| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 407, 30 May 2011
Welcome to this year's 22nd issue of DistroWatch Weekly! As DistroWatch celebrates its tenth birthday (the website was publicly launched on 31 May 2001 as a single-page "Comparison of Linux Distributions" featuring 12 Linux distributions in a tabular format), we are bringing you yet another DistroWatch Weekly packed with reviews, news, articles, screenshots and other useful content. This week's feature article looks at the recently-released SimplyMEPIS 11.0, a solid entry-level desktop distribution based on Debian; this is followed by the usual news section presenting information about the fresh-from-the-oven Fedora 15 and Linux Mint 11, as well as news about the upcoming inaugural release of Mageia and updates on Gentoo and Tiny Core Linux. The Question and Answers section then brings an interesting comparison, in the form or two interviews, of Oracle's OpenOffice.org and its recent fork, Document Foundation's LibreOffice. There is more, including a link to an interview with Ubuntu's Mark Shuttleworth and the usual section on new distributions submitted last week to DistroWatch. As always, happy reading and a big thank-you to all our readers for your continued loyalty. Let's hope that the second decade of DistroWatch is even better and more exciting than the first!
- Reviews: Thoughts on inverted jellyfish, or my week with SimplyMEPIS 11.0
- News: Best features in Fedora 15, prolonging agony of Linux Mint, Mageia 1 ready for launch, interview with Mark Shuttleworth, Gentoo weekly newsletter, Tiny Core Linux GUI installer
- Questions and answers: LibreOffice versus OpenOffice.org
- Released last week: Fedora 15, Linux Mint 11, Zenwalk Linux 7.0 "GNOME"
- Upcoming releases: Mageia 1, Ubuntu 11.10 Alpha 1
- New additions: Suriyan
- New distributions: AnikOS, Zenix OS
- Reader comments
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (25MB) and MP3 (39MB) formats
Join us at irc.freenode.net #distrowatch
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Thoughts on inverted jellyfish, or my week with SimplyMEPIS 11.0|
SimplyMEPIS 11.0 arrived on May 5th, bringing with it promises of novice-friendly computing and working, trouble-free hardware. A quick look at the release announcement suggests that SimplyMEPIS 11.0 is a fairly tame release, featuring upgrades to key applications and a move to LibreOffice. The latest release comes on a DVD (the ISO is 1.4 GB in size) and is offered in both 32-bit and 64-bit flavours.
Booting from the live disc brings us to a graphical login screen with the account name "demo" filled in for us. The password to login, which is displayed at the top of the screen, is also "demo". We're then provided with a KDE 4.5 desktop, which features a soft underwater background. In the middle of the background is an artistic rendering of the MEPIS logo with streams of light around it or, alternatively, it could be an upside-down jellyfish. Icons on the desktop lead users to the MEPIS website, a quick-start guide and a local copy of the distribution's manual. The MEPIS documentation is well laid out and seems to be written with newcomers in mind. The desktop also features an icon for starting the installer.
Launching the installer, which requires the live disc's root password, begins by showing us the distribution's license agreement. We then move on to partitioning. The installer opens the KDE Partition Manager to assist us in dividing up the disk. With partitioning complete, we assign partitions to mount points and select our preferred file system (ext3, ext4 and ReiserFS are offered). The installer copies over its files and then we're given the option to install GRUB. Next we get to choose whether to run Samba and confirm our keyboard layout. The final steps guide us through setting the system clock, creating a regular user account and setting a new root password. The whole process is fairly straightforward and the installer features help text to the left of the screen for each step. With the configuration steps done we can reboot to run our local copy of MEPIS.
SimplyMEPIS 11.0 - running Firefox 4
(full image size: 395kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
Logging into our new desktop for the first time we find the same manual icons and shortcuts we had on the live disc. At the bottom of the screen we see the application menu and quick-launch buttons for the settings panel, Firefox and KMail. Over to the right is a clock and, next to it, an icon letting us know if software updates are available. The application menu uses the Classic launcher style which I find faster to navigate than the Kickoff style. While I'm on the topic of layout and how things look I'd like to mention that so often now I'm finding desktop themes seem to be divided strongly in style. On the one side we have desktops with the classic layouts and themes that appear to have been designed when 16-bit computing was a hot new thing. On the other side we've got desktops with layouts better suited to phones and small tablets where everything is a widget and the theme shines like chrome in the sun. It's not often I see a layout that retains the classic workflow, yet embraces a more modern look. The MEPIS desktop does that, combining what I feel are the best aspects of the KDE 3.5 and KDE 4 environments. It's pleasant to have things where I expect them to be and still have my desktop look nice.
The distribution comes with a solid collection of software on the DVD and the installer places about 3.8 GB of data on the local disk. We're provided with the Firefox web browser (version 4.0.1), LibreOffice 3.3.2, the KMail e-mail client and a document viewer. We're also given the K3b disc burning software, Amarok for playing music, Kdenlive for editing videos and VLC for playing multimedia files. There are a few games in the menu, along with the Kopete instant messaging client and a CD player. The KPPP dialer is provided and, for the artistic among us, there are copies of the GIMP and KolourPaint. MEPIS has some of its own configuration tools, which help us create and manage user accounts, set up and troubleshoot our network connection, check our disks for errors, create bootable USB drives and repair the bootloader. To configure the system's look & feel we're given the KDE System Settings modules. Rounding out the menu are tools for managing archives, creating backups and editing text files, along with a calculator and the KGpg cert & encryption front-end. Out of the box MEPIS comes with Flash and popular multimedia codecs. We're also given Java and the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC). Behind the scenes MEPIS runs the 2.6.36 Linux kernel.
SimplyMEPIS 11.0 - LibreOffice and configuration tools
(full image size: 277kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
When we log in a notification icon appears in the system tray, letting us know whether new software is available. Clicking on this icon launches the Synaptic package manager. Updates, along with other package-related tasks are handled by Synaptic. It's a stable and quick application and I ran into no problems when using it. Behind the scenes Synaptic uses APT. The command line APT tools are available if we wish to make use of them. MEPIS is based on the Debian distribution and can pull from Squeeze's repositories. MEPIS additionally has its own repositories for distro-specific packages and updates. This gives users a virtual mountain of software to install, with nearly 30,000 packages in the default repositories.
SimplyMEPIS handled my hardware beautifully. I tried running the distribution on two machines, one desktop machine (2.5 GHz CPU, 2 GB of RAM, NVIDIA video card) and a laptop (dual-core 2 GHz CPU, 3 GB of RAM, Intel video card). Both machines booted quickly, my screens were set to their maximum resolutions, audio worked out of the box and my Intel wireless card worked without any fuss. My laptop's touchpad worked smoothly and handled taps as clicks. Performance on both machines was better than average and the KDE environment was quite responsive, especially on the laptop. When running the distro in a virtual machine I found performance continued to be good with as little as 512 MB of memory.
One thing that I found really standing out while I was using SimplyMEPIS is that it feels balanced. Before going into this review I'd been running Slackware Linux, a very conservative, do-it-yourself style of distribution. Immediately before running Slackware I'd been using Ubuntu, a project leaning more towards being experimental, and offering a let-me-do-it-for-you approach. SimplyMEPIS sits pleasantly in the middle. It's modern without being experimental and it's friendly without being too simplifying. The interface is streamlined without reducing functionality. The artwork is attractive, without being distracting. The system gives us notice of things like available software updates without being demanding. The application menu is arranged to reduce clutter with popular software near the top level of the menu and additional programs in nested menus. I suspect this was done in an effort to avoid overwhelming novice users with options. I liked that desktop effects were turned off by default, as was desktop search/indexing. A few weeks back I complained about how it is a common feature now to have windows maximize when moved to the top of the screen and I was happy to find MEPIS doesn't do that by default. And, during my trial, I experienced no system or applications crashes or lock-ups.
I think it's fair to say that I found using SimplyMEPIS pleasant, but more than that, it impressed me. Since Ubuntu came along I find that SimplyMEPIS isn't often mentioned in the same circles as Linux big names such as Fedora, openSUSE, Mandriva and the big-U. I think the 11.0 release proves it should be. Usually when I'm testing a distribution I keep a notepad next to the keyboard so I can jot down observations -- keeping track of what's available, what doesn't work, what stands out... While working with SimplyMEPIS my paper remained mostly empty, not because there isn't anything there to write about, but because the experience was so intuitive and seamless. I didn't run into any of the usual breaks in flow; rather I just sat down, used it and everything worked as expected.
SimplyMEPIS 11.0 - settings and applications
(full image size: 431kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
That's not to say that I didn't come up with a few things I think could be improved upon. SimplyMEPIS has am intuitive and user-friendly feel, but there are a few areas where I think it could be more novice-oriented. The installer, for instance: I felt the partitioning and GRUB setup pages could have been improved by copying the design of either Fedora's, or maybe Ubuntu's, installer. The same goes for package management. Synaptic is a powerful and solid program, but it's not as novice-friendly as some other package manager front-ends and I would have liked to have seen another GUI option added for the newcomers.
My week with SimplyMEPIS may be one of the most intuitive and smooth experiences I've had when using an operating system. Everything worked out of the box, the desktop was responsive and there's lots of software available (both on the DVD and in the repositories). The desktop theme is attractive, I found it easy to find what I wanted and none of the usual modern "features" were present to distract me from what I was doing. The 11.0 release is a great combination of modern software on a stable base and I recommend giving it a try.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
Best features of Fedora 15, prolonging agony of Linux Mint, Mageia 1 ready for launch, interview with Mark Shuttleworth, Gentoo weekly newsletter, Tiny Core Linux GUI installer
The long-awaited Fedora 15 was released last weekend and the jury is still deliberating whether the new product is actually a step forward. While many will no doubt enjoy the updated application and the improved hardware support, the presence of GNOME 3 is a discouraging factor to others. ZDNet's Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols lists Fedora 15's five best features, which includes GNOME 3, although the author acknowledges some difficulties with the radically redesigned desktop environment: "GNOME 3 claims to be the 'the next generation of GNOME with a brand new user interface. It provides a completely new and modern desktop that has been designed for today's users and technologies.' It's not. ... For example, in shifting from one project to another in your workspace you need to use the dashboard as a window management interface For me, this is like having to stop my car to shift gears That by itself is so annoying that I quickly stopped using GNOME 3.0. I also miss each windows' minimize and maximize buttons. You can still minimize and maximize application windows, but what used to be an automatic action now wastes time. Finally, GNOME makes it very hard indeed to tweak your desktop. There's no easy way to even set up a screen saver!" Nevertheless the author also lists several positives in Fedora 15, including dynamic firewall, virtual desktop support and RPM 4.9.
* * * * *
One popular distro that has been able to resist all the revolutionary desktop design changes that "plague" many major distributions is Linux Mint. The project's brand-new version 11, released last week, still uses the familiar GNOME 2 interface, albeit with a few "minty" improvements. But since Linux Mint is not an independent distribution, how long will it be able to avoid the upstream pressures? Susan Linton asks the same question in "Linux Mint 11 - Vital Service or Prolonging Agony?" "Mint has always been a wonderful distribution. In fact, it's been one of my favorites. But can its continued use of GNOME 2 be described as slowly ripping off the band-aid? GNOME 2 has been deprecated. There will be no more upstream work from the GNOME project on it. Just like with KDE 3, folks will talk of a fork or a continuation project, but just like with Trinity, progress will likely be slow and a difficult row to hoe as well as the stigma of not being embraced by distributions. Is Mint really doing its users a disservice by delaying the transition to GNOME 3 (or Unity)? Or is it serving a vital purpose by providing a familiar interface until a few GNOME 3 updates squash some of the bugs and usability issues?"
Linux Mint 11 - an Ubuntu-based distribution featuring the standard GNOME 2 desktop
(full image size: 415kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
* * * * *
This week will mark the inaugural release of Mageia, a project created last year by former developers and contributors to Mandriva Linux. For its first release Mageia focused more on creating and maintaining a development infrastructure than on adding dramatic new features and, in many ways, Mageia 1 feels like Mandriva Linux 2011 with updated software. But this is not necessarily a bad thing, given many distributions' desire to "differ" these days. So, come 1 June, Mandriva users might want to take Mageia 1 for a spin. Anne Nicolas in "Last few days before Mageia 1": "As you may have seen on packaging activity board, package updates rate has slowed down these last few days. Our Mageia 1 official release is in progress and here is the latest news from the Mageia teams working to make this release a success. As always, the very last pre-release days are the toughest! Package submission is now closed and any bug fixes, unless they are release blockers, are now postponed until after the release, and will be pushed through updates, provided by our security team. Packagers will still be able to add new packages in Mageia 1 after the release, using the backports repositories."
Mageia 1 - the project's first stable release is scheduled to arrive on Wednesday
(full image size: 1,175kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
* * * * *
The 100th issue of Linux User has brought us, among many other great articles, an interview with Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth. One of the topics covered is a profound shift in the way people think about personal computing: "We are witnessing a profound shift in the way people think about personal computing. No longer is it all about work -- computing is everywhere, all the time. It happens on your phone, on a tablet, on TVs and of course on your personal computer. And for the first time, it doesn't mainly need to happen on Windows. The Internet has meant that connected computing can happen on any device at any time, and that means Ubuntu can make a real difference in the day-to-day computing of a much larger audience. Touch and games are our inspiration. When we set about designing Unity, we drew inspiration from the world of consumer electronics. We wanted to produce something that felt more lightweight and easy to use than a traditional PC interface. We also wanted to take advantage of the incredible graphics technology that is found in every modern PC."
* * * * *
In its heydays Gentoo Linux used to be a much more visible distribution than it is today, when it seems to have become a playground of hardcore geeks. Perhaps one of the reasons for this phenomenon is the fact that Gentoo Linux no longer produces that excellent weekly newsletter, full of great tips and translated into a dozen of languages. But as Patrick Lauer explains on his personal blog, people tend to underestimate just how much time and effort it takes to produce a quality publication on a weekly basis: "What people regularly underestimate is the amount of time that goes into a newsletter -- just little things like doing mailing list summaries easily takes an hour for every newsletter. Then there are items like interviews that are open-ended. Of course you can finish one up in 30 minutes, but that will be a bit bland and boring. So you find new questions, ask for clarifications on answers and soon you're looking at a few hours of time to process it nicely. Then you get semi-automated tasks like bug statistics and GLSAs, and once you have all those fragments you need to glue them together sanely, check that the formatting makes sense and send it to the gentoo-core mailing list. People will find dozens of issues you've overlooked, so you correct them all, send it again and wait for the next round of corrections." The article also offers hope that the famous Gentoo Weekly Newsletter might be re-launched in a not too distant future.
* * * * *
Finally, a link to an interesting article about Tiny Core Linux, the world's smallest graphical Linux distribution. As Michael Reed notes in Linux Journal, the latest version of this mini-distribution that fits into an 11 MB ISO image, now offers a graphical system installer: "What does the long-wished-for installer actually look like? First of all, although it's a GUI application, it's not the Ubuntu installer, and it doesn't try to be. Along the way, the user has to answer some questions and specify boot options. If you've not used Tiny Core before, you will have to hit the documentation to familiarize yourself with some of the concepts. For example, Tiny Core has a number of different boot modes. These control what aspects of the operating system are persistent and specify the balance of how much of the OS runs directly in RAM. One snag, for newcomers, is that the documentation on the website isn't yet fully in sync with the new installer. However, new users should be able to glean what they need from the older documentation."
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
LibreOffice versus OpenOffice.org
Working-at-the-office says: I would really appreciate a piece that explores LibreOffice vs. OpenOffice.org and the future of OpenOffice.org.
DistroWatch answers: As regular readers probably already know, OpenOffice.org is an office and productivity suite. OpenOffice.org came about when Sun acquired StarOffice and decided to offer a free and open source version. The OpenOffice.org suite was generally well received in open source circles, largely because of its range of features, its completeness as an office suite and its interface, which was (at the time) familiar to people using MS-Office. OpenOffice.org wasn't perfect; it was large, relatively slow and there were complaints about how difficult it was to get patches applied upstream.
The patching issue caused some people to fork (or semi-fork) OpenOffice.org into a similar product with community patches. This branch was called Go-oo and was widely adopted by the big-name Linux distributions. Projects such as Debian (and by extension Ubuntu, Mint, etc), Gentoo, openSUSE and others started shipping Go-oo, or at least incorporating Go-oo patches into their builds.
After Oracle purchased Sun (and the rights to OpenOffice.org), some developers and contributors to OpenOffice.org decided to move away from the Oracle-controlled project and started LibreOffice under the banner of The Document Foundation. The LibreOffice suite is largely based on the work done by Go-oo and the LibreOffice project has gained a good deal of support from the various distributions. The Go-oo project has since been discontinued in favour of LibreOffice. Distros which were using Go-oo (or Go-oo patches) before have moved (or are in the process of moving) to LibreOffice.
With some of their developers gone and the Linux community focusing on LibreOffice, Oracle has announced they will no longer be involved in the commercial aspect of OpenOffice.org and will turn the project over to the open source community.
* * * * *
That's a brief summary of what has happened to date, but it doesn't tell us about the future of either project. To learn more I contacted Dr. Louis Suarez-Potts, the Community Development Manager for OpenOffice.org.
DW: I wonder if you could share with us what the current status of OpenOffice.org is and what plans you have for the near future?
LSP: At present, we are working, as we always do, on future versions, in this case, 3.4. The work in our QA (Quality Assurance) and other relevant projects is fairly normal, as a lot of people have put in tons of effort into OpenOffice.org and the ODF.
DW: As I understand it, Oracle has recently stated they will no longer sell or offer commercial support for OpenOffice.org. Are they still funding the project?
LSP: So far, status quo. A better question, or more precise: What are their plans regarding employing the primary contributors to OOo? To this, I have no good answer. But I'll propose this: over 50 million people use OpenOffice.org daily, and that's underestimating the figure by, probably, 50 per cent. It is imperative, not just important, that we continue this effort. It hardly matters if we brand it LibreOffice or OpenOffice.org, it's the same code (though LibreOffice is a parallel development primarily contributed to by Novell). I would thus urge those who have stakes in the game to contribute. Cash, developers, people: we need, more than ever before, for the world to show its interest in this product that so many have taken to using for free by doing something real. Join the community and do something; do something by contributing what you can; and do what you can so that others, not just you, will benefit. Honestly, I really do not want to see the logic of "divide and conquer" having succeeded.
DW: You mentioned that LibreOffice is a parallel development project...
LSP: Yes. It's not really a fork, in that a fork supposes that the trunk can exist independent of the original root. I am not sure that is the case.
DW: Has there been any effort made to incorporate their patches into OpenOffice? Or otherwise any move to share work between the two projects?
LSP: From LibreOffice to OpenOffice.org? Unless things have changed, not that I know of. LibreOffice was formerly simply Novell's Go-oo, and though there was more communication of code and among people, there were also some patches and code bits that Novell, for one reason or another, refused to contribute to OOo. But there is movement, I am moving it. I find the dislocation and division as only benefiting our primary competitor, Microsoft. Call it divide and conquer. The 2006 agreement between Novell and Microsoft gives one pause.
* * * * *
I was also in contact with Italo Vignoli, who is on the Steering Committee of The Document Foundation.
DW: A lot of Linux distributions are moving to LibreOffice. Are you seeing patches and code commits from the various distros?
IV: Several TDF core developers are paid by Novell, Red Hat and Canonical, and there is also a guy from the Debian project. I do not know how many of the regular and occasional contributors are coming from other Linux distros, but I suspect that there are quite many people.
DW: What benefit might the end-user have using LibreOffice over OpenOffice.org?
IV: LibreOffice will have more features based on a cleaner code, and it will be faster and able to run on more platforms. Of course, it really depends on how many features are used, because a basic user will not be able to find many differences.
DW: LibreOffice also runs on Windows and Mac OS X. Could you tell me what sort of download numbers you're seeing for the various platforms?
IV: Windows has always got the lion's share, i.e. around 90% of downloads, while Mac OS X and Linux have traditionally been around 6% and 4%. These numbers do not include software installed from repositories, which accounts for a rather large number of users. In general, I would say that Windows accounts for 80% of users, Linux for 15% and MacOS for the remaining 5%. Of course, this is a personal guess, and is not based on data.
DW: Now that Oracle has turned OpenOffice.org over to the community to support, do you foresee a merge of the two projects? Will there be an effort made to keep the two projects compatible?
IV: We have announced The Document Foundation (TDF) as a future path for the OOo community, and LibreOffice as the natural evolution of OOo (after ten years of history under the Sun/Oracle umbrella). We have not announced TDF as a competing project, and we have never seen what was left of the OOo community as a competitor (although they have tried to make us look as a competitor). Unfortunately, there is a gentleman - who barely represents himself but claims to be the OOo "Community Manager" - who spreads FUD on The Document Foundation, and this creates many misunderstandings. We do not think that there is anything to merge because there is only one community and we have built this independent house with The Document Foundation.
If you look at our bylaws, we see contributors of the OOo project as potential members of TDF, because we value what they have done at OOo. People who see two separate communities and the need for a merge are just spreading FUD on TDF because they know that in a meritocratic environment they would not find a place for their egos.
Looking at software compatibility, we have cleaned the code base in order to make the software more manageable and international (OOo code is commented in German), and easier to maintain. Compatibility will be based on the document format, which is the same, because the code will unfortunately start to be significantly different.
On the other hand, it would have been simply absurd to increase the technological debt accumulated by OOo over the years. Software must be maintained and updated according to the latest development technologies and we have simply started to do what was necessary. By the way, the need for code cleaning was announced in 2006 by Sun management, but the project was never started.
Thanks to Louis Suarez-Potts and Italo Vignoli for sharing their thoughts on these important projects.
|Released Last Week
Fedora 15, a new version of one of the leading and most widely used Linux distributions on the market, has been released. Some of the many new features include support for Btrfs file system, Indic typing booster, redesigned SELinux troubleshooter, better power management, LibreOffice productivity suite, and, of course, the brand-new GNOME 3 desktop: "GNOME 3 is the next generation of GNOME with a brand new user interface. It provides a completely new and modern desktop that has been designed for today's users and technologies. Fedora 15 is the first major distribution to include GNOME 3 by default. GNOME 3 is being developed with extensive upstream participation from Red Hat developers and Fedora volunteers, and GNOME 3 is tightly integrated in Fedora 15." Read the release announcement and the release notes for detailed information about the product.
Fedora 15 - the first major distribution featuring the new GNOME 3 user interface
(full image size: 270kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Trisquel GNU/Linux 4.5.1
Rubén Rodríguez has announced the release of Trisquel GNU/Linux 4.5.1, an updated version of the Ubuntu-based distribution built exclusively from free software components: "We now publish an incremental update, including all the security and bug-fix upgrades applied to date, while also expanding the edition set with 'Mini' and 'Netinstall' flavours. Some of the improvements include better support for software RAID and 3G modems, fixed clients for online video streaming, support for Atheros USB 802.11N cards, and many other updates and security patches. The 'Mini' edition is an incremental update on the original 4.0 version, with most of the changes being bug fixes and cosmetic improvements. The 'Netinstall' image, which from now on will be released with every Trisquel version, allows for customized installation." Here is the full release announcement.
Puppy Linux 5.1.2 "Wary"
Barry Kauler has announced the release of Puppy Linux 5.1.2 "Wary" edition, a lightweight distribution specifically designed for running on old and low-resource hardware: "I was thinking of this release as a bug-fix release of 5.1.1, but when I started to tally the changes, I realised that there are a lot and probably I should have bumped the version to 5.2! Wary 5.1.2 is the latest of the Wary series of Puppy Linux that focuses on supporting older hardware. The emphasis is on incremental improvements and bug fixes rather than quantum changes, and 5.1.2 has many bug fixes, improvements and upgrades relative to 5.1.1, many more than you might expect from a sub-minor version increment. Built from the latest Woof, there are major improvements with hardware detection, some new helpful system-level GUIs, and 'fido' non-root user account is introduced (for experimenters only at this stage)." Read the release announcement and the release notes for further details.
GParted Live 0.8.1-3
Curtis Gedak has announced the release of GParted Live 0.8.1-3, a new stable version of the Debian-based live CD designed for disk management and data rescue tasks: "The GParted team is proud to announce a new stable release of GParted Live (0.8.1-3). This release fixes problems with safe graphics settings mode and fail-safe mode if KMS is on. The PartImage package has also been fixed. This release is based on the Debian 'Sid' repository as of May 24, 2011 (Linux kernel 2.6.38-5). The new GParted 0.8.1 further improves motherboard BIOS RAID support. To avoid partition entry duplicates, all usage of kpartx has been removed. Also partitions with volume labels containing an apostrophe can now be unmounted." Visit the project's news page to read the brief release announcement; the release notes for the new GParted 0.8.1 can be found here.
Zenwalk Linux 7.0 "GNOME"
Frederic Boulet has announced the release of Zenwalk Linux 7.0 "GNOME" edition, a Slackware-based distribution featuring the GNOME 2.32 desktop: "We are proud to provide Zenwalk GNOME 7.0 based on GNOME 2.32.1. It is the last step before going to GNOME 3.0. Zenwalk GNOME keeps the same way as the standard Zenwalk edition, a clean and clear desktop. Hal support is removed, NetworkManager is preferred instead of wicd, Rhythmbox is also introduced as the default music player and CD grabber, Viewnior is used as a fast and quick viewer of pictures, and Simple Scan replaces XSane to scan documents. As usual, most packages have been updated to the latest stable version: NetworkManager 0.8.4, gedit 2.30.4, Nautilus 188.8.131.52, Rhythmbox 0.13.3, Viewnior 1.1, Simple Scan 184.108.40.206, gThumb 2.12.3, LibreOffice 3.3.1, Linux kernel 220.127.116.11 with BFS scheduler and performance tweaks." Here is the brief release announcement.
Linux Mint 11
Clement Lefebvre has announced the release of Linux Mint 11, code name "Katya": "The team is proud to announce the release of Linux Mint 11 'Katya'." This release brings improvements to software manager's user interface, new artwork, various system changes, and usability improvements to the update manager: "One of the biggest improvements made to the Update Manager is how it now handles dependencies. It only shows updates, not their dependencies. If the upgrade of a package requires additional changes to your system a dialog pops up with a summary to show you which packages will be installed or removed. This brings a permanent fix to the notorious 'Broken packages' message that used to appear before." Read the release announcement, release notes and what's new page for further details.
Bodhi Linux 1.1.0
Jeff Hoogland has announced the release of Bodhi Linux 1.1.0, an updated version of the Ubuntu-based distribution with a customised Enlightenment desktop and now also the brand-new 2.6.39 kernel: "Two months after our 1.0.0 release the Bodhi team and I are proud to announce the availability of Bodhi Linux 1.1.0. This is the first of our quarterly scheduled update releases to keep the software on the Bodhi live CD current. The live CD includes a number of package updates including: Linux kernel 2.6.39, Enlightenment SVN build from 2011-05-23; Intel 2.15 drivers, Midori 0.3.6. The Bodhi repository also saw a number of recent package updates including Firefox 4.0.1, Chromium Browser 11 and NVIDIA driver 270.41. When booting the new live CD you will notice that the art has undergone some changes as well." Here is the full release announcement with screenshots.
Michael Prokop has announced the release of Grml 2011.05, a Debian-based live system featuring a collection of GNU/Linux software especially for system administrators and users of text tools: "Grml 2011.05 with code name 'Just Mari', available in flavours grml, grml-medium and grml-small and all of them as 32-bit and 64-bit editions, has been released. New features: new Linux kernel version based on 18.104.22.168; initramfs is now XZ compressed (smaller); /run has been introduced. Important changes: iPXE has replaced gPXE; core scripts previously found in grml-scripts are now shipped as grml-scripts-core to facilitate reuse on plain Debian systems; due to popular demand, the Ratpoison window manager is included once again; grml-debootstrap adds the security repository for stable and testing installations; grml-quickconfig will be executed on grml-small...." More technical details can be found in the release notes.
Grml 2011.05 - a Debian-based live CD with tools and scripts for system administrators
(full image size: 18kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Super OS 11.04
Super OS 11.04, an Ubuntu-based desktop distribution enhanced with extra software, drivers and multimedia codecs, has been released: "Here it is, the new Super OS 11.04. New features: based on Ubuntu 11.04; Unity 3D, the new interface introduced in Ubuntu 11.04; LibreOffice, replacing OpenOffice.org; Ayatana overlay scrollbars, to reduce used screen space; Firefox 4, Google Chrome 11 and Opera 11, all of them with support for the new WebM format (Adobe Flash 10.3 in all of them); improved offline installation of drivers, and more drivers added - NVIDIA, ATI and Broadcom; more software added to the local repository, like WvDial (PPP dialer) and NDISwrapper (installation of Windows WiFi drivers); all software in the Super OS repository updated to their latest versions. No longer included: RealPlayer and GParted. Read the release announcement and release notes for more information and screenshots.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to database
* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list
- AnikOS. AnikOS now is an effort to build a secure and usable Linux distribution to use on any security-critical desktop or server. AnikOS is based on current Hardened Gentoo and built entirely from source.
- Zenix OS. Zenix OS is a Debian remix with several goals: lightweight, but not frugal - it uses as little as 60 MB of RAM but includes applications such as VLC, IceCat, Midori, Audacious, Bluefish, gedit and XChat; security - it includes an active firewall (iptables configured with GUFW), psad, and fwsnort; compatibility - is uses the standard Debian repositories.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 6 June 2011.
Jesse Smith and Ladislav Bodnar
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
(Tips this week: 0, value: US$0.00)
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 746 (2018-01-15): deepin 15.5, openSUSE's YaST improvements, new Ubuntu 17.10 media, details on Spectre and Meltdown bugs|
|• Issue 745 (2018-01-08): GhostBSD 11.1, Linspire and Freespire return, wide-spread CPU bugs patched, adding AppImage launchers to the application menu|
|• Issue 744 (2018-01-01): MX Linux 17, Ubuntu pulls media over BIOS bug, PureOS gets endorsed by the FSF, openSUSE plays with kernel boot splash screens|
|• Issue 743 (2017-12-18): Daphile 17.09, tools for rescuing files, Fedora Modular Server delayed, Sparky adds ARM support, Slax to better support wireless networking|
|• Issue 742 (2017-12-11): heads 0.3.1, improvements coming to Tails, Void tutorials, Ubuntu phasing out Python 2, manipulating images from the command line|
|• Issue 741 (2017-12-04): Pop!_OS 17.10, openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots, installing Q4OS on a Windows partition, using the at command|
|• Issue 740 (2017-11-27): Artix Linux, Unity spin of Ubuntu, Nitrux swaps Snaps for AppImage, getting better battery life on Linux|
|• Issue 739 (2017-11-20): Fedora 27, cross-distro software ports, Ubuntu on Samsung phones, Red Hat supports ARM, Parabola continues 32-bit support|
|• Issue 738 (2017-11-13): SparkyLinux 5.1, rumours about spyware, Slax considers init software, Arch drops 32-bit packages, overview of LineageOS|
|• Issue 737 (2017-11-06): BeeFree OS 18.1.2, quick tips to fix common problems, Slax returning, Solus plans MATE and software management improvements|
|• Issue 736 (2017-10-30): Ubuntu 17.10, "what if" security questions, Linux Mint to support Flatpak, NetBSD kernel memory protection|
|• Issue 735 (2017-10-23): ArchLabs Minimo, building software with Ravenports, WPA security patch, Parabola creates OpenRC spin|
|• Issue 734 (2017-10-16): Star 1.0.1, running the Linux-libre kernel, Ubuntu MATE experiments with snaps, Debian releases new install media, Purism reaches funding goal|
|• Issue 733 (2017-10-09): KaOS 2017.09, 32-bit prematurely obsoleted, Qubes security features, IPFire updates Apache|
|• Issue 732 (2017-10-02): ClonOS, reducing Snap package size, Ubuntu dropping 32-bit Desktop, partitioning disks for ZFS|
|• Issue 731 (2017-09-25): BackSlash Linux Olaf, W3C adding DRM to web standards, Wayland support arrives in Mir, Debian experimenting with AppArmor|
|• Issue 730 (2017-09-18): Mageia 6, running a completely free OS, HAMMER2 file system in DragonFly BSD's installer, Manjaro to ship pre-installed on laptops|
|• Issue 729 (2017-09-11): Parabola GNU/Linux-libre, running Plex Media Server on a Raspberry Pi, Tails feature roadmap, a cross-platform ports build system|
|• Issue 728 (2017-09-04): Nitrux 1.0.2, SUSE creates new community repository, remote desktop tools for GNOME on Wayland, using Void source packages|
|• Issue 727 (2017-08-28): Cucumber Linux 1.0, using Flatpak vs Snap, GNOME previews Settings panel, SUSE reaffirms commitment to Btrfs|
|• Issue 726 (2017-08-21): Redcore Linux 1706, Solus adds Snap support, KaOS getting hardened kernel, rolling releases and BSD|
|• Issue 725 (2017-08-14): openSUSE 42.3, Debian considers Flatpak for backports, changes coming to Ubuntu 17.10, the state of gaming on Linux|
|• Issue 724 (2017-08-07): SwagArch 2017.06, Myths about Unity, Mir and Ubuntu Touch, Manjaro OpenRC becomes its own distro, Debian debates future of live ISOs|
|• Issue 723 (2017-07-31): UBOS 11, transferring packages between systems, Ubuntu MATE's HUD, GNUstep releases first update in seven years|
|• Issue 722 (2017-07-24): Calculate Linux 17.6, logging sudo usage, Remix OS discontinued, interview with Chris Lamb, Debian 9.1 released|
|• Issue 721 (2017-07-17): Fedora 26, finding source based distributions, installing DragonFly BSD using Orca, Yunit packages ported to Ubuntu 16.04|
|• Issue 720 (2017-07-10): Peppermint OS 8, gathering system information with osquery, new features coming to openSUSE, Tails fixes networking bug|
|• Issue 719 (2017-07-03): Manjaro 17.0.2, tracking ISO files, Ubuntu MATE unveils new features, Qubes tests Admin API, Fedora's Atomic Host gets new life cycle|
|• Issue 718 (2017-06-26): Debian 9, support for older hardware, Debian updates live media, Ubuntu's new networking tool, openSUSE gains MP3 support|
|• Issue 717 (2017-06-19): SharkLinux, combining commands in the shell, Debian 9 flavours released, OpenBSD improving kernel security, UBports releases first OTA update|
|• Issue 716 (2017-06-12): Slackel 7.0, Ubuntu working with GNOME on HiDPI, openSUSE 42.3 using rolling development model, exploring kernel blobs|
|• Issue 715 (2017-06-05): Devuan 1.0.0, answering questions on systemd, Linux Mint plans 18.2 beta, Yunit/Unity 8 ported to Debian|
|• Issue 714 (2017-05-29): Void, enabling Wake-on-LAN, Solus packages KDE, Debian 9 release date, Ubuntu automated bug reports|
|• Issue 713 (2017-05-22): ROSA Fresh R9, Fedora's new networking features, FreeBSD's Quarterly Report, UBports opens app store, Parsix to shut down, SELinux overview|
|• Issue 712 (2017-05-15): NixOS 17.03, Alpha Litebook running elementary OS, Canonical considers going public, Solus improves Bluetooth support|
|• Issue 711 (2017-05-08): 4MLinux 21.0, checking file system fragmentation, new Mint and Haiku features, pfSense roadmap, OpenBSD offers first syspatch updates|
|• Issue 710 (2017-05-01): TrueOS 2017-02-22, Debian ported to RISC-V, Halium to unify mobile GNU/Linux, Anbox runs Android apps on GNU/Linux, using ZFS on the root file system|
|• Issue 709 (2017-04-24): Ubuntu 17.04, Korora testing new software manager, Ubuntu migrates to Wayland, running Nix package manager on alternative distributions|
|• Issue 708 (2017-04-17): Maui Linux 17.03, Snaps run on Fedora, Void adopts Flatpak, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, Debian elects Project Leader|
|• Issue 707 (2017-04-10): PCLinuxOS 2017.03, Canonical stops Unity development, OpenBSD on a Raspberry Pi, setting up a VPN for privacy|
|• Issue 706 (2017-04-03): Super Grub2 Disk, Snap packages of deepin applications, Subgraph OS routes network traffic for one application, announcements from Linux Mint|
|• Issue 705 (2017-03-27): Minimal Linux Live, sharing control of the operating system, new KaOS features, Uplos32 provides 32-bit fork of PCLinuxOS|
|• Issue 704 (2017-03-20): ToarusOS 1.0.4, Linux Mint's security record, Debian starts Project Leader election, Ubuntu 12.04 reaches end-of-life|
|• Issue 703 (2017-03-13): SolydXK 201701, CloudReady, Solus announces new features, KDE Connect sends text messages from desktop, openSUSE's YaST module for Let's Encrypt|
|• Issue 702 (2017-03-06): Fatdog64 Linux, elementary OS bundled with new netbook, Haiku announces new features, security and the size of a distro's development team|
|• Issue 701 (2017-02-27): OBRevenge 2017.02, Mageia 6 delays, NetBSD reproducible builds, questions about swap space, trying to steam video on a Raspberry Pi|
|• Issue 700 (2017-02-20): RaspBSD, Debian replaces Icedove with Thunderbird, Fedora's licensing guidlines, tips for switching shells, finding battery charge, getting IP address and killing processes|
|• Issue 699 (2017-02-13): Clear Linux, GhostBSD network utility ported to FreeBSD, Ubuntu coming to Fairphone, elementary OS crowd funding an app store|
|• Issue 698 (2017-02-06): Solus 2017.01.01, comparing containers with portable applicatins, Tails dropping 32-bit support, Debian Stretch enters freeze|
|• Issue 697 (2017-01-30): Subgraph OS 2016.12.30, running Ubuntu on an Android phone, Arch Linux phasing out 32-bit support, Linux Mint testing updated LMDE media|
|• Issue 696 (2017-01-23): GoboLinux 016, remotely running desktop applications, Solus adopting Flatpak, KDE neon using Calamares, TrueOS tests OpenRC|
|• Issue 695 (2017-01-16): Zorin OS 12, Peppermint team fixes installer bug, Debian refreshes Jessie media, Ubuntu improves low graphics mode, Exciting things coming in 2017|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
OzOs was a Xubuntu-based Linux distribution that uses a heavily-customised Enlightenment 17 desktop, built from the latest development (SVN) sources. The distribution offers a minimal number of pre-installed applications, but additional ones can be added later - either via standard Debian utilities or by using the project's online package repository. It also includes optional extras - small applications, themes and eye candy for the desktop.