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News and Editorials

What's up with the Intrepid Ibex

By Rebecca Sobol
September 10, 2008
Ubuntu's current development release is called the Intrepid Ibex, which is soon to become v8.10. The Alpha5 release was announced this week, which is pretty close to on schedule. One more alpha release is planned, followed by a single beta, and the final release should be available by October 30, 2008.

Looking at the blueprints for Intrepid we see a number of high priority items such as 3G networking, which will be integrated into NetworkManager. Another high priority item is an improved flash experience, which is aimed at improving the plugin finder wizard, better interaction with sites that use the flash detection kit, and an improved user-experience for selecting available alternatives. Internally there are the Package Status Pages, which are meant to provide a web page for each of the top 20-30 packages in Ubuntu showing bug counts and other vital signs and statistics.

What else is new in Intrepid? GNOME 2.23.91, X.Org server 7.4, Linux kernel 2.6.27, and Network Manager 0.7 are all being included. An encrypted private directory will also be added to each home directory. In addition, there's a Guest session available from the User Switcher panel applet to give temporary access with restricted privileges.

Dynamic Kernel Module Support (DKMS) is also available in Intrepid. It allows kernel drivers to be automatically rebuilt when new kernels are released. This makes it possible for kernel package updates to be made available immediately without waiting for rebuilds of driver packages, and without third-party driver packages becoming out of date. Finally, the "Last successful boot" recovery entry retains a copy of your running kernel and makes it available from the boot loader. This makes it possible for old kernel packages to be safely auto-removed by the package manager, instead of being kept indefinitely.

Kubuntu will be using KDE4, with no plans to support KDE3. The Kubuntu wiki for Intrepid says, "KDE 3 is obsolete and largely unmaintained. Keeping with KDE 3 would offer no advantage over giving users Hardy."

Bug squashing has been ongoing, with a number of focused Hug Days. The latest of these will be held September 11 to focus on bugs that don't have a package assigned to them.

There are still a few known issues in the Alpha5 release, but overall the development is progressing nicely. Of course, if wild mountain goats are not your thing (however intrepid they might be), you can always wait for the more mythological Jaunty Jackalope, which will be in the planning stages at a Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS) in Mountain View, California next December.

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New Releases

Intrepid Alpha 5 released

Ubuntu's Intrepid Ibex (v8.10) has reached the fifth alpha release. Intrepid Alpha 5 is also available in Ubuntu Education Edition, Kubuntu and Xubuntu flavors.

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Distribution News

Debian GNU/Linux

Debian/m68k meeting in Kiel

The Debian m68k porters met recently at the Christian Albrechts University in Kiel, Germany. The m68k port will not be officially supported in Debian Lenny. "The most pressing matter we discussed, however, has been what we thought the best way to go forward was. Contrary to what some people may think, the end of Debian/m68k on to us does not mean the end of the Debian/m68k port as a whole; and while we may be having problems currently, most of these problems are on their way to bein solved medium to long term."

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Fedora status update

There's a new update on the status of updates for the Fedora 8 and 9 distributions. "We're in the final stages of testing a few corner cases, and preparing the official builds of fedora-release, PackageKit, gnome-packagekit, and unique (needed as a new dep for gnome-packagekit). All existing updates in the old update locations will be purged, and just these updates will be put in their place, signed with our old key. Once you've updated to these packages, the next update attempt will point you to our new locations with our new keys and you should be able to process any further pending updates." Things should be getting back to normal before too long.

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Fedora 8 and 9 updates re-enabled

Newly signed packages, along with a rather large backlog of updates, for Fedora 8 and 9 are making their way out to the mirrors and should be available to users soon. The process of getting the new keys and repository locations is meant to be fairly straightforward—nearly transparent. A FAQ is available as well. "In a few hours, updates for Fedora 8 and Fedora 9 will start hitting mirrors. These updates are designed to transition users from our old repo locations to new locations that have all our updates re-signed with a new set of keys." Click below for the full announcement.

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FESCo Issue tracking

The Fedora Engineering Steering Committee (FESCo) has a new way for users to bring issues to their attention. New issues for FESCo can now be filed at "Note that FESCo (Fedora Engineering Steering Committee) handles the process of accepting new features, the acceptance of new packaging sponsors, Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and SIG Oversight, the packaging process, handling and enforcement of maintainer issues and other technical matters related to the distribution and its construction"

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SUSE Linux and openSUSE

KDE in openSUSE 11.1 and beyond

Joe Brockmeier looks at the status of KDE in openSUSE 11.1. KDE 3.5 will be available, although the package selection may be slimmed down on the DVD, and will not be included on the main desktop selection page. Click below for more on the availability of KDE 3.5 in 11.1 and in 11.2.

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Ubuntu family

Introducing the Jaunty Jackalope

Ubuntu has announced the follow-up to the Intrepid Ibex, this time with a mythical creature, the Jaunty Jackalope. "The Warrior Rabbit is our talisman as we move into a year where we can reasonably expect Ubuntu to ship on several million devices, to consumers who can reasonably expect the software experience to be comparable to those of the traditional big OSV's - Microsoft and Apple. The bar is set very high, and we have been given the opportunity to leap over it. It's a once-in-a-lifetime chance to shine, and we want to make sure that the very best thinking across the whole open source ecosystem is reflected in Ubuntu, because many people will judge free software as a whole by what we do." Click below for the full announcement.

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New Distributions

Ojuba Linux

Ojuba Linux is an Arabic Fedora-based distribution with packages translated to Arabic/Islamic languages such as hijra and minbar. Many packages have been patched to have better Arabic support. Ojuba Linux comes with some third party packages to have multimedia support for proprietary formats and proprietary drivers. Thanks to Muayyad AlSadi.

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Distribution Newsletters

DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 269

The DistroWatch Weekly for September 8, 2008 is out. "This week's feature story is a review of Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 "Lenny" on the ASUS Eee PC. With Debian being the first Linux distribution to have an open communication channel with the Taiwan-based hardware manufacturer, our expectations were high, but is Lenny really a good choice for the popular ultra-portable? Read on to find out. In the news section, Google restarts the browser war with Chrome, Dell unveils the long-awaited Inspiron Mini 9, Mandriva Linux 2009 enters the release candidate stage, and Fedora calls on beta testers to help with testing the promising ext4 file system. Also worth a mention, a new community edition of openSUSE 11.0 with Enlightenment as its principal window manager is now available for download. Finally, a lot of interesting news for the fans of Linux Mint as Clement Lefebvre announces a range of upcoming community editions before giving an excellent interview on a Linux news blog."

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Fedora Weekly News, Issue 142

The Fedora Weekly News for September 7, 2008 is out. "This week in Announcements we alert you to the "Fedora 10 Beta Freeze Coming Soon" and the new "FESCo Issue Tracking". In PlanetFedora "Tech Tidbits" contains some juicy morsels on evaluating package sizes and Haskell. In Developments we examine the process of "Getting Back On Our Feet" after the intrusions. SecurityAnnouncements finally has some content. Artwork covers "Working on a Sound Theme" and the acceptance of the "Echo Icon Theme as a Fedora 10 Feature""

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OpenSUSE Weekly News/37

This edition of the openSUSE Weekly News looks at Hack Week III Judging, Novell OpenPR Blog: Zonker Blogs, Board election, Hackweek review, Jigish Gohil: Spin openSUSE Live CD or USB stick image "easily", Stephan Binner: New KDE Four Live-CDs, and much more.

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PCLinuxOS Magazine September 2008

The September edition of PCLinuxOS Magazine is available in the HTML version or the PDF version. Some highlights from this editon include: Linux Media Players - Round up, Gnome User Guide, Connect an XBox and PCLinuxOS, Chapter 6- Kde User Guide, and more.

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Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter #107

The Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter for September 6, 2008 covers: Intrepid Alpha 5 released, KDE Community Stabilizes Desktop with KDE 4.1.1, KDE 4.1.1 available for Kubuntu 8.04, Wanted: Moderators for Ubuntu Brainstorm, Ubuntu Developer Week Summary, PackageKit: Call for testing, New MOTU, Ubuntu Package Status Pages, New Proposed WikiGuide page, Call for feedback on new wiki theme, Ubuntu-UK podcast #13, Say Ubuntu, KDE Usability project video, Atlanta Linux Fest, and much more.

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Interview with Joe Brockmeier - openSUSE Community Manager at Novell (How Software is Built)

How Software is Built has an interview with Joe Brockmeier. "Sean: Tell us a bit about where you feel openSUSE sits in the landscape of desktop distributions. What do you think it's exceedingly good at, and maybe some of the places where you see challenges or opportunities? Joe: Generally, my metric for success on the desktop is how well it fits what people need. I don't really spend a lot of time comparing it to other Linux distros, because I really think we all have the same mission, which is to get people using Linux. So I don't view them as competition, so much as inspiration, if anything. The audience we're trying to address includes home office users and others who want a good, solid desktop operating system that's as easy to use as possible. I think openSUSE is exceedingly good at package management, being easy to use, offering a top-notch desktop experience in GNOME or KDE, and providing a wide range of the best free and open source software available. Our challenge is reaching new users and encouraging more users to become contributors."

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Minty Chat with Mr. Clement Lefebvre (Help for Linux)

The BlogSpot site Help For Linux has an interview with Clement Lefebvre, the creator of Linux Mint. "Linux Mint is a project which is among the most innovative and prolific in regards to developing GTK applications. Of course we like to make the distribution look nice, we do include the codecs and we do sit on top of a great package base (credit for this goes to Ubuntu but also to Debian by the way). What we do though, where we spend a lot of time and where we really add value to the Linux desktop has to do with development. We implemented our own software and upgrade managers, we have a unique Gnome menu, we designed a file-sharing system which doesn't exist anywhere else and these are some of the things we like to be appreciated for."

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Page editor: Rebecca Sobol
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