CentOS and Linux Mint Get Refreshed
It's not just the big distro releases that make the Linux Planet go around. This past week saw the debut of two distro releases that some might consider to be derivative, and yet they both will have tremendous impact.
1. CentOS 5.8
CentOS is one of the most popular server distributions in use today for a number of simple reasons. First, it's absolutely free as in, available for zero cost. That zero cost factor is in contrast to the distro that CentOS is based on, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). The other key reason for CentOS's popularity is that it benefits from the enterprise grade features, stability and hardening that RHEL offers.
For a while, CentOS releases lagged noticeably behind RHEL releases, most notably with the CentOS 6.0 release. The CentOS 6.0 release lagged behind the RHEL 6.0 release by eight months. The 5.x series has no such delay.
CentOS 5.8 was officially released last week, just a few short weeks after Red Hat pushed RHEL 5.8 upstream. Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that CentOS 5.8 was just a few days behind the Oracle Linux 5.8 release. CentOS is run by a community of volunteers while Oracle has dedicated paid staff resources.
2. Linux Mint 12 LXDE
In recent months, Linux Mint has gained the bulk of its notoriety for offering GNOME 3 alternatives. Most notably, Linux Mint has become the home of the Cinnamon desktop, which leverages GNOME 3 technologies, while still providing a familiar GNOME 2.x type interface.
Although Linux Mint has done a lot of work innovating on GNOME, it also offers other desktops, like the minimalist LXDE. Linux Mint 12 LXDE was officially released last week, providing users with yet another desktop choice. LXDE as opposed to GNOME, Cinnamon or KDE, offers the promise of a small memory footprint desktop that is well suited to older as well as low power devices.
3. Linux 3.3 rc7
Some Linux kernel cycles take just a bit longer than others. Two weeks ago, Linus Torvalds had hoped that the Linux 3.3 rc6 release would be the last before a final release. As it turns out, a seventh release candidate was required.
"Now, none of the fixes here are all that scary in themselves, but there were just too many of them, and across various subsystems," Torvalds wrote. "I really would prefer not having an -rc8, though. And I do think we're in fairly good shape, I just didn't think we were quite there yet for a release. Thus this will hopefully *really* be the final -rc."