Softpedia Linux Weekly, Issue 34

The weekly newsletter for Linux users.

Welcome to the 34th issue of Softpedia Linux Weekly!

This week's editorial offers you a quick preview of the new notification framework implemented in the upcoming Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope). In the Linux distribution announcement section you will find the following releases: Arch Linux 2009.02, R.I.P. 7.7, Toorox 02.2009, Fedora 10 Re-Spin, DragonFly BSD 2.2, Kubuntu 8.04.2. In other news: HP partners with Canonical on servers; the Ubuntu training program gets improved throughout USA; VirtualBox reaches version 2.1.4; Mark Shuttleworth unveils the goals and codename of Ubuntu 9.10; Compiz brings many goodies in version 0.8.0. The weekly ends with the video clip of the week, the latest Linux distributions released/updated last week and the development releases.




EditorialEditorial: A Quick Look at the New Notifications in Ubuntu 9.04 - by Marius Nestor

· There are only four days left until the fifth alpha version of the upcoming Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope) and I thought that it would be a nice surprise to show you a quick preview of the Mac OS-like notifications implemented in Ubuntu. And... after I saw on Saturday morning a post on Mark Shuttleworth's blog, regarding the new notification system that would be part of the upcoming Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope), I was really amazed to see that the famous mockup presented two months ago became reality.

Yes ladies and gentlemen, it's official... Ubuntu 9.04 has a whole new notification system, almost the same as the one in the Macintosh operating system. The new notification framework was named "Notify-OSD" and it can handle both keyboard actions such as volume and brightness, and application notifications. What does this mean? Well... for example, when a buddy goes offline or online, when you receive a chat/IRC message, when a torrent is finished, when you change the volume or the brightness of your monitor, when new software updates are available, when a network connection has been established... a very nice and stylish (black, at the moment) notification will be displayed for a few seconds in the top right corner of the screen.

OK, so I immediately downloaded a copy of the latest Ubuntu 9.04 Alpha 20090221 Daily Build to see for myself the new notifications. As you can see from the screenshot below and the video clip of the week, they work like a charm and look very professional. Notify-OSD is accompanied by a GNOME panel applet called "Indicator Applet" that will handle/collect the notifications. But, the good news is that the new notifications will work with and without Compiz/video drivers, which is really amazing, especially for low-end systems!

Review image
Ubuntu 9.04 Alpha (Daily Build 20090221) showcasing the new notifications.
This is NOT the default look of Ubuntu 9.04. The theme and wallpaper are third-party!

It appears that, at the moment, there is no configuration GUI for the notifications, so you can't change the position, the color or the transparency value, but all in all they are more than welcome!

Don't forget to visit our website on Thursday or Friday morning for the usual "Screenshot Tour" of the Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope) Alpha 5, where we will unveil more of the goodies implemented in the upcoming operating system.


Distributions announced last week:

Arch LinuxOn February 16th, Aaron Griffin announced the immediate availability of Arch Linux 2009-02. This is the first release of Arch Linux for 2009 and it brings some of the latest and greatest Linux technologies available today, such as Linux kernel 2.6.28 and support for the evolutionary EXT4 filesystem. The latter was also added in the installer, which means that every Arch Linux user will be able to easily create EXT4 partitions.

Highlights of Arch Linux 2009-02:

· Updated Linux kernel to version 2.6.28;

· Added EXT4 support in the installer;

· Added maintenance and rescue aptitudes for EXT4 partitions;

· Added ISO images with the ISOLINUX bootloader, as an alternative for the GRUB-based ones;

· Fixed various bugs in the installer;

· Updated documentation;

· Added Arch Linux Installation Framework, the next-generation installer, which is still in development.

Review image
Arch Linux - Image courtesy of free Penguin

Download Arch Linux 2009-02 right now from Softpedia.


DragonFlyOn February 17th, Matthew Dillon announced the release of DragonFly BSD 2.2, a FreeBSD-based distribution. First featured in version 2.0, the HAMMER filesystem has reached a production-ready state and it is available in this new version. Moreover, DragonFly 2.2 boasts highly improved stability, updated and new drivers, and an improved pkgsrc support. A new release infrastructure with multiple target option is also available.

Highlights of DragonFly BSD 2.2:

· The CD and DVD images contain full pkgsrc tar and full sources tar;

· The installer supports HAMMER filesystem setups;

· intr_mpsafe control is enabled by default;

· Experimental AMD64 support;

· Parallel-working bridge_input;

· priv_* implementation form FreeBSD replaces suser_*;

· Many improvements to the pageout and low-memory handling code;

· Support for network cards using the RealTek 8102EL PCIe 10/100baseTX chipset;

· The source repositories are now maintained through git;

· Hunt, a new terminal-based multiplayer game;

· A script that cleans up HAMMER partitions during the night;

· Fixed many warnings that occurred in some userland tools;

· The default gcc architecture is now i486;

· The dntpd can now connect to NTP servers using IPv5 addresses;

· Squashed several installer bugs.

Review image
DragonFly BSD - Image courtesy of free Penguin

Download DragonFly BSD 2.2 right now from Softpedia.


R.I.P.The Recovery Is Possible (R.I.P.) Linux distribution was updated to version 7.7 on February 18th. The new release comes with an update for Linux kernel, GRUB 2, FSArchiver and many more other packages. The new release also fixes a couple of GRUB bugs and adds the brand new Advanced NTFS-3G Features application.

The following applications have been updated in R.I.P. 7.7: Linux kernel, WPA Supplicant 0.6.8, GRUB2 1.96+svn18-02-2009, Lzip 1.5 Pre 1, FSArchiver 0.4.2, Xterm 242, Magic Rescue 1.1.6, Tin 1.9.4, Nano 2.1.9 and NTFS-3G 2009.2.1AR.1 (Advanced NTFS-3G Features Branch).

Moreover, version 7.7 of the Recovery Is Possible distribution fixes a few bugs found in the grub2config aria2c packages, the latter being reverted to version 1.1.2.

Later note: R.I.P. 7.8 was released on February 22nd!

Review image
R.I.P. Linux - Image courtesy of Kent Robotti

Download R.I.P. 7.8 right now from Softpedia.


TooroxOn February 19th, Jörn Lindau announced the release of his Toorox 02.2009 Linux distribution. Apparently, the latest version of the K Desktop Environment was a success, as more and more distributions are rushing to include it as the default option. Such is the case with Toorox, which features KDE 4.2.0 on top of a 2.6.28-gentoo-r1 Linux kernel and the latest Xorg-Server 1.5.3.

Highlights of Toorox 02.2009:

· Linux kernel 2.6.28-gentoo-r1;

· KDE 4.2.0;

· Xorg-Server 1.5.3;

· IcedTea6 Java JDK;

· Firefox 3.0.6;

· Toorox Installer extensions;

· OpenOffice 3.0.1;

· Thunderbird;

· K3b 1.0.5;

· The GIMP 2.6.4;

· Wine 1.1.14;

· Audacious 1.5.1;

· Ardour 2.7.1;

· Kino 1.3.1;

· Cinelerra-20090210.

Review image
Toorox 02.2009

Download Toorox 02.2009 right now from Softpedia.


FedoraThe Fedora Unity Project proudly announced last week new Fedora 10 Re-Spin DVDs. The new release is based on the official Fedora 10 (Sulphur) installation media, including all the updates released as of February 10th, 2009, and it's compatible with the i386, x86_64 and PPC architectures. However, the PPC edition of this Fedora 10 Re-Spin is untested and the Fedora Unity team wants you to give it a try and report any issues.

The Fedora Unity Re-Spins are created to provide users with a fresh and up-to-date installation of the Fedora Linux distribution. It is a community project, for the Fedora community and by the Fedora community, therefore anyone can contribute to it.

Review image
Fedora 10

Download Fedora 10 Re-Spin 20090210 right now from Softpedia.


KubuntuOn February 21st, the Kubuntu team announced the immediate availability of the second maintenance release of Kubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron), which is supported with security fixes and maintenance updates until October 2009. Kubuntu 8.04.2 brings to its dedicated users a lot of security updates and corrections (over 200), all with a single goal: to keep Kubuntu 8.04 a stable and reliable Linux distribution!

Highlights of Kubuntu 8.04.2:

· The K Desktop Environment was updated to version 3.5.10;

· Kaffeine's codec installation loop bug was fixed;

· KHelpCenter's indexer now works with dash;

· Kopete's latexconvert now works with dash;

· Repaired a dash latexconvert incompatibility;

· Fixed some Kontact crashes, when using GCal;

· The hdparm power management was set to 128 for all hard disks while on battery, and 254 while on AC (please note that the suspend/resume functions still crash this and a complete fix will arrive in the third maintenance release of Hardy Heron);

· Added support CDs with compressed packages, which will allow everyone to upgrade to future release using CDs;

· Updated the MySQL 4.1 packages, which will allow a smooth upgrade from Ubuntu 6.06 LTS (Dapper Drake);

· Repaired the checksum recheck, after reset, for Asus Eee PC 1000.

Review image
Kubuntu 8.04.2

Download Kubuntu 8.04.2 right now from Softpedia.


VectorLinuxOn February 22nd, the VectorLinux team announced the release of the VectorLinux Standard Edition 6.0 distribution, codenamed Voyager. The default installation runs the Xfce 4.4.3 desktop environment, with an option to install the lightweight LXDE. For a more extended user-base, the localization was much improved in this version, covering many languages.

Highlights of VectorLinux 6.0 STD:

· Linux Kernel;

· Nvidia and ATI Drivers;

· Bootsplash 3.1.6;

· ALSA Driver 1.0.19;

· 7.3;

· Xorg-server 1.4.2;

· Qt 3.3.8b;

· Cairo 1.6.4;

· Out of the box DVD playback capability;

· Multimedia codecs and Java;

· Graphics with GIMP, Inkscape, Gtkam, Gqview, Xpdf;

· Internet browsing: Firefox, Opera, Dillo and Seamonkey;

· Instant Messaging: aMsn, Pidgin, Xchat;

· Multimedia Players: MPlayer, XMMS, Xine and VLC;

· Office applications: Gnumeric, Abiword, Scribus;

· Firewall protection with Firestarter;

· More webcam models are now supported.

Review image
VectorLinux 6.0 - Image courtesy of VectorLinux

Download VectorLinux 6.0 STD right now from Softpedia.


ForesightOn February 22nd, The Foresight Linux Project team announced the immediate availability of Foresight Linux 2.1.0 GNOME Edition, a Linux distribution based on rPath. This new version brings the latest stable GNOME desktop environment and many updates. There is now printer hot-plugging support, allowing Foresight to recognize and configure printers automatically when they are plugged in. The Python programming language was also updated to version 2.6 bringing many under-the-hood performance improvements. Foresight Linux 2.1.0 uses the version of Linux Kernel. Other improvements were made to the package management modules, customizing the default Conary configurations to include features like downloadFirst, which enables Foresight to download updates before applying them, and excludeTroves that strips packages of development components.

Review image
Foresight Linux - Image courtesy of Foresight

Download Foresight Linux 2.1.0 right now from Softpedia.


SimplyMEPISAlso on February 22nd, MEPIS LLC announced, through Warren Woodford, the release of SimplyMEPIS 8.0, a Debian 5.0 (Lenny)-based Linux distribution for both 32- and 64-bit processor architectures. Using the stable Debian foundation with an enhanced Long Term Support kernel, important package upgrades and many applications, SimplyMEPIS 8.0 is a complete desktop solution.

Highlights of SimplyMEPIS 8.0:

· The Linux Kernel version used in SimplyMEPIS 8.0 is;

· KDE 3.5.10 is the default desktop environment;

· Office applications through OpenOffice 3.0;

· Firefox 3.0.6;

· Bind 0.9.6;

· IPv6 is now enabled by default;

· Virtualization is provided through KVM 84 and libvirt 0.6.0 that are available for download from the MEPIS 8.0 package pool.

Review image
SimplyMEPIS 8.0

Download SimplyMEPIS 8.0 right now from Softpedia.


Other NewsOther News:

· On February 16th, HP and Canonical announced a partnership in providing full certification of Ubuntu on HP's Proliant servers. Being among the supported operating systems, Ubuntu's clients will be reassured that they made a good decision, while others will certainly start thinking about deploying Ubuntu solutions in their companies. Read more about it here.


· One of Ubuntu's strategies for gaining a larger user base is providing quality, comprehensive training for everyone who desires it. For that purpose, Canonical announced on February 16th the inclusion of Fast Lane and Bridge Education in its Ubuntu Training Partner Programme, signing and training instructors. The courses are held all across the United States of America. Read more about it here.


· The number one open source virtualization software, VirtualBox, reached version 2.1.4 on February 16th. Being a maintenance release, there weren't any new major features added to it. Sun xVM VirtualBox allows users to create "virtual machines" in their host operating system so that they can install any guest OS, facilitating the development, cross-platform running and testing of multi-tier applications on a single computer. Being very space-efficient, Sun xVM VirtualBox has only 30 megabytes, and is ready for use after just a five-minute install. Read more about it here.


· Mark Shuttleworth, the father of Ubuntu Linux, announced on February 20th the codename and goals of the next version of his marvelous operating system, Ubuntu 9.10 (codename Karmic Koala), scheduled for release in October 2009. For the Karmic Koala, the development team will focus their efforts on the "first impressions," which means that they plan to change the old brown desktop with a whole new look and change the current Usplash with a smooth and flicker-free boot splash, such as Red Hat's Plymouth. Also, the boot times will decrease even more in Ubuntu 9.10, as the team plans to make it boot in less than 25 seconds on a netbook! Moreover, they even plan to change the login screen in Ubuntu 9.10, with a very nice one. Read more about it here.


· The developers behind the famous Compiz project announced, on February 20th, the release of Compiz 0.8.0, after approximately five months of hard work. All Compiz fans will love to hear that this new version brings highly improved support for the GNOME 2.24 and KDE 4.2 desktop environments. Read more about it here.


Tutorial of the WeekTutorial of the Week: Ubuntu 8.10 Desktop Customization - Revert Guide

· This tutorial is here because many of you have asked us to publish some instructions on how to revert our "Ubuntu 8.10 Desktop Customization Guide." And, because that guide was quite long, we decided to post a new one.

OK, so what is the goal of this tutorial? Very simple... to obtain a default Ubuntu 8.10 desktop.

Read the complete tutorial here.


Video Clip of the WeekVideo Clip of the Week: Ubuntu 9.04 Notifications Preview

· For this week we've recorded and posted a video clip that showcases the new notification framework implemented last week in Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope). The video is 3:23 minutes long. Enjoy!

Download from SoftpediaNew Distributions:

· Bio-Linux 5.0

· Firefly Linux Alpha 2

· flexxxpup 1.5.5

· Kongoni 1.12.2-baseline2

· PUPITUP 4.1.2

· Ubuntu extras remix 8.10

· ALT Linux (School Server) 4.1.0

Download from SoftpediaDistributions Updated Last Week:

· Ubuntu Privacy Remix 8.04 r3

· paldo 1.17

· Tor-ramdisk 20090217

· PSKlive 2007_2_1

· BuddaPup 2.17

· Foresight Linux 2.1.0

· Ikki Boot 2.1

· CacheGuard OS 5.4.1

· R.I.P. 7.8

Download from SoftpediaDevelopment Releases:

· Wolvix 2.0.0 Build 39

· Frugalware Linux 1.0 RC1

· CRUX PPC 2.5 RC2

See you again next Monday, March 2nd, for another issue of Softpedia Linux Weekly.

The Softpedia Linux Editorial Team.

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