| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 120, 3 October 2005
Welcome to this year's 40th issue of DistroWatch Weekly. We are at the start of an exciting week, with Mandriva Linux 2006, SUSE Linux 10.0 and Ubuntu Linux 5.10 RC all expected within the next few days. Fans of certain other distributions might not be so lucky, though, as last week's announcement about Libranet's "restructuring" leaves many wondering about the future of this once popular Debian-based project. Our featured distribution of the week is Puppy Linux, but we also introduce amaroK Live, a PCLinuxOS-based live CD that combines the power of the amaroK media player with Free Music. Enjoy!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in mp3 (9.98MB) format (courtesy of Shawn Milo).
Join us at irc.freenode.net #distrowatch
New releases from Mandriva, SUSE, Ubuntu
This is one of those exciting weeks when everything happens at about the same time and great new releases are about to be announced by several major distributions.
The ISO images of Mandriva Linux 2006 were released to "early seeders" late last Friday. Mandriva Club members with fast Internet connections and the ability to "seed" large files for sharing them via BitTorrent were invited to apply for the "early seeder" status and many of them have now downloaded the ISOs. All the other Club members will be able to download the images later this week, possibly as early as today. Disappointingly, Mandriva continues in its attitude of extreme secrecy by refusing to provide anybody, including their paying Club members, with any advanced information regarding the availability of ISOs. As such, the only thing we can do is to guess - and our guess is that the Club members will get access today and the rest of us one week from now. Update: The latest news is that Club members will get access to the ISO images on October 6 and general public on October 26.
The Mandriva attitude contrasts sharply with those of openSUSE and Ubuntu. Both projects have been remarkably timely during their respective development activities and we expect things to continue this way. Barring some last-minute complications, both SUSE Linux 10.0 and Ubuntu Linux 5.10 RC will be released on Thursday, with the final release of Ubuntu 5.10 following a week later.
* * * * *
Future of Libranet in doubt
Subscribers of the irregularly published Libranet Newsletter received a rather worrying issue late last week. In it, Libranet's developer Tal Danzig talks about a "period of restructuring" awaiting the company, after the recent death of Libranet's founder and Tal's father, Jon Danzig:
"As many of our customers know, Libranet is a small company pioneered by the vision of Jon Danzig. The recent passing of Jon Danzig has necessitated changes to the way Libranet runs and does business. Libranet will be undergoing a period of restructuring during which we will not be be taking new orders."
Tal elaborates on the issue in a longer post on his web log:
"I hope that the strong Libranet community will be patient while the process of moving Libranet onwards takes place. I do not at this time know how long it will take or exactly what the outcome will be, but I will endeavor to keep the Libranet community informed."
Many Libranet fans have expressed disappointment on the Libranet forums. It is hard to blame them - users of Linux distributions often expect exciting announcements about new features, upcoming releases and development efforts, rather than talk about major unspecified changes. From closing the shop, it is often just a small step to abandoning a distribution completely. And that would be a very sad outcome, especially when considering that Libranet GNU/Linux has been around since 1999 and, although it remains a proprietary operating system with a relatively high price tag, it has attracted many enthusiastic followers gathering on its lively forums and helpful mailing lists.
The best thing that the developers of Libranet can do right now is to open up the project for public participation. This has been a trend among other distributions and operating systems, with projects such as Fedora, Ubuntu, openSUSE and even OpenSolaris obviously benefitting from increased exposure and developers' interest. We believe that the coming years will further solidify the positions of those projects that have invited the interested public to join them, while those that still insist on developing behind closed doors with many proprietary components (such as Linspire or Xandros - irrespective of how user-friendly and innovative they will get), will continue to exist as second-tier distributions with only limited interest among users and developers. If Libranet wants to avoid this path, it should take a hint from some of the successful open projects and follow the suit.
* * * * *
OpenBSD 3.8 song available
Less than a month separates us from OpenBSD 3.8, a new release of one of the most security-oriented operating systems available today. As has become tradition, each OpenBSD release is accompanied by a "theme song" and version 3.8 is no exception. The new song is called Hackers of the Lost RAID: "Many wonderful new things have made it into OpenBSD 3.8, but we wanted to focus on one particular thing -- our support for native free-software RAID management on at least one brand of RAID card, those made by AMI," explains Theo de Raadt, the founder and lead developer of OpenBSD. Hackers of the Lost RAID is available in both MP3 and OGG formats and can be downloaded from here.
* * * * *
Auditor and WHAX merge, PHLAK announces USB edition
Finally, something for the fans of security-auditing and penetration-testing distributions. The web site of Auditor Security Linux carries a note announcing that the project will merge with WHAX (formerly WHOPPIX), a SLAX-based penetration-testing live CD. The newly merged distribution will be known as Backtrack. No release roadmap and feature list have been published as yet, but suggestions and ideas are welcome. See this forum thread for further details. Also on the security front, the developers of the Professional Hacker's Linux Assault Kit (or PHLAK) have announced a new addition to their product line. This new member of the PHLAK family will fit on a USB storage device and will listen to the name of "LittleBoy". Future releases of PHLAK's standard live CD editions will now be called "FatMan". More information can be found on the project's news page.
|Featured Distribution of the Week: Puppy Linux
It is amazing to see how fast Puppy Linux has matured over the last few months - from a little-known minimalist distribution for older computers to an incredibly useful and versatile product which now competes with Damn Small Linux in terms of features and user-friendliness. But unlike Damn Small Linux, which was originally derived from KNOPPIX, Puppy was built from scratch, with many unique ideas that have captured the interest of Linux users. Puppy is not just an ISO image containing millions of lines of code, it is also a project with a heart - just read through its news page to discover how much enthusiasm and sheer love goes into each and every release!
After booting into Puppy Linux, you will be immediately impressed by the neatly organised menus with applications and configuration tools listed in a logical order. Yes, this should be a standard feature of all Linux distributions, but if you've tried the latest KNOPPIX live DVD, you have undoubtedly noticed its haphazard menu structures, which makes you appreciate Puppy's neat menus all the more. Granted, you can't expect to find a huge number of applications on a 60MB CD, but what is available certainly gives an impression of a well-structured set, carefully selected to conform to size requirements.
Additional packages can be installed with relative ease. Puppy uses two graphical package managers - PupGet and DotPup - with the former designed for official Puppy packages, while the latter providing a long list of third-party software built by Puppy Linux enthusiasts. Both are intuitive, providing a large range of open source software packages for every taste and purpose. Since Puppy supports Unionfs (if you specify the option at boot prompt), software packages can also be installed while in "live CD" mode.
Many other graphical utilities are available in Puppy Linux. These range from tools to configure mouse, keyboard and monitor to more complex utilities for setting up networking (including wireless ones), printers, scanners and firewalls. Tools for creating a custom Puppy live CD, together with installing it on a USB, Zip or hard drive, are also provided. Backup utilities, virus scanners and partition resizing tools are all neatly lined up and ready to spring into action at a mouse click.
On the application side, we spotted several file managers (ROX-Filer, uXplor), graphics tools (Dia, Sodipodi), Office applications (AbiWord, Gnumeric), HTML editors (Bluefish, Mozilla Composer), a simple finance manager (Xfinans), Internet software (Mozilla, Sylpheed, gFTP), multimedia packages (Gxine, Snack, ripperX), and a handful of simple games. Once you go through the menus and see what is available you'll have to pinch yourself to believe that the Puppy live CD you downloaded was under 60MB in size!
The light-weight default desktop (JWM) combined with many low-resource applications make for one speedy desktop experience, even on an underpowered computer where most modern distributions would probably be unusable. Only Mozilla seems like an odd choice, especially since Dillo, Firefox and Opera are all lighter and faster, but this can be easily rectified with a quick trip to DotPup. Other than that, all applications launch with a speed of light, even when running them from the live CD. Puppy boots fast as well, but the process is slowed down somewhat by the need to answer some configuration questions.
Overall, Puppy Linux is a superb, light-weight, fast and versatile Linux distribution with a great selection of applications, graphical system administration utilities and all sorts of unique features not readily available elsewhere. A great choice not only for older computers, but also for those who dislike the bloat of most modern distributions.
For more information and downloads please visit the Puppy Linux web site.
Puppy Linux has rapidly become a mature and sophisticated distribution for (not only) older computers
(full image size: 375kB)
|Released Last Week
Featherweight Linux 1.3
Featherweight Linux is a live CD based on Feather Linux, but expanded to include a minimal KDE desktop. Version 1.3 has been released. What's new? "I've upgraded e2fsprogs and e2fslibs as well as some other critical core files. I updated the apt sources and added AbiWord and Acroread, as well as the Acroread Mozilla plugin, and I added kppp. I upgraded Samba and switched the quick start Konqueror and KDE help buttons with a Mozilla button and a Konsole button. I fixed the install script where some folks were getting a blank screen after installation and added a GRUB install script for easy installation of GRUB after the initial install. The total installed size is now about 800MB." Here is the full release announcement.
The first official release of Tilix, which is a Bulgarian Linux distribution based on KANOTIX, is now available. Tilix 1.0 (code name "Boris") includes: kernel 2.6.13 with many extra modules for improved hardware support, KDE 3.4.2, latest packages from Debian sid compiled with GCC 4.0.1, many new drivers for modems and wireless network cards, new look and feel, graphical boot, new control centre for system administration, new hard disk installer, many other improvements and applications. An experimental way of updating from a previous version of Tilix is also included. For more information please refer to the official release announcement (in Bulgarian).
Tilix 1.0 - a Bulgarian live and installation CD based on KANOTIX
(full image size: 121kB)
Puppy Linux 1.0.5
A brand new version of Puppy Linux is out: "Puppy version 1.0.5 is released. Although the version number has only changed from 1.0.4 to 1.0.5, the number and quality of new features are ...awesome! Many Puppy developers have created applications that are making their début, and those guys are justly proud of what has been created. Release notes, in no particular order: Mark Ulrich has developed DotPup Downloader, a brilliant GUI application for downloading and installing DotPup packages (for the uninitiated, Puppy has two package systems, DotPup and PupGet). Keenerd has developed WAG (Wireless Access Gadget), a superb GUI for configuring a wireless networks...." Find more details on the project's news page.
EnGarde Secure Linux 3.0
EnGarde Secure Linux 3.0 Community has been released: "Guardian Digital is pleased to announce the release of EnGarde Community v3.0. This release represents the most significant number of improvements since the first version released more than four years ago. Completely redesigned web interface, firewall functionality, integrated Security-Enhanced Linux protection, and completely free updates are just a few of the outstanding new benefits. With EnGarde, you can build a complete and secure Internet presence featuring all standard Internet functions (web, DNS, email, etc) within minutes using one of the available wizards." See the release announcement for further information.
tinysofa classic server 2.0 Update 2
An updated release of tinysofa classic server, a free server-oriented enterprise distribution originally based on Trustix Secure Linux, is out: "tinysofa classic server 2.0 Update 2 (Ceara) is now generally available. This is an update release which incorporates all bug and security fixes released to date, whilst updating most packages to the latest upstream releases. 'Ceara' features: The Linux 2.6.13 kernel, grsecurity support, APT and SmartPM for advanced package management, the PHP 5 environment (5.0.4), OpenSSH 4.2, high availability features such as DRBD (0.7.13) and UCARP (1.1), the latest development tools and languages (GCC 3.4.3, Python 2.4), and much more." See the release announcement of the project's home page.
A new version of pocketlinux, a minimalist Slackware-based distribution with KDE Light, has been released. New features in version 1.3 include: "upgraded KDE components to 3.4.2, arts to 1.4.2, Firefox to 1.0.7; added multilanguage support for Firefox; added French language support; fixed some translation mistakes and typos; removed unnecessary KDM session files; added the following development packages: autoconf, gcc, gcc-g++, binutils, make, m4, perl, pkgconfig; reworked fbpanel program description / converted fbpanel configuration to UTF-8; changed the default wallpaper; set pocket-linux.de as the default Firefox homepage and changed the proportional font settings to 'Sans Serif'." Here is the full release announcement.
amaroK Live 1.3
amaroK Live is a specialist Linux live CD, based on PCLinuxOS, with a fully functional amaroK music player and a selection of Free Music. A new version was released over the weekend: "The amaroK team would like to announce the immediate release of version 1.3 of the innovative amaroK Live CD. This complete operating system is a unique collaboration between Free Software and Free Music that runs entirely from a CD. Based upon the KDE-centric PCLinuxOS, amaroK Live is not a complete Live CD distribution as much as it is a demonstration of an extremely cool audio player. With this in mind, the live CD comes with a fully functional copy of the amaroK music player bundled with tracks from Magnatune.com, the German artists Paniq and Snooze and the Norwegian performer Ugress." Read the rest of the release announcement for details.
* * * * *
Development and unannounced releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Symphony OS Beta 1
The Symphony OS project has announced a slight delay of the distribution's first beta release: "The Symphony OS Beta 1 release date has been pushed back. While I hope to have updated packages for Orchestra and Mezzo on the servers and available via apt this week, Beta 1 PR 1 will now be released on October 15th. There are several items that are still on the to-do list before we will be ready to release our new DCC based Symphony. The initial Apt-Plus release (0.01) which will be very much alpha code, will be released to the repository and the apt-plus software store will officially launch this week. The initial version of apt-plus will only contain the initial code allowing for web-based software installation. The additional tools will be included in later releases." See this forum post for more information.
* * * * *
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|Web Site News
September 2005 donation: The MPlayer project receives US$400|
Following a large number of requests to donate to MPlayer (and finally receiving information about how to donate from the project's developers), we are pleased to announce that the September 2005 donation of US$400.00 was awarded to the MPlayer project. One of the most popular and innovative multimedia players for Linux, MPlayer has provided support for more audio and video formats (including many proprietary ones) than any other Linux/UNIX media player. As such, the project has greatly contributed towards the growing acceptance of Linux, especially on home desktops and entertainment workstations.
Our donations programme was recently joined by LinuxISO.co.uk, a UK-based provider of low-cost Linux and BSD distributions on CDs and DVDs, which added US$50 to our donation pool. It is always nice to see a business that benefits from open source software willing to contribute towards continued success of our favourite applications. As such, we would like to encourage our readers based in the United Kingdom to get their Linux CDs and DVDs from LinuxISO.co.uk - they have great prices, a nicely designed web site, and they support open source software!
As always, our donations programme is a joint initiative between DistroWatch and LinuxCD.org, which contributes US$50 every month. LinuxCD.org is an online store selling low-cost Linux/BSD CDs - they have the largest selection, inclusive of all the latest releases, and they offer the lowest prices. Next time you need to order your favourite Linux or BSD CDs, get them from LinuxCD.org.
This is the PayPal receipt for our donation:
Your payment for $400.00 USD to poirierg at gmail dot com has been sent.
Amount: $400.00 USD
Transaction ID: 85798270KB290933H
Subject: MPlayer Donation
Note: This is a donation by DistroWatch.com to the MPlayer project. Keep up the good work!
MPlayer's Guillaume Poirier has emailed us after receiving the donation: "Thanks a million for this generous donation. I passed the message around. Guillaume."
Here is the list of projects that received a DistroWatch donation since the launch of the programme:
Since the launch of the DistroWatch Donations Programme in March 2004, we have donated a total of US$5,305 to various Free Software projects.
* * * * *
New distribution additions
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
That's all for this week. We hope you've enjoyed this issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
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 786 (2018-10-22): elementary OS 5.0, why init keeps running, DragonFly BSD enables virtual machine memory resizing, KDE neon plans to drop older base|
|• Issue 785 (2018-10-15): Reborn OS 2018.09, Nitrux 1.0.15, swapping hard drives between computers, feren OS tries KDE spin, power savings coming to Linux|
|• Issue 784 (2018-10-08): Hamara 2.1, improving manual pages, UBports gets VoIP app, Fedora testing power saving feature|
|• Issue 783 (2018-10-01): Quirky 8.6, setting up dual booting with Ubuntu and FreeBSD, Lubuntu switching to LXQt, Mint works on performance improvements|
|• Issue 782 (2018-09-24): Bodhi Linux 5.0.0, Elive 3.0.0, Solus publishes ISO refresh, UBports invites feedback, Linux Torvalds plans temporary vacation|
|• Issue 781 (2018-09-17): Linux Mint 3 "Debian Edition", file systems for SSDs, MX makes installing Flatpaks easier, Arch team answers questions, Mageia reaches EOL|
|• Issue 780 (2018-09-10): Netrunner 2018.08 Rolling, Fedora improves language support, how to customize Kali Linux, finding the right video drivers|
|• Issue 779 (2018-09-03): Redcore 1806, keeping ISO downloads safe from tampering, Lubuntu makes Calamares more flexible, Ubuntu improves GNOME performance|
|• Issue 778 (2018-08-27): GuixSD 0.15.0, ReactOS 0.4.9, Steam supports Windows games on Linux, Haiku plans for beta, merging disk partitions|
|• Issue 777 (2018-08-20): YunoHost 184.108.40.206, limiting process resource usage, converting file systems on Fedora, Debian turns 25, Lubuntu migrating to Wayland|
|• Issue 776 (2018-08-13): NomadBSD 1.1, Maximum storage limits on Linux, openSUSE extends life for 42.3, updates to the Librem 5 phone interface|
|• Issue 775 (2018-08-06): Secure-K OS 18.5, Linux is about choice, Korora tests community spin, elementary OS hires developer, ReactOS boots on Btrfs|
|• Issue 774 (2018-07-30): Ubuntu MATE & Ubuntu Budgie 18.04, upgrading software from source, Lubuntu shifts focus, NetBSD changes support policy|
|• Issue 773 (2018-07-23): Peppermint OS 9, types of security used by different projects, Mint reacts to bugs in core packages, Slackware turns 25|
|• Issue 772 (2018-07-16): Hyperbola GNU/Linux-libre 0.2.4, UBports running desktop applications, OpenBSD auto-joins wi-fi networks, boot environments and zedenv|
|• Issue 771 (2018-07-09): Linux Lite 4.0, checking CPUs for bugs, configuring GRUB, Mint upgrade instructions, SUSE acquired by EQT|
|• Issue 770 (2018-07-02): Linux Mint 19, Solus polishes desktop experience, MintBox Mini 2, changes to Fedora's installer|
|• Issue 769 (2018-06-25): BunsenLabs Helium, counting Ubuntu users, UBports upgrading to 16.04, Fedora CoreOS, FreeBSD turns 25|
|• Issue 768 (2018-06-18): Devuan 2.0.0, using pkgsrc to manage software, the NOVA filesystem, OpenBSD handles successful cron output|
|• Issue 767 (2018-06-11): Android-x86 7.1-r1, transferring files over OpenSSH with pipes, LFS with Debian package management, Haiku ports LibreOffice|
|• Issue 766 (2018-06-04): openSUSE 15, overview of file system links, Manjaro updates Pamac, ReactOS builds itself, Bodhi closes forums|
|• Issue 765 (2018-05-28): Pop!_OS 18.04, gathering system information, Haiku unifying ARM builds, Solus resumes control of Budgie|
|• Issue 764 (2018-05-21): DragonFly BSD 5.2.0, Tails works on persistent packages, Ubuntu plans new features, finding services affected by an update|
|• Issue 763 (2018-05-14): Fedora 28, Debian compatibility coming to Chrome OS, malware found in some Snaps, Debian's many flavours|
|• Issue 762 (2018-05-07): TrueOS 18.03, live upgrading Raspbian, Mint plans future releases, HardenedBSD to switch back to OpenSSL|
|• Issue 761 (2018-04-30): Ubuntu 18.04, accessing ZFS snapshots, UBports to run on Librem 5 phones, Slackware makes PulseAudio optional|
|• Issue 760 (2018-04-23): Chakra 2017.10, using systemd to hide files, Netrunner's ARM edition, Debian 10 roadmap, Microsoft develops Linux-based OS|
|• Issue 759 (2018-04-16): Neptune 5.0, building containers with Red Hat, antiX introduces Sid edition, fixing filenames on the command line|
|• Issue 758 (2018-04-09): Sortix 1.0, openSUSE's Transactional Updates, Fedora phasing out Python 2, locating portable packages|
|• Issue 757 (2018-04-02): Gatter Linux 0.8, the UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook, Red Hat turns 25, super long term support kernels|
|• Issue 756 (2018-03-26): NuTyX 10.0, Neptune supplies Debian users with Plasma 5.12, SolydXK on a Raspberry Pi, SysV init development|
|• Issue 755 (2018-03-19): Learning with ArchMerge and Linux Academy, Librem 5 runs Plasma Mobile, Cinnamon gets performance boost|
|• Issue 754 (2018-03-12): Reviewing Sabayon and Antergos, the growing Linux kernel, BSDs getting CPU bug fixes, Manjaro builds for ARM devices|
|• Issue 753 (2018-03-05): Enso OS 0.2, KDE Plasma 5.12 features, MX Linux prepares new features, interview with MidnightBSD's founder|
|• Issue 752 (2018-02-26): OviOS 2.31, performing off-line upgrades, elementary OS's new installer, UBports gets test devices, Redcore team improves security|
|• Issue 751 (2018-02-19): DietPi 6.1, testing KDE's Plasma Mobile, Nitrux packages AppImage in default install, Solus experiments with Wayland|
|• Issue 750 (2018-02-12): Solus 3, getting Deb packages upstream to Debian, NetBSD security update, elementary OS explores AppCentre changes|
|• Issue 749 (2018-02-05): Freespire 3 and Linspire 7.0, misunderstandings about Wayland, Xorg and Mir, Korora slows release schedule, Red Hat purchases CoreOS|
|• Issue 748 (2018-01-29): siduction 2018.1.0, SolydXK 32-bit editions, building an Ubuntu robot, desktop-friendly Debian options|
|• Issue 747 (2018-01-22): Ubuntu MATE 17.10, recovering open files, creating a new distribution, KDE focusing on Wayland features|
|• Issue 746 (2018-01-15): deepin 15.5, openSUSE's YaST improvements, new Ubuntu 17.10 media, details on Spectre and Meltdown bugs|
|• 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|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
BeaFanatIX was an Ubuntu-based mini live CD with utilities borrowed from KNOPPIX. It was developed by a small group of developers who have forked the successful, but discontinued BeatrIX distribution and added new features and scripts. The main purpose of BeaFanatIX was to provide a small, installable live CD, with good documentation and easy-to-use applications for a variety of desktop tasks.