Just before the clock struck midnight on December 31, the German developers of Kanotix released their v2005-04 Linux build. Contained in this release is the Linux kernel 126.96.36.199, X.Org 6.8.2 (with support for X.Org 6.9), KDE 3.4.3, and a wealth of other updates, patches, and new implementations. However, what has everyone talking about Kanotix is its superb hardware detection and auto-configuration abilities on all sorts of i686 and x86_64 hardware for being a LiveCD with HDD installer support. Being Linux-based hardware connoisseurs we couldn't help but to take Kanotix v2005-04 for a test drive.
For your viewing pleasure today we took a look at BeleniX v0.3, which is based upon OpenSolaris and mutated into a LiveCD. This latest release includes a new hdinstaller utility and miscellaneous other enhancements. GtK+ v2.8.6 managed to make its way into this release as well as Xfce v4.2.3 and v6.9 CVS of Xorg, which 7.0/6.9.0 were finally released recently after no major release in over a decade. BeleniX is a growing distribution that certainly has possibilities and is our focus of attention today.
MediainLinux, a Linux distribution formed in Italy and based upon the popular Knoppix, is different from other LiveCDs as it aims to offer a wide collection of FOSS audio, video, and graphics software. With this multimedia software MediainLinux Version 4 RC5, which was released on Christmas of this year, shapes up to be a enticing GNOME-optimized distribution.
With the number of fresh Linux installs we perform on a weekly basis with a variety of hardware, simply using the stock install CDs have become a sizable task due to the number of FOSS updates available on a daily basis. In fact, alone on Red Hat's servers and mirrors are over 839 updates just for the FC4 i386 architecture! Although the Red Hat Up2date process is relatively easy to perform the process can be quite time consuming even with an Up2date server running on the LAN. To fix the updating issue, as well as to provide a few other Phoronix additions, we have begun to re-master the Fedora Core 4 (Stentz) build. We share a few steps to the re-mastering process today in this guide.
Ark Linux, an easy-to-use distribution designed for the novice alternative OS users, has unveiled its latest major version that is 2005.2. Bundled into the single CD distribution is KDE 3.5, and OpenOffice 2.0 along with improved ATI 3D hardware support and most notably the inclusion of Ndiswrapper emulation layer to utilize unsupported wireless cards under Linux with the use of Windows drivers. In addition, Ark Linux 2005.2 features a long list of other significant changes.
Helix, a Linux distribution made by e-Fense and designed for incident response and computer forensics analysis has released their version 1.7. Bundled in this latest Knoppix-based distribution is a revamped GUI, as addition to its bootable capabilities it offers a few utilities that can be accessed when already in side of Microsoft Windows, while the Linux portion of the distribution itself has been updates to the 2.6.14 kernel with numerous other enhancements. Some of the mother miscellaneous packages include Autopsy v2.06, Sleuthkith v2.03, ClamAV v0.87.1-1, and EnCase Linen.
Linux From Scratch, a Linux distribution that lives by the quote "Your Distro. Your Rules." through allowing its users to create their very own custom Linux system based upon their LFS builds and using their step-by-step instructions in their numerous books. Released recently from the LFS community has been version 6.1.1, which largely consists of fixes since the v6.1 release. Part of this release is the new x86-6.1.1 LiveCD with some of the new features being the XFce Terminal improvements, jhalfs 0.2, rsync, sudo, and wireless_tools.
Nonux, a Slackware-based distribution basically keeping its residence to the Netherlands and other Dutch communities, has released their v2.0 release that includes the 188.8.131.52 kernel, GNOME 2.12.1, and a good deal of other package updates. This distribution is designed primarily for Dutch office use and bundled into a single ISO are both the LiveCD and install variants. For reference, the system failed to operate properly on two of the three systems we had tested with Nonux v2.0.
Troppix, a Debian-based distribution, that is designed for security professionals whether it be for auditors or penetration testers, has released their v1.2 stable release recently and we have experimented with this latest version and today have a few pictures from our testing process. This latest release implements enhanced support for many wireless Chipsets as well as updates to several security tools along with a good deal of other improvements. Overall this is another possible LiveCD alternative to Knoppix, PHLAK, or Auditor for performing legitimate security activities.
The first release candidate for MEPIS' upcoming SimplyMEPIS 3.4 series has been released and is now available from their mirrors. Since we last took at MEPIS a few releases ago they have implemented X.Org 6.8.2, KDE 3.4.2, OpenOffice 2.0, Firefox 1.5, Skype 184.108.40.206, and a wealth of other packages. In addition the DCC version of the Linux 2.6.12-10 kernel has been installed. Coincidently, this release has occurred on the third birthday for the MEPIS project. Shortly we shall hopefully see some additional news pertaining to the MEPIS SimplySOHO product.
Ubuntu the Debian-based distribution funded largely by Mark Shuttleworth that is focused upon building a viable desktop operating system powered by Linux, as well as enterprise software after it has received DB2 certification from IBM, has released their preliminary BETA release for the upcoming v6.04 build. Unlike Breezy Badger (v5.10) with its "Colony" development builds, Ubuntu has renamed the development snapshots for the v6.04 release to "Flight". The name for this upcoming release is also going to be known as Dapper Drake. Continuing on with their six month release cycle, Ubuntu 6.04 will be making its presence in April of 2006. Today we are checking out Kubuntu (the KDE version of Ubuntu) 6.04 Dapper Drake Flight 1.
PCLinuxOS, a start-up KDE engineered distribution, has recently released their v0.92 Test 3 build that contains an updated Unionfs stable version as well as fixes largely when it comes to the livecd-installer. Bundled with PCLinuxOS v0.92 is everything from the LimeWire P2P application to a scientific calculator. Even though PCLinuxOS hasn't yet gained much momentum from the desktop Linux community, its intentions are definitely in the right direction and we look forward to seeing how this distribution "shapes up" after passing its development stages.
GoblinX, one of the many Brazilian-based LiveCD distributions, has just released their Mini v1.2.1 build. GoblinX Mini is a light-weight distribution that comes ships with XFce 4 and GTK support. The objective of this LiveCD Slackware-based distribution is to make a pleasant yet functional desktop. In addition to upgrading the Linux kernel to 220.127.116.11, Gxine has been added to its arsenal of petite packages, along with Ghcpd, Xarchive, and Graveman among many other additions and removals.
Symphony OS, among the latest Linux distributions receiving quite a bit of attention by the general public, has released their first BETA candidate (BETA 1 Preview 1) after a series of ALPHA releases. Rather than using GNOME, KDE, Fluxbox, or another one of the many desktop environments Symphony OS has created the Mezzo Desktop Environment to allow for a visually attractive and easy-to-use interface. In addition, this Knoppix-based distribution packs a punch when it comes to its standard set of packages and user friendly features.
Kate OS, the Linux distribution designed for just about everyone ranging from programmers to home-users, have released their 2.2 version. Contained in this release is the 2.6.13 kernel with Reiser 4 file-system support along with the GTK+ v2.8.3 library and support for GNOME 2.12, however, XFCE continues to be the default desktop environment of choice. As always, Kate OS developers have done a magnificent job on the default theme.
Designed primarily for desktop deployment throughout South Africa, OpenLab GNU/Linux is designed to be an easy-to-use Slackware-based LiveCD distribution with a variety of exclusive innovations. OpenLab's latest release, 4.0 - Perdita, features a greatly improved OpenLab Administration tool, HyperDrive Suite, and the award winning Nuvola icon set. Although this was our first encounter with OpenLab, we were quite pleased by our initial findings.
After a preview release and multiple colony development builds, Ubuntu Linux has finally released v5.10 (Breezy Badger). Looking at this release first hand, it continues to look incredibly promising for the GNU/Linux movement and we hope that Mark Shuttleworth continues to invest in this valuable commodity. Some of the major improvements to Ubuntu 5.10 include thin client integration, OEM installer support, and Launchpad integration. Other advancements include GNOME 2.12.1, OpenOffice.org 2.0 BETA 2, GCC 4.0.1, and a wealth of other improvements to the hardware support and usability.
SME Server, formerly known as e-Smith, has released its fifth BETA for the upcoming v7.0 release. Among many improvements to the language translations and enhanced server controls, there is numerous installer changes and DNS improvements. SME Server/e-Smith has been at work since 1999 on creating a reliable distribution for handling small to medium enterprise server needs and SME Server v7.0 Beta 5 is very evident of their hard work at hand, and today we have some new snapshots from their web-interface.
Ark Linux, a distribution aiming to hit the systems of desktop users, has released its 2005.2-rc3 candidate that now encompasses a predecease of KDE 3.5 and a GNU compiler for the D programming language. From our initial encounter with Ark 2005.2 we've been impressed by its optimizations for use as a desktop system as well as various other improvements. This distribution is attempting to make it so easy to install and operate, a game of Tetrix is even playable while installing the data to your hard drive.
Last week Puppy Linux v1.0.5 was released, which contained a wealth of changes while continuing to be minimal in size. Today another minimalist distribution came out with a new release and it's the Slackware-based pocketlinux v1.3, which finally incorporates KDE v3.4.2, among many other improvements. This bantam release also appends French language support as well as improvements to fbpanel and the standard development packages.
Quite often we enjoy trying out new and unique Linux distributions not only to express our eternal love for open-source software but more importantly to see how various distributions compare to our personal favorites, and to see the progress Linux is making for desktop usage. The latest of these distributions to hit our systems is Puppy Linux; which recently experienced its v1.0.5 release. In addition to the DotPup Downloader there is the new Wireless Access Gadget, puppyPDF, and a wealth of other Puppy advancements. Today we're sharing our first looks at this lightweight distribution weighing in at a measly 53.4MB.
Hours ago, a new version of Berry Linux was released, and for those un-familiar with this LiveCD distribution, it's based upon Red Hat Linux (Fedora) as well as the Debian-based Knoppix. Some of these updates in the latest v0.62 release include Mozilla Firefox 1.0.6, GCC 4.0.1, KDE 3.4.2, and the 18.104.22.168 kernel. Coming out from our initial encounter with Berry Linux, we have some new screenshots from this latest v0.62 release.
Commemorating the fifth anniversary of the SmoothWall firewall comes the long over-due Express 3.0 (Grizzly) Alpha 1 release. Among other vast improvements, SmoothWall Express 3 now utilizes the Linux 2.6.12 kernel and features a new open architecture so developers can easily add additional security components to SmoothWall. For your viewing pleasure, we've posted some screenshots of the administrative web-interface from SmoothWall Express 3.
When a Linux LiveCD distribution is needed for a thumb drive, we generally turn to SLAX due to its exceptional reliability and variety of packages while keeping to a diminutive size. Earlier this morning SLAX 5.0.6 has finally been released. Continue on to visually see all of the improvements made in this version of SLAX. Some of the updates include KDE 3.4.1 and the Linux 22.214.171.124 kernel.
The second developer snapshot, Colony 2, for the upcoming Ubuntu 5.10 (Breezy Badger) has now been released. In our initial testing, we found it to be plagued with relatively major bugs, however it included GCC 4.0.0, GNOME 2.11.1, Linux 126.96.36.199 kernel, and ALSA 1.0.9. Breezy Badger still appears to be a promising Ubuntu milestone for Linux users; if the developers can manage to work out all of flaws in time for the October 2005 release. Here are some screenshots to see the status of Breezy Badger.
RedHat Fedora users around the world can finally celebrate that FedoraCore4 has finally been released; after a few unexpected delays. The reason for this last one-week delay was reportedly due to some "legal reasons" with the new FC4 codename (Stentz). Some of the major updates in FC4 include GNOME 2.10, KDE 3.4, GCC 4.0, and even Xen. If you simply can't withstand the wait for your download to finish, or you happen to be a screenshot junky, feel free to look at our FC4 final screenshots.
Every day a number of different Linux distributions premiere or are simply updated. With many of these releases being relatively similar to each other and not offering any major advancements, a portion of them go un-heard. MEPIS has recently released SimplyMEPIS 3.3.1 which is the focus of these screenshots today. Updates include Adobe Acrobat Reader 7.0, improved USB support, and a Debian pool package update.
Ever since Microsoft had released information regarding Avalon with its 3D support, the graphics subsystem that is going to be used by the Longhorn, more enthusiasts have been after 3D desktops. Project Looking Glass (LG3D), a 3D windowing and visualization project devised by the developers at Sun Microsystems and community supporters, was what had caught our attention (due to the Linux support) regarding the future of computer desktops. As stated by the LG3D project page, its intention is to break the boundaries of the "2D-ness" for current generation desktop environments and the way desktops evolve. On May 13, 2005, Big Linux, a relatively un-heard of Portuguese based Linux distribution, released its new version, 2.1. This is the FIRST Linux distribution to offer out-of-the-box 3D Desktop capabilities in both GNOME and KDE. At Phoronix, we have pictures to display our findings, keep in mind, we found this release to be INCREDIBLY slow and extremely buggy (even limiting the potential of these screenshots).
Of all the active Linux distributions, one of our favorite LiveCD distributions for general usage has been Knoppix. This Debian based distribution has been around for quite a while and has proved to be a success for not only system recovery but also all sorts of other operations. Here at Phoronix we have documented our findings in screenshots for the newly released Knoppix 3.8.2. Some of the new key features in this update includes the revival of MadWifi (802.11 drivers for Atheros cards), 2.6.11 kernel update, and a new knoppix-installer.
At Phoronix, we are constantly asked "What Linux distro do you prefer, and why?" As any frequent visitor probably realizes, most of our testbeds are loaded with Red Hat's Fedora as that what we had settled for after several months of testing different distributions such as Slackware, SuSE, Mandrake, MEPIS, Debian, Ubuntu, CentOS, and the list goes on. Surprisingly enough, one of the distributions we never tried was Linspire, formerly known as Lindows, which is said to be "The Worlds Easiest Desktop Linux." Today, we will be trying Linspire's latest release, Linspire Five-0.
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