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See also: last week's Distributions page.
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Please note that security updates from the various distributions are covered in the security section.
News and Editorials
LSB-FHS test suite issues.Early in the week we received a notice from SuSE regarding the results of the LSB-FHS test suite run against the SuSE 7.0 distribution. While the results are obviously very good for SuSE, their claim to be the most compliant distribution could be questioned. SuSE scored 238 passed tests and 5 failed tests, a good mark undeniably, but just how valid were the tests? Debian Project leader Wichert Akkerman later sent out a response to the LSB-FHS test suite results which showed SuSE as the most conformant distribution. Looking at the places where Debian ran into trouble, Mr. Akkerman takes issue with some aspects of the test, and admits to trouble on Debian's part for others.
Not all of the test results are fair in my opinion: some are real bugs in Debian, others are bugs in the test-suite or the result of using an incomplete install.
The messages began flying on the Debian Development list (and were copied to LWN) discussing the methods and madness behind the LSB-FHS tests. Andrew Josey, LSB Test leader, and author of the LSB-FHS test suite wrote in with his own view of the FHS test suite and it's status along with the latest LSB test news.
"The first milestone for LSB test development is now complete. This has been in setting up the test framework for integrating tests into. The framework adopted is the Test Environment Toolkit, with the VSXgen (generic VSX test framework) layered on top of that. As proof of concept the first testsets, the LSB-VSX and LSB-FHS testsets have been integrated into the framework."
Despite this work, Andrews stated that "[the community] should not be expecting any distributions to pass the current version of the test suite. Although [LSB] believes it to be a fair and accurate test of the LSB FHS 2.1 specification, there are issues with the specification and tests that need to be resolved."
This argument was backed by Daniel Quinlan, who wrote in to the Debian Development list:
"I just checked the old version of the LSB test web pages and while they didn't warn people to not claim compliance, they do refer to LSB-FHS-2.1-1 as "the latest development release" and it was noted that (1) the test results weren't believed to be accurate and (2) that there are issues that would be fixed in FHS."
So the moral of the story? The standards are, well, not standard yet. While FHS is both desirable and necessary, its existence and availability does not make it complete. Press releases related to the FHS need to be put into context and, most importantly, distribution vendors need to be aware of what they are doing when it comes to the LSB FHS. Certainly, at a minimum, they should be aware of what is and isn't standard.
TurboLinux Founders move to storage startup.TurboLinux founders Cliff and Iris Miller, along with file system and data storage authority Dr. Peter Braam, announced the launch of a new, global storage service company -- Mountain View Data.
The new company will sell storage services on the open-source InterMezzo file storage software. The Millers retain their majority stake in TurboLinux but control of that company has been handed over to Paul Thomas, who took over as CEO in June.
More information is available on the Front Page.
Getting To Know SuSE Linux.SuSE was in the news a number of times this week:
Dirk Hondel, SuSE's Chief Technology Officer, is interviewed by ISPworld. "SuSE has a strong focus on security within its distribution. We not only have an internal security team within SuSE Labs that audits all major packages and closely follows all relevant information sources, but we also maintain an active dialogue with our customer base through mailing lists and security alerts." (For a related-article, check our coverage of the SuSE Security Team in the September 14th LWN Security Summary).
SuSE also expanded its international presence with a new subsidiary in France. The European Linux heavyweight opened a new sales and service office in Paris. The new office provides installation support by phone, fax, and e-mail for the French version of SuSE Linux, which was introduced two years ago.
Finally, Marc Heuse wrote to let us know about a new document available on SuSE's web site describing, in a step by step fashion, how to install a secure Web server.
North Carolina State University EOS runs Red Hat.NC State's College of Engineering project EOS was used to show the school's committment to the open source movement. "IBM provided deep discounts on hardware for the Eos project, including a large mainframe computer that runs Linux. Red Hat's 3-month-old University Program provided software and technical assistance to N.C. State. The Linux company's ties to the engineering program there actually date to Red Hat's earliest days."
It's not the color, it's the network.And finally, from the "I don't speak that language" department: A reader wrote in last week concerned about the use of colors in the naming of Linux distributions - Red Hat, Yellow Dog Linux, and so forth. One of the projects mentioned was the Red Escolar Project. Numerous readers wrote in to let us know that "red" in spanish means "network". So that would be the "School Network" Project, not the "Red School" Project.
Life is never as black and white as it seems, eh?
Review of Conectiva Linux 5.0 - Duke of URL.The Duke of URL this week carried a review of Conectiva Linux 5.0, a Red Hat-based distribution which is known for its large selection of software and language support. "Conectiva Linux features much of what we've come to expect, SMP, graphical installation, optimized kernels, SSL, hardware detection, and more, but also brings to the table a few new features. One of these new features is two CDs full of commercial applications, something not normally seen in your typical Linux distributions."
SAMS Red Hat 7 Unleashed.While not a review, SAMS has followed Red Hat's release of their verion 7 distribution with their own Red Hat 7 Unleashed text.
The Future of Linux-Mandrake.Now that the Linux-Mandrake 7.2 release has been frozen (no new features will be added), discussion was opened on where Linux-Mandrake should go from here. Some of the wish list items readers asked for included:
Best Linux 2000 Release 3.SOT Finnish Software Engineering Ltd. issued a new release for its Best Linux Operating System for desktop and server applications. The new release of Best Linux includes, in addition to many other improvements, support for the Portuguese language, improved sound card support, modem configuration, and the new KDE 2.0 desktop environment.
ROCK Linux 1.3.11 released.The ROCK Linux team has announced the release of ROCK Linux 1.3.11. ROCK Linux is a distribution "for admins, hackers, geeks, and skilled Unix users;" this release is based on the 2.4.0-test9 kernel and a number of other current software releases (they stopped short of gcc-2.96, though).
Red Flag Linux.Sun Wah Linux Limited and Red Flag Software Company Limited, of the Chinese Academy of Sciences ("CAS"), have officially launched the Red Flag Linux Server - Traditional Chinese Version, which is aimed specifically at the Chinese market. Included in this launch are Red Flag Linux Server 2.0 and Red Flag E-business Start Kit 1.0. The former runs on 32-bit, 64-bit or higher-end machines and optimizes server hardware performance. It provides an operating environment that is secure, stable and reliable, and supports key Internet/Intranet-based applications.
Caldera eServer 2.3 Wins Network World Blue Ribbon Award.Caldera announced that OpenLinux eServer 2.3 has received Network World's Blue Ribbon award for use as an enterprise server. Caldera eServer led the list of five Linux server-side distributions based on the following criteria: LAN administration and setup, added applications and value, installation, service support policies and documentation.
Debian News.The Debian Weekly news this week discusses LSB-FSH issues and why Helix Gnome isn't in Debian yet.
Mizi Linux 1.5 released.MIZI Linux OS is a Linux distribution version developed by MIZI Research. Its goal is to develop a distribution version that can be used in desktop environment.
ODDAS-Linux 0.2.ODDAS-Linux was released earlier this week. This release fixes some network initialization scripts and provides better documentation.
easyLinux.We haven't heard much about easyLinux/ since about February 2000, but they contacted us to see if they could be included in the list of distributions. A quick look at their web site shows the distribution to be available on CD-ROM and in a boxed package. The RPM based distribution has won a few awards (according to their web site) and offers shares of the company in exchange for contributions to the distribution and for purchases made. While not public, one wonders how valuable such shares might be (or how many you can get in the long run). Interesting concept.
WinLinux 2000.Last covered in March of 2000, WinLinux 2000 sent LWN a press release suggesting it was a new release. No web site was provided in the press release but we already had the URL: http://www.winlinux.net/
Tynux expands into Japan.According to a LinuxDevices.com report, PalmPalm Technology, makers of the Tynux embedded Linux distributions, will open its Japan office, PalmPalm Japan, on October 25th.
e-smith 4.0.Last week we covered the release of e-smith 4.0 server and gateway products. In that coverage we incorrectly stated that the server and gateway software is used on their line of Internet appliances. Kirrily Skud Robert, who recently joined the e-smith team, wrote in to set the record straight:
I notice you list e-smith 4.0 on your distributions page, based on my freshmeat announcement from a few days ago. I wanted to point out to you that the e-smith server and gateway does *not* run on a specialised internet appliance, and in fact e-smith has no such appliance product. The e-smith server and gateway runs on any Intel-based PC (eg a commodity Pentium) and, as it's fully GPL's, can be used at no cost -- though of course e-smith do provide support and software subscriptions at a very reasonable rate.
We apologize for the confusion and hope this clarifies the situation.
Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh
October 26, 2000