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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
The Year in Review. It's my turn to work the Distributions page and, as with everyone who works a Weekly page here at LWN, I had to come up with some meaningful lead in to the week's summaries. At this time of year news comes slowly - except for Security which seems to never take a holiday. There was very little topical news for Linux distributions in general. So I thought "If nothing much happened this week, then how about the rest of the year?" Ah yes - the year in review. What better time to look back than the time when, well, I have nothing else to talk about.
The most common form of work avoidance for writers this year is to compile their top 10 lists: top 10 distributions, top 10 updates, top 10 reasons why I can use old Red Hat CDs as decorative coasters, etc. Since I think Top 10 lists are pretty mindless, I think instead I'll just peruse the just published LWN Timeline for distribution-related events of significance during the past 12 months.
The first event is actually a non-event - Linux distributions pass the Y2K bug test quite handily. Was there ever a doubt? While many smaller and less supported applications held on to the year 100 (versions of Elm for example), the kernel itself came through relatively unscathed.
In February Caldera launched its IPO. Very few Linux distributions have filed for IPOs yet - and in the current climate of Wall Street further filings seem doubtful for the near term. What started the year as a craze ended the year in a daze. But then what stock sector didn't? Linux stocks haven't died completely, but they will have to address the more mundane issues of revenue and, eventually, profit over the next year if they expect to regain any of the ground they lost this year.
TurboLinux made a fair amount of noise over the year. It first garnered a $50 million investment from companies such as Dell and Compaq, later adding Oracle to its list of prominent investors. It followed that investment with another $30 million round in October. A month after receiving the initial $50 million investment the company shipped TurboLinux 6.0. In May they announced, as did SuSE, planned support for big iron from IBM - the S/390 distributions. In August TurboLinux was selected by HP to be installed on some of that hardware companies IA-64 workstations and joined a host of other companies in opening the Oregon-based Open Source Development Lab. Finally, October found TurboLinux filing for its IPO minus original founders Cliff and Iris Miller who left to form Mountain View Data.
Embedded distributions were big news all year as the PC sector slid and the Internet device sector grew. Hard Hat Linux (MontaVista), BlueCat Linux (Lynx Real-Time) and White Dwarf Linux (EMJ Embedded Systems) all hit the streets in February. In May Debian joined the fray with the Embedded Debian Project. And Lineo released Embedix 3.0 in October.
Some of the other important distribution news this year included:
Debian: State of the Woody. Anthony Towns has sent out a 'State of the Woody' posting describing where he thinks the next major Debian release stands. It is a good summary of what has been accomplished so far with this release, what problems remain (installation, mainly), and gives a time line for a stable release next June. Worth a read.
Red Hat. Red Hat had several announcements this week. The first was their announcement of the availability of the Beta version of Red Hat Linux for Itanium-based systems based on Red Hat 7.
Another announcement from the company pointed out that Red Hat had received several prestigious awards from leading industry publications and recognition at industry tradeshows in the year 2000.
Finally, Red Hat issued a bug fix advisory for gcc 2.96, which was shipped - amidst a slew of controversy - with the Red Hat 7 release. The bug fixes address various items, many of which appear related to g++ and cpp (the preprocessor).
Turbolinux Signs Linux ISP Deal with Chinese Ministry of Information Industries. Turbolinux announced it had signed a contract with the Huasong Company, an affiliate of the Chinese Ministry of Information Industries (MII), to provide Turbolinux solutions for the ministry's Internet infrastructure and telecommuncation centers in as many as 500 cities across China.
Caldera Sponsors Samba Client Library Development. Caldera Systems, Inc. announced that they have contracted with Richard Sharpe of the Samba team to create a client library for Linux and Microsoft integration. The Caldera-funded project includes the development of library source code, associated reorganization and reuse of Samba code and documentation of the library application program interface (API). As part of the Samba project, the library and documentation will be available under the General Public License (GPL). Caldera's engineering group will work with the Samba team to complete the project by February 2001.
GNU/Linux Ututo. A new distribution announced this past week, GNU/Linux Ututo is the first GNU/Linux distribution done in Argentina. The web site is in Spanish, so you may want to check out the usual Babel Fish translation.
We searched for a link to this distribution but couldn't find one (no link is provided in the article). If anyone has a pointer to a web site for this distribution let us know so we can add it to our ever growing list of distributions.
Mission Critical Linux Convolo Cluster 1.2. Mission Critical Linux announced the availability of Convolo Cluster Version 1.2, a Linux cluster solution that supports Network File System (NFS) failover.
Debian Weekly News for December 19th, 2000. The latest issue of the Debian Weekly News has hit the streets. Topics covered include the new "testing" branch and its association with woody, vote counting issues and security fixes for zope, slocate and various editors.
Slackware. Slackware: announced this week that OpenSSL, the free Secure Sockets Layer library, and OpenSSH, the free encrypted remote shell program, have been made available in Slackware-current.
In addition, KDE has been updated to 2.0.1 in -current, and the Mutt mail client and AT&T's Korn Shell 93 have been added to the distribution.
MSC.Linux. MSC.Software Corp. announced this week the beta availability of MSC.Linux, a clustering version of the Linux operating system designed for engineering and corporate environments.
PeeWeeLinux. PeeWeeLinux, a small footprint embedded distribution, announced release 0.53.24 this past week. The web site for the distribution also mentions 0.53.25 but has not publicly announced that release.
Mini/Special Purpose Distributions
Coyote Linux. Coyote Linux versions 1.23 and 1.24 were releases earlier this past week. Version 1.24 represents the latest stable release of Coyote Linux. Among the features added are SSH for secure remote access, support for systems without a math-coprocessor, updated network card drivers, and several bug fixes (including the broken DHCP server support in 1.23). Version 1.23 fixed serveral bugs and includes the 2.2.18 kernel. It also has an updated PPPoE daemon.
muLinux. muLinux, a floppy based distribution, quietly released 11r2. The previous stable release was 10r5.
NetBSD 1.5. Wasabi Systems, Inc., a company founded by key members of the NetBSD project, released a CD version of NetBSD 1.5 this week. The Standard Edition, which ships immediately, contains 2 CDs which are bootable on x86 PC, Alpha, DECstation, SPARC, UltraSPARC, Power Macintosh, VAX and many other platforms. A 12-page installation guide is also included. The Package Release, which will be available sometime in January, includes the Standard Edition plus an extra CD with 3rd party applications precompiled for the x86 platform.
Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh
December 21, 2000