Linux in the news
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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 EditorialsFirst Progeny Linux Beta ships. Progeny Linux Systems is an effort by Debian founder Ian Murdock (and funded by the Linux Capital Group, headed by former Debian leader Bruce Perens). Its purpose is to "make Debian ready for the market" while preserving all that makes Debian special.
Progeny announced the first beta of its distribution on October 31. It's on the bleeding edge, being based on the unstable "woody" version of Debian. They have added some nice things, like hardware autodetection; in general making the Debian install a friendlier process seems to be a priority for Progeny.
Interestingly, you can not simply download the distribution itself; it is packaged as an upgrade to Debian 2.2. To install Progeny, simply make a one-line configuration file adjustment and run apt-get.
There will also be a formal beta testing program, with boxed sets being sent to the participants. Interested people should read the announcement and go fill out the application.
An interesting question is that of just how Progeny will keep its product unique. Proprietary software is anathema to the people involved; they will be giving all of their work back to Debian. So they may well push forward the state of the art, but Debian as a whole will follow them closely. The company must certainly have a plan in mind; it will be interesting to see it unfold.
Counting source lines of code. David A. Wheeler has posted a lengthy article in which he examines the amount of code present in a Red Hat 6.2 installation. He came up with over 17 million total source lines; a bit of number crunching leads him to conclude that this installation represents over 4500 person-years of development effort, with a value of some $600 million. Check out the paper for more, including a description of his methodology.
Making Linux Work in the Workplace: Installing Linux Mandrake (Linux Orbit). A brief look at installing Linux Mandrake vs Microsoft NT, this article from Linux Orbit is well written if not exactly detailed. "The Linux Mandrake 7.1 installation program, like most other top-notch Open Source software, is generally an almost-ready-for-prime-time product. It definitely has the eye candy factor to its advantage, it has tons of options, and great features (the progress stars, notably). Aside from problems configuring X, the installation can be buggy, as it will sometimes install items that had not been selected, or worse, it will not install items that had been selected."
The Virtues of MaxOS (TechRepublic). TechRepublic has an in depth interview with Dexter Dombro and Donald Warman, the creators of yet another Linux Distribution - MaxOS. "The other thing we set out to do was deliberately exclude any GNOME, because of the instability problems. Every single application and utility we have on our desktop we know is stable. And at the same time, all the resources you could possibly ask for are in there. So whether you're a developer or gamer or somebody who wants to run a network, you'll still have Apache, and you'll have Kdeveloper."
VMWare is also included as a 30 day trial package. The Alta Terra team focused on ex-Microsoft users: "So we have something like My Computer. It says Max Computer, and you go in there and it shows you a C: drive and an A: drive, and things like that, and we've created a Control Panel setting for people so that they're not immediately wondering 'Well, what do I do with the console?'"
Nanix. Another of the embedded class Linux distributions hit the streets this week: Nanix, from Charmed Technologies. Charmed is a company focused on wireless (and apparently wearable) computing. According to the website,
NANIX[tm] is a Linux-based operating system distribution optimized for small wireless Internet devices. Support will be included for power management, wireless connectivity (802.11, IRDA, Bluetooth), and non-conventional input/output such as handheld keyboards, voice-recognition, head mounted displays, and palm-sized LCD monitors.
Black Lab Linux to be shown at SC2000. Terra Soft Solutions will be demonstrating CSP, Inc's. high-density, multiple G4 processor Fast Cluster as well as a 6 node, Apple G4 cluster running Black Lab Linux at the Super Computing 2000 show in Dallas, Texas from November 7th to the 9th.
Caldera ratings and awards.
Caldera Systems Inc. (OREM, Utah) reported that OpenLinux
was given the highest rating in VARBusiness' 2000 Annual Report
Debian gets a search engine. Visitors to the Debian web site have long been frustrated by the lack of a working search engine. No longer, however; the Debian Project has announced that UdmSearch will be used as the search engine on the site. It is up and running now.
Linux-Mandrake News: 7.2 released and OpenOffice RPMS.. Linux-Mandrake 7.2 (aka Odyssey) has been released. This release includes the ViaVoice voice recognition software and the latest GNOME 1.2 release.
Linux-Mandrake also sent word of the availability of the OpenOffice RPMS. They claim to be (to their knowledge) the first company to publish such a package. "It feels good to know that all this code REALLY compiles on Linux box. FYI, it took Frederic ca. 1 week of work to get it all compiled, so it really wasn't trivial..."
SuSE News: KDE 2.0 and S/390 support. SuSE Linux this week announced the availability for download of the latest version of the Linux desktop KDE and the forthcoming release of an update package for KDE 2.0.
SuSE also rolled out the big iron this week, announcing support for IBM S/390 servers.
Rumor mill: Slackware goes Sparc. Slashdot had quite a bit of activity around a rumor that Slackware had released a version of their distribution for the Sparc. The supplied URL to the supposed distribution took visitors to an FTP repository of the Slackware packaging tool, protopkg. No sign of the supposed Sparc port could be found at that site.
A number of posters to the discussion thread wondered if Slackware was responding to Red Hat's decision to drop Sparc support. However, this also turned out to be a rumor as Red Hat has not officially dropped support for Sparc. They simply didn't release a version of Red Hat 7 for that platform.
One Slashdot poster noted that the Slackware distribution actually did exist but the announcement regarding its availability was meant for Slackware developers only and that the distribution was available only via an rsync download. Attempts to contact Patrick Volkerding directly to confirm this possibility - and the existence of the Slackware Sparc port - were not successful.
Lineo ports to IDT's RC32334 integrated processor. Lineo has ported their Linux product, Embedix, to the IDT RC32334 integrated processor, a MIPS based CPU with an on-chip PCI bus.
Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh
November 2, 2000