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.
Statistics, Statistics and Statistics. MandrakeSoft has announced that Linux-Mandrake came out at the top of the ISO download statistics at Tucows.com for both February and March.
Here are the statistics on which they based their claim:
February March Linux-Mandrake 46% Linux-Mandrake 31% Red Hat 27% Corel 28% Corel 15% Red Hat 14% Debian 3% Debian 6% SuSE 3% Caldera 6% Slackware 3% SuSE 5% Caldera 3% FreeBSD 4% Stormix 2% Slackware 1%We contacted Tucows for more information. Greg Cowie pointed out that the statistics in any given month are strongly affected by who has released a new version of their distribution, since ISO downloads are primarily used by people planning on installing or upgrading. The April statistics, in turn, show the impact of the release of Red Hat 6.2:
April Red Hat 31% Linux-Mandrake 29% Corel 22% Debian 5% Caldera 4% FreeBSD 3% SuSE 3% Slackware 2% Stormix 1% Yellow Dog Linux 1%The numbers used in these three cases are the actual number of ISO downloads. Tucows also freely provides similar statistics on ISO downloads based on Megabytes downloaded, and non-ISO file downloads for each distribution, again by volume or by number. Looking at non-ISO file downloads by number, we can get figures with Red Hat leading by a wide margin instead (Red Hat 57%, Linux-Mandrake 24%, in April). From that, you might theorize that Red Hat has a larger installed base (people downloaded single file updates or additional applications) while Linux-Mandrake has more people installing their distribution for the first time.
The really startling note from the three months worth of data, still a small sampling, is the lead that the two RPM-based distributions have on the rest of the pack. It will be an interesting trend to watch.
On another note, we learned a bit about how such statistics can be swayed by small details. For example, the Phat Linux distribution does not have an ISO download, being only available as a large executable file that is run from a Windows installation. It doesn't impact the ISO download list, as a result, but is responsible for a whopping 34% of the non-ISO file downloads by volume. By number of files downloaded, since the entire distribution consists of only one file, they don't even show on the chart. Without knowing more about the structure of this distribution, these figures would seem highly anomalous.
Microsoft tactics benefit Japanese Linux distributors. If you are using a computer in Japan, you may have already installed or received a system pre-installed with Windows, before you move to running Linux on it. If so, you've paid, in part, for high quality commercial fonts to support Japanese. However, people who've contacted Microsoft to check have been told that it is not legal to use these fonts with an operating system other than Microsoft, even by the same person on the exact same computer.
In discussing various issues with Maya Tamiya of http://ChangeLog.net, we learned that this has ended up benefitting Japanese Linux distributors (though not necessarily the end-user). The freely available fonts are currently just not good enough to provide adequate support in Japan, she noted. Commercial Japanese distributions have benefitted as a result, because end-users expect and need the commercial fonts that are therefore bundled with Linux.
In the long run, the consumer is the one that is losing, since they are potentially forced to pay multiple times for the same commercial fonts. This adds weight to the need for more and better freely-available fonts.
Corel makes donation to Dallas schools. Corel has announced the donation of 2000 copies of its Linux distribution and WordPerfect Office 2000 to the Dallas school district.
Corel Linux voted best new product at FOSE. Corel announces that its Linux distribution was awarded "best new product" in the "End-User Software" category at the Federal Office Systems Exposition.
Coyote Linux 1.20pre3.The latest version of Coyote Linux, 1.20pre3, is a bugfix-only update. Coyote Linux is a single floppy Linux distribution that provides routing/firewall services for targeted at home users.
Debian Test Cycle begins. After announcing the removal of 16 packagesfrom frozen on May 2nd, due to release-critical bugs, Richard Braakman officially announced the start of the First Test Cycle. If successful, a decision on a release of Debian potato could happen within the next few weeks. If it is not, then another test cycle will be started.
Lilo in frozen. The question was asked whether the new Lilo, which removes the requirement that the kernel lie within the first 1024 cylinders, would be included into the new version of Debian before its release. The answer, according to Petr Cech, is "yes".
Debian GNU/HurdThe Kernel Cousin debian-hurd for May 3rd is available, to provide a snapshot of recent GNU/Hurd development.
MandrakeSoft to bundle Enlighten's user management tool. MandrakeSoft has announced that it will bundle Enlighten's "User Management Tool" with the Linux-Mandrake 7.1 distribution.
Slackware-current updates. Updates to slackware-current this week include gcc-2.95.2, perl-5.6.0, vim-5.6, lilo-21.4.2 (removing the 1024 cylinder restriction), and a host of other small updates.
SuSE announces distribution deal with Ingram. SuSE has announced a distribution deal with Ingram Micro, a large wholesale distributor. This arrangement should help to get SuSE's distribution into a lot more stores.
TurboLinux 6.0 Workstation: A First Look (AboutLinux). AboutLinux reviews TurboLinux 6.0 workstation. "TurboLinux 6.0 installed a fairly vanilla Gnome setup - in this regard it is somewhat similar to Corel Linux - and they both may have a point. Does it really help a new Linux user to have their desktop cluttered with many icons?"
Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh
May 4, 2000