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News and EditorialsLNX-BBC version 1.618. Remember, back in 1999, when Linux businesses had the time and money to spare for free software projects that were simply cool? In those distant days, Linuxcare created its "bootable business card" (BBC), a card-size CD that would boot a system into a scaled-down Linux system that was oriented toward system rescue tasks. The BBC was a much sought-after system admin tool. Of course, those happy days have passed into history, and Linuxcare has long since ceased supporting BBC development (or much of any other sort of development, for that matter). (Update: it turns out that Linuxcare does have a bootable business card distribution project underway. We regret the error.)
The bootable business card is not dead, though. Many of the original BBC developers went off and created the LNX-BBC project to continue the BBC work. This project has recently come out with version 1.618 (the version number is a long story...) of this distribution, and has cranked out a few thousand copies to hand out at LinuxWorld.
Get one if you can, the LNX-BBC project has created a high-quality distribution.
The new BBC boots into a 2.2.19 kernel; you can even get it to run in the framebuffer mode if you don't mind the cute but distracting business card logo on the top of the screen. It's a full kernel, with support for PCMCIA, ReiserFS (and about any other filesystem you could name), FreeS/WAN, and more. The boot process attempts to locate and mount all of the filesystems on the host system, which can make life easier if you're trying to fix a seriously hosed system.
If you need networking, just run the trivial-net-setup script. It needed a little help in picking a module for the adapter driver, but was able to come up with the right guess on our test system.
Once you're up, you're talking to a Debian-derived Linux system with a full complement of utilities; the LNX-BBC folks have managed to shoehorn an awful lot of stuff into that little disk. Everything you would expect in a rescue system is there: utilities for disk diagnosis and repair, restoring of backups, hardware diagnosis, network debugging, and so on. But it doesn't stop there; LNX-BBC also includes an X server, and tools like cdrecord, cvs, links and lynx, perl, python, pilot-link, and a highly useful little gadget called "sl", which makes a steam locomotive chug across the screen. There's even a version of kerneld, though, with a 2.2 kernel, it's not clear why that would be necessary.
Also included is an experimental Debian installer. Thus, the LNX-BBC can be used as a quick and easy way to install Debian on any system that crosses your path. Doing so with those Windows-only systems in the LinuxWorld press room would probably be considered to be in poor taste, however.
The new LNX-BBC should find its way into any system administrator's toolkit. Be sure to grab your copy at LinuxWorld, or download one from the LNX-BBC web site.
Note: The German firm innominate also supplies a bootable business card rescue disk.
Empower Technologies Inc. Creates Operating System Choice for Palm Users and Palm-Compatible Manufacturers. Empower Technologies announced its Linux DA operating system for the Palm Pilot. Linux DA O/S v1.0 DBE replaces the Palm O/S within the actual handheld device, but still remains fully compatible with the Palm and Palm-compatible hardware.
Omoikane GNU/Linux. Omoikane GNU/Linux is a Japanese commercial distribution based on Debian. The base system is Debian 2.2r2. They actually offer four types of distribution: Workstation (a compact system for desktops), Workstation++ (which adds more packages to Workstation, mainly for development), Server (which, as you might guess from the name, provides server packages such as Apache, BIND, Namazu2 (a Japanese text search engine), PHP4, PostgreSQL and squid), and lastly X-Term (an unusual system which turns a PC into an X terminal using a live boot system, so it requires no installation).
Omoikane isn't a new distribution, but as it is focused on the Japanese market, it seems to be largely unknown outside of Japan. Their website is in Japanese. (Thanks to Bruce Harada for the pointer and the translation.)
EnGarde Secure Newswire!. EnGarde Secure Linux presents the EnGarde Secure Newswire #2. This monthly newsletter contains details on EnGarde development, usage tips, news and reviews pertaining to EnGarde, and information on the latest software released by Guardian Digital for EnGarde. This issue contains reviews and information about the latest software updates.
LASER5 Linux 7.1. LASER5 started out as a project to localize Red Hat Linux to Japanese. Though LASER5 and Red Hat parted ways two years ago, the project has stayed active. They have a new release as of August 24. At least I think that's what it says. The website is, of course, in Japanese.
Mandrake Linux PPC 8.0 final release is now available.
Mandrake Linux 8.1 beta 2 is also available. New features this time around include improved administration tools and the Prelude intrusion detection system.
New NSA SELinux release. A new release of the NSA's Security Enhanced Linux has been announced. Among other things, this release includes the security module work that has been proceeding so quickly over the last few months.
SuSE Linux. SuSE president and CTO Dirk Hohndel has announced his intention to leave the company. "Dirk steps away from SuSE to pursue his personal and professional interests." No word as yet on who the replacement might be.
SuSE has announced the release of SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 7. It's strongly aimed at corporate users, of course, and, beyond all of the features one would expect in a server product, it includes maintenance services. Also listed as a feature is a one-year release cycle.
SuSE announced a back to school special. SuSE's Free Linux Program for US High Schools is in Phase II of its successful campaign to develop greater awareness of open source computing and SuSE Linux throughout US high schools.
Redmond Linux build 38. Build 38 of the Redmond Linux distribution has been announced. A number of fixes and new features are included; it's not quite ready to be called a release candidate, however.
Minor Distribution updates
ClarkConnect. ClarkConnect is an Internet gateway software package based on Red Hat 7.1. Version 0.8.1 was released August 20, 2001.
Astaro Security Linux. Astaro Security Linux version 2.0 was released August 24, 2001. The new version significantly enhances the included software with added functionality such as VPN for IPSec, PPTP for secure road warrior communications and SCSI-Support for high availability security solutions. The complete list of enhancements included in Astaro Security Linux 2.0 can be found in the press release.
The Linux lineup (ZDNet). ZDNet compares a slew of recent Linux distributions, including Caldera OpenLinux eServer 2.3, Linux-Mandrake 8.0, Slackware Linux 7.1, Turbolinux Workstation Pro 6.1, Debian GNU/Linux 2.2, Red Hat Linux 7.1, SuSE Linux 7.2 Professional.
Vector Linux 2.0 Review (Evil3d.net). The folks at Evil3d.net have reviewed Vector Linux 2.0. "80MB heavier, VectorLinux 2.0 is still going to be my choice of a gaming box distribution. It is still very light, still up to date, and it includes better configuration tools than the previous version."
Yellow Dog 2.0 Review (MaximumLinux.org). Here's a review of Terra Soft Solutions' Yellow Dog Linux from MaximumLinux.org. "Yellow Dog Linux is a very robust distribution based heavily on the Red Hat x86 distro. With two big differences, it's uses a PPC kernel (obviously), and the default installation is much more secure than Red Hat's distribution. Yellow Dog leaves all ports turned off by default leaving it up to you turn on which services you plan to use for your particular application."
Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol
August 30, 2001