Linux in the news
All in one big page
See also: last week's Distributions page.
Lists of Distributions
Please note that security updates from the various distributions are covered in the security section.
News and Editorials
Conectiva ports apt to RPM. Apt is the Debian package management tool. Although it was developed for Debian GNU/Linux as a front end to Debian's dpkg package installer, the design was deliberately made independent of the underlying package manager. After reviewing the alternatives, Conectiva chose to write an RPM backend for apt, rather than to support alternatives such as autorpm, rpmfind, drake or other RPM-based alternatives. As a result, both rpm-based and .deb-based systems now have the option of using the same front-end package management tool.
The article itself does a great job of explaining the reasons for their choice. There are some good comments as well; if you want more, check out the Slashdot coverage as well. In the meantime, we rejoice to see the free software working the way it should, providing free choice between multiple alternatives and the possibility for both diversification and unification.
New Distributions to the LWN Distribution ListsDan Barber dropped us a note and pointed out that CClinux was missing from our list of single-floppy distributions. "The best and easiest I've ever used". It has now been added; enjoy.
Debian News. The Debian project will be running a booth at this year's LinuxFEST in Belgrad, Yugoslavia. LinuxFEST 2000 takes place from December 15th to December 18th at the main hall in Dom Omladine in Belgrad, Yugoslavia.
The latest issue of the Debian Weekly News covers the release of Debian GNU/Linux 2.2r2, which includes security fixes and other high-priority bug fixes. The main Debian archive is now in a package pool; the move of non-US went smoothly, but this move is expected to be more challenging. Joey Hess provided an FAQ about package pools, for those that are interested.
Red Hat News. The silkhat 2.2.18 rpms are a set of kernel RPMS based on Red Hat 7.0's kernel, with a few modifications. The large memory patch has been pulled and some other patches have been added, including Andre Hedrick's IDE drive update patch, the alsa sound card drivers 0.5.10, reiserfs 3.5.28, Lennert Buytenhek's bridging patch and a few others. This is probably mostly of interest to people who have been following kernel development closely, want to use one or more of these patches on a Red Hat 7.0 system, but would prefer not to patch the kernel themselves.
Slackware News. An on-line archive has been added for the slackware-announce and slackware-security mailing lists.
BSD News. NetBSD 1.5 has been released. This release includes several new ports (NetBSD's specialty), much of the groundwork for SMP support in the future, loadable module support, IPv6 support, filesystem performance improvements, ext2 filesystem support, a transition to the ELF executable format, and much more.
FreeBSD 4.2 is reviewed comparatively with Linux and FreeBSD 4.1.1 in this article from the Duke of URL. "While FreeBSD isn't exactly as easy to use as Windows, it's pretty darn close to Linux at least. One big advantage it has over Linux is how the directories are structured, because Linux tends to spread source and other files all throughout the system. Adjusting to FreeBSD just may be easier than Linux because things like this are simplified."
Hurd News. The December 13th issue of the Kernel Cousin Debian Hurd is out. Activity seems to be increasing and tips were posted this week on installing the Hurd from either SuSE Linux or FreeBSD.
Lineo and Transvirtual Technologies announce alliance. Lineo and Transvirtual have announced an alliance based around Transvirtual's PocketLinux distribution. Lineo will begin distribution of PocketLinux early next year.
MontaVista Offers Easy VxWorks-To-Linux Transition. MontaVista Software, Inc., developer of the Hard Hat Linux operating system for embedded applications, announced the availability of a "virtual machine" environment for porting of VxWorks code from Wind River Systems to a Linux platform. For more information, LinuxDevices also put out a an interview with Jim Ready, CEO of MontaVista, to talk about this new product. "Emulating and/or translating all of the approximately 1500 API (application program interface) functions of VxWorks would have presented a severe challenge. However, MontaVista developers determined that it would be sufficient to limit their focus to roughly fifty of the most commonly used VxWorks APIs."
Mini/Special Purpose Distributions
Coyote Linux v1.23 released. A new stable version of Coyote Linux, v1.23, was announced yesterday. The new edition has been upgraded to Linux 2.2.18, plus a new PPPoE client and other bugfixes. Check this week's security section for information on a security issue with rp-pppoe; we do not know whether or not this is the PPPoE client that has been upgraded.
Coyote Linux is a single floppy distribution that turns a PC into a simple masquerading router/firewall in order to share an Internet connection among computers on a LAN.
e-smith 4.1-beta now available. The beta version of the latest e-smith distribution is now available for the intrepid and/or foolhardy (otherwise known as developers). The official announcement indicates that e-smith 4.1 is based on Red Hat 7.0. "e-smith 4.1 contains several new features, including SSL, SSL-enabled Webmail, OpenSSH, better anti-spam protection, and improved packet filtering on the external interface. It also includes new support for PPP over Ethernet for ADSL via the external interface, and includes support for many additional ethernet cards."
SmoothWall Linux 0.9.6. A new development release of SmoothWall Linux has been announced, version 0.9.6. "This release includes a revised front-end with new menu access, multiple ISP support, additional Windows DHCP domain support, code and functionality changes, and also SSH access and admin via the SmoothWeb interface added."
SmoothWall takes a 486 PC and turns it into a fully-operational firewall with support for ISDN, ADSL, Cable, and more.
Vector Linux 1.8. A new version of Vector Linux has been released, version 1.8. Vector Linux is a small, disk-based Linux distribution, requiring 16MB of memory and no more than 200MB of disk space. "This distribution of VectorLinux should be of interest to many MS Windows users who want to try Linux using a minimal amount of system resources. The results will be a dual-boot environment with the ICEwm windows manager providing a multi-desktop environment, and the revered multi-user, multi-processing, high uptime OS, Linux."
Thanks to Gene Schiavone for forwarding the announcement to us. He also passed on the news that Vector Linux has now been translated and mirrored in Poland, Russia and China.
Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh
December 14, 2000