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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
Compatibility between Linux distributions. This week a lengthy thread arose on the debian-devel list on whether the Debian distribution should be Red Hat binary compatible. The answers ranged from "yes" to "no" to "maybe". As the LWN commerce editor for the last couple of years I can vouch for the fact that there are an increasing number of proprietary software packages being released specifically for Red Hat Linux. No doubt in Germany the distribution of choice is SuSE, and other countries will have other favorites. The point is Debian (or Slackware or many other smaller vendors) will not usually be the first choice for a proprietary software vendor who wishes to port software to Linux. Also this software, once ported to one flavor of Linux may or may not run on other Linux distributions.
The Linux Standard Base was created to address these compatibility issues and the current 1.0.0 release is certainly a good start. Obviously it's not all the way there yet. Also, there is no guarantee that all Linux vendors will follow the standard. If, for example, a large vendor like Red Hat chooses to ignore the LSB it is likely that the proprietary software vendors will also ignore those standards, and write software that runs only on Red Hat Linux. Making Red Hat a de facto standard in this manner puts additional pressure on a volunteer based distribution like Debian. It is really best if all distributions stick to the standard. There may still be some compatibility issues, but following standards will minimize the issues (or maybe just point out a place where the standards are inadequate).
Not all volunteer developers within Debian will agree that there is a need for proprietary software to run on Debian. This is certainly a valid choice. However, if a business chooses to run Debian and also chooses to use a proprietary software product shouldn't this combination just work? Should that business be forced to use a different distribution just because it is tied to a third party product? This is a mode of operation more reminiscent of certain proprietary operating systems than of Linux. World domination requires that vendors can port once and businesses can use whichever flavor of Linux they please without worrying about compatibility issues.
Debian Linux for BeOS refugees. Since Palm acquired Be's assets and Be intends to wind up its operations some time in the fall many BeOS refugees will be looking for alternatives, including Linux. One ex-Be user advocates Debian for BeOS refugees.
Mandrake Linux Community Newsletter - Issue #10. This issue of the Mandrake Linux Community Newsletter is available in English and in French. It includes information on the Mandrake 8.1 Beta, a reminder about the upcoming LinuxWorld show in San Francisco, and a spotlight on the KDE desktop environment.
CRUX. The CRUX distribution appears to have been around at least since last April and version 0.9 was released on July 7, 2001. Here's a description from the CRUX website.
CRUX is a lightweight, i686-optimized Linux distribution targeted at experienced Linux users. The primary focus of this distribution is "keep it simple", which is reflected in a simple tar.gz-based package system, BSD-style initscripts, and a relatively small collection of trimmed packages. The secondary focus is utilization of new Linux features and recent tools and libraries.
(Thanks to Joe Klemmer who found the link at DaveCentral.
Blue Linux announces the Development of Blue Linux EDU. Blue Linux announced that they will be working toward a Blue Linux Educational version that will be based on reaching out to the Educational Community. Blue Linux Founder Matt Jezorek said
"We hope that we can help cut the cost of running the school systems and keeping up with licensing so that learning can once again become the major part of todays schools."
Debian News. Debian release manager Anthony Towns has posted a request not to make major changes to the base as part of the ongoing freeze, and as a bonus included a list of the software to be included in the base as well as the "standard" packaging.
There will be a bug squashing party this weekend to help stamp out those Woody bugs.
If you are a prospective Debian developer looking for an existing developer to meet and sign your GPG key (for the Identification part of the new maintainer process), there is now a listing of developers available. Current Debian developers are encouraged to register so prospective developers can find you in the listing.
Some new mailing lists have been created for Debian developers. There's one for Debian's Catalan internationalization and localization team, some new bug lists, lists in Italian and French, and others.
Mandrake Linux 8.1 Beta1 for x86 on mirror sites. MandrakeSoft has informed us that the first beta release of Mandrake 8.1 for x86 systems is now available from their mirror sites. This version includes the 2.4.8 Linux kernel; the shiny new KDE 2.2; the latest Ximian Evolution 1.0 beta 2; and you can try your new digital camera with gphoto2; configure and reconfigure your printer with the reworked printerdrake and its new friend foomatic; and much more.
Yes, its a beta and it has bugs, but some of those bugs already have fixes available. So get busy, crash some machines and let Mandrake know what works and what doesn't.
Midori 1.0.0-beta3 released. Midori Linux 1.0.0-beta3 has been released. "Highlights: it compiles on Red Hat 7.1 (your mileage may vary, so please let us know how it works for you) and we've replaced the entire init script system with something much better (in our opinion, at least) than what's available on the average Linux system."
MontaVista's Linux port to the IQ80310. Here is the latest source drop for the Linux port to the IQ80310. You'll need the linux-2.4.7 kernel with patch-2.4.7-rmk3 to get it running.
Red Hat: Roswell, the return. There has been another sighting of Roswell, Red Hat's latest beta. Apparently lots of things have changed with this new version, which may still be rather buggy. The truth is out there.
Trustix releases Secure Linux 1.5. Trustix announced the release of Trustix Secure Linux version 1.5, nicknamed "MiddleWhere". A number of new features have been added to TSL with this version, based on user requests. Updates to this package include MySQL, PHP4, and modutils for 2.4, and SWUP for automatic updates and easy install of new software.
Turbolinux News. Turbolinux has announced the release of its z/Linux 6.5 distribution for IBM zSeries servers and S/390 mainframes.
Turbolinux also announced the availability of Turbolinux Workstation 7.0 for US-based OEMs.
Minor Distribution updates
FreeBSD. FreeBSD v4.4 should be available by the end of the month. In the meantime Annelise Anderson, a frequent contributor to the FreeBSD mailing lists, has written "FreeBSD: An Open-Source Operating System for Your PC", an introduction to FreeBSD aimed at the new user. It is published by The Bit Tree Press, the ISBN is 0971204500, and it can be ordered from, amongst other places, the DaemonNews Mall.
Mindi Linux v0.38. This version of Mindi was released August 18th. There is now a 'mindi-kernel' plug-in, so that users can use a stock 2.4.7 kernel in case their kernel isn't right for a boot disk among other changes.
Redmond Linux: Stripped-down Linux business aims at desktop newbies (NewsForge). NewsForge reviewed Redmond Linux. Joseph Cheek, CTO of Redmond Linux tells us there are a few inaccuracies in the article [Redmond Linux is based on Caldera Workstation 3.1, and Rick Collette is VP of Engineering, not VP of Marketing], however this is a good review overall. "The distribution has several goals, including, of course, "ease of use for people used to Windows," Collette says. The Redmond Linux coders also want seamless filesystem integration with other operating systems on a network, and a full suite of working applications."
Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol
August 23, 2001