On the Desktop
Linux in the news
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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
Linux Distribution Quiz. BBspot is running this Linux distribution quiz. The page lists 15 possible distribution names and asks if they are real or fake. Of course we know that our usual Distributions editor Liz Coolbaugh would get a perfect score, but she's in Singapore. This LWN editor managed to score 11 out of 15. So test your knowledge, no fair peeking at the sidebars. Later on I'll introduce the two very real Linux distributions that I thought were fake. (Thanks to Lenz Grimmer)
Progeny Debian Release Candidate 1. The first release candidate version of Progeny Debian is out. See the announcement for a list of what this distribution includes; it looks like they may have made some substantial progress in improving the famously difficult Debian installation process. The official release is scheduled for the end of this month, with a boxed version available in April. Progeny's Bruce Byfield described Progeny Debian as "the foundation of Progeny's other development work, including Linux NOW, a revolutionary new tool that will make a network of Linux workstations appear as a single system for administration and general use. However, Progeny also perceived the need for a mediator between Debian and the general community of users that could provide an easier install and an extra testing cycle that could produce more timely releases."
A developer's perspective on Transmeta's Midori Linux (LinuxDevices). Jerry Epplin wrote this developer's view of Midori Linux. "Transmeta produces a line of low-power x86-compatible processors for notebook computers and embedded devices. These processors have an interesting and controversial design which, in combination with Transmeta's smart marketing move of hiring Linus Torvalds (the creator of Linux), has resulted in press attention far out of proportion to the company's small size. Thus, an old embedded system curmudgeon might be forgiven for expecting that the release of Midori Linux would be little more than a public relations move."
SuSE points all guns at Red Hat (LinuxToday.au). SuSE appears to have a market lead in the US, if you believe all the reports of late. This decidedly pro-SuSE article suggests that market share change could reach Australia too. "In the next few months, Linux professionals in Australia might expect to see Australian businesses following their US counterparts and trying Suse Linux. Australia has always typically followed the United States in terms of server popularity, and Linux really has been no exception."
Debian project at German CeBIT exhibition. Look for the Debian staff at CeBIT. There will be a Debian project sub-booth at the Linuxland stand (Hall 6, Booth F10/D08), staffed by Ingo Saitz and Michael Bramer.
Caldera OpenLinux Workstation enters open beta. Caldera Systems has announced that its "OpenLinux Workstation 3.1" product will go into an open beta test period starting March 22. It includes the obligatory 2.4 kernel and other new stuff. There's no explanation of where the name comes from - the previous version was "OpenLinux eDesktop 2.4."
Libranet Linux 1.9.0 released. Libranet 1.9.0 has been announced. This version of this (Debian-derived) distribution includes a number of new goodies, including the 2.4.2 kernel and KDE 2.1.
K12Linux - LTSP. The first public release of K12Linux is out now. K12Linux - LTSP is a terminal server distribution designed for classroom use. The Linux Terminal Server Project (LTSP) created a set of easy-to-use packages for K12Linux.
MandrakeSoft launches MandrakeFreq. MandrakeFreq is a new program that allows users to test the new features of the Linux-Mandrake distribution in between each official release. These are releases from the stable tree, not the "Cooker" experimental distribution, but they are beta versions.
SuSE Linux 7.1 ftp-version. This announcement in English and German contains the ftp sites, and mirror sites for downloading SuSE Linux 7.1.
Second Bug-Squashing Party results. The second Debian bug-squashing party was a great success. Bug squash number 3 should be coming up in a few weeks.
ChainSaw and Antarctic Linux. As promised, here are two distributions found through the BBspot quiz. Both have been around for a while, but they are new to LWN.
ChainSaw Linux was developed to run bleeding edge kernels. More recently a separate version of ChainSaw has focused on video editing.
While Antarctica Linux does seem to be a real distribution, its web site seems to be down. Google lists Antarctica as "a Linux operating system distribution designed for ease of use and simple installation."
Minor Distribution updates
Red Hat updates to rpm and db3. Red Hat has issued this update to rpm for all versions of its distribution from 5.2 on. Installing this update will be a big change, especially for users of versions 5.x and 6.x (who will also need to install the db3 update to make things work). Going backward to older versions of rpm will not be easy if the new rpm does not work out. Read the advisory carefully before proceeding. Even if Linus says that backups are for wimps, we suggest that you back up your data first.
An interview with Midori Linux project leader Dan Quinlan (LinuxDevices). Rick Lehrbaum interviews Midori Linux project leader Dan Quinlan. When asked why Transmeta would want to create a new distribution Quinlan replied, "Although to date Crusoe sales have mostly been in the notebook computer space, Midori is not meant for notebook computers. We expect standard Linux distributions to be used in notebooks, with perhaps a few minor additions to better support Crusoe's power management features such as "LongRun". Instead, the focus of Midori is on small devices like Web pads, rather than notebook computers, where system resources such as RAM and Flash memory tend to be very limited, where you don't have hundreds of megs of RAM or disk space."
Uncovering the secrets of SE Linux: Part 2 (IBM developerWorks). In part 2 of this article, the US National Security Agency's security enhanced version of Linux is examined more closely, dissecting how the security_av is computed and examining how other SE Linux security features are invoked. There's also a new release of the NSA's Security-Enhanced Linux out that is based on the 2.4.2 kernel.
SuSE Linux Professional 7.1 (C|Net). C|Net awards the latest release of SuSE Linux Professional its Editors Choice, saying its ease of use rivals Linux-Mandrake. "Power users will like the option of installing two kernels, 2.4 and 2.2.18. With both installed, you'll be able to select the kernel you want to boot, using SuSE's graphical LILO--a neat feature, and one that only SuSE offers."
Icepack Linux (ZDNet). ZDNet reviews Icepack Linux. "We recommend Icepack Linux as a fine distribution for Windows users, especially beginners, but we end with one significant caveat. It supports only fixed IP addresses, not dynamic IP, for Ethernet LANs. This will disadvantage networks designed to share a single cable/DSL Internet connection through DHCP -- a very curious design decision."
Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol
March 22, 2001