| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 283, 22 December 2008
Welcome to this year's very last issue of DistroWatch Weekly! This week we take a first look at Novell's openSUSE 11.1, the latest release from the ever popular distribution. In the news, the release of openSUSE 11.1 heralds the adoption of a freer license, Debian calls a vote on whether or not to include firmware in the upcoming Lenny release while Debian secretary quits over backlash from firmware vote, Gentoo begins releasing weekly snapshots of stage tarballs, the Asianux Consortium incorporates its fifth member and expands into Thailand, Mandriva sets up a Community Steering Committee and increases their number of channel partners, a new distro, Hackable: 1, aims to create a GNOME-based software stack for hackable devices while the Openmoko project releases an update to their software stack. Finally, included in their respective new sections are two interviews - one with Joe "Zonker" Brockmeier of openSUSE and the other with Johannes (Hanno) Böck of Gentoo Linux. Happy reading!
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First look at openSUSE 11.1
This week sees a point release update for openSUSE, pushing the version of the popular Linux distribution to 11.1. What does this new version have to offer? Well, plenty! Naturally, it comes with updates to the main desktop environments, namely GNOME 2.24.1 and KDE 4.1.3, but it also includes the 220.127.116.11 release of the Linux kernel and, very importantly, a free license replaces the old EULA. For those who want a more 'classic' experience and are still not ready to jump to KDE 4.x, openSUSE includes KDE 3.5.10. This new version is the first release built using Novell's build service. They have really tried to tie it down and make it rock solid as it will form the basis of the upcoming SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop/Server commercial products in 2009.
As usual, I downloaded the latest ISO image, burnt it to DVD and began my install. openSUSE has always been one of the prettiest distributions around and this version is no exception. I was greeted with a typical welcome screen and booted the 'Installation' option. The openSUSE installer is clean, simple, functional and did I mention pretty? This release sees some further improvements including a re-vamped partitioner as a result of user feedback and testing. It sports a new layout and changes the default recommended partition structure. But, first things first.
openSUSE 11.1 DVD - installation menu
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Booting the installation media, the first option is to select the language and keyboard. Next, you select the installation type you want. I chose a new install, but you can also update or repair an existing system from here. If you want the openSUSE installer to automatically configure networking and your system's hardware, check the 'Use Automatic Configuration' box. Next, choose your time zone. Although the installer provides the option to synchronise your machine's data and time with an NTP server, it was unavailable on my screen. The Installer presents only two immediate options for your environment - GNOME 2.24.1 or KDE 4.1.3. Simply check one and continue, but if you want to install a different environment (such as KDE 3.5 or Xfce), you will have to do so by selecting 'Other' and then choosing it there.
openSUSE 11.1 installer - selecting desktop environment
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By default, the partitioner recommended a 2 GB swap partition, then set aside 20 GB for root and assigned the remaining space for /home. Both of these had ext3 as the file system. Here I ran into my first issue with the partitioner's user interface. Below the recommended layout are two buttons, 'Create Partition Setup' and 'Edit Partition Setup'. You might be fooled into thinking that both of these buttons refer to the suggested layout above, but in truth, only one does. If you want to create the suggested layout, you do not select 'Create Partition Setup' as one might be inclined to, you just hit 'Next'. The option to 'Create Partition Setup' means to reject the recommended setup and create your own. I feel this is rather confusing and could be easily resolved by relocating that button, or re-naming it. To accept the recommended layout but make some additional changes, select 'Edit Partition Setup'. By selecting either of these options you will have the opportunity to then select 'Custom Partitioning (for experts)' which gives you the opportunity to use the fancy new partitioner.
openSUSE 11.1 installer - suggested partitions
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The partitioner's default view shows all 'Available Storage on Linux' and presents a list of partitions (or a blank device if you are using a new or empty hard drive). On the left hand side is a 'System View' where various different kinds of storage are grouped, including hard drives, RAID volumes, Logical Volumes, remote NFS shares and even encrypted devices. Pretty sweet. Unfortunately, although you can see your devices from this view, you cannot create or edit partitions until you double click on one, or navigate to it using the system view on the left. It would have been nice if you could create a partition from this initial screen - it is selecting your drive for you, after all. Similarly, the partitioner is also a little confusing when creating or adding a partition as these buttons are next to each other (you can 'Add' a new partition by selecting an existing partition). Nevertheless, the interface is very clever, even if it does feel a little cumbersome.
My main gripe is that unlike previous version of the installer, you do not get a constant overview of what partitions you have created and their assigned mount points. To get this, you have to click back on the 'linux' button in the 'System View'. Also, when creating a new partition, the main screen completely disappears and is replaced with the new one. It would be great if this instead could be embedded in the right hand section of the partitioner, so that you can still see what it was you were creating. If you only have one drive this is probably not a major issue, but it would still be handy to see which drive you are partitioning and which partition you are up to creating.
openSUSE 11.1 installer - expert partitioner
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Creating your own partitioning scheme under expert mode enables many extra options. By default (as openSUSE has done for some time now) it enables the 'Directory Index Feature' on all ext3 partitions and selects the journal type to 'Ordered'. The directory index feature should provide some performance increase as should ordered mode which only journals data, not the metadata. Interestingly enough, they do then disable regular checks by default, perhaps to stop people wondering why their computer is sitting at the pretty splash screen for an hour with the hard drive going crazy. If you're using Linux software RAID you can configure the stride length and tweak many other options.
Encrypting the file system is as easy as checking 'Encrypt' at the point of selecting the file system. I like to access my devices via the file system's UUID and so I changed this under 'Fstab Options'. Here you can change the journalling mode if you like, disable atime, enable and disable access control lists and extended user attributes (but you'll need that last one if you use Beagle, openSUSE's search service) and many other options. Once your partitioning is happy, you can simply select 'Next'. The openSUSE partitioner truly is brilliant and offers an array (pardon the pun) of options for advanced users. The issues I raise above are of course just nitpicking as this installer really is an excellent product.
Unlike other distributions which disable the root account and enable root access via sudo, openSUSE does set a root password and enable the account. By default, the installer wants to make this password the same as the first user you create, so be careful if you are setting up accounts for other users who you do not wish to have root access. I'm still not sure that this is a good option, but by default, openSUSE automatically logs the user into the computer. Unlike many other installers, openSUSE loads cracklib and warns against simple passwords that might be easily obtained by others. This is good to see. If you chose not to use your user's password for root, then you can enter it on the next screen.
By default, openSUSE authentication is local, but with the click of a button at the new user step you can configure system authentication to LDAP, NIS or even to a Windows domain. Brilliant. This is where the relationship with Novell's corporate edition shines through. Finally, the installer presents you with an overview of the install. This has been one of my biggest gripes with openSUSE in the past. Change one thing here and in previous versions of openSUSE the installer would then take a few minutes re-detecting everything. Make another small change and it does it again, and again... ARGH. This was greatly improved in 11.0 and I'm pleased to announce that while it still does re-analyse your computer, it only takes a few seconds.
Before the install can begin you must confirm the installation of GRUB, openSUSE's boot loader of choice. On my install, the installer wanted to boot GRUB from my /boot partition which would have left me with an unbootable system (I was installing the system to an empty hard disk, with no boot loader in the Master Boot Record)! Fortunately I noticed this on the summary page and was able to change it, but I'm not sure this is what's meant to happen and sounds like a bug to me. Deploying the images and installing to my hard drive took only 8 minutes, which is nice and fast. After the initial install, openSUSE then boots to the configuration screen to set up your machine. If you enabled the automatic configuration, you won't have much to do here. If not, you can tweak your graphics setup, printing, audio and other settings here. I have found that the openSUSE installer does a great job of automatically configuring these.
openSUSE 11.1 installer - installation summary
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The software installer sports the addition of two new options, suggested and recommended packages. By default, this recommended the installation of Flash and MP3 support. Once again, this is good to see as it makes it easy to add functionality to your machine, but it's still not really integrated well into the system from the end user's perspective. A new user might install openSUSE and use it for a month before he or she ventures into the package installer (there is lots and lots to play with out of the box!). This user will probably get frustrated by the lack of Flash and MP3 support. Still, after installing libflashsupport, flash-player and gst-fluendo-mp3, these data formats were all playable. For this reason I recommend that upon logging into your new system for the first time, you browse to YaST and enable the Packman and VideoLAN community repositories. Also enable the NVIDIA repository if you need it and follow the directions on the openSUSE Wiki. Afterwards, perform an update which will pull in support for proprietary formats and drivers.
It would be great if openSUSE had a service which automatically detected devices requiring such drivers. The end user could the click a button resulting in openSUSE setting up repositories (if need be), downloading and installing the packages and then configuring the system. I know there are one-click installs that handle this, but it is still not new-user friendly enough. The technology is certainly there (the service could just download a one-click install for instance), it would just be good if this was provided directly to the end user. For this reason, when it comes to installing closed-source drivers in openSUSE, it's still not quite easy enough (whether that's a good thing or not depends on who you are!).
I want to touch on openSUSE's package management a little, because I think it's very important. openSUSE now uses Zypper to handle package management and I have to say, it's the best RPM-based package manager I've ever used. Possibly the best package manager full stop. Firstly, it's fast. Not quite as fast as APT under Debian, but much faster than most others. If you're a serious console addict like me and are often installing, searching for and removing packages there's one feature that's really going to annoy you - autorefresh. Turn it off. Zypper tries to automatically connect to the Internet and check for a database update every time you run a command, and when I've just run a Zypper command 30 seconds earlier it's not necessary! Once you get used to the syntax, Zypper is a very powerful package manager and in my opinion one of the most compelling reasons to use openSUSE.
As we've come to expect from openSUSE, the entire boot process from start to finish is very professional with everything being themed with a common look. KDE 4.1.3 was more impressive than I was expecting. Ever since version 4.0 was released, I have gone back to test each release and, like many others, felt it was just too incomplete. Having played with KDE 4.1.3 from this release of openSUSE, I'm almost prepared to say that KDE 4.x is finally ready for the average user. The openSUSE team has done a fantastic job of configuring the environment, having backported features from the upcoming 4.2 release (like being able to resize the panel). As a result, the system was very stable and the new applications do look stunning. If you've been wanting to make the move to the new KDE, then this is the distribution and release to do it with.
openSUSE 11.1 - default KDE 4.1.3 desktop
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The default GNOME desktop looks mostly the same as it has for the last number of releases. The new background has a cool feature in that it changes its brightness based on the time of day. openSUSE continues to include their custom menu bar which provides quick access to your favourite and recently-used applications, places and documents. I'm still not convinced that it's better than the traditional menu, however. Under openSUSE's menu, navigating to 'Places' is two clicks as opposed to one when using GNOME's default menu. Likewise, you cannot easily browse all applications with your mouse like you can under a default GNOME install, but rather have to click 'More Applications', wait for a new window to appear and then try and find your application among the maze of icons you are presented with. Likewise with 'Control Centre' compared to GNOME's traditional 'System' menu. Sure, they include a filter to find what you're looking for, but that's because you need it!
The new menu also provides a search bar integrated with Beagle which lets you search for applications, documents, emails, web sites and lots more. When I couldn't see the icon for GNOME Terminal I searched for it using this feature, but unfortunately it would not list any applications in its results. It found lots of documents, but no programs. Searching for other programs like 'firefox' and 'ekiga' also yielded no results. Not sure why that is, but I assume it is only indexing the /home partition. This feature did work correctly under KDE, however. As with most new systems, openSUSE's GNOME menu probably just takes some getting used to, but to me, this new way of doing things doesn't appear to provide much benefit over the traditional GNOME menus. Perhaps I'm just getting too old.
openSUSE 11.1 - default GNOME 2.24.1 desktop
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I still find PulseAudio a little confusing, but in openSUSE it seemed to just work which was a pleasant surprise! While I am used to being able to enable certain channels and disable others, tweak this and that, these options just don't show up under GNOME's PulseAudio mixer any more. The command line provides a solution to this, but it's great to see PulseAudio working nicely. Using GNOME's default picture manager, F-Spot, I tried to connect my Canon PowerShot S5IS digital camera and download the photos. It was detected by F-Spot, but errored with the message "cannot lock camera". Once again I'm pleased to say this worked correctly under KDE using Digikam.
I tried out Banshee, openSUSE's default audio player on GNOME, and found it quite usable. The interface has not changed a great deal, but I do like the new album artwork. Integration with Last.fm worked well and the software detected my iPod Shuffle but could not read the database. I hit the 'rebuild' button which then presented me with the music stored on the device. Unfortunately when I then tried to use the iPod itself, it couldn't find any songs. Under KDE, Amarok successfully scanned my iPod database and made my music available. I was able to send music to my iPod, delete songs and everything appeared to be OK, but when I tried to play my iPod it wouldn't play the new files I had added.
openSUSE 11.1 - Banshee music player
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Ekiga worked well out of the box, that's GNOME's VoIP client. My Creative webcam was detected by Ekiga, but errored saying that it didn't support any of the colour formats. Likewise the photobooth software Cheese did not like it either, but as it requires an external driver I wasn't expecting it to. The good news is that Ekiga was very fast and responsive, something I didn't find in the past. openSUSE touts a new version of OpenOffice.org 3.0, built with many tweaks from Novell (see http://go-oo.org for more details). It's mostly the same OO.o we are used to using, but it did load up to a new blank document quite fast. Browsing the file menu caused it to throw up an error about wanting Java and then the program crashed completely, proceeding straight to the 'Document Recovery' wizard. I tried again and it repeated the same thing. I noticed this happened when hovering over the File, Send menu item.
openSUSE truly is a great Linux product and 11.1 is the best so far. There are applications for everything you might want to do and they all contain great features. While I did encounter some issues with various applications the system feels very solid and responsive, which is what one expects when using a Linux operating system. The installer continues its fine form, incorporating several new features which work well. KDE users can be thankful for all the hard work the openSUSE team put into KDE 4.1.3 as it is the best implementation I have seen. Backporting new features from the 4.2 branch was a great idea and makes the 4.1 branch much more usable (you can resize the panel!). But for those still not ready to make the move to the future of KDE, there is version 3.5.10. This is a great move by the openSUSE team, who listened to feedback from not only their own users, but those from other distributions who were only offered the new KDE. The openSUSE implementation of GNOME continues from strength to strength. The team has done a great job implementing each piece of software and overall it feels really slick. The YaST control centre continues to be one of the best graphical configuration tools available under Linux, far beyond anything most other major distributions offer.
My only reservation is to do with proprietary codecs and drivers, which still needs some work to reach the same level as other distributions. For new users, this is still just too hard. I tried to get 3D working with ATI's proprietary driver and gave up in the end (X worked, but no 3D due to OpenGL errors). The 'recommended packages' feature of the package manager is a great idea and does install MP3 support automatically, but this is still second rate and users expect more. Overall I really feel that this version of openSUSE provides a complete desktop experience for the user. What does it have to offer you? Download it and give it a try, you might be pleasantly surprised at what you find.
openSUSE 11.1 gets new license, Debian votes on firmware in "Lenny", Mandriva sets up community steering committee, Gentoo begins weekly snapshots, interviews with openSUSE and Gentoo developers|
The biggest news of the week was the release of Novell's openSUSE 11.1 Linux distribution. As usual, the new release contains updated versions of the desktop environments such as GNOME 2.24.1 and KDE 4.1.3, as well as other major packages, such as Linux kernel 18.104.22.168 and Novell's edition of OpenOffice.org 3.0 which contains numerous enhancements over its parent product from Sun. This new release incorporates one very important change for its community, a new license: "Users no longer need to agree to the click-through EULA. This is not a EULA, it’s a license notice. We want you to be aware of your rights as provided by the FOSS licenses, so we’ll display this notice but not require a click-through EULA," explains openSUSE's community manager Joe Brockmeier. "We have based our license on the license notice that is being used by the Fedora Project." The release team has removed packages which restrict redistribution, such as Adobe's PDF reader and Sun's Java implementation in order to make this possible.
This new release of openSUSE sees the end of life of an older openSUSE, 10.2. Marcus Meissner announced that an update on 16 December would indeed be the last. Unleashed on 7 December 2006, the 2-year old release saw a total of 643 updates, but is now officially discontinued and out of support.
Daniweb has an interview with openSUSE's community manager, Joe "Zonker" Brockmeier, where he discusses the new 11.1 release. Brockmeier explains that 11.1 is "the first release that was built in the openSUSE Build Service, which is an important step for allowing more contributions from the community over time." He also touches on the new features in this latest version, the relationship between openSUSE and Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise products, and even explains where he got his nickname "Zonker".
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As required by their constitution, Debian developers went to vote this week on the outstanding issue of whether or not to include firmware in the upcoming "Lenny" release. The issue revolves around whether including such binaries violates the Debian Free Software Guidelines and possibly also the GPL. While there are seven proposed options to choose from, voting mainly consists of whether to release Lenny even though the firmware issues "are not yet finally sorted out", or to wait until Debian can "deliver a 100% free operating system." The release of Lenny with such firmware would be made possible should any of the options 2-6 succeed, which include allowing Debian to violate their own Free Software Guidelines, or to "assume blobs comply with GPL unless proven otherwise." Option 6 acknowledges that firmware is often "distributed as so-called blobs, with no source or further documentation that lets us learn how it works or interacts with the hardware in question" and therefore suggests that firmware should be exempt from Debian's Free Software Guidelines in order to allow it to be included in Lenny. It goes on to state that firmware is "data such as microcode or lookup tables that is loaded into hardware components in order to make the component function properly. It is not code that is run on the host CPU" and that by excluding such firmware from Debian they will "exclude users that require such devices from installing our operating system, or make it unnecessarily hard for them."
There was some descent over the options in the ballot which resulted in some personal attacks made against Debian secretary Manoj Srivastava. As a result he tended his resignation letter to the Debian list. Srivastava concedes that he "made mistakes with the current set of votes" and that "the buck for running votes stops at the secretary, so I am ultimately responsible for the current state of the vote." However, he also suggests that the arguments against the ballot would have been more useful earlier, saying "the arguments being made now, after the vote was called and started ... could have been made when the vote page went up, when I was sending in the emails about which option had how many seconds, or when the draft ballot was sent in ... had these being made earlier, we would not have come to this pass."
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In a post to the official Mandriva blog, Mandriva CEO Hervé Yahi announced the launch of a worldwide Mandriva Community Steering Committee. According to Yahi, this committee will "unify and leverage the Mandriva community and ecosystem, thus aligning joint efforts towards clear goals; provide a better visibility on products releases; and last but not least, establish a key milestone on the road to success." However, details on how this new committee will actually achieve these responsibilities are a little thin, with comments left by members asking for more information. He also confirmed that "Mandriva Linux 2009.1 will be released in April 2009. Mandriva therefore announces the launch of Mandriva Enterprise Server 5 (MES 5) in Q1 2009."
Data provided from Mandriva officials to The VAR Guy for their Open Source 50 survey, shows their plans for future growth through channel partners. The company states that their number of partners has grown from 1200 in 2007 to over 2000 this year and is estimating an increase in sales up 3% on last year. With the current economic woes, it's great to see open source companies continuing to forge ahead. The company has grown from 120 employees to 200 in twelve months, with all the excitement perhaps we can expect to see a greater push for their products in 2009.
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After cancelling its previously planned 2008.1 release in September, Gentoo has begun releasing weekly snapshots as part of their new release strategy to provide more current install media. The snapshots can be found on Gentoo mirrors under the experimental/ directory, but the announcement warns "these builds are automated, they have not been rigorously tested as the old releases. Occasionally, you might run into problems. If that happens, just try a file from a different week."
In other related news, Gentoo founder Daniel Robbins has released a new version of Metro, the software he created to build his own custom Gentoo-based tarballs. While no longer an official Gentoo developer, Robbins has been creating his own releases for the community in response to the lack of official up-to-date stage tarballs.
The Free Software Foundation Europe has published an interview with Gentoo developer Johannes (Hanno) Böck. Böck is responsible for maintaining several packages, including GIMP, Scribus and Compiz. He discusses non-free software and binary blobs in Gentoo, as well as his thoughts on various aspects of Free software.
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The Asianux Consortium announced its 5th member, WTEC of Thailand, which "specialises in the field of system integration and IT services." Asianux is comprised of four other members - Red Flag from China, Miracle Linux from Japan, Haansoft from Korea and VietSoftware from Vietnam. Each member sells identical products with the Asianux brand in their respective markets and are working together to establish an Asian standard Linux platform. "Thanks to the unique '4-CO' business model of Asianux - co-development, co-brand, co-support and co-marketing - the Asianux Consortium differentiates itself from other Linux vendors such as Red Hat and Novell."
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With all the competition on mobile phone devices these days, a new open source Linux distribution, Hackable: 1, has emerged. It is a community distribution based on Debian GNU/Linux and GNOME for hackable devices like the Neo Freerunner. The new distribution is sponsored by Bearstech, a French Openmoko reseller who supports the infrastructure and the integration work.
And speaking of Openmoko, their own software continues to mature with an update to their own Linux-based open source software stack. This new release includes "general operating system improvements that enhance the speed and stability of your Neo". It is the recommended update for all users currently running the previous 2008.9 release. Detailed information about fixes and updates can be found on the Openmoko Trac site. Yes, it still comes with Sudoku.
|Released Last Week
Bluewhite64 Linux 12.2
Attila Crăciun has announced the release of Bluewhite64 Linux 12.2, an unofficial port of Slackware Linux to the x86_64 architecture: "Bluewhite64 Linux 12.2 brings new features and important updates since the previous release. Some of them includes new Linux kernel 22.214.171.124 with advanced features and a new feature to install Bluewhite64 Linux via Samba shares. Also, this release includes newly added packages like pm-utils (power management utilities), SQLite 126.96.36.199 (simple, self contained database engine) and wich (wired and wireless network manager for Linux). Some of the updated packages include KDE 3.5.10 and Xfce 4.4.3 desktop environments, Mozilla Firefox 3.0.4 and SeaMonkey 1.1.13 web browsers, and Mozilla Thunderbird 188.8.131.52 and KMail 1.9.9 email clients." Read the rest of the release announcement and release notes for additional details.
Linux Mint 6
Clement Lefebvre has announced the release of Linux Mint 6, code name "Felicia": "The team is proud to announce the release of Linux Mint 6 'Felicia'. Based on Ubuntu 8.10 'Intrepid Ibex', Linux 2.6.27, GNOME 2.24 and X.Org 7.4, Linux Mint 6 comes with a brand new software manager, FTP support in mintUpload, proxy support and history of updates in mintUpdate, mint4win (a Windows installer), tabbed browsing in Nautilus and a lot of other improvements." Besides the main edition, the project has also announced a new Linux Mint 6 "Universal" edition, a complete Linux Mint live DVD with support for dozens of languages, but without any media codecs (these can be installed separately). Consult the release announcement and feature overview for system requirements, known issues and upgrade instructions.
Magic Linux 2.1
Magic Linux is a Chinese community distribution loosely based on Fedora. Version 2.1, released yesterday, is mostly a bug-fix release with updated applications. Code-named "Houyuan", the new release comes with the following components and features: Linux kernel 184.108.40.206 witch glibc 2.3.6 and GCC 3.4.6; X.Org server 1.5.2 with KDE 3.5.8 as the default desktop; a collection of popular KDE applications, including Amarok and Kaffeine. Some of the changes since RC3 include a variety of localisation fixes for better support for Chinese, upgrade to WINE 1.1.8 and minor updates to HAL and udev. For more information please see the release announcement (in Chinese), which also contains a planned feature list for the upcoming release of Magic Linux 2.5.
Parted Magic 3.3, 3.4
Patrick Verner has announced the release of Parted Magic 3.3: "This release of Parted Magic offers better support for video drivers and adds NFS. gFTP was also added and a few other core packages have been upgraded. The contents of the USB version have been altered to clean things up a bit. All GRUB files are in /boot/grub and all syslinux files are in /boot/syslinux. You will need to alter your syslinux command syntax or move the configuration file back to the root of the USB drive." From the changelog: "Downgraded to xorg-server to version 1.4.2; added DHCP 3.0.7; added gFTP 2.0.19; updated NTFS-3G to version 1.5130, udev to version 135, GParted to version 0.4.1, BusyBox to version 1.13.1; added Portmap 6.0 and nfs-utils 1.1.2." Read the full release announcement and changelog for further information.
Litrix Linux 9.0
Vagner Rodrigues has announced the release of Litrix Linux 9.0, a Gentoo-based Brazilian live DVD. According to the release announcement, Litrix Linux 9.0 is designed as a general-purpose distribution that can be used in live mode or as a complete operating system installed run from a hard disk. It contains a good mix of applications for both work and entertainment. The main components of the new release include: Linux kernel 2.6.27, KDE 3.5.9 desktop environment, OpenOffice.org 3.0 office suite, Mozilla Firefox 3.0 web browser, The GIMP 2.6 image manipulation program, WINE 1.0 - a translation layer for running Windows applications on Linux, support for Portuguese and English languages, newly added OpenLDAP. Please visit the distribution's revamped home page (in Portuguese) to read the brief release announcement.
Litrix Linux 9.0 - a Gentoo-based distribution featuring KDE 3.5
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Kiwi Linux 8.12
Jani Monoses has announced the release of Kiwi Linux 8.12, an Ubuntu remix with multimedia support, designed mostly for Romanian and Hungarian users: "Kiwi Linux 8.12 is a desktop CD based on Ubuntu 8.10 for the x86 architecture. It contains packages necessary for playing restricted multimedia formats by default and supports the SpeedTouch 330 USB ADSL modem. The list of available languages is English, French, German, Hungarian and Romanian. Differences between Ubuntu 8.10 and Kiwi Linux 8.08: packages up to date as of 2008-12-15; added Wubi; OpenOffice.org 3.0 with up to date Romanian translation; GUI for pppoeconf; a graphical tool for restoring GRUB boot menus lost after installing other operating system; Evolution removed; Flash plugin and GStreamer codecs for restricted audio and video formats...." Read the rest of the release notes for further details.
openSUSE 11.1, a community Linux distribution sponsored by Novell, has been released: "The openSUSE project is proud to announce the release of openSUSE 11.1. The openSUSE 11.1 release includes more than 230 new features, improvements to YaST, major updates to GNOME, KDE, OpenOffice.org, and more freedom with a brand new license, Liberation fonts, and OpenJDK. This is also the first release built entirely in the openSUSE Build Service. Desktop users will find a lot to like in this release. Users can choose from the leading edge of GNOME and KDE development with GNOME 2.24.1 and KDE 4.1.3. We've also included KDE 3.5.10 for users who prefer the classic KDE experience." Read the release announcement and press release, and visit the product pages to learn more about the new openSUSE 11.1.
Trisquel GNU/Linux 2.1
Rubén Rodríguez Pérez has announced the release of Trisquel GNU/Linux 2.1, a 100% "libre" distribution based on Ubuntu and recommended by the Free Software Foundation (FSF): "We are very proud today to announce the release of the 2.1 version of Trisquel GNU/Linux in its three editions, including, for the first time, the education-oriented branch along with the domestic and enterprise ones. From this release on, the three editions include the linux-libre kernel, and lots of small improvements have been made to improve the user experience and other aspects such as security and performance. All these upgrades can be applied over an existing installation using the automated update system." Read the release announcement for further details.
Trisquel GNU/Linux 2.1 - now 100% "libre", according to Free Software Foundation
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Tilman Sauerbeck has announced the release of CRUX 2.5, a minimalist, i686-optimised Linux distribution for advanced users: "Twelve months after the last release, today we published CRUX 2.5. Release notes: includes glibc 2.8, GCC 4.3.2, Binutils 2.19, Linux kernel 220.127.116.11 and X.Org 7.4; glibc does not contain all possible locales any more; the runtime linker configuration has been greatly simplified by adding a configuration directory /etc/ld.so.conf.d; GCC depends on libgmp and libmpfr now, both have been added to core; a new port inetutils replaces inetd, netkit-ftp and netkit-telnet; hotplug has been removed because it wasn't in use since a long time; libpcre has been added to core; slocate has been replaced by mlocate; cdrtools has been replaced by cdrkit." See the release announcement, release notes and handbook for more information.
Leszek Lesner has announced the release of ZevenOS 1.0, an Ubuntu-based GNU/Linux distribution with a BeOS-like user interface, performance and support for older hardware: "We are proud to announce the release of ZevenOS 1.0." From the changelog: "Added a new dark theme; added a low-level desktop (uses PCManFM and LXPanel instead of xfdesktop and Xfce panel); added new static deskbar menu; bug-fixed menu localization in deskbar; made JFS the default file system; fixed permission errors after install in /etc/sudoers; added SuM and BuM; removed Streamtuner and Ristretto; improved MAGI 2 visual appearance; added advanced configuration in MAGI 2; added Wmconfig (MAGI 2); added new Zeven GTK+ theme; added Darklooks GTK+ theme; added two new Sawfish themes to fit the new dark look...." Visit the project's web site and read the rest of the changelog for more details.
iMagic OS 2009
Carlos La Borde has announced the release of iMagic OS 2009, a commercial Linux distribution based on Ubuntu 7.10: "After months of development and design, iMagic OS 2009 is ready! Nine new features: new window design - a new refreshing theme washes away all traces of iMagic OS 7.0; web applications - now, you can split web software like GMail, Google Docs, YouTube, iMagic OS Downloads, and CNR right out of the web browser and run them just like normal applications; OpenOffice.org support - Now runs OpenOffice.org much better; educational software - now includes more educational software that will help you and your children; BitTorrent software - More BitTorrent software brings you more pre-loaded choice, and lets you handle torrents more easily; improved boot time - thanks to some boot re-profiling, boot up time is now diminished by over 10 seconds on most present-day computers; sample tutorials...." Read the rest of the release announcement for further information.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to database
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New distributions added to waiting list
- CacheGuard. CacheGuard is a Linux-based operating system and appliance dedicated to web traffic security and optimisation.
- Rubuntu. Rubuntu is a new Russian distribution based on Ubuntu.
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DistroWatch database summary
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This is the last issue DistroWatch Weekly in 2008. To all our readers who celebrate the traditional end-of-the-year holidays, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year. DistroWatch Weekly will return again on Monday, 5 January 2009.
|Linux Foundation Training
|• 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|
|• 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|
|• Full list of all issues|
Star Labs - Laptops built for Linux.
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 |
RasPlex lets you turn your TV into a Smart TV. Similar to the AppleTV, but running on a Raspberry Pi computer and completely free and open source, RasPlex is basically a set-top box that lets you play content from your computer or smart phone to your TV. RasPlex currently uses LibreELEC as its base OS.