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Linux Distributions overview

An overview of Linux Distributions: companies, entities, individuals and their efforts.

Slackware: The oldest, still kicking
Autore: al - Ultimo Aggiornamento: 2004-11-13 20:25:18 - Data di creazione: 2004-11-13 20:25:18
Tipo Infobox: DISTRO - Skill: 2- JUNIOR

Slackware is the oldest Linux distribution that is still actively maintained and supported.
It was released in 1993, shortly after the the release of its parent SLS Linux, according to many, the first real public Linux distribution.
Leaded since the beginning by Patrick Volkerding, Slackware has its own place carved in the stone of Linux world.

It has a devoted supporting base, both for its age and its no frills logic, which somehow is a glimpse of its ancient origins. Slackware is one of the few distros that features BDS like init scripts (SysV is still supported), an essential and somehow primitive packaging system (tgz), a text based semi-manual installation procedure and few custom configuration tools.
Many love it because they know it and appreciate its essential structure, others simply find it too difficult compared to other popular distros and avoid it.

Chronology of Slackware releases
n/a (1993-07-11) Kernel 0.99pl11A, "SLS-like system" pre-announced on comp.os.linux. Patrick's email was posted on the Cleveland FreeNet, sponsored by CWRU.
Slackware 1.00 (1993-07-17) Kernel 0.99pl11A, Announced on c.o.l. TeX had to be installed from the SLS T-series floppies. With: gcc-2.4.5, libc-4.4.1.
Slackware 1.01 (1993-08-04) Kernel 0.99pl12A, with: ksh, tcl, XFree86 1.3.
Slackware 1.0.2 (1993-09-05) Kernel 0.99pl12, with: emacs 19.19, games, change in versioning 1.01 -> 1.0.2.
Slackware 1.0.3 (1993-09-15) Kernel 0.99pl12, with: pine
Slackware 1.0.4 (1993-10-01) With: Tin/XView updates
Slackware 1.1.0 (1993-11-04) Kernel 0.99pl13. Disk sets: A, E, IV, OI, OOP, TCL, X, XAP, XD, XV, Y.
Slackware 1.1.1 (1994-02-xx) Kernel 0.99pl14. 51 floppies. XFree86 2.0, libc 4.4.4. TeX
Slackware 1.2 (1994-03-27) Kernel 1.0 "Installing all takes about 200MB"
Slackware 2.0 (1994-06-25) Kernel 1.0.9, 1.1.18  Also Morse Communications "Slackware Pro"
Slackware 2.1 (1994-11-15) Kernel 1.1.59, 65 floppies, plus boot & root disks
Slackware 2.2 (1995-03-??) Kernel 1.2.1
Slackware 2.3 (1995-05-??) Kernel 1.2.8, libc 4.6.27, XFree86 3.1.1
Slackware 3.0 (1995-09-30) Kernel 1.2.13, 1.3.1 First ELF. Walnut Creek CDROM.
Slackware 3.1.0 (1996-07-03) Kernel 2.0.0 Called "Slackware'96". libc 5.3.12.
Slackware 3.1.0 (1997-01-13) Kernel 2.0.27 Also called "Slackware '96"
Slackware 3.2.0 (1997-02-17) Kernel 2.0.29
Slackware 3.3.0 (1997-07-11) Kernel 2.0.30     
Slackware 3.4.0 (1997-10-14) Kernel 2.0.30     
Slackware 3.5.0 (1998-06-09) Kernel 2.0.34,  libc 5.4.44, XFree86 3.3.2.2
Slackware 3.6.0 (1998-10-28) Kernel 2.0.35 "Recommend 500MB for full install"
Slackware 3.9 (1999-05-17) Kernel 2.0.37 Co-released with 4.0
Slackware 4.0.0 (1999-05-17) Kernel 2.2.6, 2.2.7 "Recommend 1GB for full install", XFree86 3.3.3.1 First kde 1.1.1
Slackware 7.0 (1999-10-25) Kernel 2.2.13 First glibc2, "recommend 2GB partition", Version jump from 4 to 7.
Slackware 7.1 (2000-06-22) Kernel 2.2.16, XFree86 3.3.6. First gnome.
Slackware 8.0 (2001-06-28) Kernel 2.2.19, 2.4.5, XFree86 4.1.0, kde-2.1.1
Slackware 8.1 (2002-06-19) Kernel 2.4.18, XFree86 4.2.0, kde-3.0.1, gnome-1.4.1, First mozilla
Slackware 9.0 (2003-03-20) Kernel 2.4.20, gcc-3.2.2, XFree-4.3.0, kde-3.1, gnome-2.2
Slackware 9.1 (2003-09-25) Kernel2.4.22, GCC 3.2.3 (with GCC 3.3.1 as an alternate choice), GNOME 2.4.0, and KDE 3.1.4. Slackware 9.1 uses the stable 2.4.22 kernel, but is 2.6.x ready.
Slackware 10.0 (2004-06-22) Kernel 2.4.26, gcc 3.3.4, X11R6 (xorg) replacing XFree86 for the fist time, KDE 3.2.3, Gnome 2.6.2

RedHat: History of releases
Autore: al - Ultimo Aggiornamento: 2004-09-17 00:06:45 - Data di creazione: 2004-09-17 00:06:45
Tipo Infobox: DISTRO - Skill: 2- JUNIOR

RedHat is the most known and biggest company in the world whose business is entirely based on Linux. It's the first distribution maker that has quoted its shares at Nasdaq and one of the not so many companies that has built a successful Linux business model.
Originally founded by Marc Ewing, it was purchased in 1995 by Bob Young's ACC Bookstores. During the following years, version after version, it has gained a reputation of distro good for servers (even if by far not the best one, according to purists) with easy installation and configuration tools.

The first public release of Red Hat Linux (version 1.0) is dated 1994, after the older historic distro as Slackware, but still largely before the big Linux boost of the following years.

Chronology of Red Hat releases
RedHat 1.0 (Mother's Day), November 3, 1994
RedHat 1.1 (Mother's Day+0.1), August 1, 1995
RedHat 2.0, September 20, 1995
RedHat 2.1, November 23, 1995
RedHat 3.0.3 (Picasso), May 1, 1996
RedHat 4.0 (Colgate), October 8, 1996
RedHat 4.1 (Vanderbilt), February 3, 1997
RedHat 4.2 (Biltmore), May 19, 1997
RedHat 5.0 (Hurricane), December 1, 1997
RedHat 5.1 (Manhattan), May 22, 1998
RedHat 5.2 (Apollo), November 2, 1998
RedHat 6.0 (Hedwig), April 26, 1999
RedHat 6.1 (Cartman), October 4, 1999
RedHat 6.2 (Zoot), April 3, 2000
RedHat 7 (Guinness), September 25, 2000
RedHat 7.1 (Seawolf), April 16, 2001
RedHat 7.2 (Enigma), October 22, 2001
RedHat 7.3 (Valhalla), May 6, 2002
RedHat Enterprise Edition 2.1 AS (Pensacola), May 6 2002
RedHat 8.0 (Psyche), September 30, 2002
RedHat 9 (Shrike), March 31, 2003

The Fedora and Red Hat Projects merged September 22, 2003 when RedHat made the discussed choice to split its product line in 2 main branches: the free and open Fedora and the commercial, enterprise-ready, Red Hat Enterprise Edition.
RedHat Enterprise Edition 3.0 (Taroon), October 22 2003
Fedora Core 1 (Yarrow), was published November 2003
Fedora Core 1.90 (FC2 Test 1), February 4, 2004
Fedora Core 2 (Tettnang), May 11, 2004

Debian: History of an ideal
Autore: al - Ultimo Aggiornamento: 2005-09-13 10:00:36 - Data di creazione: 2004-09-17 00:07:39
Tipo Infobox: DISTRO - Skill: 2- JUNIOR

Debian is the oldest and most important Linux distribution entirely based on the collaborative work of volunteers worldwide. Even if the single people working on Debian may work on specific companies, the whole project does not have direct ties to a commercial entity or company.

It's probably the most impressive example of distributed, open source, collaborative software development, probably even more than the same Linux kernel. The Debian Project was officially founded by Ian Murdock on August 16th, 1993 and is considered one of the "purest" Linux distro in terms of independence from business logics and adherence to the free software standards.

Chronology of Debian releases
Debian 0.01 through 0.90 (August-December 1993). Mainly packaged by Ian Murdock with the help of few volunteers.
Debian 0.91 (January 1994). Introduction of a simple package system.
Debian 0.93R5 (March 1995): Responsibility for each package was clearly assigned to a developer (maintainer). dpkg introduced.
Debian 0.93R6 (November 1995): dselect appears. Last version with a.out binaries.
Debian 1.0 was never released for a naming problem with a CD vendor,
Debian 1.1 Buzz (June 17th, 1996): This was the first Debian release with a code name. This release was fully ELF, used Linux kernel 2.0, and contained 474 packages.
Debian 1.2 Rex (December 12th, 1996): This release consisted of 848 packages maintained by 120 developers
Debian 1.3 Bo (June 5th, 1997): This release consisted of 974 packages maintained by 200 developers.
Debian 2.0 Hamm (July 24th, 1998): This was the first multi-architecture release of Debian, adding support for the Motorola 68000 series architectures. This release made the transition to libc6, and consisted of over 1500 packages maintained by over 400 developers.
Debian 2.1 Slink (March 9th, 1999): Two more architectures were added, Alpha and SPARC. This release consisted of about 2250 packages and required 2 CDs in the official set. The key technical innovation was the introduction of apt, a new package management interface.
Debian 2.2 Potato (15 August 2000): This release added support for the PowerPC and ARM architectures, it consisted of more than 3900 binary packages derived from over 2600 source packages maintained by more than 450 Debian developers.
Debian 3.0 Woody (19 July 2002): New architectures were added: IA-64, HP PA-RISC, MIPS (big endian), MIPS (little endian) and S/390. This is also the first release to include cryptographic software due to the restrictions for exportation being lightened in the US, and also the first one to include KDE. It boasts more than 900 Debian developers,  around 8500 binary packages and 7 binary CDs in the official set.
Debian 3.1 Sarge (6 June 2005): Awaited for long, Sarge got stable after many months of freeze and testing. It boasts many updates, 9000 new packages (among these OpenOffice, Thunderbird and Firefox), kernel 2.4 and 2.6, better multilanguage support and a renewed installation tool. A Major milestone in Debian history.

Linux Distributions: a coherent chaos
Autore: al - Ultimo Aggiornamento: 2004-09-16 23:33:38 - Data di creazione: 2004-09-16 23:33:38
Tipo Infobox: DESCRIPTION - Skill: 2- JUNIOR

Linux, a Babylon of [*]nix delirium:
- More than 300 distributions, made in 51 different countries,  collecting thousands of software projects.
- Dedicated to different uses: desktop, laptop, server, mainframe, firewall, embedded devices, system recovery, terminals, streaming stations...
- Provided in different forms: CD Roms, Floppy, Network Installation, USB and Flash cards.
- Ready for different platforms: Intel compatible 32 bit (ix86) and 64 bit (ia64), PowerPC, sparc, alpha, motorola 68000, i390...

In this apparent chaos, there's still logic and order (much more than what you could expect):
- There are few major distro, from which others are derived: Debian, RedHat, Knoppix, Slackware, Mandrake, SUSE, Gentoo
- They use a common base of GNU and Open Source software and tools
- They share a Filesystem Hierarchy Standard
- [You can use, learn and know just one of them and apply the inner logic for the others]
- And, most of all, they're always a wonderful Unix KISS

Our focus on The Big Ones:
Debian, "World Made" entirely developed by the community, purely free (as speech). Last version: 3.0r2. Derivated distros: 100
RedHat, Made in USA. Commercial version: RedHat Enterprise Linux, free version: Fedora.. Last versions: RHEL 3.0, Fedora 2. Derivated distros: 63
Knoppix, Made in Germany. Free. Live CD. Last version: 3.6. Derivated distros: 45
SlackWare, Made in USA. One of the first Linux distro. Free. Last version 10. Derivated distros: 27
Mandrake, Made in France. Free with restrictions. Last version: 10. Derivated distros: 11
Gentoo, Made in USA. Free. Portage (sources) based. Last version: 2004.2 Derivated distros: 8
SUSE, Made in Germany. Free with restrictions. Last version: 9.1, Derivated distros: 3
Source: www.distrowatch.com - Last update 6 September 2004

Other important distributions are: TurboLinux, YellowDog, Conectiva, Linspire, Xandros, Lycoris

Mandrake: story of a french magic
Autore: al - Ultimo Aggiornamento: 2004-09-17 00:07:59 - Data di creazione: 2004-09-17 00:07:59
Tipo Infobox: DISTRO - Skill: 2- JUNIOR

Mandrake is a relatively recent distro which has fastly gained a good public response mostly for its ease of use and graphical oriented nature. First released the 23rd of July 1998 as the personal effort of GaŽl Duval, based on RedHat Linux, is has gained immediate attention, enough to convince him to found Mandrake Soft in November 1998.

Besides the new releaes presented, freely downloadable for the Community Edition and commercial for the boxed or server editions, there is always an "under developement" snapshot called "cooker" which is nightly updated.
Mandrake Soft is quoted at US OTC market and the Paris Euronext Marchť Libre, it has suffered a terrible 2003, risking bankruptcy, but after dramatic cost cuttings and better focus of high margin products and services, it seems to have recovered from the critic status and in March 2004 has exited from Chapter 11 like protection.

Chronology of Releases
Mandrake 5.1     Venice, 1998     
Mandrake 5.2     Leeloo, 1998     
Mandrake 5.3     Festen, 1999     
Mandrake 6.0     Venus, 1999     
Mandrake 6.1     Helios, 1999     
Mandrake 7.0     Air, 2000     
Mandrake 7.1     Helium, 2000     
Mandrake 7.2     Ulysses, 2001     
Mandrake 8.0     Traktopel, 2001     
Mandrake 8.1     Vitamin, 2001     
Mandrake 8.2     Bluebird, 2002     
Mandrake 9.0     Dolphin, 2002     
Mandrake 9.1     Bamboo, 2003     
Mandrake 9.2     FiveStar, 2003     
Mandrake 10.0     Community and Official, 2004     
N/A     N/A     Cooker

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