..for not posting new screenshots and reviews... lots of issues have to be solved in my life :) but in a two or three weeks, I'll be here, with lots of news like Mandriva review, Ubuntu rev, PUD, Gentoo rev... etc etc... thanks for the understanding and don't forget this blog!

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NEWS: Mandriva 2008.1 RC2 Released  

So, this is the final release candidate, and pretty much this will be almost the same as the final release.. To read this review, read first NEWS: Mandriva 2008.1 RC1 Released because I don't want to write half the same stuff again, and I'll only note some stuff I didn't said in the RC 1 review, and point some new stuff found in RC 2.

First of all, here is the release announcement:

The sixth pre-release of Mandriva Linux 2008.1 is here. This pre-release includes support for easy synchronization of Windows Mobile 5+, Blackberry and Nokia devices, the Codeina multimedia codec installation system, support for Radeon HD 3xxx series graphics cards, more improvements to the Mandriva software installation tools, the finalized 2008 Spring theme, a new metapackage for easily installing a complete LAMP setup, and KDE 4.0.2.

Here the Live CD (with KDE) is being tested and written about. Here are some screenshots:

The screens show that most of the artwork is the same as in RC1, which is great. As in 2008.0 and in 2008.1 RC 1, an in almost every release before, you are asked to choose language, keyboard layout, time zone etc. Also it did recognized my display size, my graphics card (nVidia) and loaded the drivers. It also asked whether to use compiz-fusion, metisse or none of them. Now, i chose to use compiz, and it went with no glitches. OK, so let's what's different.

The first change (an eye-candy one) is the new colors in the wallaper.. It's not blue on both sides (left and right) but on the right an orange blend can be seen.
This is what was all about, it uses an XML file with several wallapers/color schemes (the orange one, a greenish one, and a blueish one), instead one wallaper. Something in the style of Fedora Infinity (Fedora 8 Wallpaper).

When it comes to multimedia, I saw a new item in the KDE menu, and that was Codeina. Codeina is meant for buying codecs (as I understood) that are missing from your OS, if you want them (legally at least). But, when the application was launched, I got this screen:

Now (the time of writing of this article) is March the 26th. So, Codeina/The Fluendo (Web) Shop has 5 days to launch ;).

Now I'm going to mention some nice things that are included in Mandriva.. One of them is KRandR.

It's used for changing monitor resolution and refresh rate with no fuss. Another thing, which I really, and I would like to see similar implementations in other distros is the 'Network and Internet Configuration'.

Which is the easiest way to set up your connection, with minimum knowledge. When all the steps are finished, you will get a notification.

Hoping to see a nice PowerPack DVD in the Final relase, and I also hope that some of my local magazines will give it with their issues :) :)

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NEWS: openSUSE 11.0 Alpha 3 Released  

First of all, for all people interested in downloading it, the download link. The single-CD installation media can be found also here: openSUSE-11.0-Alpha3-KDE-i386.iso, openSUSE-11.0-Alpha3-GNOME-i386.iso, openSUSE-11.0-Alpha3-KDE-x86_64.iso, openSUSE-11.0-Alpha3-GNOME-x86_64.iso. DVD torrents and live CD images are also available. The release announcement goes like this:

We are very happy to announce openSUSE 11.0 Alpha 3. The highlight is the re-worked Zypp framework, which gives you a much faster package management experience. This release also contains a new and professional installer theme. Many packages were also updated to newer versions: Linux kernel 2.6.25-rc5, GCC 4.3 final, GNOME 2.22 final, Compiz 0.7.2, KDE 4.0.2 and 3.5.9, Zypper 0.10.2. Due to the huge amount of changes, there are also quite a few bugs that slipped in.

Also there were 1855 checkins since Alpha 2.

So, lets take a look at the new artwork of the installer (artwork for the GNOME and KDE desktops is being made but it's not integrated in this Alpha):

GNOME, KDE, and XFCE are the three desktops that will be openSUSE-polished, and they are available for installation from the DVD media. Fluxbox and others are found in openSUSE repository and can be installed online, but they are not recommended always.

KDE 4.0.2 is included, and in the final release, a descent release with KDE 4.1.X should be included. Which we all hope to. As a Alpha release, it has many bugs, which all releases which are in development do. So, an up-to-date bug list can be found here: Most_Annoying_Bugs_11.0_dev.

Note: All images/screens taken from Screenshots/openSUSE_11.0_Alpha3 wiki page.

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NEWS: Clonezilla Live 1.0.9-19 Released  

If you are in search of a tool like Norton Ghost, Clonezilla is the one you need. This is a Debian based distro, made in Taiwan, which works as a live CD only. In case you want to download the 90MB iso, here is the link. And also, here is the release announcement:

Clonezilla Live 1.0.9-19 (stable) released. This release is a bug-fixed one with some minor updates: fixed - Memtest86, FreeDOS and Etherboot were not listed in syslinux boot; fixed - CCISS RAID device restoration was broken; fixed - when 'ocs-iso -s' or 'ocs-live-dev -c -s' was run, Etherboot and FreeDOS images were not copied; syslinux related files are now in /syslinux; added sdparm, zip and unzip; makeboot.exe is replaced by so that USB flash drive will boot successfully with kernel under /casper; Partclone 0.0.6 is used now so clone.fat is available; more descriptions were added to the boot menu; an option for VGA mode 640x480 was added.

When the CD was booted, I didn't knew what to expect, this was the first time I had tried Clonezilla. So, here is the first screen:

Because of the file size of the disk, I expected to see XFCE and a GUI tool for cloning.. But, I was wrong, the whole process is text mode. The developers have indeed made a real Norton Ghost replacement ;)

Although the whole process in text mode, it is very easy and intuitive. You enter the keyboard layout, language, select whether to make image of partition, or to make a partition out of an image, or to clone one partition to another. Very easy. I made an image of my root partition with no fuss.

For everything else about Clonezilla, here is their page at Sourceforge. There are docs, wikis, mailinglists, etc...

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NEWS: Foresight Linux 2.0 Released  

So, after all the Alpha and Beta releases, here is the final one. For download go here. There are a lot of new features in this release, as well as the newest in the GNOME desktop and applications. Before commenting and posting screenshots, here is the official release announcement:

Foresight Linux 2.0 has been released. New in version 2.0: a new tar-based installer that should install in less than 10 minutes, including formatting a 200 GB hard drive; PackageKit to help users update their system and add and remove software; Syslinux, a new bootloader to replace GRUB; GNOME-Do to quickly search for many items present in a GNOME desktop environment (applications, Evolution contacts, Firefox bookmarks, files, artists and albums in Rhythmbox, Pidgin buddies, etc.) and perform commonly used actions on those items. Users should also find it much easier to use binary video card drivers from NVIDIA and ATI than in Foresight 1.x. Transmission is also included as the default Bittorrent application.

It comes in two choices, x86, and 64bit one. The DVDs are install only, there is no Live Session available. When the media is booted, the following screen appears:

Yeah, the boot loader is not GRUB, nor LILO. It's SysLinux, and as the creators state, it's supposed to replace GRUB.

The installer is Anaconda (made by Red Hat, and used in Fedora also), the installation is really about 10 mins, as stated in the release announcement. Thanks to the new tar-based installer. Now, after the installation, the greenish theme will welcome you.

The theme is little different than in Foresight 1.4, the previous one was green-to-yellow somehow. A large selection of wallpapers is offered also.

Now, when it comes to applications, PackageKit is here to manage adding and removing packages, as well as updating the whole system. Also, GNOME 2.22 was included with all of its packages. When it comes to GNOME 2.22 here is their release announcement:

Addition of Cheese, a tool for taking photos from webcams and Remote Desktop Viewer; basic window compositing support in Metacity; introduction of GVFS; improved playback support for DVDs and Youtube, MythTV support in Totem; internationalised clock applet; Google Calendar support and message tagging in Evolution; improvements in Evince, Tomboy, Sound Juicer and Calculator.

Cheese is a nice funny application, and it can take and save photos or clips from your webcam.

Only one package was missing, and that was GIMP. But, the developer/s of Foresight said that GIMP was removed due to they wanted to shrink the whole media from a DVD to a single CD. Besides GIMP, everything else was here, all the Office needed packages, all the games that are included in GNOME project, even Transmission was included, as the default torrent client. Firefox was also here, as the default web browser. And if you want to search for an item in the GNOME desktop enviroment (applications, Evolution contacts, Firefox bookmarks, files, artists and albums in Rhythmbox, Pidgin buddies... ) GNOME-Do in there for you. Brasero is the CD/DVD burning solution, and Banshee was also included, which is a nice audio media player. Popular media codecs were lacking, and proprietary video drivers, which is understandable why.

There was one thing that i really liked, and that is the Foresight Linux User Guide. Just click System, and click on the icon which launches the guide.

For everything lacking, here is explained how to get to it. Meaning popular media codecs, video card drivers, getting compiz, Conary and PackageKit are explained, and so on... A great introduction for newbies, which will solve a lot of their problems :)

Only one weird thing happened to me. When i started the OS, and the first time it booted, there was no sound. The icon showed that it was muted. I launched the sound mixer, and all the channels were OK. Then i figured, PulseAudio. I started the PulseAudio volume control, and there, the mute button was ticked. So I unticked it, and Banshee was playing with no fuss.

Nevertheless PulseAudio is well integrated and the sound is great, with no glitches. One great thing about it is that you can control the volume of separate applications, or even mute a separate application/stream.

Overall, the installation went great, the user experience was great, PackageKit is easy to use, the User Guide is a great plus, all GNOMEish apps (except GIMP) are included... So, if there is someone who wants a different and fresh GNOME based desktop, Foresight is one of the best choices.

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