| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 9, 4 August 2003
The innocent looking article on linmagau.org attempting to benchmark application speed on Gentoo, Debian and Mandrake opened a can of worms on Slashdot and other forums. It is one of those mysteries of our competitive nature which immediately raises a self-defence mechanism in cases where our choice is challenged. The world of Linux distributions is and excellent example of this - many of us spent months or even years on settling down on a particular distributions, just to be reminded every now and then that our choice might not be the best.
For those of you who didn't read the article, the simple benchmarks of launching applications or compiling a stock Linux kernel indicated that the source-based Gentoo was outperformed by either Mandrake or Debian (or both) in all of the conducted tests. While this raises a valid question about the testers' efforts to optimise Gentoo before conducting the tests, it also brings up another question: how many of the 24,000 Gentoo users registered on Gentoo forums are running their favourite distribution in an optimised state? Just because you are a Gentoo user, can you claim with confidence that your compiler options are exactly right for your hardware? Or did you just copy them from a forum post? The multitude of available options with cryptic names require some solid understanding and involved studying, which not everybody has time for.
On the other hand, even a superficial effort to understand these options, together with the pains required to install Gentoo will undoubtedly lead to greater understanding of your system - both your hardware and software. In this light, what really is the greatest benefit of Gentoo? Speed? The immediate availability of software? Or the "portage" package management? Maybe none of them. It's quite possible that the greatest benefit of a source-based distribution for most users is in its educational value.
Of course, some of us will never admit that Gentoo is not substantially faster then any other distribution, ever. Here come some amusing quotes from Slashdot and Gentoo forums:
- "This test is wrong and prooves nothing - I run Gentoo and I can see it's faster."
- "Either the authors of this article were completely ignorant on compiler optimizations, or they have an anti-Gentoo agenda, because they set it up to fail."
- "An owner of a Hummer once told the owner of a motorcycle that his Hummer got better gas milage. The motorcycle owner said this is ridiculous, and challenged him to a contest. The would each drive the same hundred miles of road and see who used more gas. They did, and the motorcycle used less gas. The Hummer owner immediately pointed out that the test was unfair 'Your motorcycle weighs far less than my Hummer. That's part of the reason you're getting better milage. Also, you're using a different engine with less horsepower. If your motorcycle weighed as much as my Hummer and used the exact same engine, you would see that I get better milage.'"
- "The best way to optimize gentoo is to bootstrap it yourself. This yields impressive performance gains. In my case I settled on these flags: -mcpu=pentium4 -march=pentium4 -mmmx -msse2 -Os -fomit-frame-pointer -pi pe -fforce-addr -fforce-mem -ffast-math -mpush-args -mfpmath=sse."
- "I think you'll find you forgot -O9 and -fomit-instructions. It might crash every now and then, but I swear bash is responsive in ways I never thought was possible."
|Released Last Week
Xandros Desktop 1.1
Xandros, Inc has released an update of Xandros Desktop Deluxe Edition: "Xandros, Inc. has released a 1.1 edition of Xandros Desktop Deluxe. Version 1.1 enhancements include: support for Microsoft Office XP and Adobe Photoshop 7.0; Mozilla 1.3.1 with spell checking and spam filtering; OpenOffice.org office suite 1.0.3; Evolution groupware client 1.2.4; Enhanced hardware detection; Intel i830/845/855 graphics drivers. Current users of Xandros Desktop can simply click the Xandros Networks icon on their desktop to obtain free updates of most of the items in the version 1.1 release. This free upgrade policy provides customers with the latest updates and enhancements, and resolves various support issues that have turned up since the initial release." See the release announcement for more details. The new Xandros Desktop 1.1 is available from the Xandros Store for US$99.
Damn Small Linux 0.4.2
Less than a week after releasing version 0.4.1, the developers of Damn Small Linux have released version 0.4.2. From the changelog: "After using GNU strip on some of my custom-compiled binaries I was able to make room for some nice new apps. I replaces XFMail with Sylpheed. Also new for 0.4.2 are Xpaint for image editing and Xzgv for image viewing." See the full changelog and package list for further information.
- Lycoris Amethyst Update 3 Release Candidate 0. Annouced on the Lycoris community site, this long awaited beta includes plenty of package updates, although as expected, KDE will remain at 2.2.2 until after the final release of Amethyst Update 3.
- Vector Linux 4.0 rc1 is now available for download and testing. More information here.
- SME Server 6.0 beta3, the announcement includes a full list of changes.
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Xandros Desktop 2.0
Xandros has updated their news page with three new items dated 5 August 2003. The first one is the announcement about two new beta programs: "Xandros, Inc., today announced the opening of the beta program for the 2.0 release of its award-winning Xandros Desktop. Users interested in testing Xandros Desktop 2.0 are invited to apply at the Xandros web site. Xandros is also looking for IT administrators considering mass deployment of the Xandros Desktop to test the forthcoming release of Xandros Networks Enterprise." The complete press release is here and you can register for beta testing of Xandros 2.0 on this page.
Xandros has also announced the release of a Spanish edition of Xandros Desktop: "Xandros, Inc., provider of the award-winning Xandros Desktop, has released the Spanish Edition of Xandros Desktop. In conjunction with the release, Xandros has teamed up with Pixart Argentina, a leading South American software distributor, to market Xandros products throughout the southern cone of Latin America."
|Web Site News
I hope you've enjoyed the interview with Judd Vinet of Arch Linux published over the weekend. I am still working on a full review of Arch Linux and I have just received the promised review copy of LindowsOS, so we'll cover both an advanced and a newbie distribution with the next two articles. You might also see a few new interviews in the near future, but this depends on the readers who are working on them. As always, feel free to conduct any interview with distribution maintainers on behalf of DistroWatch and send in the complete story for publishing.
Two distributions were removed from the waiting list. Plop Linux was removed at the request of the developers who cited lack of time for continued development. The MIOLUX distribution's web site has not been updated for over 6 months and no stable version has been released since 1.0 beta in January this year. It was also removed from the list.
Jollix is the only new distribution added to the DistroWatch database last week. Jollix is yet another live Linux CD with hardware auto-detection, cloop file system and KDE as its default desktop environment. It is based on Gentoo Linux. I haven't been able to locate the package list or find out how to list the versions of included packages - if anybody can help with this, I'd appreciate it.
New on the waiting list
Three new distributions were added to waiting list last week:
DistroWatch database summary
- clusterKNOPPIX is a modified Knoppix with the openMosix kernel.
- RUNT (The ResNet USB Network Tester) is Slackware Linux designed to run off of a 128 MB USB pen drive.
- ViruX is a live Linux CD based on Linux From Scratch and Knoppix; the web site is in Swedish.
- Number of distributions in the database: 162
- Number of discontinued distributions: 21
- Number of distributions on the waiting list: 53
On DistroWatch icons, logos and banners
Thanks everybody who commented on their banner/logo preferences. One more banner was submitted last week, so let's call this list final, before everybody gets tired of voting for 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."
All opinions are welcome.
That's all for this week, keep well and see you next Monday,
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 837 (2019-10-21): CentOS 8.0-1905, Trident finds a new base, Debian plans firewall changes, 15 years of Fedora, how to merge directories|
|• Issue 836 (2019-10-14): Archman 2019.09, Haiku improves ARM support, Project Trident shifting base OS, Unix turns 50|
|• Issue 835 (2019-10-07): Isotop, Mazon OS and, KduxOS, examples of using the find command, Mint's System Reports becomes proactive, Solus updates its desktops|
|• Issue 834 (2019-09-30): FreedomBox "Buster", CentOS gains a rolling release, Librem 5 phones shipping, Redcore updates its package manager|
|• Issue 833 (2019-09-23): Redcore Linux 1908, why Linux distros are free, Ubuntu making list of 32-bit software to keep, Richard M Stallman steps down from FSF leadership|
|• Issue 832 (2019-09-16): BlackWeb 1.2, checking for Wayland session and applications, Fedora to use nftables in firewalld, OpenBSD disables DoH in Firefox|
|• Issue 831 (2019-09-09): Adélie Linux 1.0 beta, using ffmpeg, awk and renice, Mint and elementary improvements, PureOS and Manjaro updates|
|• Issue 930 (2019-09-02): deepin 15.11, working with AppArmor profiles, elementary OS gets new greeter, exFAT support coming to Linux kernel|
|• Issue 829 (2019-08-26): EndeavourOS 2019.07.15, Drauger OS 7.4.1, finding the licenses of kernel modules, NetBSD gets Wayland application, GhostBSD changes base repo|
|• Issue 828 (2019-08-19): AcademiX 2.2, concerns with non-free firmware, UBports working on Unity8, Fedora unveils new EPEL channel, FreeBSD phasing out GCC|
|• Issue 827 (2019-08-12): Q4OS, finding files on the disk, Ubuntu works on ZFS, Haiku improves performance, OSDisc shutting down|
|• Issue 826 (2019-08-05): Quick looks at Resilient, PrimeOS, and BlueLight, flagship distros for desktops,Manjaro introduces new package manager|
|• Issue 825 (2019-07-29): Endless OS 3.6, UBports 16.04, gNewSense maintainer stepping down, Fedora developrs discuss optimizations, Project Trident launches stable branch|
|• Issue 824 (2019-07-22): Hexagon OS 1.0, Mageia publishes updated media, Fedora unveils Fedora CoreOS, managing disk usage with quotas|
|• Issue 823 (2019-07-15): Debian 10, finding 32-bit packages on a 64-bit system, Will Cooke discusses Ubuntu's desktop, IBM finalizes purchase of Red Hat|
|• Issue 822 (2019-07-08): Mageia 7, running development branches of distros, Mint team considers Snap, UBports to address Google account access|
|• Issue 821 (2019-07-01): OpenMandriva 4.0, Ubuntu's plan for 32-bit packages, Fedora Workstation improvements, DragonFly BSD's smaller kernel memory|
|• Issue 820 (2019-06-24): Clear Linux and Guix System 1.0.1, running Android applications using Anbox, Zorin partners with Star Labs, Red Hat explains networking bug, Ubuntu considers no longer updating 32-bit packages|
|• Issue 819 (2019-06-17): OS108 and Venom, renaming multiple files, checking live USB integrity, working with Fedora's Modularity, Ubuntu replacing Chromium package with snap|
|• Issue 818 (2019-06-10): openSUSE 15.1, improving boot times, FreeBSD's status report, DragonFly BSD reduces install media size|
|• Issue 817 (2019-06-03): Manjaro 18.0.4, Ubuntu Security Podcast, new Linux laptops from Dell and System76, Entroware Apollo|
|• Issue 816 (2019-05-27): Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, creating firewall rules, Antergos shuts down, Matthew Miller answers questions about Fedora|
|• 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|
|• Full list of all issues|
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View our range including the Star Lite, Star LabTop and more. Available with a choice of Ubuntu, Linux Mint or Zorin OS pre-installed with many more distributions supported. Visit Star Labs for information, to buy and get support.
|Random Distribution |
DARKSTAR Linux was a Romanian Linux distribution based on Slackware Linux.