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.
Ututo.Ututo is a Linux distribution designed to be run directly off of a CD. It was developed in Argentina to support solar energy students and allow them to easily use a program called sceptre. Once completed, though, it became a more generally useful tool, for teaching, for disseminating information and more. Security is not a focus of this distribution; from the comments in the distributions survey they were kind enough to fill out for us, "everyone is root" and any hard drives on the system will be mounted and made available.
Ututo is derived from both SuSE 6.4 and Debian 2.1. It is available for download, but not yet available for sale (though they are working to make that possible). Spanish is the main language supported, wherever possible.
Astaro Security Linux. On the firewall/router front, Astaro Security Linux was added to our list this week. Note that the license for the product is marked on Freshmeat as "free for non-commercial use". We haven't had a chance to investigate that comment; obviously any changes they make to GPL'd software must be made available, since they are distributing them, but they may also be including software developed in-house that is more heavily restricted.
Astaro ships with "a specially-hardened Linux 2.4" kernel. Version 1.741 was released last week to include updates to bind 8.2.3.
Relax Linux. Relax Linux just announced version 2.5, so we presume they've been around a while, even if we haven't heard of them until their recent posting to Freshmeat. Relax Linux is a small disk Linux distribution (less than 350MB) that can be booted via the loopback device (presumably off a Windows partition) or installed in an ext2 partition. It is aimed at the desktop user.
SuSE Professional 7.0 (DukeOfUrl). The DukeOfUrl reviews SuSE Professional 7.0. "SuSE has another distinguishing feature that I wish more distributions would model, and that is their documentation. It rivals many of the third-party manuals Linux users often feel compelled to buy. With SuSE Professional you get four manuals, not one, not one plus a quick start guide, but four full-fledged paperbacks, well, almost."
ASPLinux News. ASPLinux is a "100% Red Hat-compatible" distribution out of Singapore. We've mentioned their distribution plans a couple of times in the past year, including this coverage last September. This week, they announced the pre-production release of their distribution. They are making boxed sets available to people in exchange for feedback and comments.
Conectiva News. The folks at Conectiva are looking for mirror sites for the stable and snapshot releases of their distribution. Requirements: between 2.5GB and 10GB of space, depending on how much you are willing to mirror.
Debian News. This week's Kernel Cousin Debian has a full report on a range of good discussions that have come up on the Debian developer list recently. Issues with the way in which package maintainers have been using debconf lead the list -- there is concern that Debian is building packages that stomp on manual changes to package files, an example seen in other distributions that Debian does not wish to follow.
Other discussions have been heard before and will be again, such as, "Should Debian provide optimized binaries?" and "What about a Debian/BSD?".
Not yet covered in the Kernel Cousin Debian are recent package organization changes, notably for XFree86 4. These are apparently causing compatibility problems that are keeping new packages out of testing. Package maintainers should review the suggestions for handling these problems.
A few weeks ago, a list of 68 packages that would be removed from Debian if new maintainers did not step forward was posted. This week, the results are in and only five packages will removed. The rest have been adopted by new maintainers, which is very good to hear. For the curious, archie, fvwmconf, gambc, ocamltk and rel are the packages that are being removed from Debian.
Meanwhile, there is also progress on the new maintainers front. A new recommendation system has been put in place to try to assure that new maintainers are likely to be qualified before they enter the approval process. It is hoped that will cut down on the number of entries in the process and prevent a backlog from choking the system.
Check out the latest Kernel Cousin Debian Hurd for a look at the progress in that counterpart to Debian GNU/Linux. It was interesting to catch comments from Richard Stallman about the Hurd kernel in the documentary Revolution OS, first shown last week at LinuxWorld. He indicated that the model used for the Hurd kernel was "too complicated to be quickly debugged or easily maintained" and actually called Linux "a better kernel". For more information on Revolution OS, check out our LinuxWorld coverage.
Linux-Mandrake News. MandrakeSoft has announced the beta release of "Mandrake Security," a firewall and router system built with Linux-Mandrake 7.2.
LinuxPPC News. LinuxPPC has announced, in partnership with Integrated Computer Solutions, that Open Motif will be bundled with its distribution.
Slackware News. Slackware's support for the Alpha and Sparc platforms is now truly official; the Changelogs for all three platforms have now been made available. Large file support is going into the Intel and Sparc platforms. Meanwhile, the rate of general package updates has started to escalate for all three platforms.
SuSE News. The magazine GermanHot100 has named (in German) SuSE as its February 'Startup of the month'. The article gives an overview of the company and its near-term plans. An English translation is available via Babelfish.
SuSE has announced its entry into the Linux portal business with the "Linux Knowledge Portal." It includes technical tips, news site headlines, and a lot of other stuff, including some original news items. For example, there is an interview with Linus Torvalds where he is asked to predict what will happen in 2001: "'AntiTrust' the movie will be a big hit, and as a result Miguel de Icaza will move to Hollywood to start a career as an actor. However, he hits on some bad times, and ends up being featured only in a few B-class porno flicks."
Details emerge on Transmeta's "Mobile Linux" (LinuxDevices). LinuxDevices.com is carrying an article by Henry Kingman, senior producer of ZDNet's Linux Resource Center. "Buried in one of the technical sessions in the basement at Linuxworld came a low-key pre-announcement of the first public availability of "Mobile Linux," a quasi-distribution and embedded Linux development toolkit that Linus Torvalds and other Transmeta employees have been working on for several years. "It's very close," according to Dan Quinlan, a Linux developer at Transmeta."
Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh
February 8, 2001