The Linux Letter for April
After a couple of months off, it's time to
kick off spring with a fresh edition of the Letter! This
month, we're going to ignore the latest SCO versus the world
shenanigans and head straight to the good stuff - Fedora Core 2
is ready for release and Red Hat Linux 9 is almost at the end of
the road. Let's go!
In the last Letter, I introduced Fedora Linux
Core 1, a completely open source distribution that is heavily
sponsored by Red Hat. Now, when I say heavily sponsored, I
really mean that Fedora Linux is pretty much Red Hat Linux
without the non-GPL software. Fedora Core 1 might as well
have been Red Hat Linux 10.
The other significant difference between
Fedora and Red Hat is that Fedora has a much more aggressive
release schedule - about once every six months. That
allows the developers and users to have a relatively cutting
edge distribution without having to upgrade individual packages
and resolve dependency and compatibility issues.
Fedora Core 2 (FC2 for short) is scheduled for
release in about a month. A preview version is available
now. The biggest change over FC1 is the new 2.6 Linux
kernel. Better support for multiprocessor systems is also
supposed to be included. New versions of KDE and Gnome
should also debut in this version. And, of course, the
latest versions of all of the packages featured in Fedora will
Now, if you're still using Red Hat Linux 9,
you should be aware that Red Hat's support for the distribution
will end on April 30. That means that there will be no
more software updates or patches for security or bugs. It
means that the Red Hat Network channel for version 9 will be
shut down. It means that if you're using Red Hat Linux 9,
you're on your own.
But, as I've mentioned before, Fedora is the
obvious alternative to Red Hat Linux. It is still
available at little or no cost and includes a robust and active
developer and support system. As a user of Red Hat Linux
9, you will notice very little difference if you switch to
The other alternative is to switch to Red Hat
Enterprise Linux. It is available in workstation and
server configurations and includes Red Hat Network subscription
update services. But, of course, it comes at a cost.
So, if you are budget conscious, Fedora is probably the best
If, however, you are considering abandoning
Red Hat altogether, you may want to consider Mandrake Linux.
Version 10 has just been released and the company has recently
emerged from bankruptcy protection after a very profitable
quarter. Mandrake Linux 10 is very fully featured and is a
worthy competitor to Fedora. Again, Red Hat users will
probably notice very little difference switching to Mandrake.
Remember what I said about Fedora using only
GPL software? That means that there are some applications
missing that you may have been used to from Red Hat Linux.
One extremely popular program is PINE, the text-based email
system from the University of Washington. It is not
released under the GPL, so if you want to use it, you'll have to
install it yourself.
Dag Wieers' site has RPMs of PINE for Fedora
(as well as RPMs of several other GPL and non-GPL software)
http://dag.wieers.com/packages/pine/. Just download
the version listed for Fedora, then install it (as root) using
rpm -ivh pine-4.58-0.rhfc1.dag.i386.rpm
Then you'll be able to use PINE as your
command-line email program.