| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 6, 14 July 2003
Linux Journal Reader's Choice Award - a Joke?
Are you going to vote in this year's Linux Journal Reader's Choice Award? Unlike many other web sites which bend over to send visitors to vote in the survey, I say don't bother. Why? Because the choices given in the survey were put together several years ago and the Linux Journal editors haven't kept up with the ever changing Linux world - instead they mostly maintain the same survey choices as last year and the year before. Take the "Favorite Distribution" section as an example. No less than 16 (that's over one third!) of the distributions listed are long dead or unmaintained (Antarctica, Armed, Caldera, Corel, Jurix, Progeny, Stampede, Storm...) and should have not been kept on the list, while others have changed names (Best, Redmond), but their names have not been updated. Some extremely popular distributions (such as Knoppix) are missing and so are some reasonably widely-used ones (Xandros, LindowsOS). Curiously, a new Knoppix-based distribution called Mepis has somehow managed to sneak onto the list!
Similarly, the "Favorite Linux Web Site" section lists sites that no longer exist (Linux Applications, segfault.org), while last year's most popular "write-in" site - PCLinuxOnline - has still not been given a proper voting option. All this shows that the Linux Journal editors don't take the Reader's Choice Award seriously enough to give it a thorough revision each year and neither should we. If you are going to submit a vote, I suggest you scroll down to the bottom of the page and give the magazine a wake-up call - a two-year old survey is not the way to go!
Categorising Linux Distributions
One excellent way of categorising Linux distributions (at least the binary ones) is by their package management. This document offers a comparisons of all main package formats - RPM, DEB and TGZ, together with Stampede's SLP (no longer in development) and UNIX's PKG formats. The table compares many aspects of each format, including security features, usability and metadata, to name a few. Certainly worth a bookmark.
|Released Last Week
One of the more interesting distributions released last week was DeLi Linux. Immediately after the announcement on the front page, the page hit count on the DeLi Linux page soared spectacularly, approaching levels that Mandrake or Red Hat pages get shortly after new releases. This makes me wonder - is the old PC a neglected market? How many of us have an old computer lying idly in the cupboard? Unfortunately, Red Hat 9 won't even install on anything with less than 64MB of RAM (double that for a graphical install) and many other distributions no longer bother with these low-end systems. Has anybody tried DeLi Linux 0.3? Any opinions are welcome.
On the other end of the spectrum is the latest SuSE Linux 8.2 for AMD Athlon 64, the beta of which was released last week and, unlike SuSE's ix86 branch, it is freely downloadable. Out of curiosity - are these 64 bit systems getting deployed? Anybody has any experience with them? Most importantly, would you like to see future release announcements about them on the front page? Let us know...
Lindows has released a live CD distribution called LindowsCD. The US$30 price tag is disappointing - a couple of weeks ago there was a message on the Lindows user forums indicating that this CD would be offered to all as a free download. However, users report that there is a way to obtain it for free - all you have to do is to sign up for the 15-day trial, which gives you download access to the LindowsOS installation CD, live LindowsCD and unlimited access to Click-N-Run for the duration of the trial. You do need a credit card to sign up, but it won't be charged if you cancel within the trial period. Sign up by visiting this page and creating an account - it's a risk-free way of trying out LindowsOS without a commitment.
Two new releases were announced last week - Morphix 0.4 and Plamo Linux 3.2. This release of Plamo Linux was specially prepared for inclusion in the August issue of the Nikkei Linux magazine, which also features a comprehensive review (in Japanese) of this distribution. Plamo Linux is a Slackware-based distribution, which has been in development since 1998; visit the distribution's web site (Japanese only) for more information.
- Arch Linux 0.5 beta - a quiet release, the ISO is available from the download page.
- Vector Linux 4.0 beta was announced on the Vector Linux announcement list - if you'd like to test it, get the ISO image by following the download link on Vector's web site.
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
"LinuxInstall.org would like to make two announcements. Firstly, LinuxInstall.org is re-organizing release numbers. Release 1.0 becomes Release 1.1, Release 2.0 becomes Release 1.2 and Release
3.0 becomes Release 1.3. Secondly, LinuxInstall.org 1.4 will be released on July 21st. It will include Mozilla 1.4 and Evolution 1.4 as well as OpenOffice.org 1.1RC. Mozilla 1.4 RPM package included in this release was recompiled only with xft option to be fully compatible with existing FlashPlayer, RealPlayer and Java plugins. In addition, MPlayer
will be added with QuickTime Plugin enabled for Mozilla. For current LinuxInstall.org users, these new core packages will be available for free."
Mandrake 9.2 Beta
According to a rough schedule released last month, the first beta of Mandrake Linux 9.2 should be released shortly, while the 9.2 final release is expected in the middle of September.
Red Hat X?
An observant member of a Red Hat mailing list spotted a new item on the Barnes & Noble.com list of new books - Red Hat Linux X Bible. Scheduled for publication in October this year, the title has given rise to usual speculations about future naming schemes and release schedules of the Red Hat distribution. Unfortunately, Red Hat has become a lot less predictable when it comes to various aspects of their distribution, so the book might just be a publisher's guess, subject to last minute changes. But what about the release date? Red Hat indicated some time ago that a less frequent (annual?) release schedule might be a more practical way of producing community releases. If we don't see a new beta version within the next month or so, it will be fair to say that this is indeed the case.
Xandros Desktop 1.1
According to this forum post, Xandros Corporation has apparently informed their resellers about a new upcoming release - Xandros Desktop 1.1. The product will retail for US$39 and will include Crossover Office 2.0, OpenOffice.org 1.0.3, Mozilla upgrade to version 1.3.1 and Active Directory authentication. A Spanish OEM version will also be available. A Xandros employee confirmed the release in a later post and explained some of the raised concerns: "There is no reason for current users to purchase this upgrade unless you want the new CrossOver. Everything else on the CD is either already available through Xandros Networks (device drivers, etc..), or will be available quite soon (we're working on that right now). This is essentially equivalent to a service pack. This is not a major release that requires news posted all over the website." I suspect that most Xandros users and fans will strongly disagree with the last sentence.
|Web Site News
The package list has been updated. A total of 22 new, frequently requested packages have been added to the database and these will be tracked from now on in the usual manner; the new packages are: apt4rpm, BitTorrent, blender, cinelerra, coreutils, db, eclipse, exim, freetype, ipvsadm, jakarta-tomcat, k3b, lftp, libvorbis, NetBeans, qtparted, quanta, scribus, synaptic, tcpdump, vsftpd and zlib. (A hint to all those readers who have requested the addition of quanta and other packages - there is no reason why you should delay your joining the Timesavers now, right?) The number of tracked packages has risen to 174. Additionally, a new feature giving a brief package description has also been implemented - if unsure about the purpose of a package, just hover your mouse over its name on any of the distribution tables and a pop-up message will give a brief hint (this feature should work in most browsers).
The related links page has also been expanded. It presents long lists of links to Linux distributions and projects that are currently excluded from being listed on DistroWatch, such as floppy-based or embedded Linux distributions. The page will be continuously updated and if you know of a distribution that should be listed there, please email me directly or mention it in the discussion forum below.
- LRs Linux has been discontinued: "LRs GNU/Linux is no longer available, this project is closed. Thanks to all our user and developer it was a nice time with you. Bernd Eller aka berell."
- Madeinlinux has also been moved onto the Discontinued Distributions page. Although their web site is still reasonably active and it has been promising a new version 5.0 for over 6 months, their last release dated January 2001 is just too outdated to be usable.
No new distributions have been added to DistroWatch last week.
New on the waiting list
Another good week for new distribution submissions; the following projects have been added to the waiting list:
DistroWatch database summary
- AbulEdu - a French educational distribution based on Mandrake.
- Berry Linux - a Japanese live CD project based on Red Hat 9 and Knoppix 3.2.
- Drinou-Linux a French project, a minimal distribution based on Slackware 7.1.
- guadaLINEX - a live CD developed by the Spanish regional government of Andalucia, based on LinEx and Debian.
- Locust Mesh AP Linux - a live CD project, currently in development.
- stresslinux - a minimal linux distribution running from a bootable cdrom or via PXE. It is designed for users who want to test their system on high load and monitor its health.
- ThePacketMaster (TPM) Linux - a live CD distribution with security and forensic utilities.
Number of distributions in the database: 154
Number of discontinued distributions: 20
Number of distributions on the waiting list: 48
About the waiting list|
Based on my experience, about half of them won't survive the 3-months waiting period. As an example, take the PlumpOS project at - the author emailed me with a request to list his distribution, but 3 months later, the project page has a blurb about some other interesting projects taking priority over PlumpOS. This is usually the first sign of the project being on life support, so don't be surprised if the current release candidate never matures into a final release. Other projects appear to be in a similar situation. I'll keep them on the waiting list for another 3 months and if I don't see any new activity, I'll drop them from the list.
- "The waiting list is growing and growing. Distros are blooming, some of them very small and specific. At this rate, I wouldn't be surprised to see more distros in the waiting list than being tracked some time soon. Do you have any ideas on this respect?"
On DistroWatch icons, logos and banners
- "I have created a banner, not sure where i should send it in to, I'll give you a link, tell me what you think."
Anybody else with some ideas? Having a choice would be nice :-) All reasonable efforts will be rewarded with a free access to DistroWatch Timesavers, so if you have a graphics design talent, please fire up your favourite image editor and get creative! Thanks a lot :-)
That's all for this week, keep well and see you next Monday,
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 815 (2019-05-20): Sabayon 19.03, Clear Linux's developer features, Red Hat explains MDS flaws, an overview of mobile distro options|
|• Issue 814 (2019-05-13): Fedora 30, distributions publish Firefox fixes, CentOS publishes roadmap to 8.0, Debian plans to use Wayland by default|
|• Issue 813 (2019-05-06): ROSA R11, MX seeks help with systemd-shim, FreeBSD tests unified package management, interview with Gael Duval|
|• Issue 812 (2019-04-29): Ubuntu MATE 19.04, setting up a SOCKS web proxy, Scientific Linux discontinued, Red Hat takes over Java LTS support|
|• Issue 811 (2019-04-22): Alpine 3.9.2, rsync examples, Ubuntu working on ZFS support, Debian elects new Project Leader, Obarun releases S6 tools|
|• Issue 810 (2019-04-15): SolydXK 201902, Bedrock Linux 0.7.2, Fedora phasing out Python 2, NetBSD gets virtual machine monitor|
|• Issue 809 (2019-04-08): PCLinuxOS 2019.02, installing Falkon and problems with portable packages, Mint offers daily build previews, Ubuntu speeds up Snap packages|
|• Issue 808 (2019-04-01): Solus 4.0, security benefits and drawbacks to using a live distro, Gentoo gets GNOME ports working without systemd, Redox OS update|
|• Issue 807 (2019-03-25): Pardus 17.5, finding out which user changed a file, new Budgie features, a tool for browsing FreeBSD's sysctl values|
|• Issue 806 (2019-03-18): Kubuntu vs KDE neon, Nitrux's znx, notes on Debian's election, SUSE becomes an independent entity|
|• Issue 805 (2019-03-11): EasyOS 1.0, managing background services, Devuan team debates machine ID file, Ubuntu Studio works to remain an Ubuntu Community Edition|
|• Issue 804 (2019-03-04): Condres OS 19.02, securely erasing hard drives, new UBports devices coming in 2019, Devuan to host first conference|
|• Issue 803 (2019-02-25): Septor 2019, preventing windows from stealing focus, NetBSD and Nitrux experiment with virtual machines, pfSense upgrading to FreeBSD 12 base|
|• Issue 802 (2019-02-18): Slontoo 18.07.1, NetBSD tests newer compiler, Fedora packaging Deepin desktop, changes in Ubuntu Studio|
|• Issue 801 (2019-02-11): Project Trident 18.12, the meaning of status symbols in top, FreeBSD Foundation lists ongoing projects, Plasma Mobile team answers questions|
|• Issue 800 (2019-02-04): FreeNAS 11.2, using Ubuntu Studio software as an add-on, Nitrux developing znx, matching operating systems to file systems|
|• Issue 799 (2019-01-28): KaOS 2018.12, Linux Basics For Hackers, Debian 10 enters freeze, Ubuntu publishes new version for IoT devices|
|• Issue 798 (2019-01-21): Sculpt OS 18.09, picking a location for swap space, Solus team plans ahead, Fedora trying to get a better user count|
|• Issue 797 (2019-01-14): Reborn OS 2018.11.28, TinyPaw-Linux 1.3, dealing with processes which make the desktop unresponsive, Debian testing Secure Boot support|
|• Issue 796 (2019-01-07): FreeBSD 12.0, Peppermint releases ISO update, picking the best distro of 2018, roundtable interview with Debian, Fedora and elementary developers|
|• Issue 795 (2018-12-24): Running a Pinebook, interview with Bedrock founder, Alpine being ported to RISC-V, Librem 5 dev-kits shipped|
|• Issue 794 (2018-12-17): Void 20181111, avoiding software bloat, improvements to HAMMER2, getting application overview in GNOME Shell|
|• Issue 793 (2018-12-10): openSUSE Tumbleweed, finding non-free packages, Debian migrates to usrmerge, Hyperbola gets FSF approval|
|• Issue 792 (2018-1203): GhostBSD 18.10, when to use swap space, DragonFly BSD's wireless support, Fedora planning to pause development schedule|
|• Issue 791 (2018-11-26): Haiku R1 Beta1, default passwords on live media, Slax and Kodachi update their media, dual booting DragonFly BSD on EFI|
|• Issue 790 (2018-11-19): NetBSD 8.0, Bash tips and short-cuts, Fedora's networking benchmarked with FreeBSD, Ubuntu 18.04 to get ten years of support|
|• Issue 789 (2018-11-12): Fedora 29 Workstation and Silverblue, Haiku recovering from server outage, Fedora turns 15, Debian publishes updated media|
|• Issue 788 (2018-11-05): Clu Linux Live 6.0, examining RAM consumpion, finding support for older CPUs, more Steam support for running Windows games on Linux, update from Solus team|
|• Issue 787 (2018-10-29): Lubuntu 18.10, limiting application access to specific users, Haiku hardware compatibility list, IBM purchasing Red Hat|
|• Issue 786 (2018-10-22): elementary OS 5.0, why init keeps running, DragonFly BSD enables virtual machine memory resizing, KDE neon plans to drop older base|
|• Issue 785 (2018-10-15): Reborn OS 2018.09, Nitrux 1.0.15, swapping hard drives between computers, feren OS tries KDE spin, power savings coming to Linux|
|• Issue 784 (2018-10-08): Hamara 2.1, improving manual pages, UBports gets VoIP app, Fedora testing power saving feature|
|• Issue 783 (2018-10-01): Quirky 8.6, setting up dual booting with Ubuntu and FreeBSD, Lubuntu switching to LXQt, Mint works on performance improvements|
|• Issue 782 (2018-09-24): Bodhi Linux 5.0.0, Elive 3.0.0, Solus publishes ISO refresh, UBports invites feedback, Linux Torvalds plans temporary vacation|
|• Issue 781 (2018-09-17): Linux Mint 3 "Debian Edition", file systems for SSDs, MX makes installing Flatpaks easier, Arch team answers questions, Mageia reaches EOL|
|• Issue 780 (2018-09-10): Netrunner 2018.08 Rolling, Fedora improves language support, how to customize Kali Linux, finding the right video drivers|
|• Issue 779 (2018-09-03): Redcore 1806, keeping ISO downloads safe from tampering, Lubuntu makes Calamares more flexible, Ubuntu improves GNOME performance|
|• Issue 778 (2018-08-27): GuixSD 0.15.0, ReactOS 0.4.9, Steam supports Windows games on Linux, Haiku plans for beta, merging disk partitions|
|• Issue 777 (2018-08-20): YunoHost 184.108.40.206, limiting process resource usage, converting file systems on Fedora, Debian turns 25, Lubuntu migrating to Wayland|
|• Issue 776 (2018-08-13): NomadBSD 1.1, Maximum storage limits on Linux, openSUSE extends life for 42.3, updates to the Librem 5 phone interface|
|• Issue 775 (2018-08-06): Secure-K OS 18.5, Linux is about choice, Korora tests community spin, elementary OS hires developer, ReactOS boots on Btrfs|
|• Issue 774 (2018-07-30): Ubuntu MATE & Ubuntu Budgie 18.04, upgrading software from source, Lubuntu shifts focus, NetBSD changes support policy|
|• Issue 773 (2018-07-23): Peppermint OS 9, types of security used by different projects, Mint reacts to bugs in core packages, Slackware turns 25|
|• Issue 772 (2018-07-16): Hyperbola GNU/Linux-libre 0.2.4, UBports running desktop applications, OpenBSD auto-joins wi-fi networks, boot environments and zedenv|
|• Issue 771 (2018-07-09): Linux Lite 4.0, checking CPUs for bugs, configuring GRUB, Mint upgrade instructions, SUSE acquired by EQT|
|• Issue 770 (2018-07-02): Linux Mint 19, Solus polishes desktop experience, MintBox Mini 2, changes to Fedora's installer|
|• Issue 769 (2018-06-25): BunsenLabs Helium, counting Ubuntu users, UBports upgrading to 16.04, Fedora CoreOS, FreeBSD turns 25|
|• Issue 768 (2018-06-18): Devuan 2.0.0, using pkgsrc to manage software, the NOVA filesystem, OpenBSD handles successful cron output|
|• Issue 767 (2018-06-11): Android-x86 7.1-r1, transferring files over OpenSSH with pipes, LFS with Debian package management, Haiku ports LibreOffice|
|• Issue 766 (2018-06-04): openSUSE 15, overview of file system links, Manjaro updates Pamac, ReactOS builds itself, Bodhi closes forums|
|• Issue 765 (2018-05-28): Pop!_OS 18.04, gathering system information, Haiku unifying ARM builds, Solus resumes control of Budgie|
|• Issue 764 (2018-05-21): DragonFly BSD 5.2.0, Tails works on persistent packages, Ubuntu plans new features, finding services affected by an update|
|• Full list of all issues|
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|Random Distribution |
Pentoo is a Gentoo-based Linux live CD with a selection of applications and tools designed to perform penetration testing.
|Tips, Tricks, Myths and Q&As |
|Tips and tricks: Bash command line short-cuts and tips|
|Tips and tricks: Gathering system information with osquery|
|Tips and tricks: Extracting package lists from various distributions|
|Questions and answers: Where did I leave my (GPG) keys?|
|Tips and tricks: Basename, for loop, dirname, aliases, bash history, xsel clipboard|
|Tips and tricks: Play nicely, drop secure shell sessions cleanly, check init's name|
|Tips and tricks: Check free disk space, wait for a process, command line spell-check, shutdown PC when CPU gets hot|
|Questions and answers: Improving software performance|
|Questions and answers: Revisiting Ubuntu market share numbers|
|Tips and tricks: Running Fedora "Rawhide"|
|More Tips & Tricks and Questions & Answers|