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Ubuntu CE 6.0 beta Changes
With kids as curious as ever and an internet that’s getting more dangerous by the day I get more and more requests to install parental controls on family computers. I took a look around at the options available and became inspired to use Ubuntu and the internet filtering application Dansguardian together to solve this problem. Since Ubuntu 9.10, Dansguardian has had some problems blocking various innocent sites due to a known bug. Ubuntu CE 6.0 beta, which was released today, includes a working version of Dansguardian among other major features.
- Ubuntu CE is now available in a server edition
- Ubuntu CE desktop version available in 32 and 64 bit
- Changes to the e-Sword installer
- Dansguardian gui improvements make internet and filter sharing easier
The look and behavior of this distro differs from Ubuntu very little which in this case was an advantage. Users with basic family computers already running Ubuntu won’t miss a beat while switching to Ubuntu CE for the parental controls or other family friendly features. I noted only slight changes here and there on the Ubuntu CE desktop and during startup. Of course the background, panels, and a few other desktop items were customized but the feel remained similar to Ubuntu.
Because I was decided to install Ubuntu CE mostly for its Dansguardian fix and parental control ability, this was the first thing I looked for in the menu and on the desktop. While looking for Dansguardian GUI controls, which are under System — Administration — Dansguardian GUI, I started to notice that Ubuntu CE has quite a few extra applications and extra features. In addition to Dansguardian I found Xiphos bible study software, OpenSong for managing lyrics, chords, lead sheets and more, the E-sword bible software installer and a few other additions. On to Dansguardian.
After selecting the Dansguardian option form the main menu, I was brought to the Ubuntu terminal window where I entered my root password and pressed enter. This brought up a simple actions menu for the Dansguardian application. The options include Autoconfig/Reset Dansguardian, Filter setting, Start Dansguardian, Stop Dansguardian, Lock Firewall Proxy, UnlockFirewall Proxy, Internet connection sharing, View denied log, Advanced settings and Exit.
Back at the Dansguardian menu if you select Access Denied log you can see what page have been blocked and why. Here’s my Access Denied Log which shows an attempt at Rotten.com, Date, URL, and Reason For Denial.
I also tested 10-20 sites I frequent and had no problems accessing any of them. Before I was prevented from visiting Amazon and several other obvious non-violating sites. No traces of this with Ubuntu CE 6.0 beta.
Overall Ubuntu CE beta surprised me a bit with many of the things they have going on here. This distro is yet another example of how Linux continues to mold itself to fit the needs of all kinds of people.
The Slackware-based CDLinux just came out with a new release, CDLinux 0.9.5. I’d never used CDLinux so I decided to take a shot at the minimalist live CD and found a solid little distribution worth a look.
The name CDLinux stands for “Compact Distro Linux” which is the focus of the extremely efficient CDLinux distribution. This latest version of the distro, CDLinux 0.9.5, has several updated packages such as Linux kernel 184.108.40.206, X.Org Server 1.6.5, CUPS 1.4.2, Poppler 0.12.2, Samba 3.4.2, Firefox 3.5.5. CDLinux also includes up-to-date applications such as Pidgin, GIMP, Java and Wine.
One thing I enjoy about Linux is that is comes in all shapes and sizes. Macpup Foxy 3.0 features the Enlightenment window manager and a Mac OS X-like user interface. Macpup Foxy 3.0 is based on Puppy Linux 4.3.1 which uses the Linux kernel 220.127.116.11. Macpup Foxy 3.0 includes all the applications from Puppy 4.1 and 4.3.1 service pack plus Macpup Foxy 3.0 features Firefox 3.5.4, GIMP 2.6.3, and a few other enhancements. Here’s a short release announcement.
I booted up Macpup Foxy 3.0 in RAM to get a few screenshots and spent only a few minutes playing around. I wasn’t particularly impressed by the desktop feel of the distro out of the box. The brown background with birds didn’t do it for me and my resolution was a bit off. Both of these things were corrected easily though and a window even popped up on startup offering resolution changes which was a nice touch. Another thing worth noting is the application selection in Macpup Foxy 3.0. This is a minimalist distro yet it has a powerhouse of applications to use out of the box.
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Macpup Foxy 3.0 Release
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Linux Mint is one Linux distribution that really stands out from the crowd. Besides its outstanding mint green graphical setup, the Ubuntu-based Linux Mint includes Mint specific tools such as MintInstall, MintBackup, MintUpdate and others. Linux Mint 8 was just released yesterday and it includes some great new features worth looking into.
Linux Mint 8 “Helena” is based on Ubuntu 9.10 “Karmic Koala” and it features the latest versions on many applications. Linux 2.6.31, Gnome 2.28 and Xorg 7.4 are all included in Linux Mint 8 along with significant changes to the menu, software manager, update manager, and a brand new upload manager. As has been the case in recent releases, the Linux Mint artwork has been adjusted to give the Gnome 2.28 desktop a beautiful look. What’s your favorite feature of Linux Mint 8?
The Greenie Linux 6k CD is an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution that is focused on Slovak and Czech users but supports English and many other languages as well. In October I wrote a Greenie 5j review and was impressed with the distribution. The most recent version has a nice set of current applications such as Linux Kernel 2.6.31, GNOME 2.28, OpenOffice.org 3.1.1, Firefox 3.5, and WINE 1.1.33. Greenie also has some new applications that might surprise you including the Google Chrome web browser, Imagination slideshow creator, PDFMod PDF editor, StarDict dictionary and both Pidgin and Empathy instant messengers installed by default. The Greenie Linux 6k CD includes some nice desktop improvements to the toolbar and desktop as well. I set out to take Greenie 6K for a spin this evening and snap few screenshots of the new apps in action.