| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 22, 3 November 2003
ROCK Linux in search for a new identity
Do we have too many distributions? You bet. The result is that some excellent projects are lost in the sea of distributions, most of which are nothing but modifications of other distributions. Take this interesting post by Clifford Wolf, the creator of ROCK Linux: "'ROCK Linux' fits too well into the common 'Foobar Linux' naming scheme for Linux distributions - so it's no wonder that it is so hard to promote ROCK Linux as 'built kit for Linux/whatever distribution' instead of 'yet another Linux distribution'. I'd suggest renaming the project to something different. My personal preference would be something like 'Open ROCK'. Suggestions, thoughts and feedback in any form are very welcome."
The above dilemma is not hard to understand. ROCK Linux is a unique and highly original project in that it provides a bunch of flexible bash scripts which allow users to create a new and customised binary distribution directly from source code. This can be as simple as a 10MB general purpose router, or as complex as a full-featured development workstation. Once the compile process is complete, the resulting distribution can either be installed on a remote computer via network or it can be burnt onto a bootable CD and deployed on any number of machines. It can even be compiled for an architecture different from the machine performing the compilation. While the project's documentation is certainly not as beginner-friendly and colourful as that of say Gentoo Linux, those who take their time to peruse the ever evolving ROCK Linux handbook might be pleasantly surprised to discover a true gem.
ROCK Linux is a not an ordinary rock. It is a rare diamond - precious and unique among the gravel that surrounds it.
How good or bad is Mandrake Linux 9.2?
Although it has been almost three weeks since the release of Mandrake Linux 9.2, we haven't seen many reviews of the most popular desktop distribution. Instead, we are getting a steady flow of reports about the highly publicised problem affecting users with LG CD-ROM drives and various generalised complaints about issues such as the number of bug fixes issued shortly after the final release. While the unfortunate matter of damaged CD-ROM drives is certainly a valid complaint, much of the general negativity about Mandrake Linux 9.2 on various forums, often coming from former staunch supporters of Mandrake, is not. Does the high number of bug fixes bother you? Chances are that, as with the LG CD-ROM drives, many of them only affect a small percentage of users. In fact, it is nice to see that Mandrake developers are hard at work, looking over the issues and working out the problems. I would certainly not look at the number of bug fixes as a negative point - it would be a lot worse if Mandrake developers ignored their users and went on holidays!
What are your experiences with Mandrake Linux 9.2? Any surprises or disappointments? Is it going to stay on your desktop or are you here to look for another distribution? Please discuss below.
|Released Last Week
Source Mage GNU/Linux 0.7.1
A new version of Source Mage GNU/Linux, version 0.7.1 is out: "The Source Mage GNU/Linux developers team is proud to announced the new release 0.7.1. The main difference with 0.7 is the native support of devfs (mounted on /dev as you would like to expect). Have fun!" More information on the distribution's web site, release announcement and ISO release changelog.
Aurox Live 1.0.2
A stable version of Aurox Live CD, version 1.0.2 (based on Aurox Linux 9.1), has been released: "What's new in Aurox 9.1-Live-1.0.2? It is now possible to run Aurox Live on 233MHz Pentium II with 96 MB RAM! (use 'aurox fluxbox' command when booting). Updated: Knoppix X Window autoconfiguration, Evolution (1.4.5), CD recording tools. Added: educational software (lum, tuxpaint, tuxmath, geg), Qt-designer, Qt-documentation, KDE libs API documentation, Kdevelop and extra header files - you can now generate and build an example application using Aurox Live! Fixed: /dev/ppp and other devices created, starting fluxbox is now available, mouse wheel should work now, KDE shows CUPS printers." See the complete release notes.
Devil-Linux 1.0 and 1.0.1
Devil-Linux 1.0 has been released: "The Devil-Linux development team is pleased to announce the release of version 1.0 this Halloween, October 31, 2003. Devil-Linux is a distribution which boots and runs from CDROM. The configuration can be saved to a floppy diskette or a USB pen drive (new in 1.0). Devil Linux was originally intended to be a dedicated firewall/router but now Devil-Linux can also be used as a server for many applications. Attaching an optional hard drive is easy, and many network services are included. New Features: kernel 2.4.22 with FreeS/WAN and Netfilter patches applied; kernel Security through GRSecurity; almost all software compiled with the GCC stack smashing protector; new 'setup' program for basic configuration..." More details in the release announcement. A bug-fixed Devil-Linux version 1.0.1 was released three days later.
After 9 beta releases, the new Freeduc 1.4 live CD is now ready for public consumption: "OFSET, the organization for the development of free software for education and teaching, is working with UNESCO to set up an international version of its FREEDUC distribution. FREEDUC is a GNU/Linux distribution which can be used without installation. It is specifically dedicated to the world of education and it enables an easy introduction for stakeholders of education to the 40 free software packages included on the cd-rom. The software was selected for its pedagogical values and ergonomic qualities." See the rest of the official press release. There is a bug in the Italian implementation of Freeduc 1.4, which will be fixed in the upcoming version 1.4.1.
Yoper Ydesktop 1.2
Yoper Ydesktop 1.2 is out. From the release notes: "Yoper Limited is proud to announce the release of version 1.2 of Yoper Ydesktop V1. This release contains a large number of bugfixes and software changes which include: Yoper synced with LFS-5 and recompiled from scratch with gcc-3.3.2.; supermount on the fly CD mounting, no CD unmount or eject required any more, new Yoper boot splash screen; emerge world implemented; new Qt-3.2.1 and KDE 3.1.4; new Kernel 2.4.22 used to compile Yoper; update all packages to latest as of 20.10.2003; NVIDIA ethernet drivers; shadow passwords set not to expire; new OpenOffice 1.1..."
OpenNA Linux 1.0
After nearly two years of development, OpenNA Linux 1.0 has been released. From the release notes: "The version 1.0 contains many new features and enhanced functionality as compared with previous versions of OpenNA Linux. Security notes: All components of the operating system are protected against the exploitation of buffer overflow vulnerabilities in process stacks. All permission files and directories have been reviewed and improved for high security. All configuration files and software have been rewritten & rebuild with high security in mind. The Grsecurity kernel patch with most of the entire security features that it provides has been implemented into the kernel." More features.
A new version of the SULIX live CD is now available. The most important changes in version 1.1 are: new Linux kernel 2.4.22, support for USB pen drives, implementation of Knoppix's "Persistent Home" for easy restoration of saved settings, inclusion of SHFS kernel module, new lm-sensors and Hungarian implementation of OpenOffice 1.1. More information on the distribution's web site (in Hungarian).
Flonix is a new distribution on our list, a live CD based on Damn Small Linux. The developers have just released build 17, with the following changes (changelog in French): "Updated web server; addition of xnet to develop dynamic PHP-based web sites (with libmysql); new server menu." Find out more on the distribution's web site.
The ISO image of Lycoris Desktop/LX Update 3 has reportedly been released for general enjoyment. Since the lycoris.org site seems to be down at the moment, here is a quick list of some of the mirrors that carry the ISO: planetmirror.com (Australia), sunet.se (Sweden) and ibiblio.org (USA).
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Xandros Desktop 2.0
Xandros Desktop 2.0 will be released on 24 November. That's according to this ZDNet report: "Xandros sells a version of Linux geared for the average desktop user. The company plans to release version 2.0 of its software on Nov. 24, said Dave Finklestein, vice president of sales and marketing for the 35-person company." The product is currently undergoing closed beta testing.
Fedora Core 1
The first official release of Red Hat's Fedora Core 1 is expected before the end of this week - instead of today, as originally planned - due to a schedule slip: "We had to respin FC1 today for a non-technical issue (that's all I can say, sorry), which resets the clock for release. We have to start over again with the export process, and I don't think they work weekends, so we have to slip until after we hear back from them and then sync to mirrors. Wednesday the 5th is slightly possible, a day later more likely."
Texstar's PC Linux OS?
Something is cooking over at PCLinuxOnline: "I've been working on a live bootable Knoppix style CD based on Mandrake 9.2 with all of my cool mods and updated applications/desktop programs and everything setup to work right out of the box such as Java, Flash, urpmi and NVIDIA drivers. Hopefully the ability to also install directly to your hard drive. A complete desktop solution featuring over 1.5 gigs of desktop applications. I've already had a successful preview last week and if everything goes good this weekend maybe another preview that more people can test next week. What is neat about this is if we can get all the issues ironed out with the mklivecd project then YOU can make your own bootable live CD as well." The above post is by Texstar, a well-known contributor of up-to-date RPM packages for Mandrake Linux. Certainly something to look forward to, no?
|Web Site News
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Thank you all for helping to spread the word to all corners of the globe :-)
New on the waiting list
- Flonix. Flonix is a light-weight GNU/Linux operating system for personal computers. It is based on Knoppix. There are two editions: Flonix USB Edition can be installed on an USB flash drive or compact flash card (64MB and more) and Flonix CD Edition, which is a live CD.
DistroWatch database summary
- Lunatix GNU/Linux. "The idea behind Lunatix is to supply a small, clean Linux distribution for expert users. No nonsense, with an extremely fast install; just simple. There are no networking daemons distributed by default in order to ensure maximum security on a network level after the initial installation. The user (or system administrator) has to compile optional programs or daemons himself (or herself) which allows the user to build a system specific to their needs while maintaining a clean secure Linux core distribution. To serve expert users, enough basic tools for networking and C++ coding are included for a quick start. All core features are listed below."
- Number of distributions in the database: 190
- Number of discontinued distributions: 24
- Number of distributions on the waiting list: 65
No reader feedback items this week.
That's all for now, keep well and see you next Monday :-)
|Linux Foundation Training
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|• Issue 839 (2019-11-04): MX 19, manipulating PDFs, Ubuntu plans features for 20.04, Fedora 29 nears EOL, Netrunner drops Manjaro-based edition|
|• Issue 838 (2019-10-28): Xubuntu 19.10, how init and service managers work together, DragonFly BSD provides emergency mode for HAMMER, Xfce team plans 4.16|
|• Issue 837 (2019-10-21): CentOS 8.0-1905, Trident finds a new base, Debian plans firewall changes, 15 years of Fedora, how to merge directories|
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|• Issue 834 (2019-09-30): FreedomBox "Buster", CentOS gains a rolling release, Librem 5 phones shipping, Redcore updates its package manager|
|• Issue 833 (2019-09-23): Redcore Linux 1908, why Linux distros are free, Ubuntu making list of 32-bit software to keep, Richard M Stallman steps down from FSF leadership|
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|• Issue 827 (2019-08-12): Q4OS, finding files on the disk, Ubuntu works on ZFS, Haiku improves performance, OSDisc shutting down|
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|• Issue 822 (2019-07-08): Mageia 7, running development branches of distros, Mint team considers Snap, UBports to address Google account access|
|• Issue 821 (2019-07-01): OpenMandriva 4.0, Ubuntu's plan for 32-bit packages, Fedora Workstation improvements, DragonFly BSD's smaller kernel memory|
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|• Issue 819 (2019-06-17): OS108 and Venom, renaming multiple files, checking live USB integrity, working with Fedora's Modularity, Ubuntu replacing Chromium package with snap|
|• Issue 818 (2019-06-10): openSUSE 15.1, improving boot times, FreeBSD's status report, DragonFly BSD reduces install media size|
|• Issue 817 (2019-06-03): Manjaro 18.0.4, Ubuntu Security Podcast, new Linux laptops from Dell and System76, Entroware Apollo|
|• Issue 816 (2019-05-27): Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, creating firewall rules, Antergos shuts down, Matthew Miller answers questions about Fedora|
|• Issue 815 (2019-05-20): Sabayon 19.03, Clear Linux's developer features, Red Hat explains MDS flaws, an overview of mobile distro options|
|• Issue 814 (2019-05-13): Fedora 30, distributions publish Firefox fixes, CentOS publishes roadmap to 8.0, Debian plans to use Wayland by default|
|• Issue 813 (2019-05-06): ROSA R11, MX seeks help with systemd-shim, FreeBSD tests unified package management, interview with Gael Duval|
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|• Issue 811 (2019-04-22): Alpine 3.9.2, rsync examples, Ubuntu working on ZFS support, Debian elects new Project Leader, Obarun releases S6 tools|
|• Issue 810 (2019-04-15): SolydXK 201902, Bedrock Linux 0.7.2, Fedora phasing out Python 2, NetBSD gets virtual machine monitor|
|• Issue 809 (2019-04-08): PCLinuxOS 2019.02, installing Falkon and problems with portable packages, Mint offers daily build previews, Ubuntu speeds up Snap packages|
|• Issue 808 (2019-04-01): Solus 4.0, security benefits and drawbacks to using a live distro, Gentoo gets GNOME ports working without systemd, Redox OS update|
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|• Issue 805 (2019-03-11): EasyOS 1.0, managing background services, Devuan team debates machine ID file, Ubuntu Studio works to remain an Ubuntu Community Edition|
|• Issue 804 (2019-03-04): Condres OS 19.02, securely erasing hard drives, new UBports devices coming in 2019, Devuan to host first conference|
|• Issue 803 (2019-02-25): Septor 2019, preventing windows from stealing focus, NetBSD and Nitrux experiment with virtual machines, pfSense upgrading to FreeBSD 12 base|
|• Issue 802 (2019-02-18): Slontoo 18.07.1, NetBSD tests newer compiler, Fedora packaging Deepin desktop, changes in Ubuntu Studio|
|• Issue 801 (2019-02-11): Project Trident 18.12, the meaning of status symbols in top, FreeBSD Foundation lists ongoing projects, Plasma Mobile team answers questions|
|• Issue 800 (2019-02-04): FreeNAS 11.2, using Ubuntu Studio software as an add-on, Nitrux developing znx, matching operating systems to file systems|
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|• Issue 798 (2019-01-21): Sculpt OS 18.09, picking a location for swap space, Solus team plans ahead, Fedora trying to get a better user count|
|• Issue 797 (2019-01-14): Reborn OS 2018.11.28, TinyPaw-Linux 1.3, dealing with processes which make the desktop unresponsive, Debian testing Secure Boot support|
|• Issue 796 (2019-01-07): FreeBSD 12.0, Peppermint releases ISO update, picking the best distro of 2018, roundtable interview with Debian, Fedora and elementary developers|
|• Issue 795 (2018-12-24): Running a Pinebook, interview with Bedrock founder, Alpine being ported to RISC-V, Librem 5 dev-kits shipped|
|• Issue 794 (2018-12-17): Void 20181111, avoiding software bloat, improvements to HAMMER2, getting application overview in GNOME Shell|
|• Issue 793 (2018-12-10): openSUSE Tumbleweed, finding non-free packages, Debian migrates to usrmerge, Hyperbola gets FSF approval|
|• Issue 792 (2018-1203): GhostBSD 18.10, when to use swap space, DragonFly BSD's wireless support, Fedora planning to pause development schedule|
|• Issue 791 (2018-11-26): Haiku R1 Beta1, default passwords on live media, Slax and Kodachi update their media, dual booting DragonFly BSD on EFI|
|• Issue 790 (2018-11-19): NetBSD 8.0, Bash tips and short-cuts, Fedora's networking benchmarked with FreeBSD, Ubuntu 18.04 to get ten years of support|
|• Issue 789 (2018-11-12): Fedora 29 Workstation and Silverblue, Haiku recovering from server outage, Fedora turns 15, Debian publishes updated media|
|• Issue 788 (2018-11-05): Clu Linux Live 6.0, examining RAM consumpion, finding support for older CPUs, more Steam support for running Windows games on Linux, update from Solus team|
|• Full list of all issues|
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|Random Distribution |
IPFire is a Linux distribution that focusses on easy setup, good handling and high level of security. It is operated via an intuitive web-based interface which offers many configuration options for beginning and experienced system administrators. IPFire is maintained by developers who are concerned about security and who update the product regularly to keep it secure. IPFire ships with a custom package manager called Pakfire and the system can be expanded with various add-ons.