| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 40, 15 March 2004
Welcome to this year's 11th edition of DistroWatch Weekly. It comes somewhat rushed due to the fact that the hard disk with my main production system gave up on me last weekend, which meant a complete system re-install. This was the third IBM hard disk that crashed during the past three years (is this normal?), so I decided to go with Maxtor this time. Things are up and running again from a 120GB disk (plenty of space for installing new distributions ;-), so let's get on with the regular programme.
Mandrakelinux 10.0: love it or hate it?
Early reviews of Mandrakelinux 10.0, the first major distribution shipping with kernel 2.6 and KDE 3.2, appeared last week on Linux Tips For Free, OSNews and MadPenguin. Although the overall sentiment in the three reviews was overwhelmingly positive, there is no denying that Mandrakelinux 10.0 is not without its bugs. This was also reaffirmed in the discussion forums following the reviews, where many users expressed emotions ranging from a complete delight over the new release to enormous frustration when trying to install and use it. The following quotes from the OSNews forums illustrate the widely varying experiences of users:
How is it possible that the experiences vary so widely? And why is it that some of the bugs only appear on some systems, not others?
"With some concern I upgraded my heavily customised Mandrake 9.1 machine that runs mail, web, smb and ldap servers plus a heap of desktop tools. To my relief, the upgrade went without a hitch; it even managed to keep the layout of my desktop and upgrade all the icons and decorations around it. Very cool."
"Currently my Linux machine is reinstalling SUSE 9.0. That about sums up my experience with Mandrake 10. I didn't notice any speed improvements, and the system crashed several times in an hour worth of use. It felt unresponsive and sluggish. On the other hand, SUSE runs perfectly on the system."
"I have deployed Mandrake from last Saturday and I have not one issue. Everything runs just great. Great job, Mandrake Team!"
"I tried installing Mandrake 10 yesterday and it was a long, frustrating evening. It crashes when I try to set the regional settings to Norwegian at the end of the installation, it crashes when it tries to start KDE... for me this version seems rushed. Too bad because I enjoyed Mandrake 9.1 a lot."
"Installed Mandrake 10. Now it's the third machine I've installed it on, and the only problem I've had was having to change out the CDs in the proper order. This is the most trouble-free distro I've encountered."
Personally, my experiences with Mandrakelinux 10.0 were decidedly positive. It is fast, good-looking and highly useable as a desktop system. I made an effort to try and reproduce the bugs that Eugenia Loli-Queru reported in her review on OSNews, and some of them, like the Kontact bug or the BitTorrent GUI scrollbar problem, I could certainly confirm. But some others I could not. I have Frozen Bubble working great, with sound and all. I've had no problem changing the GNOME desktop theme, configuring the time zone and time server, booting from the first CD or setting up the fax. All in all, Mandrakelinux 10.0 proved to be a superb release, especially when considering that this is not the Official edition.
But others will disagree. A good example would be comparing Mandrakelinux 10.0 with Fedora Core 2 Test 1, which for me, was a total disaster, a really poor effort on Red Hat's part. Yet, the experiences of others were completely different. This is another quote from the OSNews forums:
To reiterate the original question: how can two persons' experiences differ so widely? Anybody cares to comment?
"I just tried the development Core of Fedora2. Even I do not like the new philosophy from Red Hat, I must say that no comparison can be done: faster, better worked around etc (except for GNOME 2.6 which is still in early stage) - it looks already in a better shape than the 10.0 from Mandrake."
Creating new distributions
If you are thinking of creating a new distribution, then think again. Not counting various floppy and embedded Linux projects, there are already more than 300 active distributions in existence today. Unless you have a really cool, innovative idea, don't expect to get an enormous number of followers with a yet another remastered edition of Knoppix. Instead, why not join an existing project? Here comes an open invitation from CollegeLinux:
"You've always wanted to do more on Linux, to be part of it, perhaps making your own distribution or your own package. Perhaps you didn't know it, but your very own distribution exists: CollegeLinux. The CollegeLinux development team is looking for new talent for the next release, package creation, and documentation. If you want to join a small team of developers willing to listen to your proposal or assign you a number of packages as a maintainer let us know! We are currently looking for project leaders, package developers, contributions for the new installer, documentation help (write your own how-to tutorials), support/forum moderators. Whilst for code contribution you should be familiar with C (especially for the installer) anyone can help (regardless of your coding skills). We really want to hear from you."
Visit the CollegeLinux web site for more information.
|Released Last Week
Trustix Secure Linux 2.1
Trustix Secure Linux 2.1 has been released: "This is to announce the release of Trustix Secure Linux 2.1, nicknamed "Horizon". It is the second release in the Trustix 2 series. Its main purpose is to serve as a stability release, and it is the natural successor of Trustix 2.0. In addition, we have added a few more features including Samba 3, IBM's stack protector and the XFS file system. We have also updated most of the packages to the latest stable versions." Read the rest of the announcement for further details.
Lunar Linux 1.4.0
A new version of Lunar Linux has been released: "Lunar-1.4.0 (General P. Fault) ISO is released. Large changes in this ISO compared to the 1.3.3 version. A small list of the major changes include: linux-2.4.25 kernels. gcc-3.3.3 is the default compiler supported in Lunar now; ncurses-5.4 is installed on the ISO; perl-5.8.3, gettext-0.14.1, openssh-3.8p1, coreutils-5.2.0, updated lfirsttime.8, curl-7.11.0 added and more. For a full list of changes see the ISO.Changelog. No xdelta is available from the 1.3.3 ISO as the xdelta would be around 90Meg, while the iso.bz2 file is only 114Meg." The full announcement.
A new version of the OnebaseGo live CD is out: "With the high success of the first release of OnebaseGo portable OS with its capability to add/remove applications, this version comes with olm-go-1.1, a few fixes including kernel and lots of customisations. Users who utilise OnebaseGo as a portable OS, are recommended to get this new version. Please support the development by purchasing it from the store ($9.00)." The announcement.
Screenshot: OnebaseGo 1.1: a flexible and customisable live CD with a hard disk install option.
(full image size 150kB)
A new version of BLAG (BLAG Linux And GNU) has been released. From the release notes: "BLAG9002 (trike) is a significant update of BLAG9001. The major changes are lots of Red Hat updates (kernel, XFree86, apache), many BLAG package updates, and piles of new packages. A new desktop, XFce, is now on the CD. It is lightweight, but user friendly and cute. BLAG now includes more wireless kernel drivers so more gear works out-of-the-box. Airsnort & airtraf have been added. Winmodem drivers (hsf, ltmodem, slmodem) added...."
Quantian 0.4.9.5 is a new development version on the road towards stable Quantian 0.5. From the changelog: "Updated R packages based on the first pre-release of the upcoming 1.9.0 version, updated CRAN packages and a few new CRAN packages: multcomp, mvtnorn, relimp, and the uebercool rgl. Updated Octave packages based on the just released 2.1.56, and a matching octave-forge release. Improved support for Scientific Python, though scipy.test() still moans, we hope to sort that out shortly. The ftnchek package for Fortran'ers..."
A new stable version of Rubyx has been released: "New stable release 42. It contains loads of new packages; Mozilla, Firefox, Thunderbird, Epiphany, Gnomemeeting 1.00, Kde 3.2.1, Gnome 2.4.2, linux-2.6.4 ... There have been some important bugfixes and improvements to the rubyx script itself, so please upgrade!" Rubyx is a new source-based distribution written in Ruby; it is, in the words of the Rubyx creator, "the most progressive Linux distro out there, with features people have yet to grasp. The package management system is, to say the least, revolutionary. If you haven't tried it yet, please do!" Find out more on rubyx.org.
Feather Linux 0.3.8
Feather Linux 0.3.8 has been released. What's new? "Fixed Sylpheed size; added MPlayer config files; added Arno's iptables script and fwb-run; fixed xterm menu colours; added online manpages and HOWTOs links on the Fluxbox menu; added wman, an online manpage viewer script; added Getting Started HOWTO; changed Opera script to work properly from HD; made small changes to the HD install script; added Mutella, fbset and Chipmunk Basic; feather now runs as user knoppix; rewrote restoration system - now you need to type restore=sda1 restore=hda1, etc; added script to install the Gimp."
Development and unannounced releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Rubyx is a new source-based distribution written in Ruby. The developer of Rubyx is Andrew Walrond and he has kindly agreed to answer a few questions about his project for DistroWatch. If there is anything you'd like to know, please ask in the forums below or email me directly. The interview will be published next week.
|Web Site News
Submitting new distributions
If you'd like to see your distribution listed on DistroWatch, please fill in the Submit Distribution form in full, including the package list. Incomplete submissions will simply go on the waiting list, together with 60+ other distributions. The form was created in order to eliminate the tedious work of looking up the information, often in foreign languages, so please try helping out if you can. If you fill it in full, your distribution will be listed within 24 hours, otherwise it might take months. Also, please check that the distribution does not already exist in the database before filling in the form. You can find the complete list of all listed distributions on the Statistics page.
Order your own official DistroWatch T-shirt from Hackerthreads.
New on the waiting list
- Slavix. Slavix is an operating system based on Morphix, Knoppix, Debian GNU/Linux. Its purpose is to make it easy for anyone to switch to GNU/Linux and start using free (as in freedom) software. Slavix is oriented towards a home computer user. It is a live CD system, which means you can run it off CD-ROM without having to install anything to hard drive. All you need to do is burn the Slavix image file to a CD, put it in your CD-ROM and reboot. It will start up, auto configure itself and in about 3 - 5 minutes it's ready to use! Slavix will not touch your hard drive or mess with you data! Hard disk installer is included and it is fairly easy to use.
DistroWatch database summary
- Linux Octoz. Linux Octoz is a French distribution in early development.
- SciLix. SciLix is a Morphix-based live CD developed by the Faculty of Science at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá, Colombia.
- Number of distributions in the database: 272
- Number of discontinued distributions: 31
- Number of distributions on the waiting list: 65
On Linux package management
"With the variety of Debian builds springing up, debs and the apt utility are also becoming unreliable. Bootable CDs with the Knoppix engine are major offenders. It's very easy to acquire enough missing dependencies and broken packages to totally disable apt. Often the only reasonable option is to rebuild (I'm doing that now).
I have to operate both Windows and Linux systems. In other respects Linux is very close to parity with, if not superior to, Windows. But, I have to note that, the typical Windows 'user' would never accept this kind of unreliability. The whole situation really needs to be resolved if Linux is to survive as a desktop OS.
That's all for this week, see you next Monday :-)
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 840 (2019-11-11): Fedora 31, monitoring user activity, Fedora working to improve Python performance, FreeBSD gets faster networking|
|• Issue 839 (2019-11-04): MX 19, manipulating PDFs, Ubuntu plans features for 20.04, Fedora 29 nears EOL, Netrunner drops Manjaro-based edition|
|• Issue 838 (2019-10-28): Xubuntu 19.10, how init and service managers work together, DragonFly BSD provides emergency mode for HAMMER, Xfce team plans 4.16|
|• Issue 837 (2019-10-21): CentOS 8.0-1905, Trident finds a new base, Debian plans firewall changes, 15 years of Fedora, how to merge directories|
|• 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|
|• 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 |
Grml is a bootable CD (live CD) based on Debian GNU/Linux. It includes a collection of GNU/Linux software especially for users of text tools and system administrators. It also provides automatic hardware detection. Grml can be used as a rescue system, for analysing systems and networks, or as a working environment. Due to on-the-fly decompression, Grml includes about 2 GB of software and documentation on the CD.
|Tips, Tricks, Myths and Q&As |
|Myths and misunderstandings: The spread of systemd and launchd|
|Tips and tricks: Basename, for loop, dirname, aliases, bash history, xsel clipboard|
|Questions and answers: LSB - does it matter?|
|Tips and tricks: Void source packages|
|Myths and misunderstandings: The massive memory myth|
|Questions and answers: Debian, Devuan and systemd|
|Questions and answers: AppArmor, home movies, tabs in Vim, syntax highlighting|
|Tips and tricks: Copying columns of text, organizing files, creating torrents|
|Questions and answers: Working with ports|
|Tips and tricks: Creating a SOCKS proxy for web browsing|
|More Tips & Tricks and Questions & Answers|