| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 419, 22 August 2011
Welcome to this year's 34th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Scientific Linux, one of the free distributions built from source code for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, has risen to prominence in recent months due to timely releases of both its complete distribution and the individual security updates. Jesse Smith takes the project's most recent version for a test ride to see if it has the potential to become a more widely-used free enterprise-class Linux platform. In the news section, Debian GNU/Linux celebrates the 18th anniversary since Ian Murdock's founding announcement, while CentOS initiates a prompter update mechanism by providing a new continuous release repository. In the same section we also link to two interviews with two very prominent Ubuntu personalities, and add a link to a fascinating blog post by a former classmate of Linus Torvalds who relives the beginnings of the Linux kernel. Also in this issue, a Questions and Answers section that briefly sums up the differences between Linux, Android and webOS. All this and more in this week's DistroWatch Weekly - happy reading!
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|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
First look at Scientific Linux 6.1|
Scientific Linux is a distribution built from the source code of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). Though often considered a clone of RHEL, Scientific Linux makes adjustments to upstream packages and the configuration which give it a personality of its own, one which comes across as more desktop-friendly. The project's name sometimes confuses people as the distribution doesn't come with a collection of scientific software. Rather the name is derived from the labs which build Scientific Linux, not, strictly speaking, its function.
For my test drive of Scientific Linux I decided to download the project's live CD. The ISO is 700MB in size and comes in 32- and 64-bit flavours. There are also live DVDs (2.2 GB) and installation DVDs of various sizes. Booting off my live CD brought up a GNOME 2.28 desktop featuring a blue background with an atom on it. The application menu is placed at the top of the screen and the task switcher is placed along the bottom. Down the left side of the display we find icons for browsing the file system, a launcher for the system installer and configuration tools for adjusting how the OS handles the monitor and keyboard.
Scientific Linux 6.1 - changing system settings
(full image size: 259kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
Straight away I launched the installer. As with the upstream distribution, Scientific's installer walks us through choosing our keyboard layout, which hard disk to use and our time zone. We set a root password and then get into partitioning the disk. The installer handles normal partitions, LVM and RAID configurations. The file systems ext2, ext3 and ext4 are supported, though the partition mounted as root (/) must be formatted as ext4 when we install from a live disc. After dividing up the disk we're given the option of installing the GRUB boot loader. With our choices made, the installer copies files over to the local drive.
Here I ran into a problem. After copying files the installer said it was performing its "post-install" tasks and stalled. After waiting half an hour, I rebooted and, from the live CD's boot menu, chose to launch the text-based installer. The steps in the text-based installer stick fairly close to the graphical installer. The partitioning section of the text installer is a bit rougher, but it gets the job done. I was a bit worried when, while copying files, the screen began to fill with seemingly random characters of various colours, however the installer did finally complete and I was prompted to reboot.
Since I performed a text-based installation, the first-boot wizard was also text-based and it walked me through a few configuration steps. We can perform these steps in the order of our choosing. There's an authentication section which defines how we login and which enables finger-print recognition by default. We're able to configure the firewall, which is turned on by default and leaves the secure shell port open. In a similar vein, we can enable/disable services, most of which are enabled by default, though secure shell is not. And we can set up our network connection. The text-based steps do not walk us through creating a regular user account.
When the first-run steps are completed we're dropped to a text login prompt. I logged in, created a new user account, changed the system's default runlevel so I'd get a graphical environment and rebooted. At this time I was brought to a graphical login screen. I thought it was good that Scientific Linux lets us login as root, but it warns us that it's not wise to run a desktop environment as the root user.
Scientific Linux 6.1 - running Firefox
(full image size: 140kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
The distribution comes with a small, yet useful, collection of software. We're given Firefox 3.6, the Pidgin instant messenger program, the Thunderbird e-mail client and XChat. We're also provided with a terminal server client and TigerVNC. There's a CD ripper in the application menu, a disc burner, an image viewer and the Cheese webcam application. Also included are GParted, the Totem media player, a text editor, calculator and archive manager. The desktop comes with all of the GNOME configuration tools for adjusting the look & feel of our graphical environment. Like its parent, Scientific Linux provides useful graphical (and text-based) programs for setting up a firewall, managing user accounts and handling system services. No office suite is available on the live CD, but OpenOffice is in the distro's repositories. Scientific comes with codecs for playing mp3 files and popular video formats. The Adobe Flash plugin is also included. In the background Scientific features the 2.6.32 release of the Linux kernel.
For the past year or so I've felt there is a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde situation between the command-line package manager and the graphical package interface on Red Hat, Fedora and derivative distributions. The YUM command line interface is great. It's quick, it's intuitive and it provides a good deal of information on what it's doing. No complaints there. The GUI interface is a slow-moving monster. The graphical package manager refused to work at all until I'd run YUM from the command line first and, even then, it was so slow to start-up and process requests that I soon gave up on it and returned to using YUM full-time. The GUI layout is fine, we see software categories down the left side of the window and individual packages on the right. Adding or removing software is as straight forward as marking a box next to the corresponding software. So the look of the graphical package manger is okay, but be prepared to wait for long periods of time when you're using it.
Scientific Linux 6.1 - managing software packages
(full image size: 189kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
While adding and removing software is handled by one GUI, updates are handled by a separate program. This second graphical application worked well for me. It shows a list of available updates, allows us to select and un-select which items will be updated and keeps us in the loop while it is downloading and installing the new software. Though, with Scientific Linux, we may not need to use the update app at all. The distribution comes with a plugin which checks for updates daily and will automatically install them. Server administrators may find this a bold policy to take, but I think it is well suited to desktop use, leaving people to just use the OS rather than maintain it.
Scientific Linux handled the hardware of both my test machines perfectly. Everything worked as expected on the desktop box and, on the laptop, my sometimes tricky Intel wireless card was detected and configured without any help from me. My laptop's touchpad didn't translate taps as clicks by default, but there's an app in the Preferences menu to adjust the touchpad. Booting into the distribution was a bit on the slow side, however, once up and running, the classic GNOME desktop was very responsive and the system always felt light and quick.
My test drive of Scientific Linux got off to a rough start with the installer locking up on my first go and filling the screen with gibberish during the text install. But, once it was up and running, it did a really good job of filling the roll of a desktop operating system. Performance was great, the menus are a bit sparse, but well organized and there's lots more software in the repositories (and available on the DVD edition). The graphical package manager needs some work, but YUM on its own is solid and the automated updates are convenient.
The big thing that sells me on Scientific Linux (and other Red Hat Enterprise Linux clones) is the collection of administration tools. Both the text and GUI programs for managing system services, user accounts and the firewall are top notch. And Scientific Linux will be supported for several years (probably another five or six), making this a good distribution for home users who just want to install the operating system and forget about it. Despite a few problems early on, I came to enjoy Scientific Linux with its clean desktop and snappy performance. It's a good desktop distro for people who want to avoid the cutting edge and rapid upgrade cycles.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
Debian celebrates 18th birthday, CentOS provides continuous release repository, interviews with Mark Shuttleworth and Kate Stewart, Linux memoirs
Last week the Debian project, the world's largest Linux distribution in terms of number of developers and software available, celebrated its 18th birthday: "The Debian project is pleased to mark the 18th anniversary of Ian Murdoch's founding announcement. Quoting from the official project history: 'The Debian project was officially founded by Ian Murdock on August 16th, 1993. At that time, the whole concept of a distribution of Linux was new. Ian intended Debian to be a distribution which would be made openly, in the spirit of Linux and GNU.' A lot has happened to the project and its community in the past eighteen years. There have been eleven releases - most recently Debian 6.0 'Squeeze' in February 2011 - and a huge amount of free software packaged. The current 'unstable' branch consists of more than 35,000 binary packages for the amd64 architecture alone - over 44 GB of free software! Throughout this history Debian has maintained its goals of technical excellence, accountability, and above all freedom. Of course that wouldn't be possible without the strong community which has developed around Debian. Besides more than 1,000 Debian developers and maintainers from all over the globe, there are in excess of 11,000 registered accounts for the Alioth collaboration platform."
* * * * *
In the recent past, the CentOS project, the most popular among the free clones of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, faced much criticism for not providing timely security updates for its released distribution versions, most notably the 5.x series. Luckily, the developers have now addressed the bad press by providing a new, continuous release repository. This contains upstream security updates designated for version 5.7, but which will work on CentOS' most recent release, version 5.6. Karanbir Singh explains: "The CentOS 5.6 Continuous Release (CR) repository is now available on mirror.centos.org. This repository contains RPMs to be included in the next CentOS-5.x release. Because these include security and bug-fix updates, we strongly recommend everyone using CentOS 5 to install and update their system using this repository. Installing the CR repository needs a manual step. You must download the correct centos-release-cr RPM package and install it on your machine, this would setup the CentOS-CR.repo file in /etc/yum.repos.d/." The announcement also expresses hope that CentOS 5.7 will be "ready in the next 7 to 10 days."
* * * * *
Interviews are a great way to find out about the personalities involved in building Linux distributions. Today we have links to two interesting conversations with well-known Ubuntu dignitaries. The first one is from Manila Standard, a Philippines daily newspaper, which recently talked to Mark Shuttleworth: "Right now, our focus is on polishing the desktop experience. We think that for all the excitement around tablets, most people will continue to use keyboards for real, productive work. We need a keyboard-based experience that really rocks. People who go rushing into the tablet business are going to lose money. There are few experiences out there that can compete with the iPad." The second interview is with Kate Stewart, the Ubuntu release manager: "My biggest personal challenge over the last year has been learning about the interactions in the user space applications and the different flavors’ user interfaces. It’s very challenging to figure out what the implications of a specific change are after we freeze, and to decide if it makes the product overall better or not."
* * * * *
Finally, a link to an article that isn't strictly distro-related, but it's a fascinating piece that demands a mention here. Written by Lars Wirzenius, a former university classmate of Linus Torvalds, the story revisits the fascinating days of the beginnings of the Linux kernel twenty years ago. From "Linux at 20, some personal memories": "Christmas 1990 came and went, and on January 5, Linus bought a new computer. He'd been using a Sinclair QL at home, but wanted a PC with an Intel 386 CPU. He took his student loan and bought one. He intended to learn about multitasking by learning how the 386 did it. Unfortunately, he also got a copy of Prince of Persia (I think it was), a computer game. Months later, when he finally got bored of the game, he started actually learning 386 programming. One day, when I was visiting him, he showed me a tiny program he'd gotten to work, which had threads. It was an amazing thing, even if it didn't look like much: one thread wrote As on the screen, and the other wrote Bs, and you could see threads switching when the As stopped and the Bs started, and a bit later back to As. The amazing bit was, of course, that Linus had written the whole thing himself."
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Linux versus Android and webOS
Mobile-and-on-the-move asks: Besides the kernel, what about Android and HP's webOS is Linux-like? Can I link them to Debian or Fedora repositories and have a desktop in my pocket?
DistroWatch answers: In short, not much and no, respectively. When most of us think of Linux as an operating system we get images in our minds of GNU/Linux distributions. We think of Linux as the whole package with a desktop environment, package manager, applications, etc. However, the Linux kernel is used in a lot of environments which don't resemble personal computers. Routers and TiVos come to mind as common examples of devices running Linux which do not resemble GNU/Linux distributions.
Android devices use a fork of the Linux kernel. Android's kernel is similar to the Linux kernel we use on our desktops, but it is not quite the same. Furthermore, the libraries and programs built on top of the Linux-ish kernel aren't the same as what you'd find in the Fedora or Debian Linux distributions. The result is software packaged for your desktop distribution can't simply be copied over to your phone and run. Even recompiling your favourite desktop applications isn't likely to work because the two environments, once you get beyond the kernel, are too different.
With webOS you may have an easier time getting GNU/Linux software to run. Though I haven't tried it myself there are tutorials floating around out there on how to run Debian packages on your webOS device and access the command line. It won't be as straightforward as simply pointing your phone to the Debian repositories, but you may be able to get some of your favourite apps installed on your webOS device.
|Released Last Week
Linux Mint 11 "LXDE"
Clement Lefebvre has announced the release of the "LXDE" edition of Linux Mint 11: "The team is proud to announce the release of Linux Mint 11 LXDE. Linux Mint 11 LXDE comes with updated software and brings refinements and new features to make your desktop even more comfortable to use. The Software Manager - many improvements were made to its graphical interface, and the Software Manager now looks much more polished. Application screens were visually improved, not only in the way they look but also in their layout and the information they show. For instance, the Software Manager now runs a simulation prior to showing you the application, so when you look at it, it can tell you precisely which packages would be added or removed to your system, how much data would be downloaded and how much space would be taken on the hard drive." See the release announcement and visit the what's new page to learn more.
BlankOn Linux 7.0
BlankOn Linux 7.0 has been released. BlankOn is an Ubuntu-based Indonesian desktop distribution with support for most Indonesian languages, the two official languages of Timor-Leste (Portuguese and Tetun), as well as English and simplified Chinese. It also includes six non-Latin writing systems (Bugis, Batak Toba, Bali, Sunda, Rejang and Jawa), a StarDict dictionary for Bahasa Indonesia, and the latest Chromium web browser. Most audio codecs are playable with the help of the Exaile music player, while digital photos can be organised in the popular Shotwell program. On the hardware side, the distribution includes plug-and-play support for many popular USB modems used by Internet Service Providers throughout the archipelago. Major components: Linux kernel 3.0.1, GNOME 2.32, Chromium 15.0, LibreOffice. Read the full release announcement (in Indonesian) for more information and screenshots.
BlankOn Linux 7.0 - an Ubuntu-based distribution for Indonesia and Timor-Leste
(full image size: 723kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Mario Colque has announced the release of Tuquito 5, an Argentinian distribution based on the latest stable Ubuntu. This is a CD edition that includes the most commonly used applications, the LibreOffice office suite, an audio player, and printer drivers. Missing from the CD (but installable with just one click) are audio and video codecs, the GIMP, VLC and many other software applications. It is also possible to upgrade to the "DVD" edition - there is a menu item for this under the Administration submenu. Major components: Linux kernel 2.6.38, GNOME 2.32.1, X.Org 7.6, Nautilus 2.32.2 Elementary. Other new features and programs include the Déjà Dup backup utility, F-Spot and gThumb (replacing Shotwell), significant performance improvements in Tuquito Control Center and Program Manager, new start-up theme. Read the full release announcement (in Spanish) for further details and some screenshots.
Tuquito 5 - an Ubuntu-based distribution for Argentina
(full image size: 750kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Salix OS 13.37 "LXDE"
George Vlahavas has announced the release of Salix OS 13.37 "LXDE" edition, a Slackware-based desktop distribution featuring the lightweight LXDE desktop environment: "Salix LXDE 13.37 has been officially released. This release is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit architectures. For everyone that has used our previous LXDE releases there are no surprises here. The application selection has stayed the same for the most part, with all applications being upgraded to newer versions. Important changes in this release are the inclusion of Sourcery, our new graphical tool for managing and installing packages from SlackBuilds, which has been developed from scratch for Salix and also the replacement of SCIM with IBus as the default input platform for Chinese, Japanese, etc." Here is the full release announcement.
Puppy Linux 5.2.8
Larry Short has announced the release of Puppy Linux 5.2.8, a small and fast desktop distribution built from scratch and compatible with Ubuntu binary packages: "Lucid Puppy is our edition of Puppy Linux that is built from Ubuntu binary packages, hence has compatibility with, and access to, the vast Ubuntu package repositories. Lucid Puppy 5.2.8 is the fastest and friendliest Lucid yet. It is the fastest because it is the first Lucid to use the C and FFmpeg libraries optimized for i686 computers rather than the older i386 computers. Lucid 5.2.8 has also received a thorough going-over under the hood. There is new and updated firmware and drivers for many devices and the hardware detection and configuration routines have been extensively tested and enhanced." Check out the release announcement for further details.
IPFire 2.9 Core 51
Arne Fitzenreiter has announced the release of IPFire 2.9 Core 51, an updated build of the project's specialist distribution for firewalls: "Core 51 is addressing several security issues in the Linux kernel as well as stability fixes, performance optimization and driver updates. It is recommended to install this update as soon as possible and please take notice that a reboot is required to complete the installation. The update includes the latest Linux long-term kernel of the 2.6.32 series (184.108.40.206) and includes a lot of security fixes and driver improvements. A couple of years ago, there have been problems with some TCP/IP options so these options were disabled to cause less trouble. As technology has developed, these options have now been re-enabled which improves the network throughput a lot." Read the rest of the release announcement for more details and a list of updated device drivers.
Arch Linux 2011.08.19
Dieter Plaetinck has announced the release of Arch Linux 2011.08.19, the first new release of the Arch Linux installation media in 15 months: "Time for a much needed update to the Arch installation media, as the last release (2010.05) is not only quite outdated, but now yields broken installations if you do a netinstall. What has changed in this period of more than a year? Experimental support for Btrfs and NILFS2; support syslinux bootloader; changes to configuration formats to support new rc.conf and Linux 3.0; make selecting source more flexible; show package descriptions when installing packages; snapshot of current core, including Linux kernel 3.0.3, pacman 3.5.4, glibc 2.14, mkinitcpio 0.7.2, initscripts 2011.07.3 and netcfg 2.6.7...." Read the rest of the release announcement for further details.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to waiting list
- Pear OS. Pear OS is an Ubuntu-based French distribution. The project's website is in French.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 29 August 2011.
Jesse Smith and Ladislav Bodnar
|Linux Foundation Training
|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • Distributions (by Alfie on 2011-08-22 09:30:53 GMT from United States) |
CTKArch is a minimalistic Arch Linux setup (and not a distribution), that comes with a set of carefully selected applications and provides maximum hardware support, exclusively using free open-source software.
Once installed, it becomes a classical Arch Linux installation, with applications for web browsing, e-mail, chat, FTP, file-management & archiving, office, image, audio and video viewing & edition, and CD burning: just as if you had spent your day choosing them.
Could other developers think this way? That they are actually making a Ubuntu setup, Suse setup, Gentoo setup, Slackware setup etc?
2 • ... ham ... webos? (by meanpt on 2011-08-22 10:09:25 GMT from Portugal)
... I'm wondering if I'll have the chance of, in Europe, put my hands on a localized version of hte HP Touchpad, as you in the states will have, for either 100 or 150 green bank notes, ... you're spoiled people ...
3 • Linux/Android (by Stok on 2011-08-22 10:31:27 GMT from United Kingdom)
Jesse's piece is somewhat cursory - might he be invited to present a much longer piece? Since Debian offers an ARM version, many mobiles are ARM-powered, some discussion of differences and similarities between it and x86 ones would be helpful? How come some of the early ARM netbooks were able to run cut-down Linux (mods of x86?). Can mobiles (and tablets) be persuaded to run Deb-ARM? What are the limitations on porting between desktops & mobiles/tablets? What proprietary elements frustrate synching? And a host of related questions.
4 • RE:2 Better do it soon. (by Eddie Wilson on 2011-08-22 11:47:56 GMT from United States)
If you want one you had better do it soon as HP has decided to drop its PC and Touchpad business. Also they pretty much have abandoned webOS.
5 • webOS is dead (by Candide on 2011-08-22 12:30:26 GMT from Taiwan)
I guess that the news hasn't filtered down yet to everyone. It looks HP is pulling the plug on webOS:
If HP would open-source the whole thing, then maybe it would take off. But I don't expect HP to do that. And of course, there is Meego, but with Nokia throwing in the towel and becoming Microsoft's lapdog, I'm not sure we'll see any action there either. A pity. So right now, it's either Apple or Android.
6 • Happy birthday, Debian! (by Darkman on 2011-08-22 13:09:07 GMT from United States)
To all the Debian developers and contributors, thank you for eighteen remarkable years.
7 • Scientific Linux (by PF YEarwood on 2011-08-22 13:10:33 GMT from United States)
I enjoyed the review of Scientific Linux. I have tried the 6.0 and 6.1 versions and maybe a 5.x. I do not remember having the same troubles, Jesse, you had. I use the GUI for installation as I never had good luck with word problems in math classes.
I wonder if there was an error in your burning the ISO. I had a liveCD once that would not boot into the live desktop unless I started the install option, and then canceled the install. It went right into the desktop. Anyway.
I only use the full DVD when I test the latest SL release. I do not find the graphic updater that slow, compared to the problems I had with Debian version of the second most popular release in its download speed. Unlike you, Jesse, I do not feel competent enough to use th CLI. Must be my extremely low level of CLI experience.
One thing I will mention from my own limited use of Scientific Linux. I install the 32 bit version because I have only 4 Gig RAM and SL does not have a Flash installer for any of its versions. OK, I do cross to the Dark Side at times. Flash has a 32 bit rpm version that I use.
I like the Scientific Linux because it helps me understand an ecosystem other than my preferred Ubuntu LTS. What I don't like is that for some reason, Ubu's Startup Manager does not recognize SL when I try to triple boot with Win7 and Ubuntu. (I told you I flirt with the Dark Side.) I know a few ways I can overcome that problem now. I'll be re-installing it in a few days.
Oh, that atom on the desktop is Boron, which is the name of the 6.x release.
Have fun computing.
8 • Scientific (by Jesse on 2011-08-22 13:29:09 GMT from Canada)
>> "I wonder if there was an error in your burning the ISO. I had a liveCD once that would not boot into the live desktop unless I started the install option, and then canceled the install. It went right into the desktop. Anyway."
I wondered the same thing, however whenever I run into install problems I check the burn to make sure the checksums match. The disc appears to be fine and, aside from the weird installer behaviour, everything else worked.
On a different note, the news of HP dropping webOS came out after I write the Q&A piece. It looks like you will have to be quick if you want to get a webOS device. They're disappearing quickly.
9 • Scientific Linux (by Sly on 2011-08-22 14:19:52 GMT from United States)
I've been curious about Scientific Linux for quite a while. If it can use the regular Fedora repositories and some other 3rd party repositories, then it may be worth a shot.
10 • SL 6.0 (by walter_j on 2011-08-22 14:34:32 GMT from Canada)
I installed SL 6.0, and had no problems with the installation. I did have lockups however. Probably video driver. A major issue for me was the small selection of software available in the software manager. Maybe I'm spoiled by ubuntu and debian - which have thousands. I'm not into downloading source files and compiling - it can be too difficult for larger packages. Is there other repositories i can add?
11 • Scientific Linux (by DavidMcCann on 2011-08-22 15:16:18 GMT from United Kingdom)
Scientific Linux should not be used with the normal repositories for Fedora, but there are third-party repositories available: RPMfusion has a Red Hat section and Fedora provides one called EPEL. You need to configure yum to prevent possible conflicts, and instructions on how to do that are given on the CentOS site.
12 • SL Repositories (by Matthew_T on 2011-08-22 15:28:17 GMT from United States)
I wanted to like SL 6.0 but was frightened off by the idea of mixing packages from two different repositories to satisfy dependencies for apps like Exaile. I'm happy with Debian Stable but would still like to have a go at SL again sometime.
13 • Debian B-Day (by Ken on 2011-08-22 15:31:56 GMT from Canada)
I will 2nd Darkman in thanking anyone who has been a contributor to Debian, whether programmer, packager, tutorial author, and any other of the myriad ways that people had supported that distro.
14 • ! Excelente, Linux liviano, ELIVE 2.0 ¡ (by Armando Tamayo Vargas on 2011-08-22 15:45:03 GMT from Colombia)
Buscando una Distro Liviana, me encintré con ELIVE 2.0, la cual es una distribución con un LiveCD, desde donde se puede probar sin necesidad de instalar, y creanme que es más que buena y precisa para correr en maquinas o PC Viejas, (Old PC) que tengan pocos recursos.
Lo anterior no implica que se tenga que renunciar a un escritorio feo y frio, No, por el contrario se tiene una interface muy bonita y moderna, que permite cambiar a su gusto y estetica.
En todo caso está muy "CHEVERE", lo recomiendo.
Armanto Tamayo V.
15 • 18 candles (by zykoda on 2011-08-22 16:11:57 GMT from United Kingdom)
Debian could do better in the popularity stakes. Popularity, unfortunately, cannot be equated with excellence and stability. Hidden qualities, sometimes difficult to reach, lie beneath. But here is a birthday to celebrate. Debian for HURD, BSD, Linux, Minix?... maybe. So many architectures and package rich. There are omissions....what do I use for trading stocks?
16 • android and linux (by hotdiggettydog on 2011-08-22 17:20:45 GMT from Canada)
Android may be based on the linux kernel but it is leaps and bounds ahead of any current linux distribution as far as features and user-friendliness.
I've only just started playing with android 2.2. It is clear to see where the future is headed. For starters speech and handwriting recognition software work well in android. These two features alone make android appealing to the masses.
17 • Pear OS (by Carlos Felipe on 2011-08-22 18:03:53 GMT from Brazil)
My monday is very sad when no there is new good distros to download it :(
Pear OS is a "copy" from Elementary OS project and moreover is only 64bits.
18 • Trying something new (by Jesse on 2011-08-22 18:21:48 GMT from Canada)
Sorry this is a little off-topic, but please bear with me. I finally caved and set up a Twitter account, so those of you who ... tweet/twitter/follow can keep up with stuff I'm working on. Mostly the feed will consist of side projects I'm working on, musings about distros and projects I want to try out and the occasional geeky puzzle. And it'll give people another method of sending me suggestions and feedback as I love hearing from you. At the moment I'm not sure if this feed will last, but I'm experimenting with it....
19 • Re: webOS is dead? (by Ricardo on 2011-08-22 18:45:10 GMT from Argentina)
@5: Read what you posted: "HP Discontinues Operations for webOS Devices".
Devices being the key word.
HP still intends to make money off of webOS, whether it is using it in their printers (as they're also selling out their PC bussiness) or licensing it to 3rd parties, we'll have to wait and see.
I certainly hope they license it and someon else (HTC, maybe?) makes a great webOS phone/tablet, as the OS is pretty good but the hardware wasn't up to par.
Oh, and I hope next time (if there is one) they remember to turn debugging off *before* they ship a product....
20 • ... webos (by meanpt on 2011-08-22 20:09:12 GMT from Portugal)
.. they could install it for single or double bootin with the ogher OS in the touchscren devices (convertible tablets too), instead of a cheap and rebranded splashtop which isn't geared for such devices :)
21 • Revolution OS II would have been nice this year (by Martin on 2011-08-22 20:36:42 GMT from South Africa)
Ten years ago, the movie Revolution OS was released, marking the 10th anniversary of Linux. It's a pity that 10 years on, we don't have a follow-up/sequel. It would have been a great opportunity to showcase the developments in the Linux world since then.
22 • Sl6.1 (by Andy on 2011-08-22 21:42:47 GMT from United States)
I installed SL6.1 from the "install dvd" and had no problems. Been using it as a desktop since early August and it works great. It is a little confusing about which iso to use, however, somewhere in the SL forums there was a recommendation to use the "install dvid" (as opposed to the live version and the everything version). The SL Website has a nice graphical installation guide and a text based one also. It is fast, has low memory usage, it is very secure and the official site mentions support thru 2017. Between the SL repositories, RHEL repositories and great third party ones like RPM Forge I found everything I needed. I was looking for a distro that was not too bloated and fits the bill nicely. Thanks to the developers!
"One thing I will mention from my own limited use of Scientific Linux. I install the 32 bit version because I have only 4 Gig RAM and SL does not have a Flash installer for any of its versions. OK, I do cross to the Dark Side at times. Flash has a 32 bit rpm version that I use."
You can find several versions of the 64 bit at RPM Forge. I installed the most recent and have had no problems what so ever. Thanks to Dag and others!
23 • Debian Great Distro (by ghostdawg on 2011-08-22 22:40:50 GMT from United States)
Happy birthday Debian, and thanks to all the Debian developers and contributors, who help make it one of the best distros around.
24 • Happy Birthday to Daddy Debian (by Eddie Wilson on 2011-08-23 00:21:50 GMT from United States)
The importance of Debian in the open source world cannot be ignored. It is the rock solid base from which many a distro have evolved from. It itself can be qualified as a top distro performer. While there are many excellent RPM distros it can't be denied that Debian has made the world of distros richer. So happy birthday to you Debian.
25 • Debian (by octathlon on 2011-08-23 00:35:03 GMT from United States)
Happy 18th Birthday, Debian! Keep up the good work!
26 • Scientific linux (by firstname.lastname@example.org on 2011-08-23 00:57:37 GMT from Thailand)
Been running it for ages and it's great. No need for BFS kernels or anything as it simply responsive and never thrashes - unlike some of the popular hyped distros out there.
Only issue (I started with 6 and now have upgraded to 6.1) was getting that dreaded codec to install . yes, the one for mp3. Had to hunt around different repos and got one from Fedora eventually. Also no mono rpm (the ones for fedora don't work) so I still can't get stuff like Jupitor to work(laptop configuration)
But overall it's a keeper.
27 • SL6.1 and Flash (by Redman on 2011-08-23 05:11:40 GMT from Netherlands)
If you add the RPMforge repo (called Repoforge these days), you can install the 64 bits flash-plugin without any problem. Mixing repos can cause problems when done without care (some 3rd party repos bite each other like EPEL and RPMforge).
28 • SL 6.1 and libsane (by Mumuhamster in the box on 2011-08-23 06:13:43 GMT from Germany)
I would love to install and use SL 6.1 for SOHO. Is there a newer libsane package anywhere to keep my scanner (Canon LIDE 110) running? The delivered one doesn't support it.
29 • Let me fix the review... (by Tom on 2011-08-23 20:20:58 GMT from United States)
"Here I ran into a problem. After copying files the installer said it was performing its "post-install" tasks and stalled. After waiting half an hour, I.." found another distro and installed one that works.
At least that's what it should have said. With the wonderful diversity of choices of distros available, there isn't any reason to have to put up with problems like this.
30 • No mono in SL? (by Barnabyh on 2011-08-23 20:23:47 GMT from United Kingdom)
I would consider that a good thing. No mono, no problem.
31 • Happy Birthday Debian! (by Robin Lyndsay Taylor on 2011-08-23 21:12:33 GMT from United States)
Great Granddaddy of dozens of distros, Debian is an awesome foundation on which to build - almost anything the user wants! Debian can be "made into" anything from a server to a kid-friendly desktop; and from a rock-stable mission-critical OS to a bleeding-edge high-risk thrill ride. We salute you, Debian!
32 • Scientific Linux review and comments (by Caitlyn Martin on 2011-08-23 23:11:25 GMT from United States)
#29 + Jesse: Using the install DVDs I had no problem at all with the installer in either the 32-bit or 64-bit versions. I've tried it on everything from a netbook to rather powerful servers. It just works in all the cases I've tried. I don't generally use the live CDs. I don't know if what you encountered is a problem with the live CD or with your burn.
#10: Red Hat based distros, much like openSUSE and Slackware, really force you to use multiple repositories. There is no shortage of software, even compared to Debian and Ubuntu. There is just a need to use multiple sources and that is a bit more work until you get it all setup properly.
Regarding the lockup issues you faced, please don't judge the 6.1 release by 6.0. There were quite a number of bugs, as there always are with "dot zero" releases of almost anything, that were fixed in 6.1.
#12: There is a plugin called yum-priorities that can be used to avoid conflicts between different repositories. It works well on Red Hat, CentOS, Scientific Linux, and PUIAS. I use it on servers I maintain for my business as well as my desktop and I have had no problem using EPEL, Atomic, CentALT, CentOS Extras and Remi repositories all on the same box.
#26/#30: Packages are available for Mono in third party repos. You can have Jupiter if you really want it.
33 • Fedora grub2 (by Greg on 2011-08-24 00:54:07 GMT from United States)
Fedora is changing to grub2. I recently installed Fedora 14, because it uses grub legacy, and not grub2. Would someone please develop a program that would make changing grub2 easier. I don't want memtest86, or old versions of distros listed. I can get rid of things like that easily on grub legacy, but changes to grub config are only temporary.
34 • @33 GRUB2 Configuration (by Stan on 2011-08-24 01:43:25 GMT from United States)
Assuming that Fedora implements GRUB 2 as Debian and its derivatives do, what you need to do is edit /etc/default/grub to change the settings. I usually put in:
at the very least to make sure that it doesn't scan all my partitions on every single GRUB update. Editing the timeout is another common change to the file. Then, look at the scripts in the /etc/grub.d directory. If there are any you don't want to be run, use chmod to take out the execute permission in order to disable them, e.g.:
chmod -v -x /etc/grub.d/20_memtest86+
will make it stop putting in memtest. Finally, you can edit the /etc/grub.d/40_custom file (or whatever number Fedora ends up assigning it) to put in whatever you want at the end.
Hope that helps!
35 • RE:34 Editing the files (by Ron on 2011-08-24 01:52:05 GMT from United States)
Yes, I do what you describe and it works, but why the developers decided to have Grub2 splattered all over the directory tree baffles me. Surely there must be a reason everything is not simply in grub directory.
36 • RE:33, Grub2 Customizer (by Eddie Wilson on 2011-08-24 11:52:55 GMT from United States)
Grub Customizer is what I use to do quick edits of Grub2. It's mainly for use on Ubuntu and Debian systems. Info on Grub Customizer can be found at the link.
37 • Scientific Linux (by Bob on 2011-08-24 16:15:35 GMT from Brazil)
I've been using SL6 x86_64 for a few months now, after a couple years using Ubuntu, and I'm absolutely loving it. I didn't run into any problems regarding the installation. I find the distro extremely fast on my aging system (first gen Athlon 64, 1GB ram), and is also very stable.
Also worth mentioning is that the SL forums are awesome: friendly people that actually help you instead of telling you to fuck off and read a thousand line man page.
Overall, it's been a very positive experience, so I can only recommend it!
38 • pinguy forum captcha (by jack on 2011-08-25 00:19:39 GMT from Canada)
pinguy installed without any problem; but registering for their forum involves reading an unreadable captcha. There seems to be only 2 variations.
A pity as being forced to jump through hoops pisses me off and destroys what was a great feeling about the OS
(it does not seem to show any way of getting nvidia drivers. which was the reason I went to their forum)
39 • Re: #32 Scientific Linux Repositories (by Sly on 2011-08-25 13:38:11 GMT from United States)
Opensuse is user friendly in that the OS lists their repositories and setting them up is as easy as clicking on a box. At least two of their normal third party repositories practically set themselves up when you install codecs. This allows users to quickly attend to other setup customizations. I'm assuming that is not the case with SL.
40 • #39: Third party repos (by Caitlyn Martin on 2011-08-25 16:01:18 GMT from United States)
All that the official Scientific Linux website has is links to the various repos at http://www.scientificlinux.org/community/repo/ Each repo then generally has a link that will allow you to install a package that adds the repo. I'd say the difference is an extra mouse click or two. openSUSE doesn't make every possible repo just a click away and neither does Scientific Linux. There are some popular repos for both distros that really are straightforward and simple to setup. I don't see a significant difference between the two.
41 • RE:34 grub2 (by Greg on 2011-08-25 23:55:21 GMT from United States)
Thank you for the assist with grub2. I tried installing Ubuntu, and I am content with the results, after following your suggestions.
42 • SL... (by KevinC on 2011-08-26 05:00:03 GMT from United States)
I tried SL per the DVD install & ran into problems I've had in the past w/ Network Manager...it is enabled but won't start. W/ the live CD it works fine. Still, tho, I've found CentOS 6 a little more refined (per DVD install)...but it's almost a push. Dedoimedo's guide is nice to follow to get CentOS, SL, etc up to speed:
And thanks to CM for the tip on Yum Priorities...works like a charm. Esp, w/ the VLC conflict b/ween Dag and EPEL repos. CentOS 6 has been fairly easy, but I've had a lot of experience w/ Fedora. IIRC, Fedora Core was my 1st linux more than a decade ago. It's amazing how far rpm-based distros have come---it used to be dependency hell.
I must add that I am and have been really impressed w/ KDE 4.6+ distros. Kubuntu 11.04 and OpenSUSE 11.4 are my 2 current faves. Also, must give props to Mint 11 LXDE and Zoris OS LXDE. I'm using the former on my netbook as I type, but the latter was nice as well. LXDE is a serious contender now & truly lightweight.
43 • PUIAS Linux (by mike on 2011-08-26 05:37:26 GMT from United States)
@Caitlyn or Jesse, have either of you installed and used PUIAS Linux? Did you find any benefits or disadvantages between using PUIAS and CentOS or SL?
44 • @43 (by KevinC on 2011-08-26 05:48:03 GMT from United States)
I 2nd that...saw that when I was looking @ repos for SL. Never had heard of PUIAS before.
45 • #40: Third party repos (by hui on 2011-08-26 11:19:53 GMT from Finland)
In Add/remove software, search for "yum-conf" to get a list of some third party repos.
46 • Ari Lemmke… (by Harry on 2011-08-26 14:04:09 GMT from Canada)
…unsung hero of the free software movement. For renaming Freax to Linux.
47 • Ari Lemke (by Deeon on 2011-08-26 14:42:56 GMT from United Kingdom)
Honest I didn't want to ever release it under the name
Linux because it was too egotistical. What was the name I reserved
for any eventual release? Freax. (Get it? Freaks with the requisite
X.) In fact, some of the early make files --the files that describe
how to compile the sources-- included the word "Freax" for about
half a year. But it really didn't matter. At that point I didn't need a
name for it because I wasn't releasing it to anybody.
And Ari Lemke, who insured that it made its way to the ftp
site, hated the name Freax. He preferred the other working name I
admit that I didn't put up much of a fight. But it was his doing. So
I can honestly say I wasn't egotistical, or half-honestly say I wasn't
egotistical. But I thought okay, that's a good name, and I can
always blame somebody else for it, which I'm doing now.
48 • #43 PUIAS (by Caitlyn Martin on 2011-08-27 18:16:02 GMT from United States)
I have downloaded and installed PUIAS Linux and I am just beginning to experiment with it. I do plan on writing a review, either for here if Jesse doesn't do one or for O'Reilly if he does.
49 • PUIAS checksums (by Ralph on 2011-08-27 20:32:08 GMT from Canada)
I did a fairly comprehensive search for checksums for any of the PUIAS install disc images (the boot iso and the install DVDs) but could not locate any -- does anyone know where they might be hiding?
50 • #48 (by Mike on 2011-08-28 00:23:52 GMT from United States)
Very cool, can't wait to read it. One thing that I would be curious to see is a RHEL clone review that also provided insight to how the KDE environment is support as opposed to the default GNOME DE.
51 • #49/50 PUIAS (by Caitlyn Martin on 2011-08-28 01:03:00 GMT from United States)
#49: Great question, Ralph. I don't have an answer as I haven't found them either. I just joined the puias-users group. That may be the best place for you to ask. See: http://groups.google.com/group/puias-users/about Seems like a friendly bunch.
#50: Mike, so far as I know none of the RHEL clones support or offer KDE.
52 • #51 - KDE on RHEL Clones (by Mike on 2011-08-28 02:00:54 GMT from United States)
Hi Caitlyn, I see KDE 4.3 mentioned in the release notes for RHEL 6 as an alternative desktop. I figured this was just a matter of choosing the customize now option in Anaconda after partitioning, much like in Fedora DVD installs. I would assume the clones offer this as well. I know that Red Hat/Fedora are GNOME centric but I found the Fedora 15 KDE desktop very nice to use.
53 • PUIAS Download (by DblMtn on 2011-08-28 02:50:26 GMT from United States)
Try the above URL for downloading PUIAS.
54 • Re: 50-52, KDE on SL & Centos (by Andy Axnot on 2011-08-28 19:58:20 GMT from United States)
According to their Distrowatch pages both SL & Centos offer KDE; KDE3 before v6.0, KDE4 thereafter.
I have SL v5.6 installed on a spare computer with a KDE3 desktop, quite nice.
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