| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 118, 19 September 2005
Welcome to this year's 38th issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The major news of the past week was, of course, the release of Slackware Linux 10.2 - a distribution with a clear focus on simplicity, stability and reliability. Next on the release calendar: Mandriva Linux 2006 - with the second release candidate announced last week, we can't be too far off from the final release. Also in this issue: an explanation about the delay of KNOPPIX 4.0 CD edition, news about a live CD that uses Xen to boot a host operating system, and two free learning resources - one for OpenBSD and one for Linux. We also take a brief look at a new book for Xandros users - Linux Made Easy. Happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in ogg (9.22MB) or mp3 (6.82MB) formats (courtesy of Shawn Milo).
Join us at irc.freenode.net #distrowatch
Slackware Linux 10.2 on the shelves
The biggest news of the past week was, of course, the release of a brand new Slackware Linux, version 10.2. If you've had a chance to read the release announcement and release notes, you've undoubtedly noticed that Slackware 10.2 continues in its time-honoured tradition of being a simple and clean system, perhaps slightly on the conservative side in terms of the default kernel and package selection, but certainly a very secure and easy-to-maintain distribution. The default kernel remains the tried and tested 2.4 series, but an optional 2.6.13 kernel is available in the testing directory (it can be selected during installation). As expected, the latest Slackware no longer includes the GNOME desktop; its developers suggest that the GNOME fans use one of the independently packaged GNOME for Slackware, such as GWARE and Freerock GNOME.
Overall, Slackware Linux 10.2 seems like a nice release, perhaps not brimming with many exciting new features, but those who value stability and reliability in a Linux distribution will find plenty of reasons to upgrade.
Slackware Linux 10.2 - the latest version of Slackware Linux focuses on stability and reliability, rather than new features
(full image size: 274kB)
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Mandriva Linux 2006 nearing release
With the new Slackware release behind us, all eyes are now on the upcoming Mandriva Linux 2006. Slightly behind schedule, the second release candidate was finally announced last week, so it shouldn't be long before the code is frozen and the new release is out. There seem to be some changes (once again) with respect to the naming of the different editions - it appears that Mandriva is doing away with the name "Community" edition and replacing it with what is now called "Free" edition. It is likely that the initial release of the "Free" edition will only be made available to the Club members, with a general release following with a slight delay. The "Official" edition will probably still go through some post-release bug fixing, before it is packaged and sold in online and retails stores.
If you are interested to read a first-hand account of Mandriva's last-minute bug squashing efforts, here is an interesting report by one of Mandriva's contributors:
"We released RC2 on Wednesday morning, and already several important installer bugs and other vital infrastructure stuff has been fixed since. Final should be frozen very soon. Once it's frozen nothing moves for a while, at least in public, as final validation is done on the 'final' ISOs, and they're sent for duplication / printing and so forth. Once that's all done, the pre-ordered boxes are shipped and the ISOs made available to Club members, and the final FTP tree put on the public mirrors. You can, if you feel so inclined, jump the gun and upgrade to 'Cooker' during this period; since it's frozen, you effectively get the final release. Just remember to switch your urpmi media away from Cooker again when it gets unfrozen, or else you'll wind up with something horribly broken."
Based on early reviews and first impressions of the beta testers, Mandriva Linux 2006 is shaping out to be a well-tested and impressive release, with many new features and updated packages (no GNOME 2.12 though). As always, we'll keep a close eye on all sources of information coming out from Paris within the next week or two and let you know as soon as the new product is ready for public consumption. Stay tuned!
* * * * *
KNOPPIX 4 live CD delayed, Xenoppix launched
Those of you who are desperately waiting for the new KNOPPIX 4 live CD will be pleased to learn that the new version is still under development, but due to a major technical issue, the release has been put on a temporary hold. Klaus Knopper:
"Since both the 4.0.2 DVD and CD versions are basically finished, there won't be a 4.0.1 CD version, but the upcoming 4.0.2 release instead. The only thing I'm desperately waiting for is Unionfs to get into a more stable state. At the moment, there are unacceptable instabilities when overwriting existing files on a mounted Unionfs directory multiple times, resulting in kernel oopses after update-menus when a new Debian package is being installed, and CUPS frequently segfaulting because the configuration file can't be rewritten. I would like to fix that, which is a pure Unionfs problem, before the release goes online."
The message also calls on volunteers to help the Unionfs team to find and eliminate the bugs, which is something that Klaus has had no success with so far, despite trying for the past two weeks. You can find the full mailing list message on here.
And while on the subject of KNOPPIX, a novel idea to combine the power of a bootable live CD with the Xen virtualisation engine has surfaced in a product called Xenoppix:
"We customized KNOPPIX to include a virtual machine monitor Xen. We call it 'Xenoppix'. Xenoppix sets up device drives using autoconfig function of KNOPPIX and enables to boot a guest operating system on Xen. X window System is prepared by KNOPPIX and the graphical user interface of the guest operating system is mapped to X11 using VNC full-screen mode. The guest OS can work as a server because it gets the IP address from an external DHCP server. The current Xenoppix includes two guest operating systems: NetBSD and Plan9."
Xenoppix, developed by a group of Japanese developers, is still in early beta with some known problems, but it will be interesting to watch the project evolve. The latest version of Xenoppix is based on the LinuxTag edition of KNOPPIX 4.0 - a 4GB live DVD, which can be downloaded from the project's home page.
* * * * *
New learning resources for OpenBSD and Linux users
Finally, two excellent online learning resources for new users of OpenBSD and Linux. The first one is entitled OpenBSD 101, a nicely formatted set of tutorials for OpenBSD 3.7. The pages include installation, tips and tricks, kernel patching and building, security suggestions, and information about updating an OpenBSD system with 'cvsup'. The tutorials are obviously written for users who are just starting up with OpenBSD and are very easy to follow - well worth a bookmark if you intend to install and administer a system running this popular BSD flavour.
The second tutorial is called FTLinuxCourse, written by Giovanni Orlando from the Italy-based FTOSX distribution. The author has extensive experience writing Linux training courses - he has written some for the old Caldera Open Linux and also Red Hat Linux. Although FTLinuxCourse used to be a commercial product sold in Italy, USA and other countries, the author has decided to release the 2004 edition as a free resource for all interested parties. The cross-platform web-based course can be accessed online, or it can be downloaded to your computer and opened with any browser. Here is the download link to the English edition: FTLinuxCourse_Complete-2004.tgz (337MB). Happy learning!
|Book Review: Linux Made Easy
Book Review: Linux Made Easy
Up until fairly recently, most of the Linux books available in your local book store concentrated on system administration of Red Hat/Fedora systems, with perhaps one or two books covering some of the more "obscure" distributions (at least from the point of view of publishing houses), such as SUSE, Mandriva or Debian. It is only very recently that some publishers started paying attention to the lesser-known, beginner-friendly distributions, with the result that we now have new great books covering Linspire (Linspire 5.0 : The No Nonsense Guide by Eric Grebler) and MEPIS (Point & Click Linux! by Robin Miller). Joining the above two is a book specifically devoted to Xandros Desktop OS: Linux Made Easy by Rickford Grant.
First, let's make one thing clear right from the start - Linux Made Easy is not a book for geeks. Here, the command line is not touched until the final chapter starting on page 403; instead, users are taught to do everything from within the comfort of graphical applications. The early chapters provide a gentle introduction to the world of Linux, cover installation and introduce the Xandros desktop. This is followed by a very useful set of chapters introducing the reader to system configuration and administration (without actually calling it that), which includes setting up networking, file manipulation, and working with removable media. It also introduces the main custom applications of Xandros Desktop OS: Xandros File Manager, Xandros Control Center and Xandros Networks.
This is followed by extensive chapters on printing, scanning, digital imaging and working with PDA, before the book turns to major applications shipping with Xandros, including multimedia, office, games, and software for children. The book then concludes with the a brief section touching on the subject of most commonly-used command line tools, complemented by a number of projects making use of these commands. The book also includes a CD with the Open Circulation edition of Xandros Desktop 3, as well as coupons for 120 free SkypeOut minutes and a 20% discount on Xandros products.
But how does Linux Made Easy differ from the Xandros Desktop OS User Guide that ships with the Deluxe and Business editions of Xandros desktop? Firstly, the writing style is very different - while the Xandros User Guide is essentially a reference book, specialising in dry, step-by-step tutorials, Linux Made Easy has a friendly writing style, making the whole book much more enjoyable. Secondly, the content, although covering pretty much the same areas of the distribution, differs greatly. A good case in point is the scanner section. While the Xandros User Guide limits itself to a 7-step tutorial covering just one half of a page, Linux Made Easy devotes no less than 12 pages to scanning, guiding users through two complete projects as it touches on more advanced subjects of scanning resolutions and organising images.
Another case in point are the chapters dealing with DVD playback. While the Xandros User Guide simply states that encrypted DVDs cannot be played in Xandros Desktop, Linux Made Easy not only explains the concept of DVD encryption, it also provides a simple script that downloads and installs the required libraries for playing encrypted DVDs! Although the author states that he is not a lawyer, he also believes that there is nothing wrong with watching encrypted DVDs on a home computer - if one can do so legally on Windows or Mac OS, why not on Linux?
What makes Linux Made Easy an especially valuable book is the friendly writing style combined with a large number of useful tips and tricks, many of which can be used on any distribution, not just Xandros. Perhaps the only criticism of the book is the timing of its arrival on the market - some 9 months after the release of Xandros Desktop 3. Wouldn't it make more sense to publish such book while a Xandros release is still hot and exciting?
Apart from that, we believe that the book fills an important gap in the market and we highly recommend it to all users and fans of Xandros Desktop OS.
Title: Linux Made Easy
Author: Rickford Grant
Publisher: No Starch Press
|Released Last Week
Games Knoppix 4.0.2-0.3
Games Knoppix live DVD, based on the recently released Knoppix 4.0, is now ready for your enjoyment: "Games Knoppix 4.0.2-0.3 is out! The new DVD-size version of Games Knoppix has been finally finished. A list of included games can be viewed here. I have to apologize that it took so long to include the songs of the song contest, but I had some misunderstandings with GEMA. But as promised, the songs are included now. In addition, there are three bonus songs from RaidShelter. I hope everyone is having a lot of fun with the DVD." See the release announcement on the project's home page.
Slackware Linux 10.2
Slackware Linux 10.2 has been released: "Announcing Slackware Linux 10.2! The second Slackware release of 2005, Slackware Linux 10.2 continues the long Slackware tradition of simplicity, stability, and security. Among the many program updates and distribution enhancements, you'll find two of the most advanced desktop environments available today: XFce 4.2.2, a fast and lightweight but visually appealing and easy to use desktop environment, and KDE 3.4.2, the latest version of the award-winning K Desktop Environment. Slackware uses the 2.4.31 kernel bringing you advanced performance features such as the ReiserFS journaling filesystem...." Read the rest of the release announcement and release notes for more details.
Slamd64 Linux 10.2
Slamd64 Linux is an independently developed port of Slackware Linux for AMD64 processors. Following the release of Slackware 10.2 earlier today, Slamd64 Linux 10.2 is now also out: "Slamd64 10.2 is now available. Slamd64 10.2 is based on the 18.104.22.168 kernel, and glibc 2.3.5 with added NPTL support. It includes the latest KDE 3.4.2 desktop environments, and lots of updates, fixes, and improvements over the 10.1 release. Please see the ChangeLog.txt file for a full list." This is the full release announcement.
Vine Linux 3.2
Vine Linux is one of the oldest and most popular Japanese Linux distributions. The newly released version 3.2 is a revision release, focusing on errata and security rather than adding major new features. Some of the package upgrades include kernel 2.4.31 and X.Org 6.8.2, while the distribution's installer, hardware support, available kernel modules and artwork have also undergone some changes. Read the full release announcement on the distribution's home page (in Japanese). As always, an existing installation of Vine Linux can be upgraded with the help of apt-get, but a new installation ISO image is also available for download.
Vine Linux 3.2 - a new revision release of the popular Japanese distribution
(full image size: 378kB)
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Development and unannounced releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Ubuntu Linux 6.04
Although it is still a month or so before the new Ubuntu Linux 5.10 is released, the developers are already making plans for the next release - version 6.04 and code name "Dapper Drake": "The 6.04 release will be the culmination of 2 years hard work, with Warty, Hoary and Breezy having set the style and the pace. We want it to represent the fruit of that labour - it brings to a close this first major cycle of development for Ubuntu. It will be a release that people can plan for, participate in and build solutions on top of. It will get even more polish than we put into Breezy, so we think it deserves a name that reflects that polish. And so, after much deliberation, it has been decided that 6.04 will be known during development as: The Dapper Drake." Read the rest of the announcement for more details.
SUSE Linux 10.1
Similarly, the developers of SUSE Linux have also started with a preliminary planning of version 10.1, even before SUSE 10.0 is formally released. That's according to the distribution's roadmap: "Sep 29, 2005 - SUSE Linux 10.1 OSS alpha1 release." No further details are given, but it seems that the new OpenSUSE project intends to continue with the 6-monthly release cycle that worked well for SUSE in the past.
The all new OpenBSD 3.8 will be released on November 1st. Greatly improved hardware support, several new tools, enhanced functionality of existing tools, OpenSSH 4.2, as well as over 3,200 ports - that's quite a bit to look forward to. The OpenBSD 3.8 page is now online with all the details. The product can be pre-ordered through the project's ordering system for US$45.00 + shipping.
Tilix, a highly successful Bulgarian implementation of KNOPPIX with full localisation into Bulgarian, will reach version 1.0 on 26 September. The desktop-oriented distribution promises great hardware support, a new Qt-based hard disk installer, many package updates and other enhancements. More details can be found in this announcement, as well as on the newly redesigned Tilix.org web site (both links in Bulgarian).
OpenLab GNU/Linux 4
Tectonic has published an article providing some information about the upcoming release of OpenLab GNU/Linux, a South African distribution with focus on education: "The main installation CD will be available for free download on the Web by September 26. Two additional disks containing add-ons, language packs and a games collection will also be available in the complete distribution pack sold by OpenLab International. Although OpenLab started as a niche system in the education arena, it has since developed into a more mainstream distribution." More details can be found in this report.
* * * * *
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|Web Site News
New mirror in Groningen, Netherlands|
Thanks to Rogier van Gemert, a new DistroWatch mirror is now available in Groningen, Netherlands. It listens to the name of DistroWatch.nl and is updated in hourly intervals. Rogier has also been busy translating some of the distribution descriptions into Dutch - many thanks for this effort! And speaking about translations, we still haven't been able to complete work on a web-based infrastructure for translators, but this is now treated as a matter of high priority, so, hopefully, our international readers will notice some improvements in this respect in the not too distant future.
New distribution additions
New distributions on the waiting list
- Arco-debian. Arco-debian is a new Brazilian distribution, a single-CD edition of Debian with automatic hardware detection.
- X-DSL. X-DSL is a small but fully functional Linux distribution for the Xbox, based on Damn Small Linux.
DistroWatch database summary
That's all for this week. We hope you've enjoyed this issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
|Linux Foundation Training
|• 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|
|• 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 22.214.171.124, 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|
|• Full list of all issues|
Star Labs - Laptops built for Linux.
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|Random Distribution |
Superb Mini Server
Superb Mini Server (SMS) is a Slackware-based server distribution with web, DNS, DHCP, file, print and fax servers, iptables firewall, mail server with spam filter and anti-virus scanner, and BitTorrent station. It also includes Webmin, a web-based administration tool, but no graphical desktop. SMS, which comes with Slackware's text-mode system installer, is built using Linux-Live scripts (from Slax) and can be used as a live CD for testing purposes.