| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 335, 4 January 2010
Welcome to the first issue of DistroWatch Weekly in 2010! We'll start the new year with a rather unusual review - a look at MINIX 3. An operating system that helped to inspire Linus Torvalds to create Linux (and whose creator, Andrew Tanenbaum, once famously described Linux as "obsolete" due to its monolithic design), continues to evolve in small steps, but is it still just a toy for students and those interested in operating systems design? Or has it finally become practical and usable for solving real-world problems? Read on to find out. The review is followed by a brief statistical look at the past year, where we'll highlight the winners and losers among the popular distributions. Then, in a more technical topic (although explained in a layman's language) we look at the possibilities of optimising 64-bit distributions with compiler flags. Finally, we are pleased to announce that the recipient of the December 2009 DistroWatch.com donation is the Krita project. Happy new year and happy reading!
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|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
A Look at MINIX (version 3.1.4)
I believe it was Paul Gauguin who famously questioned: "Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?" (D'où venons nous ? Que sommes-nous ? Où allons-nous ?) While it may be impossible to say for sure, I think he was expressing the idea that we can't really know what we are or where we're headed unless we also know where we originated. Bearing that thought in mind, I decided to take a look at MINIX, the operating system which helped to inspire the creation of Linux.
MINIX has traditionally been an operating system with an eye toward education. Both versions 1 and 2 of the MINIX system were designed to be useful for students learning about operating systems. The code behind MINIX was small and clean, making it a practical study tool in this complex field. The latest offering of MINIX, version 3, attempts to keep the same principles as the previous versions, but also strives to be more practical as a modern, UNIX-like, operating system.
The MINIX web site is an example in clean, easy to read documentation. The site covers a good deal of the project's history, current development goals and benefits of the MINIX design. The most interesting point of the design, perhaps, is that the MINIX hardware drivers run as user processes. This means if a driver crashes, the kernel does not become unstable. Instead, the kernel simply restarts the failed driver and continues on as before. This makes MINIX somewhat self-healing. The web site also contains a good deal of information on how to install and use the operating system, including disk partitioning, multi-booting and setting up user accounts.
The MINIX project released their latest version, 3.1.5, in November 2009, but this review covers version 3.1.4, released in July 2009, as it was the latest stable build at the time of writing. The install image I downloaded from the project's web site fit on one CD and weighed in at about 550 MB. Once the image burned to a CD, my odyssey got under way. I placed the CD into my desktop machine, which runs a 2.5 GHz CPU and has 2 GB of RAM, and rebooted.
MINIX boots up from the live CD to a text console with a brief explanation on how to install the operating system to the local machine. This isn't a tutorial or even a walk-through. It's expected that you have some experience with UNIX-like operating systems and know what you're doing. I logged in as root (there's no password on the live CD) and ran the installer.
The system installer is text-based and is an odd mix of friendly and terse. Options are explained and things are easy enough, for a text-only installer. To demonstrate what I mean, there's no way to back up and try again, short of killing the installer and running through it all from the beginning. On the other hand, there are helpful messages such as this one I encountered, typo and all, while repartitioning: "Please confirm that you want to delete region 0, losing all data it contains. You're disk is not actually updated right away, but still. Are you sure you want to continue?"
MINIX 3 - the installer finishes successfully.
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Sane defaults are offered throughout the installer and I was able to complete the process without any missteps on the first attempt. When I rebooted my computer, I was asked where my MINIX install was located. This location was remembered for future start-ups. The system booted to a command prompt and I was given instructions on how to add new packages to the system using a program called "packman".
Packman, like the system installer, is text-based, terse and fairly easy to use if the operator is familiar with a command line. There are 118 packages on the CD to choose from, most of which can be found in a modern Linux distribution. These include system utilities, a desktop environment, compilers, multimedia, emulators and games. To start, I installed the X11 package to enable a graphical desktop. The packman tool not only grabs packages from the install CD, but will also attempt to download packages, and optionally their source code, from a remote repository. My only complaint while using packman is that there's no indication of progress. The system sits and waits quietly for the package to install. For large packages, such as X11, this requires a lot patience, especially when installing over the network.
MINIX 3 - using packman to install software.
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Having played with packman a while, I'm not sure if the MINIX project supplies security updates. One MINIX developer let me know that they can upgrade packages through the repository. Whether any are updated, or how often, is more open to speculation. There doesn't seem to be any way to see if new packages have been added, short of manually checking the version numbers and comparing them with previously installed packages. The packman utility does not yet have the functionality to compare version numbers.
Once the X11 package finished installing, I tried to launch a desktop and ran into an interesting quirk. The X graphical system ran, but there was no desktop environment. Those readers who used Linux during the 1990s probably know what I mean when I say there was a graphical display and no desktop. There's just a grey background and a big, black X mouse pointer. I soon realized my mistake and went back to packman to install the JWM desktop. Unfortunately after installing JWM and manually setting up the proper configuration files, I was no further ahead. In fact, X would consistently crash and I eventually moved on to exploring the power of the MINIX command line.
The standard UNIX command line is where MINIX, if not shines, at least becomes more familiar. There are minor differences between the MINIX version of commands and the equivalent commands in Linux or BSD. The basics are the same and most command names are familiar. Happily, the customary man pages are there for reference. Various items common among UNIX systems, including a secure shell server, user accounts and a C compiler, were easy to set up. These procedures are all covered by the documentation on the MINIX website for those unfamiliar with configuring a UNIX operating system from the command line.
MINIX 3 - testing the C compiler.
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MINIX comes with the usual collection of command line network tools, including the lynx web browser; FTP, telnet and SSH clients. No network services are enabled by default, helping to keep MINIX secure while things are being set up. Once things are installed and one has services running, how to secure them? As far as I can tell, MINIX does not come with a firewall as most Linux or BSD users would recognize it. There's no iptables, for example, and no allow or deny files in the /etc folder. The best I could come up with was some advice given on the MINIX forum: create a file called /etc/serv.access and place rules for remote access there.
While writing this review, much of my test hardware was unusable. As far as I can tell, MINIX does not have any USB support. This effectively makes my printer a paperweight. It also excludes many modern keyboards and mouse devices. My video card was properly detected and handled for the brief period I spent using a graphical environment. I was unable to get any sound to come out of my speakers while using MINIX, though I've read others have managed to get MPlayer working. My network card was properly detected and enabled on each boot up. In an attempt to get around the lack of USB support and grab some screen shots, I installed MINIX in a virtual environment (VM). The operating system works well in VirtualBox and I was able to make use of my USB mouse in the VM.
An aspect of MINIX which took me by surprise is that the system installer does not create a swap partition for you. (Perhaps it does in expert mode, I mostly took the defaults.) Swap is something that needs to be added manually later if the administrator is worried about running out of RAM. Also, there doesn't appear to be any application to show how much memory the system is using at any given time. A forum post indicates this is a work in progress and will hopefully be included after this year's Summer of Code.
Speed, or the lack of, was sometimes a concern. When installed to the hard drive of my 2.5 GHz desktop machine, the system took about thirty seconds to reach a login prompt. Keeping in mind that the login prompt was of the command-line variety, not a graphical one, this didn't strike me as being quick. Small packages, such as the grep tool, took around two minutes to install from the CD. Larger packages, such as X11 took closer to twenty minutes. I suspect this may be caused by packman compiling software that it's installing, but there's no indication of what's going on behind the scenes.
It wasn't all bad, though. On the positive side, my network connection was fairly quick and most commands ran with about the same performance I'd expect on any other UNIX-like desktop. Disk usage was low; an install of MINIX is small (under 1 GB with compilers, multimedia and X11 packages included), allowing it to run on just about any Pentium-class computer. The operating system remained stable, if a bit sluggish, even when I was installing extra packages and starting and crashing X.
I don't think it would be fair to complete this review without mentioning the team behind MINIX. I had a chance to swap e-mails with a few developers and they have a small, but active, Google Group. All exchanges were pleasant and helpful, showing a calm respect on the part of the development team which is easy to appreciate. Any lack of user-friendliness in the MINIX operating system is made up for by these volunteers.
Whenever I test drive an operating system, especially one that is less mainstream, there's the question in my mind: "Where would this be useful?" My conclusion, after playing with MINIX for a week, is that it holds down a small niche. It's for people who want less functionality than Linux or BSD, but wish to stay within the same family. Or, perhaps, for those who want to experience running a microkernel. I think MINIX will continue to find its home in universities where students will be able to get hands on experience looking at, playing with and trying to improve upon a small, functional operating system.
|Statistics (by Ladislav Bodnar)
DistroWatch Page Hit Ranking statistics in 2008 and 2009
With the end of 2009, here is a quick look at the movers and shakers of the past year, with the help of our Page Hit Ranking statistics. The most noticeable change among the top distribution was the rise of Fedora which has replaced openSUSE on the second spot. While some of the reasons for openSUSE's drop could be attributed to the distribution's switch to less frequent release schedule, there is no doubt that Fedora has attracted a lot of interest with its constant innovation and fearless adoption of interesting features. Among the small distributions, the previously highly rated Damn Small Linux has fallen off the radar due to its prolonged inactivity, with Puppy Linux accepting the role as the most popular mini-distribution.
However, if I had to single out one distribution that was the shining star of the past year, I would pick Arch Linux. Although designed for intermediate Linux users, many seem to be attracted to the idea of a "rolling-release" distribution which is installed once and kept up-to-date throughout its lifespan via daily package updates. This is, in a way, a Gentoo of binary distributions, minus extensive time required for compiling software and without the complexity of many under-the-hood features. This growing popularity of Arch Linux can also be observed by the number of Arch-based distributions and community projects that have appeared during the past year, including the excellent Archiso-live, Chakra, Kahel OS and the brand-new ArchServer. The first-ever Arch Linux Handbook was also published last year. Maybe it's time to replace Gentoo Linux with Arch Linux on our Top Ten Distributions page?
As always, the DistroWatch Page Hit Ranking statistics shouldn't be taken too seriously - they are a fun way of looking at what's hot among this site's visitors, but they probably do not reflect install base or distribution quality.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Optimizing 64-bit distributions with compiler flags
Pushing-performance asks: My question relates to performance and optimization of 64-bit distributions. We all know that some x86 distributions compile with different processor flags, and optimizations to improve the performance of their distro. Arch Linux (which I use) is one of these. So besides the services started at boot time, some distributions are significantly faster due to using more modern, faster CPU settings, i.e. i686 instead of i386 instruction set. I've now been using Arch Linux 64-bit for a while and it has got me thinking. Is there a similar set of CPU flags and optimisations for 64-bit CPUs for distro maintainers to use when compiling their distro that will make distro X faster than distro Y? Or are all 64-bit distributions essentially of the same performance?
DistroWatch answers: In a way, we have two different topics here, both of which relate to compiler flags. The first is different architecture types, for example: i386, i686 and x86_64. Source code can be compiled to target a specific type of architecture, such as one of the three I just mentioned. When you're compiling software for your own machine, you'll want to compile for your specific processor. So if you're running an i686 processor, that's the target you'll pass to the compiler. But, since x86 architectures are backward compatible, code compiled for i386 machines will also run on i686 machines. Likewise, i386 and i686 code can be made to run on a x86_64 processor.
Sadly, the reverse isn't true, code compiled to run on a x86_64 processor will not run on an i386 system. This one-way street has led many distributions to compile their software packages to target older architectures. As a result, their software will run on a wider range of computers, but there is also a performance hit from not using the modern, more efficient methods offered by newer processors. People who compile their software can target their specific architecture and gain performance benefits by having code that best matches their processor.
At this point, you're already compiling for your processor type, so are there any other flags to optimize your code? Yes, there are. The GCC compiler provides several levels of optimization which can improve your software's performance, regardless of which architecture you're using. These options will try to make the code more efficient in a variety of ways and you can read more about the specific optimizations on this website.
Back in October last year, Chris Smart wrote a really interesting piece on optimizing code on 64-bit machines and tested how the different levels of optimization changed the performance of several applications. The article talks specifically about Gentoo Linux, but is well worth reading if you're interested in compiling your own packages. You can read the article here.
|Released During Last Two Weeks
Andrew Gillis has announced the release of VortexBox 1.0, a Fedora-based server distribution that turns an unused computer into a music server or jukebox: "VortexBox 1.0 released. After several months of hard work we have released VortexBox 1.0. It has many of the features requested by the community including: FLAC to Apple Lossless (m4a) mirroring through the web GUI; MusicBrainz and CDDB used for ID3 tags; tool tips for each section in the GUI; Logitech SqueezeCenter 7.4.1 pre-installed and configured; software upgrade through the web GUI. VortexBox 1.0 also has a lot of bug fixes including better handling of existing cover art. You can update to this version from the command line." Read the release announcement and visit the project's home page to learn more about this distribution.
ClearFoundation has announced the availability of ClearOS 5.1, a CentOS-based server and gateway distribution for small businesses formerly known as ClarkConnect: "ClearFoundation released the ClearOS Enterprise 5.1 final version. What's new? anti-phishing, Windows 7 support, graphical console tool, improved usability and web interface, core system upgraded to CentOS 5.4. ClearOS 5.x supports upgrades from ClarkConnect 4.x and later. Upgrades from earlier versions (or systems originally installed with an earlier version) are not supported. When you run the ClearOS installer, make sure you select the upgrade option. As with any upgrade, please backup any critical data. For those of you upgrading from ClarkConnect 5.0, a live upgrade (via yum) will be made available shortly." Read the release announcement and release notes for further information.
Salix OS 13.0.2
George Vlahavas has announced the release of Salix OS 13.0.2, a Slackware-based Linux distribution with Xfce as the default desktop: "The Salix team is proud to announce the release of Salix 13.0.2. The most important change is the addition of a 64-bit port of Salix OS. As the 32-bit counterpart, Salix64 is fully backwards compatible with Slackware64 and provides a simple and fast way to install an Xfce-based system that follows the 'one application per task' philosophy. The 64-bit repositories already include a considerable number of packages, making it the largest third-party package repository for Slackware64 users available. The Salix team has also created and maintains a repository that includes dependency information for all Slackware packages, 32-bit and 64-bit." Read the rest of the release announcement for a more detailed list of changes.
Sabayon Linux 5.1 "Gaming"
Fabio Erculiani has announced the release of a special "Gaming" edition of Sabayon Linux 5.1: "This is our Christmas gift to our beloved community. A Sabayon DVD full of games to instantly play on every PC. This release comes straight from the north pole, I've found it under my Christmas tree this morning and wanted to share it with you. Santa made it for all our users. A cute Sabayon Linux 5.1 x86 full of games to not get bored during the holidays. Feature list: based on Sabayon Linux 5.1 x86 GNOME; filled with gigabytes of games, the best free and open-source games in the Linux land. Games included: Battle of Wesnoth, Foobillard, Freeciv, Frozen Bubble, GNOME Games, NeverBall, Nexuiz, OpenArena, Pingus, Pychess, Scorched 3D, Spring, Stepmania, Torcs, Tremulous, Warsow, Warzone 2100, Wormux." Visit the Sabayon Linux forum to read the release announcement.
Mario Colque has announced the release of Tuquito 3.1, a user-friendly, Ubuntu-based distribution for desktops developed in Argentina. New features in this release include: Linux kernel 2.6.31; GNOME 2.28.1; new functions added to Garfio, a system configuration tool; improved Tuquito RSS feed; addition of Banshee and VLC players; 100% compatible with MS Office file formats; support for reading and writing to FAT and NTFS partitions; automatic mounting of NTFS partitions; support for booting from USB storage device or DVD drives; addition of Google Chrome browser; support for netbooks; improved support for Broadcom wireless chipsets; support for Windows wireless drivers; ext4 as the default file system; out-of-the-box support for MP3 and DVD playback; support for ADSL modems; integration of VINE; addition of VirtualBox.... Read the rest of the release announcement (in Spanish) for more information and screenshots.
Tuquito 3.1 - an Ubuntu-based distribution from Argentina
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Berry Linux 1.00
Yuichiro Nakada has announced the release of Berry Linux 1.00. The project, which started in November 2002 with version 0.01 (based on Red Hat Linux 8.0) and continued with regular incremental updates, has now produced exactly 100 releases. Version 1.00 is based on Fedora 11, but includes updated Linux kernel 184.108.40.206 (with SMP, ndev/udev, bootsplash and Aufs support), KDE 4.3.2, Rasp-UI 0.14 window manager, up-to-date versions of MPlayer and xine, the latest Mozilla Firefox, (version 3.5.6, with Flash plugin updated to version 10.0.32) in English and Japanese, and WINE 1.1.32. The MadWiFi kernel modules have been removed from the live CD. See the complete changelog for further details. Berry Linux is a user-friendly live and installation CD designed primarily for Japanese-speaking users, but support for English is also available as an option in the boot menu.
Kahel OS 12-25-2009
Meric Mara has announced the release of Kahel OS 12-25-2009, an Arch Linux-based, rolling-release distribution with GNOME and GTK+ applications: "On this very day of 'gift-giving', three months after our first installer release 09-09-2009, we give you the new Kahel OS (Desktop edition) installer version 12-25-2009. Kahel OS now has Linux kernel 2.6.32, X.Org 7.5 and GNOME 2.28.2 by default." Some of the other improvements include: "simplified installation, the installer appears automatically upon boot-up; KMS (Kernel Mode Setting) is automatically detected, which means faster boot process, faster X server load, seamless graphical 3D effects, faster graphics, and an improved animated boot sequence; faster boot-up - the start-up process has been tweaked enormously to speed up the boot process." Read the rest of the release announcement for additional information.
Mehdi Magnon has announced the release of Sabily 9.10, an Ubuntu-based distribution with Islamic software and web content filtering tools: "The Sabily team is proud to announce the release of Sabily 9.10. New in this release: Noor - new Quran browser; sample books for Thwab; Fsool - the Sira of the prophet Mohammed; Rejaal - men around the prophet Mohammed; Arabeyes Qamoos - and Arabic - English dictionary. Changes: new theme; new structure of Islamic software; Monajat is re-developed in Python. Main features: parental control tool (WebStrict); Zekr (Quran study tool), able to play Quran recitations; prayer times - Minbar and Firefox Pray Times add-on; Thwab (encyclopaedia); custom artwork; full support for Arabic; the DVD edition contains multimedia, scientific and educational software." More details in the release announcement.
Sabily 9.10 - an Ubuntu-based distribution with Islamic software
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François Dupoux has released SystemRescueCd 1.3.4, a Gentoo-based live CD containing a collection of data rescue and hard disk management utilities. What's new? "Updated the standard kernels to Linux 220.127.116.11 with btrfs update from 2.6.32; updated the alternative kernels to Linux 18.104.22.168; updated X.Org Server to version 1.6.5 (graphical server and drivers); Updated NTFS-3G to 2009.11.14 (standard release); updated gDisk to 0.5.1 (gDisk is a GPT partition table manipulator); updated FSArchiver to 0.6.2 (default, stable version); added FSArchiver 0.6.3-beta10 (alternative, beta version); added scsiadd which allows to add and remove SCSI devices; added suspend-usb-device script to safely disconnect USB disks; Memtest+ 4.00 is now booted as a kernel to fix issues; replaced AIDA with HDT 0.3.6 (hardware detection tool floppy disk image)." Here is the full changelog.
Super OS 9.10
Super OS is a Linux distribution that can be described as an Ubuntu enhanced with various extra software and features for improved out-of-the-box usability. Version 9.10, announced a few hours ago, adds the following applications and features: "Better multimedia support - VLC, support for DVD-playback, support for MP3 and other media formats, like QuickTime video, Real video, Windows Media Video, Flash Video, DivX, Xvid; Internet software - aMSN, Opera, Google Chrome, Skype, Firefox with Flash and Moonlight; portable applications available (RUNZ included); programs are easier to run - App Runner is included; mount tar.gz, .zip, .rar and .iso files with file mounter; other software - Java, Ubuntu Tweak; system beep is disabled; Super OS now has its own repository, in addition to the official Ubuntu repositories; most commonly used KDE and Qt libraries included." Read the release notes for further details.
Linux Deepin 9.12
Linux Deepin 9.12 has been released. The new version of the Ubuntu-based Chinese community distribution, formerly known as Hiweed Linux, comes with the following features: a careful selection of lightweight, easy-to-use and optimised software packages; usability enhancements of desktop start menu and file manager right-click menus; inclusion of popular software for day-to-day use, including OpenOffice.org; customised system installer with only two steps that need manual intervention; streamlined post-install configuration; various enhancements in Mozilla Firefox, such as replacement of rarely-used search engines with more popular ones, addition of several pre-configured add-ons, Flash Player 10 and multimedia plugins; graphical configuration tool for ADSL (PPPoE) and other high-speed and mobile Internet providers.... Read the detailed release notes (in Chinese) for additional information.
Linux Deepin 9.12 - a beginner-friendly, Ubuntu-based distribution localised into simplified Chinese
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Thierry Nuttens has announced the release of NuTyX 2009.2, a Gentoo-based French Linux distribution with binary packages for four desktop environments: GNOME, KDE, LXDE and Xfce. According to the release announcement, this version has had over 900 commits, mostly package upgrades and dependency updates, but also some bug fixes. There is a new theme that is now a common feature across all the different desktop environments. An alternative kernel, supporting more than 4 GB of RAM, is now included in the distribution. Some of the package upgrades include: ALSA 1.0.22, Amarok 22.214.171.124, Firefox 3.5.6, GNOME 2.28, KDE 4.3.4, Linux kernel 126.96.36.199, K3b 1.69.0alpha4, LXDE 0.5.0, Midori 0.2.1 and X.Org Server 1.7.3. Read the release announcement (in French) for more details and screenshots of the new theme.
Stefan Lippers-Hollmann has announced the release of sidux 2009-04, a desktop distribution with KDE and Xfce based on Debian's unstable branch: "We now have the pleasure to announce the immediate availability of sidux 2009-04 'Moros', shipping with Linux kernel 2.6.32 and KDE 4.3.4. For 'Moros', the development concentrated on updating the bootloader infrastructure for live and installed systems, but also took into account upstream changes like kernel 2.6.32, KDE 4.3.4 and further KDE 4 applications. On the installed system, GRUB 2 now replaces the traditional GRUB bootloader, while the live system now employs isolinux and an improved gfxboot theme. Kernel 2.6.32 doesn't only improve and stabilise hardware support for newer devices, it also allows KMS for Intel graphic chipsets and supports DRI and basic 3D support for ATI Radeon graphics cards." See the detailed release notes for more information.
sidux 2009-04 - a desktop distribution based on Debian's unstable branch
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blackPanther OS 10.1
Charles Barcza has announced the release of blackPanther OS 10.1, a Hungarian desktop Linux distribution built from components and concepts borrowed from several major distribution projects. The new version is built on Linux kernel 188.8.131.52 and includes X.Org Server 1.7.3, Mozilla Firefox 3.5.6, OpenOffice.org 3.1.1, GIMP 2.7.0, KDE 4.3.1 and other popular applications. Some of the notable changes include: EasyInstall - an installation routine which ensures that even older and less powerful hardware is set up correctly; DisplayController - a program whose function is to bring up a graphical subsystem under any circumstances; DesktopSelector - an application that provides new users with an option to choose a preferred desktop environment based on visual impressions; MyInfo-Tool - a graphical hardware information program.... See the rest of the release announcement (in Hungarian) for further details and screenshots.
blackPanther OS 10.1 - a Hungarian desktop Linux distribution
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Zorin OS 2.0
The first release announcement of 2010 belongs to the Zorin OS team which has just announced the release of Zorin OS 2.0, an Ubuntu-based distribution designed primarily for Linux newcomers: "We are proud to announce that Zorin OS 2.0 has been released. Zorin OS 2.0 is available in five different flavours: Zorin OS 'Core' which is the regular desktop edition; Zorin OS 'Gaming' which includes over 40 of the best open-source games; Zorin OS 'Multimedia' which includes over 40 extra multimedia applications; Zorin OS 'Educational' which includes many educational programs; and Zorin OS 'Ultimate' which has some of the best open-source programs around. Zorin OS Core is available to download and the other releases are available for purchase from the Store page." Here is the full release announcement.
Zorin OS 2.0 - an Ubuntu-based desktop Linux distribution for Linux beginners
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Kahel OS 01-01-2010 "Light"
Meric Mara has announced the release of Kahel OS 01-01-2010 "Light" edition, an Arch Linux-based distribution featuring the Xfce desktop: "Today let us introduce to you Kahel OS 'Light' edition 01-01-2010, designed for netbooks with limited storage capacity. Just like the Kahel OS 'Desktop' edition, the 'Light' edition has 32- bit and 64-bit installers. What describes Kahel OS 'Light' edition 01-01-2010? Lightweight - the light desktop operates on Linux 2.6.32 and uses Xfce 4.6 which is suitable for PCs with low memory and resources; power-packed - the installer is compressed and the standard install is just 1.8 GB; SSD-friendly - KahelOS 'Light' includes Btrfs and NILFS file systems; bundled with lightweight applications - includes Claws email client, Midori web browser, gThumb image viewer and organizer, and Exaile music player." Read the rest of the release announcement to learn more.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
December 2009 DistroWatch.com donation: Krita receives €200.00|
We are happy to announce that the recipient of the December 2009 DistroWatch.com donation is Krita, a creative application for raster images and part of the KOffice suite. It receives €200 in cash.
The project has recently launched a fund-raising drive to enable one of the developers, Lukáš Tvrdý, to work on the project full-time and to take Krita to a "next level". That was after receiving valuable feedback from an artist: "It was about that time when I got in contact with David Revoy. He's the concept artist who has been working with the Blender team on Project Durian: their latest open source movie project. I asked him for his opinions on Krita to get some feedback from a professional. I like when people use my applications, and David has plenty of experience with various tools like GIMP and MyPaint. His opinions seemed very valuable to me for making Krita ready for actual users. ... He was willing to provide us with feedback on the issues he bumped into. So that's when we decided we should put a strong focus on getting Krita ready for him. If he can work comfortably with Krita, so will many other users, both casual users and professionals." The project has since raised over €4,000 - well over the initial target.
Launched in 2004, this monthly donations programme is a DistroWatch initiative to support free and open-source software projects and operating systems with a cash contribution. Readers are welcome to nominate their favourite project for a future donation. Here is the list of the projects that have received a DistroWatch donation since the launch of the programme (figures in US dollars):
Since the launch of the Donations Program in March 2004, DistroWatch has donated a total of US$23,128 to various open-source software projects.
- 2004: GnuCash ($250), Quanta Plus ($200), PCLinuxOS ($300), The GIMP ($300), Vidalinux ($200), Fluxbox ($200), K3b ($350), Arch Linux ($300), Kile KDE LaTeX Editor ($100) and UNICEF - Tsunami Relief Operation ($340)
- 2005: Vim ($250), AbiWord ($220), BitTorrent ($300), NDISwrapper ($250), Audacity ($250), Debian GNU/Linux ($420), GNOME ($425), Enlightenment ($250), MPlayer ($400), Amarok ($300), KANOTIX ($250) and Cacti ($375)
- 2006: Gambas ($250), Krusader ($250), FreeBSD Foundation ($450), GParted ($360), Doxygen ($260), LilyPond ($250), Lua ($250), Gentoo Linux ($500), Blender ($500), Puppy Linux ($350), Inkscape ($350), Cape Linux Users Group ($130), Mandriva Linux ($405, a Powerpack competition), Digikam ($408) and Sabayon Linux ($450)
- 2007: GQview ($250), Kaffeine ($250), sidux ($350), CentOS ($400), LyX ($350), VectorLinux ($350), KTorrent ($400), FreeNAS ($350), lighttpd ($400), Damn Small Linux ($350), NimbleX ($450), MEPIS Linux ($300), Zenwalk Linux ($300)
- 2008: VLC ($350), Frugalware Linux ($340), cURL ($300), GSPCA ($400), FileZilla ($400), MythDora ($500), Linux Mint ($400), Parsix GNU/Linux ($300), Miro ($300), GoblinX ($250), Dillo ($150), LXDE ($250)
- 2009: Openbox ($250), Wolvix GNU/Linux ($200), smxi ($200), Python ($300), SliTaz GNU/Linux ($200), LiVES ($300), Osmo ($300), LMMS ($250), KompoZer ($360), OpenSSH ($350), Parted Magic ($350) and Krita ($285).
* * * * *
New distributions added to database
* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 11 January 2010.
Jesse Smith and Ladislav Bodnar
|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|
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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 |
Why was Virtual-Linux created? Well, I was pretty tired with the silly bootdisks you can download, plus I wanted to learn more about the Linux core. I then decided to build a ramdisk based system of my own, and after a while I ended up with a cdbased rescue system with a builtin firewall. Then, after having tested a few of the existing big cdbootable systems that were very slow and had very poor performance, a new project started to take shape in my mind. After some late nights investigating some existing soloutions, my own concept was born: 1. Use a commercial distribution as base (Mandrake Linux). 2. Implement as much as possible of the original functions without many hardware/memory requirements. 3. Put as much software as possible on one cd. 4. Make it easy to configure / Autodetect as much as possible. 5. Implement live filesystem compression. 6. Ramdisk Compression.