Linux in the news
All in one big page
See also: last week's Distributions page.
Please note that security updates from the various distributions are covered in the security section.
Pick a distro (ZDNet). ZDNet's Evan Leibovitch looks at the increasing variety of Linux distributions and likes what he sees. "What all this leads to is what appears to be a contradictory conclusion: the increasing variety of Linux distributions actually simplifies your choices. Instead of expecting a single distribution to do everything and understand your field of speciality, chances are you'll be able to find a company or group that understands what you want out of your OS and that has a Linux package tweaked in your direction."
We agree with Evan whole-heartedly and will continue to celebrate the strength that lies in the diversity of Linux distributions.
cLIeNUX. Challenging and stretching the definition of a Linux distribution, cLIeNUX is a distribution which has chosen to release software developed specifically for cLIeNUX under a licenses that restricts its redistribution: "The current 'cLIeNUX Core' is intended to serve as the basis for a membership model of open source software compensation, and as a basis for a member-built unbounded Linux/GNU/unix."
That is just the beginning, though. cLIeNUX, whose name is meant to imply "client-use Linux", has explicitly chosen to break with the Linux Standards Base, instituting its own file system standard and then providing scripts to theoretically make it possible to install LSB-compatible binaries on cLIeNUX.
Next, they also choose to redefine specific Linux/Unix commands, or to provide non-standard aliases for them: "'cat' has been renamed to 'get'. Relax. 'cat' is in your PATH in /command/unix. There's about 50 like that. This makes things harder for old hands and easier for newbies. cLIeNUX is like that."
They've made some interesting choices about what software to include as well. "cLIeNUX has ed and Pico, but not vi." They have not done this in total isolation. Their documents speak of conversations with Richard Stallman, for example, who, of course, was not supportive of their planned licensing.
Why, then, are they doing all of this? Using information from their distribution, the idea seems to be to support a model for compensating authors of open source software. Reading this description, it seems a bit like shareware -- membership is voluntary but people who are both members and developers get a proportionate share of 20% of the membership revenue, presuming there is any.
We've reviewed their materials and hope to keep an open mind. There is nothing to suggest that they are not well intentioned. However, there is also not a lot here that looks particularly appealing to us. Nothing in the description of the distribution offers enough of value to warrant their choices to purposefully break compatibility with other Linux distributions. However, in the name of diversity, they have their opportunity to prove us wrong, by attracting sufficient developers and users to prove their model viable. Two years ago, prior to the availability of good jobs for open source programmers at companies that are becoming aware of the value of open source, we would have been more supportive of the planned revenue model, at least as an experiment. Even then, though, we were unlikely to be impressed by the methods they've chosen.
SPIRO-Linux founder departs. Rick Collette, creator of the SPIRO-Linux distribution, has announced his departure from the company. This is one example of a developer joining with a commercial company which did not work out well and gives a warning to other developers to be careful. "I'm a programmer, not an attourney. My nature is to trust people. When Inventive Communications offered me the contract, I glanced over it and it looked good to me, so I signed it." Be careful out there, everyone. We wish Rick the best in his future endeavours.
German-localized distributions. Halloween Linux is a distribution based on Red Hat and localized for German users. The web site is sparse, so checking this separate description is recommended. (Both sites are in German).
Red Linux is also a German-localized version of the freely distributable portions of Red Hat. Thanks to Fred Mobach for pointing out these distributions. Note that he also mentioned they have been receiving some good reports in the German press.
Caldera OpenLinuxCaldera Lizard bug. Caldera's Lizard installer has a bug in it that, in cases where a DNS server is not found promptly, causes the installer to scan an entire class C network. Richard Johnson posted this description of the problem and Olaf Kirch responded, explaining the source of the problem. Caldera are working on a resolution.
Debian GNU/LinuxDebian-Hurd Kernel Cousin. This week's Debian-hurd Kernel Cousin is available for an update on this project.
LoopLinuxLoopLinux 9, a new version of this tiny distribution, has been announced.
Yellow Dog LinuxYellow Dog Champion Server 1.2 released. Terra Soft Solutions has announced the release of Yellow Dog Champion Server 1.2.
Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh
March 2, 2000