
Running openSUSE "Factory"
Continuing our series of tips about how to run development branches of major distributions (we have so far covered Mandriva "Cooker" and Slackware "Current"), today we'll take a look at openSUSE and its "Factory" repository. Previously called "Edge", this development repository offers interested beta testers a unique opportunity to try a product as it evolves, including the latest versions of many popular applications, and to help improving the distribution by reporting bugs. It isn't for the faint of heart, however; in fact, the project's Factory page warns that "Factory is not guaranteed to be in a consistent and installable state during the full development cycle." That said, most of the time it runs just fine, but if a disaster strikes, it's always possible to re-install the system from any recent milestone release.
Updating a stable or a milestone release to "Factory" requires modifying the repository files, then running two zypper commands. Unlike the Fedora or Ubuntu development releases, both of which come pre-configured for updates from their respective development trees, openSUSE milestones don't automatically point to "Factory" for future updates. This needs to be done manually. Follow these step to turn your stable or milestone release of openSUSE to a bleeding-edge distribution with the very latest software:
- First, back up your current repository settings: # copy -rp /etc/zypp/repos.d/ /etc/zypp/repos.d-backup/
- Update repository files *: # sed -i '/^baseurl/s/distribution\/11.2/factory/' /etc/zypp/repos.d/*
- Update repository names: # sed -i '/^name/s/11.2/Factory/' /etc/zypp/repos.d/*
- Disable the update repository **: # sed -i 's/enabled=1/enabled=0/' /etc/zypp/repos.d/
- Update the package list: # zypper refresh
- Upgrade to openSUSE "Factory": # zypper dup
- Run # zypper refresh && zypper update once or twice a week to ensure that you are always in sync with the openSUSE development.
* Note: The command assumes that you are updating to "Factory" from a 11.2 Milestone release. If you are updating from a stable 11.1 release, you should replace 11.2 with 11.1 in the above code.
** Note: Unlike a stable or milestone release, "Factory" doesn't get updates in a special directory.
That's all. Once you are done and everything went as planned, you'll be running a system with Linux kernel 2.6.30-rc6, glibc 2.9, GCC 4.4, X.Org Server 1.6.1, KDE 4.3-beta1, GNOME 2.28-beta1, Firefox 3.5-beta4 and many other applications in their latest versions!
openSUSE "Factory" - follow the development of the popular distribution on a weekly basis
(full image size: 123kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
|Miscellaneous News (by Chris Smart)
OpenSolaris readies 2009.06, Fedora slips 11 again, FreeBSD 8.0 enters code freeze, NetBSD gets a new binary package manager, Debian gets improved support for Eee PC, openSUSE community develops a new Moblin distro, Ubuntu User magazine
The sale of Sun Microsystems has not yet hindered one of its most important community projects, OpenSolaris. Due for imminent release, version 2009.06 is a much anticipated improvement to the well-received 2008.11. Peter Dennis has released a paper showing what's new, which includes: an automated installer, improved package management graphical user interface, support for hardware drivers via a graphical tool, improved desktop interface, intrusion protection, support for the SPARC server architecture and more. Perhaps taking a leaf from the openSUSE book, OpenSolaris now supports installing packages via external sources using a "One Click Web Install" method which should help garner wider support for the distro. On the storage side, 2009.06 supports the ability to boot from iSCSI storage devices and has a better CIFS implementation. Sun has also improved the implementation of their Zettabyte File System (ZFS), one of the most popular components. Still, the release notes show no less than 22 known major bugs for the installer, with 33 in total for the release overall. What would it take for you to install OpenSolaris? If you're enticed, some online guides may help get you started.
The official release announcement of OpenSolaris 2009.06 is expected to be made later today (Monday), after the start of the CommunityOne West development conference in San Francisco, but some of the OpenSolaris mirrors already carry the final CD images. Download the i386 edition from here: osol-0906-x86.iso (677MB, MD5, torrent).
OpenSolaris 2009.06 - the third official release of OpenSolaris bring a host of new features
(full image size: 472kB, screen resolution 1280x800 pixels)
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The latest version of Fedora has been delayed yet again, slipping another week and is now due for release on the 9th June. Jesse Keating wrote to the Fedora announce list: "A late discovered and just potentially fixed Anaconda storage bug has necessitated another week slip of our schedule. The change is important but invasive enough to require re-validating our storage tests." As they say, "good things come to those who wait" and Linux distributions are no exception! Unlike other commercially-driven distros which often ship on time, major bugs or not, it is good to see Fedora stand up for quality over commercial deadlines. Keating continues: "As much as we regret slipping, we also wish to avoid easily triggerable bugs in our release, particularly in software that cannot be fixed with a 0-day update." The project is renowned for high quality packages and a supportive community, so this slip will likely be seen as a positive move. Nevertheless, it may still be bitter sweet. Bitter because users want to get their teeth into the latest technology the Linux world has to offer, but sweet because they know when its ready, it will truly be ready. Is the slip a sign of weakness, or great strength?
* * * * *
One of the big players in the open source world has just pre-announced a code freeze in preparation of its upcoming version. Yes, FreeBSD 8.0 is due in August 2009 and naturally we can expect many popular derivatives of the project to follow soon thereafter. Some of the big changes include the adoption of the LLVM compiler as an optional replacement for GCC, which migrated to the GPLv3 license post its 4.2 release. Ivan Voras writes: "As the GCC compiler suite, it was re-licensed under GPLv3 after the 4.2 release, and the GPLv3 is a big disappointment for some users of BSD systems (mostly commercial users who have no-gplv3-beyond-company-doors policy), having an alternative, non-GPLv3 compiler for the base system has become highly desirable. Currently, the overall consensus is that GCC 4.3 will not be imported into the base system (the same goes for other GPLv3 code)." Major improvements include support for the Xen virtualisation system as a guest (not host), better support for removable devices, higher memory limit of 6 GB for AMD64 systems, lightweight kernel threads, a new SMP optimised scheduler, support for booting from GPT partition tables and much, much more. The release will also include updated ZFS and DTrace support from Sun's OpenSolaris operating system. It's looking to be a big year for FreeBSD!
* * * * *
Still in the land of BSDs, Emile Heitor has posted about a new binary package management tool for NetBSD, called pkgin. Heitor says the lack of a decent binary management tool may be a hindrance to the operating system's adoption: "From the day I began using NetBSD I felt that there was a need for a binary package manager. For many years, Linux has had tools like APT, YUM and Pacman that are able to handle package installation properly using remote repositories. With such tools, package installation, removal and upgrade are really simple, there is no need for CVS checkout, make or worse in order to have a usable environment within a few minutes." The project is fairly young, but holds a lot of promise: "That's why I started the pkgin project 3 months ago. Pkgin (pronounced "pay-kay-djin") is aimed at being an APT/YUM like tool for managing pkgsrc binary packages. It relies on pkg_summary(5) for installation, removal and upgrade of packages and associated dependencies, using a remote repository." Is this something that other NetBSD users will approve of, or is it a slight against the ports way?
* * * * *
Netbooks are definitely here to stay and the Debian Eee PC team has announced completed support for Lenny. The custom installer focuses on complete support for all Eee PC netbook modules out of the box" "We are pleased that Lenny released with good support for the Eee PC and are now turning our efforts to make Squeeze even better, while continuing to provide support for our Lenny user base. The standard Lenny installer can install Debian on all models of Eee and our custom installer provides the ability to install over wireless networks for almost every model from a very small image." If you're after a custom, supported distro for your netbook, take a closer look at this powerful Debian option. It also supports installation over wireless networks: "The latter continues to be our recommended install method, since in addition to being wireless-ready, the custom installer also handles a few other small Eee-specific configuration chores to make as much as possible 'just work' right after the install." The Debian community is very large, so it is great to see such a positive project gaining support. Will there be a Moblin addition down the road?
* * * * *
Speaking of Moblin, with the release of beta 2, numerous distributions are rolling their own Moblin editions. First, openSUSE released its own and now a new unofficial project, called "Goblin", has been created. Project creator Andrew Wafaa says Goblin is a cross between the openSUSE Gecko mascot and Moblin. He writes: "This is not an officially sanctioned project in any shape, form or matter (not yet at least). I am not trying to fork Moblin at all, I am purely allowing people to get the Moblin experience running on an openSUSE base. I am in the process of getting some installable images (both USB and optical) but there are one or two issues that need to be overcome first. Hopefully I can get it out the door soon." Whether Goblin will attract much support remains to be seen, especially after Novell announced their own official supported version. Either way, it's good to see variety in the Linux ecosystem.
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Ubuntu, the ever popular Linux distribution continues to win over fans around the world. In a time where more and more information is moving out of the paper world and into the online realm, one publisher is bucking the trend by releasing a physical magazine. Ubuntu User is dedicated to all things Ubuntu: "Ubuntu User is the first print magazine for users of the popular Ubuntu computer operating system. The power, style, and simplicity of Ubuntu are winning followers around the world. Ubuntu User offers reviews, community news, HOWTO articles, and troubleshooting tips for readers who are excited about Ubuntu and want to learn more about the Ubuntu environment." The magazine does offer some excellent sample articles from each issue on their website. With so much high quality information available online, would you pay for a monthly paper magazine about your favourite distribution?
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In April this year DistroWatch published a Weekly newsletter where we discussed the idea of a centralised bug tracker for all open-source projects. The concept was reasonably well received by the DistroWatch regulars with numerous suggestions offered on how it might work. Now, the idea has a chance to spring into life. Jesse Smith wrote in to say: "Recently the folks over at Bugzilla have been nice enough to set up a Bugzilla database for me to test the theory of a unified tracking system." The idea is still in its infancy, but Smith is looking for administrators who are interested in having their project listed for testing purposes. Smith writes: "I'm hoping to hear from project maintainers who would like to have their project listed in the One Stop bug tracker. An empty database obviously isn't much good; I need people willing to check it for bugs against their projects." If you are involved in a project or know someone who is and the idea appeals to you, consider nominating it for inclusion in the database.
|Released Last Week
Nexenta Core Platform 2.0
Anil Gulecha has announced the release of Nexenta Core Platform 2.0, a base operating system combining the OpenSolaris kernel with Debian utilities and Ubuntu packages: "The Nexenta team would like to announce the immediate availability of the Nexenta Core Platform 2 release. Release highlights: OpenSolaris build 104+ with critical patches; over 13,000 packages in the repository; smooth upgrade path from NCP1; community-driven efforts bringing X.Org, Xfce and GNOME Core into the repository; based on Ubuntu 8.04 repository; this includes latest dpkg/APT, GCC, Binutils, Coreutils, Perl, Python, Ruby, Qt and GTK+ libraries; SMF support added for server applications like Apache, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Exim; 100% native Debian environment, easy to upgrade, easy to use. Includes Vim and screen by default; addition of latest devzone version to the CD; includes apt-clone which brings ZFS power to apt-get." Here is the full release announcement.
Linux Mint 7
Clement Lefebvre has announced the release of Linux Mint 7: "The team is proud to announce the release of Linux Mint 7 'Gloria'. The 7th release of Linux Mint comes with numerous bug fixes and a lot of improvements. In particular the menu system, the application manager and the upload manager now provide new features such as 'Suggestions', 'Featured applications', 'SCP and SFTP support'. The underlying base of the operating system was also strengthened with a new adjustment mechanism which makes Linux Mint more robust and less vulnerable to Ubuntu package upgrades, and the introduction of virtual and meta packages which simplify upgrade paths and the installation of multiple desktop environments." Here is the full release announcement and features overview for a detailed list of new features and screenshot.
CentOS 5.3 "Live CD"
Karanbir Singh has announced the release of a live CD edition of CentOS 5.3, a distribution built from source packages for Red Hat Enterprise Linux: "The CentOS development team is pleased to announce the availability of CentOS 5.3 i386 live CD. This CD is based on our CentOS 5.3 i386 distribution. It can be used as a Workstation, with the following software: OpenOffice.org 2.3.0, Firefox 3.0.6, Thunderbird 22.214.171.124, Pidgin 2.5.5, XChat 2.6.6, GIMP 2.2.13. It can also be used as a rescue CD with the following tools: Memtest86+ 1.65, full set of LVM and RAID command line tools, Nmap and NMapFE, Traceroute, Samba 3.0.33 with CIFS kernel support to connect to Windows file shares, system log viewer, GUI hardware device manager. The following packages were removed to reach the 700 MB target: Emacs, K3b, Scribus." See the release announcement and release notes for more information.
PC/OS 10 "Open64 Workstation"
Roberto J. Dohnert has announced the release of PC/OS 10 "Open64 Workstation" edition, a desktop distribution based on Ubuntu 9.04 and designed for 64-bit workstations: "Today we are pleased to announce the availability of PC/OS Open64 Workstation 10. This release targets specifically 64-bit hardware systems. It is based on the Ubuntu 9.04 base system and has been updated with all the security and bug patches as of May 25, 2009. Some of the new features include: Xfce 4.6, OpenOffice.org 3.1, Qt 4, MonoDevelop, VLC, Exaile, Sun Java, 64-bit Flash plugin; multimedia and development tools and libraries; all multimedia codecs. Known issues: no usplash; on the live DVD the panel launchers do not work, this is due to Xfce including a working directory structure to panel launchers." Read the rest of the release announcement for further details.
Calculate Linux 9.6
Alexander Tratsevskiy has announced the release of Linux Desktop 9.6 "KDE" edition, a Gentoo-based distribution for the desktop: "Calculate Linux Desktop 9.6 KDE released. This is an anniversary version of Calculate Linux Desktop, the first version of which was released exactly 2 years ago. The main changes: to boot from the DVD using isolinux; added a choice of keyboard layout when booting from the DVD; graphical network configuration tool wicd has been added; the setting of video card during download from DVD has been made through the X.Org video drivers; the installation image will not be distributed, the system can be updated without recording to DVD; improved the support for booting from USB DVD. Main components: Linux kernel 126.96.36.199, X.Org 7.4, KDE 4.2.3, OpenOffice.org 3.0.1." Here is the brief release announcement.
Hacao Linux 4.21
Truong Nguyen Quang has announced the release of Hacao Linux 4.21, a beginner-friendly, Vietnamese desktop Linux distribution based on Puppy Linux and supporting Intel Classmate PC and other low-cost portable computers. This version is based on the recently released Puppy Linux 4.2.1, but has been modified to include full support for Vietnamese and other enhancements designed for the local market. The release comes in two editions - the 120 MB "Standard" edition includes Unicode support, Unikey, Font and Stardict, while the 319 MB "Pro" edition also contains OpenOffice.org 3.0.1, a Vietnamese spell-checking utility, Skype with video support, the GIMP image manipulation program, WINE for running Windows software, and other popular software applications. Read the detailed release announcement (in Vietnamese) for further information and a handful of screenshots.
Hacao Linux - an easy-to-use desktop distribution designed for Vietnam
(full image size: 1,093kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
May 2009 DistroWatch.com donation: SliTaz GNU/Linux receives US$200.00|
We are happy to announce that the recipient of the May 2009 DistroWatch.com donation is SliTaz GNU/Linux, a minimalist, independently-built distribution that fits on a 30 MB live CD. It receives €140 in cash.
Although a relatively recent addition to the ever growing list of Linux distributions, SliTaz GNU/Linux has risen to prominence with it extremely small, yet functional and extensible desktop, as well as its custom package management system. As a mini distribution and live CD designed to run speedily on hardware with 256 MB of RAM, SliTaz uses BusyBox, a recent Linux kernel and GNU software. It boots with Syslinux and provides more than 200 Linux commands, the lighttpd web server, SQLite database, rescue tools, IRC client, SSH client and server powered by Dropbear, X window system, JWM (Joe's Window Manager), gFTP, Geany IDE, Mozilla Firefox, AlsaPlayer, GParted, a sound file editor and more. The SliTaz ISO image fits on a less than 30 MB media and takes just 80 MB of hard disk space.
SliTaz GNU/Linux 2.0 - a small, yet highly functional desktop Linux distribution in 30 MB
(full image size: 90kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
As always, this monthly donations program is a joint initiative between DistroWatch and two online shops selling low-cost CDs and DVDs with Linux, BSD and other open source software - LinuxCD.org and OSDisc.com. These vendors contributed US$50.00 each towards this month's donation to SliTaz GNU/Linux.
Here is the list of projects that received a DistroWatch donation since the launch of the program (figures in US dollars):
Since the launch of the Donations Program in March 2004, DistroWatch has donated a total of US$20,933 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)
* * * * *
New distributions added to database
- Debris Linux. Debris Linux is a minimalist, desktop-oriented distribution and live CD based on Ubuntu. It includes the GNOME desktop and a small set of popular desktop applications, such as GNOME Office, Firefox web browser, Pidgin instant messenger, and Firestarter firewall manager. Debris Linux ships with a custom kernel, a custom system installer called DebI, and a script that makes it easy to save and restore any customisations made while in live mode.
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New distributions added to waiting list
- Foxy Linux. Foxy Linux is a new beginner-friendly, Brazilian desktop distribution based on Debian GNU/Linux.
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DistroWatch database summary
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And this concludes the latest issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 8 June 2009.
Caitlyn Martin, Chris Smart and Ladislav Bodnar
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