| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 45, 19 April 2004
Welcome to this year's 16th edition of DistroWatch Weekly. The main upcoming attractions of this week are KDE 3.2.2 and, in certain countries, SUSE LINUX 9.1.
Debian Package a Day
Do you know how many packages are currently present in Debian Sid? Here is the number: 15,420. Yes, that's over fifteen thousand deb packages that are available at any time for your downloading pleasure. Granted, a significant portion of them are libraries, header files and development packages split from the original source code, but still... That's a lot of good software to play with.
Given the cryptic names that Free Software developers tend to give their products, it is hardly surprising that a lot of the included software is little known by most users. A quick quiz: how many of the following packages you know, use, or at least have heard of: pcregrep, arch-buildpackage, apt-watch, udev, readpst, netselect-apt, darcs, kmd, fam, fwatch, proxycheck, libnet-google-perl, pwgen? If your answer is close to zero, you might want to check out Debian Package a Day.
Debian Package a Day is a web site publishing daily descriptions of interesting applications to introduce people to cool packages in the Debian testing distribution. So far over 25 packages have been featured. Syndicated feeds are available in RSS and Atom formats. The applications mentioned in the above quiz are just some of the recently featured packages; they include a brief description and purpose, and readers are welcome to make comments. Even if you are not a Debian user, Debian Package a Day is a useful page to bookmark and visit regularly to learn about all the great, but little known software for Linux.
Slackware and the X Window System
A few weeks ago we talked about the unexpected inclusion of XFree86 4.4.0 in the Slackware current tree. Unexpected because Slackware was the only major Linux distribution that has accepted the new version of XFree86, despite the fact that its new license is generally seen as incompatible with GPL. Now it seems that Patrick Volkerding is having second thoughts about the issue and is soliciting ideas from users. This is from a recent entry in the Slackware's Current ChangeLog:
"testing/packages/x11/*: Added X11R6.7.0 from X.Org.
Got an opinion on what the future of X in Slackware should be? I'm curious about that myself, and welcome comments on the matter at email@example.com."
It will be interesting to see how users react. Could it be that Slackware ends up being the only distribution that lets users decided about that matter?
|Released Last Week
Buffalo Linux 1.2.0
Buffalo Linux 1.2.0 is out: "This release of Buffalo uses the new 2.6.5 kernel exclusively. Six kernels are provided for i586, Pentium 2, Pentium 3, Pentium 4, K6, and K7 (Duron/Athlon). Major package upgrades (74) including OpenOffice-1.1.1. Plus a bonus bundle GNOME package that contains another 73 packages. 44 little used packages were deleted to fit on a single CD. The 2.4.24 kernels are no longer included on the CD, available on website for download only. There is a 102MB upgrade from 1.1.6 to 1.2.0 available." The full changelog.
SLAX 4.0.7, 4.0.8 and 4.1.1
A busy week for SLAX as versions 4.0.7, 4.0.8 and 4.1.1 were all released within a few days: "The changes in this release are as follows: added smb4k (a Samba share browser for KDE); better font and sound handling in KDE; kernel 2.4.26; Netscape plugins 7.1; added parted. X can now handle three mice in parallel. The eject boot parameter was fixed along with the create_bootdisk.sh script (lilo no longer stores MBR backups). The memtest and ide-scsi module loading were also fixed." The full changelog.
Feather Linux 0.4.0
Feather Linux 0.4.0 has been released. From the changelog: "Updated OpenOffice.org script to 1.1.1; fixed localscript.sh; fixed xterm colours; fixed Synaptic script; added 'noicons' option to stop XTDesk loading on bootup; changed frequency option to DPI in X setup routine; added poor man's install script (type sudo pm_install) - very experimental; added xsri to set background (bsetbg now works); added whowto, a script to grab and view HOWTOs (e.g. type whowto 3-Button-Mouse) and wdict; added scripts to download aMSN, AbiWord and xpuyopuyo; included xmms-volnorm; added evilwm (run it by booting with knoppix evilwm)..."
Mandrakelinux 10.0 Official
"After nearly two months of polishing and enhancing the Mandrakelinux 10.0 Community release, Mandrakelinux 10.0 Official is now available. Mandrakelinux 10.0 Official offers the most advanced Linux features currently available. 10.0 Official provides increased performance with Linux kernel 2.6, an enhanced desktop experience with KDE 3.2, GNOME 2.4 and Mandrakegalaxy II, unbeatable hardware recognition, and support for Serial ATA, USB2 and IEEE 1394. Mandrakelinux 10.0 Official makes the latest and greatest Open Source technologies accessible to everyone!" The full press release. Get the brand new Mandrakelinux 10.0 Official either from the Mandrakeclub or the Mandrakestore.
Damn Small Linux 0.6.3
Damn Small Linux 0.6.3 has been released. From the changelog: "Added new applications: control-panel, hdparm; added new game: Xtris; enhanced xsetup: 'cancel' option to use wheel mouse if found, otherwise the 3 button mouse; enhanced dsl-hdinstall: added colors, check for actual Linux partition, prompts for multi-user otherwise boots into X as user damnsmall; enhanced knoppix-autoconfig: added toram and frugal options, embedded dsl-start into knoppix-autoconfig for faster boot up, added ftp boot time shortcut to start betaftpd; enhanced boot.img: changed from 'knoppix' to 'dsl', updated F2 screen to reflect new 'dsl', updated F2 added ftp to daemons options list..."
Aurox Live 1.4.4
A new version of Aurox Live has been released: "We are glad to announce a new live version of Aurox, numbered 1.4.4. This issue brings support for more winmodems. The most important changes in this release: Connexant HSF last free full speed drivers; lynx added for console browsing; better discovery of SmartLink USB modems; fixes in 'System Settings -> Network': you can activate and deactivate modem connections for some winmodems; Czech translations added; Czech OpenOffice.org help used for this release." The full release notes.
STUX GNU/Linux 0.7
STUX 0.7 has been released: "Changes: user 'gp' removed: now applications run with root privileges; MiniDesktop 0.1 released: MiniDesktop is an application that uses graphical interface to perform all operations required to manage Live CD sessions (devices setting, configuration save, hard disk installation, ...); all STUX codes have been rewritten and included in MiniDesktop; introduced Cheat Codes: Cheat Codes are used to pass values to STUX, to help with getting it working on difficult hardware, start with a different desktop manager, set root password, debug, ... (press F1 at boot prompt for a list of available Cheat Codes)..." See the rest of the changelog.
This is the first official release of LBA-Linux, a distribution created by Finland's Linux Business Alliance: "The Linux Business Alliance has released its inaugural GNU/Linux distribution, LBA-Linux. LBA-Linux R1 is a technologically advanced, versatile, easy-to-use operating system with high aesthetic appeal. Enhanced usability, hardened security, well-tested functionality and a legal safety check are some of the key features that distinguish LBA-Linux from other GNU/Linux distributions. The new distribution also comes with a useful update 'watcher' - a program that periodically notifies the user about updates to LBA-Linux software." Read the full press release and visit the product page for further details. LBA-Linux R1 is based on the second beta of Fedora Core 2 and developed by SOT Linux (formerly Best Linux).
A new version of Devil-Linux has been released. From the changelog: "1.0.6: added latest mremap and vmalloc kernel patches; fixed kernel ext3 info leak; fixed kernel iso9660 vulnerability; disabled netfilter optimization patches in the default profile as the pptp nat- and conntrack modules is killing the machine with them applied; fixed a long standing problem in that the netfilter patches did not get pplied."
Development and unannounced releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
SUSE LINUX 9.1
The much awaited SUSE LINUX 9.1 was released to manufacturing last week. The product will be officially launched later this week, at least according to a README file published for journalists and reviewers:
"The final product, including printed manuals and installation support, is scheduled to be available on
• 23 April - Germany, Austria and Switzerland
• 6 May - UK, US, Benelux and Scandinavia
• 10 May - Spain and Italy
SUSE LINUX 9.1 Personal is only available in English and German and contains: 1 Live CD for 32-bit x86, 1 installation CD for 32-bit x86, installation guide, 30 days of installation support.
SUSE LINUX 9.1 Professional contains: 5 CDs for 32-bit x86 (AMD Athlon, Intel Pentium systems), 2 double-sided DVD (containing binaries and sources for 32-bit x86 and x86-64 (AMD64 and Intel 64-bit Extended Technology))"
You can pre-order SUSE LINUX 9.1 from the SUSE Online Store, and also from Amazon:
Have a lot of fun!
SUSE LINUX 9.1 - promises to be the release of the year
(full image size 1,313kB)
|Web Site News
Does DistroWatch layout scare you away?
I made some cosmetic changes on the main index page. This was prompted by a not-so-flattering revelation by a poster on OSNews:
"I beg you pardon but the website distrowatch.com scared me away. What the hell where do I start reading its like this website is full of hyperlinks on the right/left/top/bottom with a little bit of text in the middle."
If there is anything else that can be done to make the main page clearer, please feel free to make a suggestion in the forums below.
Update on Google AdSense
Some of you will remember that two weeks ago the DistroWatch AdSense account at Google was terminated due to this site allegedly breaking AdSense language policies. The good news is that the account was re-activated - without any explanation. Thank you all who offered help by writing to Google to try to convince the responsible person that DistroWatch really is an English-language web site :-)
New on the waiting list
- LinEspa. LinEspa is a Spanish linux distribution, based on Knoppix and optimised for Spanish and Latin-American users. It includes a useful selection of software while featuring a Live-CD mode. The web site is in Spanish.
DistroWatch database summary
- Aberium Supervisor Security Linux. Aberium Supervisor features a firewall, DMZ, VPN (IPSEC and PPTP), QoS, an email server, a web server, a file server, a proxy, web content filtering, web user reports, and backup management. Aberium Supervisor rapidly transform any PC into an internet security appliance. Installation is automatic, taking 5 minutes and management is through a web-based interface. Among the main features are: firewall, DMZ, VPN (IPSEC & PPTP), QoS, email server (Integrated Webmail, antivirus, antispam, mail filter and reports), web server, file server, proxy, web content filtering, web user reports, backup management (emails, logs, files). No Linux knowledge required to configure.
- MAdrid_LinuX. MAdrid_LinuX (or MAX) is a new Linux distribution launched by the Council of Education in Madrid, Spain for use at schools. It is currently under development and will be based on Debian and Knoppix. The web site is in Spanish.
- KLA - Knoppix Linux Azur. KLA - Knoppix Linux Azur is new French distribution based on Knoppix. The web site is in French.
- Number of Linux distributions in the database: 281
- Number of BSD distributions in the database: 3
- Number of discontinued distributions: 33
- Number of distributions on the waiting list: 69
DistroWatch on Daily Rotation
Bob H writes: "Hi, just wanted to let you know, we think highly of DistroWatch, and so we just added its news headlines to Daily Rotation. Your users would probably like to know about us too, so a link back wouldn't be misplaced...."
Mandrakestaff mirror stuff-ups (again)
John C writes: "I have been watching DistroWatch during the last week, and expected to see at least some comment about the Mandrake's 're-invent the wheel' for the mirrors (including the updates paths). This has caused havoc for many many Mandrake users and wasted days for lots of people who have been trying to do an update (at least 9.2 and 10.0 community).
The whole point that I am getting to is that, except hidden in a cooker mailing list, Mandrakesoft (or Mandrakeclub) did not warn anyone about this. It may be coincidence but the club's posting 'Mandrakelinux mirrors, what's up with that mess?!' by Warly only got posted 2 hours after I put a complaint about the lack of communication in the Mandrakeclub forum.
I feel that, to be fair to all your DistroWatch visitors, you should put some sort of posting this week about the fiasco NOTING that this is not the first time that Mandrakesoft have screwed up the mirrors. The ideals of the Mandrake geeks wanting to restructure the mirror directory is bad enough; doing it all without mentioning it beforehand to their users, and especially the Mandrakeclub users, was irresponsible.
Anyhow that's my 2 cents worth, you can quote any of the this if you want to (so I get the blame) but I feel that, as a General Linux distro critic, you should put a posting about it at DistroWatch (and not minimising the fall out it has had - especially 'end users' waste of time'). You know I use and support Mandrake, but this was an inexcusable stuff-up, and could have been avoided by public announcements a week before :-("
That's all for this week, 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 220.127.116.11, 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 |
Fermi Linux LTS (Long-Term Support) was a distribution based on Scientific Linux, which was in essence Red Hat Enterprise Linux, recompiled. It was Scientific Linux with Fermilab's security hardening and customised configurations to allow an administrator to install Fermi Linux and have the machine meet Fermilab's security requirements with little or no extra configuration. Since Fermi Linux LTS was based on Scientific Linux, it shares it's goal that if a program runs and was certified on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, then it will run on the corresponding Fermi Linux LTS release. Fermi Linux has since merged with the Scientific Linux project, becoming a special edition or add-on to Scientific Linux.