| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 212, 23 July 2007
Welcome to this year's 30th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! As you might know Ladislav is still on vacation and I'm here with you for one more week. So here we go. Happy reading!
Join us at irc.freenode.net #distrowatch
Mini-Reviews: Sabayon BE 1.0 and Puppy Linux 2.17
Sabayon Linux 1.0 "Business Edition"
By Andrew Heil (aka eco2geek)
Sabayon Linux is an Italian Gentoo-based distribution known for its cutting-edge features and striking artwork. On July 15th, they released Sabayon Linux 1.0 "Business Edition", which has a different focus than their regular releases: to satisfy the business user who needs a stable distro with a good set of applications suitable for office use, and who doesn't need a large selection of games, or the latest eye candy, such as Beryl or Compiz Fusion.
Available in both 32- and 64-bit versions, the Business Edition is a 1.7 GB download via BitTorrent or via an official mirror (it's also available for purchase). Once burned to DVD, it boots into a live environment, from which you can test its features and run its installer. (You can also choose to run either a text-based or graphical installer straight from the initial boot menu.) Installation was simple and straightforward, although it took a long time (roughly 45 minutes) on my test box, an older PC with an AMD Sempron 2200+ CPU, an NVIDIA MX440-based video card, and ~500M of RAM. The distro includes the proprietary NVIDIA driver, which worked out of the box. It also comes with a custom 2.6.22 kernel.
Sabayon Linux 1.0 "Business Edition" Installer
(full-size image: 106KB; screen resolution: 806 × 625 pixels)
Based on Gentoo's stable branch, the Sabayon Business Edition includes KDE 3.5.5 (the default window manager); Firefox 188.8.131.52; OpenOffice.org 2.2; KMyMoney 0.8; QCad 2; Krita 1.6.1 (a vector drawing program); Scribus 1.3 (a desktop publishing program); Imendio Planner 0.12.1 (for project management); KMyFirewall 0.9.2; Skype; VNCViewer, and many other useful apps and utilities. It includes nice touches such as the Flash plugin, the Win32 codecs, mplayer, a large number of image editing programs (including Blender 2.43), and the regular KDE games suite. It also includes the WINE Windows emulation layer, in case you need to run a Windows program. (The entire package list is available here.)
Sabayon Linux 1.0 "Business Edition" Desktop
(full-sized image: 200KB; screen resolution: 1280 × 1024 pixels)
Unfortunately, this distro and I didn't get along very well. Sound support in KDE seemed not to work. After viewing the output of "alsaconf," my first assumption was that there were some missing kernel sound modules, but that was wrong. It turned out that, for whatever reason, KDE's audio backend played WAV files just fine, but it wouldn't play sound files in Ogg Vorbis format. (The fix was to set an external player.) Another bigger problem was that OpenOffice.org crashed each time it was started, and then tried to restart itself, over and over, until its process was manually killed. Uninstalling the "openoffice" package and installing the "openoffice-bin" package fixed the problem. Hopefully, YMMV.
On one hand, it's hard to see what this distribution has to offer in terms of application selection that other, easier-to-use distributions (such as PCLinuxOS or Ubuntu) don't. Gentoo's package management system isn't exactly simple to learn or use.
On the other hand, for those interested in a relatively easy way to install and become acquainted with a stable, Gentoo-based distro, Sabayon Linux Business Edition is a good choice. Plus it's got an active user community and a well-written Wiki.
* * * * *
Puppy Linux 2.17
Puppy Linux is a small liveCD Linux Distribution. It usually comes in an approximate 50 to 100 MB download, yet contains a full suite of applications for common computer tasks. Version 2.17 was released a few days ago. I've looked at Puppy a few times in the past, but I never fully appreciated it until this release.
I always found Puppy Linux fairly complete with good performance, but was not very impressed with its appearance. It may not have improved much in the look and feel department, but in terms of performance it has few rivals.
I had a bit of trouble with the first two boots of Puppy. When booting one is given a choice of using Xorg or Xvesa for the X server. My first instinct was to use Xorg, but that didn't work so well on my Hewlett-Packard laptop with NVIDIA graphics that I was using. The boot process would just stop at that step. The second attempt I tried using "cheat codes" that sometimes help (with Ubuntu derivatives, for example) to no avail. The third boot I chose Xvesa with 1024x768 resolution and was taken to my desktop. Xvesa is a choice offered for those wishing a light implementation, and perhaps contributed to the impressive performance I experienced with Puppy. My sound worked out of the box.
Two download versions were available this time. One using LZMA compression and the other using GZIP. GZIP is supposed to be faster, but I had already chosen the LZMA by the time I learned of this. No matter, the performance of Puppy has to be one of its main features. The Puppy developers tend to include smaller and high performing applications, but even the Seamonkey web browser opened in approximately two seconds and page rendering was instantaneous. There was no menu lag or screen corruption when moving or resizing windows. Even the manual configuration steps and connecting my winnic was immediate. Rarely have I experienced such performance when using a liveCD.
Puppy comes with quite a bit of software. Some are mainstream applications while others are lesser known small lightweight equivalents. Many of their configuration tools appear to be homebrewed front-ends. Some include Gnumeric, InkscapeLite, Gaim, Abiword, Transmission, and gxine. Some of the small lesser knowns include Soxgui, Xwget, and Agenda. Puppy also ships with all kinds of rippers and dialers. Some homemade apps include PupCtorrent, Puppy Package Manager, and Pbackup. They even managed to include some games like Bubbles, Rubic Cube, and Tkmines. It appears they have a setup wizard for about every piece of common hardware known. It even includes a remaster tool. All this sits on top of Linux-184.108.40.206. Added all up, it's quite impressive for an 83 MB download.
Puppy Linux 2.17 LiveCD
(full image size: 216kB, screen resolution: 1024x768 pixels)
However, the appearance of Puppy is still a bit unattractive. It uses JWM and while it works fairly well with impressive response times, it's not overly pretty. A Welcome message of helpful tips now stands in place of the seagull wallpaper used so many times. Fortunately, Puppy does come with an easy tool to set the background. Unfortunately, there's not much to choose from, the seagull and a skyscape is about it.
When shutting down one is given the option of saving their personal settings. On a multisession cdrom or dvd it merely adds a folder to the first session. Alternatively, you can save it to partition. But when I rebooted my saved session, not only was the screen resolution not as I saved, but the internet connection configuration was lost. That was what I was really hoping would be saved. The resolution and wallpaper was correctly loaded from the second saved session, but I'm left to do the winnic dance each boot.
I can certainly see why Puppy has such a loyal and vocal following of users and third party developers. Once upon a time Damn Small Linux was my tiny distro of choice. But given that DSL seems to be lacking support for my newer hardware, Puppy might have taken its place. With its amazing array of applications and astounding performance Puppy has little competition left. All in all, I was very impressed.
Gentoo Foundation, Debian tidbits, openSUSE News & Coolo, Linus Interview, and Too Many Distros?
In Gentoo developments, nominations are being accepted for Trustees of the Gentoo Foundation. It appears there aren't many takers and there is even some discussion of turning the Gentoo Foundation over to a 3rd party. A hurt Daniel Robbins, founder of Gentoo, blogged that if no one else wants it, why not give it back to him? As someone who has used Gentoo since he was still at the helm and has seen the decline since his departure, I think I agree with him when he said that would have been the right thing to do.
* * * * *
In Debian news this week we hear that support for the Sparc32 architecture will be dropped in Debian "Lenny." Discussions were solicited before this decision was made, but no one was able to volunteer to maintain that code. It's been quite a struggle to continue to support sparc32 in recent times due to it having no maintainer, thus leaving the duties to various maintainers of other archs. This resulted in bugs among other issues. Sparc64 will continue to be maintained as before. Complete details.
In other developments, "Lenny" will likely include support for Serial ATA RAID and is currently being tested in the dailies.
Another issue that created a lengthy discussion was the proposed removal of XMMS by maintainers.
Also Debian is needing some developers to help maintain the mailing lists. See this message if you can help.
* * * * *
The big news with openSUSE this week was the promotion of Andreas Jaeger to Director of Platform and openSUSE. Stephen "Coolo" Kulow will be taking over the position of project manager for the openSUSE distribution. Stephen has been working with Novell/SUSE for five years and has previous Linux experience with Caldera. His first work as project manager began with openSUSE 10.3 alpha 6 released last Thursday. Complete details.
In other openSUSE news, Thursday saw the unveiling of a new portal. News.openSUSE.org went live to provide the latest in openSUSE news and announcements. Important news will still be posted on the opensuse-announce mailing list, but comments on the news.openSUSE.org are open for everybody. Visit and bookmark openSUSE News.
* * * * *
Alexander Wolfe stirred up a hornet's nest this week with his blogged rehash of Too Many Linux Distros Make For Open Source Mess. He basically states there are too many "forks," but never really gives a firm reason why he feels that way. Eugenia Loli-Queru, of OSNews.com, posted she's been saying that for years. Wolfe's post was followed up by fellow Information Week blogger, Serdar Yegulalp, who takes the opposing side, but offered his argument in an analogy comparing Linux distribution to digital cameras. His point being that "diversity" is good. What followed next was a 437-post discussion at Slashdot and an opinion by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes at ZDNet. By the end of the week bigger players had joined in with a piece by Brian Proffitt of Linux Today and Michael J. Jordan's opinion at Linux Online. Perhaps Rob Staudinger, of Abiword, said it best when he concluded, "Gee, there are too many bloggers."
* * * * *
In an interview at oneopensource.it this week, Linus Torvalds, whose opinion on the GPLv3 has been quoted and misquoted numerous times, states, "It's no longer a really bad one like some of the early drafts were, but in my opinion the GPLv2 is simply better." He went on to state that he wasn't interested in all in the Microsoft patent deals and talk of patent deals of late. On open source he stated it works because one can stand on the shoulders of others and Linux works because it isn't sandwiched into one niche. "Everybody gets to play." When asked what Linux needs to truly make it onto user's desktops, Linus simply stated it needs more time to improve and for companies to become willing to change their status quo. What distro does Linus prefer? He said he likes the "nice ones with simple installers." He's used most of the big boys except Debian and has Fedora 7 on most of his computers right now. The interview concludes with Linus stating he's still having fun. Read the full interview here.
LinuxWorld ran An interview with Jeremy Allison, of Samba, on why they adopted the GPLv3 so quickly.
|Released Last Week
SabayonLinux BE 1.0
Love Sabayon Linux and want to use it for working purpose but are not interested at all in games or desktop acceleration? Then try its "Business Edition". "Sabayon has prepared for you a fast, cheap and stable solution for every "office needs" you might have! INFO/FEATURES: Optimized Server profile; Kernel 2.6.22 Sabayon Linux Powered; Stable branch for almost all packages; Wpa_supplicant compiled with a better support for mac80211; Latest madwifi driver; Latest Sabayon Installer; Latest Ati-drivers; Latest Nvidia-drivers; Fast installation speed; Package Selection on install time; Really fast working live environment; Easy firewall management with Kmyfirewall." Read the press release for further details.
Iuri Stanchev has announced the release of NetSecL 2.1, a security-focused distribution based on Slackware Linux: "NetSecL 2.1 introduces GCC with Stack Smashing Protection, this increases the security of the compiled packages (i486_64). More than 250 Package Updates. Most networking packages are now i486_64 packages. This release fixes some unnoticed bugs in 2.0 version. Hardware recognition data were updated to the latest available. Enjoy NetSecL 2.1." Read the brief release announcement and the changelog for more information.
Absolute Linux 12.0
Paul Sherman has announced the release of Absolute Linux 12.0, a light-weight variant of Slackware Linux using the IceWM window manager: "This is Slackware 12.0 modification. Features kernel 220.127.116.11 (smp) and implements auto-mounting capabilities for devices and media. Updates to Hal and DevTray installation since last release. 586 is NOT supported for now, so don't try to load on a Pentium I or a k6-2 processor. Devices are not actually mounted automatically -- their icons appear in a panel BELOW the taskbar. When you want to look, click the arrow on the right of the taskbar, that bar will slide off to the right, and the devices listed by DevTray appear on the lower panel." Read the brief release announcement and get the package list on the project's download page.
IPCop Firewall 1.4.16
IPCop Firewall, a distribution for protecting the network it is installed on, has been updated to version 1.4.16: "This release fixes some bugs, update glibc, Net::DNS and capi for security reasons. Upgraded packages are squid, snort, e100, r1000... As usual, this version can be installed as an update from previous v1.4.x versions or with a ready-to-go ISO or usb bootable images or pxe for a fresh install. Files are available on 'IPCop' package at Sourceforge." Read the rest of the release announcement for further details.
The Slackintosh-team has announced the release of Slackintosh 12.0, an unofficial port of Slackware Linux to Apple's PowerPC computers: "We are proud to announce that Slackintosh 12.0 has been released! Slackintosh 12.0 includes Linux 18.104.22.168, glibc 2.5 (with tls + epoll!), KDE 3.5.7 and much more... Checkout 12.0/README.TXT for Release-Notes / Upgrade instructions. Note to people still running Slackintosh 10.2: Please upgrade to 11.0 or 12.0! Slackintosh 10.2 is now obsolete. We will not provide security patches for 10.2." Read the brief release announcement for more information.
Puppy Linux 2.17
Barry Kauler just announced the release of Puppy Linux 2.17: "Another wonderful new Puppy! The 'standard' release is puppy-2.17-seamonkey-fulldrivers.iso live-CD and is 82.6MB. There is one thing that stands out from reading the release notes, and that is the major advances with hardware support -- which astounds even me, considering that version 2.16 was released barely 2 months ago. Yes, everything listed below is in that 82.6MB!" Read the announcement of new features and release notes here, and the Puppy website for further information.
Skolelinux 3.0 "Terra" is available for free download: "This is a community release with comprehensive support from regional and national projects in Germany, Spain, France, Greece and Norway. The Skolelinux project is now a part of Debian under the name Debian-Edu. Several other projects have made additional functionality to Skolelinux tailored for national needs. Skolelinux now supports more than 50 countries. What's new in Skolelinux 3.0: based on Debian 4.0 "etch" and therefore compatible to LSB 3.1, using kernel 2.6.18 and KDE 3.5.5..." Read the release announcement for full details.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
DistroWatch database summary|
And this concludes the latest issue of DistroWatch Weekly. Please remember that the opinions expressed in this week's DistroWatch Weekly are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of DistroWatch.com or its owner, Ladislav Bodnar. Ladislav should be back with you next week. I want to thank Dr. W T Zhu for his invaluable help, Andrew Heil for his Sabayon contribution, and all the wonderful readers who have made me feel so welcome. The next installment will be published on Monday, 30 July 2007.
|Linux Foundation Training
|• 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|
|• Issue 771 (2018-07-09): Linux Lite 4.0, checking CPUs for bugs, configuring GRUB, Mint upgrade instructions, SUSE acquired by EQT|
|• Issue 770 (2018-07-02): Linux Mint 19, Solus polishes desktop experience, MintBox Mini 2, changes to Fedora's installer|
|• Issue 769 (2018-06-25): BunsenLabs Helium, counting Ubuntu users, UBports upgrading to 16.04, Fedora CoreOS, FreeBSD turns 25|
|• Issue 768 (2018-06-18): Devuan 2.0.0, using pkgsrc to manage software, the NOVA filesystem, OpenBSD handles successful cron output|
|• Issue 767 (2018-06-11): Android-x86 7.1-r1, transferring files over OpenSSH with pipes, LFS with Debian package management, Haiku ports LibreOffice|
|• Issue 766 (2018-06-04): openSUSE 15, overview of file system links, Manjaro updates Pamac, ReactOS builds itself, Bodhi closes forums|
|• Issue 765 (2018-05-28): Pop!_OS 18.04, gathering system information, Haiku unifying ARM builds, Solus resumes control of Budgie|
|• Issue 764 (2018-05-21): DragonFly BSD 5.2.0, Tails works on persistent packages, Ubuntu plans new features, finding services affected by an update|
|• Issue 763 (2018-05-14): Fedora 28, Debian compatibility coming to Chrome OS, malware found in some Snaps, Debian's many flavours|
|• Issue 762 (2018-05-07): TrueOS 18.03, live upgrading Raspbian, Mint plans future releases, HardenedBSD to switch back to OpenSSL|
|• Issue 761 (2018-04-30): Ubuntu 18.04, accessing ZFS snapshots, UBports to run on Librem 5 phones, Slackware makes PulseAudio optional|
|• Issue 760 (2018-04-23): Chakra 2017.10, using systemd to hide files, Netrunner's ARM edition, Debian 10 roadmap, Microsoft develops Linux-based OS|
|• Issue 759 (2018-04-16): Neptune 5.0, building containers with Red Hat, antiX introduces Sid edition, fixing filenames on the command line|
|• Issue 758 (2018-04-09): Sortix 1.0, openSUSE's Transactional Updates, Fedora phasing out Python 2, locating portable packages|
|• Issue 757 (2018-04-02): Gatter Linux 0.8, the UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook, Red Hat turns 25, super long term support kernels|
|• Issue 756 (2018-03-26): NuTyX 10.0, Neptune supplies Debian users with Plasma 5.12, SolydXK on a Raspberry Pi, SysV init development|
|• Issue 755 (2018-03-19): Learning with ArchMerge and Linux Academy, Librem 5 runs Plasma Mobile, Cinnamon gets performance boost|
|• Issue 754 (2018-03-12): Reviewing Sabayon and Antergos, the growing Linux kernel, BSDs getting CPU bug fixes, Manjaro builds for ARM devices|
|• Issue 753 (2018-03-05): Enso OS 0.2, KDE Plasma 5.12 features, MX Linux prepares new features, interview with MidnightBSD's founder|
|• Issue 752 (2018-02-26): OviOS 2.31, performing off-line upgrades, elementary OS's new installer, UBports gets test devices, Redcore team improves security|
|• Issue 751 (2018-02-19): DietPi 6.1, testing KDE's Plasma Mobile, Nitrux packages AppImage in default install, Solus experiments with Wayland|
|• Issue 750 (2018-02-12): Solus 3, getting Deb packages upstream to Debian, NetBSD security update, elementary OS explores AppCentre changes|
|• Issue 749 (2018-02-05): Freespire 3 and Linspire 7.0, misunderstandings about Wayland, Xorg and Mir, Korora slows release schedule, Red Hat purchases CoreOS|
|• Issue 748 (2018-01-29): siduction 2018.1.0, SolydXK 32-bit editions, building an Ubuntu robot, desktop-friendly Debian options|
|• Issue 747 (2018-01-22): Ubuntu MATE 17.10, recovering open files, creating a new distribution, KDE focusing on Wayland features|
|• Issue 746 (2018-01-15): deepin 15.5, openSUSE's YaST improvements, new Ubuntu 17.10 media, details on Spectre and Meltdown bugs|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
Neat-GNU/Linux was going to be like any other GNU/Linux distribution with a couple of differences, the most notable was the installation procedure, but also by keeping the number of packages at a minimum, hence the name; Neat. The installation was not done by copying precompiled packages but by actually compiling packages from source and then install them to the system. By making the list of software as small as possible we hope to create a system that was easy to maintain, that requires little space on the hard drive(s) but at the same time was fully functional. We will also try to include configuration scripts for some administrative tasks, like setting up the network, to make it easier to administrate. Update: As of December 2002, the Neat GNU/Linux distribution was no longer available.