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 220.127.116.11, 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 18.104.22.168 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 22.214.171.124 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.
In the second development release for Myah OS 3.0 is Xfce updates to version 4.4.1, Beryl 0.2.1, Linux 126.96.36.199, GCC 4.1.2, and many other packages received updates. Before the official release of Myah OS 3.0 stable developers would still like to get the system well tested for any bugs or other issues, make improvements to Myah's Package Management System, and finally create some sort of Linux LiveCD installer for Myah OS. If you have some extra time during the week, Myah OS 3.0 Tech Demo 2 is worth checking out.
With more and more people assembling MythTV boxes as alternatives to Windows Media Center or going out and buying a TiVO, for this introductory article we will share some recommendations of hardware we had used on a recent MythTV build along with other information to consider when building your next home theater PC.
Out with the Core and in with the Moonshine. Fedora 7 is shipping today and marks the merge of Fedora Core and Fedora Extras along with bringing KVM virtualization into the limelight, a new installable LiveCD, a new build system, new wireless firmware, and other desktop improvements.
The BeleniX LiveCD that is based off of OpenSolaris with GNU applications has reached version 0.6 after some setbacks. While this release is coming out later than expected, it is based upon OpenSolaris Build 60, uses X.Org 7.2, features Compiz 0.5 for Xfce and KDE, offers usbdump integration, and sports many other improvements. BeleniX is a OpenSolaris distribution we enjoy very much and would encourage all of you experimenting with Linux or Solaris to try it out.
The much anticipated release of PCLinuxOS, version 2007, is now available for download. This Linux distribution release comes after a month of server problems for the PCLinuxOS team, but that's not to say the developers weren't busy finishing off this final version. New in PCLinuxOS 2007 is KDE 3.5.6, the Linux 188.8.131.52 kernel, OpenOffice.org 2.2, Thunderbird 2.0, FrostWire, and over 5,000 additional packages through the software repository.
When we heard Yoper Linux 3.0 RC1 was available, we immediately started downloading it. Yoper has been quiet recently -- to the fact where it dropped to the 69th position at DistroWatch -- but Yoper 3.0 Limenite looks promising. Making up the first release candidate of Yoper 3.0 is the Linux 184.108.40.206 kernel, the Con Kolivas patchset, X.Org 7.2, KDE 3.5.6, and other cutting edge packages. After trying out the Yoper 3.0 RC1 LiveCD it does look extremely promising, but there is definitely some room left for improvement.
GNOME 2.19.2 is the second of nine development releases leading up to GNOME 2.20.0, which is due out this September. GNOME 2.19.2 is being released today and for those of you interested in the latest changes to GNOME, we have included some screenshots taken from GNOME 2.19.2 built this afternoon with GARNOME. In the process of trying out this latest desktop environment we had run into several crashes and bugs -- GNOME 2.19.2 is not for those new to Linux.
Ubuntu Studio is an Ubuntu incarnation that focuses on software packages for the multimedia creation crowd. Found in Ubuntu Studio 7.04 are a horde of packages for graphic, video, and audio editing. The Ubuntu Studio theme has went black in a radical turn away from the traditional Ubuntu orange. If you are into multimedia editing and mastering, Ubuntu Studio is definitely worth checking out. In Ubuntu 7.10 all of the Ubuntu Studio packages should be available in the main Canonical repository.
While late, the first Gentoo release of the year is now available for download. Gentoo 2007.0 features a rewritten LiveCD installer, updated packages, GNOME 2.16.2, and other improvements over Gentoo Linux 2006.
SLAX is one of our favorite Linux distributions so when SLAX 6.0 RC3 was released you can be sure that had caught our attention. New in SLAX 6.0.0 RC3 is the Linux 220.127.116.11 kernel, full NTFS write support, and upgrades to Slackware current. This mini LiveCD distribution is definitely an interesting distribution worth trying out for an older PC or if you are simply looking for a lean and efficient distribution.
We've never heard of this Brazilian Linux distribution but decided to give it a shot with the recent release of Litrix v7.4. The Litrix LiveCD is based upon Gentoo Linux and with the new additions in v7.4 being NTFS write support, support for wireless networking, i686 optimizations, NVIDIA's binary blob pre-installed, and Beryl integration.
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