Welcome to the 43rd issue of Softpedia Linux Weekly!
This week's editorial talks a little about the upcoming features of the Fedora 11 (Leonidas) Linux distribution. In the Linux distribution announcement section, you will find the following releases: Easy Peasy 1.1, Fedora 10 Re-Spins, Ubuntu 9.04, iMagic OS 2009.5, SimplyMEPIS 8.0.06, Fedora 11 Preview, Sabayon Linux 4.1 KDE Edition and Mandriva Linux 2009.1. In other news: Nvidia 180.51 video drivers for Linux bring support for newer GPUs and VirtualBox reaches version 2.2.2. The issue ends with the video clip of the week, the latest Linux distributions released/updated last week and the development releases.
Distributions announced last week:
· With all the buzz from the latest Ubuntu and Mandriva releases slowly fading away, we are rapidly approaching yet another important day marked on all Linux geeks' calendars. Fedora 11, also known as Leonidas, will hopefully "hit the shelves" at the end of this month, on May 26. And, if it lives up to the expectations, much confusion will be among users who will definitely have a hard time deciding which distribution to choose (a triple Ubuntu-Mandriva-Fedora boot is out of the question, I think).
Earlier in Fedora 11's development cycle, a list of planned features was released by the Fedora Project. Now, with less than one month until the big day, all (except one) of these features are marked to be 100% completed. First of all, Leonidas embarks on the quick-boot journey, boasting a 20 second startup time (up to the login screen). Ubuntu and Mandriva dramatically improved their bootup times, so Fedora couldn't afford to be left behind.
Support for the latest filesystem wonders - EXT4 and Btrfs - is another anticipated highlight of Fedora 11 that promises to further improve your hard drive's performance. Moreover, EXT4 will be used as the default filesystem when installing the operating system. Leonidas will, of course, be available for both x86 and x86_64 architectures, but this time, even if you choose to install the 32-bit version on top of x86_64 hardware, the x86_64 kernel will be used.
Fedora 11's look continues on the path set by previous releases, delivering a sleek, unified interface. After the small riot that arose among fans when the Beta version came with a rather amateurish wallpaper displaying the Greek Acropolis, developers showed off Leonidas' true appearance in the recent Preview version. The boot loading bar consists of a really cool wavy ribbon that is also present in the boot menu and on the wallpaper. On the themes side, except for a gray and orange one, there aren't any major additions.
Since the previous stable Fedora release, all three major desktop environments have been updated. Thus, Leonidas will be available in GNOME 2.26.1, KDE 4.2.2 and Xfce 4.6 flavors with all their new goodies included. The Fedora Project Team made an unexpected and bold move when it decided to switch to the Mozilla Firefox 3.1 series (currently in Beta) and Mozilla Thunderbird 3.0 for the upcoming release. There is no sign of OpenOffice.org, though, Abiword and KWord being the default word processors in Leonidas. The GIMP 2.6.6, Pidgin 2.5.5 or Palimpsest Disk Utility 0.3 are other applications that will be present in Fedora 11. The PackageKit has gained a new ability: it can now assess the system requirements for a device firmware and choose what's best for your machine; of course, user input will override this recommendation. Developers weren't forgotten and tools like MiniGW Windows cross-compiler, NetBeans 6.5, GCC 4.4, Python 2.6 and Git 1.6.2 are sure to help with the creation process.
Other interesting features are an improved DRI2 (Direct Rendering infrastructure) and the Automatic Fonts & Mime Installer, letting programs automatically install needed fonts, codecs or clipart. TigerVNC will be Fedora 11's default VNC client and the new volume control provides an easier-to-grasp, more flexible alternative. Many popular fingerprint-reading devices will be supported in Fedora 11 and configuring them will easily be done through the graphical Authentication Configuration utility.
Fedora 11 "Leonidas" will provide one of the most bleeding-edge Linux systems, with the latest and greatest applications, powerful new under-the-hood technologies and also a great modern look. One thing is for sure, the competition is getting stiffer in the Distro world and us, the fans, can sit back and enjoy this "battle" paved with an ever-growing collection of reasons to be proud of our machines.
Linux distributions announced last week:
On April 20, after almost four months of development, Jon Ramvi announced the release of his Easy Peasy 1.1 netbook-ready Linux distribution. This new 1.1 version of Easy Peasy brings a lot of bug fixes and upgrades to most applications. There is also a new icon theme (inspired by the "Victor Castillejos Gnome Colors" one), a new wallpaper to fit the visual style and fresh splash and login screens.
Highlights of Easy Peasy 1.1:
· Linux kernel 2.6.27-8-eeepc;
· OpenOffice.org 3.0.1 office productivity suite;
· Mozilla Firefox 3.0.8 web browser;
· Pidgin 2.5.2 instant messaging client;
· Skype 2.0 voice/video chat client;
· Transmission 1.3.4 bittorrent application;
· Java 6;
· Evolution 2.24.3 Mail and Calendar client;
· Songbird 1.1.1 audio player;
· Orca screen reader and magnifier;
· Cheese Webcam Booth;
· Picasa 3 photo management application.
Download Easy Peasy 1.1 right now from Softpedia.
On April 21, the Fedora Unity Project announced the immediate availability of a new set of Fedora 10 Re-Spins DVDs. The new ISOs, based on the official Fedora 10 (Sulphur) installation media, include all the updates released until April 14 and are available in a stable state for the i386 and x86_64 architectures. There is also an ISO available for PPC processor architectures, but it is still marked as UNSTABLE by the Fedora Unity Project - users are welcomed to test it out and provide feedback.
However, some package groups in the x86_64 and PPC ISOs had to be removed from this spin, as otherwise the distribution would not fit on a single DVD. These packages are: gnome-software development; java-development; kde-software-development; web-development; x-software-development; dns-server (added a nodefaults version); ftp-server (added a nodefaults version); news-server; smb-server (added a nodefaults version); sql-server (added a nodefaults version); web-server.
Download Fedora 10 Re-Spin 20090414 right now from Softpedia.
On April 23, Canonical proudly announced that Ubuntu 9.04 was available on mirrors worldwide and it was our greatest pleasure to introduce you guys to the highlights of this new release dubbed Jaunty Jackalope. It all began on September 8, 2008, when Mark Shuttleworth announced the Jaunty Jackalope, also known as Ubuntu 9.04, the next major release of the popular Ubuntu Linux operating system. Ubuntu 9.04 is also the tenth release of the Ubuntu OS and will be supported for 18 months on both servers and desktops.
Highlights of Ubuntu 9.04:
· GNOME 2.26.1 desktop environment
· Linux kernel 188.8.131.52
· EXT4 filesystem support
· X.Org 7.4
· X.Org server 1.6
· Mesa 3D DRI 7.4
· New notification framework
· OpenOffice.org 3.0.1
· Mozilla Firefox 3.0.9
· Compiz Fusion 0.8.2
· Improved boot speed
· Wacom tablet hotplugging
Download Ubuntu 9.04 right now from Softpedia.
On April 26, Carlos la Borde announced the release of iMagic OS 2009.5, a commercial, Kubuntu-based operating system. The new version comes with a host of fresh features, like a first run wizard, MP3 decoding, better integration with magicOnline 2, improved Microsoft compatibility, Google Desktop, magicGuides and more.
magicOnline 2, the tool that allows users to install applications with a single click, received a new interface, a search engine and a dock to ease navigation through all the available software (free or commercial) as well as music, templates or wallpapers.
Also on April 26, MEPIS LLC announced, through Warren Woodford, the release of SimplyMepis 8.0.06 for both 32- and 64-bit processor architectures, two months after SimplyMepis 8.0 was launched. This new version doesn't bring important changes, but updates many packages from the Debian Lenny pool. Also, the Linux kernel is now at version 184.108.40.206.
Highlights of SimplyMEPIS 8.0.06:
· Linux kernel was updated to 220.127.116.11;
· Mozilla Firefox 3.0.9 web browser;
· jbidwatcher 2.0.1 eBay bidding applications;
· gutenprint 5.2.3 printer drivers collection;
· Mozilla Thunderbird 18.104.22.168 email client;
· Shorewall 4.2.6 Netfilter configuration tool;
· Thightvncserver 1.3.9;
· Openswan 2.6.20 IPsec implementation;
· libvirt 0.6.2 virtualization API (application programming interface);
· virtinst 0.400.3;
· virt-manager 0.7.0;
· QEMU 0.10.2 processor emulator;
· Webmin 1.460 web-based system administration interface.
Download SimplyMEPIS 8.0.06 right now from Softpedia.
On April 28, the Fedora Project Team announced the release of Fedora 11 (Leonidas) Preview. There are quite a lot of changes and updates since the Beta. First of all, to the relief of many and probably due to the mostly negative reactions, there is a new wallpaper! The Greek Acropolis one that was default in the Beta is not even available as an option anymore. Instead, the new one features a flock of birds in flight on top of a dark blue background with wavy ribbons.
Definitely a better choice and in tone with the new boot menu and loading screen. Fedora 11 Preview comes with the latest and greatest desktop environments. If in the Beta there was only GNOME 2.26 RC, GNOME 2.26.1 deservingly has taken its place. KDE fans also have reasons to rejoice, as Fedora 11 Preview defaults to KDE 4.2.2.
Download Fedora 11 Preview right now from Softpedia.
On April 29, Fabio Erculiani released the KDE edition of his Linux distribution, Sabayon Linux 4.1. Based on Sabayon 4 LiteMCE, this edition brings the same usability and out-of-the-box experience, this time on top of the latest KDE 4.2.2 desktop environment. The Linux kernel used is a customized 22.214.171.124 one, bringing EXT4 support and compatibility with a lot of devices and components. Also, fans will be happy to hear that Sabayon Live DVD's size was halved from almost 4 GB to less than 2 GB.
Highlights of Sabayon Linux 4.1 KDE:
· Linux kernel 126.96.36.199
· KDE 4.2.2
· OpenOffice 3.0.1 productivity suite
· Mozilla Firefox 3.0.8
· Dark, slick theme
· Spritz package manager 0.52.8
· World of Goo Demo
· X.Org 7.4
· XBMC 8.10
Download Sabayon Linux 4.1 KDE right now from Softpedia.
On April 29, Mandriva announced the immediate availability of Mandriva 2009.1, also known as Spring, released after two Alphas, one Beta and two release candidates. There are a lot of exciting new features that will please all of Mandriva's fans and surely make others take a second look at what this distribution has to offer. Mandriva 2009.1 can be downloaded for free as a CD, DVD (i586 and x86_64) or a Dual CD.
Highlights of Mandriva 2009.1:
· New artwork
· GNOME 2.26.1 desktop environment
· KDE 4.2.2
· LXDE and Xfce 4.6
· OpenOffice.org 3.0.1
· Mozilla Firefox 3.0.9
· HDT (Hardware Detection Tool)
· Improved installer
· X.Org 1.6
· EXT4 support
· MSEC (Mandriva Security Center)
Download Mandriva 2009.1 right now from Softpedia.
· Nvidia announced on April 21 yet another maintenance version of its proprietary video driver for the Linux, FreeBSD and Solaris open-source operating systems. The new version, Nvidia 180.51, provides support for many new GPUs, such as: GeForce GT 130, GeForce GT 140, GeForce GTS 250, GeForce 9400 GT and GeForce 9600 GSO 512. Moreover, Nvidia 180.51 fixes several issues found in previous versions. Read more about it here.
· Sun Microsystems announced on April 27, a new and improved version of the popular, open-source, virtualization software VirtualBox, version 2.2.2. Being a maintenance release, there weren't any new major features added to it. Read more about it here.
· For this week, we decided to present a video clip, created by Phoronix, that showcases the Nouveau video driver on the Fedora 11 Linux distribution. The video is 2:19-minute long and was posted by phoronix. Enjoy!
· TOSS 1.0
See you again next Monday, May 11, for another issue of Softpedia Linux Weekly!
The Softpedia Linux Editorial Team.