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News and Editorials

On the road to Slackware 12

After Slackware 11.0 was released last October the Slackware-current changelog was pretty quiet. Firefox 2.0 became optionally available to Slackers and there were a few security fixes, but for several months the entry heading up the log was this one from November 9th.
Thu Nov 9 18:16:50 CST 2006
Q: Hey, what's the deal with -current?
A: Renovations are underway to the toolchain (gcc, glibc, binutils, etc),
       and it makes little sense to update what is essentially Slackware 11.0
       only to do the work all over again once the new toolchain is ready.
       In addition, these things aren't going as smoothly as anticipated.
       I'd like to put the NPTL version of glibc into /lib and the LinuxThreads
       version into /lib/obsolete/linuxthreads (since some old binaries are
       going to need them), but doing this prevents the use of a 2.4 kernel.
       Perhaps it's finally time to drop support for Linux 2.4? Personally,
       I'd rather not as 2.4 is more forgiving of flaky hardware and thus
       tends to get better uptimes (at least on the servers I run ;-).
       Comments about this issue are welcomed.
       glibc-2.5 has also been having some problems with locale support here
       that need to be investigated and dealt with. I'd rather base the glibc
       in Slackware on an official glibc release, but using the development
       repo is also something under (slight) consideration if it works

That changed this week with this lengthy changelog notice going back to this November 20th entry.

Mon Nov 20 14:31:25 CST 2006
Thanks to everyone who provided valuable feedback on the question below.  It
looks as if Slackware -current (future 12.0?) is going to charge into 2.6-only
territory, but it will be a conservative "charge".  :-)  The overwhelming
consensus is that the 2.6 series is now more than stable enough for production
use.  Some folks expressed concern over the loss of Linux 2.4.x compatibility,
but they were a definite minority.  Some suggested maintaining two -current
branches -- one following 2.4 and the other 2.6.  The solution that'll be
taken concerning 2.4.x will be to make Slackware 11.0 better maintained than
simply security updates.  It should see some other non-security updates as
well (perhaps the introduction of an /updates directory?), and will be a long
lived OS for those who swear by the stability of the 2.4.x kernel series.
Meanwhile, 2.4.x compatibility features (such as the, er, mess? going on in
the startup scripts) will be steadily eliminated in -current to focus on the
best possible 2.6.x support.  With a lot of work, we should be able to make
the next Slackware release an excellent choice for both servers and desktops.
Again -- thanks for all the input!  :-)

So what's new for the next Slackware release, besides a 2.6 kernel? Many packages have been upgraded. Several packages have been added to go along with the modular upgrade. Python 2.5 is in along with newer versions of Ruby, Samba and several version control systems (git, Subversion, Mercurial). The init scripts have been split into a new package to go along with an upgrade to sysvinit-2.86. The current kernel is Linux and KDE 3.5.6 is in. All in all there's been quite a bit of removal of old cruft, shiny new packages added, many things split and rearranged. From the March 17th entry:

Sat Mar 17 19:14:35 CDT 2007
  Happy St. Patrick's Day!  :-)
  This is more-or-less stable (functionally), but there's still a lot of
  package splitting and other rearranging and adding to be done, but it's
  time for the Slackware community to see how far we've gotten.  If the
  luck o' the Irish is with us, it'll be a fairly short alpha/beta/rc
  period from here.  Well, have fun!

Comments (1 posted)

New Releases

Debian Installer etch RC2 released

The second release candidate for the Debian Etch installer is available for testing. "Unless release critical issues are discovered, this will be the version of the installer that will be included in the release of Etch. There are no real major changes in this release, but we have been able to use the time since RC1 to fix quite a few important and minor issues."

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Foresight Linux 1.1 released

Foresight Linux 1.1 has been released. Foresight includes the latest version of GNOME, the Epiphany web browser, Orca, Evince, Tomboy, and much more.

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openSUSE 10.3 Alpha2 Release

openSUSE 10.3 Alpha2 is is available. "openSUSE 10.3 Alpha2 is an important milestone for us since it is an installable release so that everybody doing development in the last weeks can double check that their changes not only work in their own environment but also in the complete distribution. It also shows us the state of STABLE so that everybody should be able to use STABLE as basis for their work."

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Slightly changed openSUSE 10.2 ISOs released

Slightly changed openSUSE 10.2 ISO images have been released. "The reason for putting out those updated ISOs is a license issue, which had to be addressed."

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Distribution News

Call for votes for the Debian Project Leader Elections 2007

Voting has begun in the 2007 Debian Project Leader Elections. Debian Developers have until the end of April 7th to vote for the candidate of their choice.

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Gentoo code of conduct adopted

The Gentoo Council has adopted the proposed code of conduct after making a few modifications. Now things move to the implementation stage, including the naming of "proctors" who will enforce the code. Click below for the council meeting summary.

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openSUSE @ FOSDEM 2007 video recordings online

All talks that were given in the openSUSE "DevRoom" have been recorded (in audio and video) and are now available from

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Ubuntu announcements

The Ubuntu 7.04 beta freeze is in effect. The beta is expected to be released March 22, 2007.

Daniel Holbach looks at using tags in Malone (the bug tracker), especially the 'bitesize' tag.

Ben Collins covers the kernel team bug triage policy. "This policy is meant to work in conjunction with current bug triaging policies. This is in the hopes that the bug flow to the kernel team will be easier, and allow community to better help the team with the large amount of bug reports we receive."

Comments (none posted)

Ubuntu 5.10 reaches end-of-life on April 13th 2007

Ubuntu has announced an end-of-life for 5.10 "the Breezy Badger". Released on October 13, 2005, Breezy will have been supported for 18 months on April 13, 2007. The supported upgrade path from Ubuntu 5.10 is via Ubuntu 6.06 LTS. Ubuntu 7.04 "the Feisty Fawn" will be newly released for those Breezy users ready for a clean install.

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Distribution Newsletters

Gentoo Weekly Newsletter

The Gentoo Weekly Newsletter for March 12, 2007 covers Gentoo/FreeBSD 6.2 stages, Updated Playstation 3 stages, Gentoo Documentation Project seeking help, and much more.

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Mandriva : Cooker : the Inside Man VI

The 6th issue of Cooker: the inside man looks at how to become a Mandriva packager, multi-language support on the wiki, automatic updates to the kernel, pre-versions of X11 server 1.3 and Intel video driver 2.0, default Gnome desktop apps, and several other topics.

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Ubuntu Weekly News: Issue #32

The Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter for March 18, 2007 covers Ubuntu's new Website redesign, Breezy Badger's end of the road and Ubuntu's involvement in the year's Google Summer of Code. "Feisty is also going into Beta, so everyone can feel the excitement in the air."

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DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 194

The DistroWatch Weekly for March 19, 2007 is out. "With the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5, the focus of many Linux users will shift to those projects that rebuild the source packages made available by the prominent North American Linux vendor into a complete RHEL clone. Many other distributions are also in advanced stages of development: Mandriva Linux 2007.1 will be one of the first major distributions to make a new release this year, while a highly up-to-date Slackware Linux 11.1 shouldn't be far behind either. In other news: Debian has announced the second release candidate of Debian Installer for Etch, Gentoo approves a new code of conduct for its developers, the Freespire community voices its concerns over the direction of the distribution, and OpenBSD announces the release date for version 4.1. Our feature story this week is a commentary about a new, collaborative development model as pioneered by the Wolvix and Ultima developers, followed by a brief review of Wolvix 1.1.0 alpha."

Comments (none posted)

Newsletters and articles of interest

Four good reasons to switch to RHEL 5 (Linux-Watch)

Linux-Watch presents four reasons to switch to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5. "What Red Hat brings to the table ahead of the pack is virtualization management. Anyone can set up a VM (virtual machine) on Linux -- or, they can try. To set one up successfully, you really do have to know precisely what you're doing. With RHEL 5, any reasonably experienced system administrator should be able to set up VMs without yanking out major amounts of hair. Once in place, those VMs are also a lot easier to manage."

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Kubuntu-based Pioneer Linux turns 2.0 (DesktopLinux)

DesktopLinux takes a look at Pioneer Linux 2.0. "Techalign has released version 2.0 of its Kubuntu-based Pioneer Linux desktop. The new version features a 2.6.17 kernel and the KDE 3.5.4 desktop, extensive support for multimedia, and Automatix, which automates the installation and uninstallation of many popular applications."

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Novell preps SUSE Enterprise Linux 10 SP1 (Linux-Watch)

Linux-Watch covers Novell's upgrade to SUSE Enterprise Linux 10. "According to Novell, SP1 will include enhanced virtualization support and management via the latest update, version 3.0.4, of the Xen hypervisor. With this, Novell will also include new paravirtualized network and block device drivers said to allow Microsoft Windows Server 2000/2003/XP to run unmodified in Xen virtual environments on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 operating with chips that support Intel VT (Virtualization Technology) and AMD "Pacifica" virtualization."

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Distribution reviews

Ubuntu Feisty Fawn: Desktop Linux Matured (OSnews)

OSnews reviews Ubuntu's Feisty Fawn Herd 5 CD. "I've been an Arch/Slackware Linux user for the last 3 years, but Ubuntu has won me the last few days because of the conveniences it brings. The point of the matter is, I am now older. I am 33 years old and I just don't have the same energy as I used to to deal with stupid issues that they should not be there, or with removal or non-development of conveniences for no good reason. Ubuntu is a distro that obviously has paid attention to detail (and everyone who knows me from my past writings knows how much I can bitch about "defaults" and "details") and has found a good middle ground between hard core Linux users and new users from the Windows/OSX land. I am looking forward for the final version of Feisty Fawn in April and you should do too."

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Getting started with the CentOS 4.4 Single Server CD ( looks at the CentOS 4.4 Single Server CD. "The Single Server CD contains most of the items required for a basic server set up, but without a GUI. It's great for those who want a functional install quickly. Also, since there is no memory-hungry GUI, you can run a basic server with just 128MB of RAM, though of course you will need more if you need to deploy large databases."

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BOSS Linux makes new users feel at home ( has a review of BOSS Linux. "BOSS Linux is a single-CD Debian-based distribution primarily designed for an Indian language user, though everything from the installer to the desktop defaults to English. BOSS 1.1, which was released last month by the Indian government-sponsored National Resource Center for Free/Open Source Software (NRCFOSS), includes several utilities and desktop enhancements, such as a document converter and the 3-D desktop Beryl, which make it a very usable distro, despite a few rough edges."

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Page editor: Rebecca Sobol
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