Debian ditches Glibc for... EGLIBC

Debian

Uh-oh. The C library is an essential core component of any Unix-like operating system, and for Debian to switch from the well-established Glibc is big news. This blog post explains the reasons behind the move to EGLIBC, noting technical aspects such as a consistent stable branch, support for different shells and the ability to optimise for size (using the -Os GCC flag).

It also points to dissatisfaction with Glibc maintainer Ulrich Drepper's attitude towards potential contributors: eg "Stop wasting people's time! Nobody cares about this crap." Or take a look at the comments here for some, er, lively debate.

How to build your own Linux distro

Distros

Since Manchester University's Owen Le Blanc released MCC Interim Linux (generally agreed to have been the first Linux distribution), way back in 1992, there have been hundreds of ways to get the world's favourite free software operating system on to a computer. The diversity of alternatives reflects the diversity in the development community, with distros split along technical, functional, linguistic and even ideological lines.

There have been large distros, tiny ones, bleeding edge and rock-solid stable distros. Easy for the newbie to install, or downright impenetrable to the uninitiated. Created exclusively with free software as a badge of pride, or so proprietary in attitude that not even the toolchain was fully GNU (hello Red Flag Server 4.1, built with the Intel compiler in 2004).

So with all the variety that's already out there, why would anyone want to create their own distro? Well, that's down to you. But we want to show you how to get started the easy way, as well as giving you some advice along the way to help make your distro stand out in the crowd. Read on!

Reviewed: Mandriva 2009.1 Spring

Distros

Reviewed: Since its last release, Mandriva has undergone a few changes – many of which have rubbed the community up the wrong way. But when it comes to producing a general-purpose Linux distro, Mandriva always seems to pull it off. Its latest, Mandriva 2009.1 Spring, is haute couture, trend-setting stuff.

An open letter to Mark Shuttleworth

Distros

Dear Mark,

Thanks for creating Ubuntu! Jaunty is the best release yet - stable, fast and full of features, just the way we like it. We particularly like the new notifications and the awesome new Screen tools that have been put in place. But there's one thing we don't like. In fact, there's one thing we think is colossally stupid, and we're hoping you'll give some thought to changing it to something smarter.

Group test: netbook distros

Distros

Ultraportable laptops – netbooks such as the Eee PC – are becoming increasingly popular. A computer that’s small enough to live permanently in your bag without giving you backache can be incredibly useful, especially as wireless connectivity and 3G hardware are growing in ubiquity.

Netbooks aren’t just consigned to disposable web surfing, though – they can rely on cloud computing services to provide you with a host of additional functionality. If you’ve never heard of cloud computing before, the idea behind it is that you’re able to store and use your data online, rather than on a local computer. That may sound confusing, but for commonly used examples of online apps that save data to remote servers, you need look no further than Google’s range of apps. The upshot of this is that all you require is an internet connection to have access and control over all your data, regardless of where you are.

If you already read our Ubuntu Netbook Remix review and decided it wasn't for you, read on to learn about four good alternative distros for your netbook...

Ubuntu Netbook Remix 9.04 hands-on

Distros

In episode 6 of our podcast we asked the question, "should netbook manufacturers standardise on a single distro?" Well, as netbook manufactuers continue to find ever more obscure distros to fit onto their systems, Canonical has stepped into the fray wielding a mighty cluestick: Ubuntu Netbook Remix (UNR).

When we interviewed Mark Shuttleworth a few weeks ago, he agreed that Ubuntu was late into the netbook arena. But the arrival of Jaunty Jackalope means that UNR has finally seen an official release, so there are lots of questions that need answering: how is it different from normal Ubuntu? How well does it work on average netbooks? And, most importantly, is it any good?

If you've already read our group test of netbook distros and want to know what Ubuntu can do to pull ahead ahead of the pack, you can read our full review of Ubuntu 9.04 Netbook Remix below. Read on!

How to choose the best Linux distro for you

Distros

At the time of writing, there are three hundred and twenty three distributions being tracked on distrowatch.com. There's one called Ehad. And another is called Estrella Roja. Many include the letter 'X' in their name, and many feature hand-drawn mascots and disparate communities. Not all are Linux-based, and not all are actively developed, but the overwhelming majority are. This is the world of choice, and it's a world made possible by free and open source software.

Choice is the best thing about Linux. Without choice, we may as well use an operating system where the developers make those choices for us. As we've covered in the past, anyone can create a Linux distribution. If it is different enough, it will survive, but most disappear without a trace. There is a flip side to all this choice however, and that's finding the time to find the perfect distribution for you. You really need to try several before setting on the one you prefer, and downloading, installing and testing a Linux distribution takes a lot of time.

Ubuntu 9.04: 32-bit vs 64-bit benchmarks

Distros

In depth: Most Linux users run a 32-bit distro, and many of them run a 32-bit distro on a 64-bit computer. The question is, why? We put 32-bit Ubuntu 9.04 head-to-head with its 64-bit counterpart to see what difference it really makes, and whether old compatibility worries are justified.

Ubuntu 9.04 frankenreview

Distros

It's official: Ubuntu has taken over the Linux world. On Digg's Linux/Unix section at the time of writing, four of the top five upcoming stories are about Jaunty (with the other one being a TuxRadar story on programming the Arduino - w00t!). In fact, 11 of the top 15 are about Ubuntu, which is astonishing in a week where Oracle gobbled up OpenOffice.org and MySQL and the first full release of the hotly hyped Ulteo came out.

We've already given you The Road to Jaunty: a look back at Ubuntu's history and an interview with Mark Shuttleworth, and to round out our three-part celebration of Ubuntu's 10th release, Jaunty Jackalope, we wanted to round up some of the web's views on the release then add a few of our own. Read on!

Shuttleworth on Jaunty, netbooks and more

Interviews

Exclusive: To celebrate the 10th Ubuntu release - Jaunty Jackalope - we're giving you three in-depth articles about the world's most popular distro. Hopefully by now you've already read our article The Road to Jaunty: a look back at Ubuntu's history and our frankenreview of Ubuntu 9.04, so we're following them up with an interview with Mark Shuttleworth, the founder and Benevolent Dictator for Life of Ubuntu.

We went to visit the Canonical HQ deep in Mount Doom London, England, and asked Mark about his favourite Jaunty features, the netbook push, cloud computing and more...

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