| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 397, 21 March 2011
Welcome to this year's 12th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Starting this week's newsletter is a review of openSUSE 11.4, a brand-new release of one of the world's oldest and most respected Linux distributions. Has the extended development cycle helped the project to deliver a better product? Read on to find out. In the news section, FreeBSD switches to "bsdinstall" as the default system installer, OpenBSD opens pre-orders for official media of the forthcoming version 4.9, Debian launched a Debian Derivatives Exchange project, and BackTrack presents ideas for an upcoming release scheduled for May. Also in this issue, PC-BSD attempts to expand its user base by adding additional desktop environments in version 9 and Ubuntu publishes a release schedule for version 11.10 "Oneiric Ocelot". There is more, including an update on the post-earthquake situation of the Japanese open-source development community and a round-up of distribution project proposals for this year's Google Summer of Code. Happy reading!
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|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
openSUSE 11.4: greeting the lizard king|
The arrival of openSUSE 11.4 is the first release of 2011 to really get me excited. I see the project as an under-appreciated gem of the Linux community and, while bloggers go on about the user interface changes in the latest Ubuntu alpha or the new technology coming to Fedora, people tend to be quiet about new openSUSE releases. Which is too bad, really, because I think openSUSE consistently puts forward well engineered releases with cutting-edge software, backed by one of the most powerful configuration tools available. It's been about eight months since we saw 11.3 and I was curious to see what the developers had to offer.
The openSUSE website is one of the more attractive in the Linux community. The designers have done a good job of making things easy to find and large signs direct traffic to the download page, news, help forums and documentation. The site mentions some new features available in version 11.4. Front and centre we have LibreOffice replacing OpenOffice. KDE 4.6 and Firefox 4 (beta) also make appearances. For fans of GNOME, openSUSE includes the GNOME Shell. Less obvious changes include improved package management code for faster synchronization with the project's repositories and Broadcom wireless drivers. There are a few different ways to get openSUSE. There's a full installation DVD image available which comes with both desktop and server software. We can also choose between a GNOME or KDE live CD and there is a network install option. Each of these editions is available in either 32- or 64-bit flavours. For my trial I downloaded the 32-bit KDE live disc.
openSUSE 11.4 - showing off the new Firefox and LibreOffice
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Live boot and system install
The KDE live disc weighs in at 700 MB, filling the CD. Booting from the disc brings up a menu giving us the choice to launch a live desktop session, run the installer, check the installation media or perform a memory test. Self-checking media seems to be rare these days and it's nice to see the feature included. Taking the live desktop option boots us into KDE 4.6 and pops up a welcome dialogue. The welcome screen gives some basic information on the openSUSE project and provides links to where users can get help or learn about the KDE environment. Closing the welcome window shows us a a collection of icons to launch Firefox, run the system installer, open LibreOffice and get on-line help. The icons are bright and attractive and the background is a colour I can best describe as steel green. At the bottom of the screen we find the application menu, task switcher and system tray.
Installing openSUSE is handled by YaST 2, a powerful tool that does a fine job of balancing user-friendliness with power. We start off by choosing our preferred language, confirming our keyboard layout and we're shown the distro's license. The next screen gets us to set the current date & time and pick our time zone. Next up is disk partitioning and YaST shows off a bit here. For new-comers to Linux, YaST offers a guided option that will guess what our partition layout should be, setting up a system partition, /home and swap space. Once we've been given the suggested layout we can then choose to further customize our partitions if we wish. We also have the option to set up partitions manually from the start, and openSUSE makes this easy.There are a lot of options here for different types of partitions, mount points and file systems, but they are presented in a clean manner and with sane defaults.
I think it's interesting to note that openSUSE supports a wide range of file systems and layouts, including Btrfs and logical volume management. With partitioning done we're asked to create a regular user account. The last screen shows us a list of actions YaST will perform (partitioning, location of the boot loader, and basic configuration). We're given the option to change these settings or confirm them and continue with the installation. In my case I found that YaST wanted to place GRUB on my openSUSE partition, rather than use the disk's MBR as most distributions do by the default. On my machines the entire install process took about twenty minutes and, when it was complete, I was prompted to reboot the machine.
KDE desktop first impressions
Booting into openSUSE the first time brings up a graphical display which tells us the system is going through its automatic configuration. This includes downloading some packages from the net and the whole process took around five minutes on my test machines. Most of the configuration process can't be skipped, but the downloading can, should you find yourself on a slow connection. Moving past the configuration steps, we're presented with a graphical login screen. The KDE edition of openSUSE comes with IceWM, a light window manager. This gives us an alternative environment for low-resource machines or a backup in case KDE becomes corrupted.
Logging into the KDE 4.6 desktop presents us with the same layout, theme and icons as the live disc. The first thing to grab my attention was the red Network Manager icon in the system tray which, when clicked on, told me the system couldn't find a network connection. However, opening a web browser showed I was, in fact, on-line. On my machines desktop effects were enabled by default. Nothing too flashy, just a few tricks to make the environment feel more dynamic. The latest version of KDE improves on some features, especially with activities. For those who haven't used them before, KDE activities are a bit like virtual desktops. We can create a new activity via the KDE cashew nut in the corner of the desktop, arrange our desktop with the icons and widgets we want and the desktop environment remembers that layout. We can then make other activities (with different layouts, backgrounds and widgets) and quickly switch between them. It's like having virtual desktops that are laid out for specific tasks. While previous versions of KDE had activities too, I think 4.6 is the first release to make using the feature intuitive and easy.
While I'm on the topic of KDE I'd like to stop talking about openSUSE specifically for a moment and mention a common annoyance I've been running into of late. Having my windows maximize when I move them to the top of the screen strikes me as being very counter-intuitive. If I'm already dragging a window around by its title bar it means my mouse pointer is mere centimetres (inches) away from the maximize button. Should I wish to maximize the window, I would click on the obvious button to do so. When I drag windows to the top or sides of the screen it is to get them out of the way. Having the window grow to take over the entire screen when I move it to an edge is always the exact opposite effect from what I want to have happen. Fortunately, as with almost every aspect of KDE, there is an easy way to turn off this behaviour, but I do wish they wouldn't make it a default setting.
openSUSE 11.4 - welcome to openSUSE
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Software and package management
The distribution comes with a good collection of up-to-date software. The system installs 3 GB of data on the hard drive, putting lots of useful items on the application menu. We're treated to Firefox 4 (beta), KMail, KTorrent and Choqok (a micro-blogging client). The GIMP is included, as is the ExpoBlending photo manipulation tool and LibreOffice 3.3.1. I found that trying to launch ExpoBlending brought up an error message telling me that the program was missing a dependency and the application closed. (I later downloaded the required dependency from openSUSE's repositories and ExpoBlending worked fine from then on.) Though openSUSE isn't the first distro to include LibreOffice it may be the first of the big-name projects to include the office suite in a stable release. Also on the menu we find a disc burner, document viewer and personal organizer.
We have Amarok for playing music and the Kaffeine multimedia player. There's a remote desktop client, a backup tool and the Smolt system profiler. The developers have included handy accessibility tools, a download manager and certificate and encryption utilities. For managing the operating system we're treated to YaST (more on that in a bit) and the KDE System Settings panel. On a default install neither Java nor the GNU Compiler Collection is available out of the box, but can be found in the repositories. Likewise Flash and popular multimedia codecs are not included in the default install. The openSUSE project does make it easy to add these extras -- trying to open mp3 files, for example, will bring up a prompt asking if we'd like to add the required repository and software and we're given a link to openSUSE's documentation on codecs and why some aren't included in the default install. Underneath it all sits the 2.6.37 Linux kernel.
Package management and, in fact, system management in general is handled by YaST. The YaST system administration tool gives the user easy access to many aspects of the operating system, including managing user accounts and handling software & repositories. YaST makes dealing with backups, disks, printers, firewalls and the AppArmor security utilities relatively painless. To be honest, much of YaST isn't all that attractive. It has a sort of grey seriousness about it that, when combined with the many options presented in most components, suggests a strong preference for function over form. Though the mountain of options may take some getting used to, I found YaST to be a capable and stable tool. While the package manager component in particular doesn't look to be designed with novice users in mind, I found that it worked well enough. For people who prefer to put a more friendly face on their package manager, openSUSE includes KPackageKit. This front-end takes a more user-friendly approach with software broken into intuitive categories and most of the extra options hidden or removed. Unfortunately I found that KPackageKit wasn't stable and would occasionally crash or otherwise fail to complete tasks.
When software updates are available for openSUSE a small green and silver icon appears in the system tray. This seems an odd choice since most other distributions use red or yellow to indicate new updates and green to show the system is already up to date. However, a green indicator is better than none. While I usually used YaST for package management and adding repositories, clicking on the available updates notification brings up KPackageKit. The first time I tried to use KPackageKit to install updates I was prompted for my password, the update process appeared to kick off and then aborted before anything downloaded. No error message was shown. I came back to KPackageKit later and successfully performed an update, so YMMV. I found that going into YaST and grabbing updated software from there worked properly and consistently.
On the subject of updates, the openSUSE project aims to put out a new release about once every eight months with a support cycle lasting two releases, plus two months. This means openSUSE-11.4 should be supported for about eighteen months, finishing its cycle around September 2012. Also in regards to packages, when we're working from the command line, trying to run a program which isn't installed prompts us to run an application called "cnf", which will check to see if what we typed matches any packages in the distro's repositories. If a match is found we're provided with the command line to run to install the missing package.
openSUSE 11.4 - YaST and KDE's system settings
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While testing openSUSE I ran the distribution on two machines, a generic desktop box (2.5 GHz CPU, 2 GB of RAM, NVIDIA video card) and my HP laptop (dual-core 2 GHz CPU, 3 GB of RAM, Intel video card). On the laptop openSUSE performed well. My screen was set the maximum resolution, sound worked out of the box and my touchpad worked as expected. However, my Intel wireless card did not work. On the desktop machine openSUSE performed very well with video and audio working out of the box. On both machines performance was good and the desktop responsive. Booting was a little slower than I would expect from Fedora or Ubuntu, but not by a lot.
When running openSUSE in a virtual machine I found that performance was a little sluggish at first as the distro enables desktop effects by default. Once visual effects were turned off, performance in the virtual environment was good. I was curious to see how the distro would function with lower resources and found that openSUSE worked smoothly with as little as 512 MB of memory. It is possible to install openSUSE and run KDE with 256 MB of RAM, but responsiveness degrades to the point I wouldn't recommend trying it. In fact the system installer warns us against installing the distribution on machines with less than 1GB of RAM.
The operating system runs a mail server and secure shell on a default install. However, the developers have also seen fit to put a firewall in place and it keeps ports closed by default. I'm not sure if this combination of running network services and blocking access to them is a sign of caution or the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing.
Quite often I find the saying "familiarity breeds contempt" to be accurate. With some projects I find the more I use them the more I find bugs or design choices I don't like. The latest release from openSUSE left me with the opposite impression -- the more I used the distribution the more I enjoyed it. Though the installer and boot processes were a little slow and I found it desirable to disable desktop effects and workspace shortcuts, the more I used openSUSE, the more I grew to like it. The distribution is well engineered, mixing cutting-edge software with polish and stability to produce a combination rarely found in other projects.
The new KDE environment is well put together, the documentation is clear and I found the system balanced - being friendly with staying out of the way. The developers have squeezed a lot of software onto the CD and I was able to perform most tasks without trips to the repositories. The YaST configuration tool is still one of the best in the open-source world and performance was good. Personally I'd like to see openSUSE with a slightly longer support cycle, but the distro is in the same league as Fedora and Ubuntu in this aspect. My only serious complaint was with the instability of KPackageKit and I was able to work around that using YaST. I'm of the opinion it will be hard to beat the openSUSE experience in 2011.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
FreeBSD switches to "bsdinstall", OpenBSD announces 4.9, Debian launches DEX, BackTrack prepares for May release, Gentoo lists projects for GSoC, Japan OSS community post-earthquake update
We'll start this week's news section with an interesting piece of news from FreeBSD. As announced by Nathan Whitehorn on one of the project's mailing lists, "sysinstall", the long-standing and familiar system installer for anyone who has installed the popular BSD operating system, has been replaced with "bsdinstall" as the default system installer: "I just committed (r219641) changes that make the release infrastructure use bsdinstall by default instead of sysinstall on install media. Along with bsdinstall, the original sysinstall build stuff has been preserved and will continue to be for the lifetime of the 9.x release series, although it will not be used by default. This change modifies the process of building releases somewhat, so I'll outline changes that people who run snapshot buildbots will have to make below, and some next steps planned with the installer. ... The new installer is feature-complete at this time, so the next steps mostly involve documentation updates to manpages and the handbook. Generation of a bootonly ISO is another thing that should happen soon." No roadmap for FreeBSD 9 exists, but the project's FreeBSD 9 Wiki page states that the release is aimed "roughly for May 2011".
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Continuing with BSD updates, let's turn our attention to PC-BSD whose developers have been working on version 9 for some time now (regular development snapshots are available on the project's FTP server). This will be a major update that will bring, among other features, a choice of desktop environments. Project founder Kris Moore takes a quick look at the upcoming PC-BSD 9: "Probably the biggest and most noticeable change will be the ability to select from a variety of desktops/window mangers. Historically PC-BSD has only offered KDE, starting with version 3, and later version 4 as a user's main desktop. While KDE still offers a very complete desktop environment, there are a large number of users who prefer to use an alternative on their system. In order to provide a more satisfactory desktop experience to a larger audience, starting in version 9.0, users will provided with a easy-to-use desktop selection screen, which will allow PC-BSD to be customized with the desktop packages of the users choice. Currently some of the desktops being offered include KDE, GNOME, Xfce and LXDE."
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One more BSD-related item - the official media of OpenBSD 4.9, which is scheduled for release on May 1st, are now available for pre-order: "What is the answer to life, the universe and everything? Naturally 42. Quite different from the answer to 'what shall I pre-order today?', as that is obviously OpenBSD 4.9, which is scheduled for release on May 1st, 2011. This new release is again packed with lots of goodies like mandoc(1) as the groff(1) replacement, TCP send and receive buffer scaling, an /etc/rc.d directory for use by the ports system and of course many substantial improvements in the various areas such as the suspend / resume department, the USB subsystem, the handling of random numbers, etc. For a very long list have a look at the plus49 page. So, grab your towel and head on over to the order page and make sure you'll get your set before May 1st! After you've placed your order, download the new release song 'The Answer' (MP3 or OGG) and sing along to the lyrics." For more information about the project's upcoming release please visit the OpenBSD 4.9 release page.
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Moving to Linux, the Debian project has launched a Debian Derivatives Exchange project, an interesting initiative that is meant to increase collaboration between the many Debian-based distributions and even merge some of their ideas into Debian proper: "The Debian project has taken another important step towards better collaboration with its more than 300 derivative distributions by launching the Debian dErivatives eXchange project (DEX). The core idea behind DEX is to reduce the technical differences (informally called 'delta') between Debian and its derivatives. This is mainly accomplished by easing the integration of patches from derivatives. Making available the patches from all derivatives results not only in a better system for all involved parties, but also eases the workload of the derivatives by reducing the differences derivatives have to maintain themselves." An initial DEX info page and mailing list have been set up on the distribution's Alioth server.
Still on Debian, Alexander Reichle-Schmehl has announced the release of Debian GNU/Linux 6.0.1, the first official update to "Squeeze". As always, this is not a new release and the updated system does not bring any new features or package upgrades, but it does correct all security issues discovered since the release while also adding critical bug fixes. Refer to the above link for a detailed list of changes.
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Most recent Linux converts and novice Ubuntu users will probably be familiar with Ubuntu Manual, a comprehensive guide detailing the usage of the world's most popular desktop Linux distribution. For those who wish that there was a less beefy variant of the document, here is a new resource - Ubuntu: a complete guide by UK's PC Pro magazine: "We reveal everything you need to know - including the questions you were afraid to ask - about installing and running Ubuntu. Ubuntu is now head and shoulders above any other Linux distribution in terms of features and ease of use, but it can still appear intimidating to those who've been cocooned in the Windows world. What's the best way to install Ubuntu? How do you get your graphics card drivers working? What are the software repositories all about? And how do you cope without your regular Windows software? (Don't worry, you don't have to.) Ubuntu has become the alternative OS of choice. This feature will answer all those questions and many more as we provide the ultimate guide to Ubuntu." Chapters in this guide include "Installing Ubuntu from a USB memory stick", "How to install software in Ubuntu" or "How to run Windows apps in Ubuntu".
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The developers of BackTrack, an Ubuntu-based live distribution designed for forensic analysis and penetration testing, have announced the upcoming release of version 5. Features of this release include availability of source code in the repositories and a completely revamped tool list: "As BackTrack 5 development rolls on full steam ahead, we've been getting numerous questions about the future release. We thought we'd publish a blog post with general information about BackTrack 5 for the impatient. The codename of this release will be 'revolution', for a bunch of reasons. BackTrack 5 will be based on Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, and will (finally) support both 32-bit and 64-bit architectures. We will be officially supporting KDE 4, GNOME and Fluxbox while providing users streamlined ISO downloads of each desktop environment. Tool integration from our repositories will be seamless with all our supported desktop environments, including menu structure. Perhaps most importantly, BackTrack 5 will be our first release to include full source code in it's repositories. This is a big thing for us, as it officially joins us to the open-source community and clears up any licensing issues which were present in BackTrack 4." The final release of BackTrack 5 is scheduled for 10 May.
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With the approaching summer season in the northern hemisphere here is another edition of Google Summer of Code (GSoC), a great chance for student programmers to earn money while working on open-source software projects. Gentoo Linux is one of the distributions accepted into Google's programme this year: "Gentoo has been accepted for its 5th consecutive year in the Google Summer of Code! GSoC pays college students US$5,000 to work full-time on an open-source project for a summer. Check out our GSoC 2011 homepage if you are interested in this year's GSoC for Gentoo. We particularly encourage applications from students who aren't already involved in Gentoo development -- many of our students become Gentoo developers after a successful summer. Interested students can browse Gentoo's project ideas. Student applications will be accepted starting March 28 until April 8. Developers, if you'd like to apply to be a mentor, you can do so on the webapp. Please read the mentoring guide before applying." Other projects accepted for this year's GSoC include GNOME, KDE, Fedora, openSUSE, NetBSD, DragonFly BSD and MINIX, among others.
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The recent natural disaster in Japan is starting to have repercussions in the open-source development community. The first victim of the tragedy is the Tokyo-based KDDI Research and Development Laboratories, which maintains one of Japan's oldest and best-known open-source software repositories at ftp.kddilabs.jp. Last week this useful server went off-line with the following message: "ftp.kddilabs.jp (also *.ftp.ne.jp) has now temporary shutdown. The power-supply company for Kanto area is planning a power-outage of several area everyday, because their power-plants got many damages by the large-scale earthquake in Tohoku Japan at 2011/03/11. In this situation, we decided the temporary shutdown of our servers." Slashdot Japan covers the story here (in Japanese). In the meantime, Sylpheed developer Hiroyuki Yamamoto posted the following announcement on the project's mailing list: "This server (sraoss.jp) is located at Tokyo area. Currently the area is not scheduled for rolling blackouts, but please note the service may stop temporarily when the circumstances change." Luckily, most other Japan-based distribution and free software projects seem to be functioning normally; these include the Tokyo-based Turbolinux, Vine Linux and Momonga Linux, as well as Ruby, the popular programming language.
|Questions and Answers (by Ladislav Bodnar)
DistroWatch visitor number growth
Curious-about-page-hits asks: I was wondering if you maintain any stats on the total number of unique page hits your site gets overall - not just for a specific distro - and how those hits have (I presume) increased over the years?
DistroWatch answers: DistroWatch.com was officially launched on 31 May 2001 (yes, we'll celebrate our ten-year anniversary in a few weeks) and by November of the following year it was running on a dedicated server. We started collecting page hit data on 27 November 2002. The data are in raw format and are not publicly available, but a few short Bash scripts can extract just about any information needed. For your query, here are the total and unique page hits numbers as recorded on the main (index.php) page. For 2002 the data are for the 35 days (from 27 November to the end of the year), while for 2011 the data represent the first two months of the year. The recording of IP addresses did not start until May 2004, so the "unique hits" data for 2002 and 2003 are not available.
|Historical Page Hits|
As can be seen from the above, the number of all visits on the front page of DistroWatch.com has increased by 1,665% since 2002, while the number of unique visitors per day has increased by 141% since 2004. Here is graphical representation of the above table:
For those who are interested in hits on distribution pages this is the page listing all active distributions and their page hit data over one, three, six and twelve months. The Awstats analysis of the web server log for the current month is available here.
|Released Last Week
Tom McCafferty has announced the release of Vyatta 6.2, an updated version of the Debian-based distribution for firewalls and routers: "I'm pleased to announce that Vyatta version 6.2 has completed verification and is now available for download. Vyatta 6.2 features package updates and major improvements to usability, quality and stability, including improved configuration management, OpenVPN enhancements, IPv6 DNS resolver and re-base to Debian 6.0 'Squeeze'. Significant branch maintenance was done by the Vyatta engineering team, including the following package updates: iptables 1.4.9, ipset 4.3, pmacct 0.12.3, Net-SNMP 5.6, ntpd, 4.2.6p2, BusyBox 1.18.0, Open VM Tools, 8.4.2, vbash 4.1." Read the release announcement and release notes (PDF format) for further information.
SuperGamer Supreme 2.5
Darin VanCoevering has announced the release of SuperGamer Supreme 2.5, the world's first dual-layer Linux live DVD packed with games: "The Supreme SuperGamer 2.5 is a update to the Supreme SuperGamer 2. This release is a 7.9 GB live DVD and can only run on dual-layer DVD drives or 16 GB Flash drives so please be sure you have a compatible drive. It includes: Firefox 4 beta; Flash 10.2; VLC and all of the additional updated packages; Linux kernel 126.96.36.199 with wireless support; NDISwrapper updated and additional Intel wireless modules; wicked updated; LimeWire removed and FrostWire put in its place, Soldier of Fortune was taken off as it didn't work with the new NVIDIA driver; IconquerU game added along with the updated NVIDIA and ATI drivers, FUSE and NTFS-3G updated; addition of Gogo encoder which is faster than LAME; Java updated to 6u23." Here is the brief release announcement.
SuperGamer Supreme 2.5 - the world's first dual-layer live DVD
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Daniel Olivera has announced the release of UTUTO 2011, a new version of the Gentoo-based distribution and live DVD featuring four desktop environments. This release comes with a multitude of improvements, including: a new Linux "super kernel" with hundreds of extra patches and modules; super-fast system boot; two supported installation methods (DVD and USB), installable live system; extended hardware support; intelligent system auto-configuration; improved network card support with 100% connection success for Ethernet, 3G, Bluetooth and wireless connection types; integrated Java support with OpenJDK; virtualisation with video acceleration integrated with the desktop; 3D desktop by default without hardware acceleration; four desktop environments to choose from (GNOME, KDE, LXDE and Xfce).... Please read the full release announcement (in Spanish) for additional details.
UTUTO 2011 - a Gentoo-based live DVD with four desktops
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Ultimate Edition 2.9
Glenn Cady has announced the release of Ultimate Edition 2.9, an Ubuntu-based live DVD with a choice of four desktops (KDE, GNOME, Xfce and Openbox), many extra applications, hardware drivers and media codecs: "Ultimate Edition 2.9 was built off Ultimate Edition 2.8 which is built off Ubuntu 10.10 'Maverick Meerkat'. All updates fully updated / upgraded, old kernels purged, new initrd and vmlinuz rebuilt. Ultimate Edition 2.9, as with all odd release numbers, was built with KDE users in mind. Ultimate Edition 2.9 has KDE, GNOME, Openbox and Xfce environments, user selectable at login. A crisp new theme (121 to choose from) and tons of new software. LXDE was broken at time of build on the 32-bit side, so it did not make the cut." Here is the brief release announcement which includes a few screenshots.
Ultimate Edition 2.9 - an Ubuntu-based live DVD with a large number of extra applications and media codecs
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Manuel Kasper has announced the release of m0n0wall 1.33, a tiny FreeBSD-based operating system for firewalls: "m0n0wall 1.33 released. m0n0wall 1.33 adds a new image type for generic PCs with a serial console, further improves IPv6 support, includes a driver for newer Realtek network chipsets and contains various small changes and bug fixes. Changelog: updated ipfilter to 4.1.33; inbound NAT rules can now be added on the LAN interface with the WAN address as a target, this helps with accessing servers on an optional interface from the LAN interface by using m0n0wall's WAN IP address; IPv6 improvements; modified 'disable port mapping' option so that it will actually avoid port mapping whenever possible, but fall back to port mapping if another mapping for the same port already exists; added support for user-customizable captive portal logout and status page...." Visit the project's download page to read the full changelog.
Linux Mint 10 "LXDE"
Clement Lefebvre has announced the release of Linux Mint 10 "LXDE" edition, a lightweight desktop distribution based on Ubuntu 10.10: "The team is proud to announce the release of Linux Mint 10 LXDE." New in this release: "Linux Mint 10 LXDE comes with updated software and brings refinements and new features to make your desktop even more comfortable to use. The Software Manager gives you a nicer browsing experience, with a better categorization of software and the use of application icons. If you're not interested in receiving updates for a particular package, simply right click on it and tell the Update Manager to ignore updates for this package. The package will then be added to your 'ignore' list and you won't receive any updates for it in the future. The Update Manager now also shows you the size of your selected updates, so you know how much data you're about to download." For more details please read the release announcement and the release notes.
Zorin OS 4 "Business"
Artyom Zorin has announced the release of Zorin OS 4 "Business" edition, an Ubuntu-based commercial distribution targeting desktop deployments at small and medium-size businesses: "The Zorin OS team is proud to release Zorin OS 4 Business. Zorin OS 4 Business provides all the tools needed to start and maintain a small or medium-sized business out of the box. In here you will find a wealth of software waiting for you, including accounting, bookkeeping, stock analysis, database, retail, word processing, spreadsheet and much more. With Zorin OS 4 Business you are sure to save time and money. Zorin OS 4 Business is a new addition to our Premium releases. You are able to purchase a DVD with Zorin OS 4 Business on our Store page. A download option will be available shortly." Here is the brief release announcement.
Mandriva Linux 5.2 "Enterprise Server"
Mandriva has announced the release of Mandriva Enterprise Server 5.2, an update to its server-oriented, commercial Linux distribution for enterprises: "Mandriva Enterprise Server (MES) 5.2 -- the simple, high-performance and accessible Linux server -- is now available. MES 5.2 features a broader set of drivers to support more devices during the installation process and an updated Linux kernel (version 2.6.33). It highlights advanced virtualization on top of KVM or Xen, a user-friendly software setup and configuration wizard, an easy-to-use LDAP directory management -- Mandriva Directory Server, powerful backup solutions and many other services in the fields of messaging, file and printer sharing, web hosting, network management and more." For more details please see release announcement and the release notes.
Saline OS 1.3
Anthony Nordquist has announced the release of Saline OS 1.3, a Debian-based distribution with Xfce as the default desktop: "SalineOS 1.3 images are now available. This point release brings with it support for changing the system language and keyboard layout within the installer. It also marks the first time the Saline OS user manual is available in another language (Spanish). New features and changes include: optional download of language packs for Icedove, OpenOffice.org and MySpell by hitting yes on a dialog in the installer; all updates installed from the Debian security repository since the building of 1.2; several small revisions and additions to the user manual; disabled Remastersys repository by default; discontinued the shell CD image." Read the full release announcement for further details.
Johnny Lee has announced the release of Macpup 520, a lightweight, Puppy-based distribution showcasing the latest build of Enlightenment 17: "Prit and I are proud to announce the release of Macpup 520, our newest E17 Macpup. Macpup 520 is based on Puppy Linux 5.2 'Lucid', an official Woof build of Puppy Linux that is binary-compatible with Ubuntu 'Lucid Lynx' packages. Macpup 520 contains all the applications from Lucid Puppy, with the addition of Firefox 4.0rc1. Extra applications like Opera or GIMP are available for easy download from the Quickpet tool on the ibar or the Puppy package manager. Macpup 520 also includes the Enlightenment E17 window manager. The EFL libraries version 1.0.0 and E17 version 55225 where compiled and installed from source." See the full release announcement for further details, known issues and links to screenshots.
Macpup 520 - a Puppy-based distribution with Enlightenment 17
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Ubuntu 11.10 release schedule
The Ubuntu developers have published a draft release schedule for the project's second stable release of 2011: Ubuntu 11.10 "Oneiric Ocelot". The development will commence in early May with toolchain update and import of upstream software packages, with the first alpha release scheduled for 2 June. This will be followed by two more alpha and two beta releases before the final version appears on 13 October. For more information please see the Oneiric release schedule page on Ubuntu Wiki.
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Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to waiting list
- GenOS. GenOS is an Ubuntu-based distribution whose goal is to be easy-to-use and fast.
- PUIAS Linux. Developed by Princeton University and the Institute for Advanced Study, PUIAS Linux is a distribution built from source packages for Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The project also offers a "Computational" repository which includes extra packages specific to scientific computing.
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DistroWatch database summary
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This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 28 March 2011.
Jesse Smith and Ladislav Bodnar
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
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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 |
Vinux is an Ubuntu-derived distribution optimised for the needs of blind and partially sighted users. By default Vinux provides two screen readers, Braille display support and a friendly community. When booting the live Vinux image, the users are greeted by the Orca screen reader that enables them to navigate the graphical Unity desktop using keyboard commands. Additionally, Brltty provides grade 1 and 2 Braille output via Orca.