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Distributions: No winter break in Linux land

Dec 14, 2009, 18:04 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Alexandra Kleijn)

"Autumn is traditionally a lively period in the Linux world, with both Ubuntu and Fedora releasing new versions of their popular distributions at this time of year. Ubuntu 9.10, 'Karmic Koala', was released in late October and Fedora 12, 'Constantine', arrived on the 17th of November. Squeezed between the two was a new edition of openSUSE, version 11.2, which hit the streets on the 12th of November. openSUSE also has fixed release intervals, but the new eight month cycle means there is no longer a fixed release month. French distributor Mandriva also released the latest Mandriva 2010 in early November.

"What all of the major distributions have in common is the switch to using Ext4 as their default file system. All of them use the Linux 2.6.31 kernel. Kernel-based mode setting (KMS), included in the kernel in all four systems, now leaves it to the kernel to select screen resolution with most graphics chips. The benefit is the lack of flicker when starting X Server and better reliability when resuming from suspend to RAM, with KMS taking care of reinitialising the graphics core. Linus Torvalds has since concluded kernel 2.6.32 development.

"Ubuntu and Fedora both traditionally use GNOME as the default desktop and both now include the latest version (2.28). In openSUSE and Mandriva, it's KDE which is pre-selected during installation. openSUSE 11.2 is the first version for a very long time in which the distribution – traditionally KDE-centric, but increasingly GNOME-oriented following its takeover by Novell – returns to its roots. The KDE3 era is definitively over at both openSUSE and Mandriva, as both now officially no longer support KDE3."

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