| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 100, 16 May 2005
Welcome to the 100th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Read our brief roundup of interesting news bits with a quick look at the upcoming Debian Sarge release, new features in Ubuntu's "Breezy Badger", a fantastic resource for SUSE users and administrators, and an unofficial Alpha port of Fedora Core. Also in this issue - choose that perfect distribution with the Linux Distribution Chooser. Our featured distribution of the week is QiLinux, while the Tips and Tricks section investigates GRAMPS, a powerful genealogical application. Enjoy!
News: Sarge release notes, Breezy features, SUSE administration, Gentoo installer, Slackware and NPTL, Fedora for Alpha
Much interesting has happened during the past week in the world of Linux distributions. We start this roundup of news with Debian - that's because there are indications that it won't be long before the much-awaited and much-delayed Debian GNU/Linux 3.1 "Sarge" is finally released. The release-critical bug count is at a record low and the release notes for all supported architectures are taking shape as we write this. These are especially important for those of you who are planning to upgrade their Woody servers to Sarge. The most important point of the upgrade section is the fact that the upgrade to Sarge should be performed by using the "aptitude" utility: "The recommended method of upgrading is to use 'aptitude', as described here. The built-in dependency analysis enables smooth upgrades and easy installations." It goes without saying that you should back up any critical data before launching the upgrade process.
Although only a few weeks have passed since the release of Ubuntu Linux 5.04 "Hoary Hedgehog", the distribution's developers are already forming plans for their next release -- version 5.10 and code name "Breezy Badger" -- due out in October 2005. This will be the project's most ambitious release ever, with no fewer than 147 new features. Among the top priority features are Edubuntu (an Ubuntu edition suitable for classroom use), Laptop Mission (totally RAD laptop support); OEM installer, thin client integration, and Launchpad integration (to make it easier for users to perform actions such as getting involved in translations or reporting bugs). But this is just a tip of the iceberg and there are many others; see the Breezy Goals page for further details.
If SUSE LINUX is your distribution of choice, then you absolutely must bookmark this newly updated SUSE LINUX Administration Guide (for version 9.3): "The SUSE LINUX Administration Guide provides background information about the way your SUSE LINUX system operates. This manual introduces you to Linux system administration basics, such as file systems, kernels, boot processes, and the configuration of the Apache web server. The SUSE LINUX Administration Guide has five major categories: Installation (system installation and configuration with YaST), System (special features of SUSE LINUX), Services, Administration and Appendix (important sources of information about Linux)." This has to be one of the most comprehensive SUSE guides ever published on the Internet. Highly recommended.
Our last week's mini-review of Gentoo Linux resulted in a yet-another heated debate about the merits of an easy, graphical installer for this popular source-based distribution. Some users argued that they preferred the existing installation method providing a highly educational experience, while others claimed that using this method to install Gentoo on several systems (with different hardware) can be a pain, not to mention a waste of time. Whatever your view on the subject, the fact is that a graphical installer for Gentoo is currently being developed by the Gentoo Linux Installer Project. There is no release roadmap and no indication on when the new installer might be incorporated into Gentoo, but if you'd like to see the project's progress, have a look at these screenshots.
Slackware Linux is finally getting NPTL (Native POSIX Thread Library) support: "Here's the (I'm sure) long awaited upgrade to Slackware's glibc to include support for NPTL. NPTL works with newer kernels (meaning 2.6.x, or a 2.4 kernel that is patched to support NPTL, but not an unmodified 'vanilla' 2.4 kernel such as Slackware uses) to provide improved performance for threads. This difference can be quite dramatic in some situations." There is no word on when Slackware will switch its default kernel to version 2.6, but given the stability of the recent kernel releases, this can be expected in the not too distant future. Find more information in the Slackware current changelog.
Are any of you still using one of the Alpha processors? If so, you might be pleased to learn about Alpha Core, an unofficial port of Fedora Core to the Alpha architecture. The project's first official release, version 1.0 and code name "Svetlana", was made available last week in the form of four ISO images. Besides the distribution, the developers also provide a brief hardware compatibility list and user forums. For more information please visit the project's home page.
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Web sites: Linux Distribution Chooser
Are you still looking for that perfect distribution? If you are relatively new to Linux, here is a tool that might help - the Linux Distribution Chooser. All you need to do is to answer a few questions before the web-based application evaluates your answers and provides suggestions. Besides the main recommendation, it will also suggest a few alternatives that might have failed your evaluation in one way or another, but perhaps they could still play a part in your decision-making process. The web site is still in beta, but it is nicely designed and definitely usable. Have fun!
|Featured distribution of the week: QiLinux
QiLinux is a relatively new Linux distribution. Created by Silvan Calarco and his company QiNet located in Turin, Italy, QiLinux is not based on any other distribution, but rather built completely from scratch. The author's motivation for embarking on a road to develop a new distribution was to solve some of the "technical and architectural shortcomings" of the existing Linux distributions. The project's first stable release -- version 1.0 -- was announced in March 2004; this was followed by version 1.1 in August 2004 and version 1.2 earlier this month. A live CD edition of QiLinux was released towards the end of 2004. All QiLinux releases were made available for free download from the distribution's download servers and mirrors.
We installed the recently released QiLinux 1.2 on a test machine to check it out. An intuitive and functional graphical installer guided us through the installation process, before we booted into KDE, QiLinux's preferred desktop. Besides Free Software, the distribution also includes the proprietary NVIDIA and ATI drivers, and it even provides special menu entries for installing a handful of useful proprietary applications, such as the Flash plugin, Java Runtime Environment, MS Core fonts and Win32 multimedia codecs. The package management in QiLinux is handled by the apt-get port for RPM packages and its graphical front-end Synaptic. This provides not only convenient security and bug fix updates, but also an easy way to install new packages from pre-configured FTP servers.
QiLinux is certainly a very usable operating system with a few time-savers that will make life easier for new Linux users. There aren't any real ground-breaking features, but if you enjoy trying out different distributions and testing new releases, then QiLinux is worth the download. Check it out at QiLinux.it
QiLinux - a solid RPM-based distribution, but does it offer anything new?
(full image size: 498kB)
|Released Last Week
FreeBSD 5.4 has been released: "The Release Engineering Team is happy to announce the availability of FreeBSD 5.4-RELEASE, the latest release of the FreeBSD Stable development branch. Since FreeBSD 5.3-RELEASE in November 2004 we have made many improvements in functionality, stability, performance, and device driver support for some hardware, as well as dealt with known security issues and made many bugfixes. FreeBSD 5.4-RELEASE supports the i386, amd64, ia64, pc98, sparc64, and alpha architectures and can be installed directly over the net, using bootable media, or copied to a local NFS/FTP server." Find more information in the release announcement and release notes.
Buffalo Linux 1.7.3
A new version of Buffalo Linux is out: "Buffalo Linux has gone LIVE! The install format for Buffalo has been changed from the traditional CD install approach to a 'Live' format (using Linux-Live scripts). To install on the hard drive simply click on the INSTALL icon and designate the partition. The current state of the Live environment is copied to hard drive. Also available on the System Admin menu is a 'BackUp' option that will create a Live-CD of your current hard drive partition. During Live-CD the kernel used is i586 (should work on all Intel, AMD, and clones). At install time, the best match of 4 kernels (i586, Pentium 3, Pentium 4, Duron/Athlon) is installed on the hard drive. All kernels are 22.214.171.124." Read the rest of the release announcement on the distribution's home page.
YES Linux 2.2.3
A new version of YES Linux has been released: "YES Linux Release Team would like to announce the immediate availability of YES Linux 2.2 Build 3. This is the third build of YES Linux 2.2. This release features more updates to features than to new features such as PHP, and Apache. The primary new feature is the addition of egs. Currently egs is a pre-release version, it is advised to not use for production use." Read the full release announcement more details about the new release.
IPCop Firewall 1.4.6
IPCop Firewall has been updated to version 1.4.6. Besides the usual security updates, the following represent the most important changes: "Upgrade to Snort 2.3.3 and use Oinkmaster 1.2 to update rules; for a static IP (not with PPP), remove default gateway before applying again in case it was changed; remove sitefinder workaround no more necessary and the address is reused; fix 'other countries' selection with eagle-usb interface; allow easydns and zoneedit to update without a HOSTNAME; fix dyndns IP behind router not updated correctly; disable HTTP OPTIONS method; fix wrong firmware selection during upload with Speedtouch; fix start Squid if enabled on blue or green...." Find more details in the release announcement.
Tao Live 4.01
Tao Live is the first Linux live CD based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4. Version 4.01 is an update to an earlier release: "A new version of the Tao Live CD is available. Version 4.01 features: kernel 2.6.9-5.0.5.SquashFS1; support for USB storage of userspace; GNOME is the default desktop environment (KDE still included); support for French (Canada) and Spanish (Mexico) locales; update to busybox 1.00. Tao Live uses a Squash file system to fit 2 GB of programs into a standard bootable CD. OpenOffice.org, Firefox, Gaim, XMMS, K3B and many other programs are included. A few boot options are currently available." Here is the full release announcement.
An updated version of the KNOPPIX live CD has been released. From the changelog: "V3.8.2-2005-05-05 (update): dist-upgrade; kernel 2.6.11 update; the madwifi drivers are back; kwifimanager in KNOPPIX/network menu; OpenOffice 1.1.4 security update; swapping on knoppix.swp on a NTFS partition should now work; replaced Fabian Franz' original knoppix-installer with the version from Jörg Schirottke/Kanotix; fixed SCSI drivers in bootimage."
SimplyMEPIS 3.3.1 has been released: "MEPIS has begun shipping the SimplyMEPIS 3.3.1 bootable CD. This is a minor update from SimplyMEPIS 3.3. Changes include an update of packages to synchronize with the Debian pool as of April 20, 2005. ALSA mixer preconfiguration is fully automated, ISA sound card support is enhanced, serial_cs and rt2500 drivers are available, the ra0 wireless port is supported in the OS Center. Acrobat Reader has been updated to 7.0 and the mimetypes configuration has been modified to use Acrobat automatically. The MEPIS OS Center now includes a one-click selection of the Synaptic touchpad driver. RealPlayer has been updated. The preconfig for the firewall has been corrected to block access to the local apache web server...." Read the full press release for more information.
The cAos Foundation has announced the final release of cAos 2: "Announcing the formal release of cAos-2 for ia32 and x86_64! The cAos Foundation and the cAos Linux development team are proud to announce the public release of cAos Linux version 2. cAos Linux is a community-managed and openly-maintained distribution of Linux using the LSB standard RPM Package Manager. This release identifies the stabilization and validation of the core operating system as well as stabilization of the extended OS. Members of the community are invited to try, use and love this new Linux distribution! cAos Linux 2 is scheduled to be maintained for the next 3-5 years. During that time, it will maintain a stable core OS ABI as well as receive prompt security updates." Here is the complete release announcement.
BIG LINUX 2.1
A new version of BIG LINUX has been released. Besides being the first Linux distribution with 3D desktop capabilities (in GNOME and KDE), the most important improvement in BIG LINUX 2.1 is the ability to use a web cam with AMSN. The new release includes bug fixes for certain video cards and a handful of package updates. Those who have installed BIG LINUX on their hard disks can upgrade to the latest version by downloading a less than 7MB update file. Find more information and some impressive screenshots in the release announcement (in Portuguese).
Freeduc-cd is a specialist live CD distribution specifically developed for use in primary schools. It is built around the light-weight XFce desktop environment and includes a large collection of educational software. Freeduc-cd 1.5, developed by the Organization for Free Software in Education and Teaching (OFSET) in cooperation with several other volunteer groups, was released recently: "Freeduc-cd 1.5 is a special version for primary education. Most of the software comes with an introduction note." Visit the project's home page for more complete information about the release.
The grml distribution is a Knoppix-based live CD with a collection of GNU/Linux software especially for users of text tools and system administrators. Version 0.4 has been released with the following new features: "X.org server including new grml-x system ('grml-x'); Unionfs integration: full write support on CD; now it is possible to run, configure and install software without any workarounds; new init-system: switched from 'colors' to LSB-function style; iptstate running on tty10; vesafb-tng: advanced frame buffer technology; udev integration: just run 'mount /mnt/external1' to mount your USB stick; grml-terminalserver: boot grml via network (either via PXE or floppy disk)." See the release announcement for more details.
grml 0.4 - a KNOPPIX-based live CD featuring the light-weight WMI desktop
(full image size: 496kB)
* * * * *
Development and unannounced releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|Web Site News
New distribution additions
- NST. Network Security Toolkit (NST) is a bootable live CD based on Fedora Core. The toolkit was designed to provide easy access to best-of-breed open source network security applications and should run on most x86 platforms. The main intent of developing this toolkit was to provide the network security administrator with a comprehensive set of open source network security tools. What we find rather fascinating with NST is that we can transform most x86 systems (Pentium II and above) into a system designed for network traffic analysis, intrusion detection, network packet generation, wireless network monitoring, a virtual system service server, or a sophisticated network/host scanner.
- Symphony OS. Symphony OS is a distribution of GNU/Linux based on the Debian GNU/Linux and KNOPPIX operating systems. Symphony will do things a bit differently than other Linux operating systems; making it easier to use and more intuitive than most existing distributions.
* * * * *
New on the waiting list
- DCC/Live. DCC/Live (DCC is short for Debian Cluster Components project) is a Knoppix-based live CD providing a virtual DCC cluster environment, with three work nodes running UserMode Linux.
- Komodo Linux. Komodo Linux is a new desktop Linux distribution and live CD based on PCLinuxOS.
- EduLinux. EduLinux is a Chilean Linux distribution, developed by that country's Ministry of Education, with the goal of deployed it in schools around Chile. It is based on Fedora Core and K12LTSP Linux. (Note: this project does not seem to have any ties with EduLinux, a French Canadian distribution based on Mandrakelinux/Mandriva Linux.)
* * * * *
- SENTINIX. The SENTINIX project has announced that the project is closed and that the SENTINIX distribution is no longer being developed: "As of 2005-05-12 the SENTINIX project is no more. The primary reason is that I no longer have time/funds to continue development and, so far, no one has been interested in taking over the project." Find more information on the distribution's project page.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
- Number of Linux distributions in the database: 406
- Number of BSD distributions in the database: 11
- Number of discontinued distributions: 51
- Number of distributions on the waiting list: 116
|Tips, tricks & hints (by Robert Storey)
Genealogical software - GRAMPS
One loyal friend is worth ten thousand relatives.
- Euripides, Greek playwrite
I must admit that I felt a sense of trepidation when I permanently erased Windows from my hard disk two years ago. It wasn't that I feared using Linux as my full-time OS - indeed, I relished the thought - but I was worried that I would lose some badly needed Windows application for which there was no open source equivalent. Mind you, I wasn't going to miss Clippy, but there were two classes of software that seemed to be lacking in the Linux collection - a good genealogical program, and software for drawing floor-plans. I may have more to say about drawing floor-plans in a future article, but my fear of missing genealogical software proved to be misplaced thanks to GRAMPS.
GRAMPS - the Genealogical Research and Analysis Management Programming System - found its way into the vast Debian archive at just about the time when I needed it. My brother, along with some long-lost relatives he found on the Internet, had just decided to embark on a major project to construct our family tree. And that tree proved to be far vaster than we could have imagined, spanning four continents and involving over 3700 people (both living and dead). Any thoughts I originally entertained about just using a simple text editor or spreadsheet for the project were quickly jettisoned - we needed a dedicated genealogical program.
GRAMPS - a genealogy program for Linux and FreeBSD that allows you to easily build and keep track of your family tree
It didn't take much research to discover that the gold standard of genealogy programs is Personal Ancestral File (PAF), available from the LDS Church. However, the champ for user-friendliness was (and probably still is) Family Treemaker for Windows. Both PAF and FTW are Windows programs - not acceptable for me, but this suited my brother just fine.
Although I was not doing the research myself, I was very interested in seeing the results. Therefore, I was greatly relieved to discover that there is an industry-standard genealogy database file format called GEDCOM (GEnealogical Data COMmunications). A GEDCOM file will usually end with the extension of .ged or .GED (keep in mind that Windows is not case-sensitive, but Linux is). GRAMPS actually creates a database in XML format, but has no problem importing GEDCOM files. FTW does not use GEDCOM as its default file format, but it can export GEDCOM files, so there was absolutely no problem sharing data.
Well, let me take that back. GRAMPS did experience a minor hiccup when I first imported the GEDCOM file my brother sent to me. I received numerous error messages like these:
Warning: line 33705 was not understood, so it was ignored.
2 PHON (718) 692-3716; fax: 951-6968
Warning: line 34103 was not understood, so it was ignored.
2 PHON (021) 236-3828
GRAMPS does have a field for phone numbers, so I remain uncertain as to why the phone numbers were rejected.
Another issue when importing data - FTW has some fields which do not exist in GRAMPS. For example, for people who have an alias, FTW provides a field called Also Known As (AKA), but GRAMPS does not have this field. When I imported a FTW GEDCOM file, the Also Known As data was accepted by GRAMPS, but wound up in the wrong field (the alias was misidentified as the birth name). Also, FTW indexes Also Known As names - not surprisingly, after importing these names didn't appear in the GRAMPS index. From what I have heard from my Windows-using friends, this kind of thing is a common problem in sharing GEDCOM files between different programs, so it's not just a GRAMPS issue. The GRAMPS FAQ even states this quite clearly:
"It is important to understand that the GEDCOM standard is poorly implemented -- virtually every genealogical software has its own "flavor" of GEDCOM.."
Nevertheless, the above-mentioned problems were minor, and won't affect you at all if you're not importing data from other programs.
One little feature in the way GRAMPS has the Family page set up is actually nicer than FTW. In GRAMPS, Relationships displays all spouses (for those who have been married more than once). In FTW only one "preferred" spouse is displayed at a time. In FTW, there is an icon to check a list for other spouses.
There are other differences as well. FTW displays place of birth and death on the family page. GRAMPS produces a Pedigree tree (which is in fact an ancestor tree), but not a descendant tree. FTW makes ancestor trees, descendant trees and can make an hourglass tree. FTW also boasts a lot of options for displaying chart data. Indeed, FTW has an option to create a chart of everyone in the file, but you wouldn't want to use that for a very big file (it could just lock up from insufficient resources, and it can get very confusing in how it places the up and down relationships). GRAMPS is written in Python, which makes it easy for third parties to develop plug-in charting capabilities.
I noticed that GRAMPS seems to take notes and put those into the index of place names, not knowing that these are not place names.
FTW automatically saves the file as it is when you close it. GRAMPS has a better idea - it gives you a choice whether to save the changes.
GRAMPS is well-documented. Click on the Help menu and you'll find a very useful FAQ and user manual.
If you're a Debian user, you'll find GRAMPS in Sarge (but not Woody). There are plenty of RPM files drifting around - try rpmfind.net. Otherwise, grab a source tarball. GRAMPS is dependent on the GTK+ and GNOME libraries (though you don't need to be running GNOME).
Of course, nice as GRAMPS is, it won't do your genealogical research for you. That involves digging through birth, death and immigration records, most of which exist only on printed paper. Just as soon as somebody writes an open source program that will do this, you can rest assured that we will report the story here on DistroWatch.
* * * * *
That's all for today. We hope that you enjoyed this week's DistroWatch Weekly!
|Linux Foundation Training
|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • The 100th issue nice! (by war on 2005-05-16 11:07:49 GMT from United States) |
Great stuff :)
Look forward to it every Monday morning!
2 • SUSE LINUX Administration Guide (by Anonymous on 2005-05-16 11:49:10 GMT from Germany)
I fail to see the deal with this news: it's the Admin Guide of SUSE 9.3 written by SUSE taken from CD/DVD and published on the net.
> This has to be one of the most comprehensive SUSE guides ever published on the Internet.
Only until you can download the very same as rpm once SUSE 9.3 FTP is released.
3 • Re: SUSE LINUX Administration Guide (by Anonymous on 2005-05-16 11:57:13 GMT from Germany)
Another note now that I remember the "SUSE increases community involvement" canard of issue #84: it's nice of you discovering the strengths of SUSE step by step now but I'm a bit disappointed that *the* distribution expert site didn't know about these stuff before.
4 • Gentoo Linux Installer (by Andrew N. on 2005-05-16 11:59:23 GMT from United States)
That is very good news! Front End Installer and Text-setup for the Distro install from Hell. I could only get 3/4 through way through before giving up I am very exited.
5 • love (by Kevin on 2005-05-16 12:07:48 GMT from Canada)
I Love Distrowatch.
This is most likely the more interesting / entertaining distro list websites around. I commend you!
6 • best wishes (by HelloWorld82 on 2005-05-16 12:14:05 GMT from Germany)
best wishes for the 100th DistroWatch Weekly ! Thanks for this great webpage :)
7 • on Linux Distribution Chooser (by Peter at 2005-05-16 13:15:39 GMT from Romania)
well it seams that my distribution isn't yet invented ;)
"Sorry, we were not able to find any matches. Please come back later"
A don't thinks I've asked too much either... apt-based, with a graphical installer, having One Click install with Gnome as default and geared toward sub 500Mhz notebooks ;)
as a side note.... CPU frequency is nothing compared to available RAM
8 • Debian out soon (by Rituraj on 2005-05-16 13:25:51 GMT from India)
It's a great news that the Metadistribution Debian is releasing soon. But i think it wont be out on 30th May...it may be out in June or July.
Finally a next major release which is STABLE in a TRUE SENSE OF THE WORD.
9 • woody to sarge using Aptitude (by Scott Wilson on 2005-05-16 13:39:02 GMT from United States)
Why, Debians appeal has been "apt-get" I actually updated a Ubuntu box using distro-upgrade. I find using Debians aptitude rather cumbersome. I wonder for those that have been using the testing branch, need to reloaded with the offical sarge or just change the Apt sources to from testing to stable?
10 • Gentoo (by Beavis on 2005-05-16 13:44:44 GMT from United States)
I love gentoo, not because of the installation, but because of the end result. The portage system is the best software managment tool ever. A graphical instaleer for desktop systems would save me a lot of time. Currently, I am only able to run Gentoo on servers ebcause of the installation commitment required.
11 • Gentoo and FreeBSD Rocks (by mcg on 2005-05-16 14:59:33 GMT from Finland)
Gentoo and FreeBSD Rocks!
Gentoo showed me the Real world!but in FreeBSD,i learn more!
12 • chooser & gramps (by x on 2005-05-16 15:38:58 GMT from United States)
I went through the Chooser several times and provided different answers each time. I noticed the results were the same with a couple of different answer sets. I will do this again later when I have more time. Next time I will take notes and make comments.
How many of the distributions are included in the possible results? Will the BSD's be part of this? Are there any thoughts to adding speciality distro's in the future? (ie does distribution need coffee cup protocol)
I believe this will help a number of people when choosing a distribution, even if no further changes are made.
I was not aware GRAMPS existed, thanks for the info.
13 • Distro Evaluation: need the Java support to be documented. (by Anonymous on 2005-05-16 15:52:14 GMT from United States)
I like what you do: documenting the revision level of the components of Linux distribuitions.
Most Linux Distros come with a Java Run Time Engine, because Sun Does not do a great job, there, what is provided with the distro, is valuable...
For example: Suse 9.3 recently released provides Java 1.4.2 support.
But the popular Bittorent client recommend to using the JRE 1.5 or higher.
So by documenting which JRE is available, you may have the positive effect of providing distro vendors with the most adequate packages.
One step further ?
provide two rev level (when applies):
1) The distro base: what is on the CD/DVD or base install.
2) The rev level provided by the latest on line update of the given distro.
Suggest that the distro vendors, just send an email to "distrowatch" to make this possible... and keep the existing color scheme.
I realize this may be too much work, but still may be nice to have at least for the top five distros, with weekly update?
Thanks again for your excellent web site.
14 • Distro Chooser (by EEDOK on 2005-05-16 15:55:32 GMT from Canada)
wow looks professional compared to my distro chooser at http://eedok.voidofmind.com/linux/chooser.html
But much better than that tux one.
PS: If people out there want to add to my distro chooser e-mail me, my e-mail is in the link after you complete the test.
15 • Debian Sarge (by IMQ on 2005-05-16 16:30:31 GMT from United States)
What's the deal with upgrading to Sarge using aptitute?
Debian is well known when it comes to keeping up-to-date with apt-get update, then apt-get upgrade or apt-get dist-upgrade. I just find this upgrade note little odd. I am aware that there are other ways to update Debian, but this is a very well known, one in which other non-Debian based distros have modeled their upgrade tool similar to apt.
16 • Linux Distribution Chooser is OK, but... (by Richard Lloyd on 2005-05-16 16:32:22 GMT from United Kingdom)
...it has a few minor issues with it. Firstly, the constant having to click "Next..." when you've just answered the final question on the page is annoying (why doesn't it just go to the next page automatically?).
Secondly, it asks the question "Do you need to use kickstart?" without explaining what it is unless you actually click on "No" first (it's a Red Hat/Fedora-specific way of installing a distro, usually across the network and with a fixed config).
Finally, although it did work out that my "ideal" distro is Fedora, it said it failed on the "bit_64" criteria, but then failed to explain what "bit_64" is (I presume it means 64-bit support), never mind the fact that Fedora *does* have 64-bit support !
The final page was also disappointing because it didn't tell me how well my distro rated (e.g. a percentage figure or something) or list any other distros in order of rating (even if they were "unsuitable", I'd have liked to have known how unsuitable they were). Methinks this needs some work.
17 • Something to think about. (by R on 2005-05-16 17:05:28 GMT from United States)
I was wondering if you could add some forum's to your web site. Distrowatch has been recognized as “the place to go” if you want to get into Linux (or BSD) or to find a distro that better fits your needs. Just by reading the news letter every Monday, you can see that there is a lot of talent reading these news letters, maybe we can use this talent to help newbies, or to help other find better apps. Have one for helping people install Linux (or BSD), have one for news related topics, and one for lets say “spirited discussions”.
18 • distro chooser (by Psionides on 2005-05-16 17:49:18 GMT from Poland)
I went through all the questions, and it told me that my perfect match was Mepis (apart from PC Linux OS). Believe me or not, but Mepis is exactly what I'm using on my PC :))
BTW why does it claim that for Mandriva, "Only a demo version is free" ?? Did they mean that the download edition is a demo version ?... Funny ...
19 • Re: SUSE LINUX Administration Guide (by Anonymous on 2005-05-16 17:51:24 GMT from Germany)
> Only until you can download the very same as rpm once SUSE 9.3 FTP is released.
Actually you can already download the guides just now in different languages (cs, de, en, fr, it, ja) and also as PDF: ftp://ftp.suse.com/pub/suse/i386/9.3/suse/noarch/suselinux-*guide*
20 • Slackware and kernel 2.6 (by olefiver on 2005-05-16 18:07:41 GMT from Norway)
> There is no word on when Slackware will switch its
> default kernel to version 2.6
Pat has said that Slackware 11 will ship with kernel 2.6 as default.
Thou I can't recall, nor find, where I read it ...
21 • version info suggestion: ++ (by Anonymous on 2005-05-16 18:58:56 GMT from United States)
> provide two rev level (when applies):
> 1) The distro base: what is on the CD/DVD or base install.
> 2) The rev level provided by the latest on line update of the given distro.
In particular, item 2) should show EASILY OBTAINED + installed updates.
22 • GRAMPS...well try phpgedview (by mrbass at 2005-05-16 19:50:58 GMT from United States)
I use PHPGEDVIEW. What's the requirements? webserver with php. You can use an mysql database if you wish or flat text file. You can edit your family data over the internet and enable relatives the ability to do so to if you wish. Here's my install guide for it.
As far as Breezy that OEM installation will be awesome. I guess like redhat kickstart. Also hopefully they'll nail those issues. Can't wait to start testing. Only thing holding up Breezy test .iso releases (from what I've read) is the PPC doesn't fit on 700MB cds....oooops.
23 • Chooser (by Gene on 2005-05-16 20:12:55 GMT from United States)
Odd... I did the Distro Chooser and it recommended Kubuntu. I find this amusing and wonder how it decides what to recommend. The amusing part is that I've been using Simply Mepis for some time so the recommended distro is a Debian based live CD that can be installed. In using the site with Mozilla I found that after answering questions I always had to scroll down to see the next, what resolution is this made for?
Thanks, Disrowatch and the weekly news letter are great!
24 • Lappy Distro Choice (by Soloact on 2005-05-16 20:16:50 GMT from United States)
This is a reply to Peter, I'm using SimplyMEPIS 3.3 on my 450 MHz Laptop, works just fine. Must have external modem for dialup connections though, as those old internal winmodems are worthless. SuSE 8.1 had also been running on the same Laptop with a PCMCIA modem card. SuSE 8.2+ didn't work with the PCMCIA, however.
25 • SUSE LINUX Administration Guide (by Anonymous Penguin on 2005-05-16 21:29:10 GMT from Italy)
I hope this is the beginning of a new trend: more flexibility in the way SUSE is sold: sell just the DVDs/CDs to people who prefer that way (the majority, I would expect), sell the manual(s) just to people who want them.
Don't force people to buy bulky boxes every time: it is absolutely ridiculous. Here in Italy you can't even buy the upgrade edition, you must buy the full monty.
26 • Distro chooser (by Christian Thibodeau on 2005-05-16 21:33:41 GMT from Canada)
> wow looks professional compared to my distro chooser at
Maybe, but your distro chooser results for me were:
Beatrix (I run that at home) [100%]
Damn Small Linux (Never go anywhere without it) [100%]
Ubuntu (I run that at work) [91%]
Vector (On my test machine right now)[91%]
Ark (I will have to look at this one now)[91%]
The other distro chooser had three recommendations: Debian, Gentoo, Slackware. A little too vague for me.
27 • Distro chooser (by Christian Thibodeau on 2005-05-16 21:40:56 GMT from Canada)
For the sake of correctness: Some of the percentages in my message above are incorrect. They should be:
Damn Small 100%
Good thing I don't work as a proofreader :)
28 • Zen Linux (by Anonymous Penguin on 2005-05-16 21:43:56 GMT from Italy)
I am very keen to try this distro, but the torrent hasn't been organized very well.
I have been downloading the DVD for 5 hours with just one seeder and more than 80 peers.
Now a new seeder has stepped in, but BitTornado is still forecasting another 22 hours.
29 • Discontinued Distributions (by JayB on 2005-05-16 21:54:00 GMT from United States)
I haven't read the weekly in a couple weeks and noticed that the count for discontinued distros to go up to 51 (it had been at 49 for a little while now) so i went back to see which other distro was discontinued. Issue 98 showed the count still at 49, issue 99 showed it up to 50 but no news on which distro was discontinued (i looked thru the entire issue in case it was mentioned at the top). I know this is nit-picking but was just curious.
30 • Re: SUSE LINUX Administration Guide (by Anonymous on 2005-05-16 23:01:52 GMT from Germany)
> I hope this is the beginning of a new trend
There is no new trend because there is no beginning (nothing changed, only Distrowatch wrote about it now). Less dead tree manuals is exactly what the Upgrade edition is about.
31 • RE: Anonymous on 2005-05-16 23:01:52 GMT from Germany (by Anonymous Penguin on 2005-05-16 23:38:06 GMT from Italy)
"Less dead tree manuals is exactly what the Upgrade edition is about."
1) You still get the bigger manual
2) I can't get the Upgrade edition in Italy. It doesn't even seem to exist.
Only chance: get the English edtion from Amazon.co.uk
Get just the DVDs or Cds from a private (Ebay in Germany)
Anyway because of this and other issues I am beginning to have enough of SUSE and I am considering going all Debian.
The other reasons are the following:
1)Every new release of SUSE comes very buggy out of the box. You must wait a couple of months before most bugs are ironed out.
2)Very poor multimedia and P2P support. You must rely on apt4rpm, but the apt developers can only do so much. From this point of view at least Mandriva is a lot better.
3) I do not like 6 monthly release cycles. And please don't tell me that I don't have to buy. With the rpm distros if you don't get every new release you are left behind. Which is not the case with Debian or Gentoo, for instance: you can keep updating forever.
32 • Linux Distribution chooser (by Anonymous Penguin on 2005-05-16 23:46:01 GMT from Italy)
Completely wrong, in my case.
My so called "perfect matches":
1)Kubunt: I totally dislike it
2)Xandros: not bad, but I'd rather give it to my granny
3)Linspire: same as above
33 • MD5 links (by Marc on 2005-05-17 00:49:26 GMT from Canada)
I have a whish here ...
Is it possible to also have the md5 link when posting
a new iso. This way we wont use energy for nothing.
Anybody supporting this ?
Thanks again for DWW.
34 • RE: EEDOK (by Anonymous Penguin on 2005-05-17 00:54:52 GMT from Italy)
Also in my case your distro chooser was a lot more accurate:
1)Debian: 90% ( dead on)
2)Knoppix: 90% (replace it with Kanotix and it is correct)
All the following got 81%:
SUSE (OK). Fedora (not OK). Mandriva (OK). Ark (if only I could install it...)
It also knew that I don't like Ubuntu and Mepis: amazing!
35 • RE: Discontinued Distributions (by ladislav on 2005-05-17 01:17:22 GMT from Taiwan)
Last week I flagged TrianceOS as discontinued. Unlike SENTINIX this week, some distributions don't announce that they are going belly-up, they simply disappear. I haven't been able to access the TrianceOS web site for several months.
But the count is still wrong. According to the search page, there are 52 distributions flagged as discontinued (and 44 distributions flagged as dormant), so I still missed one somewhere. Things like this can happen - sometimes I make a change in the database, but forget to update the stats in DWW.
36 • Latest News RSS Feed - Broken (by monkymind at 2005-05-17 02:47:41 GMT from Australia)
are you aware of the RSS problem??
XML Parsing Error: not well-formed
Line Number 65, Column 36:Reviews: Putting on My Tie & Tails
PS It's looks like there is a need for more ZenLinux CD and DVD mirrors. Does anyone have the space and bandwidth??
37 • Big Linux 3D Desktop (by Kerry Kappell on 2005-05-17 02:48:13 GMT from United States)
I downloaded Big Linux to see what it was using to create a 3D desktop in KDE. A little websearch and I found a tutorial to turn several desktop environments including KDE and Gnome into 3D ones. My best guess is that this is how big linux is creating their 3D desktop. The tutorial can be found at:
Big fan of distrowatch!
38 • Distro chooser (by Ed Borasky on 2005-05-17 03:04:53 GMT from United States)
I took one of these a few months ago and it came up with Gentoo ... what a surprise. :) This one looks a little more detailed, and it ended up with Gentoo *and* Slackware!! So ... I guess I need to try Slackware, eh?
39 • Linux Names (by Bill Anderson on 2005-05-17 04:36:44 GMT from United States)
Edubuntu- How many more derivatives of the name Ubuntu can there be? But, they've gotta come up with a better name for their laptop version ("Lapbuntu?).
On the other hand, "GRAMPS" is great - it is original, uses an acronym and means something to Joe Sixpack.
40 • Lapbuntu (by Anonymous on 2005-05-17 05:10:00 GMT from United States)
I don't know the name but this is good news
41 • Distro Chooser (by Cyanic on 2005-05-17 06:24:26 GMT from South Africa)
First off... congrats to the DistroWatch team for their awesome work. We all hope you continue with the same passion that has gotten you this far.
As for the DistroChooser, I must admit that it is quite accurate.
It recommended Gentoo and Slackware for me.... which is exactly what I'm running on all of my systems.
[3 Slack, 1 Gentoo]
42 • Distro Chooser (by mikkh on 2005-05-17 11:13:28 GMT from United Kingdom)
A bit limited in scope, and apt (no pun intended) to fork off into restricted choices.
I put I prefer apt-get, and was predictably given Debian or derivatives of it. Apt/Synaptic is available in many non deb based distros including the folowing I'm using now, or have used in the past
Blag (Fedora based Gnome only distro) Excellent one CD distro and the only Gnome based distro I found usable - don't like Ubuntu and the hype machine at all.
Conectiva - RPM based but uses synaptic for both the install and for package management - Superb distro now likely to be tainted by the interference of Mandrake
QiLinux - Again uses synaptic, and like Conectiva gives you a fast desktop with no missing multimedia stuff.
The only Debian based one I have/like is Mepis, although Libranet 2.81 was my distro of choice for a long time.
Slackware used to be a favourite, but I like Vector SOHO (which is based on it) better, and use that instead
43 • Gentoo Logo (by Ariszló on 2005-05-17 12:04:53 GMT from Hungary)
Is it a punched heart or a purple pacman?
44 • Greetings (by Eduardo Baccelliere on 2005-05-17 13:52:01 GMT from Chile)
I am writing from Santiago, Chile.
I want to give Distrowatch my greetings for its 100 th issue.
I read it every week and I enjoy it very much.
By the way I've tried some distributions and the principal obstacle is their installation, because of hardware recognition.
Now I am using Simply Mepis 3.3 and exploring Xandros 3.
I find very important to know about applications. The advantage of Windows are their applications. Very interesting genealogical applications. But what about chess database applications to study games ? I don´t know .
By Ladislav and thanks for your extraordinaire web site.
45 • Re: GRAMPS...well try phpgedview (by Bongoots on 2005-05-17 14:38:32 GMT from United Kingdom)
There's an even better alternative to phpGedView and that is The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding (TNG) which can be bought (USD$27) from http://www.lythgoes.net/genealogy/software.php .. check out my running setup at http://bongoots.com/genealogy/descend.php?personID=I1&tree=walkers-of-beeston :)
I see now that a new release was made 3 days ago.. now up to v5.0.0. I began back in the days of 3.x. Amazingly, it's via his running demo that I found that I had a double connection to the developer of TNG. He's both my 10th and 8 cousin with 2 or 3 generations of separation on each side, but it all came down to my 4th great grandparents marriage. This is what marrying relatives does for your descendants. I'd be *very* worried if I was in the royal family!!!
I'm currently working on getting a better distro running. I gave up on my major *stagnant* (unnamed) distro in January and have been hopping around from one to the other ever since.
I've tried Ubuntu 5.04 (NIC problems), Slackware 10.1 (MBR problems), Mandriva 2005 (they've managed to make KDE look FUGLY), Fedora Core 3 (nice, but there is better), FC4 T2 (crashed and burned my drive, but that could have been anything) -- out of the lot, I loved FC4 T2 the most and look forward to the final FC4 release... unless Gentoo or SuSE 9.3 get to me first.
I've burnt SuSE 9.2 to DVD and am currently tossing up whether I should try Gentoo first. Reason being that I hate the look and feel of SuSE 9.2, but 9.3 is sexy and professional looking (I tried the Live DVD). I can't wait for the FTP release.
I guess it's Gentoo for today, maybe SuSE tomorrow and FC4 sooner or later! :D
46 • Distribution Chooser doesn't give me Slackware... (by Anonymous on 2005-05-17 18:15:34 GMT from China)
Do you know what a "Linux distribution" is? Yes
Have you successfully installed an operating system before? Yes
Do you know how to "partition" a hard drive? Yes
Which kind of installation do you prefer? Text mode
Are you using any wireless devices? No
How would you rate your technical skills? Intermediate
What kind of computer are you installing on? A desktop computer
What is the primary use of this computer? Desktop / home system
How old is the computer you are installing Linux on? Aging ( < 1 GHz )
How would you rate your knowledge of linux? Beginner / Intermediate
What package management system do you prefer? I don't care
What desktop environment do you prefer? I don't care
Do you need one-click-installation of new software? No thanks / I don't care
Do you want to include Live CDs in the results? No, just standard distributions
Does the Linux distro have to be free? No
Are you using a PC or a Mac? PC
Results: Ubuntu, Kubuntu, MEPIS, Xandros, SuSE
Others: Debian, Mandriva, Fedora, Desktop/LX, Linspire
Which is WEIRD, since I don't like all the above distros. I love Slackware.
Why I don't like the above distros:
Ubuntu: based on Debian, installation of packages too easy
Kubuntu: like Ubuntu
MEPIS: No comment; don't know this distro much
Xandros: What??? I'll be d*mned
SuSE: See Xandros
Debian: Package management too easy
Mandriva: Too similar to Windows
Fedora: I hate RPM
Desktop/LX: Too similar to Windows
Linspire: Too similar to Windows
So what did I choose wrong? I thought the results would be around *BSD, Slackware, Gentoo, and Debian (the REAL Debian), but instead is gives me a list of unusable desktop distros. Did I do something wrong?
47 • re doesnt give me slackware (by mikkh on 2005-05-17 19:58:08 GMT from United Kingdom)
"I don't like ubuntu, based on debian, installation of packages too easy"
Too easy! and why is that a problem? You get some perverted pleasure out of finding unmet dependencies? It has to be hard or it's not linux?
Well thanks for giving me the biggest laugh of the day anyway.
Slackware is not exactly rocket science, typing pkgtool in the directory where you downloaded the file, or untarring a file and typing ./configure
doesn't qualify you for mensa either.
People who 'prefer' gentoo make me smile. They wear it like some badge of uber geekdom and wax lyrical about customisation/optimisation and speed. And yes I've installed it - twice! I'm not impressed and it seems no faster than slackware.
"instead it gives me a list of unusable distros"
lol, stop it, my sides hurt now
48 • Re: MD5 links (by tom on 2005-05-17 19:59:49 GMT from Austria)
m5sum links would be great ;-)
49 • badges of uber geekdom (by Anonymous on 2005-05-17 20:35:41 GMT from United States)
It makes me smile when Slackware users trot out that old shibboleth (I'll mix metaphors if I want too. Besides, isn't making fun of Slackware "beating a dead horse"?) that "If you use $NONSLACKDISTRO, you learn $NONSLACKDISTRO, but if you use Slackware, you learn LINUX", when Slackware is neither FHS nor LSB compliant.
50 • GRAMPS (by pp on 2005-05-17 22:40:07 GMT from United Kingdom)
Nice review. I've just been thinking of starting genealogy research..
51 • Gentoo installer (by nightshade on 2005-05-17 23:01:59 GMT from Australia)
Two words - no point.
52 • Re: Gentoo Logo (by Ed Borasky on 2005-05-18 01:16:49 GMT from United States)
Gentoo Logo (by Ariszló on 2005-05-17 12:04:53 GMT from Hungary)
Is it a punched heart or a purple pacman?
I believe it is a stylized lower case letter "g".
53 • • Distribution Chooser doesn't give me Slackware... (by Anonymous on 2005-05-17 (by Anonymous on 2005-05-18 01:44:46 GMT from United States)
"Fedora: I hate RPM"
Well you do not have to use RPM. You can still use your old .tar.gz, .tar.bzip, untar them
In the end it works all the same. Most of the distros still complain about dependencies like missing lib***.so. I've heard about RPM hell but most things have a solution. In the end when you put the time into it, you can make your distro do what you want and the way you like it. If you do not want to do anything and still want to run linux use SLAX and/or KANOTIX. Both are great live cd's and I recommend them to anyone who wants to learn about linux. SLAX runs off ram if you have 256MB or more with excellent chosen software and very nice layout. Kanotix is a full blown distro on CD just like KNOPPIX was, but just like Kano says I like KNOPPIX but I had to improve it. It is very nice. You can typset beautiful documents on KANOTIX with Kile and included tetex.
54 • Who's going to catch UBUNTU? (by Anonymous on 2005-05-18 02:02:45 GMT from United States)
I am wondering who is going to catch Ubuntu.
Many distrowatch weekly's ago and distrowatch home pages it was
1. Mandrake Linux
..., and so on,
Now it is
..., .. and so on
Ubuntu has taken the Linux world by storm. I cannot say anything negative about Ubuntu because I have not tried it. Otherwise, I would say something about it. Some friends tell me that just as things rise sooner or later they will fall. Ubuntu is like defying the odds, it keeps going on getting more and more hits per day. Mandriva is not even close which was the all time champ(Mandrake Linux). Who is going to catch Ubuntu? We will come back next week to Distrowatch to check what will happen. I love Distrowatch and I like to read what other people say about linux in general. Many friends say that Linux is the wave of the future. I have to agree with them.
It makes sense that people say for Distrochoosers
linux for laptops LapUbuntu,
linux for grandma, Grumpuntu,
linux for older machines, Oldbuntu
linux for the desperate: DesperUntu
Why not a BSDchooser? This is also a BSD site.
BSD for security: NetBSD
BSD for general purpose: FreeBSD
BSD for not installing: FreeSBIE.
BSD's are also very nice.
BSDuntu would not be cool I think. That would be overkill.
Cheers to all.
55 • no openBSD (by EEDOK on 2005-05-18 06:27:16 GMT from Canada)
Where's OpenBSD on that BSD chooser, I think NetBSD is wrongfully in it's place >:o
56 • Notice Ibiblio's FTP? (by Aingel on 2005-05-18 07:00:56 GMT from Philippines)
Yeah, have you noticed the changes on Ibiblio's repository? There seems no way to upload but only on the user's home. Anyone noticing the same?
57 • Re: badges of uber geekdom (by Ariszló on 2005-05-18 20:08:30 GMT from Hungary)
Slackware is neither FHS nor LSB compliant.
Four of my favorite distros (Arch, Buffalo, Frugalware, Slackware) and many others that I use less frequently (including SuSE, Conectiva or FreeBSD) deviate from the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard, so I don't really care.
As for LSB, it is a misnomer. It should be RSM, i.e. RPM Standard Base, because its scope is restricted to rpm-based distributions:
58 • Re: doesn't give me Slackware (by Ariszló on 2005-05-18 20:56:25 GMT from Hungary)
No, it doesn't give me Slackware either, no matter how much I try to get it. It wants to convince me that Kubuntu is the distro of my choice and Ubuntu only fails for the wrong desktop. I hope it's not a disguised Ubuntu-advocacy site.
It only seems to know about three types of package management systems: rpm, dpkg, or source. It does not seem to know about binary package management without dependency checking (Slackware's tgz). And I am not sure it knows about APT-RPM either because it seems to exclusively associate APT with Debian-based distributions.
59 • clarification and correction for Ariszlo (by Anonymous on 2005-05-18 23:11:38 GMT from United States)
I don't think my remarks made the distinction I have in mind clear enough. I'm not knocking Slackware for lack of standards compliance. It may well be that Slack - or the Rox desktop, the GNUStep environment, Gobolinux, whatever - is doing things in a BETTER way. Rather I am knocking the smug attitude of certain Slackware USERS who bring out that old saying, insinuating that other distros are idiosyncratic while Slack is somehow the standard of Linux, when in fact Slack neither sets nor follows the standards. Slack is Slack, Debian is Debian, Gentoo is Gentoo, RedHat is RedHat and claims that one is more ESSENTIALLY Linux are pretty silly. But it seems even more silly with regard to a distro that doesn't make an effort to comply with standards.
Now the correction: LSB is NOT just for rpm based distros. It requires on that the distro SUPPORT rpm, as, e.g. Debian's alien does quite ably. If things were as you say, neither Debian nor Gentoo would be aiming for full LSB compliance, would they?
60 • No BSD (by Anonymous on 2005-05-19 03:13:30 GMT from United States)
"Where's OpenBSD on that BSD chooser, I think NetBSD is wrongfully in it's place >:o"
Sorry, You are absolutely right, I forgot about OpenBSD. There is also a DragonFlyBSD and PC-BSD which has gotten lots of hype.
61 • Onebase Linux is dying (again) (by Anonymous Penguin on 2005-05-19 04:41:07 GMT from Italy)
Have a look at the number of new posts or new members at their forum: you'll soon realize that an average 101 years old granny is more vital.
Have a look at this thread as well:
(hint: do it quickly before it gets deleted)
So how comes that a distro which has just released looks dead already?
The explanation is very simple: its own developer, who doesn't have enough common sense to realize that nobody is going to pay for an almost unknown distro when there are hundreds out there to try for free, not even counting the BSDs, the BeOS based projects, MenuetOS...you name it.
62 • Re: clarification and correction for Ariszlo (by Ariszló on 2005-05-19 06:07:49 GMT from Hungary)
Things like whether you install KDE into /usr or /opt do not have much to do with the essence of Linux (or GNU/Linux if you like), though some standards, designed many years after the first distributions were shaped, might be read as if those were very important.
What Slackers like in their distribution is that most applications work and look like they were designed by their developers. No crippled KDE with hidden Menu Editor or removed KPackage (which is a very nice gui tool to look inside packages). No replacement of KDE's kogwheel button or Gnome's paw with distribution logos. If you want to know the real features of an application then you must go for a distribution that does not redesign it. Slackware is a vanilla distro similarly to Debian, Arch, or Gentoo as opposed to highly customized distros like Fedora, SuSE or Mandriva. It's a matter of taste whether you prefer a vanilla distro or a customized distro.
63 • re : Onebase Linux is dying (again) (by Marc on 2005-05-19 12:59:25 GMT from Canada)
The post has been deleted ...
What did it say ?
And thanks Ladislav for those new MD5 sum links.
They will be good for our environnement !!!!
Talking of environnement, is scrap cd's recyclable ?
Can i put them in my plastic and tin bin ?
I've allways put them there without knowing.
64 • mepis in solitary confinment (by manchine on 2005-05-19 13:35:41 GMT from Spain)
Several months ago it was "just" a misfortuned political decision favouring the US military. Then i have wrote extensive rants to expose the drawbacks of bringing controversial issues into this yet tiny linux thing.
Among many other cons surrounding MEPIS, the scope of my criticism focused on the "one man" nature of its development model and the spartan hierarchy imposed by a bunch of diehards.
Shortly afterwards i have decided to withdraw, mainly becuase of technical flaws, rather than ethics zealotism.
Nowadays it's plain to see that MEPIS is devised to remain under tight centralized control with some prospects of forthcoming profit. There has NEVER been any clear intention to improve it as a community driven project.
A bit out of this mess, but still related to MEPIS and other full fledged live CD's, i'd like to know what Real, Sun, Macromedia, Apple, Skype and other companies would have to say when they discover that their property stuff is being bundled and redistributed. Is it legal to pre-install all these goodies and give copies away?
65 • long-winded follow-up for Ariszlo (by Anonymous on 2005-05-19 18:21:32 GMT from United States)
I suspect there is a great deal more about which we agree than about which we disagree. (Certainly in our sentiments: like you, I prefer to see cogwheels and footprints to little red fedoras everywhere.)
I am not saying that there is anything wrong, per se with the Slack way of doing things. FOSS is about choice and that includes the choice not to go along with what this or that committee has proposed as a standard. It may very well be that where Slackware diverges, its approach is actually superior.
I am however saying that Slackware users are deluding themselves and others when they make statements suggesting that learning the Slack way of doing things is necessarily the best way of learning about Linux (GNU/Linux) or Unix generally.
In some ways Slackware is very educational about *nix, but it is also just as idiosyncratic in its own way as other distros are in theirs, so it's a mixed bag. Slogans like the one I mentioned with my first remark gloss over that fact.
And note that the usage of /opt goes back to SVR4 (1990), predating any distribution of GNU/Linux.
As I said, I share the aversion to distros branding everything. And I enjoy playing with packages in their upstream form. But ironically, it is for this very reason that the /opt issue is important to me!
You see, for day to day usage, I want to benefit from the QA and security infrastructure that my distro provides, and that means the occasional patch for KDE. But from time to time, I may also want to try out a binary of the latest KDE - more or less in its vanilla state. I can put this in /opt and rest assured that my distro - since it is FHS compliant - won't touch this version of KDE in any way.
On the other hand, the version of fvwm that I've hacked and customized in various ways (I've never hacked KDE, but it could just as easily be a third version of KDE that I'm talking about.) belongs in /usr/local. And again, my distro won't do anything that affects this, nor will there be any conflicts with a binary version I may get from a third-party and put into /opt/fvwm (or /opt/KDE in the hypothetical case).
All of these versions can happily coexist. And I can do this confidently with any FHS compliant distro I might use. Not only would I not learn this using Slackware, but I wouldn't even be able to do it - not very easily anyway. These are among the reasons I much prefer the FHS compliance of Debian, Gentoo (two distros you've also called "vanilla"), and LFS (which is probably as "vanilla" as one can get) to the seeming indifference of Slackware to those standards.
(I've no experience with Arch, so please no one take my omission there as suggesting any opinion on that.)
But as I said, the Slack way may be superior in other respects. I'm not saying that Slackware is wrong. I'm only saying that these differences are important and that there are significant ways that Slackware is different from most other Linux distros, so that the invidious comparisons in the slogan, "...if you use Slackware, you learn Linux," are more than a bit misleading.
I suspect that this may even tie in with another remark I sometimes see from Slackware users. I have seemingly experienced Slackware users say that package managers that provide dependency checking are a bad thing. Which always seemed ridiculous to me. And they aren't just making a lame excuse for one of the most glaring shortcomings of their favorite distro. They're not even just saying that one learns more doing things the hard way. They seem to quite honestly believe that dependency checking limits their freedom and control. But I can't help thinking that if they better understood the value of FHS, they'd see that their freedom is in now way limited by superb package management like that in Debian. With a distro that respects FHS, they have complete control over /opt and /usr/local and can be assured that their distro's package management system won't touch those. So they can install software in those places in whatever way they please while still having the convenience and power of solid package management for the rest of their system.
One positive thing I'll say about Slackware: my experience with it was beneficial when I began to use NetBSD, because I'd been exposed to the BSD-style init scripts in Slackware. This is the one respect in which the claim that Slackware Linux is the most "Unix-like" Linux distro makes some sense. (Though again, it's a bit misleading, since most systems that are Unix in the legal sense use SVR4. But I think the claim is almost contemporary with Solaris, nee SunOS, moving to SVR4 from BSD standards, and I'm almost certain it predates the resolution of the AT&T BSD lawsuits, so in its context it may have been quite accurate. In any case, Linux and the BSDs have equalled or surpassed proprietary Unix in so many areas now that being more like Unix doesn't have the same cachet it once did.)
Whatever else I have said, I want to add that Slackware has usually been almost as fast as Gentoo and a bit more reliable. Often almost as reliable as Debian stable - for what it includes, anyway - and usually a great deal more up to date. So, I'd still say that Slackware has its advantages. I'll close on that positive note.
66 • Re: long-winded follow-up (by Ariszló on 2005-05-19 20:47:14 GMT from Hungary)
Slackware users are deluding themselves [...] when they make statements [...] that learning the Slack way of doing things is [...] the best way of learning about Linux
Yes, it's quoted all over the web that "Partisans have been known to say, 'When you know Slackware, you know Linux... when you know Red Hat, all you know is Red Hat.'" AFAIK, that slogan is usually used with reference to gui system administration tools in arguments that go like this: a typical SuSE user will know how to configure the screen with SaX, which is SuSE-specific tool, but might not know how to edit xorg.conf (or XFree86.conf), which is common to all Linux distributions. As I understand this, no offense intended. Slackers are simply proud to know some general solutions.
As for FHS-compliance and the advantage of using /opt or /usr/local for personal binaries, you can alway install anything into a user's home directory, and yes, /usr/local is also there for you in Slackware. Having KDE in /opt/kde rather than in /usr has a further advantage: now that Gnome 2.10 is also using FreeDesktop.org's applications.menu, it's easier to keep your KDE and Gnome menus apart in Slackware than in an FHS-compliant distribution by simply adding this line to startkde:
Dependency checking. Whether you like it or not, depends on what causes you more headache: finding out how to satisfy dependencies, which is rarely an issue in Slackware where most of the commonly required libraries are pre-installed, or how to handle circular dependencies and other cases of dependency hell. It's again a case of personal preference. If you enjoy the rare pleasure of finding out what to install to satisfy the requirements of a unique application then Slackware is for you. If you prefer adding the --force option to your rpm -i command then an rpm-based distro will be fun, too. I can't recall how to force things in Debian but it must be similar to rpm -i --force.
Yes, FOSS is about choice and I have enjoyed this discussion. :)
67 • RE: re : Onebase Linux is dying (again) (by Anonymous Penguin on 2005-05-19 21:46:23 GMT from Italy)
>>The post has been deleted ...
What did it say ?<<
Well, basically it was one user saying that the forum felt deserted and that Onebase was dying of a fast death. Another user replied: "guess who is killing it?"
The developer is very prompt in deleting threads he doesn't like.
But he is extremely slow (if ever) to accept his own mistakes.
68 • for Ariszlo (by Anonymous on 2005-05-19 23:23:08 GMT from United States)
I too have enjoyed this discussion, very much. We've both I think down a good job of keeping what could have been a flame war into something that could be informative.
You know, when the remark is made - as it most often is - with SuSE or RedHat as the distro referenced in the first clause - and especially when it's made with specific reference to learning system configuration, I don't have much of a problem with it. Especially when the point is made that you CAN learn those things with any system (or so I'd assume) but Slackware forces you to learn it - and quickly. That's a good thing.
(A sidenote. I felt a bit of embarassment - and I think it was mutual - when I had a wife's friend and I discovered used Linux. He sat down at my box - I think this was Debian potato, but it could have been woody - and after browsing around a bit, asked "Where's YAST? How do you do things without YAST?" I had absolutely no idea at the time what YAST even was!)
You're right about the use of /home of course. And actually, before I make a project I'm tweeking run system wide, that's what I do. As for /usr/local, this is something a LOT of people get confused about, even suggesting /opt be symlinked to /usr/local or /usr/local/opt, because it seems redundant to them. /opt is for precompiled binaries from third parties. /usr/local is for things you compile yourself. But the fact that so many people find them redundant suggests to me that I'm in a very small minority in seeing the need for both.
Thanks for the tip concerning GNOME 2.10. I haven't messed with GNOME in some time actually, but it's an interesting point.
Yes, dpkg has a --force option as well, including options to turn dependency problems into warning and forcing just version numbers - which is the one way of forcing that I've found works pretty well. Generally, having learned the hard way, I try to avoid using --force. Debian's dependency handling is generally pretty sensible. (I have seen rpms insist on some ridiculous dependencies though.) When I want to work around a conflict, like I said, I go with /opt. Then there are no headaches at all.
69 • Forgot to check my own comment :P (by Anonymous on 2005-05-22 17:29:09 GMT from China)
> Too easy! and why is that a problem? You get some perverted
> pleasure out of finding unmet dependencies? It has to be hard or
> it's not linux?
Well, actually Slack gives me the sense of power (whether true or false). Maybe Gentoo would too, but I haven't had the time to try it yet.
> Well thanks for giving me the biggest laugh of the day anyway.
You're welcome :)
> Slackware is not exactly rocket science, typing pkgtool in the
> directory where you downloaded the file, or untarring a file and
> typing ./configure
> make install
> doesn't qualify you for mensa either.
But it's COOL ;)
> "instead it gives me a list of unusable distros"
> lol, stop it, my sides hurt now
I have friends who use Debian, and about the only bad things about it are its package management and the way man pages are placed in /usr/share/man... Desktop distros are usually unusable, at least for me (the desktop always loads very slowly).
As for the package management thing, it's not exactly a flaw in the package management (pkgtool). It's a feature (and it's not the kind of *feature* that M$ gives you), and if you want you can use swaret. I've personally used swaret before, but I deleted it since I ran out of disk space (it keeps a few MBs of some file or something...)
Actually distro choice depends on the character of the person... I've used Slackware, and now of the BSDs, only OpenBSD appeals most to me -- Theo's attitude, its security record, and its simplicity :)
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