| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 180, 4 December 2006
Welcome to this year's 49th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! It's openSUSE week, as one of the oldest and most popular Linux distributions on the market makes a brand new release on Thursday. Will the project's association with Novell (and, indirectly, Microsoft) hurt the download figures? We'll have to wait and see. In the meantime, the much awaited public release from Gaël Duval's Ulteo is about to hit the download mirrors - expect the live CD image later this week. Also in the news: interest in running Linux on Sony PlayStation 3 intensifies, KANOTIX is rocked by resignation of a co-developer, and Ubuntu developers react on the project's decision to include proprietary graphics driver in Feisty. Finally, we are pleased to announce that the recipient of DistroWatch's November 2006 donation is the digiKam project. Happy reading!
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openSUSE 10.2 "ready", Ulteo starts public testing, Linux on PS3, KANOTIX troubles
The development of openSUSE 10.2 is over. That's according to this mailing list post by the project's release coordinator Andreas Jaeger: "We've mastered yesterday openSUSE 10.2 RC5 and declared it as 'goldmaster'." The author reveals that the build process for the final set of CD and DVD images has started and should be completed by the official release date later this week - on the 7th December. However, he also warns that "there are still a lot of bugs open for 10.2 and I'm sure real usage over time will find some more." One other interesting piece of information: the next version of openSUSE will be released in around (the northern hemisphere's) "summer", which probably translates to around June - July 2007, and is in line with the project's 6-month release cycle. That's all we know at this stage, so get your BitTorrent clients ready for a download rush on Thursday!
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Speaking about new releases, those waiting impatiently for the first public test of Ulteo, a mysterious new distribution developed by Gaël Duval, the founder of Mandrake Linux, are about to get an early Christmas gift: "On the 5th or 6th of December, we are going to release the first installable Ulteo live CD (for PC). At the same time, we are going to unveil the basic ideas behind Ulteo." The Ulteo newsletter also talks about the progress achieved during the last few months and reasons for the delay of the first development build, which was originally scheduled for release in May 2006. For more information (in English, French, German and Italian) please read the Ulteo Newsletter.
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The popularity of the Sony PlayStation 3 (PS3) in the Linux developer community is growing by the day. While PS3 does not ship with a full Linux-based operating system as some early rumours suggested, Sony has released an installer that enables installation of a third-party operating system on the gaming console. Terra Soft Solutions has already released its Yellow Dog Linux 5.0 for Sony PlayStation 3 (it should be available for free download around Christmas), but those distributions that provide PowerPC editions of their products should also be compatible with Sony's new hardware. In the meantime, IGN has published a comprehensive review of Yellow Dog Linux 5.0 concluding that, although the distribution is indeed capable of delivering Linux desktop functionality to the PS3, lack of video acceleration combined with low amount of available system memory makes the product unsuitable for heavy-duty multimedia work.
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One of the reasons for the explosion in Linux distribution numbers in recent years is the inability of many developers to agree on common goals and work things out if disagreements arise. The latest project that has succumbed to personal conflicts over its directions is KANOTIX, a Debian and KNOPPIX-based live CD which has become one of the best-loved second-tier Linux distributions on the market. Unfortunately, as announced last week, the distribution's co-developer Stefan Lippers-Hollmann has decided to resign from the project and create a new distribution called Sidux. It has also emerged that Jörg Schirottke, the founder of KANOTIX, is considering to switch the distribution's base from Debian's unstable branch to Ubuntu and possibly attempt a more commercial orientation of the distribution - moves that are likely to displease some KANOTIX users. For a more detailed summary of the current crisis in the project please read The KANOTIX distro implodes by Tuxmachines.
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Lately, many Linux news sites have been drawn into the old debate about the inclusion of proprietary kernel drivers and other non-free software into Linux distributions. This is against the guidelines of the Free Software Foundation (FSF) which has long argued that all software should be free and compliant with the principles of four software freedoms. Unfortunately for FSF, most Linux distributions place usability ahead of software freedom, which explains why only six -- mostly obscure -- distributions (out of some 300+) have been approved by FSF for use. And although some major ones, such as Fedora Core or Debian GNU/Linux appear to respect the principles of software freedom on the surface, the FSF still rejects them due to various reasons (presence of a non-free branch in Debian, acceptance of sourceless firmware in Fedora, etc).
The debate intensified in recent weeks after Ubuntu had announced that, in line with its promise to deliver a 3D-enabled, eye-catching Linux desktop to a wider audience, its upcoming release will give preference to proprietary kernel drivers for the ATI and NVIDIA video cards over the free ones by X.Org. Since then many user forums and web logs have been full of varied opinion on the subject. Ubuntu's Mark Shuttleworth explained the move in his own web log, while several other well-known Ubuntu/Debian developers have also felt needs to express their views (read Scott James Remnant: Slippery Slopes and Benjamin Mako Hill: Bring the Bling?).
As in any democratic group, opinions on the issue tend to vary from radical viewpoints by the supporters of the FSF ideals and the pragmatic (or ignorant?) attitudes of those end users who expect their hardware to work to its full potential irrespective of the operating system. Or, as Groklaw likes to put, it's a toss between software freedom and market share - either an uncompromising stance on the values of software freedom or an understanding that software freedom can only be realised once Linux achieves a certain market share.
Whatever your view, it can be fascinating to read about some of the conflicting opinions expressed publicly by well-known Linux and open source personalities who don't always agree with FSF. Take this mailing list post by Linus Torvalds. In it, the creator of the Linux kernel argues against the newly drafted General Public License (GPL) version 3 and also adds a few unflattering comments about the Free Software Foundation:
The fact that the FSF has tried to paint Linux as a GNU project (going as far as trying to rename it "GNU/Linux" at every opportunity they get) is their confusion, not ours. ... Linux from the very beginning was not about the FSF ideals, but about "Full source must be available". It also talked about "Free", but that very much was "Free as in beer, not as in freedom", and I decided to drop that later on. How much clearer can I be? I've actively tried to promote "Open Source" as an alternative to "Free Software", so the FSF only has itself to blame over the confusion.
Of course, Linus Torvalds is a rather straightforward person, so there are few surprises about the way he rejects the idea that a potential move to GPL3 should be decided by a public poll:
Here's a poll for you:
- go write your own kernel
- poll which one is more popular
It really is that simple.
What do you think? Do you consider the Free Software Foundation as the ultimate authority fighting for our software freedom rights or do you think that its uncompromising stance is at times detrimental to the progress of Linux and open source software? And how do you feel about Ubuntu's decision to enable desktop eye candy with proprietary kernel modules, in spite of tainting the Linux kernel with closed-source code? Please discuss below.
|Released Last Week
SabayonLinux 3.2 has been released: "We are glad to announce another big, even more powerful SabayonLinux release. These are the major improvements: reduced boot time thanks to the integration of Unionfs and parallel execution of some boot tasks; improved hardware support: new drivers, USB scanner support, implementation of NVIDIA legacy drivers infrastructure, ATI drivers support, JMicron ATA support, AM2 NVIDIA mainboards support; improved SabayonLinux installer speed and reliability; 2GB Squashfs limit broken - this means more applications and complete localization support; new accelerated desktop infrastructure for managing Beryl...." Read the complete release announcement for more details.
Yellow Dog Linux 5.0
Terra Soft Solutions has announced the release of Yellow Dog Linux 5.0, a distribution designed for Sony PlayStation 3: "Yellow Dog Linux Enthusiasts, the wait is over! Six months of design, engineering, integration, and testing has culminated in the finest release from Terra Soft to date. Designed, not just assembled, Yellow Dog Linux v5.0 featuring Enlightenment 17 is immediately available via YDL.net Enhanced accounts for your PlayStation 3." Yellow Dog Linux is based on Fedora Core and Linux kernel 2.6.16. Besides the default Enlightenment desktop, it also includes GNOME 2.14, KDE 3.5.3 and the usual range of popular open source software applications. For more information please read the release announcement and visit the distribution's product pages.
Caixa Mágica 11
Caixa Mágica is a Portuguese distribution for i586 and x86_64 processors, based on SUSE Linux. Caixa Mágica 11 is designed for both desktops and servers; it offers an easy-to-use desktop environment with KDE or GNOME, custom configuration utilities, intuitive installation program with an option to resize NTFS partitions, convenient software installation and updates via apt-get (for RPM) and Synaptic, improved hardware detection and support, and a complete desktop environment in Portuguese. The project's latest release, version 11, was originally announced (both links in Portuguese) two weeks ago, but only now have the CD and DVD images made available for free download.
Ubuntu Christian Edition 2.0, 1.5.1
Ubuntu Christian Edition 2.0, the project's first release based on the recently released Ubuntu 6.10 "Edgy Eft", is now available for download: "We are excited to announce the release of Ubuntu CE v2.0. Improvements have been made all around, such as faster system boot up times, faster GNOME start up times, improvements to the user interface, a shiny new optimized kernel, GNOME 2.16 and much more." The release includes several new and upgraded software applications, notably F-Spot digital photo manager, Firefox 2.0, Evolution 2.8.0 and OpenOffice.org 2.0.4, as well as a better technical incorporation of the Ubuntu CE themes. Please read the full the release announcement for further details.
Xandros Desktop 4.1
Xandros Corporation has announced the release of Xandros Desktop 4.1 (marketed as Xandros Desktop 4 Professional): "Xandros, the leading provider of easy-to-use Linux alternatives to Windows, today announced the addition of 'Xandros Desktop - Professional,' featuring advanced 3D desktop graphics effects, Bluetooth wireless support, desktop search and ISV support." The new product is based on Debian 3.1 "sarge" and includes the latest kernel 2.6.18, KDE 3.4.2, Firefox 2.0, CrossOver Office 5.9.1 and many other software applications for the desktop. 3D video effects with Xgl/Compiz and the Beagle desktop search tool are among the new features included in the distribution for the first time. Please read the press release and visit the product's feature page for additional information.
Damn Small Linux 3.1
Damn Small Linux 3.1 has been released. Excerpts from the final changelog: "Converted 54 Lua and Lua/Fltk programs to Lua 5.1.1 Fltk 1.1 via MurgaLua interface; Updated SQLite to 3.3.6; made Unionfs the default boot; improved mount tool for 'after boot' pen drive support; updated hard drive install for consistent fstab; New boot option 'dosswapfile' to auto-scan or specify DOS swap file; new boot option 'fuse' to load upon boot the FUSE file system; improved Antiword fonts; added right click to MyDSL Icon for easy UCItool access; changed color escape codes to echo commands; made mydsl boot option consistent with restore boot option; new theme - Envane...." Read the rest of the changelog for more details.
The inaugural release of 64Studio, a specialist distribution with a collection of software for digital content creation, is out: "The 64 Studio project produces a distribution of native free software for digital content creation on x86_64 hardware. After eighteen months of development, the project has made its first stable release available for free download. It is named in recognition of the work of Glyn Johns and Eddie Kramer at Olympic Studios in London. The distribution is based on the pure 64 port of Debian GNU/Linux, testing branch, but with a specialised package selection and lots of other customisations. The 64 Studio project also produces a 32-bit edition for legacy PC hardware." Read the full press release for more information.
The first stable release of 64Studio was announced last week.
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Parsix GNU/Linux 0.85
Parsix GNU/Linux 0.85 has been released: "We are proud to announce that a brand new version of Parsix GNU/Linux is available now. This version brings the latest open source technologies to your PC. Highlights are: GNOME 2.16.2, X.Org 7.1, Linux kernel 2.6.18 with many extra patches and drivers including CK performance and Suspend2 patches and many wireless drivers, Intel ipw3945 wireless support, OpenOffice.org 2.0.4, GNU IceWeasel 2.0 web browser, seamless hibernation and suspend support, newly released xFarDic 0.8.0 multilingual dictionary, updated installer, new artwork, NTFS read/write support using ntfs3g, updated documentation and support for 3D desktop using AIGLX/Compiz. Packages are synchronized with Debian Etch repository as Nov 30, 2006." The release announcement.
Michael Creel has announced a new major release of ParallelKnoppix: "ParallelKnoppix 2.0 is released. The 2.x series makes setting up and using the cluster even easier than before. It is also much easier to save a ParallelKnoppix setup for re-use. Of course, it is also possible to use a ParallelKnoppix cluster without leaving traces on the host machines. The 2.x series is focused on MPI-based parallel computing - PVM is no longer supported. Some details: kernel 188.8.131.52, KDE 3.5.4, new non-parametric multivariate density estimation example using MPITB for GNU Octave." Visit the project's home page to read the release announcement.
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Development and unannounced releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|November 2006 donation: digiKam receives €300|
We are pleased to announce that the recipient of our November 2006 donation is the digiKam project (€300).
digiKam doesn't need much introduction, as most KDE users who own digital cameras are likely familiar with the software. An advanced photo-album, with tagging and light image editing features, and with support for external plugins, digiKam is developed by Gilles Caulier and a small team of core developers. The current stable version is 0.8.2, but a rapidly developing 0.9.0, with a host of new features, shouldn't be too far away.
As always, the monthly donations programme is a joint initiative between DistroWatch, which allocates 10% of its advertising revenue, and three online shops selling low-cost CDs and DVDs with Linux, BSD and other open source software - LinuxCD.org, OSDisc.com and TheLinuxShop.co.uk. The three CD/DVD vendors contributed US$50.00 each towards this month's donation to digiKam.
Here is the list of projects that received a DistroWatch donation since the launch of the programme:
Since the launch of the DistroWatch Donations Programme in March 2004, we have donated a total of US$10,940 to various open source software projects.
* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list
- Dinux. Dinux is a KNOPPIX-based Spanish Linux live CD with support for the Basque (Euskara) language.
- Xpress Linux. Xpress Linux is a Kubuntu-based distribution developed with a goal of making Linux more accessible to Windows users.
Xpress Linux is the latest addition to the growing list of Ubuntu-based distributions.
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DistroWatch database summary
And this concludes our latest issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 11 December 2006. Until then,
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 843 (2019-12-02): Obarun 2019.11.02, Bluestar 5.3.6, using special characters on the command line, Fedora plans to disable empty passwords, FreeBSD's quarterly status report|
|• Issue 842 (2019-11-25): SolydXK 10, System Adminstration Ethics book review, Debian continues init diversity debate, Google upstreaming Android kernel patches|
|• Issue 841 (2019-11-18): Emmabuntus DE3-1.00, changing keys in a keyboard layout, Debian phasing out Python 2 and voting on init diversity, Slackware gets unofficial updated live media|
|• Issue 840 (2019-11-11): Fedora 31, monitoring user activity, Fedora working to improve Python performance, FreeBSD gets faster networking|
|• Issue 839 (2019-11-04): MX 19, manipulating PDFs, Ubuntu plans features for 20.04, Fedora 29 nears EOL, Netrunner drops Manjaro-based edition|
|• Issue 838 (2019-10-28): Xubuntu 19.10, how init and service managers work together, DragonFly BSD provides emergency mode for HAMMER, Xfce team plans 4.16|
|• Issue 837 (2019-10-21): CentOS 8.0-1905, Trident finds a new base, Debian plans firewall changes, 15 years of Fedora, how to merge directories|
|• Issue 836 (2019-10-14): Archman 2019.09, Haiku improves ARM support, Project Trident shifting base OS, Unix turns 50|
|• Issue 835 (2019-10-07): Isotop, Mazon OS and, KduxOS, examples of using the find command, Mint's System Reports becomes proactive, Solus updates its desktops|
|• Issue 834 (2019-09-30): FreedomBox "Buster", CentOS gains a rolling release, Librem 5 phones shipping, Redcore updates its package manager|
|• Issue 833 (2019-09-23): Redcore Linux 1908, why Linux distros are free, Ubuntu making list of 32-bit software to keep, Richard M Stallman steps down from FSF leadership|
|• Issue 832 (2019-09-16): BlackWeb 1.2, checking for Wayland session and applications, Fedora to use nftables in firewalld, OpenBSD disables DoH in Firefox|
|• Issue 831 (2019-09-09): Adélie Linux 1.0 beta, using ffmpeg, awk and renice, Mint and elementary improvements, PureOS and Manjaro updates|
|• Issue 930 (2019-09-02): deepin 15.11, working with AppArmor profiles, elementary OS gets new greeter, exFAT support coming to Linux kernel|
|• Issue 829 (2019-08-26): EndeavourOS 2019.07.15, Drauger OS 7.4.1, finding the licenses of kernel modules, NetBSD gets Wayland application, GhostBSD changes base repo|
|• Issue 828 (2019-08-19): AcademiX 2.2, concerns with non-free firmware, UBports working on Unity8, Fedora unveils new EPEL channel, FreeBSD phasing out GCC|
|• Issue 827 (2019-08-12): Q4OS, finding files on the disk, Ubuntu works on ZFS, Haiku improves performance, OSDisc shutting down|
|• Issue 826 (2019-08-05): Quick looks at Resilient, PrimeOS, and BlueLight, flagship distros for desktops,Manjaro introduces new package manager|
|• Issue 825 (2019-07-29): Endless OS 3.6, UBports 16.04, gNewSense maintainer stepping down, Fedora developrs discuss optimizations, Project Trident launches stable branch|
|• Issue 824 (2019-07-22): Hexagon OS 1.0, Mageia publishes updated media, Fedora unveils Fedora CoreOS, managing disk usage with quotas|
|• Issue 823 (2019-07-15): Debian 10, finding 32-bit packages on a 64-bit system, Will Cooke discusses Ubuntu's desktop, IBM finalizes purchase of Red Hat|
|• Issue 822 (2019-07-08): Mageia 7, running development branches of distros, Mint team considers Snap, UBports to address Google account access|
|• Issue 821 (2019-07-01): OpenMandriva 4.0, Ubuntu's plan for 32-bit packages, Fedora Workstation improvements, DragonFly BSD's smaller kernel memory|
|• Issue 820 (2019-06-24): Clear Linux and Guix System 1.0.1, running Android applications using Anbox, Zorin partners with Star Labs, Red Hat explains networking bug, Ubuntu considers no longer updating 32-bit packages|
|• Issue 819 (2019-06-17): OS108 and Venom, renaming multiple files, checking live USB integrity, working with Fedora's Modularity, Ubuntu replacing Chromium package with snap|
|• Issue 818 (2019-06-10): openSUSE 15.1, improving boot times, FreeBSD's status report, DragonFly BSD reduces install media size|
|• Issue 817 (2019-06-03): Manjaro 18.0.4, Ubuntu Security Podcast, new Linux laptops from Dell and System76, Entroware Apollo|
|• Issue 816 (2019-05-27): Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, creating firewall rules, Antergos shuts down, Matthew Miller answers questions about Fedora|
|• Issue 815 (2019-05-20): Sabayon 19.03, Clear Linux's developer features, Red Hat explains MDS flaws, an overview of mobile distro options|
|• Issue 814 (2019-05-13): Fedora 30, distributions publish Firefox fixes, CentOS publishes roadmap to 8.0, Debian plans to use Wayland by default|
|• Issue 813 (2019-05-06): ROSA R11, MX seeks help with systemd-shim, FreeBSD tests unified package management, interview with Gael Duval|
|• Issue 812 (2019-04-29): Ubuntu MATE 19.04, setting up a SOCKS web proxy, Scientific Linux discontinued, Red Hat takes over Java LTS support|
|• Issue 811 (2019-04-22): Alpine 3.9.2, rsync examples, Ubuntu working on ZFS support, Debian elects new Project Leader, Obarun releases S6 tools|
|• Issue 810 (2019-04-15): SolydXK 201902, Bedrock Linux 0.7.2, Fedora phasing out Python 2, NetBSD gets virtual machine monitor|
|• Issue 809 (2019-04-08): PCLinuxOS 2019.02, installing Falkon and problems with portable packages, Mint offers daily build previews, Ubuntu speeds up Snap packages|
|• Issue 808 (2019-04-01): Solus 4.0, security benefits and drawbacks to using a live distro, Gentoo gets GNOME ports working without systemd, Redox OS update|
|• Issue 807 (2019-03-25): Pardus 17.5, finding out which user changed a file, new Budgie features, a tool for browsing FreeBSD's sysctl values|
|• Issue 806 (2019-03-18): Kubuntu vs KDE neon, Nitrux's znx, notes on Debian's election, SUSE becomes an independent entity|
|• Issue 805 (2019-03-11): EasyOS 1.0, managing background services, Devuan team debates machine ID file, Ubuntu Studio works to remain an Ubuntu Community Edition|
|• Issue 804 (2019-03-04): Condres OS 19.02, securely erasing hard drives, new UBports devices coming in 2019, Devuan to host first conference|
|• Issue 803 (2019-02-25): Septor 2019, preventing windows from stealing focus, NetBSD and Nitrux experiment with virtual machines, pfSense upgrading to FreeBSD 12 base|
|• Issue 802 (2019-02-18): Slontoo 18.07.1, NetBSD tests newer compiler, Fedora packaging Deepin desktop, changes in Ubuntu Studio|
|• Issue 801 (2019-02-11): Project Trident 18.12, the meaning of status symbols in top, FreeBSD Foundation lists ongoing projects, Plasma Mobile team answers questions|
|• Issue 800 (2019-02-04): FreeNAS 11.2, using Ubuntu Studio software as an add-on, Nitrux developing znx, matching operating systems to file systems|
|• Issue 799 (2019-01-28): KaOS 2018.12, Linux Basics For Hackers, Debian 10 enters freeze, Ubuntu publishes new version for IoT devices|
|• Issue 798 (2019-01-21): Sculpt OS 18.09, picking a location for swap space, Solus team plans ahead, Fedora trying to get a better user count|
|• Issue 797 (2019-01-14): Reborn OS 2018.11.28, TinyPaw-Linux 1.3, dealing with processes which make the desktop unresponsive, Debian testing Secure Boot support|
|• Issue 796 (2019-01-07): FreeBSD 12.0, Peppermint releases ISO update, picking the best distro of 2018, roundtable interview with Debian, Fedora and elementary developers|
|• Issue 795 (2018-12-24): Running a Pinebook, interview with Bedrock founder, Alpine being ported to RISC-V, Librem 5 dev-kits shipped|
|• Issue 794 (2018-12-17): Void 20181111, avoiding software bloat, improvements to HAMMER2, getting application overview in GNOME Shell|
|• Issue 793 (2018-12-10): openSUSE Tumbleweed, finding non-free packages, Debian migrates to usrmerge, Hyperbola gets FSF approval|
|• Issue 792 (2018-1203): GhostBSD 18.10, when to use swap space, DragonFly BSD's wireless support, Fedora planning to pause development schedule|
|• Issue 791 (2018-11-26): Haiku R1 Beta1, default passwords on live media, Slax and Kodachi update their media, dual booting DragonFly BSD on EFI|
|• Full list of all issues|
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View our range including the Star Lite, Star LabTop and more. Available with a choice of Ubuntu, Linux Mint or Zorin OS pre-installed with many more distributions supported. Visit Star Labs for information, to buy and get support.
|Random Distribution |
XStreamOS and XStream Desktop are Sonicle's effort to maintain a distribution of the illumos kernel (originally derived from OpenSolaris), featuring the ZFS file system, Crossbow network architecture, virtualisation and zones, as well as a customised LXDE desktop. It also strives to develop and contribute to the illumos kernel. Sonicle, a company located in Italy, also maintains two other full-featured products - XStream Server and XStream Storage.