There was a lot of interest generated by my last article titled "Build a (Very) Inexpensive Solaris 10 Workstation". Several topics were brought up in this feedback, among which these two questions "what tools does Solaris have for backups?" and "is it possible to make a restore DVD for Solaris?" struck me as particularly important. For reasons of my own, which I divulge in the Purpose section, I decided to pursue these questions and write an article.
We are just about three weeks out from the final release of Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon, but those wishing to try out the new release early or wish to help in testing, the Ubuntu 7.10 Beta release is available today. This Ubuntu Beta release, which will be succeeded by the Ubuntu 7.10 Release Candidate and then the final release, contains GNOME 2.20 and other updated packages such as GIMP 2.4.0-rc2 and Pidgin 2.2.0. The Ubuntu 7.10 Beta is coming out one month since the last development release, Tribe 5, since Tribe 6 was never released to the public. The new Gutsy Gibbon artwork and wallpaper are also present in this test release.
The quarterly release of Solaris Express Developer Edition is now available for download. Among the new features in Solaris Express Developer Edition 9/07 is a new Solaris installer, a GUI utility for DTrace with Sun Studio 12, and many updated packages. In this article at Phoronix we have some screenshots from SXDE 9/07 as well as information on some of the other changes and our thoughts.
Not only was this week marked by the Intel Developer Forum, but the final version of KateOS 3.6 was also released earlier in the week. KateOS 3.6 features a new LiveCD installer, hundreds of updates to packages, a software-powered hibernation system, a new version of update-notifier, and new internationalization support. KateOS is not nearly as popular as Ubuntu or Fedora, but we highly recommend checking it out if you're after a Xfce-powered desktop.
Following this morning's mobility speak by Intel, Ian Murdock took the stage in one of the small rooms at the Moscone Center West to talk about the OpenSolaris Binary Distribution that is currently known as Project Indiana. We captured all of the slides Ian had shown, and while most of the information he shared was just reiterated from his past talks, there was some interesting details worth sharing. Among the advantages of Project Indiana is that it will use Sun's ZFS as the default file-system, and Project Indiana will be taking full advantage of its abilities to create snapshots and perform rollbacks if something with the system's software goes wrong. With Sun's past work with the GNOME project, GNOME will be the desktop environment in Project Indiana said Ian Murdock. He had gone on to reiterate several other basic points such as the single CD installation with network-based package management (likely powered by apt). Project Indiana will also be easier to acquire, as it will be available through mirrors that do not need registration and will be distributed via Bit Torrent. Another goal of Ian's is also to modernize the command line.
Kanotix 2007 Thorhammer RC6 has been released, which signifies re-basing Kanotix against Debian Etch as opposed to Debian Sid. Kanotix 2007 Thorhammer RC6 also includes the Linux 2.6.22 kernel based upon the Ubuntu kernel with some modifications and extra patches. This release candidate also features the Acritox installer, Beryl 0.2.0, X.Org 7.1.1, NTFS-3g support, KDE 3.5.5a, and IceWeasel. Give Kanotix Thorhammer a try and if you run into any problems or wish to provide feedback, stop by the Phoronix Forums where Kano (the Kanotix distribution creator) is a member.
Fedora 8 Test 2 hit the web this morning and accompanying this release are now four LiveCD images. There is the traditional Fedora Live CD version followed by a KDE version and now there is a developer Live edition and FEL. FEL is short for Fedora Electronic Lab and is designed to be a LiveCD edition for those engineers working on electronics. Anyhow, Fedora 8 Test 2 features the latest test release in the GNOME 2.19 series, is based upon the Linux 2.6.23 kernel, and PulseAudio is now used as the advanced sound server. These days the Fedora project isn't generating as much buzz as Ubuntu, but Fedora 8 Test 2 is certainly worth checking out for any Red Hat enthusiasts and those wishing to live on the bleeding edge. If there's one thing to enjoy about Fedora 8, the artwork improvements since Fedora 7 are absolutely great!
The first release candidate for Copernic, or perhaps better known as the codename for Mandriva Linux 2008, has been released. Mandriva Linux 2008 includes GNOME 2.20, the Linux 2.6.22 kernel, Compiz Fusion, and XDG menu migration and XDG user directory system. Mandriva 2008 also complies with the FreeDesktop.org icon theme draft specification.
Among Linux distributions, Zenwalk is really an unsung hero. This distribution is great when it comes to the quality of the software, package selection, and the all-around feel of the distribution. Zenwalk is shortly coming up on its v4.8 milestone and earlier this week the first beta was released. New in Zenwalk Linux 4.8 Beta is the Linux 18.104.22.168 kernel as well as IceWeasel and IceDove replacing Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird accompanied by the GMusicBrowser. The Xfce user interface has also been tweaked slightly and new artwork can also be found in Zenwalk 4.8. Zenwalk 4.8 is shaping up quite well from what can be seen in the beta release and it's highly recommended to check it out if you have time over this Labor Day weekend.
The feature freeze, upstream version freeze, and the first artwork deadline passed last week for Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon. With these freezes, Ubuntu 7.10 Tribe 5 has been released with the last of the new features until Ubuntu 8.04 LTS. Ubuntu has now adopted system-config-printer (which was originally developed by Red Hat and Fedora) for handling the printing needs that gnome-cups-manager once had controlled, CUPS being upgraded to 1.3, a plug-in finder wizard and extension manager for Firefox in Ubuntu, and the new displayconfig-gtk panel for graphically controlling your X settings. Ubuntu 7.10 is shaping up very nicely and we have one more Tribe release and then the beta release, followed by the final release of Gutsy Gibbon on October 18.
Last week marked the release of the first GNOME 2.20.0 beta, which also defined the user interface freeze for GNOME 2.20.0. With the UI freeze we have taken some screenshots from GNOME 2.19.90 for your viewing pleasure of the subtle changes. GNOME 2.20.0 Beta 2 (2.19.91) is due out at the end of this month with the release candidate falling in early September followed by the final release of GNOME 2.20.0 on September 19.
At Phoronix we are constantly running Linux benchmarks with quad-core and even octal-core systems with more than enough RAM and all of the latest and greatest hardware from the chipsets to the graphics cards. However, with an increasing number of new Linux users trying out Linux for the first time on their old computers, we have been asked to conduct some benchmarks using popular desktop Linux distributions on older hardware. We have done just that as we try out Ubuntu, Xubuntu, Fedora, Mandriva, and SimplyMEPIS with an old Intel Northwood system.
There is about two months left until the final release of Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon, but today marks the release of Ubuntu 7.10 Tribe 4. New in this alpha release is GNOME 2.19.6, desktop search capabilities through Tracker, fast user switching support, deskbar applet, OpenOffice.org 2.3, AppArmor by default, and a smooth shutdown splash screen. Next week is the feature freeze, upstream version freeze, and the first artwork deadline for Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon.
The first test release for Fedora 8 is finally out the door after the usual delays we've come to expect with each Fedora release cycle. New in the Fedora 8 Test 1 Desktop Live CD (GNOME edition) is GNOME 2.19.5, an early Linux 2.6.23 kernel, and integrated blog entry posting software among some other minor alterations. We have screenshots to share and will cover Fedora 8 more in the coming weeks.
MEPIS has been making news this week with the return to Debian as the base for its upcoming SimplyMEPIS 7 release. Debian was the MEPIS base prior to their short-lived relationship with Ubuntu on the bottom. Continuing with the news, yesterday afternoon was the first development release to reincorporate the Debian Stable OS core was SimplyMEPIS 6.9.51prebeta. This pre-beta release includes the Linux 2.6.22 kernel, Debian Etch core, KDE 3.5.7, Firefox 22.214.171.124, and OpenOffice.org 2.2.1.
What does Solaris look like? It's actually a question we've been asked quite a bit since beginning to cover Solaris at Phoronix earlier this year. When using the GNOME desktop, it doesn't look much different from Linux aside from StarOffice and Sun Studio and a few other things being included, but of course it will look even more like Linux once there is the Project Indiana OpenSolaris distribution. Anyways, with the launch of Solaris Express Community Edition (SXCE) Build 69 yesterday, we've taken some screenshots to show the latest and greatest with Solaris "Nevada" for those of you who have never seen Solaris or haven't tried it out in quite a while.
Yesterday's release of OpenSuSE 10.3 Alpha 6 marks the first time there is a single installation CD for OpenSuSE, but also added in this development build is the Linux 2.6.22 kernel, GCC 4.2, and other updated packages. The single CD was possible by splitting packages and also introduced was 64-bit CDs for KDE and GNOME. While this isn't the final build of OpenSuSE 10.3, we have enclosed new screenshots of the OpenSuSE 10.3 Alpha 6 GNOME edition.
The third alpha release for Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon is now available for download. New in Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon Tribe 3 include the latest desktop effects powered by Compiz Fusion, the GNOME 2.19.5 development release, the Gutsy Gibbon server installation now includes Ebox for network services control, and a lot of work between Tribe 2 and Tribe 3 has went into improving AppArmor. Some of the improvements found in Ubuntu 7.10 Tribe 3 thanks to the latest development build of GNOME include appearance preferences improvements, GNOME power manager profiles, and a horde of improvements to the Rhythmbox music player. For your viewing pleasure we have uploaded some screenshots of Ubuntu Tribe 3 to Phoronix.
Sabayon Linux has released a "business edition" of its popular LiveDVD distribution known for its use of desktop accelerated effects and being based upon Gentoo. Sabayon Linux 1.0 Business Edition ships without the eye candy and games and is for when art meets business. This business edition ships with an optimized server profile, the Linux 2.6.22 kernel, and the latest proprietary display drivers. An easy firewall management package, KMyFirewall, has also been included.
This week Sun's Glynn Foster had two presentations on Project Indiana in Australia and Ireland. In the talks Glynn had went over the basic information on what Project Indiana is about as well as sharing other details and listening to feedback from the audience. These slides are now published on the Internet, some of which we will be sharing in this article as well as talking about some of the points.
CentOS, the popular community Linux distribution based upon Red Hat Enterprise Linux, has been at version 5.0 since April of this year, but joining the CentOS 5.0 fleet today is the LiveCD. The CentOS 5.0 LiveCD is based upon CentOS 5.0 i386 and can work out to be a modest Linux workstation or recovery distribution. Included with this new Linux LiveCD is OpenOffice.org 2.0.4, GNOME 2.16, GAIM 2.0.0, and Thunderbird 1.5. While this isn't a great Linux desktop distribution, if you're after a workstation or recovery-oriented distribution, the CentOS 5.0 LiveCD looks great.
Zenwalk Live has been updated against Zenwalk Linux 4.6 and this LiveCD distribution now features Xfce 4.4.1 with notification support, the Xfce Thunar file manager can now handle video thumbnails, and many new Xfce 4.4 panel plug-ins have been added or updated. At the system level is GCC 4.1, Glibc 2.5, and binutils 2.17.50. Last but not least, Zenwalk Live 4.6 includes the Linux-Live scripts with LZMA enabled Squashfs support. Zenwalk Live 4.6 will cost you about 400MB of bandwidth, but it's definitely an interesting LiveCD that is worth trying out whether you're a Linux junkie or Windows user.
Out of all of the Ubuntu derivative distributions, the one that's received the least amount of attention really has been Edubuntu. With a slogan of "Linux for Young Human Beings", Edubuntu is a Linux distribution designed for students and use in school environments. It includes several applications for students and the younger ones that cater towards education and is not included in Ubuntu, Kubuntu, or Xubuntu. Coinciding with last week's release of Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon Tribe 2 was also the second alpha build for Edubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon, which is featured today at Phoronix.
New in Tribe 2 for Gutsy Gibbon is GNOME 2.19.4, an easy enablement path for the free Flash player (Gnash), XDG-user-directories, Firefox 3 being pushed into the Ubuntu Universe repository, Compiz Fusion has been enabled by default on supported systems, and Restricted Manager improvements where there are open-source drivers available but rely upon closed-source firmware. We decided to try out Ubuntu 7.10 Tribe 2 and have a few screenshots to share.
There's a problem with Solaris and Sun knows it. The installation experience of Solaris (along with other areas) could be greatly improved. The installer doesn't "suck" as it's easy and known to Solaris administrators, but for a Linux or Windows user it could prove to be a bit challenging. In the Linux world it's no longer a challenge to install a Linux distribution on your hard drive, especially with the excellent work that the Ubuntu team has done in improving the user experience for a desktop installation. However, in this time while Linux has become just as easy to install as Microsoft Windows (if not easier), Solaris has not really evolved to make the experience easier and attractive to potential customers. After Ian Murdock had joined Sun earlier this year he had begun to expose these weak points about Solaris and how he wants to make sure that Solaris is the "better Linux than Linux" through Project Indiana. Ian views these existing problems of the installation and packaging experience as a "usability gap", which he hopes to address. Over time we have found out that Ian's Project Indiana will be an OpenSolaris distribution that combines the best out of the Solaris and Linux worlds. This distribution will be licensed under the GPLv3, of course. For those of you that have never tried out Solaris, what we've decided to do is to show you this "usability gap" with the installation process in Solaris compared to Linux. Is the experience really that bad?
The Slackware-based mini LiveCD Linux distribution, SLAX, has come out with its fourth release candidate for the upcoming 6.0 release. New in SLAX 6.0.0 RC4 is the Linux 126.96.36.199 kernel, KDE 3.5.7, new Linux-Live technologies, and Slackware current packages. If you're looking for a mini LiveCD distribution backed by KDE and have never tried out SLAX, we would highly recommend you investigate SLAX 6.0.
The second beta release for KateOS 3.6 features a new update notifier, the new Linux 188.8.131.52 kernel, X.Org 7.2, Xfce 4.4.1, and updates to the installer itself along with stomping a fair number of bugs. KateOS 3.6 features an installable LiveCD as well as an install DVD for installing this desktop Linux distribution with ease along with the possibility to select from GNOME, KDE, and Xfce.
The Light edition of the Mint 3.0 Linux distribution is now available. Compared to the regular version of Mint, the Light edition ships without proprietary software, patented technologies, and support for restricted formats. We took a peek this afternoon at this GNOME-based LiveCD distribution.
The third test release of Parsix GNU/Linux 0.90 is now available. New in this LiveCD is GNOME 2.18.2, Sun Java replaced by GCJ, added the Parsix Book to the LiveCD, several bug fixes, glibc 2.5, and many other improvements. If you've never tried out Parsix, it's based on a combination of KANOTIX and Debian that is a well polished distribution worth trying out for desktop users.
Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn has been out for less than two months but tomorrow we will see the first alpha (or in this case it's called a "Tribe") release of Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon. We used the daily build of Ubuntu and Kubuntu Gutsy Gibbon to do some exploring prior to the release of Gutsy Gibbon Tribe 1 tomorrow morning. While there is still many changes that will come prior to the October release of Gutsy, things are looking good for the Ubuntu camp this fall.
633 operating systems articles published on Phoronix.