| 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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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New distribution additions
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DistroWatch database summary
That's all for this week. We hope you've enjoyed this issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
|Linux Foundation Training
|• 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|
|• Issue 836 (2019-10-14): Archman 2019.09, Haiku improves ARM support, Project Trident shifting base OS, Unix turns 50|
|• Issue 835 (2019-10-07): Isotop, Mazon OS and, KduxOS, examples of using the find command, Mint's System Reports becomes proactive, Solus updates its desktops|
|• Issue 834 (2019-09-30): FreedomBox "Buster", CentOS gains a rolling release, Librem 5 phones shipping, Redcore updates its package manager|
|• Issue 833 (2019-09-23): Redcore Linux 1908, why Linux distros are free, Ubuntu making list of 32-bit software to keep, Richard M Stallman steps down from FSF leadership|
|• Issue 832 (2019-09-16): BlackWeb 1.2, checking for Wayland session and applications, Fedora to use nftables in firewalld, OpenBSD disables DoH in Firefox|
|• Issue 831 (2019-09-09): Adélie Linux 1.0 beta, using ffmpeg, awk and renice, Mint and elementary improvements, PureOS and Manjaro updates|
|• Issue 930 (2019-09-02): deepin 15.11, working with AppArmor profiles, elementary OS gets new greeter, exFAT support coming to Linux kernel|
|• Issue 829 (2019-08-26): EndeavourOS 2019.07.15, Drauger OS 7.4.1, finding the licenses of kernel modules, NetBSD gets Wayland application, GhostBSD changes base repo|
|• Issue 828 (2019-08-19): AcademiX 2.2, concerns with non-free firmware, UBports working on Unity8, Fedora unveils new EPEL channel, FreeBSD phasing out GCC|
|• Issue 827 (2019-08-12): Q4OS, finding files on the disk, Ubuntu works on ZFS, Haiku improves performance, OSDisc shutting down|
|• Issue 826 (2019-08-05): Quick looks at Resilient, PrimeOS, and BlueLight, flagship distros for desktops,Manjaro introduces new package manager|
|• Issue 825 (2019-07-29): Endless OS 3.6, UBports 16.04, gNewSense maintainer stepping down, Fedora developrs discuss optimizations, Project Trident launches stable branch|
|• Issue 824 (2019-07-22): Hexagon OS 1.0, Mageia publishes updated media, Fedora unveils Fedora CoreOS, managing disk usage with quotas|
|• Issue 823 (2019-07-15): Debian 10, finding 32-bit packages on a 64-bit system, Will Cooke discusses Ubuntu's desktop, IBM finalizes purchase of Red Hat|
|• Issue 822 (2019-07-08): Mageia 7, running development branches of distros, Mint team considers Snap, UBports to address Google account access|
|• Issue 821 (2019-07-01): OpenMandriva 4.0, Ubuntu's plan for 32-bit packages, Fedora Workstation improvements, DragonFly BSD's smaller kernel memory|
|• Issue 820 (2019-06-24): Clear Linux and Guix System 1.0.1, running Android applications using Anbox, Zorin partners with Star Labs, Red Hat explains networking bug, Ubuntu considers no longer updating 32-bit packages|
|• Issue 819 (2019-06-17): OS108 and Venom, renaming multiple files, checking live USB integrity, working with Fedora's Modularity, Ubuntu replacing Chromium package with snap|
|• Issue 818 (2019-06-10): openSUSE 15.1, improving boot times, FreeBSD's status report, DragonFly BSD reduces install media size|
|• Issue 817 (2019-06-03): Manjaro 18.0.4, Ubuntu Security Podcast, new Linux laptops from Dell and System76, Entroware Apollo|
|• Issue 816 (2019-05-27): Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, creating firewall rules, Antergos shuts down, Matthew Miller answers questions about Fedora|
|• Issue 815 (2019-05-20): Sabayon 19.03, Clear Linux's developer features, Red Hat explains MDS flaws, an overview of mobile distro options|
|• Issue 814 (2019-05-13): Fedora 30, distributions publish Firefox fixes, CentOS publishes roadmap to 8.0, Debian plans to use Wayland by default|
|• Issue 813 (2019-05-06): ROSA R11, MX seeks help with systemd-shim, FreeBSD tests unified package management, interview with Gael Duval|
|• Issue 812 (2019-04-29): Ubuntu MATE 19.04, setting up a SOCKS web proxy, Scientific Linux discontinued, Red Hat takes over Java LTS support|
|• Issue 811 (2019-04-22): Alpine 3.9.2, rsync examples, Ubuntu working on ZFS support, Debian elects new Project Leader, Obarun releases S6 tools|
|• Issue 810 (2019-04-15): SolydXK 201902, Bedrock Linux 0.7.2, Fedora phasing out Python 2, NetBSD gets virtual machine monitor|
|• Issue 809 (2019-04-08): PCLinuxOS 2019.02, installing Falkon and problems with portable packages, Mint offers daily build previews, Ubuntu speeds up Snap packages|
|• Issue 808 (2019-04-01): Solus 4.0, security benefits and drawbacks to using a live distro, Gentoo gets GNOME ports working without systemd, Redox OS update|
|• Issue 807 (2019-03-25): Pardus 17.5, finding out which user changed a file, new Budgie features, a tool for browsing FreeBSD's sysctl values|
|• Issue 806 (2019-03-18): Kubuntu vs KDE neon, Nitrux's znx, notes on Debian's election, SUSE becomes an independent entity|
|• Issue 805 (2019-03-11): EasyOS 1.0, managing background services, Devuan team debates machine ID file, Ubuntu Studio works to remain an Ubuntu Community Edition|
|• Issue 804 (2019-03-04): Condres OS 19.02, securely erasing hard drives, new UBports devices coming in 2019, Devuan to host first conference|
|• Issue 803 (2019-02-25): Septor 2019, preventing windows from stealing focus, NetBSD and Nitrux experiment with virtual machines, pfSense upgrading to FreeBSD 12 base|
|• Issue 802 (2019-02-18): Slontoo 18.07.1, NetBSD tests newer compiler, Fedora packaging Deepin desktop, changes in Ubuntu Studio|
|• Issue 801 (2019-02-11): Project Trident 18.12, the meaning of status symbols in top, FreeBSD Foundation lists ongoing projects, Plasma Mobile team answers questions|
|• Issue 800 (2019-02-04): FreeNAS 11.2, using Ubuntu Studio software as an add-on, Nitrux developing znx, matching operating systems to file systems|
|• Issue 799 (2019-01-28): KaOS 2018.12, Linux Basics For Hackers, Debian 10 enters freeze, Ubuntu publishes new version for IoT devices|
|• Issue 798 (2019-01-21): Sculpt OS 18.09, picking a location for swap space, Solus team plans ahead, Fedora trying to get a better user count|
|• Issue 797 (2019-01-14): Reborn OS 2018.11.28, TinyPaw-Linux 1.3, dealing with processes which make the desktop unresponsive, Debian testing Secure Boot support|
|• Issue 796 (2019-01-07): FreeBSD 12.0, Peppermint releases ISO update, picking the best distro of 2018, roundtable interview with Debian, Fedora and elementary developers|
|• Issue 795 (2018-12-24): Running a Pinebook, interview with Bedrock founder, Alpine being ported to RISC-V, Librem 5 dev-kits shipped|
|• Issue 794 (2018-12-17): Void 20181111, avoiding software bloat, improvements to HAMMER2, getting application overview in GNOME Shell|
|• Issue 793 (2018-12-10): openSUSE Tumbleweed, finding non-free packages, Debian migrates to usrmerge, Hyperbola gets FSF approval|
|• Issue 792 (2018-1203): GhostBSD 18.10, when to use swap space, DragonFly BSD's wireless support, Fedora planning to pause development schedule|
|• Issue 791 (2018-11-26): Haiku R1 Beta1, default passwords on live media, Slax and Kodachi update their media, dual booting DragonFly BSD on EFI|
|• Issue 790 (2018-11-19): NetBSD 8.0, Bash tips and short-cuts, Fedora's networking benchmarked with FreeBSD, Ubuntu 18.04 to get ten years of support|
|• Issue 789 (2018-11-12): Fedora 29 Workstation and Silverblue, Haiku recovering from server outage, Fedora turns 15, Debian publishes updated media|
|• Issue 788 (2018-11-05): Clu Linux Live 6.0, examining RAM consumpion, finding support for older CPUs, more Steam support for running Windows games on Linux, update from Solus team|
|• Issue 787 (2018-10-29): Lubuntu 18.10, limiting application access to specific users, Haiku hardware compatibility list, IBM purchasing Red Hat|
|• Issue 786 (2018-10-22): elementary OS 5.0, why init keeps running, DragonFly BSD enables virtual machine memory resizing, KDE neon plans to drop older base|
|• Issue 785 (2018-10-15): Reborn OS 2018.09, Nitrux 1.0.15, swapping hard drives between computers, feren OS tries KDE spin, power savings coming to Linux|
|• Full list of all issues|
Star Labs - Laptops built for Linux.
View our range including the Star Lite, Star LabTop and more. Available with a choice of Ubuntu, Linux Mint or Zorin OS pre-installed with many more distributions supported. Visit Star Labs for information, to buy and get support.
|Random Distribution |
The Debian Project is an association of individuals who have made common cause to create a free operating system. This operating system is called Debian. Debian systems currently use the Linux kernel. Linux is a completely free piece of software started by Linus Torvalds and supported by thousands of programmers worldwide. Of course, the thing that people want is application software: programs to help them get what they want to do done, from editing documents to running a business to playing games to writing more software. Debian comes with over 50,000 packages (precompiled software that is bundled up in a nice format for easy installation on your machine) - all of it free. It's a bit like a tower. At the base is the kernel. On top of that are all the basic tools. Next is all the software that you run on the computer. At the top of the tower is Debian -- carefully organizing and fitting everything so it all works together.