| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 371, 13 September 2010
Welcome to this year's 37th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Although KNOPPIX is no longer the darling of the Linux live CD world that it once was, it is nevertheless a highly useful and much appreciated tool among many system administrators and ordinary computer users. Today's feature article looks at the project's most recent release - a rather lightweight and modern system that even comes with a text-to-speech feature to help visually impaired users. In the news section, Mandriva continues its uncertain existence with many fans fearing the worst, OpenIndiana becomes the latest fork of OpenSolaris, Linux Mint "Debian" edition delivers another rolling-release option, and aptosid rises from ashes of sidux after a dispute with the project's commercial arm. Also in this issue, don't miss the brief look at North Korea's secretive Red Star Linux 2.0, while the Questions and Answers section explains the reasons behind the current Java lawsuit between Oracle and Google in layman's terms. There is a lot more, including two OpenBSD-related stories and a new Arch-based distribution (ArchBang Linux) added to DistroWatch. Happy reading!
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|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Staring through the keyhole at KNOPPIX
Perhaps the most common request I get from readers is to review utility distributions. Without question the CD which gets used the most in my digital toolbox is KNOPPIX. The KNOPPIX distribution was one of the first projects to offer a Linux live CD, giving people the opportunity to test drive a Linux desktop without installing any software. It's also well-known for automatically detecting and using a wide range of hardware without user assistance.
For this review I downloaded KNOPPIX 6.2.1 (Adriane edition). As usual, the KNOPPIX CD starts off showing a large penguin graphic and a boot prompt. Here users can press Enter to assume all the defaults or enter boot options (to change languages or use certain kernel boot parameters). As the distro boots it maintains a running status report in colourful text until it reaches a text-based menu. This menu contains about a dozen different options, mostly for accessing console programs. These include text editors, e-mail clients, text-based web browsing, media players and an option to drop to the command line. One of the last options is Graphical Programs which allows the user to launch LXDE.
In the past KNOPPIX made use of KDE for its desktop environment, but that has been swapped out of the live CD in recent releases in favour of LXDE. It makes for a pleasant, light experience. Having the lighter desktop environment doesn't cut down on the eye-candy either, if the distro detects a suitable video card, desktop effects will automatically be enabled. On the subject of hardware, KNOPPIX did really well during my tests. All of the hardware on my generic desktop machine (2.5 GHz CPU, 2 GB of RAM, NVIDIA video card) was properly detected and used. Things also went smoothly on my HP laptop (2 GHz dual-core CPU, 3 GB of RAM, Intel graphics card) with my video display, audio and Intel wireless card all properly detected.
In fact, I think KNOPPIX is the only distribution I've found to date outside of the Ubuntu/Mint family which handles my wireless card out of the box. My touchpad was picked up and scrolling worked, though tapping to click was disabled. When running in a virtual environment KNOPPIX stumbled a little. While most things worked well, the X system would crash as it was unable to handle the virtual video card. Running "X -configure" from the command line and copying the resulting file into the /etc/X11/ directory allowed me to reach the desktop without further problems.
KNOPPIX 6.2.1 - disk usage
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KNOPPIX comes with a good collection of day-to-day applications for people who want to use the distro while they're travelling or to demo Linux for others. Included in the application menu are OpenOffice.org 3.1, Iceweasel (Firefox) 3.5, Icedove (Thunderbird), GIMP, Pidgin for instant messaging, an image viewer, file archiver and PDF viewer. The distro also includes MPlayer, a terminal server client, Java and the game Frozen Bubble. But chances are, if you're interested in KNOPPIX, it's for the system administrator tools which come pre-installed. These include GParted for handling disk partitions, a terminal server, SSH server, a firewall configuration tool and programs to manage printers and video output. The distribution is able to access NTFS partitions and play popular multimedia codecs. I find running KNOPPIX is a great way to test hardware and rescue files from damaged drives.
Though running from a CD, the KNOPPIX distribution allows the user to install additional software packages for the duration of the session. KNOPPIX is based on Debian and pulls packages from the Debian repositories. This gives the user a huge selection of tools to assist in data recovery, resetting passwords or monitoring the network. Packages can be managed using the command line APT tools or via the Synaptic GUI front-end. I ran the package manager through adding, removing and updating software without running into any problems.
KNOPPIX 6.2.1 - package management
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At the beginning of this review I mentioned I was using the Adriane edition of KNOPPIX. What sets this edition apart from plain KNOPPIX is that it comes equipped with a screen reader. This feature is great for people who are visually impaired. In fact I was impressed with how smoothly the reader would handle verbalising text on the command line, such as "cp /tmp/my_temp_file.txt ~/new-dir/". Typing quickly would often confuse it, but for text menus and graphical menus, the reader did surprisingly well.
Though most people will probably want to run KNOPPIX from the live disc, it is possible to install the distribution to the local hard drive. The installer can be launched from the console or from the application menu and is pretty bare-bones. It warns the user that running the installer may result in data loss, gets the user to create and select a partition on which to install the system and copies the required files over. There is no account creation, package selection nor locale related questions. The only choice the user makes, aside from picking a destination partition, is where to install the boot loader. Once installed locally the system works, for all practical purposes, just as it does when running from the CD.
On the security front, KNOPPIX takes a sort of liberal stance where it runs as a non-root user, called "knoppix", but this account has access to perform most administrative tasks. I would sometimes see warning messages to the effect that I was performing admin tasks as a non-administrator. Occasionally I'd run into a situation where I would be denied access, but for those instances, the sudo command can be used without a password. In a similar fashion local drives are not automatically mounted, but can be accessed easily through the file manager.
Knoppix.net, a third-party community site for users and testers, has a simple presentation and most of the documentation is provided via a Wiki. There's a great collection of frequently asked questions and their answers to assist people in rescuing their systems. The project also maintains a forum where folks can trade tips, ask for help and make suggestions for future versions of KNOPPIX. For people who want everything (including the kitchen sink) there is a full DVD edition of the distribution available. Though it is a great resource, knoppix.net isn't the project's official website. The official project page in English is Knoppix.com. However, the two sites refer to each other fairly often and generally point users to the same resources, so visiting either will generally lead a person to the information they require.
KNOPPIX 6.2.1 - files and tools
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The KNOPPIX project was one of the first to put forward a live CD and it really broke ground in being a useful, polished distribution for testing hardware and performing system rescues. In the past few years live discs have become the norm rather than the exception. Almost all of the big-name distros offer a live CD so people can try before they install. In this modern environment, where there are dozens of live distros, is there really a need for KNOPPIX? I feel that there is. Projects such as Ubuntu and Fedora put out solid live discs, but those tend to be for showcasing a day-to-day operating system. A sort of window shopping for distro hoppers. They're showing off what they offer and giving people a chance to check hardware compatibility.
KNOPPIX has a slightly different feel to it. The KNOPPIX live CD isn't a means to an end (i.e. getting you to install it on your hard drive), the live environment KNOPPIX provides is the means and the end. A lot of the tools a system administrator will want are right there on the disc, it's well put together and its focus allows for a level of polish. This is a distribution which isn't chasing the latest cutting-edge technology or trying to wow with eye candy (though it does have some nice desktop effects). Instead, KNOPPIX is a stable system which really delivers useful tools and hardware support. I have used this distro steadily for about five years on a wide range of machines and I have found just one computer, to date, where KNOPPIX wouldn't boot into a graphical desktop environment.
The KNOPPIX live discs are dependable and, I've found, extremely useful under a wide variety of circumstances. It's a digital tool I think any administrator should carry with them, whether they're working in a Linux environment or not.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
Mandriva's continued uncertainty, birth of OpenIndiana, Linux Mint "Debian" and aptosid, interview with OpenBSD's Marco Peereboom, North Korea's Red Star Linux
DistroWatch has been following Mandriva's situation ever since the first signs of the company being in serious financial difficulties started resurfacing earlier this year. But apart from occasional rumours and overoptimistic statements by the company's CEO, there has been very little to settle the nerves of those who love the popular distribution. If anything, the rumour mill of the people connected with the company and the distribution has grown ever more pessimistic in recent weeks. Augusto Campos, the founder of BR-Linux.org, has written a lengthy post on the subject, evoking such terms as Liquidação judicial (article in Portuguese). Frédéric Cuif, co-founder of the French Linux Users Group, also expresses a feeling of disenchantment over the growing alienation between the company and the community in an article entitled Le divorce est consommé... (in French).
In a separate story, Bruno Cornec articulates his worries about the future of Mandriva (the distribution) even if the company survives: "So it seems that the orientation that will be taken is to favour the activity of software selling to the detriment of open-source activities. Anyway, without Olivier, Anne, Fred, Nicolas, our Brazilian friends of Cooker, and all the people who have recently left, I have no hope that the new Mandriva firm will be interested in maintaining a distribution any more." This follows a recent departure of a large number of Mandriva developers and contributors, including Anne Nicolas, Mandriva's Director of Engineering. As a result, a rather humorous bug report, number 60936, was filed with the distribution's bug tracking system early last week: "Description of problem: After I installed the most recent version of Mandriva Linux, staff started to leave the company. How reproducible: Install Mandriva Linux and wait for people to leave the company." In the meantime, LinuxFR.org, a popular French Linux web site, also takes a stab at Mandriva in Une distribution Mandriva Linux 2011 pour quoi ? (in French).
The only good news is that "Cooker", the distribution's development branch, continues to receive updates - at least for now. But whether we'll ever see another release of Mandriva Linux, that's far from assured....
* * * * *
Mandriva Linux isn't the only operating system with uncertain future. OpenSolaris, a product of Oracle, has recently been discontinued, so many fans and developers have been looking at creating continuity for the project. We have already mentioned Illumos, an OpenSolaris-based project set up by the Nexenta team. Now there is another one, called OpenIndiana, with the expected launch later this week: "On Tuesday 14th September, we will be unveiling OpenIndiana - an exciting new distribution of OpenSolaris! OpenIndiana is a continuation of the OpenSolaris operating system. It was conceived during the period of uncertainty following the Oracle takeover of Sun Microsystems, after several months passed with no binary updates made available to the public. The formation proved timely, as Oracle has since discontinued OpenSolaris in favour of Solaris 11 Express, a binary distribution with a more closed development model to début later this year. OpenIndiana is part of the Illumos Foundation, and provides a true open source community alternative to Solaris 11 and Solaris 11 Express, with an open development model and full community participation."
* * * * *
One of the big talking points of the Linux community last week was the release of a "Debian" edition of Linux Mint. For those who are new to this distribution, just a quick recap. Linux Mint, which is sometimes dubbed as "Ubuntu Improved" as it provides numerous user-friendly enhancements, has become a rather popular distro, especially among Linux beginners. But the project's founder, Clement Lefebvre has had a new idea - to create a "rolling-release" distribution which would only need to be installed once and which would continue receiving daily updates for years. For this model he chose Debian's "Testing" branch. The concept seems to have struck a positive chord among those who follow Linux; for some reason mentioning the words "rolling release" always brings a lot of interest. And what do the users think about the edition? The first impressions seem highly positive and Jim Lynch even uses the word "delight" in his assessment of the new Mint variant: "As I noted in the review, I'm extremely happy about the release of the Debian version of Linux Mint. Debian itself hasn't always been easily accessible for less experienced Linux users, but the release of the Linux Mint version has the potential to expand Debian's user base. The Linux Mint version of Debian also includes multimedia codecs, a backup tool, the excellent Mint menus, Flash and a host of other things that aren't in generic Debian. Linux Mint 'Debian' is essentially Debian on steroids; it provides a bunch of helpful usability enhancements."
* * * * *
The sidux distribution used to be another Debian-based rolling-release project, but the recent dispute with its commercial arm sponsoring the development led to suspension of its activities. The problem was finally resolved last week, but it was at the expense of the name "sidux" which did not survive: "Today aptosid opens its gates to continue the distribution previously known as 'sidux', created by the same team of volunteers developing software under the Debian Free Software Guidelines. A seamless cross-grade path from sidux to aptosid will be provided until the end of 2010. However a quick change is suggested because of potential issues outside of our influence. Aptosid is a full-featured Debian "Sid"-based live CD with a special focus on hard disk installations, a clean upgrade path within "Sid" and additional hardware and software support. The ISO image is completely based on the free main component of Debian "Sid", enriched and stabilised with aptosid's own packages and scripts. Aptosid 2010-02, based on kernel 2.6.35 and KDE 4.4.5 will be released shortly." So if you are looking for sidux on DistroWatch please see the new aptosid page instead.
* * * * *
A new release of OpenBSD is just a few weeks away (see the Upcoming Releases section below). OpenBSD Journal, a popular web site following the development of this project, introduces the many hidden faces responsible for delivering one of the most secure operating systems there is. Last week, the site presented Marco Peereboom: "On March 21, 2004, he [Marco Peereboom] made his first commit as an OpenBSD developer. He started working on softraid with encouragement from Theo. Six years later, he is still working on softraid with more encouragement from Theo. In between, he also worked on bioctl(8); rewriting the SCSI subsystems to be simple but done right. Then came another ongoing labour of love helping others with acpi(4). Later he wrote a small nifty program called adsuck to reduce the amount of ads and other annoyances while surfing the Internet. He also created a wonderful tiling window manager called scrotwm that I've switched over to completely. Most recently, he created a no-nonsense minimalist web browser called xxxterm with native vi key bindings and some vimperator functionality. There's a lot more in the pipeline but I don't want to spoil the surprise."
* * * * *
Finally, something that may be amusing or scary or anything in between, depending on your point of view. Most readers who follow the evolving world of Linux distributions have probably heard of Red Star Linux, an operating system believed to have been developed by the North Korean government and distributed freely around the hermit kingdom. The product has no web site, but I found a torrent on ISOHunt.com and decided to give it a try. The package comes as a two-CD set, the first one being an installation medium, while the second one has extra applications, such as OpenOffice.org (which is labelled as UriOffice on the CD). Red Start Linux 2.0 appears to be based on a Fedora release; it boots into the Anaconda installer, and its RPM package structure and format seem to follow Fedora's conventions. The software list is a bit of a mix of packages from Fedora 5 up to Fedora 8. The default desktop is KDE 3.5.1, while the web browser is the no-longer-supported Firefox 126.96.36.199. Under the surface, the system includes glibc 2.5, GCC libraries 4.1.1 (no GCC itself though) and X.Org Server 188.8.131.52.
The installation program isn't hard to follow, but don't try it on your production system unless you understand Korean or don't mind losing your data. Once installed, the system boots into a login screen which clearly expects the input of the root password created during installation, and, upon accepting the password, it brings up the KDE 3 desktop with a custom start menu and with everything neatly arranged and duly translated into Korean. The default page for the Firefox browser is an HTML manual which indicates that the distribution was released in April 2009 and which frequently refers to an inaccessible web page called osandok.inf.kp (maybe it only works for connections originating from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea). Yum is used for software updates but once again, the online updates repository refers to the above URL, so running "yum update" results in an ugly traceback call. Otherwise, based on a quick look around the desktop, it seems like a pleasant enough distribution, with somewhat outdated applications, but it's a start. Maybe a new version is just around the corner.
So what do you think? Do we have an unlikely Linux-using ally in North Korea or is this just another evil plot of the authoritarian government to spy on its citizens as some have claimed? Please discuss below. (An interesting side note: DistroWatch has only ever received 13 visits from North Korean IP addresses in eight years that the visitor data has been logged. In contrast, South Korean residents have viewed the main page 712,000 times during the same period.)
Red Star Linux 2.0 - a Fedora-based operating system developed by the North Korean government
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|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Java - Oracle versus Google
Brewing-a-cup-of-Java asks: Could you give your views on the Oracle versus Google lawsuit and why it's important to FOSS users?
DistroWatch answers: I think a lot of the confusion which clouds the Oracle versus Google issue stems from the term "Java". When we're talking about programs "Java" can mean a variety of things. For starters, there is the Java language, which is defined by its structure, symbols and syntax. The Java language looks a bit like C++ and can be written in any text editor. Typically, Java language programs are run through a compiler which creates Java byte-code. The byte-code is a little like an executable program, but is meant to be interpreted rather than run directly by the operating system. Which brings us to the Java virtual machine (VM). The Java virtual machine reads the Java byte-code and executes it and the end-user sees the result. So, cups of coffee aside, there are three very different concepts with the name "Java" attached to them.
This was all well and good when Sun was the only organization working on Java and it was understood that Java programmers wrote in the Java language, compiled it into Java byte-code and gave it to people who would run it on Java VMs. But that's not always the case. For instance, a person could write a program in the C++ language, compile it into Java byte-code and then run it in a Java virtual machine. Or one could take source code written in the Java language and compile it directly into executable code that will run without the virtual machine. And some clever people can make their own compiler and virtual machine which may work differently than
- Java language compiles to -> Java byte-code which is run on -> Java virtual machine
Sun's Oracle's. My point being that any of the Java pieces can be swapped out and replaced with something else. We could have
Google has tried to do this, allowing people to write programs in the Java language which compile into Dalvik Executable byte-code and then run in the Dalvik virtual machine.
- Java language compiles to -> Susan's byte-code which is run on -> Bob's virtual machine
Oracle's issue with this seems to be that the Dalvik technology is very close to their Java technology, but not entirely compatible. It's a problem because the big attraction to Java was supposed to be that any Java language program can be compiled once into Java byte-code and run on any Java virtual machine, anywhere. Google's Dalvik technology is really close to this, but introduces incompatibilities. Google's stance appears to be that they're not calling their byte-code or virtual machine "Java", it's "Dalvik", an independently created technology. Dalvik just happens to function in a (very) similar way and allows programmers to write applications in the Java language.
- Java language compiles to -> Dalvik byte-code which runs on -> Dalvik virtual machine
I'm not a lawyer, but it looks like Google is following the letter of the law where Java is concerned, but not the spirit. Oracle is saying there may be copyright issues and they feel there are definitely patent issues in regards to Dalvik. The whole lawsuit is likely to take a while as both sides have a lot of money and a lot invested in their technologies.
But why should the FOSS community care? The rule up to this point, as laid out by Sun, has generally been that people can make their own Java interpreters and compilers so long as they are compatible with Sun's official Java technology. For instance, GNU has its own GNU Interpreter for Java and the GNU Compiler for Java. To date these have co-existed peacefully with The One True Java. If Oracle were to prove in a court of law that their patents are violated by other organizations' Java technologies, it puts open source Java (or Java-like) technology in an awkward legal position. On the other hand, should Google win, it means we could see further splintering of Java technology and the loss of the "compile once, run anywhere" concept which was the aim of Java.
|Released Last Week
Linux Mint 9 "Fluxbox"
Clement Lefebvre has announced the release of Linux Mint 9 "Fluxbox" edition, a lightweight variant of the popular Ubuntu-based distribution with many usability tweaks: "The team is proud to announce the release of Linux Mint 9 'Fluxbox'. Based on Lubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx, Linux 2.6.32, Fluxbox 1.1.2 and X.Org 7.6, this edition features a lot of improvements and the latest software from the open-source world. Featured improvements in this release: 30,000 applications catalogued and viewable both online and in the new software manager, brand new incremental backup tool for both data and software selection, USB installers, 3 years of support, look & feel improvements." Read the release announcement and visit the what's new page to learn more about the least resource-hungry edition of Linux Mint.
Parsix GNU/Linux 3.6
Linux Mint 9 "Fluxbox" edition - notice the more versatile Tint2 panel which replaces the standard Fluxbox panel
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Alan Baghumian has announced the release of Parsix GNU/Linux 3.6, a desktop distribution with GNOME, based on Debian's testing branch: "We are proud to announce that the final version of Parsix GNU/Linux 3.6 'Vinnie' is available now. Parsix 'Vinnie' package repositories are synchronized with Debian testing repositories as of July 1, 2010 and for the first time we are offering our own multimedia repository called 'Wonderland' which is a snapshot of Debian Multimedia repository. The updated Linux 184.108.40.206 kernel with improved configuration is patched using the latest TuxOnIce suspension and hibernation, and Kon Kolivas's BFS patches. Improved live boot system loads the system faster and this version also ships our experimental USB installer that enables users to run Parsix from USB keys." See the release announcement and release notes for more details.
Linux Mint 201009 "Debian"
Parsix GNU/Linux - a new version of a distribution based on Debian's "Testing" branch
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An interesting diversion for the developers of Linux Mint - the usual Ubuntu base has been replaced with Debian's testing branch to create a new, rolling-release edition of Linux Mint. From the announcement: "Today is very important for Linux Mint. It's one day to remember in the history of our project as we're about to maintain a new distribution, a rolling one, which promises to be faster, more responsive and with which we're less reliable on upstream components. Linux Mint Debian edition (LMDE) comes with a Debian base, which we transformed into a live media and on top of which we added a new installer. It's rougher and in some aspects not as user-friendly as our other editions, it's very young but it will improve continuously and rapidly." Here is the full release announcement with a brief FAQ section.
Super OS 10.04
Super OS 10.04, an Ubuntu-based distribution enhanced with various user-friendly features and extra applications, has been released: "Here is the new Super OS 10.04, based on Ubuntu 10.04.1. Details: the much awaited 64-bit edition is now available, and it includes ia32 libraries to improve compatibility with 32-bit applications; Wubi was re-introduced after a brief absence in Super OS 9.10; the included cd2usb is now 100% mouse-driven, no more CLI-style interfaces; Java was replaced with OpenJDK; most software updated - Firefox 3.6.8, Google Chrome 6, Opera 10.61; KDE and some Qt libraries previously included were removed to free up some space; Moonlight removed due to a bug in the Ubuntu packages." Read the release announcement and release notes for a complete list of differences between Ubuntu and Super OS.
UHU-Linux is an independently developed distribution intended primarily for the Hungarian speaking market. Version 2.2, the project's first stable release in 2.5 years, was announced yesterday. Some of the more interesting changes and features in this release include: the DVD image is now a live environment with option to install it to a hard disk, including any changes made during the use of the live DVD; NetworkManager 0.8 with easy set up of mobile networking and Bluetooth connections; the latest versions of Thunderbird and Firefox with Java and Flash support, as well as the increasingly popular Google Chromium browser; support for installation from USB storage devices; major components - Linux kernel 220.127.116.11, GCC 4.4.2, glibc 2.11.2, GNOME 2.28, KDE 4.4.5, Xfce 4.6.2, OpenOffice.org 3.2.1. For full details please read the release announcement on the distribution's home page (in Hungarian).
Ubuntu Privacy Remix 9.04r4
UHU-Linux 2.2 - a major new update of the Hungarian distribution
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Mark Preetorius has announced the release of a new update of Ubuntu Privacy Remix 9.04, an unofficial Ubuntu variant whose goal is to provide a completely isolated working environment and to protect data against unsolicited access: "The Ubuntu Privacy Remix team has published the fourth stable release of Ubuntu Privacy Remix. All software packages, including the kernel, were updated to their newest versions to close security holes and fix bugs. This will be the last version of Ubuntu Privacy Remix 9.04, a release candidate of its successor, version 10.04, is already available. Due to space constraints, Firefox (which was only good for viewing HTML files anyway) had to be replaced with Midori." Visit the project's home page to read the brief release announcement.
Michael Creel has announced the release of PelicanHPC 2.2, a Debian-based live CD that makes it easy to set up a high-performance computing cluster in a few minutes: "Version 2.2 final release is available. This release has many new features, the main new feature is a simple way to save the configuration across boots. This allows for full headless remote administration, and makes it considerably more convenient to use PelicanHPC to run a permanent cluster. Other new features: auto-detection of persistent front-end home and node local scratch space; ability to run local scripts post-boot and setup; node beep after boot; firewall; automated node booting using wake-on-LAN; configuration of slots and optional front-end inclusion for MPI; Ganglia...." The full list of changes can be viewed on the project's home page.
Kongoni GNU/Linux 1.12.3
Robert Gabriel has announced the release of Kongoni GNU/Linux 1.12.3, a Slackware-based distribution for the desktop: "This is the final and stable release of Kongoni 1.12.3 (Cicero). With this release most issues and problems should be solved, also most packages where cleaned up, updated to the latest version. Kernel upgraded to version 18.104.22.168, improved the stability and speed, re-built with support for more hardware devices, cleaned-up the kernel configuration, set Rekonq browser as the default web browser, Gnash upgraded to version 0.8.8, KDE upgraded to version 4.5.1, removed KTorrent and replaced it with qBittorrent, which should be much faster and more lightweight. Besides the obvious updates for some of the applications, also a lot of work was done to KSI (Kongoni System Installer)." Read the rest of the release announcement for additional details.
Tiny Core Linux 3.1
Kongoni GNU/Linux 1.12.3 - the project's second stable release
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Robert Shingledecker has announced the release of Tiny Core Linux 3.1, the world's smallest desktop distribution - an 11 MB live CD: "Team Tiny Core is pleased to announce that Tiny Core Linux 3.1 is now available. Changes: updated BusyBox to 1.17.1; updated Appsaudit for ondemand icons and ondemand moved to tce directory; updated ondemand script for ondemand icons and move of ondemand directory; updated wbar_setup to support ondemand icons; updated wbar_update to support ondemand icons; new wbar_rm_icon to support ondemand icons; updated Appsaudit to eliminate duplicates in onboot and ondemand lists; updated Appbrowser; updated filetool GUI, tc-restore, and exittc to support new and safebackup options; updated exittc GUI; added Appsaudit to system menu, appears in all supported window managers; updated Fluxbox, IceWM, JWM and Openbox...." See the release announcement for further technical details.
François Dupoux has released a brand new version of SystemRescueCd, a Gentoo-based live CD featuring a number of useful utilities for data rescue and disk management tasks. The most important change is the introduction of Linux 2.6.35 as the default kernel. From the changelog: "Re-based standard kernels on 22.214.171.124 (rescuecd + rescue64); re-based alternative kernels on 126.96.36.199 (altker32 + altker64); updated X.Org Server to version 1.8.2 (graphical server and drivers); updated NTFS-3G to 2010.8.8 (driver that provides read-write access to NTFS file systems); added keymaps in isolinux (e.g.: just type 'de' to get a German keyboard map); Kernel Mode Settings graphic drivers (Intel, Radeon); updated GParted to version 0.6.2; updated Partimage to version 0.6.9." Read the full changelog for additional details.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
The OpenBSD project has unveiled a page describing its upcoming release, version 4.8. The document has yet to be populated with details of new features, but it does include a release date - 1 November 2010. Some of the highlights of the ports tree include GNOME 2.30.2, KDE 3.5.10, Xfce 4.6.2, MySQL 5.1.48, PostgreSQL 8.4.4, Mozilla Firefox 3.6.8 and 3.5.11, OpenOffice.org 3.2.1 and the usual array of popular server and desktop applications. Pre-orders of the official CD-set are available from the project's online store.
* * * * *
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to database
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 20 September 2010.
Jesse Smith and Ladislav Bodnar
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|Linux Foundation Training
|• 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|
|• Issue 734 (2017-10-16): Star 1.0.1, running the Linux-libre kernel, Ubuntu MATE experiments with snaps, Debian releases new install media, Purism reaches funding goal|
|• Issue 733 (2017-10-09): KaOS 2017.09, 32-bit prematurely obsoleted, Qubes security features, IPFire updates Apache|
|• Issue 732 (2017-10-02): ClonOS, reducing Snap package size, Ubuntu dropping 32-bit Desktop, partitioning disks for ZFS|
|• Issue 731 (2017-09-25): BackSlash Linux Olaf, W3C adding DRM to web standards, Wayland support arrives in Mir, Debian experimenting with AppArmor|
|• Issue 730 (2017-09-18): Mageia 6, running a completely free OS, HAMMER2 file system in DragonFly BSD's installer, Manjaro to ship pre-installed on laptops|
|• Issue 729 (2017-09-11): Parabola GNU/Linux-libre, running Plex Media Server on a Raspberry Pi, Tails feature roadmap, a cross-platform ports build system|
|• Issue 728 (2017-09-04): Nitrux 1.0.2, SUSE creates new community repository, remote desktop tools for GNOME on Wayland, using Void source packages|
|• Issue 727 (2017-08-28): Cucumber Linux 1.0, using Flatpak vs Snap, GNOME previews Settings panel, SUSE reaffirms commitment to Btrfs|
|• Issue 726 (2017-08-21): Redcore Linux 1706, Solus adds Snap support, KaOS getting hardened kernel, rolling releases and BSD|
|• Issue 725 (2017-08-14): openSUSE 42.3, Debian considers Flatpak for backports, changes coming to Ubuntu 17.10, the state of gaming on Linux|
|• Issue 724 (2017-08-07): SwagArch 2017.06, Myths about Unity, Mir and Ubuntu Touch, Manjaro OpenRC becomes its own distro, Debian debates future of live ISOs|
|• Issue 723 (2017-07-31): UBOS 11, transferring packages between systems, Ubuntu MATE's HUD, GNUstep releases first update in seven years|
|• Issue 722 (2017-07-24): Calculate Linux 17.6, logging sudo usage, Remix OS discontinued, interview with Chris Lamb, Debian 9.1 released|
|• Issue 721 (2017-07-17): Fedora 26, finding source based distributions, installing DragonFly BSD using Orca, Yunit packages ported to Ubuntu 16.04|
|• Issue 720 (2017-07-10): Peppermint OS 8, gathering system information with osquery, new features coming to openSUSE, Tails fixes networking bug|
|• Issue 719 (2017-07-03): Manjaro 17.0.2, tracking ISO files, Ubuntu MATE unveils new features, Qubes tests Admin API, Fedora's Atomic Host gets new life cycle|
|• Issue 718 (2017-06-26): Debian 9, support for older hardware, Debian updates live media, Ubuntu's new networking tool, openSUSE gains MP3 support|
|• Issue 717 (2017-06-19): SharkLinux, combining commands in the shell, Debian 9 flavours released, OpenBSD improving kernel security, UBports releases first OTA update|
|• Issue 716 (2017-06-12): Slackel 7.0, Ubuntu working with GNOME on HiDPI, openSUSE 42.3 using rolling development model, exploring kernel blobs|
|• Issue 715 (2017-06-05): Devuan 1.0.0, answering questions on systemd, Linux Mint plans 18.2 beta, Yunit/Unity 8 ported to Debian|
|• Issue 714 (2017-05-29): Void, enabling Wake-on-LAN, Solus packages KDE, Debian 9 release date, Ubuntu automated bug reports|
|• Issue 713 (2017-05-22): ROSA Fresh R9, Fedora's new networking features, FreeBSD's Quarterly Report, UBports opens app store, Parsix to shut down, SELinux overview|
|• Issue 712 (2017-05-15): NixOS 17.03, Alpha Litebook running elementary OS, Canonical considers going public, Solus improves Bluetooth support|
|• Issue 711 (2017-05-08): 4MLinux 21.0, checking file system fragmentation, new Mint and Haiku features, pfSense roadmap, OpenBSD offers first syspatch updates|
|• Issue 710 (2017-05-01): TrueOS 2017-02-22, Debian ported to RISC-V, Halium to unify mobile GNU/Linux, Anbox runs Android apps on GNU/Linux, using ZFS on the root file system|
|• Issue 709 (2017-04-24): Ubuntu 17.04, Korora testing new software manager, Ubuntu migrates to Wayland, running Nix package manager on alternative distributions|
|• Issue 708 (2017-04-17): Maui Linux 17.03, Snaps run on Fedora, Void adopts Flatpak, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, Debian elects Project Leader|
|• Issue 707 (2017-04-10): PCLinuxOS 2017.03, Canonical stops Unity development, OpenBSD on a Raspberry Pi, setting up a VPN for privacy|
|• Issue 706 (2017-04-03): Super Grub2 Disk, Snap packages of deepin applications, Subgraph OS routes network traffic for one application, announcements from Linux Mint|
|• Issue 705 (2017-03-27): Minimal Linux Live, sharing control of the operating system, new KaOS features, Uplos32 provides 32-bit fork of PCLinuxOS|
|• Issue 704 (2017-03-20): ToarusOS 1.0.4, Linux Mint's security record, Debian starts Project Leader election, Ubuntu 12.04 reaches end-of-life|
|• Issue 703 (2017-03-13): SolydXK 201701, CloudReady, Solus announces new features, KDE Connect sends text messages from desktop, openSUSE's YaST module for Let's Encrypt|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
Flash Linux was a customised Linux distribution designed to be run directly off a USB key or other (similar) forms of bootable flash memory. It should work within the constraints of 256MB of (flash) memory although larger devices may also be used. Flash Linux was based on Gentoo Linux and new versions and bugfixes should track the stable Gentoo tree. Whereas Gentoo was a source distribution, Flash Linux was a binary-only distribution.