March 16, 2008 -- Introduced in Ubuntu 7.10 was install-time encryption support where using the alternate installer one can fully encrypt their disk in an LVM using dm-crypt. Unfortunately, the Ubiquity installer in Ubuntu 8.04 continues to lack LVM and encryption support, but using Ubuntu 8.04 Alpha 6 we have looked at the performance cost of this encrypted configuration on Ubuntu Linux. Rather than looking directly at the disk read/write overhead caused by the encryption process, we have provided some benchmarks to see how the real-world performance is impacted in both gaming and other desktop tasks.
March 08, 2008 -- The beta release of Fedora 9 has been pushed back another week to March 20, because of stability issues, but to see the progress made by the Fedora / Red Hat developers we did a clean Rawhide installation. Some of the features that have been shaping up well for Fedora 9 include EXT4 file-system support, encrypted file-system support, Firefox 3.0 integration, GCC 4.3 support, enhanced NetworkManager capabilities with "out of the box" support mobile broadband (GSM/CDMA) devices, inclusion of PackageKit, and Upstart replacing SysVinit. Some of the packages currently making up Fedora 9 include GNOME 2.21.92, Linux 2.6.25 RC, X Server 1.5.0 RC 0, and OpenOffice.org 2.4.0. For your viewing pleasure, here are a few screenshots of the latest Fedora 9 Rawhide code as of today.
March 06, 2008 -- The final alpha release for Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron is now available. Among the features that are available to Ubuntu 8.04 users are Firefox 3 Beta 3, the Vinagre VNC client, PolicyKit, PulseAudio, improved Virtualization capabilities, and even improved memory protection. Ubuntu 8.04 will use the Linux 2.6.24 kernel with X.Org 7.3 and GNOME 2.22.0. Ubuntu 8.04 Alpha 6 is accompanied by new alpha builds for Kubuntu, Kubuntu-KDE4, Edubuntu, Ubuntu JeOS, Xubuntu, Gobuntu, and Ubuntu Studio. The final release of Ubuntu 8.04 is planned for April 24 and it will be an LTS (Long Term Support) release.
February 29, 2008 -- Last week when traveling to Europe for FOSDEM and other business meetings, I had picked up a new 9-cell battery for a Lenovo ThinkPad T60. While an additional three battery cells will noticeably extend your battery life, you can also extend your battery life by taking a few simple steps to optimize your Linux desktop that will also reduce your power consumption and heat output. In this article are a few simple steps to take in order to extend your notebook's battery life on Ubuntu.
February 27, 2008 -- Canonical will not be officially supporting KDE 4 until Kubuntu 8.10 "Intrepid Ibex" but for Kubuntu 8.04 "Hardy Heron" will be a KDE 3.5 spin and then a community-supported Kubuntu 8.04 version based upon KDE 4.0 (though a few KDE 3 applications are still bundled). Arriving today, albeit a week after the Ubuntu 8.04 Alpha 5 release, is the first KDE 4.0.1 Hardy Heron build.
February 14, 2008 -- Last year leading up to the release of Ubuntu 7.04 "Feisty Fawn" and Ubuntu 7.10 "Gutsy Gibbon" we had published several articles looking at various aspects of this desktop Linux distribution. These articles had varied from looking at Ubuntu's power consumption for the past six major releases to presenting the visual history of Ubuntu and how its graphics have evolved since Ubuntu 4.10. With Ubuntu 8.04 "Hardy Heron" shipping in just two months, we are once again looking at Ubuntu from several points of view. In this article, we are looking at Ubuntu's boot performance for the past five releases through the use of Bootchart for measuring its boot time, disk throughput, and the running processes.
February 10, 2008 -- With the alpha one release of OpenSuSE 11.0 we had talked about its brand new installer that was powered by Trolltech's Qt4, and now with Alpha 2 becoming available there are more notable improvements. OpenSuSE 11.0 will ship with GNOME 2.22, but until that is available there is GNOME 2.21.90, which is the latest development build. For KDE users, Alpha 2 has integrated KDE 4.0.1 which replaces the KDE 3.5 branch for this desktop Linux distribution. OpenSuSE 11.0 Alpha 2 contains the Linux 2.6.24 kernel, D-Bus 1.2-rc2, ALSA 1.0.16-rc2, and other new open-source packages. Alpha 2 is available via GNOME and KDE LiveCDs and an installation DVD that contains only open-source software.
February 08, 2008 -- Hitting the web this past week in addition to Fedora 9 Alpha, OpenSuSE 11.0 Alpha 2, and Yellow Dog Linux 6.0 was the first beta release for Myah OS. This is a desktop Linux distribution that is assembled via custom build scripts and its own package management solution. This beta release brings forth a GUI front-end for the Myah Package Manager, Myah update icon applet, live installer support for EXT3/XFS/ReiserFS, and live installer support for installing to a USB flash drive. Myah OS 3.0 Beta 1 ships with the Linux 18.104.22.168 kernel, GCC 4.2.2, Xfce 4.4.2, and X.Org 7.3. While Myah OS is a one man operation and its developer, Jeremiah Cheatham, goes to the extent of creating a truly custom distribution, it's unfortunate that the theme and even the cursor are abominable from our perspective. Aside from that, it's an interesting distribution.
February 05, 2008 -- With Fedora living on the front-line of Linux technologies, Fedora 9 Sulphur will be shipping with KDE 4.0 as opposed to holding off until KDE 4.1 with Fedora 10. With the release of Fedora 9 Alpha this morning, we've taken both the GNOME and KDE versions for a test spin. While this alpha release is shipping with KDE 4.0.0, and Fedora 9 final release will likely ship with KDE 4.0.3, this desktop LiveCD had worked out fairly well in our initial usage tests. For your viewing pleasure we've included some screenshots of Fedora 9 KDE Live Alpha.
February 05, 2008 -- On this Super Tuesday here in the United States, Red Hat has this morning released the first and only alpha release for Fedora 9. This ninth Fedora release, which has been codenamed Sulphur, will ship in April and go head-to-head against Ubuntu 8.04 LTS "Hardy Heron", but what features can one expect in this forthcoming release? Among the features being worked on are encrypted file-system support, updating the KDE spin to KDE 4.0, PackageKit integration, and switching to upstart initialization. In this article, we are taking a brief look at Fedora 9 Alpha and the features planned for Fedora 9.